Unconventional Tips To Boost Your Immune System and Prevent Illness
With cooler weather and more time spent indoors, cold and flu season is fast approaching.
While there is no shortage of fantastic recommendations for herbs, supplements, and foods you can consume to help prevent these seasonal illnesses, there are many other ways to ensure your immune system stays healthy and strong this fall and winter.
Below are a few unconventional, holistic ways that you can improve the health of your immune system.
Try Dry Skin Brushing. Dry skin brushing involves using a bristled brush and brushing your entire body. You begin at your feet and move upwards using gentle, upward strokes, always moving towards the heart. This usually takes about 5 minutes (or more if you have the time) and it’s great to do before a shower. Not only does this exfoliate the skin and leave you extra smooth, it can help stimulate lymphatic flow.
The lymphatic system is an integral part of the immune system, which destroys waste and pathogens in our body to keep us healthy. It’s kind of like the circulatory system but instead of having veins and arteries that pump blood, the lymphatic system moves lymph throughout the body.
A big difference between the systems, however, is that unlike the circulatory system, which has the heart, our lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump to move the lymph through the body. Instead it relies on our muscle movement (see below) to keep things flowing efficiently.
Because our lymphatic system is located close underneath our skin, (if you’ve ever felt an enlarged lymph node you can tell this) it can also be stimulated by dry skin brushing. Dry skin brushing can be a great lymphatic boost, just make sure you’re not skipping over the next step, which is…
Move Your Body Often. As I mentioned above, our lymphatic systems rely on muscle movement to keep lymph flowing efficiently through the body, doing its job of destroying stuff that could make us sick. If you’re not moving your body, your muscles, and your lymph, become stagnant.
This stagnancy in the body is not ideal for a strong, healthy immune system.
If you work in job that involves a lot of sitting, it’s important to get up regularly and move. I recommend setting a timer for 25 minutes while working, and getting up and doing some quick standing stretches, lunges, or squats – whatever feels good! –
for 2-5 minutes before getting back to work. Not only is the movement good for the immune system, you may also notice it helps increase productivity!
Get In Nature. Not only does being in nature usually involve some healthy movement, it’s one of the best ways to reduce stress. Stress reduction and management is so important for a healthy body and a healthy immune system.
It’s easy to become out of touch with nature in our technology heavy worlds. Getting a bit of “green time” every day, or at least a few times a week can be an excellent way to relieve stress and strengthen the immune system.
Find a park nearby, even if it’s just somewhere with some grass and trees, and allow your body to reconnect.
Talk Or Write It Out. Another great way to manage stress and therefore strengthen your immune system to prevent colds and other illnesses is to prioritize your own mental health by talking with someone you trust or journaling. Both can provide insight into your feelings and help release emotions that can create stress in the body.
Taking care of our mental health, like all other aspects of health, is about more than just seeking help when things get bad, but adopting positive habits that can help prevent problems from arising in the first place. We all need this.
Make time to have meaningful conversations with loved ones or set aside 10 minutes before bed to write about your feelings, what has been bothering you, how you want to feel instead, and finish by writing a couple of things that you are grateful for.
Stress management is key to a strong, healthy immune system.
A healthy body and a healthy immune system is about so much more than just the foods we eat! The habits we create in all areas of our lives play an important role too. What aspects of your life can you improve to stay healthy this cold and flu season?
By: Ali MacBoudreau
Ali is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant. Her mission is to help you discover just how vibrant and amazing you can feel, by giving you the tools you need to make lasting changes. (Hint, it involves delicious food!) To learn more about Ali and holistic nutrition please visit her website https://www.holisticali.com/about