How to Boost Your Immune System at Home

With clients not able to visit in person for support at this time, Steve thought he’d take this opportunity to bring a little therapy to your home.

Whether you’re social distancing or just looking for some self-help techniques to reduce anxiety and boost your health and wellbeing, here are 6 main tips so you can stay as healthy as possible at home during these times.

These are simple things that you can carry out at any time of year, but are particularlly important basics to think about during the coronavirus pandemic.

1. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water. Water helps flush out bacteria, foreign bodies and toxins (metabolic toxins created by cells as part of their everyday work, as well as those you may have eaten, breathed in, and swallowed in food or drink). Drinking 2 litres a day of non-processed drinks is recommended. Drinking also helps prevent the coronavirus from staying in the throat where it may travel to the lungs whre it is more likely to be fatal. Avoid cans of carbonated drink, alcohol and mixers, and stick with water or water based drinks. Water is the lifeblood of your cells. Your body needs hydration to improve cellular metabolism and turnover which means damaged cells can be removed and good cells can be made to replace, restore and maintain your health at metabolic level. Instead of coffee, you may want to warm up your morning with a cup of hot green tea. Research shows that this popular beverage contains lots of antioxidants that are believed to help destroy viruses that cause influenza. Catechins – a special group of antioxidants found in green tea strengthens immune cells and inhibit the production of disease-causing inflammatory compounds.

2. Eat Nutritionally Rich Foods

Eating healthy, unprocessed food that is nutritionally concentrated, will help you to build healthy cells and in particular, those cells that fight off disease. Nutrient dense foods provide your recommended daily allowance of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Do not panic buy tinned and processed foods such as biscuits, chocolate, crisps and pasta. Try eating the colours of the rainbow each day to get your full range of vitamins and minerals. If you’re finding it tricky to stock up on fresh produce, try switching to frozen – it is often just as good for you and can be stored for longer. Vitamin D modulates our immune response which helps fight foreign invaders. Vitamin D is best achieved by being outside in natural daylight, so sit out or go for a walk. I also offer nutritionally complete dry food with long shelf lives and requiring little storage space in the cupbaord, and each contains one third of the recommended daily allowance of each of the vitamins, minerals and trace elements that your body requires. Top foods to buy are 

  • Yoghurt - Not all bacteria are bad. You need to load your gut with good bacteria (also called probiotics) to improve digestion and strengthen your immune system. If you are on a diet, plain Greek yoghurt is a great dessert option.
  • Turmeric - Aside from being flavourful and pungent, there’s another reason why you should serve your family with their favourite curry dish. Turmeric, the golden spice used in preparing curry meals, has cumin – an essential compound that has anti-inflammatory properties. Cumin comes in supplement forms as well.
  • Leeks - These very pungent and tasty vegetable from the onion family is fully-packed with essential nutrients that promote better a immune system. They include vitamin C, calcium, potassium, folic acid, and poly-phenols (antioxidants also found in green tea).
  • Chicken soup - Eating something warm increases your body temperature, making you feel warmer and more at ease. In one study, it was found that hot chicken soup is more effective than hot water in de-congesting clogged nasals.
  • Fruits and vegetables (lots of these!) - Instead of pasta, why not have a large bowl of vegetable (or fruit) salad for dinner? The more colourful your salad is, the healthier it becomes. Pile your plate with fresh red tomatoes, lettuce, kale, choi, and other greens, beans, mushrooms, blueberries, oranges, apple slices, and other fruits you like. Sprinkle it with pecans, almonds or pistachios for more flavour and nutrition!
  • Salmon - Oily fish such as salmon are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that keep your body (especially your heart and brain) in good condition. They are also among the few sources of vitamin D which may be difficult to get from the sun during winter. In a recent study, it was found that 50% of the British population are deficient in vitamin D during winter, and 16% of them even have a severe deficiency.
  • Citrus - If you want to stay protected from flu, cough and colds, make sure your body has a sufficient amount of vitamin C as it stimulates and improves the function of white blood cells which lead to antibodies to protect our body. You can get this from oranges, grapefruit, guava, lemons, spinach, broccoli and other fruits and vegetables. You can also take vitamin C in supplement form.
  • Garlic - This world-renowned spice has antibacterial and antiviral properties that are most helpful during the winter. Studies show that garlic prevents the onset of colds and for those who already have a cold, speeds up recovery and reduces the risk of a second infection.
  • Carrots - Beta-carotene can transform itself into vitamin A, an essential nutrient that aids in various immune functions. Scientific studies reveal that beta-carotene also reduce the possibility of infection.

 

3. Exercise

Exercise keeps the muscles moving, generating heat and keeping you healthy by improving blood circulation which in turn, feeds the lymphatic system where you destroy foreign bodies in lymph nodes. Do star jumps, push ups, lunges, brisk walking, pull ups, anything to help keep the lulngs working and flush the germs out of the body, increasing your number of white blood cells. We also increase our endorphine levels during exercise which boosts our mood, making us less stressed and happier, and reduces our levels of cortisol, a hormone that makes is not good for fighting infection. Yoga and meditation can help slow down a racing mind, making it easier to manage stress and anxiety. There is a wide range of styles to choose from and some forms of yoga include both elements. A 2010 review of mindfulness-based meditation suggests that it can be highly effective for people with disorders relating to mood and anxiety. As we ge older above 35 years, our cells become less stretchable and naturally contract, so yoga and stretching help reduce this negative aging process.

4. Sleep.

We all know that we should be getting 8 hours of sleep a night. Sleeping is the time our bodies recover, repair, remove and replace dead or dying cells with fresh healthy new cells. Get your sleep back on track by avoiding the blue lights of computers, caffeine and alcohol an hour or two before trying to drop off to sleep. Try a hot bath or sip tea with lavender, nettle or chamomile and read yourself to sleep in bed instead.

5. Reflexology and Self Massage

The adrenal glands, which are directly affected by stress, are responsible for the ‘fight-or-flight’ response we feel when under pressure. Although designed to be short-lived, if this response is prolonged or happens on a regular basis, it can lead to overworked adrenal glands.

In reflexology, the adrenal reflex point is found just below the ball of each foot as well as the fleshy area below the thumb on the palmar side of the hand. Gently pressing the adrenal reflex points for a few minutes can help calm the adrenal glands and reduce tension.

We also tend to hold emotional stress in our faces – particularly in the jaw and temples – so gently massaging these areas with upward and outward circles helps to promote relaxation and reduce stress, while increasing muscle tone and revitalising your skin. Make it a daily routine using your favourite cream or oil after cleansing your face, to look and feel your best. My specialty treatment is an Ayurvedic face and neck massage and I am constantly amazed how tension can be released throughout the whole body when just the face is massaged. You can massage your own face at home, or provide yourself a lovely hot foot soak and massage.

6. Aromatherapy

Smelling soothing plant oils can help to ease stress and anxiety. Lavender is one of the most studied essential oils in terms of its relaxing effects. It has been shown to calm the nervous system, lower blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature, as well as change brain waves to a more relaxed state.

Neroli (orange blossom) is often referred to as the ‘rescue remedy’ of essential oils and is useful for helping to ease anxiety and stress while Bergamot is traditionally used in Italian folk medicine to relieve tension and anxiety.

Some essential oils have anti-viral properties (although there is no evidence that they work against COVID-19). Eucalyptus, Tea-Tree or Rosemary can help support the respiratory system. You can add a couple of drops to hot water for a steam inhalation or simply add one or two drops of your chosen oil to a tissue and gently inhale when required.

 

Staying in bed is only fun when it is planned. Other than eating and drinking right, don’t forget to exercise and de-stress for optimal immunity boost!

I hope these tips help you during this virus pandemic. Feel free to ask any questions by message, email or phone. Stay safe and well.

Namaste, Steve x