What you can do to boost your immune system today
- Sip on hydrating beverages
Hydration is always essential, but it’s even more necessary to be drinking water when viruses are going around. According to naturopathic doctors, they agree that water “helps carry oxygen to your cells, which results in properly functioning systems, preventing toxic build-up in the body.”
My favourite tip for keeping hydrated is to drink a large glass of water first thing after waking up, as well as a large glass of room temperature, magnetised water with each meal. I also enjoy sipping on a mug of hot lemon water (made with lemon essential oil – which doesn’t harm the enamel on my teeth or the lining of my stomach) as I ease into my day. This morning habit encourages me to reach for my water bottles much more often – again magnetised.
Now is also an excellent time to swap that nightly glass of wine for a non-alcoholic beverage, like soothing organic tea.(Red Bush or Rooibos is naturally caffeine free). Our livers play a significant role in ridding our bodies of harmful toxins, so distracting them with the task of alcohol elimination isn’t ideal when we’re warding off viruses.
- Nourish your body with gut-healthy foods
Food also plays a factor in ensuring our organs are healthy and functioning correctly. Consuming colourful and organic foods, when accessible, supports our immune system. Nutritionists recommend eating an anti-inflammatory diet to promote gut health, as that’s where most of our immune cells live.
A few of my favourite gut-healthy foods include leafy greens, chickpeas, turmeric, and chia seeds. We also love beets, kimchi (not really my fav!) sauerkraut, and other foods rich in fibre and pre- and probiotics.
Kristyn Emmer Whitaker, a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach and the Founder of Emmer & Earth, encourages a diet rich in garlic and onions. “There are so many [foods] that the earth gives us that boost our immunity,” she explains. “If you’re cooking, start with garlic and onion, whether or not your recipe calls for it.” (My top tip is to add fresh ginger where you can too as often as possible!)
What I love most about these kinds of foods is that many are affordable and have a long shelf life. Dried or canned “legumes” (alfalfa, clover, beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, carob, soybeans, peanuts) bulk seeds, root vegetables, and fermented veggies are great to keep on hand for whenever you need respite.
- Supplement with vitamins & essential oils
Supplements and vitamins are another simple way to support immunity. Wolfberries (or gojo berries) for example, are rich in antioxidants and has been used for centuries as a natural remedy. Whenever I feel sick, or viruses are spreading, I load up on Wolfberries (Ningxia Red) and take a women’s multivitamin with Vitamin C, D, E, and B6. Additionally, wellness experts believe certain essential oils support immune health; I’ve personally found lemon, lavender, oregano, and peppermint oils to offer respite. Kristyn Emmer Whitaker also suggests Thieves essential oil, which can be wonderful in a homemade immunity tea or as an ingestible vinegar blend (also excellent for cleaning).
- Prioritise rest, hygiene, & time in nature
Keeping our homes and workspaces tidy are precautionary measures that can significantly affect our immunity. There are practices we can incorporate into our routine to support immune health as well. Yoga and breathing exercises, for example, minimize stress and release toxins from our body. Hiking and time spent in nature likewise promote balance, reduce anxiety, and can support your overall wellbeing.
“The greatest immune booster we have is nature,” says Emmer Whitaker. “The earth is perfectly wired to regulate our systems, so bare contact with the ground or with trees re-regulate our systems and help our immune function.” I recommend regularly standing on grass, dirt, or sand with bare feet to benefit from the earth’s natural magnetic field for that essential wellbeing boost.
And, if you find yourself stuck at home or having to cancel upcoming trips because of sickness, use the planned vacation time to slow down and rest. Start a new craft, watch a documentary, or curl up with a novel. Embrace the slow pace and listen to your body’s needs.
For hygiene, keeping our homes and workspaces tidy are precautionary measures that can significantly affect immunity. I love the whole Thieves range of natural cleaning products and always have them on hand in my handbag, briefcase, kitchen sink, bathroom – in fact everywhere.
- Live mindfully & release fear
Lastly, we can support our body by practicing present and mindful living. Anxiety and stress can compromise our immune systems, so while it’s essential to stay informed about contagious viruses and take proactive measures, it’s even more necessary to breathe, meditate, and release fear.
“Your stress response and your immune response are intimately connected,” states Emmer Whitaker. “Our body has the innate wisdom to heal itself [when sick], but it needs us to participate by getting out of the way.”
If you begin feeling sick or are worried about contagious viruses, remain calm and release unnecessary anxiety or fear. Find a favourite meditation and breathing apps for additional support.
The best thing we can do to support our immune systems is listen to our bodies (and the experts) take precautionary health measures, and lean into the love and kindness that exists around us.