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SELF-CARE THAT STRENGTHENS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

September 23, 2021

Need more reason to practice self-care? Although consciously making daily space for taking care of yourself can make some people feel guilty or self-centered, the heart of self-care, as we see it at Just Add Water®, is to fuel you to be able to serve your purpose. 

Plus, ritualistic “me time” is not only important to your brain health, hormonal health, and gut health, it is also essential to a strong immune system. Healthy self-care practices typically reduce stress and inflammation, help balance hormones, and lead you to make healthier choices - all of this is massively beneficial to your immune system. 

How can you improve your immune system?  Your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails - a germ invades and makes you sick. Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy overall lifestyle. Here are specific self-care tips that strengthen your immune system:

Natural Lifestyle Tips For A Strong Immune System

Get Vitamin D (Especially In The Fall and Winter)

Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble steroid hormones primarily produced in the skin in response to UVB radiation from sunlight. It helps control infections and reduce inflammation. From our bone health, to skin health, to immune health - the Vitamin D we get from sunlight exposure is required for our organ systems. About 10% comes from food, and about 90% comes from being in sunlight. 

While too much sunshine can be bad for your skin health, getting about 30 minutes of sun on your skin without sunscreen is extremely beneficial to your skin’s immune system. Getting Vitamin D from sunshine during the fall and winter months can boost your mood and give cause for you to exercise. Make it a part of your weekly routine to take nature walks, jog, ride a bike, or do some yoga, weights, or a bodyweight workout in a safe, sunny area. 


Move Your Body 

If you haven’t made exercise a priority in your self-care routine, now is the time! Brisk walking and moderate daily exercise are imperative to your overall health. Exercising produces anti-inflammatory cytokines in your body, increases cellular repair and blood circulation that help your immune system. Moving your body daily for 30 minutes and maintaining an energetic lifestyle accelerates antibody and white blood cell circulation, clears bacteria from your lungs, and slows down the release of stress hormones, which impair immune function. 


Essential Oils

Essential oils are effective as preventative medicine and promoting a healthy, natural lifestyle. Cleansing the air of your space with essential oils can help defend your body against toxins and bacteria. Eucalyptus, Ginger, Oregano, Copaiba, and Frankincense are known as oils that boost your immune health, according to scientific studies. You can ingest or diffuse oils and even try using essential oils when cleaning your home to reduce toxicity. 


Deep Breathing Exercises 

Every system in your body relies on oxygen. We don’t have conscious control over many of the daily systemic processes our body goes through that keep us healthy and alive - but one of the most important functions that we can control is our breathing.  Deep breathing sends fresh oxygen through your body, charging your cells and cleansing your body as you exhale. 

It’s safe to say that chronic low-level stress is being experienced by more people around the world on a day-to-day basis. One way to combat this steady release of cortisol and the corresponding elevated heart rates, is to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system with deep breathing. 

One simple breathing exercise to start with this week:

Take four long deep breaths, inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds through your mouth.

FUN FACT ABOUT BREATHING: Did you know that when you “burn fat” the fat you’re burning leaves your body through your breath?

Self Care Routine That Strengthens Immune System

Prioritize Rest 

One of the most important factors in our healthy habits for sanity and our immune system is GOOD SLEEP.  Sleep deprivation has been linked to immune system failure, diabetes, cancer, obesity, depression, and memory loss. Just sleeping poorly for one night can result in faster aging of your skin, storing extra body fat, and your body being as insulin-resistant as that of a type-2 diabetic. 


It takes more than 8 hours in the bed for your body to digest, recover, and repair cells. Here is a guide to optimizing your sleep quality and creating a routine to get better rest to improve your immune system functionality. 

Meditation 

Have you heard of body scan meditation? This type of meditation is a good method to release tension you might not even realize you're experiencing. Body scanning involves paying attention to parts of the body and bodily sensations in a gradual sequence from feet to head. By mentally scanning yourself, you bring awareness to every single part of your body, noticing any aches, pains, tension, or general discomfort. 

Body scan meditation is associated with many mental and physical health benefits. Research shows that stress reduction is one of the primary benefits of body scan meditation, which in turn can have physical benefits, which includes reducing inflammation, fatigue, and insomnia.


Choosing Foods That Support Immune Health

Having a strong immune system is vital right now. One of the most important things we can do to stay healthy is keep our body strong with nutrient dense whole foods. Some immune boosting foods include: red bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, citrus fruits, ginger, garlic, green tea, and fatty fish.

Here are some super greens that are rich in vitamins and minerals like Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium & more:

 

  • Kale⠀
  • Spinach⠀
  • Watercress⠀
  • Leeks⠀
  • Cabbage⠀
  • Brussels Sprouts⠀
  • Broccoli⠀
  • Romaine ⠀

Super Greens To Boost Immune System Strength

Here are a few of our favorite orange-colored whole foods that support a stronger immune system. 

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar : contains prebiotics that help to balance your microbiome, contains antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, lowers bacteria associated with inflammatory health problems and leaky-gut syndrome.
  2. Sweet Potato - contains antioxidants and fiber that aid the gut, antioxidants in purple sweet potatoes encourage the growth of gut-healthy bacteria
  3. Sauerkraut and kimchi - great source of fermented gut-friendly bacteria, fiber, vitamins B, C and K and contains sodium, iron, and manganese.
  4. Mango - high fiber, reduces inflammation in the gut, contains bacteria that promotes a healthy metabolism
  5. Papaya - rich in digestive enzymes that ease IBS, bloating, and constipation
  6. Ginger - accelerates & improves digestive system, eases stomach discomfort

Just Add Water® Self-Care 

Research is proving how interconnected the systems in our bodies are and how they affect one another. Your digestive system, endocrine system, and nervous system all send messages to your immune system. When you are under chronic stress, your endocrine and reproductive system disrupt the functionality of your immune health. One way to balance your hormones, which helps to improve the strength of your immune system, is to add adaptogens to your diet. A powerful adaptogen, Lucuma, is one of our star ingredients. 

What do you know about adaptogens? Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that help the body resist stressors of all kinds. Lucuma is an adaptogenic super fruit with a long list of immune-supporting attributes and benefits:

  • Antioxidant rich
  • Full of a unique combo of vitamins and minerals - rich in phosphorus
  • Antimicrobial & Anti-fungal
  • Skin Health Benefits
  • Aids digestion
  • Helps balance hormones

Final Thoughts 

Self-care is important for holistic health. Your body's systems are so interconnected that what you do to bring balance and vitality to one will likely have a positive effect on another. From your gut health, to hormonal health, to your mental health, to your immune system, a few simple lifestyle changes and mindful eating practices can protect your body physically and mentally from the world we live in today.

 





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NUTRITION MATTERS

Staying home and staying healthy with proper nutrition is essential. We hope to simplify your self-care efforts to stay safe with our superfood, gut-healing, immune system supporting packets.