10 ways to spring your way to better immunity
Are coughs and colds circling the office? To prevent you having to raid the tissues and feeling as though your head is pounding and all you want to do is curl up and hide under your duvet, check out these top immunity boosters, recommended by the experts.
1. Balance your way to better health
“If you keep your immune system well-nourished with a healthy, balanced diet, you can literally ‘eat yourself well’. Nutrients are needed for every part of your immune system, and for renewal, repair and defence against infection and illness, so its strength will depend on the quality of your diet. No single food can provide all the essential nutrients that your body needs, and any kind of nutritional deficiency may lead to more frequent and prolonged illnesses. It is therefore important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet that provides an adequate intake of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre,” explains Marilyn.
2. Kick-start your immunity with Kiwi fruits
“Of all fruits, kiwis come out as one of the highest in vitamin C – often better than oranges. I always stock up on kiwi fruits if I’m coming down with a cold or trying to get over one,” explains Cassandra.
3. It’s good to eat garlic
“Add a touch of immune-boosting magic to your diet by using garlic. Garlic has been used for centuries and is known for its protective properties. Acting as a powerful immune booster that stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells, garlic boosts natural killer-cell activity and increases the efficiency of antibody production,” says Marilyn.
4. Perk up your immunity with a physical touch
“A rub, a hug and a passing touch all decrease the level of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. Cortisol decreases your immune response, so snuggle up to a loved one and enjoy the immune boosting properties of an embrace!” explains Cassandra.
5. Don’t be too obsessed about germs
“We need some exposure to germs to actually build our immune system. Of course, we need to be sensible, with measures such as washing our hands fairly regularly – especially when exposed to germs, and avoiding spreading germs where we can. But avoid overusing anti-bacterial gels, wipes and sprays, as they can actually weaken your immune system and make you more prone to catching a bug when you are exposed to one,” explains Cassandra.
6. Put your health first with Pilates
“Recent studies have shown that Pilates exercise has a direct and indirect positive impact on immune functions and on the lymphatic system. Pilates helps with enhancing breathing patterns, the general joint range of motion, cardiovascular pump and muscle activation. All of these benefits combined together contribute to support your general health and wellbeing and therefore affect our immune systems as well. There isn’t a specific move that achieves this; just regular, consistent and bespoke Pilates training,” explains Eleonora Sansoni, Osteopath and Pilates Instructor at the new holistic wellness boutique, Maître of Thyme (www.maitreofthyme.com).
7. Help your immunity by keeping hydrated
“Your immune system also relies on water. It carries nutrients to your cells, carries waste and toxins away from your cells and out of your body, keeps body temperature stable, protects joints and keeps the lining of your mouth hydrated and moist, reducing susceptibility to colds. Drinking plenty of water will also help your body deliver nutrients, flush out waste and dilute mucus, helping eliminate bacteria and viruses that can make you ill,” explains Marilyn.
8. Get over that illness with oysters
“Oysters are super-high in zinc, a crucial mineral for our immune system. In fact, they’re rich in a plethora of immune-supporting nutrients including selenium, vitamin B12, iron and vitamin A. However, if you can’t stand the thought of these slippery molluscs, then beef and lamb are good sources of zinc, as are pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds,” suggests Cassandra.
9. Mix up the temperature of your shower
“A simple way to boost your immunity is to change the temperature of the water to either hot or cold every two minutes in the shower. This works by increasing two types of white blood cells called Monocytes and Lymphocytes. The immune system is stimulated by your body trying to warm itself up from the cold water, while switching to hot water every now and then stimulates your body’s detoxification system. The fewer toxins we have in our body, the more your immune system is better able to deal with bacteria and viruses,” explains Cassandra.
10. Say yes to yoga
“Yoga helps to lower stress hormones that compromise the immune system. Also, conditioning the lungs and respiratory tract will help oust the toxins,” explains Maija Kivelä, Yoga instructor at the new holistic wellness boutique, Maître of Thyme (www.maitreofthyme.com).