The body’s immune system defends against disease-causing microorganisms. However, when we are run down and working too hard, our immunity does not function at optimal levels. Stress is one of the number one factors that creates cellular inflammation and lowers our immunity and ability to defend against foreign invaders. When we are unable to make time for ourselves, constantly running from one thing to the next, or surrounded by toxic environments/chemicals/people, foreign organisms eventually take over and make us sick.
It is important to take preventative steps to boost our immune system and keep overall inflammation at bay. This will help to keep acute and chronic illness from taking hold. Below are a few daily steps you can take to help keep immunity strong, plus my go to guide with tips & herbs to fight off the flu.
EXERCISE: Exercising helps develop the lungs and prevents upper respiratory infections. Daily movement also creates oxygen flow throughout the body, which alkalizes the body & keeps our cells strong.
SLEEP: We get the most beneficial hormonal secretions and recovery by sleeping during the hours of 10pm to 2am. If you’re sleeping from 1am to 9am and getting eight hours of sleep, you are still missing that prime time when beneficial hormonal secretions like melatonin and HGH (human growth hormone) are at their peak. Clocking a solid 8 hours (from 10-6 or 11-7) always feels best for me, but see what works best for you! Proper rest increases our immunity, decreases overall inflammation, and supports our long-term health.
VITAMIN D: Proper Vit D levels help to prevent illness and keep immunity high. Get your levels checked to determine if there is a deficiency & supplement accordingly. Most of us are deficient without even knowing it.
PROBIOTICS: Did you know that the body is made up of more bacteria than cells? It’s true! The majority of this bacteria lives in our gut and plays multiple roles in our overall health. 70-80% of the entire immune system is located in the gut. The integrity of our microbiome is one of the most important factors in regulating inflammation and immunity. Healing the gut is the number 1 key to boosting overall health. Find a probiotic that works for you or fill on up probiotic rich foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, coconut yogurt & tempeh.
HYDRATE: Increase your water intake. Drink at least 1⁄2 your body weight in oz. daily with or without lemon to keep your body systems regulated. Add more water after lots of sweating or intense workouts. Water helps to flush out wastes from the body supporting proper organ function. When you’re dehydrated toxins are reabsorbed by the body, stressing your liver and eventually weakening your immune system. Try your best to avoid plastic water bottles as most contain hormone disruptors.
KICK SUGAR: An inflammatory lifestyle is said to be one of the main causes of inflammation. This includes environmental toxic exposure, stress, and most importantly, poor diet. The good news is that we can control this. In fact, what you eat is one the most powerful choices you can make to impact your immunity & the level if inflammation in your body. Sugar impacts your white blood cells and decreases their efficiency in killing off germs by 40%. Sugar competes for space in the cells with vitamin C. The more sugar in your system, the less vitamin C can help your cells. Furthermore, your kidneys will have to work harder to produce more urine to water down the sugar, which is dehydrating and speeds up signs of aging and disease.
VITAMIN C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that combats free radicals and allows your immune system to be better equipped in combating invading pathogens. Getting most of your Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables is the best way to go. Vitamin C supplements can also be taken orally but are metabolized quickly by the body so when you need an extra boost – taking twice a day is best!
If you should just so happen to get sick – don’t stress. Follow all of the above, plus integrate the following to kick your immunity into high gear!
· REMOVE DAIRY – Dairy is highly acidic and mucous forming. Kick it to the curb until you are feeling 100%.
· SWEAT – Soak in a hot Epsom salt bath, visit the steam room or try infrared sauna. All help to dispel toxins from the system.
· APPLE CIDER VINEGAR- ACV is incredibly alkalizing and helps to kill off viruses & bacteria. It can be gargled in a small amount of warm water – especially helpful for sore throat!
· ECUALYPTUS – Use an antiseptic & antibacterial. Create a steam shower & add a few drops right before you step in. You can also make a facial steam by boiling water, adding a few drops and covering your head with a towel. Try this for 5-15 minutes.
· GREEN TEA: drinking green tea regularly helps to strengthen the immune system. Green tea is a good source of antioxidants and stimulates the liver to secrete interferon which helps fight infection
· ASTRAGALUS (HERB): Activates T white blood cells that fight off viruses. Can be found in tincture form. Look for immune tincture combinations containing astragalus.
· OREGANO OIL: Contains antibiotic and anti-viral properties. Can be found in tincture form. Caution: it’s strong!!
· GINGER: is proven to reduce inflammation in the body including cardiovascular conditions, blood clots and cholesterol. Ginger also helps to create heat in the body & helps you sweat out sickness.
· TURMERIC: this spice contains curcumin, an antioxidant that is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and liver protecting qualities. Make a curry dish or try a turmeric latte.