Top tips to boost your immune systemKarina Stewart - Kamalaya
Our guest blogger Karina Stewart, doctor of Chinese medicine and co-founder of Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary, has kinfly drafted some helpful tips on how to boost our immune systems. Take a look!
The Chinese Way
As a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), I believe, as the ancient Chinese believed, that the seasons have a profound effect on our health and wellbeing, and that we are directly influenced by climatic changes throughout the year. Therefore, eating according to the seasons is a great way to support and strengthen our health and prevent future imbalances that can lead to illness. Chinese Medicine Food Therapy is a way to remain in harmony with nature. By following simple guidelines on how we should eat according to the natural cycle of the seasons, we are able to nourish our bodies and improve our immunity. For the Autumn season, the majority of our diet should be in the form of warm soups, broths, and stews in order to warm our bodies on the inside. Using herbs such as garlic, ginger and peppercorns also provide warmth for this season which in turn help to boost the immune system. Garlic is antibacterial, while ginger boosts circulation and is an excellent anti-inflammatory. Grated ginger with hot water and lemon is an excellent way to prevent early onset colds.
Get 8 hours of Sleep A Night
Make getting 8 hours of restful sleep a night your number one priority! Poor quality and reduced sleep will weaken your immune system, not only reducing T cells but also impacting levels of proteins called cytokines. Research shows if you sleep for less than eight hours a night you are more at risk of a weakened immune system, and the less you sleep the more likely you are to weaken your immune function. High levels of cortisol, linked to reduced quality and insufficient sleep will increase inflammation and also stress out immune system.
Since insufficient melatonin production is linked to decreased immunity and the hormone melatonin is secreted while you sleep, this is another way in which your sleeping habits will influence your immune health. It is important to keep your bedroom very dark as exposure to light at night interferes with your production of melatonin. If you’re having trouble sleeping, why not try Kamalaya’s Sleep Enhancement programme where you can experience supportive therapies and practices to balance and promote sleep, as well as learn several easy lifestyle changes to address sleep imbalances that anyone can follow and really make a difference.
Eat an Abundance of Antioxidant-rich Foods
Try to include a wide range of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Eating an antioxidant-rich diet is one of the best ways to optimize your immune system as this will give you a wide range of antioxidants, and each antioxidant has a slightly different impact on your immune health. Glutathione, found in asparagus, avocado and parsley, has been described as the "most important antioxidant" because it empowers your immune system to exert its full potential by quenching free radicals, recycling vitamins C and E into their biologically active forms and regulating DNA synthesis and repair, while carotenoids in sweet potatoes, pumpkin and other orange, red, yellow and dark green fruits and veggies are said to enhance many aspects of immune function. Selenium, found in foods such as Brazil nuts, tuna, brown rice, and sunflower seeds help prevent cellular damage from free radicals and play a role in your immune system health as well. At Kamalaya we use a variety of different fruits and vegetable not to mention seeds and nuts.
Exercise is Essential!
It’s a good idea to regard exercise like you do eating, breathing and sleeping, and you’ll enjoy better health because of it. Physical activity, including brisk walking, can enhance your antibody and natural T cell response. Research shows that people who exercise are half as likely to catch a cold as those who do not, and even if they do catch a cold, their symptoms tend to be less severe. Finding the right form of exercise that you enjoy will reduce your stress levels and as stress impacts your body’s ability to fight infections, you cannot underestimate the importance of regular exercise.
Be Optimistic and Enjoy Life!
It is important to enjoy life and have a fun, optimistic outlook. Cell-mediated immunity actually increases with a person’s level of optimism so try to do enjoyable activities when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, whether it is treating yourself to a weekly massage, going to a regular yoga class or making time to read a good book. Just make sure you give yourself permission to do these things as this will be beneficial in reducing your stress levels and increasing your immunity in the long-term.
If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.