Boosting the Immune System Naturally

A healthy immune system protects our bodies from threats in the environment.  We are bombarded with chemicals and toxins in our food, water, household products, personal care products and even in the air we breathe.  These exposures can wreak havoc on our immune system. Most of the time, we don’t think about our immune system until we feel sick. We just don’t have time to feel under the weather!  Being sick means loss days from work and school, copays to the doctor, and expensive medications (many times unnecessary ones).

So what can we do to boost our immune system and avoid issues with our health?  

Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Get enough sleep and minimize stress.  Sleep deprivation and excessive stress will suppress immune function.
  2. Exercise daily.  Exercise is a natural way to rid your body of toxins through sweating.  Aim for 30 minutes of a sweat session daily.
  3. Drink less alcohol.  Alcohol can impair the immune system and dehydrate you.  Instead, drink up to a gallon of water per day or half your body weight in ounces per day.
  4. Eat high antioxidant foods such as berries, ginger and carrots.  
  5. Get some sun.  Sun triggers the production of vitamin D.  Low vitamin D levels correlate with a greater risk of respiratory infection.  Take a Vitamin D supplement in the winter months.
  6. Wash hands often.  This habit will drastically reduce the chances of getting sick.  Be sure to use soap that is not filled with chemicals and toxins.  Using a simple castile soap and a few drops of tea tree oil (aka melaleuca) is all that is needed.
  7. Take probiotics.  Probiotics help with a healthy gut flora.  Be sure to use a high quality brand.
  8. Use pure essential oils to boost your immunity.  Essential oils are immunostimulants. They can support the immune system so it can do what it is intended to do which is fight infections and keep us healthy!

Here are my top picks for essential oils that can support your immune system:

  1. Frankincense – known as the “king of essential oils, frankincense can stimulate the immune system by promoting the production of white blood cells and reducing inflammation.  Take 1-2 drops internally or apply 2 drops each day to the bottoms of feet.  You can also apply 1-2 drops to the base of your neck.
  2. On Guard Blend – this powerful protective blend contains oils such as clove, cinnamon and thyme to support our body’s natural defenses. This is a daily use oil.  Apply 2-3 drops per day to bottoms of your feet (dilute with a carrier oil) for protective support during cold and flu season. You can also add to a diffuse. Use 4-6 drops to support the immune system.  
  3. Copaiba – this amazing oil supports healthy cardiovascular, immune, digestive and respiratory systems.  Take 1-2 drops internally or apply 2 drops each day to the bottoms of feet.
  4. Lemon – Lemon essential oil is a lymph tonic.  It helps your body move cellular waste out of the body during times when your body is fighting infections such as a cold or flu.  Apply 2-3 drops to the back of your neck with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil to stimulate lymph drainage. Add 2-4 drops of lemon in water daily.
  5. Oregano – Use to support a healthy respiratory system.  Dilute 2-3 drops in a carrier oil and rub on bottoms of feet to help fight cold or flu.  You can also take this internally.

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Indoor Exercise Ideas

Exercising outdoors is great for your body. Getting all that fresh air and sunshine is a great addition to your physical routine. But when the sky turns gray, it’s still important to continue your exercise routine even if it is too cold or rainy to go outside. Let’s take a look at some great in-home exercise equipment that can help you stick to your routine even in bad weather.

Treadmills

A classic piece of equipment that can help you stay on track to meeting your fitness goals is a treadmill. The ability to customize your workout from a slow walking pace to a fast run makes it versatile and easy to use for beginners. You can even get your run in while watching your favorite show, making it hard to come up with excuses to skip your workout.

Ellipticals

An elliptical machine allows you to exercise while putting less pressure on your joints compared to running or even using a treadmill. Some elliptical machines will even adjust the intensity of the workout depending on your heart rate so you burn more calories and see results quicker.

Hand-weights

Treadmills and ellipticals are great for exercise on a rainy day, but they do not offer a full body workout. It’s still important to incorporate weight training for your upper body, even if it is just by using light hand weights. These are also great to add to your floor routine exercises, like pilates or aerobics.

Kettle Bells

A kettlebell is a heavy bell-shaped weight with a handle. Since you use a single weight, your entire body is incorporated while lifting. Using a kettle bell is a great way to strengthen your core muscles while weight training. It also increases your heart rate substantially since you are using your entire body while lifting, allowing you to incorporate cardio into your routine without adding additional time to your workout.

Be sure to continue your fitness routine no matter the weather!