Get to Know Your Immune System

There is nothing worse than taking the leap to finally commit to a healthy lifestyle and you get hit with the flu. There is, however, scientific evidence which proves that regular exercise prevents the likelihood of that dreaded flu hitting you season after season! When we exercise our blood naturally is pumped faster throughout our bodies. The more our blood is circulated the more our white blood cells travel and help fight infections before we even realise they’re there! Exercise alone, however, will not help boost our immune systems in totality. We, therefore, have outlined five practical and budget-friendly ways to boost your immune system, because who has the time, or finances, for a spirulina smoothie every day right!?

# 1 Sleep And Rest:

I hear you insomniacs in the back sighing because of course, you want to sleep! Researchers have stated that the average person requires between 8 and 10 hours of sleep a night, doesn’t that sound possible?

The reason for needing such extended periods of sleep is that when we are anxious or stressed our body releases cortisol which compromises our immune systems.

Yes, we too are anxious cucumbers and know the despair you’re feeling right now “Screw it I will never be healthy because my anxiety is off the chart”. Don’t worry, sleep actually helps your body to heal and revert back to our homeostasis, that is the healthy balance of bodily chemical reactions. Working out 1 hour before bed has been shown to assist with the natural REM cycle and actually assist in falling asleep. Another tip to get the rest you deserve is to limit your exposure to blue light emission… yes I know we all love scrolling on Facebook, or binge watching “The Tiger King” on Netflix, before we try to fall asleep, but unfortunately, iPads, TV’s as well as cellphones have blue light emission which contribute for your lack of sleep. So ditch the night time scrolling and journal, spend some time on you, because not only do you need a good night’s sleep but deserve to be mentally ok too.

# 2 Eat Your Veggies People!

Don’t shoot the messenger.. but your mom was right! 

Eating foods high in antioxidants helps speed up the repair and cleaning of your body.

No, you do not need to take a Herbalife shake or supplements to achieve this, foods high in antioxidants are fruits, vegetables and dark leafy vegetables like spinach. Adding fermented foods into your diet has been shown to increase your gut health by up to a staggering 80%, so no Keffir milk was not just last year’s trend. Cooking your vegetables with garlic and onions has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties so stock up on your soups or roast vegetables.

# 3 Meditate

This one may have you thinking “what does this have to do with my immune system?” actually, A LOT. The immune system and your brain are in constant communication with one another, this is called the body-mind connection. As previously mentioned, anxiety causes our brain to release cortisol which lowers our immune system, so finding ways to regain our equilibrium is just as important as eating for hunger.

When sitting and meditating our brain sends signals to our cells which actually reduces the amount of cortisol we have in our body.

Set aside 10 minutes a day, maybe after your workout where you can combine it with your cool down and find yourself, your centre.

# 4 Drink Up

Water, and lots of it. Water not only keeps you hydrated but the water allows for the oxygenation flow to reach every single one of our cells.

A hydrated body is a happy body! Water is not only used for external cleaning but internally too, which means it assists in the removal of toxins from your body.

If you are one of those who hate the taste of water, that’s ok too, black tea with no sugar will do the trick as well as giving you an additional boost of antioxidants.

# 5 Put Down That Alcohol

Not only does alcohol lower your immune system but the high sugar content keeps your body from breaking down your food and absorbing the vitamins you have consumed.

We are NOT saying do not ever have it, we are saying drink moderately.

A few glasses of G&T a week with your friends will not be detrimental to your health. Remember we said gut health is important? Well, unfortunately, alcohol alters the makeup of your gut microbiome which is essentially your first line of defence against viruses.

Suggested Reading

These scientific articles talk a little bit more about the gut microbiome’s contribution to your immune system and the effects of cortisol.

The role of the Microbiota in Immunity and inflammation

Current Direction in Stress and Human Immune Function

We need to remember to take care of ourselves, we so often are focused on our jobs, children, studies and the list can go on. When was the last time you sat alone in a quiet space drinking an ice-cold glass of water and thanked your body? That 2020 is for me year resolution you made? Stop procrastinating, eat, drink your water, sleep and remember to be beautifully you in every regard. For more advice on how to keep your immune system strong, contact us!

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