Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System
Updated: Aug 28, 2022
Start with these 4 basic strategies to help boost your immune system with some added bonus herbal allies!
During a pandemic, or the winter, or the spring/summer (hello hayfever), it is paramount that our immunity stays in tip-top shape so that we can fight off any ailments that come our way.
While there is no magic pill that we can just pop when we feel the first signs of sickness, there are some steps we can take to ensure that our immunity is doing the best that it can. Prevention is always better than cure, so we gotta make sure that our bodies are healthy so we don't get run down.
Come along and let's explore these 4 strategies with bonus herbal allies that we can implement into our everyday lives so we can lead healthier lives and boost our immunity. Remember that your health is your responsibility, no one else will look out for it better than YOU!
*I may earn a small commission from purchases made through links in this post. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own.
#1 food is medicine
This is important, very important! You ever heard the saying 'you are what you eat'? Well that's because food is medicine and what we consume can really have an affect on our overall health.
What I recommend is to eat unprocessed whole foods! WHY? because REAL foods contain a hell of a lot of nutrients and antioxidants which help to support a healthy immune system. Most of our immune system is based in our gut, so by eating whole foods we are ensuring that those nutrients make their way to the gut - boosting our immunity!
Look for foods high in:
Vitamin C like red peppers, kiwi, citrus fruits, broccoli
This nutrient acts as an antioxidant and may be particularly helpful in fighting off illness, particularly in those suffering from stress.
Vitamin E like nuts (pretty much all of them), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin etc), wheat germ oil
A very powerful antioxidant that is crucial for a healthy immune system.
Prebiotics like onions, plantains (yay!!), bananas, artichokes
Having a robust gut microbiome will boost immunity and protect us from infection.
Carotenoids like sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, spinach
This is a pigment found naturally in many fruits and veggies (particularly orange-coloured ones). Once consumed, the body converts this pigment into vitamin A which is a known nutrient needed for the immune system.
#2 practice mindfulness
This one probably sounds a little wishy-washy... but I promise it's not! We live in a world where stress is at an all-time high (I mean we are in the middle of a panoramic and capitalism has us working to the bone).
Living under these constantly stressful conditions, day in and day out can take a toll on your body and your immunity. Even if you suffer from low-grade stress, your body will still be producing the stress hormone cortisol, which, over time, has a detrimental effect on our abilities to fight off infection, not only that but it leads to disrupted sleep and high blood pressure. Yikes!!
Some tips which can help to reduce stress and lead to mindfulness:
Breath work / meditation
Even just for a short period during the day or before sleep can help to reduce your heart rate and blood pressure! Sign me up!
We tend to hold a lot of our stress/tension in our shoulders, necks, hips, hands and feet, stretching out these areas can help to release tension, leading to a calm mind and body.
Expressing positive emotions can help to reduce stress and boost resilience to infections. Even if you have to fake it until you make it!
This is something I don't practice but many do and have found it beneficial to help centre your thoughts and focus your day.
#3 incorporate movement
The dreaded exercise cliché, yes unfortunately this is necessary! Now you don't need to do insanity, because that would be insanity!😂Even just doing some gentle cardio like going for a daily walk and taking in some fresh air can do you a world of good! Especially since a lot of us live such sedentary lifestyles, it is important that we do some physical movement so we can not only keep our joints supple but also have strong bodies inside and out!
#4 prioritise REST
Another one which can be difficult to do because CAPITALISM, but trust me, it is so important! Sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol - remember we mentioned it above? Well, this leads to all sorts of issues in your body including wreaking havoc on your immunity.
Hopefully, if you have done all of the above tip-top tips, sleep will then come more naturally but sometimes it doesn't and that's ok! We can work on that by trying the following:
Soak up some sun 🌞
Not only is the sun great for vitamin D production (another nutrient that is great for the immune system) but it helps to produce a sleep hormone known as melatonin and gets your circadian rhythm in check!
Establish a sleep routine & allow for adequate 'down time'
Maybe this looks like having a relaxing bath, drinking some herbal tea and/or using essential oils like lavender to help create a sense of calm. Whatever it looks like for you, do it!
Reduce the amount of blue light before bed (at least by 30 mins)
Put your phone away, read a book or have a real-life conversation! Blue light has been proven to suppress the sleep hormone melatonin (and we need that for a night of good sleep).
#5 bonus tip: herbal immunity allies
You didn't think I would do an entire post and not mention any herbs? 😲 I could never!
Now, I want to stress that the above 4 pillars are so IMPORTANT, did you hear that?! I said they are IMPORTANT and supplementing with these herbal allies will not do anything if you do not take care of yourself, first!
Herbs are a great way to get some added immunity boost, a simple way to do this is by cooking with them - make spicy food, add herbs to your cuisine and soak up the amazing benefits of these great aromatics. Now the benefits will depreciate when cooked but a little is better than nothing plus your food will be tasty!
Another accessible way is to make teas, the ones mentioned below all help to boost immunity and are ones I particularly enjoy:
Garlic (maybe not as a tea but eat it raw, or mixed in with some water)
*Echinacea has been identified as an at-risk plant. Due to declining wild populations please ensure that when sourcing this herb, it is from a cultivated resource and not wild-harvested.
And it's as simple as that?! Just kidding, but hopefully this list shows you how un-daunting taking care of yourself can be but also that your health is for you to control! Let's RECLAIM OUR HEALTH!
If you enjoyed this post, please share with others and comment below what you will be incorporating to help boost your immunity?