Having sustained energy and a strong immune system is paramount to living a healthy, long lifestyle. Energy and immunity are super important at a baselines for allowing our body to have the ability to fight and recover from mild illnesses like colds and mild infections, to more acute illnesses and infections. Plus our energy and immune system allow us to get through our busy days with easy, comfort and the most important thing – enjoyment.
If you’re suffering from any of the below symptoms you may need to give you energy levels and immune system a natural kick:
- Lethargy and difficulty sleeping
- Frequent infections
- Common colds
- Wounds difficult to heal
- Low energy or feelings of overwhelm
- A feeling that there are not enough hours in the day
To help you get back on the path to strong sustained energy and a high functioning immune system we’ve put together our top 10 immune and energy boosting tips and tricks.
- Get enough shut eye
Sleep is incredibly important for energy and immunity. The Canadian Sleep Society recommends individuals get at least 6-9 hour of shuteye per night, if you’re getting less than this recommendation your body may be running on reserves and working much harder than it needs to. This affects your energy levels since your body is using all it has for it’s basic functioning without anything left for extra work, exercise, creativity or socializing.
Your immune system is affected due to a protein being released when your sleep. These proteins are called cytokines, and they are used by our body to help fight an infection or to combat inflammation. But since sleep deprivation equals less cytokines the results is a reduced ability for our body to fight illness.
- Take some golden turmeric
Turmeric is definitely doing the rounds in the health circles, and for excellent reason. The history of turmeric use date back to the ancient Ayurvedic healing of India to support increased overall lifestyle function. The modern day science of turmeric backs up the Ayurvedic tradition proving it as a super health spice that does everything from blocking the growth of pancreatic cancer to reducing inflammation.
Reducing inflammation is the key to building your energy and having great immunity. All disease in the body begins with inflammation. This inflammation requires your body’s energy to fight it, resulting in lower energy levels and immune issues.
Tests on the benefits of turmeric on inflammation were carried out in 2013 on a bunch of patients with an inflammatory bowel disease called quiescent ulcerative colitis. The group was split in half, with one half taking a placebo and the other taking turmeric supplements. Those with the placebo had a 20% relapse and flare up of the disease rate, whereas those that took the turmeric had only a 5% relapse/flare up rate! The modern science has confirmed the ancient tradition and health hype – turmeric can absolutely sky rocket your energy and immunity by significantly reducing inflammation.
- Lion’s Mane mushrooms to make you roar!
Organic Lion's Mane Mushroom, like most medicinal mushrooms, has a strong influence on immune function through its beta-glucan content. Beta-glucans are starches found in mushrooms, which, when taken orally, can increase the number of immune cells your body creates, such as TNF-alpha, natural killer cells, and lymphocytes. This means that the body is better able to fight viruses, colds, cases of flu, and even cancer cells. Additionally, a study carried out on mice showed that Lion’s Mane boosts gut bacteria which directly boosts immune function and results in increased, sustained energy.
- Chill out
Reducing external stress can boost our immune function and free up our energy for pursuing our life work and enjoying our leisure activity. When we are stressed our body releases a hormone called corticosteroid. This hormone reduces the effectiveness of the immune system to fight off infection and illness by reducing the amount of white blood cells in the body. White blood cells are extremely important for immune function and when they are not functioning optimally we are much more open to illness, including stress induced headaches, IBS and ulcers.
However reducing stress can be easier said than done. If you’re feeling constantly stressed, a great way to break the cycle is by first replacing unhealthy coping mechanisms with healthy coping mechanisms. Drinking alcohol, eating junky foods and engaging in unfulfilling social interactions may make us initially feel better but could be keeping us in our dangerous stress cycle. Instead try regularly attending a Yoga or group fitness class, doing a guided meditation or spending some time alone in nature.
- Eat your greens
Did you know that our immune system uses plants to activate gut protection? Although it seems like our skin is the first barrier between us and the world, in reality our greatest defense is our intestinal lining. This lining is made of a specific type of cell called ‘Intraepithelial lymphocytes’ which maintains the gut barrier plus defends against nasty pathogens. This means intraepithelial lymphocytes are actually our immune systems very own foot soldiers, their strength and cell count are paramount to staying healthy and having a high functioning immune system.
For those of us with low immunity and energy, the good news is that we can feed these soldiers easily! For years scientist were trying to discover what feeds intraepithelial lymphocytes. In 2011 the answer was found: broccoli! Well, all cruciferous veggies really. The study concluded that specific dietary compounds found at high levels in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and brussel sprouts are essential for sustaining immune function.
Stress, Illness and the Immune System