Immune health is a hot topic right now, more than ever before.
For some people, times of uncertainty can bring on increased feelings of stress, worry, anxiety or overwhelm. My #1 advice to cope with uncertainty is to focus on what you can control, particularly building and maintaining a strong and healthy immune system.
A healthy and well functioning immune system is crucial to protect yourself from getting sick.
Taking care of your body and supporting your immune system involves eating well, exercising, not drinking too heavily, avoiding antibiotics, not smoking and keeping stress levels to a minimum. Easy said, and there are many other challenges.
Even those who do all the right things can still get caught out by being exposed to various pathogens which influence the immune system. People of an older age or those who have compromised immune systems have to be ever vigilant to avoid letting themselves become infected by nasty bugs.
Your body gives telltale signs of infection or a compromised immune system such as lethargy, aches and pains, sore muscles, headaches, and fever. Digestive problems also tend to arise as 80% of the immune system resides in the gut.
“How can I strengthen my immune system naturally?”
I believe that in the modern world it’s essential to regularly cleanse to help your detoxification systems handle the overload from exposure to 80,000+ chemicals, ongoing stress, medications, and poor quality food, air and water – all of which accelerate the aging process and increase risk of disease.
In reality, it’s about training your immune system to do its job correctly. That is, to be able to fend off the things that can cause harm—such as viruses, pathogenic bacteria, and parasites—while remaining non-reactive to benign things like pollen and foods. In addition, you want to prevent your immune system from attacking your own body, as is the case in autoimmune disease.
When our natural immune defenses become compromised, there’s a number of simple yet effective steps that can be taken to help cleanse the body from a buildup of waste and to regenerate good gut bugs that help to strengthen the immune system to protect you from disease and viruses.
#1 Take Probiotics Daily
Probiotics are friendly microbes that live in the gut, and work to guard you against harmful bacteria and viruses, and strengthens the immune and endocrine systems. Probiotics promote your body’s natural immunity, aid digestion and improve overall wellbeing.
Probiotic Examples – kimchi, kefir, cultured coconut yoghurt, liquid probiotic supplements, apple cider vinegar and sauerkraut. A good quality probiotic supplement can help build good gut biology as our soils have been greatly depleted of healthy bacteria.
#2 Up Your Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for healthy immune system response and body detoxification.
Sources include – citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, leafy greens, supplements (ascorbic acid and liposomal are best forms – take as directed on the product label).
#3 Exercise / Mindful Movement
Our body is designed to MOVE, and doesn’t like to stay stagnated for long periods.
Movement stimulates lymph, digestion, healthy bowel movements and healthy immune system.
Create a morning ritual of movement (aim for 30 minutes at least 5 times a week) – e.g. stretching, yoga, walking, jogging, dancing.
Put simply – your body depends on water to survive. Dehydration is linked to over 70 diseases.
Aim for 2-3 litres of good quality water per day and add in some pink salt to balance the water. Drink even more water if you are a regular coffee and alcohol consumer.
Eating water dense foods such as fruits and vegetables helps keep the body well hydrated, as well as limiting dehydrating foods such as processed sugary foods.
#5 Reduce Stress
When stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced, making us more susceptible to infections. Too much stress keeps you in “fight or flight” mode and can leave you open to a constant supply of stress hormones that really do affect your immunity. Common causes of stress include – busy lifestyle, inadequate rest, poor sleep, emotional stress (panic, worry, fear), financial worries, work, environmental factors (exposure to toxins), trauma, injury, medications, constant sense of urgency to get things done.
#6 Quality Nutrition
Food has the ability to be either healing or harmful to the body.
Foods harmful to the immune system when over consumed – sugar, gluten, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, meat, processed/packaged foods, GMO foods, non organic (sprayed) foods.
Foods that support the immune system – fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs (nature’s medicine), natural wholefoods such as nuts, seeds, legumes, healthy fats and oils such as avocado, coconut oil, hemp oil.
Examples – blueberries, dark chocolate, turmeric, oily fish, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, ginger, chia seeds, pepita seeds.
