Often, when we start noticing signs that our immune system is under strain, we want to know what to "take". We usually just want to stop the symptoms without taking into account what our body may be telling us.
A sniffle, an itchy throat, a sensitive gut, an annoying headache, a skin eruption or even acne is often the body's subtle way of communicating that something isn't quite right. The message will most probably not be the same for all of us but there will always be a message we can extract.
Too often it is time-consuming, inconvenient or annoying to deal with the message of the body and we feel the overwhelming pressure to continue our busy, non-stop lifestyles that are not so empathetic to our actual needs!
So before we run to pick up a natural or pharmaceutical "quick fix" -- which are also absolutely valuable and wonderful healing tools! -- what can we actually do to bring our body back into balance?
When our body is in balance with our environment, mental state and physical resources it will thrive in a plane of health and vitality! We will feel it.
"Prevention is better than cure!"
Here are some easy tips.
1. Stop eating sugar
Do not consume sugar! We have heard it before but it is really true. Sugar will hijack your immune system and drain it of its resources.
I would advise you to have a good look at your daily diet (write a meal diary with everything you eat in it). See how much sugar you are consuming in the form of regular processed sugar as well as fruit sugars and other alternatives, like honey, fructose, sodas, factory-made foods. We consume more sugar than we need and far more than is healthy for us these days!
Sugar has been linked to several chronic diseases. It can actually react in our gut to cause gaps in our digestive system that cause bigger molecules to get through and create allergic reactions and immune responses that cause illness and imbalance!
2. Cut down on carbs
Have a look at your diet (again!). Be conscious of when and how often you are consuming refined carbohydrates. Processed white flours are present in pies, pizzas, pasta, cakes, breads and so many factory-made foods. Be aware that these processed carbs break down to become sugar in your body and cause all the toxicity as mentioned above. You need to keep an eye on how many potatoes you consume too.
Replace these carbs with sweet potato and whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa.
Try to eat home-cooked meals as far as possible in order to avoid the preservatives, stabilisers, fillers and packaging added into shop-made food.
3. Do not do activities that drain you
You know when you are busy doing something and you become aware that you really do not enjoy it, you are feeling drained, unenthusiastic and discontent. You notice you become more frustrated with your loved ones, you are more moody, anxious, unhappy. You feel forced and coerced, stuck in a system that goes against your gut.
Pay attention to these feelings!
They are telling you important messages. If your daily schedule is filled with activities that take your life instead of giving you life you can become unbalanced, unhappy and your body will start shouting messages at you for a change!
4. Do eat a rainbow!
Eat foods from as many different natural colour sources as possible! They fill our bodies with health and vitality, raw and organic energy. Our body can receive messages from the nutrients that we get from food grown in nature. It cannot decipher chemical-packed food.
By eating natural foods, vegetables, fruits, grains and greens from a variety of natural sources and colours we are giving our body a balance of nutrients and medicine that it can use, heal and thrive from!
Eat loads of greens!
Organic is even better. Greens extract the energy from the sun with the minerals in the plant to give us vigour and enhance our bodily functions.
5. Get a good night's sleep
Our bodies need to rest. I believe everyone is different, with different needs at different times. Make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep for you and you are not feeling tired, drained, exhausted on waking or through the day.
Having a rhythmical schedule of sleep, with no lights on, in the dark daily (or rather nightly) will support our body to be at its optimum.
I empathise with women (like me) who are moms of small babies; and having worked in the past in a hospital with several night calls a week (and now as a homebirth doctor) I also feel for those with irregular schedules. But I notice this need even more and emphasise the importance of regular sleep on our health. So if our situations are difficult, I would highly recommend becoming creative and calling on support to ensure we have the sleep we need.
6. Do things you enjoy
This is the opposite of number 3 and I include it again to emphasise the importance of navigating your life and your daily activities, your work, your family and environment in a way that you are feeling nourished, happy and content from it.
If something in your life is dragging you down, if you feel trapped in a corner, if you are being mistreated at work or want to do something else... find a way to make it happen! Naturally there will be things we don't like to do but it should be in a healthy balance that does not sap our enthusiasm. Overall, our day should be filled with activities and interactions that feed our health and inspiration.
You deserve it!
And a bonus for you! Don't forget the power of gratitude!
Gratitude lifts our spirits and puts us in a mode of receiving love and vitality!
Make it a daily practice to consciously be aware of what you are grateful for each day. Read my blog on receiving gratitude here.
And, finally, there are several amazing and powerful natural sources of herbs and supplements that can genuinely enhance your body's environment and capacity for healing and vitality. But for the best results, try to incorporate the lifestyle changes I've listed above first.
With healing blessings,
Dr Gauri Lowe.
Visit my website here.
Gierloff, Maryann J., "Positive Emotions and Immune Respose to Influenza in Medically Stable Older Adults" (2012). Dissertations. Paper 302.
Nature Reviews Immunology 4, 457-467 (June 2004) Sick and tired: does sleep have a vital role in the immune system? Penelope A. Bryant1, John Trinder2 & Nigel Curtis1