With so much focus worldwide on the Coronavirus I thought that I would take the time to share with you how I best support my and my families immune systems.
Our immune systems are a highly complex system made up of many cells, molecules, tissues and organs, including our largest organ – our skin. As part of it’s job it will protect us from nasties and help ward off any of these bugs. There are many things which we can do to support it rather than compromise it.
Below is how I do my best to support my immunity:
Prioritize Sleep. Our sleep cycle and immune systems run parallel with each other. Research shows that there is strong evidence that sleep enhances immune defence. We should be aiming for a minimum of 7-8 hours per night!
Having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep? I recommend implementing a sleep routine so that you can optimize your sleep. My bedtime routine generally starts about an hour before I intend to go to sleep. Often it will include an Epsom salt bath to help relieve any tension and relax, some stretching (keeping my osteopath and body happy!!), writing down a couple of things I am grateful for within my day. I have a couple of non-negotiables in my night-time routine: diffusing calming essential oils in the bedrooms (my current favourite blend is 2 drops each of Lavender, Eucalyptus and Peppermint); rubbing Lavender Peace Essential Oil onto the soles of my feet and always allowing time to read!
Manage Stress. Often the number one impact on our sleep is our stress levels. It should come as no surprise then that stress can then impair the immune system and its ability to ward off bugs. Many of the things which I do to support my immunity also go hand in hand with keeping stress levels at bay!
If your stress levels are more often than not elevated, it will impact your body’s ability to fight off infection. Consider implementing some stress management practices into your day – time outdoors, meditation, acupuncture, use your essential oils, go to bed early, run a bath, make time for laughter, turn off social media, step away from your phone, diaphragmatic breathing……
Eat Real Food. I do believe that food really is medicine and we do eat as much real and whole food as possible for all meals. Opting for a diet rich in real whole foods will go a long way in supporting your immune system. Eating a variety of colourful plant foods will provide you with a variety of vitamins including A, C, D, E and zinc to name but a few along with essential antioxidants. Along with the variety of vegetables please ensure you include quality sources of protein along with good fats (think nuts, seeds, avocado and quality oils such as extra virgin olive oil); prebiotic and probiotic foods!
As we come into Winter there is no mistake the Vitamin C rich foods are in season so be sure to include them in your diet – citrus fruits, berries, capsicums, leafy green vegetables and my favourites broccoli and brussel sprouts!! These foods will help repair and maintain healthy cells.
I’ve also gone back to having a cup of Bone Broth each afternoon. Bone broth will assist with a healthy gut and is also rich in minerals which boost your immunity! As I haven’t gotten around to making my own this year, I have been using a Dehydrated Organic Bone Broth by ToneMade. They have a number of stockists Australia wide and can be found at many Victorian Farmers Markets, including at Eltham.
I have also made a conscious choice to reduce the sugar in my diet for a number of personal reasons. Sugar and processed foods are more than likely to contribute to inflammation in your system which can impact the ability of your immune system to do its job!
Move my Body Daily! Not only is moving your body a great way of releasing feel good endorphins, it is also essential for a strong immune system. I’ve learnt overtime that gentle and less intensive exercise is far better for my body from both a physical and mental well-being front but please find what works for you. Pilates, Yin Yoga and a Group PT session make up my weekly movement. I’ll include a regular Infared Sauna session so that I can get my sweat on. I also make time to walk outdoors each day. I find the time in nature to be healing in itself and gives me pause to be grateful for life and to chat with Matt.
Catch some Sunshine. I adore sunshine, it makes me happy and is great for my overall wellbeing. Vitamin D is also important for maintaining a pathological immune response.
I encourage you to make the time to get outdoors and aim to get 10–30 minutes of midday sunlight, several times per week. What better excuse to incorporate a lunchtime walk? You can also obtain Vitamin D from oily fish, beef liver, egg yolks and mushrooms. Did you know that mushrooms need vitamin d to survive and use it as protection from the sun’s harmful rays? The sunlight on the mushroom increases the vitamin d. It’s true! Pop your mushies outside to increase their Vitamin D!!
Supplement with Zinc. One of the supplements we swear by during the change of seasons and winter months is Zinc – a potent antioxidant. We take Dr Libby Weaver’s Zinc supplement and both Matt and I have started on this already. You can read more information on zinc here.
Interested in finding out what other supplements can assist? I recommend visiting your local naturopath. Many Naturopaths, including mine at Parkdale Wellbeing Clinic already have protocols in place to support our bodies during this time.
To further support our immune system, if we any of us feel the onset of a cold I will dilute 1 drop of Oregano Essential Oil with 1 drop of On Guard Essential Oil with a carrier oil and rub onto the soles of all our feet until the cold dissipates.
Practice good hygiene….and encourage the kids to do the same!! There is something to be said by choosing to wash your hands a little more regularly rather than stocking up on toilet paper but each to their own! Be sure to also clean your surfaces to further prevent the spreading of any viruses. I opt for lox-tox by combining the following into a glass bottle – filtered water 3-4 drops of On Guard Essential Oil. Simply shake and you are good to go!
It is these everyday actions which will support our immune system. Plus our overall health + well-being.