A Natural Boost

How to boost your immunity naturally  

The immune system is our body’s very own defence mechanism to fight off infections and illness. Symptoms that we might have when we feel unwell such as a runny nose or a fever is actually our immune system in action. But what steps can you take to boost your immune system? 

If you want to have a healthy immune system, Achieve Australia’s Organisational Clinical Nurse Educator, Abha Phillips says there are some simple lifestyle changes that we can make to help our body respond. “When we are healthy, our blood circulation is very good,” says Abha. “This means that our blood is carrying all the cells around our body that will help fight illness and infections.”  

With more than 40 years’ experience in intensive care, paediatrics, neonatology and aged care nursing, Abha has now brought her extensive knowledge to the disability sector. At Achieve Australia, she works closely with teams from across the organisation to help support clients in maintaining their health and wellbeing.  

Abha says there are some myths out there about immunity. You may hear people say to wear a jumper when it’s cold so you don’t get sick, but that’s not the reason we see more colds in winter,” explains Abha. “The cold itself does not make you sick, but some viruses get prominent in this weather and we see more infections.” 

“When the weather is cooler, we are also inside more and closer to other people,” says Abha. This means we are more likely to pass on infections to each other.  

While some complex disabilities, existing diseases, or aging may also impact the way our immune system functions, there are some natural lifestyle factors that can help  

Tips to help boost your immune system naturally  

  1. Maintain a balanced diet and healthy weight Choose a balanced diet with lots of vegetables and fruit which are high in nutrients and antioxidants. Spices and herbs such as garlic, ginger, cinnamon and turmeric are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is also best to avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake.  
  2. Exercise regularly Any type of exercise or movement that feels good for you will get your blood pumping and help to strengthen muscles. Gentle or moderate regular exercise also helps to improve mood, memory and sleep 
  3. Get a good night’s sleep Quality sleep is vital for a healthy body and mind. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you find it hard to sleep, establish a regular sleep pattern and limit electronic devices 30 minutes before bed.  
  4. Infection control Wash your hands often and clean household surfaces regularly. Avoid close contact with people who may be sick and cover coughs or sneezes.   
  5. Reduce stress Practicing yoga, meditation, tai chi or listening to music can all help manage stress. You may also like to talk about how you feel with someone you trust. Find out what works best for you.  

While we may not think about mental health and its impact on the immune system, Abha says it plays an important role to our general health and wellbeing. “If people are feeling anxious, stressed or unhappy, the physical body may also suffer,” says Abha. “We may notice more illness or aches and pains than usual, so it’s important to always remember to look after our mental health.”  

In other words boosting your immune system naturally is more than just about healthy eating, it’s also about balance and harmony in both body and mind.  

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