Boost Your Natural Immunity
What is Natural Immunity?
Our immune system is our defence mechanism against viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. It is how the body ‘cures’ itself. This system is comprised of the organs and bodily processes that provide resistance to infections and toxicity. A few of the key players include the thymus, bone marrow, lymph nodes, liver, digestive system and white blood cells (leukocytes).
Ultimately, our bodies are innately intelligent and we have a huge capacity to cure illness from the inside out. Our bodies have a truly incredible ability to heal and ward off disease! So, while we are avoiding exposure to Covid-19 and other pathogens, an important aspect to fighting off illness is to support and boost your own natural immune function.
Top Ways to Boost Your Natural Immunity
- Quality Sleep. Sleep is the backbone of a strong immune system because it allows your body the chance to rest, digest and repair. Our high-stress lifestyles require rest to enable the body to continue to operate optimally and feel energized. On top of that, poor sleep triggers poor lifestyle choices. When we are tired we tend to reach for highly refined carbs with too much sugar and drink too much caffeine, both of which can lower immunity. So do your best to maintain a consistent sleep routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time. Sleep in a cool, dark space. Avoid caffeine after 2-4 pm. Try a warm bath before bed – it cools your internal body temperature. Use natural sleep support like melatonin, passionflower, valerian and other calming herbs if necessary.
- Adequate hydration. Our mucous membranes in our lungs and our digestive tract are another critical part of our natural immunity. They bind to pathogens to help remove them and they protect the underlying cells. Water is critical to the health of our mucous membranes. So drink 6-8 glasses of water every day. I like to add a little fresh lemon or lime juice to mine to boost Vitamin C and increase by body’s alkalinity (which also helps support immunity).
- Good nutrition. Supporting healthy digestion and eating well provides our body with all the essential nutrients that we need for a healthy immune system. These nutrients include amino acids, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, etc. Our body only functions as well as the fuel that we feed it. sugar and refined carbs actually reduce immunity whereas fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and proteins will increase it. Aim for 4-6 cups of a variety of coloured vegetables every day. This is easier than you think. Start your morning with a green smoothie (using 2 cups of mixed greens). Enjoy a salad with veggies or a vegetable soup for lunch. Make sure that 3/4 of your dinner plate is filled with different coloured vegetables. I also recommend a regular multi-vitamin as studies have shown that most of us aren’t getting adequate nutrients from the food that we are eating.
Our body only functions as well as the fuel that we feed it.
- Vitamin D/Sunshine. The sun’s UV rays are nature’s antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal healers. Exposure to daylight has benefits that include: setting your circadian rhythm (which is key to a good night’s sleep), boosting mood, regulating hormones, and providing fat-soluble vitamin D. Unfortunately, at this time of year, those of us residing in Canada gets enough exposure to the sun’s rays to support adequate Vitamin D production. So, although we should all try to expose our faces to the sun every day, I also recommend a Vitamin D3/K2 supplement to fill in the gap and support our natural immunity.
Take a Vitamin D3/K2 supplement to support natural immunity.
- Sweat. Sweating can be a great way to get rid of pathogens. Raising your core body temperature to the point of breaking a sweat acts similarly to a fever – our body’s natural response to pathogenic infections. So exercise, use a sauna, have a hot bath – stimulate your body’s sweat response! Keep in mind that exercise can stress the body so if you are already immune-comprised or are sick, then rest is a better option for you. In that case – a warm bath or sauna would be a better choice.
- Move your body and exercise. Regular exercise improves your overall level of fitness and boosts your natural immunity. Research has shown that even regular walking boosts the production of white blood cells which are our infection fighters. So, during this time of self-isolation, continue with a regular home-based exercise routine. There are lots of videos and live streams out there right now providing free home work-outs (here is one I like).
- Take antiviral and immune supporting supplements during cold/flu season. I am a big proponent of augmenting my healthy diet with a few key foundational supplements, particularly during the winter months. Unfortunately, our food is not as nutrient dense as it used to be and, let’s be real, it can be difficult to stick to a perfectly nutritious diet all the time! So I recommend that all of my clients take a few key supplements and I’ve added a few additional recommendations during this pandemic. These recommendations are based on the science behind supporting and boosting your body’s own natural immunity: Vitamin D3/K2, a daily multi-vitamin, probiotics, Omega-3’s, immune support and a natural anti-viral.