Key Elements For Healthy Immunity, part 2Mar 04, 2023
Last week I talked about the Immune System – since many people seem to be suffering right now from a nasty cold and flu bug making the rounds! – and how important it is to understand and support both the body’s natural Inflammatory process as well as Gut Health.
And of course the number one way to support your body is by limiting or avoiding inflammatory and processed foods, and instead eating Real Foods, especially nutrient-dense veggies, low-sugar fruits, and healthy proteins and fats.
If you missed Key Elements For Healthy Immunity, part 1, you’ll find it here.
Part 2: Four additional strategies:
STEP TWO: Take supplements that help the immune system fight pathogens.
For the Gut: Probiotics, glutamine products or formulas, plant sterols, antimicrobials such as oil of oregano, aloe vera or grapefruit seed extract, essential oils such as clove, cinnamon, thyme or lavender. Note: If ingesting essential oils, make sure they are food grade and mix with a carrier oil such as coconut oil.
What is an antimicrobial supplement or food? There are many supplements that contain phytochemicals that are known as antimicrobials. This means they have the potential to help the immune system fight pathogenic bacteria and viruses. They help “inhibit,” not “kill.” They can be useful for helping to eliminate excess pathogens and do not harm good bacteria.
Immune System Supplements: These supplements are misunderstood because they’re often called “immune boosters.” Many assume this means they will make the immune system more active, and in the case of inflammation, more will occur. This is not accurate, and the correct term is “immune balancers.” They can be very helpful to the immune system to fight pathogenic bacteria and viruses. They do not harm good bacteria.
Examples of immune-support supplements include elderberry, echinacea, astragalus, plant sterols, garlic, and algae such as chlorella or spirulina.
STEP THREE: Move Your Body!
Moving your body improves circulation, gets your lymph moving, and allows cells and the immune system to function better.
- Build body movement into your day – get up frequently if you are sitting a lot and just walk around your house or apartment for a few minutes.
- Go for a walk if you can, and if you like to hike up a local hill, then do that too.
- Find a local group exercise class so that you can add social engagement to your body movement time – plus it’s a commitment that will get you to class!
- Look for apps or YouTube videos for exercises you can do at home.
- Purchase a DVD online for yoga, Pilates or any other type of exercise that appeals to you.
STEP FOUR: Implement stress management techniques.
Some stress can be helpful for the immune system and inflammation.
Too much stress can use up valuable nutrients that are needed by the immune system in other areas of the body.
And if stress can seem to be an unavoidable part of your day, it’s still important to find ways to relax and calm the adrenal glands down and lower the stress hormone cortisol.
Here are some ideas:
- Take regular breaks from the news or your work.
- Distract yourself: Call friends or family and have a good chat. Watch a favorite movie or one that makes you laugh.
- Practice meditation or mindfulness – there are YouTube videos and online apps that can help if this is not something you currently practice.
- Listen to your favourite music; sing along and dance if you like.
- Move your body!
- Make time for your favourite hobbies.
- Take an adrenal supplement – there are many. Look for them online or ask at your health food store. Talk to a health professional for more advice.
STEP FIVE: Make sleep a priority.
The immune system needs the time you sleep to repair and regenerate itself.
Here are some tips:
- Lower stress - it can keep you awake at night.
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get at least 7–8 hours of sleep.
- Feeling tired or nodding off at night? Don’t fight it – go to bed!
- Try to create a proper sleep environment with a completely dark room and no sound distractions. Sleep masks and earplugs can help where necessary.
- Avoid caffeine or eating a large meal close to bedtime. But if you cannot sleep on an empty stomach, a light snack such as a piece of fruit or a few nuts is OK.
- Wind down in the evening – Disconnect from electronics like computers, cell phones, and even TV at least an hour before bedtime – and keep them out of the bedroom! Do NOT watch the news at night, it’s almost guaranteed to be disturbing with very little that’s happy and uplifting.
- Consider your nightly Sleep Rituals: Read a book, take a warm bath, or practice some deep breathing or relaxation exercises (restorative yoga!) before bedtime to quiet the mind and prepare the body to fall asleep more easily and get better-quality sleep.
- Consider taking an herbal sleep formula or magnesium, if needed, to help you relax so that you can have better sleep.
These are just a few suggestions. Think about these and know that you have the ability to help yourself and your family have a healthier immune system.
Home Practice This Week ~
As with any habit change, it starts with awareness, without any need to change something right away, until you are ready. Take a look at your practices and habits for sleep, movement, stress management and supplements.
And then start to include more of the following – so that over time you’ll naturally build up these new healthy habits:.
- Move your body throughout the day, in a variety of ways.
- Take the time to manage and reduce any stress you may be feeling.
- Wind down in the evening, turn off those electronics earlier and prepare yourself for a great night’s sleep.
- Plus consider supplements that help reduce inflammation, support gut health and may help you have a better sleep.
For more info on this and other natural health topics:
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