12 March, 2020
Boost Your Immunity
Approximate reading time: 3-5 minutes
Getting sick is inevitable. It's estimated that there are 100 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 viruses in the world.
You can't escape it but you can do your best to avoid getting sick and recover quickly.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap & water.
1 cat dog. 2 cat dog. 3 cat dog.
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough with your elbow or a tissue / handkerchief. Try to avoid your bare hands.
- Soap & water is best, but if not available, use hand sanitiser.
- Avoid touching your face. The average person touches their face 15 times an hour so this is easier said than done.
- Clean frequently touch surfaces including door handles, keyboards, phones and taps.
How can you boost your immunity?
Rest up! Prioritise sleep, particularly deep restful sleep.
Even our immune system has a day-night rhythm. Getting good sleep is important to fighting off bugs, repairing damage and restoring our energy.
Set a bedtime routine. Go to bed at a similar time each night - whether it's the weekend or not.
Ensure that your room is dark and a nice temperature. The body needs to drop its core temperature to get to sleep. If you are too warm this is harder to achieve. Not that Melbourne's weather is particularly warm lately!
Avoid stimulating activities before bed. That might be emotional conversations or screen time (TVs, phones and tablets).
Certain nutrients & herbs can help relax the body & brain ready for sleep. A great one is NeuroCalm Sleep or the Chinese herbal formula Suan Zao Ren Tang. These are great for many but not for all.
Get advice first before making a purchase. You want something that will not onlu help you, but also actually be absorbed and not interfere with medication.
In the morning, have a regular wake up time and get outside for some sun on your skin. The light hitting your eyes' retinas will help set your day-night cycle for better sleep at appropriate times. The vitamin D is an added bonus too!
Lastly, get out of pain. Pain disrupts sleep and sleep is required for healing to get out of pain. It's a cruel cycle.
Moderate amounts of exercise improves immune function. Sweat can help flush out toxins. Blood pumping gets nutrients delivered around the body. The defense system is activated.
Doing some physical exercise is better than nothing.
If you are currently not exercises, slowly increase the duration, frequency and intensity of your workouts. Start with a walk around the block a few times a week.
Adults between 18 - 64 years should aim for 150 - 300 minutes (2.5 - 5 hours) of moderate exercise a week. Or 75 minutes - 150 minutes of intense exercise a week. Or a combination of the two.
Exercise can also help you sleep better and reduce your stress. Are you seeing a pattern here? Everything is connected!
Eat the colours of the rainbow.
Fresh and plentiful fruit and veggies provide nutrients needed to build your immune system.
Use herbs and spices for added nutrients. Garlic and honey are particularly great additions to your cooking for immunity.
Keep your gut microbiome happy with prebiotic and probiotic foods - like kombucha or kimchi.
Keeping hydrated is also important. Water is the best source of hydration but don't forget herbal teas or putting some fruit in water can keep it interesting.
Certain foods are dehydrating - like the caffeine found in Cola, black tea and chocolate.
When exercising, or in hot sweaty weather, more water is also required.
Long term stress is known to contribute to many ailments. Lowered immunity is just one example.
What helps reduce your stress will also likely help your sleep!
Try breathing exercises or meditation prior to bed. Breath in through the nose and out the mouth. Try to slow down the breath without holding or straining.
Some have tried and dismissed meditation. "It's too airy fairy". Put into the too hard pile.
There are probably hundreds different types of meditation so you may not have found the right one for you. We encourage you to explore different types.
How we can help with your immunity?
- Learn what foods are affecting your sleep, how to boost nutrients in your diet and find the right herbs for you with Naturopathy
- Feel relaxed and improve sleep with Acupuncture & Chinese herbs
- Learn wind down techniques such as meditation & breathing with Holistic Counselling
- Get out of pain to improve your sleep with Chiropractic, Remedial Massage & Myotherapy
About the clinic: Body & Brain Centre offers holistic health solutions. We work as a team. We know health is multifactorial so we approach each of the pillars of health, as required.
Similar articles you'll enjoy:
- Asif N, Iqbal R & Nazir CF. (2017). Human immune system during sleep. American journal of clinical and experimental immunology, 6(6), 92–96.
Breitbart M, Rohwer F. (2005). Here a virus, there a virus, everywhere the same virus? Trends Microbiol. 2005 Jun;13(6):278-84.
- Campbell JP & Turner JE (2018). Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 648. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.00648
- Gao Q, Kou T, Zhuang B, Ren Y, Dong X & Wang Q (2018). The Association between Vitamin D Deficiency and Sleep Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 10(10), 1395. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101395
- Heffner KL, France CR, Trost Z, Ng HM & Pigeon WR (2011). Chronic low back pain, sleep disturbance, and interleukin-6. The Clinical journal of pain, 27(1), 35–41. https://doi.org/10.1097/ajp.0b013e3181eef761
- Murphy PJ & Campbell SS (1997). Nighttime drop in body temperature: a physiological trigger for sleep onset? Sleep.1997 Jul;20(7):505-11
Nicas M & Best D (2008). A study quantifying the hand-to-face contact rate and its potential application to predicting respiratory tract infection. J Occup Environ Hyg.2008 Jun;5(6):347-52. doi: 10.1080/15459620802003896.
- Slattery ML, Edwards S, Curtin K, Ma K, Edwards R, Holubkov R, Schaffer D. Physical activity and colorectal cancer. Am J Epidemiol. 2003; 158(3): 214-24.
- Riis JL, Granger DA, Woo H. et al. (2019). Long-Term Associations Between Prenatal Maternal Cortisol and Child Neuroendocrine-Immune Regulation. Int.J. Behav. Med. (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-019-09814-2
- Unknown (2019). Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines and the Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines. The Department of Health. Accessed via https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#npa1864 on 11/03/2020