“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” —Buddha
If you were to study your immune system – the way your body defends itself from attack – you would see proteins, cells and organs working together to fight off unwanted intruders.
In the main, people are with born intact immune systems and develop a stronger immune system as we grow older and gain greater exposure to toxins, viruses, bacteria and fungi.
- You’ve been diagnosed with cancer, particularly blood cancers like leukaemia, and are having chemotherapy
- You have a chronic disease such as diabetes, hepatitis or kidney disease
- You have a congenital disorder such as Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy or cystic fibrosis
- You’re living with an autoimmune disease which often mean your immune system is overactive
- You’re taking some medications, including corticosteroids
- Being unwell frequently
- Ailments such as frequent headaches or migraines
Other factors also come in to play in affecting your immune system:
- Spending too little time in the sun, and not having enough Vitamin D (this is definitely an issue in the UK)
- Having a sedentary lifestyle – not moving around enough every day
- Aging, being pregnant or being obese
- Using antibiotics
- Feeling isolated and lonely
- Poor nutrition, smoking and drinking too much
- Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
- Overtraining and the wrong types of training
- Environmental pollutants
- Lack of emotional resilience
But what can you do if you feel like your immune system is weaker than you’d like? We think the answer is simple: start by being kind to yourself and others.
- You are what you eat so make sure you’re supporting your immune system with everything you put in your mouth. Please be kind to yourself and eat whole foods and a nutrient dense diet.
- Up your intake of protein, especially plant based proteins like nuts, seeds and legumes. You can also try tempeh and tofu from non GMO soy as that has extremely high protein concentrations
- Refined sugars supress your immune system for hours after you eat them so avoid sugar and refined starches and watch your overall health improve
- Remember to eat colourful fruits and vegetables – particularly leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, peppers, sweet potatoes and squashes. These are packed with nutrients which support your immune system. When you’re making soups, sauces, dips and vegetable dishes, cook with onions, ginger, garlic and loads of spices. These have great properties and taste delicious too
- Put probiotics on your shopping list as they will support your immunity. Look out for sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, kimchi, miso and unsweetened yogurt as well as prebiotic food like asparagus, plantains, flax seeds, seaweed, bananas and apples
- Drink plenty of pure water and other fluids, especially soups and broths. Cook from scratch if you can. Choose ginger and turmeric tea but avoid concentrated fruit juices and other sugary drinks
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep – ideally seven or eight hours a night. If you find it hard to destress, try mindfulness, yoga, active relaxation and breathing techniques throughout the day
- Exercise when you are feeling well but avoid if you feel run down. Try for 30 – 45 minutes per day
- Create a toxic and electropollution- free house environment as much as possible!
- Build emotional resilience through meditation and other heart-based techniques
- Spend time in nature every day
- Stay connected with the people you love
- Learn to breath and oxygenate your body properly by retraining your respiratory centre
Be kind to others
“The ultimate source of a happy life is warm-heartedness. This means extending to others the kind of concern we have for ourselves. On a simple level we find that if we have a compassionate heart we naturally have more friends. And scientists today are discovering that while anger and hatred eat into our immune system, warm-heartedness and compassion are good for our health.” – Dalai Lama
We’ve long known that you receive when you give, and that wonderful feeling of love, affection, warmth and connection produces so-called kindness hormones.
Research has shown that oxytocin (a kindness hormone) is tied to making us more friendly, trusting and generous as well as lowering our blood pressure and giving our hormone levels a boost.
Scientists have found that when you’re doing more kindnesses, you’ll be less stressed. Even experiencing stress in these times kindness helps build resilience and takes the edge off.
So, as a starting step, be kind to yourself and be kind to others and watch your immune system get stronger every day.
If you found this article useful and would like to find out how to incorporate some of the advice in your daily life, you can book a FREE 20 minute telephone consultation on this link.