Now more than ever people are concerned about their immune system. The threat of coronavirus has sprung people into action, causing global shortages of vitamin supplements, trending ‘how to’ searches for boosting the immune system and an insidious anxiety about our health as individuals and a society. Here’s how you can support your immune system based on the eight Essential Anne habits.
During sleep, your immune system releases protective proteins called cytokines and antibodies to fight infection and inflammation. Without enough sleep, your immune system can’t do its job. According to a recent survey, 31 percent of Americans say they’re sleep is disturbed because of anxiety caused by the coronavirus. If this applies to you, practice Buteyko breathing before bed, inhale 4 seconds, exhale 6 seconds through your nose, breathing low, slow and deep in your diaphragm 20 minutes before bed. You can use lavender essential oil in your diffuser or topically and avoid blue light exposure an hour before sleep. In addition, for a deeper sleep, try to have an empty stomach 2 hours before bed.
When we exercise, we increase blood flow which helps our lungs and heart to efficiently remove bacteria from the lungs and airways to prevent pathogens. As shown in a study published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science in 2019, when we exercise, antibodies and white blood cells (WBCs) circulate more vigorously and in higher concentrations. WBCs are our immune system cells, so increasing them helps to detect and fight infection more effectively.
Consuming foods with anti-bacterial properties can help to flush out any bad bacteria in the body that may be suppressing the immune system. Examples of these types of food include garlic, onion, manuka honey, cinnamon and apple cider vinegar. These are nature’s antibiotics that do give your healthy bacteria and extra helping hand. It’s also important to eat an array of fruits and vegetables to provide a variety of nutrients. Nutrition includes hydration. Hydration increases energy levels, promotes healthy digestion, promotes brain function and clarity, and maximizes physical exercise.
- Harmonious relationships
It’s currently lockdown in the US, so more people than ever are feeling isolated and alone. When we feel low, our immune system doesn’t function as well. Depression and anxiety are considered immunosuppressants, due to the inflammation they cause as part of the stress response. While it may be hard to avoid feeling low, feelings of loneliness may be alleviated by cultivating deeper relationships with your friends and family via phone or video calls. When relationships are toxic, the body and mind absorb the negative feedback by responding with illness, fear, anxiety and panic. The answer is Love, Compassion and Appreciation. Allow love in your heart, trust and honesty builds harmonious relationships. Gratitude for one another grows with acknowledgment and compassion.
I no longer teach people to ‘take a deep breath’ or ‘breathe deeply.’ Lips closed, breathe through the nose; low, slow and deep diaphragmatic breathing is maximizing respiration efficiently. Breathe through the nose not just during yoga or meditation but also rest, sleep, and work. Buteyko breathing has been shown to boost immune function, partially because it helps to alleviate stress, promote homeostasis, regulate inflammation and improve the sensitivity of immune mast cells, as shown in a 2012 study. Nasal breathing is a source of filtration and the first defense for your lungs. Nasal breathing allows for slow breathing, better quality sleep, less colds and flus, and creates nitric oxide.
- Supplements and oils
These are the top supplements to take for immunity: vitamins c, a, d, b6, zinc & probiotics. These are the top essential oils to use for immunity: tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon and oregano. Combining supplements and essential oils will help to keep your immune system strong and protect against infection. Essential Oils are nature’s medicine. Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils are safe and effective.
- Connect with nature
Studies show that connecting with nature helps to decrease inflammatory cytokines that are released by the immune system in response to threat. This helps you to feel calm and grounded, supporting your immune function. Your prescription is to take a walk at the park or the beach, grounding with Mother Earth, practice being present.
- Proactive care
If you want to boost your immune system naturally, speak to a Functional or Integrative Doctor or Naturopath who will create for you a custom holistic wellness plan. Women 35-45 years of age may experience perimenopause with at 36 different symptoms. The symptoms vary individually. The average age of menopause is 51 years of age. It is recommended to seek medical advice during hormone fluctuations as it may affect the immune system, nervous system and cellular system. Research has shown women at this age group experience higher probabilities of breast, ovarian, uterine cancer or hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis.