I have also included a list of 5 of my ‘go-to’ immune building supplements that I routinely recommend to my clients to help strengthen immunity. I often recommend these alongside specific immune herbs in either liquid, tablet or tea form, these are suitable for all ages and can be very helpful. Most importantly, remain positive and keep up with as much normality in each day as possible.
If you are wanting to do what you can to boost your immune system and not sure where to start, then here is a good place to start….
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Sunshine provides the best source of Vitamin D and adequate Vitamin D levels are extremely important for a strong immune system. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased susceptibility to infection as well as increased autoimmunity. Sensible exposure to sunlight is the best way to increase Vitamin D levels however deficiency is common, even here in sunny Australia.
Fresh Air—Escaping the air-con and spending time ‘in nature’ breathing fresh air on a regular basis is extremely beneficial for your immune system. More specifically deep breathing helps to dilate the airways more fully which improves the cleansing action of the lungs, expelling airborne toxins while increasing your intake of oxygen. A large amount of the immune system lines our airways, acting as a first line defense against inhaled viruses & bacteria. Breathing quality air and providing your lungs with specific nutrients (see below) will help increase your resistance to any inhaled ‘bugs’. Even more important if you’re stuck working in air-con most days of the week or live or work in a moldy environment.
Exercise is fundamental to a healthy immune system as long as you don’t overdo it. The pumping action of your muscles during exercise helps to stimulate the lymphatic system—a tiny network of vessels that lay just under the skin which carry disease fighting white blood cells around the entire body while also removing bacteria and toxins out of the body. Exercise is also invaluable for managing stress levels and reducing those stress hormones that can suppress the immune system.
Rest—It is so important to recognise when you are pushing yourself too hard and when it’s time to take a break. Continually burning the candle at both ends will only see you succumb to every cold or flu out there, you need to rest too! Rest and relaxation should be a priority every day, this includes getting enough sleep! 7—8 hours a night is considered optimal for overall health and supporting a strong immune system.
Water—Remaining hydrated is obviously extremely important for every aspect of our health including your immune system. Adequate water intake (ideally filtered) helps keeps that lymphatic system flowing while also flushing toxins from the body that would otherwise burden the immune system. If you struggle to get your 8 plus glasses a day in, try starting your day with a large glass of warm water with half a lemon squeezed in upon rising. Try including more herbal teas such as ginger, green tea, peppermint and licorice into your day as they count towards your total water intake.
Diet— A healthy diet is essential for a robust immune system! Your ability to fight off infection is greatly reduced if your diet is high in sugar and refined carbohydrates and devoid of fresh vegetables and fruit. You want to aim for a quality protein, healthy fat and abundance of brightly coloured and green vegetables with every meal. Choose whole grains over refined carbohydrates (white flour products) and avoid sugary drinks including fruit juice.
Specific foods that are particularly good for the immune system are orange and green coloured vegetables and fruit including citrus (with the pith), broccoli, spinach, onions, garlic, ginger, red and green peppers, almonds, cashews, strawberries, oysters, pumpkin seeds and chickpeas.