* Are you feeling rundown or lack energy?
* Need to boost your self-care?
* Are you dealing with chronic illness and want to do all you can to help your body heal?
As a health coach, I work with all types of health issues, particularly long-term illness or chronic pain. Below I hope to explain a little about the importance of the immune system, what it does, and how to boost your immune system.
Three things your immune system is doing for you, without you even knowing:
1. It’s fighting disease-causing germs (pathogens) like bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi, and constantly removing them from your body.
2. It’s recognizing and neutralizing harmful substances from the environment, such as pollutants, toxins, and foreign bodies.
3. It’s fighting disease-causing changes in the body, such as cancer cells.
What is the job of the immune system?
The immune system protects us from harmful substances of the outside world from entering into our bodies and making us ill. Pretty cool, huh?
If your immune system is working correctly (yay) it fights off these unwanted invaders. However, if, for some reason, your immune system is compromized, we get sick (boo).
Understanding your immune system:
What does is it mean to have a comprimized immune system? Well, you could have an underactive or overactive immune system:
Overactive: If your immune system is overactive you may develop autoimmune diseases such as: Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune thyroid disease, and others. Also, you may even develop allergies to foods, medications, stings, or be susceptible to hives, hay fever, dermatitis, and eczema.
Underactive: If your immune system is underactive, or you have immune deficiency, this means your immune system does not function correctly. This can make you vulnerable to infections that could be life-threatening. An underactive immune system is sometimes caused by other underlying conditions such as HIV/AIDS or certain types of cancers such as Kaposi Sarcoma.
If you can identify with any of these issues, take a look at my health coaching information HERE
5 things to do to strengthen your immune system:
Despite what many people think, stress isn’t the bad guy; it can help us out of dangerous situations, or give us the drive we need to complete that unfinished project. However, when stress becomes a daily occurrence and continues for long periods of time, it starts to have an impact on your nervous system; instead of being in a relaxed state (the parasympathetic nervous system), you are switching into a fight-or-flight mode (sympathetic system) more often. This causes the blood pressure to rise, the heart rate to go up, and our digestion to get stuck. You may even get muscle or body twitches, and ultimately your immune system takes a hit.
WHAT TO DO:
Use the power of the Breath:
+ Find a comfortable seated position with a straight spine, and begin to take long slow breaths, breathing in (maybe to the count of four or five) and then breathing out (to the count of five or six). By encouraging the out-breath to be longer than the in-breath, you are encouraging your nervous system to enter into a more relaxed state.
+Use alternate nostril breathing: Close one nostril with the thumb, and breathe in through the other to the count of four. Then close the opposite nostril with your middle finger and breathe out for the count of four.
You can develop this technique by taking longer breaths in and out (perhaps to a count of five up to a count of eight), and also by holding the top of the breath, before letting the air out. Just be sure to make the inhales, exhales and held-breath each the same length in time.
Repeat both these simple techniques for 5-10 minutes every day, either in the morning as you wake or at the end of a long day.
Sleep quality plays a massive part in how your immune system works. It’s vital for you to get enough sleep, as this is when your body does important maintenance and repairs, both physically and mentally. When you get a good night’s rest, you can wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, and ready to take on the day.
WHAT TO DO:
+ Optimum sleep is somewhere between seven and nine hours, this will vary from person to person. But make sure you always get a minimum of seven hour’s sleep a night. Remember, there’s no such thing as catching up on lost sleep. Just because you’re planning on sleeping for twelve hours at the weekend doesn’t mean you should only sleep for five hours in the week.
+ Go to sleep at the same time each night: It’s important you tap into our body’s natural circadian rhythm (also known as our body clock) as this helps regulate when you’re tired when you’re hungry and many hormone functions.
+ Sleep with a window open: When we sleep it is thought that dioxide levels build up in the bedroom. Therefore, keeping the window open helps with airflow, increasing the oxygen you get, and thus helps with more restful night’s sleep.
+ For my Top 7 tips to Better Night’s Sleep sign up for my newsletter and receive the PDF directly to your inbox.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
With modern-day diets consisting of more processed and fast foods, we run the risk of missing out on vital nutrients through our diet. You’ve heard the saying, ‘We are what we eat’. Well, judging by the massive amount of today’s illnesses and diseases coming from poor diets, this couldn’t be more true.
WHAT TO DO:
+ Eat the rainbow. We all know we should eat lots of fruits and veggies. A good way to make sure you’re getting all the key components is to have as many different colours on your plate as possible.
+ Try using essential oils. Either topically, in a vaporizer, or internally. Good quality essential oils that stimulate the immune system are; oregano, cinnamon, frankincense, tea tree, lavender.
**Please only use oils internally if you have advice from a trusted oils practitioner. I only recommend high-grade oils such as Doterra.
+ You should always be able to get your nutrients and minerals from your food, but if you don’t, or you know your body needs more of something, you can always supplement your diet. Good immune-boosting supplements are: vitamin C, vitamin D3, Zinc, Selenium, beta-glucans, Maitake mushroom powder, elderberry.
No matter what type of exercise floats your boat, whether it’s running, swimming, yoga, lifting weights, or playing your favorite sport, make sure you are doing something active. Aim for at least three times per week. Ideally, at least two of these sessions should get you breaking out into a sweat.
WHAT TO DO:
+ Create an exercise plan: One of the biggest reasons we fail here is the lack of structure. Create an exercise schedule, put it in your diary, and make sure you stick to it!
+ Use all the free resources that are now available on the web, and create a dedicated workout space in your own home. Set it up so it feels like an appealing place to be.
+ Need help to achieve your goals? Book in for a free discovery call here and see how a private yoga teacher or health coach could get your health on track.
CRY IF YOU WANT TO
Emotions… How can my emotions affect the immune system I hear you say? Well, there’s more evidence coming out all the time to show the direct link between the two. Feelings of anger, sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, and depression all impact on the health of your immune system.
WHAT TO DO:
Holding onto your emotions is so 1940! The days of keeping a ‘stiff upper lip’ are well and truly gone . Instead, I invite you to have a good old cry; think of it as crying therapy. When we cry we are actually relieving our body of toxins and hormones, which can alleviate stress.
+ Give those feelings of anger or frustration a place to go. Scream into a pillow, take up boxing or a physical sport, or flip it completely on its head and sit and meditate.
+ Write out all of your frustrations and anger on a piece of paper, and then burn it, with the intention of letting them go.
+Take time to speak to a friend, family member, or healthcare professional about your feelings.
To take a closer look at your personal health BOOK a free discovery call with me and see how I can help you on your wellness journey.
Love and blessings,