Our Immunity Hacks

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Our bodies have the most impressive array of arsenal to protect us from invasive, harmful bacteria, viruses, moulds & toxins – far more effective than anything you can ever buy from a pharmacy or get a script for!   We actually have two immune systems which act together to target, destroy & eliminate infected cells, and then produce antibodies to make sure we don’t get sick from the same infection if we come across it again.
Whilst we can’t really boost or supercharge these immune systems, we can do quite a bit to support them and make sure they are unstoppable and working at 100% at all times.
We enjoy learning about natural ways to keep our bodies fit & healthy particularly with COVID-19 lurking around and winter approaching.  We consider ourselves our own best guinea pigs, and have found a few hacks that help keep us up and active.   Here are some of our favourites:
 
1. Keep up regular exercise & movement and stay well hydrated to stimulate the lymphatic system which helps clear your body of toxins & waste.  Sweating is good for this too – through exercise or an infra red sauna.  If you can get outside to exercise even better as you’ll top up your vitamin D levels as well.  Vitamin D is essential for both immune systems and deficiency is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. 

2. Eat a diet rich in organically grown fruit & vegetables providing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which are essential for healthy cells.  Choose a range of colourful plant foods – beetroot, oranges, paw paw, purple cabbage, broccoli … you get the picture! 
    3. Scientists now reckon that as much as 70% of our immune systems are housed in the gut. The bacteria that live in our gut (our microbiome)  provide essential health benefits to us, particularly by regulating immune homeostasis.   So it makes sense to give this long digestive tube some special attention.  Managing stress levels, eating gut friendly foods including those with prebiotics and probiotics (fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, & yoghurt are great), staying hydrated, moving regularly, avoiding heavily processed foods particularly industrial seed & vegetable oils and  sugar (especially high fructose corn syrup) can all help maintain a healthy gut microbiome. 

    4. Getting enough sleep seems to be super important for a healthy immune system.  During sleep your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you're under stress.  Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of these protective cytokines.  Research suggests adults need at least 7 – 9 hrs sleep a night.
        5. Keep alcohol intake to a minimum. Alcohol makes it harder for the immune system to activate, and can impair immune cells in key organs. 
          6. We like to self experiment with different natural supplements that have shown evidence that they can support a healthy immune response in humans.  These include herbal teas – we make our own botanical tea blend called Immunity (which includes the herbs calendula, echinacea, yarrow & neem as well as ginger root, lemon peel and turmeric root) and if feeling a bit run down will choose from  zinc and vitamin C supplements, elderberry, bone broth, manuka honey, fermented foods and medicinal mushrooms like reishi & chaga, as well as the adaptogenic herb astragalus (these last 3 we have blended into our Immunity Elixir which we add to coffee, hot chocolate, soups and savoury muffins).

          What we now know about our immune systems is probably just the tip of the iceberg and I have no doubt we will continue to rapidly learn so much more over the coming years.     
          Our plan is to stay open to all possibilities, keep up to date with new research, and continue experimenting to find what works best for us as unique individuals.     
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