EAT THE RAINBOW – the more colour the better. This will ensure you get as many health-boosting vitamins as possible.
Important Nutrients for a healthy immune system – vitamin A, C, E, D, B6, magnesium, folate, iron, selenium, zinc.
Supplements – can help fill in the gaps of your diet. It’s best to get your essential nutrients straight from food. Your body absorbs and assimilates better when they come from a whole food source.
FIber – the immune-enhancing effects of dietary fibres and prebiotics are unquestionable. Prebiotics (non-digestible plant fibers) feed the probiotics (good bacteria) already living inside the gut. The more prebiotics that probiotics have to eat, the more efficiently these live bacteria work and the healthier your gut and immune system will be, Examples – dandelion, garlic, onion, banana, apple, flaxseeds, seaweed.
#7 Self Care
Practiced regularly, self care has long lasting health benefits. Self care is about being kind to yourself as you would be to others. It’s about knowing when your tank is running low and taking time to replenish so that you prevent even the possibility of a burnout. Keeping your own cup full means you have enough to give to others who rely you – family, friends, clients, neighbours, community.
Self care involves integrating self-compassion rituals into your life, however it is important to understand that some practices of self care can be self destructive and bring only temporary relief.
Much like food, self care can either help boost the health of your immune system, or it can have a detrimental impact.
Coping mechanisms such as drugs and alcohol, over-eating, binging on chocolate or tv, or risk-taking are self-destructive to the body and not healthy forms of self care. While it may make you feel better in the short term, the relief is only temporary. However, when self care is practiced correctly, it will have long lasting benefits for you mentally, physically and emotionally.
Your external environment has a direct impact on your internal environment. The two are are connected by the digestive system. Think about it…, your digestive system starts in the mouth and ends in the anus. Those ‘gut feelings’ you get is the internal connected to your external environment.
There is increasing evidence to suggest that a messy house affects both mental and physical health. In fact, a messy home can cause you to feel stressed and anxious which may suppress your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and flus.
Spend some time Cleansing & Decluttering Your Home and Create an environment that makes you feel calm, happy and peaceful.
#9 Cleanse & Detoxify
Cleansing is the best was to protect yourself from disease and illness.
We are constantly being exposed to toxins each day and although our body has an incredibly intelligent inbuilt detoxification system – it was never designed to constantly handle such a heavy load. We must give our bodies a helping hand with regular cleanses throughout the year to help our detoxification systems process and eliminate potentially harmful waste.
#10 Have Fun!
Laughter really is the best medicine. Fun, joy and Laughter decreases stress hormones and increased immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, which naturally improves your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
#11 Use the Botanical Kingdom
Mother Nature’s botanical kingdom provides us with exceptional and powerful phytonutrients which prohibit the growth and development of microbes in the body. We know a great deal about how plants and herbal remedies work, but we are only scratching the surface of research on how to maximise the use of these natural medicines.
You can access my Immune Boosting Detox Elixirs eBook which contains 11 elixir recipes using natural ingredients from the botanical kingdom.
The elixir recipes in this book are a collection of the most frequently recommended protocols that I offer to clients as part of natural health treatment plans.
Now is the perfect time to get curious about your health….. be prepared, reflect, take stock, or perhaps try something new going forward.
If you’re prone to catching a winter bug or simply struggling to get on top of things then perhaps it’s time to consider a cleanse to support your immune system who is on duty 24/7.
With this in mind, I took some time to put together a Free Mini Course 7 Days to Strengthen Your Immune System.
The 7 day course comes with a Daily Planner and Workbook. You will complete a small task each day that focuses on improving your immune system. I have intentionally made this course fun and light and all the tasks can be done from home.
This mini course is totally FREE and yours to keep.
Enjoy spending some time assessing your health and please get in touch if you want answers to questions as they come up.
Wishing you eternal health and happiness
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We are a community brought together by holistic wellness where I keep you up to date with natural cleanse and nutrition advice, free webinars, support and guidance. Join in and connect with others who share your natural health interests. I look forward to seeing with you in the Group.
Take care of your health and happiness,