How To Improve Your Immune System Naturally

How To Improve Your Immune System Naturally

Here at Naturisimo, your health and wellbeing is one of our biggest passions. So in a year when we have all been extra conscious of our health, we’re more driven than ever to provide you with the best support and most effective products for keeping you and your family well.

We’re therefore delighted to have recently partnered with registered nutritionist Kelly Mulhall to bring you some expert advice on diet, sleep and boosting your immune system. Kelly focuses on physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise.

Having personally struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, Kelly sought help from a nutritionist and after implementing healthier eating habits, she saw such a drastic improvement in her symptoms that she decided to change careers and train to become a nutritionist herself. She now focuses on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations.

Here, Kelly shares some of her wisdom, as well as her top picks for a healthier, happier you.

How to build a strong immune system

Detoxify Your Body

“Having a body detox and body cleanse is a great way to give your immune system a boost. The easiest way to do this is by removing inflammatory items such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar and processed foods and replacing them with as many colours of fruits and vegetables as possible.”

Foods to Boost Immune System

“You will be providing your immune system with all the essential nutrients to keep it strong and fend off bacteria, viruses and infections. Aim for 2-3 fruits and 7-8 vegetables per day, with at least 20-30 different varieties per week. The more variety means the more diverse bacteria for your gut flora and higher levels of protective phytochemicals. Since 70% of your immune system is in the gut, it’s crucial that the gut is functioning properly. Onions and garlic are some of the best superfoods to boost the immune system. Incorporate them into your diet, and consider adding a super greens mix like WelleCo’s Super Elixir Greens Mix to your smoothies for an extra immune boost.”

Importance of Gut Health

“IBS is one of the biggest problems affecting the immune system. It's also directly correlated with hormonal imbalance, causing issues like hormonal acne. Getting the gut functioning properly is the first line of action, and using a clarifying cleanser can help keep on top of breakouts while you heal the gut.”

Hydration and Vitamin D

“Drink 2 litres of water a day to stay hydrated and help flush out toxins and wastes. Herbal, non-caffeinated tea counts towards this target. Low levels of Vitamin D have been detected in people with weak immune systems. Mushrooms, oily fish, and eggs are good food sources, but it’s important to get a top-up in the winter months. Consider a supplement like Viridian’s Liquid Vitamin D3.”

Exercise and Immune System

“Regular exercise helps prevent serious illnesses like heart disease and high blood pressure, and it helps you control your weight. Exercise also boosts your immune system by improving blood flow, making it work better. So, try to exercise often to stay healthy!”

Supplements for Immune System

  • Vitamin C: Known for its antioxidant properties, Vitamin C helps support the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections.
  • Vitamin D: Plays a crucial role in regulating the immune system and reducing inflammation. Adequate levels of Vitamin D have been associated with lower rates of respiratory infections.
  • Zinc: The immune system heavily relies on zinc which can be found in various foods like chickpeas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and shellfish. Consider a high-potency multivitamin like Terranova’s Living Multinutrient to ensure you're getting enough zinc.
  • Probiotics: These beneficial bacteria help maintain a healthy balance of gut flora, which is closely linked to immune function. Probiotics can enhance the body's immune response and reduce the risk of infections.

The effect of stress on the immune system

Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. Stress hormones like cortisol can suppress immune function, leaving you vulnerable to infections. Magnesium plays a crucial role in stress management by regulating cortisol levels and promoting relaxation. Incorporating magnesium-rich foods like nuts, seeds, and leafy greens into your diet, or taking a magnesium supplement can help support your immune system during stressful times.

The importance of sleep for your immune system

You may not realise it but sleep and immunity go hand in hand. Trouble sleeping is often caused by stress, anxiety and worries. When the body is under mental or physical stress it releases cortisol and adrenaline and these stress hormones reduce the effectiveness of your immune system. If you are getting more than 1-2 coughs and colds per year, it would indicate that you need to give your immune system that little bit of extra support and learn to manage your stress levels.

Is sleep good for your immune system?

Practicing good sleep hygiene is the most important way to overcome poor sleep. And because sleep is the time when our immune system kicks into action you need to make sure you are getting a solid 7-8 hours a night. If you follow my top daily routines for good sleep, I guarantee you will be sleeping like a baby in no time!

Top Tips for Good Sleep and a Strong Immune System

Remove Blue Lights Screens

Remove all blue light from screens 1 hour before bed. Blue light blocks melatonin release from the pineal gland which is the hormone which helps you sleep.

Indulge in a Relaxing Bubble Bath

If you have time, indulge in a relaxing bubble bath, listen to some music and just float your stress away (I love Neal’s Yard Remedies Aromatic Bath Bubbles for this!)

Deep Breathing

Spend 2-3 minutes deep breathing when you get into bed. Follow a pattern of breathing in for 4, holding for 4 and exhaling for 4. This will instantly put the nervous system in the rest and digest state, slow the heart rate and reduce your stress levels.

Prepare the Bedroom for Sleep

Dim the lights 30 minutes before you go to sleep. I then either light a candle or use some Neom De-Stress Essential Oil in my diffuser to create a calming space.

“So there you have it! My top tips of how to sleep better which will improve your immune system.”

Kelly Mulhall
Registered Nutritional Therapist
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