6 tips to boost your immune system at home
Keeping your body happy and healthy should always be high on your priority list, especially when things are more stressful than usual. While you’re staying home, now’s the perfect time to focus on your health and get your immune system in check.
And no, we’re not talking about exercising constantly and eating only fruits and vegetables (although healthy habits to get into)! There are lots of other ways you can naturally boost your immune system – including these six tips..
Drink more water
Obvious, right? That may be true, but most of us simply don’t get enough. In addition to draining the everyday toxins from your body, drinking water will help with things like clearer skin and feeling less sluggish throughout the day.
Did you know that being dehydrated can affect your mood? Check out this article from the Harvard School of Public Health that outlines all the benefits you receive from being well hydrated. In addition to improving mood, sleep, skin clarity (to name a few), keeping your airways moist is crucial to fighting off viruses. Viruses can often be inhaled and stick to the back of the throat if not enough water has been consumed, so do yourself a favour and keep your favourite water bottle handy at all times.
If you struggle with getting in your 2 litres a day, consider downloading a hydration reminder app like these ones.
• Pro tip: Not a fan of plain tap water? Try adding lemon, cucumber or mint, or giving fruit flavoured sparkling waters a try. These will keep you hydrated while satisfying that sweet craving.
Sleep tight, don’t let the virus bugs bite
Chances are, your bed is your favourite hello and your hardest goodbye, so spend as much time as possible with it! Sleep is one of the most important (and easiest) ways to improve your immune system.
Sleep deprivation in adults can make them much more susceptible to viruses and illness by reducing the natural killer cells that your body produces on its own. These cells are important to the immune system as they attack microbes. It can also have an impact on your mental health, which is equally important to your overall well-being.
• Remember: the average adult needs approximately 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you’re finding it difficult to get proper sleep in these uncertain times, consider adding things to your space that bring you serenity, such as essential oils.
Speaking of essential oils
Did you know there are natural oils and herbs that will give your immune system the boost it may need? Most can be purchased at your local grocery store:
• Garlic: Not just for your pasta and bread, garlic actually contains a compound called alliin, and when crushed or chewed turns into allicin, which helps reduce heart disease risk, improves mental health and enhances immune function.
• Echinacea: Or the American Cone Flower, can have its roots and leaves turned into tea which is known to provide immune boosting benefits. It also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral properties. This flower has both beauty and function.
o Consider planting echinacea in your home garden to have your own supply.
• Reishi mushroom: A true magic mushroom, this has been used in traditional Chinese medicines for centuries. The properties inside the mushroom help enhance the immune system as well as reduce stress and improve sleep.
• Astragalus: Another pretty plant for your home garden! Astragalus has antiviral properties and can assist in the body’s production of immunoglobulin. Keep your body healthy and your garden looking its best.
• Oil of oregano: Already a useful herb for your kitchen, oregano has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, and has a history of being used for respiratory disorders. This essential oil can be purchased at your local pharmacy or natural foods store.
Make sure you’re getting your vitamins
While taking vitamins is simply good practice, it’s important to know which ones you’re lacking and how to incorporate them into your diet.
For instance, vitamin C is an ascorbic acid and is involved in many body functions, including immune system boosting. Take a look at this article that outlines the necessary vitamins for a healthy immune system that can be derived from food rather than vitamin supplements.
Healthline also has great tips on how to boost your body’s natural defences, including adding fermented foods to your diet and limiting sugar. Check it out!
Moderate exercise is always a good idea
A little exercise is better than no exercise, and your immune system will thank you for it. Consider going for a brisk walk around your neighbourhood or doing a quick, low-intensity yoga session in your home.
Yoga is a great way to relieve stress, focus and get in some exercise – and can even do it easily in a small space. Because exercise increases your body’s natural killer cells that fight off viruses, every little bit counts, you wouldn’t let your dog go all day without a walk, treat yourself the same!
Ease your stress
Did you know being stressed out can actually make you sick? During uncertain times, it’s important to take care of your mental health. After all, a happy mind = a happy body.
Make your home your personal haven filled with things that bring you happiness. Have a favourite scent that makes you feel instantly calmer? Consider getting a diffuser to keep it circulating throughout the day. Place plants around your home to bring the serenity of outside inside and provide natural air ventilation. Go for walks, call a friend, practice mindfulness and read a good book.
Remember, this time at home is a gift. Remember to breathe and embrace this opportunity to slow down, enjoy your home and take good care of yourself.