Boosting your immune health and maximising your body’s natural defences is simpler and cheaper than you might think!
Read on for six simple and cost-effective immune boosting solutions.
1. Make Sleep A Priority
We love sleep – it’s free, it’s easy and it makes us feel amazing when we get enough! In recent years our opinion on sleep has moved away from the common misconception that prioritising sleep is lazy, toward the understanding that sleep is essential to both physical and mental wellbeing.
When it comes to your immune system, sleep is crucial. Whilst you’re snoozing away on the cool side of the pillow it may feel like your body is having a break – but it’s actually working hard to repair damage, replenish cells and rejuvenate. These are all major functions of the immune system and so getting enough sleep is one great way to boost your body’s defences and stay healthy.
To get a good night’s sleep, it is recommended that we aim for regular sleep routine to fully reap the benefits of being well rested and naturally energised. The hours before midnight seem to be important too, aim for a 10pm bedtime and 6am wake up.
2. Optimise Your Gut Health
Your gut is home to 70% of your immune system, amazing right?! Within your gastrointestinal tract millions of good bacteria work hard to empower the immune system and fight off harmful bacteria and pathogens.
So, looking after your gut health is a sure-fire way to boost your immunity and maximise your body’s natural defences. Here’s how you can look after your gut:
- Eat Fermented Foods – Foods such as kombucha, live yoghurt, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut and tempeh all help to balance gut microflora and support immune health
- Get More fibre – Fibre from your diet feeds the good bacteria in your gut, but most of us only get half the amount we need from our diet. Be sure to include more seeds, nuts and veg to boost your fibre intake and in turn your immune system.
- Avoid Sugars, Sweeteners and Antibiotics – All are harmful to gut health and have been shown to reduce immune responses.
3. Rethink Your Food
Nutrition is extremely important for your immune system, the nutrients you get from your food all combine to create a sort of toolbox your body can use to repair damage and replenish cells.
When it comes to optimising nutrition, images of fresh fruit and veg, expensive organic produce and grass-fed meat spring to mind. Whilst we are firm believers in eating great quality food which is as good for you and natural as possible – you don’t have to break the bank to look after your health.
Here’s some tips to boost your nutrition and bolster your immune system on a budget:
- Eat More Frozen Produce – Contrary to popular belief, it turns out that frozen food contains just as many nutrients as fresh, sometimes even more. So, stock up on frozen fruit and veg for some affordable nourishment.
- Include More Off-Cuts and Organ Meats – Liver is the most nutrient dense food on the planet and is significantly cheaper than steaks or other cuts of meat. Same with other offal too, why not try Oxtail or Kidneys for highly dense nutritional produce with low cost?
- Eat the Rainbow – Antioxidants are your immune system’s best friend, working on a cellular level to fight off damaging free radicals and protect cells from harm. The easiest way to get enough antioxidants is to include foods which are as (naturally!) colourful as possible.
5. Maximise Your Movement, Without Spending a Penny!
Staying physically active has a whole host of health benefits that not only prevent disease but also have the knock-on effect of empowering the immune system. Exercise has been shown to improve immune regulation, encourage the production of white blood cells & antibodies and prevent harmful bacteria from growing and spreading.
But staying active needn’t cost the earth or mean committing to a stringent, punishing workout regime! Movement is free, so whatever your budget and lifestyle – be sure to maximise your movement however you can in order to look after your immune system.
- Go for a walk in the great outdoors
- Play with your partner, children or pets!
- Use your own body weight for strength exercises
- Ditch the car in favour of your legs for transport – good for you and the planet!
6. Prevention is Better than Cure!
What better way to save money than by not buying something?! Looking after your immune system, and your overall health, is as much about what you avoid as it is about what you embrace.
Intermittent fasting overnight for 12 – 16 hours has some amazing immune boosting benefits. Why not try to extend the length of time you currently go without food overnight by just an hour each week – you’ll barely notice it and your immune system will be strengthened.
7. Take Steps to Destress
The link between physical and mental health is strong and studies have shown that experiencing chronic stress can compromise your immune system. Stress hormones disrupt normal metabolic processes and have a major impact on digestive health – which both affect our immunity.
By reducing your stress levels you will not only feel better mentally but can also benefit from reduced digestive symptoms (ever get a bad stomach when you’re stressed?) and improved immune health. But limiting stress is easier said than done right?
Here’s some simple and easy ideas to help manage and minimise stress:
- Get Enough Sleep – When we sleep and dream our bodies actually process and eliminate stress hormones which accumulate when we are awake
- Have A Day Off – Research has shown that committing to one whole day each week completely free from work can be a great stress buster, but resisting the urge to check a quick email or make just one phone call is key!
- Exercise – As with sleep, our bodies process stress hormones when we exercise – paired with the endorphins released during a workout, staying active can have a double whammy destressing impact!
- Digital Detox – Switching off your mobile, laptop and tablet for a few hours every day and engaging in more mindful activities such as meditation, reading or breathing exercises can be a great way to reduce stress and anxiety
Our exposure to external pathogens and bacteria is largely out of our control in the modern world, when we are busier than ever and sharing the planet with an exponentially growing population! But one thing we can do to help our bodies defend them is look after our immune health and follow a healthy lifestyle that’s supportive of our immune system. By maximising your natural defences against illness, you can recover quicker, suffer less and bounce back stronger with minimal lasting effects on the body. We hope these tips will help you to empower your immune system and help you do just that!