10 Ways to Support Your Natural Immunity
Winter, a time for rest and rejuvenation, is the season that invites us to put our self-care practices to work building a strong internal foundation from which to thrive across the cooler months. Read on to discover our top 10 tips to naturally boost your immunity and inner defences.
Chase the Sun
With the shorter days in winter it can be hard to catch some rays, which can leave us with lower levels of vitamin D. Healthy levels of vitamin D support our whole body, mood and also immune health offering increased protection from colds and flu.
Take this as a permission slip to enjoy some responsible sunbathing and if you're feeling like your vitamin D levels could do with a top-up there are some great supplements available. We use a vitamin D and K2 blend which you can check out here if you’re interested.
Get Some Extra Sleep
Most Aussies generally get around 7 hours of sleep a night. Moving with the transition of the seasons, the longer nights in winter can encourage us to clock a few extra hours on the pillow.
High quality, restorative sleep improves our brain function, muscle recovery, longevity, and helps to lower inflammation and cortisol levels. If you’re keen to track just how rejuvenating your sleep is, you might want to check out the Oura Ring. It’s a bit of an investment but nearly all of us at Inner Atlas HQ couldn’t live without it as a way to track how our habits are impacting our sleep. Cup of Reishi tea to relax before bed, anyone?
Eat Natural Adding Herbs, Spices and Pre & Probiotic-Rich Foods
Eating unprocessed, warming foods is one of the easiest ways to enhance our immune response. During winter the body needs more warmth to function. The less warmth that is directed to digesting excessively cool foods, the more that is available to support other body functions.
As an extra layer load up on:
- Polyphenol and antioxidant-rich herbs and spices such as sage, rosemary and cinnamon.
- Anti-inflammatory and anti-viral foods such as ginger, turmeric and garlic.
- Probiotic-rich foods like cultured vegetables.
- Prebiotic rich foods to help lay the groundwork for a healthy microbiome like seaweed, again garlic, seeds like flax and Turkey Tail.
When it’s cold out our motivation to exercise can plummet – we’ve all been there! Wherever you can it’s a good idea to continue with your regular exercise regime to help support optimal circulation, blood nutrient supply and keep the production of antibodies healthy, while also releasing the ‘feel-good’ chemicals dopamine and serotonin.
Supplement for an Extra Boost
A little extra supplementation never goes astray. The top two vitamins for winter are:
- Vitamin C- an oldie but a goodie, known to support the functioning of white blood cells.
- Zinc – helps to maintain the activity of immune system cells.
Be Mindful of Your Inner World
As nature retreats for a period of rest, winter encourages our own introspection and reflection. It can be important to have an outlet for the mind and emotions during this period of internalisation with practices like journaling and mediation proving useful tools to help process and calm.
Get Out into Nature and Bring Nature In
Prioritising our time in nature is thought to support both physical and mental wellbeing - reducing stress, reducing blood pressure and promoting feelings of happiness and contentment. It can also be a good time to step away from the screen and with all of that clean air and natural beauty what are you waiting for? Additionally, bringing nature indoors with flowers, plants and natural light has been shown to have a big impact on how we feel.
It may seem obvious, but wherever possible try to ensure your body and neck aren’t exposed to the wind or the cold, preserving the energy the body would have used to keep us warm. While you’re at it treat yourself to a warm bath with Epsom salts – this isn’t an immune-boosting remedy per se, but the magnesium absorbed through your skin from the Epsom salts has a calming effect, preparing you for a good night’s rest.
Winter brings dry air which can deplete our skin and the cooler temperatures can sometimes repress our thirst response. Our bodies depend on water to survive as well as regulate essential everyday functions like transporting nutrients, removing waste and hydrating tissues and organs. A glass of water with a squeeze of lemon is a great way to hydrate and tone the digestive system.
Of course medicinal mushrooms were going to make the list! The beta-d-glucans in medicinal mushrooms can help support our immune system by enhancing our white-cell activity, including natural killer cells, promoting innate and cell-mediated immune function. Our top two mushies for the winter months are Reishi and Turkey Tail, used for centuries for their healing and regenerative properties, helping to boost immune defences.