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Strong immune woman

As we navigate through uncharted territory during this health crisis, many are focusing on how to keep themselves and their families as safe and healthy as possible. While social distancing and vigilant hand washing can be very effective to prevent illness, keeping your immune system strong is also very important.

Here are 4 important ways to boost your immune system:

Diet

Getting the nutrients your body needs is very important. Food is your best source to get a balanced diet that includes the right mix of vegetables and fruit, lean protein and grains.  It is also important to limit processed foods that add excess sodium, sugars or saturated fat to your diet.  A diet unnecessarily high in salt, sugar or saturated fat can also directly affect immune cells.

Additionally, consider including foods like yogurt and kefir that are fortified with probiotics. This healthy bacteria’s benefit is not only for digestive health, but it improves the function and effectiveness of your immune system.  There are many great dietary supplements that can help you add probiotics to your meal plan.  Not sure where to find these, or if you’re getting the nutrients you need?  Contact our Naturopath for more information.

Adequate sleep

To ensure a healthy body, getting the right amount of sleep is vital. You should aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night. The best way to do this routinely is to practice proper sleep hygiene.  A good routine includes:

  • Going to bed at the same time every night (Only binge watch 1-2 times / week)
  • Avoiding your phone or screens for at least 60 minutes before bed
  • Keeping your room dark, and at the same, cool temperature
  • Avoiding long daytime naps
  • Using a fan or something to create white noise in your bedroom

There are also many natural sleep aids that can help you get to bed at the right time, such as chamomile or melatonin.

Stress

Given the current state of the world, stress in our lives is unavoidable. What you can do to manage your stress, is to control what you can in your own environment to minimize it. It is important to set a regular routine and stick to it as much as possible, as consistency limits the stress of the unexpected.

A hobby can help distract your mind, and mindfulness can help you refocus it.  Since we’re all being encouraged to stay home, now is a great time to learn that hobby you always wanted to try.  Then show off a little and let your friends know on your favorite social media channel. 

For life’s unavoidable stress, adaptogens can help. Research(1) has shown these healing herbs can combat fatigue, enhance mental performance, ease depression and anxiety, and help you thrive.  Two examples of helpful adaptogens for stress are Rhodiola or Ashwagandha. Contact our Naturopath for more information.

Exercise

Being in isolation without access to your gym or parks should not mean you should stop exercising. Keeping up regular, daily exercise plays an important role in helping to maintain a healthy immune system.  Regular movement increases heart rate and circulation, and can help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways.  Exercise also reduces stress, elevates your mood and helps you sleep better.

Exercise is great for you, and your immune system but you should not overdo it. If you already exercise regularly, you cannot exercise more to increase your immunity. If you are fairly new to exercising, start slowly, and focus on moving every day.

While in isolation, it’s very easy to fall into a ‘funk’ and make poor decisions. It’s important to be good to yourself and develop a routine of sleep, exercise, and good eating to keep your mind and body healthy, and maintain a good immune system.

For more information how we can help you boost and strengthen your immune system, visit the Naturopathic Medicine section of our website.

Written By:

Dr. Gayamali Karaunaratna, ND

April 8th, 2020.

References:

  1. Panossian, A.; Wikman, G. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals 20103, 188-224