How to Improve Your Immune System

March 2020 Update. 

A healthy immune system lowers your chance of succumbing to any illness but particularly virus’s that are seasonal or unprecedented.  It may not make us invincible but it certainly helps to fend off virus’s and bacteria and support overall health. 

 

Here are the fundamentals for a good immune system that we recommend at Body Conscious.   

Reduce Your Stress Levels 

Chronic stress suppresses your immune system through the release of the hormone cortisol which interferes with T-cells (lymphocytes that are important for your immune system).  We recommend yoga, meditation, breathing and gratitude practices. If you have never done any of these start with: 

Gratitude: Every day write down three things you are grateful for. Keep the list going for 3 months. 

Breathing: from time to time during the day notice how you are breathing. If you are breathing from your throat or your chest move it to your stomach.  It will make you feel instantly calmer 

Exercise Your Body 

Working out on a regular basis has been proven to boost the immune system.  Exercise helps to mobilise T-Cells.  We recommend outdoor exercise as much as possible, walking and swimming are simple and least likely to cause injury if you are new to exercise.  If you are stuck indoors look for a daily exercise app.  We love the Five Tibetan Rites  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71jaJu0dc98.   

These five exersizes are immune boosting and a great (and short!) daily practice that increases in time as you up the number of repeats.  Please start with three repetitions only and slowly increase the number of repetitions every 2-3 days up to a maximum of 21 repetitions by week 4 or 5.  Please make this a daily practice 

Sleep 

It is very important for your immune system that you get 7-8 hours sleep, we believe this is one of the most important things for your immune system as its when your body rejuvenates itself.  Try to cut out any electronic media half an hour before going to bed, it will help you to sleep well and if you combine with the gratitude practice mentioned above it will help that sleep to be deeper.  

Reduce Alcohol Consumption 

Alcohol can interfere with your immune system.  Consider only moderate use for social reasons.  If you are drinking every day aim to cut this back to 1-2 days a week.   

Vitamin C and other Vitamins.   

Vitamins will boost your immune system. Vitamin A, B6, C, D and E can help increase the strength of your immune system with Vitamin C being the biggest booster of all.  The best form for long term health is of course the food you eat.  Good qualitycolourful and varied foods, fruits and vegetables, (preferably organic) will usually provide all you need but at times of stress you can also take vitamin and mineral supplements or have an IV infusion which super charges your body with the valuable nutrients and vitamins you need. 

Zinc 

Zinc is known to play a central role in the immune system. Zinc-deficient persons experience increase susceptibility to a variety of pathogens. Zinc is crucial for the function of neutrophils (white blood cells that protect us from infection)  and natural killer cells (NK cells are also a form of white blood cells or lymphocyte).  Zinc can be found in meat, shellfish, chick peas, lentils, beans, hemp seeds, cashew nuts,  

Diet 

Foods that boost your immune system 

Citrus fruits: Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells which in turn promotes those helpful T-Cells.  Your body doesn’t produce or store it so you need to make sure you have a daily supply for continued health 

Red Bell Peppers. Gram for gram red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits.  They are also a rich source of Beta Carotene. 

Broccoli. Broccoli is packed with vitamins A, C and E as well as many other anti-oxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of he healthiest vegetables and it’s a vegetable that is less sprayed with herbicides and pesticides so you can buy regular broccoli (rather than organic) reasonably safely 

Garlic.  Garlic can help fight infections, lower blood pressure and slow down atherosclerosis.  Its immune boosting properties come from sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. 

Ginger. Ginger may help decrease inflammation.  It reduces nausea and can help to decrease chronic pain. 

Spinach. Spinach is packed with anti-oxidants and beta carotenes, which may increase the infection fighting ability of our immune system.  Please buy organic spinach as much of the commercial spinach is sprayed with herbicides and pesticides which will force your body to remove or hide these toxins, giving it less ability to fight infection. 

Almonds.  Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with Vitamin E also key to a healthy immune system 

Tumeric:  This bright yellow, bitter spice is an anti-inflammatory.  Make sure you are getting a high amount of curcumin in your Tumeric as this is the most important valuable part of the herb. 

Green Teas and Chinese Teas:  Green teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of anti-oxidant. Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine which also supports your T-Cells 

Mushrooms. Mushrooms are one of nature’s healthiest foods, rich in essential nutrients and minerals.  Use a variety of mushrooms to make the most of these super foods. 

Don’t Smoke 

If you smoke you are affecting your immune system negatively. Please look for a hypnotherapist or other practice to help you quit smoking.  We have several practitioners to recommend who can help in person or on line. 

The Sun 

We are lucky in Thailand to have plenty of sun, getting natural sunshine helps supplement Vitamin D levels which is essential for healthy functioning of the immune system.   

Spend time in Nature  

Putting your bare feet on the ground helps to minimize positive ions in the body and reduce inflammation. Any time in nature will boost your immune system. 

Chinese Medicine 

For those that prefer Chinese Medicine we can consider the immune system similar to Qi – ‘as long as the vital Qi exists pathogenic factors will not invade’ (Huang Di’s Internal Classic).  

Strengthening Qi depends on very much the same things good digestion, quality food, moderate exercise and a a calm disposition.  Food recommended include eggs, meat, soy bean, asparagus, radish, Chinese Yam, dandelion, Coix seed, Lotus seed…and the use of Qi Tonic medicines such as the following can be useful: 

Astagalus, Huang Qi 

Ginseng 

Atractylodes, Bai Zhu 

Licorice 

Pop to your local Chinese Medicine Practitioner or Pharmacy to get hold of these tonics and Chinese teas that will be helpful.  Our own Dr Guy is highly experienced in Chinese teas and herbs to support your immune system. 

Water 

Lastly please drink plenty of good quality water – water contained within fruit is as important as pure water.  Eat more watermelons for great quality water!  This will boost everything for you.   

We wish all our clients and friends a healthy robust immune system. 

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