Daily practices to strengthen your immune system at home
With life slowed down as we all do our best to stay home and remain healthy, now is a great time to begin practices that strengthen the immune system. Building a strong immune system is our best defence against illness and it is closely related to the lifestyle choices we make every day. The added benefit of being mindful of our health and activities is that not only does it protect us, but it also helps to protect others as well. With this in mind, we’ve found a way to mindfully practice wellness and immune-boosting exercises. Keep reading to see what has helped us stay healthy both mentally and physically.
1. sip hydrating drinks
Hydrating is always a good idea, but it’s even more necessary to be drinking water when trying to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Water helps carry oxygen to cells in your body, which prevents toxic build-up in your system. It should always be your drink of choice, but you can also infuse your water for added benefits. We love starting our morning with warm lemon water, as it gives our digestive system a boost, contains high levels of vitamin C, and has strong antibacterial properties. Now is also an excellent time to swap that nightly glass of wine for a non-alcoholic beverage, like a soothing tea. Our livers play a significant role in ridding our body of toxins, so distracting it with the task of alcohol elimination isn’t ideal. Our go-to tea has always been peppermint, which calms our stomach at the end of the day and is high in antioxidants. However, if we’re feeling a little under the weather, we will reach for a detoxing turmeric tea.
2. nourish your body with gut-healthy foods
Food arguably plays the largest role in ensuring our organs are healthy and functioning. Avoid processed foods and instead reach for colourful, whole, organic foods that will support your immune system. Many nutritionists recommend eating an anti-inflammatory diet to promote gut health, as this is where most of our immune cells live. Some great gut-healthy foods are leafy greens, chickpeas, turmeric, chia seeds, and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut. When cooking, try to throw in garlic and onion wherever possible, as they are both proven to boost white blood cell production. What’s great about most of these gut-healthy foods is that they are affordable and have a long shelf life. For items that don’t have as long of shelf life, like fresh fruits and veggies, an option for using and consuming them faster is making immune-boosting smoothies, like this green drink. Be sure to consult with a nutritionist for serious dietary concerns or changes.
3. supplement with vitamins & essential oils
To start, a PSA: You should consult a doctor or relevant healthcare professional before incorporating any of the following into your diet.
Supplements and vitamins are a great way to support your immunity. It can be as simple as adding in a daily multivitamin to your routine or diving deeper to see more specifically what your body may be lacking. To ensure your immune system is at its strongest, you should have good levels of vitamin B, C, D and E as well as sufficient folic acid, iron, selenium, and zinc. One of our favourite remedies is elderberries, as they are rich in antioxidants and elderberry syrup is super yummy to add to teas and smoothies. Adding ashwagandha to the mix can also help to reduce anxiety, aid sleep and help the immune system. Additionally, essential oils can also support immune health! In our experience, lemon, lavender, oregano, and peppermint oils offer protection from viruses.
4. prioritize rest and self-care
Arguably, the two most important factors affecting your immune system are sleep and stress levels. If you aren’t getting enough sleep or are constantly stressed about work, to-do lists, and the world in general, what you ingest will have little effect on your immunity. Now the question lies: How do you improve sleep quality and reduce stress during a time of global uncertainty? To improve upon both of these, you’ll want to think long-term. Try to incorporate mindfulness exercises like meditation and journaling before bed, using this time to address your anxieties and stress directly. This will help you better understand what triggers your stress and how you can reduce it. Try unplugging from electronic devices at least an hour before bed and dimming the lights, which signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep. For reducing stress, incorporate meditation techniques into your every day. If you start to feel overwhelmed, start deep breathing, as this increases the supply of oxygen to your brain. Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress, so try to get your blood flowing for at least 20 minutes a day! Finally, get outside as often as possible! Being in nature is one of the best immune boosters we have, as it’s proven to improve our mood and overall happiness! Always consult your doctor or relevant healthcare professional if you have concerns about your sleep or anxiety. These individuals are the best suited to help you treat your issues in a way that is safest for you!
5. live mindfully & release fear
In these times, it’s super important to listen to your body and provide it with whatever it may need. Everyone copes with stress and anxiety differently, so listen to yourself and find what’s right for you. Fear has been instilled in us for months now and while it’s important to be mindful of others and up-to-date with the news, you need to release the fear you’re holding onto where it does not serve you. Once you release it, you may find that reduced stress and anxiety follow. Chaos is happening all over the world, so we should make sure our homes are as stress-free and peaceful as possible! The simple act of nourishing our bodies makes us feel happy, and in these times, that alone is a welcomed feeling.