We all hear the phrase “there is so much going around!” and this year that couldn’t be closer to the truth, after being locked away for almost a year, our immune systems are definitely taking a beating in 2023, now we’re being exposed to germs, coughs and colds we haven’t seen for a while!
We care deeply about our bodies here at Wedoyoga and thought we should share a few ways we’ve learnt to care for your immune system.
It’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? Eating well is arguably the most important part of your immune system, in some cultures they look at people’s gut health before they go on to diagnose anything else! Eat Foods Containing Nutrients Essential for the Immune System, for example Vitamin C is in lots of fruit and vegetables, the more colourful, the better! Eating probiotic foods such as yogurt or kefir and prebiotic foods like garlic, onions and leeks. You can always pop into the shop for one of our lovely juices!
2. Good Sleep Hygiene
Make sure you’re getting your z’s! Sleep research (L Besedovsky2012 - National Institutes of Health) has found that the deepest levels of sleep correspond with an increase in the production of important immune system cells that fight infection.
Lack of sleep causes stress which lowers the immune system and puts the body under duress.
Tips to help you improve your sleep hygiene:
- Leave your devices in another room, put social media on hold at least a few hours before bed time.
- Reading a lovely book!
- Meditate or practice yoga before bedtime.
- Try not to eat a heavy meal right before bedtime.
- Chamomile tea!
- There are lots of sleep meditations and sounds out there to explore, pop them on and let them drift you off to sleep.
- Eye masks are a lovely addition to a bedtime regime.
3. Exercise Regularly - Take Up Yoga & Meditation
When you exercise this aids the body in producing anti-inflammatory immune cells and circulates them through the bloodstream. Some exercises, particularly yoga, engage the lymphatic system, which has a great job of removing toxins and dead cells from your tissues. Research studies have found a correlation between regular exercise and the number of incidences a person has of viral infections being fewer and less severe in symptoms than those who do not exercise regularly (National Institutes of Health). Regular, moderate exercise is strongly linked to a healthier immune response.
4. Reducing Stress
Stress can reduce the number of lymphocytes in the body, which help to fight infection and are needed to fight viruses (American Psychological Association). Stress can invoke an inflammatory response from the immune system, this can be temporarily beneficial for fighting germs. However, if inflammation and stress is persistent then it can contribute to chronic diseases, including the buildup of plaque which can lead to heart diseases.
Some of the ways in which you can reduce stress; take up yoga and meditation, sleeping well as aforementioned, getting outside for a walk, and talking to friends and family.
5. Herbal Remedies: Echinacea + Honey
Some research suggests that echinacea contains active substances that boost immune function, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. 'Echinacea does indeed exhibit immune stimulating properties as shown by its effects on the cells of the innate immune system.' (University of nottingham).
Yoga helps us to get in tune with our bodies and honour the feelings that arise, the needs and limits of our bodies.
Give some of these tips a try and let us know how you get on avoiding colds, and looking after your general wellbeing this spring!
Written by: Brioney Russ