How to boost your immune system

How to boost your immune system

With the corona virus outbreak becoming a worldwide pandemic, one question is on everyone’s lips: How do I avoid getting sick?

The typical answer includes three actions:
1. Keep a good general hygiene
2. Avoid large crowds and close contact with those who are sick
3. Boost your immune system.

 

Local authorities have been talking about point one and two quite a bit so today’s article is focusing on point 3: boosting your immune system.

 

What is an immune system anyway? It is a combination of several organs in your body that provide resistance to infection and toxins. To put it simply, the immune system is your body’s natural barrier against germs that can make you ill.

 

How does the immune system work?

Step 1:  it identifies disease-causing germs

Step 2: the immune system gets to work to neutralise the harmful substances by developing antibodies, cells specifically created to fight the germs causing the illness.

Step 3: the immune system will keep a guide in how to fight this particular disease and use it again if it ever runs into the same issue. How amazing is that!

As you can see, the immune system is your shining armour against any kind of disease and needs some extra love in days like these.

 

This article shares simple and (mostly) free tips to support our immune system that can be used today or any day if you want to stay free of any infections in the future too!

1.Get sunlight and fresh air

During past pandemics such as the 1918 influenza fresh air and sunlight were found helpful to heal patients who were severely ill. It was even proven that what they called the “open air treatment” might have prevented a fair amount of death.

According to this great article, “Research shows that outdoor air is a natural disinfectant. Fresh air can kill the flu virus and other harmful germs. Equally, sunlight is germicidal and there is now evidence it can kill the flu virus”

Vitamin D is a great immunity booster and can be found in foods,  in your pharmacy or in its raw form: with sun exposure! How amazing is that? Remember to open the windows every day to get fresh air, get out of your house and get your daily dose of vitamin D!

2.Keep moving

The worst thing to do is to stop moving all together. Your lymph nodes (which are part of your immune system) need movement to get the toxins out of your body. Once you stop moving, your body stops flushing out those toxins, and you know what happens when the toxins build up in your body? You get sick!

Keeping your regular workout routine during these times is paramount as it also helps the circulation of white blood cells which are responsible to fight diseases. Your body was created to be in movement and works its best that way, so let’s keep moving daily, your body and mind will thank you for it!

3.Eat nutritious food

Sad to say this is (still) not the right time to order Mc Donald’s and sit on the couch. Just like exercise and fresh air, eating healthy, nutritious, fresh produces is the best way to keep any nasty disease at bay. Make sure you keep eating foods that are full of vitamins like citrus fruits or bell pepper (they are full of vitamins and taste awesome!) and don’t forget about your infection / inflammation natural remedies like ginger, garlic, turmeric or green tea.

“Let food be thy medicine” said Hippocrates. Let’s follow his advice and keep your pantry loaded with mother nature’s flu remedies instead of rushing to processed food.

4.Have a good night sleep

Sleep is a natural immune booster. You must have all heard this sentence a million times from your parents when you were sick “just sleep it off, it will be ok tomorrow”. Well, mom is always right. I am not saying that sleep alone will cure you from any viruses but getting a good night sleep every night is one of the best way to improve our immune system. According to this great article about sleep, researchers from the University of California highlighted that poor sleep was the number one factor in determining whether someone would get sick after being exposed to the cold virus. How crazy is that?

5.Manage stress

Cortisol, the primary stress hormone increases the glucose in your bloodstream and uses up the body’s energy resources leaving you at risk to catch any disease.

In a nutshell, the more stress you are experiencing, the more likely you are going to fall sick (corona virus or anything else for that matter!).

There is very little press about the health consequences of this virus – not for those who get sick but for everyone under constant media pressure and economic uncertainty, creating extra stress and anxiety in our lives, this is having an impact on us all. Our bodies are feeling the increased pressure and reacts accordingly. Be mindful of it, try to turn off the news and take some time for yourself instead. Read a book, go for a walk in the nature (if you are allowed) do a face mask, your nails or draw something. We will all come out of this stronger if we take a deep breath instead of panicking!

6.Have some probiotics

Probiotics are live microbes (good ones I swear!) that are essential for a good function of your digestive system.

But wait, why is your digestive system related to your immune system? I ‘m glad you asked: If your digestive system has an imbalance between good and bad microbes your digestive track is not performing properly, putting a hold on your body’s natural absorption and use of the vitamins you are ingesting. If all the good food you are ingesting goes to waste, then your immune system starves and gets lazy.

You can find probiotics in a pharmacy or by consuming fermented foods: kimchi, tempeh, miso, kombucha or my personal favorite: greek yogurt.

The cultures found in this kind of yogurt will stimulate your immune system to help fighting diseases. On top of that yogurt has plenty of vitamin D which hits two stones in one shot as demonstrated in my first tip.

Get full fat, unsweetened /unflavoured yogurt please as the other ones are way too often loaded with sugar.

7.Drink more water, less alcohol

Research shows that alcohol slows your immune system down, making the white blood cells (remember? The disease fighting cells) lazy and less efficient. It also disrupts the gut barrier, allowing more bacteria to pass into the blood and as we have seen above bacteria imbalances can lead to sickness.

In case you need another reason to put your drink down, please note that excessive drinking also affects the respiratory system as it may impact the function of immune cells in the lungs and upper respiratory system, leading to increased risk of pneumonia. We now know that most deaths from Covid-19 are caused by pneumonia we should think twice before booking a free flow brunch…

Replace alcohol by water to help your body flush all the nasties and your will do your body a favour!

To recap:

GET PLENTY OF:
– sun
– fresh air
– exercise
– fresh and fermented foods
– water

REDUCE:
– stress (as much as possible)
– alcohol

follow these simple steps and you will be part of the healthiest ones on the planet!

PS: This is valid all year round, start taking up the right habits now and you can forget about common colds and co for life.

Stay safe and keep moving my dear Riders!

Alicia xx

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