Top 5 Immune Boosting Habits Part 2

Immune Support Series Part 2: Top 5 Immune Boosting Lifestyle Habits

Don’t underestimate the effect that small everyday habits have on your overall health. Start implementing these strategies over the next few weeks to keep your immune system in tip top shape all year round!

Top 5 Immune Boosting Lifestyle Habits

1) Hygiene
You’ve heard it before and i’m saying it again. Proper hand washing is the best thing you can do to prevent spreading bugs! Wash your hands well, wash your hands often. You should be washing after coughing/sneezing/blowing your nose, before handling and eating food, whenever you return home from an outing. Warm water and mild soap is best – avoid “antibacterial” soaps and sanitizers. Use a gentle, natural soap to avoid over drying of the skin, and avoid products with SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) as it is irritant to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Check out The Environmental Working Group to see how your soap and other hygiene products check out!

2) Hydration
Our mucous membranes are the first line of defence against invading pathogens, so it only makes sense that supporting healthy mucous membranes is essential to boosting immunity – and staying hydrated is the best and easiest way to do this!! Aim for 2 litres per day of water or herbal tea. If you’re a coffee drinker, add in an extra cup of water for each cup of coffee you drink.

3) Sleep
Sleep is ESSENTIAL for your immune system to function optimally. If you aren’t sleeping, you’re at an increased risk of not only a poorly functioning immune system, but also heart disease, high blood pressure, weight gain, diabetes, inflammation, and more.

If it takes you longer than 20 minutes to fall asleep, if you wake up frequently throughout the night or struggle to fall back asleep, or if you don’t feel refreshed despite sleeping at least 6-8 hours…then you NEED to prioritize getting your sleep back on track! You don’t expect your phone to work when the battery is dead, why should your body be any different?

If this sounds like you, get started today with these SLEEP HYGIENE tips!

4) Stress Reduction 
Elevated levels of cortisol (our main stress hormone) can suppress the immune system leading to increased risk of catching a virus such as the cold or flu. Of course eliminating the source of stress is always best, but in case you can’t quit your job and spend your days laying on the beach without a care in the world, try this instead…(and if you can quit your job and move to the beach, please bring me with you!)

You can call it whatever you like – meditation, mindfulness, breathing, etc. – but take 5 minutes every day to slow down. I like the 5 minute guided breathing exercise on the app “Breethe” – click HERE to try it now. Practicing deep breathing has IMMEDIATE cortisol lowering effectsBonus: it can also help to lower blood pressure!

5) Hydrotherapy
In the most basic sense, hydrotherapy is the application of water to induce a therapeutic effect (think applying ice or heat to an injury or sore muscle). 

By alternating the application of hot and cold temperatures to the body or an area of the body, we can stimulate and up-regulate the flow of lymph and blood circulation. This means we are increasing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues throughout the body, while increasing removal of waste products.

My favourite way to do this at home? CONTRAST SHOWERS! During your next shower, turn the temperature as hot as you can handle for 90 seconds then as cold as you can handle for 30 seconds. Repeat this 3-5 times, ending on cold. Voila!

Author Dr. Melanie Craig ND

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