10 Immune Boosting House Hold Remedies
There is so much information out there on how to boost your immune system, but many methods require spending a bunch of money on herbs, supplements, and "cure-alls". I've compiled my top 10 methods that I go to in PREVENTING illness.
Creating VARIETY in the your immune boosting remedies seems to be the key. Something that works one time of year may not work other times. Our bodies love variety! This can be said for the kind of exercise we do regularly, our 'go-to' yoga poses, our diets, stress release, regular meditation, and especially when it comes to those immune boosting herbs. So let's switch it up!
1. YogaMed is my medication!
I know the thought of getting to your mat every day seems out of reach sometimes, but if you can carve out 15 minutes each day, you may find more time and space to do all of the things in your day with grace and ease. Your practice may look like lying in supported butterfly for those full 15 minutes, moving through a few sun salutations, sitting for 5 minutes to observe your breath with 3 or 4 go to stretches, or even doing child's pose in bed! Any sort of awareness practice is helpful towards reducing your fight or flight response which shunts blood from the internal organs. When we become more connected to our breath and our bodies, we begin to slow down, become more present, and increase our ability to respond vs. react in times of stress. "Psychological stress can impact many systems in the body, including weakening the immune system and increasing chronic inflammation. Inflammation is natural part of the immune response and in the short term can be helpful to heal wounds, injuries, and infections, but chronic inflammation can do more harm than good." --from an article from Psychology Today. You can click the link to read the full article. Yoga and meditation also helps me to notice where I'm at in time and space. Taking the time to notice my emotions, aches and pains, and mental clarity (or cloudiness) helps me to take the appropriate steps throughout my day to do what's best for myself. If you only have 5 minutes, take it for yourself!
2. Hot Baths for Detox
If you aren't really a "bath person" you may want to consider trying again. If you don't have epsom salts, not to worry. Many of the benefits of an epsom bath simply come from submerging yourself in hot water for an extended period of time. Hot baths encourage muscles and organs to become more thixotropic which encourages nutrient waste exchange in our blood vessels. More waste exchange encourages faster recovery from muscle tension caused by activities or sports as well as encourages your body's ability to rid itself of unwanted foreign invaders. If you'd like to add a more anti-microbial effect, add some Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar to your bath. You can also add a pre-blended essential oil of your choice for some Aromatherapy. Another great addition I love to do, is bringing your favorite crystals and candles around to create a relaxing and healing atmosphere. Stimulating our relaxation response will inevitably strengthen your immune system.
3. Gratitude Practice for a Full Heart
When we are spread thin, stressed out, overwhelmed, and on the run it can be hard to remember the important things in life. Take a couple minutes either at a meal with a loved one or roommate or even while you're doing your morning removal to think about who and what you are grateful for. I cannot stress enough how important this is to overall well-being. When we are busy its easy to forget how amazing life can be and how abundant you are. Cultivating abundance and humility is also contagious! You may observe how noticed someone may feel when you have expressed gratitude or appreciation for their presence. Even if you are experiencing a tough time in your life, you can express gratitude for the wisdom that will come. Not only does this sort of practice cultivate connectivity and compassion in your community, it also feels so good! What are you grateful for? Maybe you start a gratitude journal today!
4. REST and LISTEN
When there seems to be a lot going on and you're noticing that your body is feeling fatigued or run down, this is the time to STOP, take a breath, and slow down. This is when the immune response becomes the most compromised! Its okay to choose to stay home and skip that big party everyone is talking about. It's perfectly appropriate to skip that endurance workout or vinyasa class that may run you down physically. You are totally allowed to not pick up that extra shift because you feel you may be "coming down with something." The greatest gift we can give ourselves is listening hard to what our bodies are telling us, REGARDLESS of our created story around why we can't. Your body and mind in the now and the future will thank you for this. So instead of going out on the town for your friend's birthday when you already feel run down, go home, watch a good movie, do some light stretching, or read your favorite book, your body will thank you .
5. Fresh Air, Lifestyle, and Exercise
A study in 2018 found that spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration. If you are reading this and live in Crested Butte, Colorado, you are probably patting yourself on the back. Fortunately, living in the place we do, cultivates a culture of outdoor adventure and recreation! If you don't live in a place so close to nature, it would behoove you to get out into your closest green space and smell the fresh air. Spending time outdoors is an essential part of my mental, emotional, and spiritual practice. After spending extended periods of time in the woods (usually a day or more), I experience a feeling of uplift, clarity, and oneness with the world. The incessant use of technology and instant gratification dulls the senses and instincts. Humans did not evolve in suburbs or cities or with toilets or phones attached to their hands, but amongst the land. Time spent in nature is time spent rewilding and reconnecting to your humanity.
6. Diet, Diet, DIET
I am not here to promote a certain diet or fixed regimen for your overall health. A good rule of thumb to follow is a fruit and vegetable and fat rich diet with as little processed foods as possible. I have made it a health priority to eat mostly Organic, Non-GMO, and seasonally local. Yes, it is unfortunately more expensive, BUT there are more nutrients available without the use of pesticides that are detrimental to our microbiome. It is also the long term preventative approach vs. getting sick later in life. If these are new terms to you, you may do some research for your own educational benefit. I do not encourage veganism, Paleo, KETO, Vegetarianism, or any other diet that restricts what your body may be telling you. I encourage just that, LISTENING.
Getting to know what your individual needs are based on the climate you live, the time of year, the time of month, and even an increase in activity level is, in my opinion, a holistic approach to nutrition. I also make use of certain supplements to stimulate brain function and add any nutrients that I may not be getting through food. Supplements are important for humans at this time due to the decrease in nutrient availability in the food we eat. Most farming practices, the accumulation of toxins in the soils, as well as the bacteria in our guts to make more nutrients available make this so. See another post for a more in depth view of my go-to's! In general, avoid sugar, avoid alcohol, avoid pesticides and processing, eat lots of vegetables, eat your good fats, and send that food love and kindness!
7. Getting enough SLEEP
I cannot stress the importance of a good nights sleep (at least 7 hours). Dr. Brant Cortright is one of the leading Neuroscience researchers on Neurogenesis and holistic approach to preventing serious diseases and depression through healthy brain function. You can find more about his book here. In a nut shell, after at least seven hours of sleep, your brain stem releases a flushing like mechanism that alleviates any plaque that has formed on the brain during the day. Plaque can be caused by many things. It has been shown that it is the build up of this plaque that is linked to terminal illnesses such as Alzheimer's and Dementia. If you think about it evolutionarily with a bit of common sense, we wouldn't need to do it every night for such long periods of time if it wasn't essential to our well-being and survival. You may have already experienced the benefits of a restful night's sleep: alertness, attentiveness, higher energy levels, an increase in your overall well-being. Think now about the times when you didn't get a good night's sleep multiple days in a row and how you felt. So get to bed early and greet the next day with vigor and vitality.