Flu season, the common cold, and COVID-19 all in one – how can you avoid it all? There are over 40 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and 220,000 cases in Canada alone. Going into a colder season and living through a pandemic has everyone making sure they want to maintain a strong immune system. So, we thought why not share our favourite ways to naturally boost your immunity with our community?
By Nikki de Ocampo
Here are our favourite 8 natural ways to boost your immunity:
1/ Two immune boosting foods you can easily add to your meals
- Ginger is very popular when it comes to immunity! It is helpful to have ginger:
- During colds and flus.
- When having gastrointestinal and anti-inflammatory distress
- Adding ginger to your tea or food is a great way to keep the body warm, which is why we put it in our Cooking Sauces! Perfect for Fall and Winter!
- Turmeric is definitely one of our favourites!
- We love adding it to our recipes with our Coconut Curry sauce.
- Turmeric has amazing anti-inflammatory benefits which is very helpful for joint pain. It also balances blood sugar, which you’ll read about later is also helpful to reduce inflammation in the body!
2/ Prioritise your sleep – quantity and quality both matter!
Having a good night’s sleep is more than just having 7-8 hours a night! You want to make sure you get restful sleep. Lack of sleep and the quality of your sleep affects your immune system as well as recovery time if you do get sick. Not only should you aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, but you should also focus on limiting screen time at least one hour before bed! This will prevent blue light from disrupting your circadian rhythm, which is also known as your body’s natural wake-sleep cycle (Nagal et. al, 2019).
3/ Two vitamins you need to have in your kitchen cupboard
- Vitamin C and D are the top two on our list!
- Vitamin C has an important role in protection against excess free radicals. It is known to be one of the best antioxidants!
- It is also required to produce collagen which is a protein that plays a critical role for our skin, bones, and hair.
- Lastly, vitamin C is necessary to make certain neurotransmitters which are little messengers in the body to help our nervous system function properly!
Watch out, Vitamin C! Vitamin D has been hot on the radar lately with COVID-19. Over two-thirds of Canadians are vitamin D deficient!
- Having a vitamin D deficiency may increase your chances of getting sick. It has always played an important role in our immune system as it’s involved in the maturation of white blood cells. The white blood cells in our bodies are the first line of defence against most types of infection.
- With the cold weather coming around, it’s also important to up your vitamin D intake as it is also known to help with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
4/ Healthy digestion, healthy gut, healthy life!
Having a healthy gut is connected to having a strong immune system. Eating healthy fats, and fermented foods can prevent inflammation in the body. In addition, eating more whole plant foods provides natural fibre to feed your gut microbiome, which will then protect your body from harmful pathogens (Holscher, 2017).
Practicing mindful eating is very important for a healthy gut. Chewing your food slowly and having no distractions such as driving, screens, or typing will allow you to become fully aware of what is happening around you and within you as you consume your meal. If we’re distracted, then we’re not digesting well, and if we’re not digesting well, we may be compromising our immune system!
A great tip is to have a cup of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon before each meal to help with digestion!
5/ Reduce your stress levels!
Lowering your stress levels is a very important key to immune health! Long term stress promotes inflammation and hinders your immune system (Dhabhar, 2014). Our favourite ways to reduce stress are meditating, going for nature walks, and gratitude journaling. Try doing one of these each day and keep track of how you feel!
6/ Move your body every day!
Moderate exercise can boost your immune system by reducing inflammation in the body and helping your immune cells continuously regenerate (Simpson et. al, 2015). Our favourite ways to incorporate exercise into our daily life include brisk walks, jogging, swimming, and strength workouts!
7/ Hydrate, and then hydrate some more!
Preventing dehydration is so important especially with the cold weather coming!
- Staying hydrated allows us to be on top of our physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and heart function (Popkin et. al, 2010).
- Dehydration can make you more susceptible to illness, so aim to drink more than usual now that we’re getting closer to the Winter season!
8/ Reduce or eliminate excess sugars
I know, this one can be tough especially with Halloween candy around! Added sugars and refined carbohydrates spike your blood sugar levels, which actually spikes inflammation in the body. It may also lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease – all of which can compromise your immune system (Neidich et. al, 2017).
- Reducing excess sugar may decrease inflammation – a great way to reduce sugar consumption is by finding healthier alternatives!
- Dates are a great alternative as they have a low GI, meaning they are less likely to spike your blood sugar levels. Not only are they a great sugar alternative, but they are also high in fiber and antioxidants. This is why we use dates in our ketchups and BBQ sauces!
Let us know which one of these 8 ways you plan to implement into your lifestyle (or which ones you already have down pat!) – we look forward to it!