27/03/2020

Top Tips to boost Immunity and Mood

In these concerning times we need to make sure we are looking after ourselves and our loved ones, and boosting our immune systems. It is also vital to keep check of our mental health and try to protect ourselves from being at risk of catching anything.

There are many ways in which you can boost your immune system through food and exercise, and various activities that you can do to create a happy, calm atmosphere, both inside the body and out.

Protection tips

We won’t teach you to suck eggs here, but be sure to wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, and use hand sanitiser if you are out and about, especially after using card pinpads and exchanging cash or products with others.

Cut your finger nails short. Finger nail beds are a haven for bugs and bacteria. This will help you to keep your hands even more clean and protect you further.

You can actually make a balm for your hands and nose that will act as a barrier against germs, the ingredients are likely to already be in your kitchen or bathroom cupboard: a few drops of eucalyptus or thyme essential oils mixed with a gel based moisturiser or a balm would do the trick, apply to your nose and slightly inside the nostrils before going out in public.

Immune boosting tips

One of the best ways to boost the immune system is through consuming vitamin rich, nutrient dense food. 

Vitamin C is vital for optimum function of the immune system. Oranges, grapefruits, spinach, kale, and broccoli are all great sources of vitamin C.

Vitamin B6 supports biochemical reactions in the immune system. Foods rich in vitamin B6 are chicken, cold water fish such as salmon and tuna, green vegetables, and chickpeas.

Vitamin E helps to fight infections. You’ll find Vitamin E in nuts, seeds and spinach.

You could also consider juicing and smoothies at this time. Juicing is a ‘next level’ option for boosting the immune system, because it means that the body does not have to use its energy on digestion, so it can focus on healing at a cellular level, meaning that you are at optimum health during these trying times.

If you are concerned that you may not be able to access fresh fruits and vegetables, you could make up some delicious fresh soups, allow them to cool overnight in the fridge, and then transfer them to the freezer. You can also make your juices in large quantities, and freeze them. Smoothies only tend to require seeds, oils, milks or yoghurt, protein or superfood powders, and frozen fruits, so they are a fantastic, possibly more realistic, option at this time.

Failing juices and soup, it is vital to maintain an alkalising diet. Alkaline foods will support the immunity of your entire body, enhance digestion, and strengthen the acidity of the stomach. The stomach acid purifies the food before it enters the digestive tract, therefore strong stomach acid is a necessity for proper digestion and proper immunity.

Alkaline foods include: Broccoli, cucumber, kale, kelp, parsley, spinach, sprouts (such as alfalfa) and himalayan salts, avocado, beetroot, basil, cabbage, celery, chives, coriander, garlic, ginger, green beans, lettuce, lemon, lime, onion &red onion, radish, rocket/arugula, tomato, artichokes, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrot, courgette/zucchini, coconut, grapefruit, leeks, new baby potatoes, peas, pumpkin, rhubarb, swede, butternut squash, watercress, buckwheat, lentils, tofu, goat & almond milk, herbs and spices, and oils (avocaco oil, olive oil, coconut oil, flax oil or Udo’s oil).

Fresh herbal teas can also boost your immune system, some of the best options are thyme, lemon peel and echinacea, as well as olive leaf. Perhaps you have thyme in your garden, if so this is a very easy option to add into your diet immediately. 

It is best to avoid alcohol and smoking at this time, alcohol and tobacco affect the way gut microbes interact with the immune system. Alcohol also disrupts the gut barrier, allowing more bacteria to pass into the blood.

Mental health tips

Yoga and meditation can also contribute to a healthier immune system, and are a guaranteed path towards better mental health. You can read about all of the benefits of yoga in our ‘Yoga to keep us young’ blog, posted 2 weeks ago.

Be sure to get a good night’s sleep. It can be difficult during these trying times to remain calm enough to sleep soundly, however studies show that the more, good quality, sleep we have, the stronger our immune systems are. When we sleep, we produce and release cytokines, a type of protein that targets inflammation and infection. If we fail to get our recommended 7 to 8 hours per night, our bodies will make fewer cytokines, which will have a negative effect on the body’s ability to respond to infections and viruses. It also puts us more at risk of other health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Naps can be a good immune booster, apparently 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon can help to decrease stress and offset the negative effects that sleep deprivation can have on the immune system.

If you are staying at home, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained and feeling happy and healthy. In addition to yoga and meditation, Tai Chi and Pilates are easy, gentle options for stretching and improving balance. Also gardening, walking around your garden in the fresh air, reading, listening to the radio, watching TV, cooking, games, newspaper puzzles and music are all easy options to keep an upbeat, yet calm, atmosphere.

It is important to exercise in addition to yoga or pilates. This is because your heart and overall health is improved when you increase your heart rate and oxygen intake, and once again this boosts your immune system. If you do not have much space to exercise in, or have limited mobility, you can refer to the NHS website where it demonstrates how you can do sitting exercises such as: Arm raises, neck rotations, Ankle stretches, hip marching, upper body twist, chest stretch, and home-friendly strength exercises like the ‘sit-to-stand’, mini squats, calf raises, sideways leg lift, leg extension, wall press up, and bicep curls.

It is vital for you to ensure a regular healthy dose of vitamin D, so make sure you have some windows open to get some fresh air and natural sunlight, and more importantly get yourself out to the garden as much as you can.

By following these tips you can rest assured that you are doing everything you can to keep happy and healthy. 

References: sleepfoundation.org / recovery ways / karuna detox / NHS 

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