Winter has well and truly arrived and natural immunity boosters have never felt more important. We are determined to get our immune systems built up before any cold and flu symptoms start lingering. With tips and tricks of natural immunity boosters from our wellbeing experts, we have curated our favourite ways to boost immunity naturally this winter. Don’t let the sniffles sneak up on you!
Natural Immunity Boosters for Winter
The gut is a powerhouse for the entire body. It not only works hard to digest and process the food we eat, but also provides our main source of defence against ingested bacteria and pathogens1 that can lead to cold and flu symptoms. Did you know that 70% of the immune system is located in the gut? So of course it makes sense to take care of our guts as best we possibly can. To keep your gut healthy and immune system at its flu-fighting best, incorporate prebiotic foods such as garlic, onions, leeks, chicory root and dandelion greens into your daily diet, as well as a high quality probiotic like Biokult 14 Strain Strain Probiotic for everyday use. Another gut-healthy food is mushrooms, which have proven anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial effects, as well as containing polysaccharides and beta glucans to enhance immune cell production. The Wunderworkshop Golden Shrooms Adaptogen Blend combines medicinal mushrooms with organic turmeric, cacao and ginger to use in a warming superfood latte or for addition into smoothies. For those with already weakened immune systems, Wild Nutrition Immune Support is a powerful blend of food-grown vitamins and minerals, amino acids, biomass mycelial mushrooms and elderberry to promote natural defences against infection.
Meditation & Sleep
We all know the importance of sleep when it comes to keeping well but with never ending to-do lists and active social calendars, some of us simply don’t get enough (we get it, we’re sometimes guilty of it too!). There is increasing evidence that a lack of sleep causes a detrimental alteration of the immune response and can contribute to the onset of cold and flu symptoms2. The good news is that while nothing can entirely replace a good 8 hour siesta, engaging in a regular meditation practice can be of help. Effective in triggering the Relaxation Response (RR), studies have shown that meditation enhances the immune system, minimises inflammation and even leads to higher levels of serotonin aka the feel-good hormone3. Recent studies have demonstrated that a regular mindfulness or meditation practice may have a significant positive impact on brain function as well as immune function4. Enhance your meditation practice with the Aum Aromatherapy Meditate Body Mist to activate your senses and find an inner calm. Alternatively, fuse meditation with a bathing ritual using the Incausa Bath & Meditate Set, creating a peaceful environment to deepen your practice, no matter how short on time you are.
If you find your colds lingering beyond the usual 5-7 days, chances are you may be lacking in one or more essential nutrients. Incorporating natural immunity boosters such as vitamins C and D into your every day in the form of food, sunlight (if you’re lucky enough to find it!) and natural immunity boosters is crucial for maintaining a strong immune system. Studies show that modern agriculture, transport and food storage can have a negative impact on food quality, provoking a loss in vital micronutrients, especially in non-organic crops5. This makes it even more important to ensure we’re eating as much organic produce as possible. In addition to wholefood sources, when feeling under the weather you may supplement your diet with high quality food-based supplements to ensure you’re meeting your micronutrient RDA or more. Vitamin C and vitamin D are crucial to a healthy immune system.
Never underestimate the power of plants as natural immunity boosters! There are numerous ways we love to incorporate the medicinal and therapeutic properties of nature’s apothecary, from inhaling aromatherapeutic oils to utilising ointments and teas. Use Isla Apothecary Reset Ritual Pulse Point Therapy to clear stagnant energy and introduce calm into your day where it lacks. If you’re always on the go or travelling, boost immunity and ward off unwanted germs with our handbag must-have, the De Mamiel Altitude Oil, an anti-microbial blend of natural oils which is great for decongesting colds. You only need to inhale a few drops to feel its effects.
Founder of Therapie by Roques O’Neil, Michelle, is a prominent propagator of aromatherapy and essential oils for immune support. Her personal favourite is Naiouli, which she loves for combating congested sinuses and fatigue. Michelle also created the organic beauty range, Heal Me, which is packed with immune-boosting, sinus-clearing and decongestive ingredients to support, comfort and strengthen your body when feeling run down. Treat yourself to the Heal Me Kit this winter, your body will thank you! The Comfort Warming Rub is a multi-tasking star made from a powerful blend of decongesting, healing, anti-inflammatory essential oils and carrier oils to reduce congestion and inflammation when rubbed onto the chest and neck.
Plants aside, we also like to rely on nature’s finest with our favourite immunity-boosting fungi, the Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee. Not only does it taste sweet and delicious, but it has some pretty remarkable properties. Studies have shown that Chaga is an effective way to fight against bacteria, viruses and inflammation, as it contains one of nature’s highest amounts of SOD, the most potent antioxidant in the human body. To fight off any bugs, simply mix a sachet of Instant Chaga Bulletproof Immunity daily in the morning or in the evening and enjoy! It works a treat with chocolate too. For a yummy delight, you can’t go past a cup of steaming Mushroom Hot Cacao with Reishi deliciousness.
1. Yuan Q & Walker WA. (2004). Innate immunity of the gut: mucosal defense in health and disease. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 38(5), 463-73
2. Moldofsky H. (1995). Sleep and the immune system. International Journal of Immunopharmacology. 17(8), 649–654
3. Ngo TL. (2013). Review of the effects of mindfulness meditation on mental and physical health and its mechanisms of action. Sante Ment Que. 38(2), 19-34
4. Davidson RJ, Kabat-Zinn J, Schumacher J, Rosenkranz M, Muller D, Santorelli SF, Urbanowski F, Harrington A, Bonus K, Sheridan JF. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosom Med. 65(4), 564-70
5. Deruelle F & Baron B. (2008). Vitamin C: is supplementation necessary for optimal health? J Altern Complement Med. 14(10), 1291-8
6. Dhabhar FS. (2014). Effects of stress on immune function: the good, the bad, and the beautiful. Immunol Res. 2014 58(2-3), 193-210