As simple as it sounds, sleep really does help keep your immune system up and fighting! Research shows that even if you are marginally sleep-deprived your resistance to viruses declines dramatically. A certain study revealed that immune cells that stalk viral infections dropped by 30% in people who got just slightly less sleep that usual in a single night.
Getting outdoors doesn't only help boost you mood, it can also help boost your immune system. Sitting, walking or running outside is very beneficial for the immune system, especially woods in particular as this will help boost your gut microbiome. At Lifehouse, we have 130 acres of Essex countryside for you to explore.
The power of three
As a prevention, echinacea, vitamin C and zinc are all useful herbs and supplements to take on a daily basis to keep your immune system buoyed up.
Echinacea is best taken in liquid form on the tongue to help activate the immune enhancing properties. Take up to three times a day.
Vitamin C can be taken in supplement form. As soon as you notice symptoms, start taking 200mg of vitamin C on the hour to bowel tolerance (stop when you experience diaorrhea). The addition of bioflavonoids (plant-derived compounds with potent antioxidant power) enhances the effectiveness of vitamin C.
Vitamin C rich foods include kiwi fruit, blackcurrants, oranges, lemons, green vegetables, potatoes and tomatoes.
Zinc lozenges are useful to keep sore throats at bay.
Manuka honey from New Zealand is scientifically proven to contain immune boosting properties and the potency is ranked from 5+ to 20+.
Opt for 5+ for general maintenance and increase to 20+ if you are fighting a serious infection such as flu.
All honey has immune boosting properties so if you don’t have Manuka any honey will have health benefits. A great way to ingest honey is with fresh lemon and freshly grated ginger in warm water in the morning.
More studies are revealing the importance of gut bacteria and the role it plays with our immune system. Keep your levels topped up by eating natural bio-yoghurt 3-4 times a week or take a good quality supplement that contains varied strains of beneficial bacteria that can thrive and survive stomach acid. Take first thing in the morning with breakfast. If you take antibiotics always take probiotics on the same day two hours apart to mitigate damage to your important gut flora.
There are many herbs that can help stimulate and boost the immune systems or help fight viruses. Sue shares some of the top immune boosting herbs below!
Stimulates the immune system and has compounds that can kill viruses. As soon as you feel symptoms, take 125mg of goldenseal extract (on its own or with 200mg Echinacea) four times a day for five days.
Has been used for centuries to fight viruses. Take 20-30 drops of tincture three to four times daily for three days.
Ancient Chinese herb that stimulates the immune system. Take one 200mg capsule twice a day until you recover.
Compounds of allicin and allin kill germs and release natural killer cells. A dose of neat garlic can fight viruses. Eat a raw clove daily and include in your daily cooking. Capsules are useful to avoid garlic breath. Take 400 – 600mg three times a day with food.
Known as Jewish penicillin scientists have discovered chicken soup can help prevent white blood cells from triggering inflammation and congestion in the upper airways. Here's a simple recipe to make some delicious chicken soup.
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 kg carrots
- 1kg onions
- 4 crushed cloves of garlic
- Salt, pepper, parsley to taste
- Place chicken in a large pan and cover with water
- Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer
- Skim off any foam that rises
- Add chopped carrots & onions and simmer for 2-3 hours
- Top up water as necessary
- Crush garlic and add
- Season with salt and pepper and add parsley.
- Shred chicken and serve in bowls with the vegetables and delicious stock
- For a thicker soup remove and blend some of the vegetables and stir back in
(lasts 4-5 days covered in fridge)