8 Science-led ways to boost your immunity levels through self care
Self care is here to stay. Self care used to be an 'indulgence' like getting a pedicure, or a weekend away - now, we're elevating it to a way of life.
Self care is, quite literally, the art of caring for your body and mind. It's also the single most effective way that you can influence your happiness, your health, and your immune system. Science has proven what we intuitively know - a well body and well mind are more resilient. Rest, relaxation and nurture build a powerful immune system.
You can subscribe to our Online Wellbeing Programme, Time to Thrive, to learn more about this in nine easy to watch modules, each with simple practical changes you can make to build a life you love through daily practices.
Here, we're sharing a list of research-backed techniques to boost your immunity.
8 ways to build a stronger immune system
Drinking water is key to a well functioning body - when we are hydrated we can detox effectively, and our body's processes work smoothly. Pay attention to how much water you body needs and ensure a plentiful supply. Every body is different, so look out for signs of dehydration like dry skin, lips, thirst, headaches and a 'fuzzy head' - especially if you have eaten salty foods, exercised, drank alcohol or been in the heat. Filtered or natural water is always best.
Immunity tip - drink before you exercise to ensure your body has what it needs to work harder before you begin.
Each week, an adult is recommended to exercise for at least 2.5 hours, with 2 hours a week of an activity that makes your muscles work. Exercise boosts our immune system and reduces the risk of chronic disease. Choose an exercise which makes your cardiovascular system work, challenges you, and suits your lifestyle. If you prefer company, enlist a friend or two! The more you enjoy exercising the more often you will do it.
Eat less, mostly plants
That's putting it bluntly we know, and we love a steak as much as the next person, but generally eating a more plant-based diet benefits most people. Science says that more plants in your diet boosts immunity and reduces cellular inflammation. If you want to know what works best for your body, try Kinesiology and find out.
Immunity tip - half your plate should be vegetables or fruit.
Go outside & get in nature
We all know this, deep down inside - but science confirms that being in nature makes us happier and healthier. This study took the cumulative results of a whole lot of research papers and concludes that people who spend time outdoors have better immunity, healthier blood and hearts, less inflammation, less depression, and their minds work better (faster, smarter, happier)... the list goes on, but we're betting you don't need further convincing!
Immunity tip - Take a walk in the forest and try shinrin-yoku, 'forest bathing', or just stroll down your urban street admiring the flowers. Any mindful moments outdoor add up.
Stress, loneliness, depression and anxiety all subdue your immune system. Happy, calm people have resilient immunity levels and are better prepared to remain healthy in the face of viruses or disease.
It's okay to experience times of stress - life throws those curve balls to us all. What matters is creating times of calm within the storm, and adapting practices which boost your calm and happiness over time. Our Time to Thrive programme has loads of tools and information on how to do this.
Immunity tip - add 10 peaceful minutes of Śama Blocking to your daily calming routine - you can even lie on them in bed before sleep.
Give your gut some love
There are lots of ways to nurture your gut flora, but perhaps the most well known is probiotics, which balance the gut biome, and actually interact with immune cells to boost the immune system function and help protect the body against pathogens. Try to minimise sugary 'treats' and processed food, and help your gut boime thrive with fresh local greens and foods with fibre.
Immunity tip - find out more about understanding gut health here.
Our body's first defence is often our skin. Our largest organ, skin creates a physical barrier to germs, and works best at providing this protection when healthy and nourished. The good news is that drinking enough water, getting a good nights sleep, feeling calm and happy, eating well and exercising all contribute naturally to glowing, beautiful skin as well as supporting a strong immune system.
Immunity tip - browse Biddy + May for beautiful, toxin free skincare, and spoil yourself a little.
Last but never least - get some good sleep, often!
A lack of sleep increases our risk of serious medical conditions, as well as depressing immune system function - and making us feel depressed, grumpy and cloudy-minded. Over time, constant bad sleep can literally shorten our lives.
The key is to know your body's ideal sleep routine (you can find out with Kinesiology) and use smart techniques to ensure you get a good night's sleep as often as possible. Avoid screens before bed, and create regular routines.