No one wants to experience the yucky feeling of the dreaded flu, congestion, fever and aches. It’s not too late though to start paying that little bit of extra attention to your health to get your immune system strong and ready to go. We’ve put together our favourite tips to boost your immune system and get you through winter without any trouble.
1. Get plenty of sleep
Dropping an hour or two of sleep here and there may not seem like such a big deal — until you realise that (according to a study at the University of Washington) people that enjoy more sleep have a more robust immune system. Before bed, wind down with a warm drink or have a hot foot bath to help you relax, and aim to get a straight eight hours of sleep to give yourself that extra boost.
2. Take Probiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that help you digest nutrients that boost the detoxification of your colon and support your immune system. Supplementation of probiotics could help prevent immune-mediated diseases. It is important to get a good-quality brand, look for one that has at least 30 to 50 billion colonies and at least eight strains of bacteria. Most probiotics should be kept refrigerated to extend their shelf life. In addition, adding fermented foods—like sauerkraut, naturally fermented pickles, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, kimchi, tempeh, miso, natto, and kombucha—to your everyday routine is very beneficial too.
3. Use Echinacea
Echinacea is a native North American coneflower that was discovered and used as a traditional herbal remedy for more than 400 years by the Great Plains Indian tribes. The herb encourages the immune system and reduces many of the symptoms of colds, flu and some other illnesses, infections, and conditions. A 2012 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that echinacea showed maximal effects on recurrent infections, and preventive effects increased when participants used echinacea to prevent the common cold. You can buy echinacea as a tincture or in tablets.
4. Add some Ginger
Ayurvedic medicine has relied on ginger’s ability to boost your immune system since before recorded history. It’s believed that ginger helps to break down the accumulation of toxins in our organs due to its warming effects. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. You can use fresh ginger root in your meals or make a cup of ginger tea.
5. Supplement with Vitamin D
A study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that individuals with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to report a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with sufficient levels. Natural sunlight is the best source of natural vitamin D. In winter however, when there is less sunshine and we spend less time outdoors, many adults don’t get the levels of vitamin D required to modulate the immune system. Taking a vitamin D supplement daily can really support your immune system.
6. Use essential oils
We love using dōTerra oils. They have a great oil blend called On Guard, also called the protective blend, that wards off seasonal threats. Some of the great products that help protect you are a foaming hand wash, a roller bottle (dōTerra Touch) to use on your skin, pure essential oil to use in a diffuser and laundry detergent.
7. Get your exercise on
Beyond the obvious benefits of regular exercise, moderate physical activity can improve our antibody response to infections. It strengthens our immune system. It’s important not to overtrain, however, as chronic strenuous exercise without recovery days can actually have the opposite effect.
8. Use ancient medicine
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine were traditionally used as a preventative medicine. That means that it is great to get some treatment right now, so that you don’t get sick! It gives your immune system a great boost and helps you get through winter when everyone around you is carrying germs. However, it can also support you to heal faster when you have fallen ill. If you’d like to book in an appointment you can do so here.