Get enough sleepSleep is a crucial factor when it comes to supporting our immune system. A healthy sleep cycle is closely linked to the functioning of our immune system - and in fact, research shows that sleep-deprived people can have suppressed immunity. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis, and avoid pulling any all-nighters. If you’re struggling to fall asleep, try diffusing essential oils like lavender, clary sage and chamomile 15 minutes before bed. Several studies have shown that lavender oil in particular can improve sleep quality. You can also create your own natural pillow spray, or add a couple of drops to your bed linen.
Manage your stress levelsOur mental state has a closely linked relationship to our physical health and wellbeing. When we’re stressed, our bodies produce cortisol. Prolonged elevation of cortisol can actually suppress our immune system, so it’s important to keep our stress levels in check. Need some help managing stress and anxiety? Try to incorporate a mindful meditation into your daily routine, practice slow, controlled breathing, diffuse calming essential oils like lavender, frankincense and sweet orange, or take a relaxing Himalayan salt bath soak to unwind.
Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich dietMaintaining a healthy diet packed with nutrients is another great way to support your immune system. Make sure you’re incorporating plenty of fresh fruit and veg into your diet, with a focus on foods that are rich in Vitamin C (like broccoli, kale, orange, papaya), Vitamin E (nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables), Vitamin B6 (poultry, fish, wholegrains and eggs) and Zinc (meat, legumes and dairy). You should also try to cut down on alcohol and sugar, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Maintain an active lifestyleRegular exercise is essential to healthy living, and can therefore contribute to a healthy immune system. In particular, exercise promotes good circulation which can allow the cells of the immune system to move through the body and do their job efficiently. Try to incorporate some form of movement into your daily routine - whether that’s a morning walk, bike ride or yoga session.
Maintain good personal hygieneIt goes without saying that maintaining a high level of personal hygiene will help you avoid catching infections during cold and flu season. Make sure you wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water, and avoid touching your face where possible.
Use natural antimicrobials
Foods and essential oils with antimicrobial properties are also thought to help support a healthy immune system. Consider incorporating some manuka honey and raw garlic into your diet, and diffuse antimicrobial essential oils like oregano oil daily.
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