Your immune system is your homegrown defense system that protects against disease. It isn’t one singular organ but is made up of biological structures and process which work together to detect pathogens and foreign substances and destroy them before they make you sick. With winter fast approaching here are 5 natural ways to give your immune system a boost to help it keep you fighting fit.
1. Get enough sleep
As a child, you may have been told that not getting enough sleep will make you sick, and although that’s a bit of a generalization, research does suggest that lack of sleep can reduce your immune function. Sleep is such an important time for your body to repair and rejuvenate itself. It’s recommended that adults try to get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night and failing to do so, especially for a prolonged period of time, can lead to an increase in your stress hormones and a reduction in your immunity levels through a decrease in the production of T-cells.
2. Try immune-supportive herbs and spices
Herbs and spices have been used in holistic medicine for centuries to help boost the immune system and fight off disease. Here area few you could try:
a. Ashwagandha extract
Ashwagandha extract is a well-researched adaptogenic herb that has been used in Indian culture for hundreds of years to help strengthen the immune system and support body functions that are affected by stress.
Garlic has a long history of medicinal use and has been confirmed to have anti-microbial properties.
Turmeric contains a magical phytochemical called curcumin which has very strong anti-oxidant properties. It is also antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and has stomach soothing benefits.
3. Eat a varied diet
Your immune system is intrinsically linked to your digestive system and maintaining a healthy immune system, therefore, relies on a well balanced, nourishing diet. Ditch the processed foods and replace them with nutritious fruits and vegetables which are packed with vitamins and minerals to help keep you nourished. One way to ensure you are getting a varied diet is by eating lots of different colored fruits and vegetables as their coloring is often an indication of their varied nutritional properties.
4. Reduce your stress levels
Your mind and body are connected and research as beginning to suggest that many health conditions, including a decline in immune function, may be linked with your stress levels. Stress is a normal bodily response but when experienced regularly it can become chronic and at this point has the ability to affect your physical wellbeing. If you are constantly stressed try some anti-stress techniques such as meditation and mindfulness, or if possible, try to get out of the recurringly stressful situation altogether.
5. Try to exercise
Regular exercise, for around 30 minutes a day, has been proven to improve mood and release stress-busting hormones which will positively impact your immune system. Just like a varied diet, regular exercise is necessary to maintain good overall health and good overall health is the strong foundation that a strong immune system needs. Try to get moving every day, even if it is just for a 30-minute walk, to get your blood pumping and feel the benefits.