Now is the time to prepare your mind and body for winter!
Advice on how to boost your immunity from Sue Leach of The Natural Health Hub in Lymington.
Autumn is the season when it’s most crucial to nurture yourself. Our belief at The Hub is that ‘catching’ a cold is not about some nasty beasty germs invading our bodies – it’s actually that we’ve allowed those germs to sneak past our natural defences. We also believe that preventing them sneaking in like this is only possible if you nurture both your body and your mind.
You can be taking oodles of immune-boosting vitamins but if you never take time off to relax or you’re tied to your mobile phone you may still succumb to the bugs doing the rounds. Even a negative frame of mind can detrimentally affect your immunity.
So here are a few pointers to nurturing yourself, in mind and body, from the team at The Hub.
1. Get more sleep
It’s OK to duvet-dive! A bit more sleep is in order through autumn. Lack of sleep can decrease our production of antibodies and cytokines, a protein that helps to fight off infections and inflammation.
2. Take a natural immune booster
As a homeopath I recommend everyone takes our Immune Boost Mix from now until April. A blend of three herbs – echinacea, sambucus and astragalus – it gives you ammunition to fend off infections and viruses. And if you come down with something you’ll suffer less and for a shorter time.
We were also really pleased with results when people took probiotics through the winter months last year. We have a probiotic especially for children – research by its manufacturer, Optibac, shows kids taking this probiotic have 25% less chance of getting some infections and miss 40% less school.
3. Have a digital holiday
Technology has a massive influence on all our cellular functions. Not only is the vibration continuously tapping our cells which depletes essential minerals but the blue light emitted from screens stops our bodies from producing melatonin (needed for good sleep). It also confuses our body into thinking we are getting enough sunlight which we need to make Vitamin D which affects our immune system, bone health and mental well-being. Studies show that two hours of exposure to a glowing screen near bedtime can suppress melatonin by 22%. Also, this radiation pushes up our levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
4. Take time just to ‘be’
Our polarity therapist Jane Seaman says we’ve forgotten how to simply ‘be’. ‘Life is so hectic that people rarely have no agenda, no schedule, no job list. It does a power of good to your frame of mind just to be, it’s a powerful de-stressor.’ So of course that means it’s a powerful contributor to boosting immunity.
It’s nigh on impossible not to be affected by the pressures of work, family, money and other modern-day flak. Research shows, however, that meditation increases levels of lymphocytes and cytokines, the lynchpins of our immune defences, and decreases cortisol. Everyone who has been coming to Jane’s Friday evening meditation classes certainly says it helps them unwind and detox from the week…
6. Shed a little!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine they believe that, just as the trees shed their leaves, we too should take the opportunity in autumn to let go of stuff we don’t need or anything that’s no longer of use. Have a review of your excess baggage, physical or emotional – maybe have a clear-out at home, or shed a commitment. Or just say ‘no’ when you’d really rather not do something you’ve asked to!
7. Don’t sabotage your immunity
Think twice before you stoke up on stodge! Studies show that eating sugar can weaken your immune system by 75% for up to six hours. This is the perfect time to take an ‘MOT’ on your diet with our naturopathic nutritionist Rhi Hepple. Check out how much you’re sabotaging your health in her blog: https://www.thenaturalhealthhub.co.uk/sabotaging-immune-system/.
8. Get outdoors
At first signs of a cold get outdoors. Germs love a dark, moist environment so the worst thing you can do, especially if you’re coming down with something, is to hole up in a dark room!
9. Think positive
Yes, we know that’s hard when it’s dark, dank and drizzling! But smile and think positive and positivity will come back to you. Here’s a great book about making powerful, nourishing affirmations: Ordering from the Cosmic Kitchen.
10. Sign up to our Health Notes!
If you’d like to learn more tips on boosting your immunity, fending off taking antibiotics and other health news, drop us an email to receive our fortnightly newsletter with ‘Lym.com news’ in the subject line.