Every day our immune system is bombarded by pathogens and toxins. What makes the greatest difference in our immune health is our lifestyle. Living a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to have a robust immune system. I will give you 5 suggestions for creating this lifestyle that supports and builds your immune system.The basic building blocks of a strong immune system are 1. Food 2. Moving your body 3. Rest and stress management 4. Reducing toxic load and 5. Informed self care.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates
The single biggest factor in immune health and your immune system’s ability to fight off pathogens is food. If you are already struggling with a weak immune system, mystery illness, fatigue or other issue, I would suggest following one of the protocols given by Alexander WIlliam of a 20 day raw fruit and vegetable cleanse, OR a 4 day fresh pressed juice cleanse. In addition to this, doing a 24 hour water fast once a month will help your body reset and be able to fight better. If you are not currently struggling with pathogens, adopting a whole food diet is key to being able to having a strong immune system. Excluding chemicals, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, artificial colors and grain oils will help reduce the stress on your internal organs and immune system. Adopting more (or only) fresh and cooked fruits and vegetables will give you the biggest payback to your health. If you are struggling with digestive issues, I suggest that you support your digestive system with a digestive enzyme and high quality supplements. If your body does not have enough of the enzymes it needs to digest the food (or supplements) it will become nutrient deficient and cause the continued weakening of the immune system. doTERRA’s Terrazyme is an excellent digestive enzyme, and the Lifelong Vitality Pack has three supplements for whole body health. Once you are fueling your body with food that will heal you, the next step is exercise.
Exercise helps move the lymph fluid through your body. There are numerous studies about how high intensity workouts help bolster the immune response. However, I know from experience that when your immune system is compromised it can be extremely difficult to exercise. When your body can only handle doing one or two ‘strenuous’ things a day, and cleaning your house is strenuous to your body because of fatigue or illness, you are not going to go out and jog, knowing that is the only thing your body will have energy for ALL DAY, and that you will be knocked out on the couch for the rest of the day. If you resonate with that scenario, I want you to know you are not alone! If you are unable to get out and lift weights and run sprints, it is okay. My alternative is just going outside. Roll up your sleeves, take off your shoes and just BE outside. The air, the breeze, the energy that is in nature will support and energize your body, and assist you in healing. As you feel stronger you can add to that being outside by stretching, walking, yoga and ultimately raising your heart rate.
The third thing you can do is get quality sleep and learn how to manage your stress. New moms know the stress your body undergoes when sleep is disrupted (and your body needs to recover from a major adrenal shock- childbirth). It is hard. There are many tips to help get quality sleep, from avoiding blue light (phones) at night, to not eating before bed. I find I sleep better when I allow the earth's circadian rhythm to rule in my house. When it gets dark outside, I may turn on one or two gentle lights, but I will not light my whole house. It *helps my children* to quiet down at the end of the day, and me too. doTERRA has excellent products to support sleep that really work. For adults, the Serenity Softgels are wonderful. They help you fall asleep quickly, and even when woken (by that baby, or 2 year old, or 6 year old), allow you to re-fall asleep quickly and feel rested in the morning. doTERRA also has Serenity Proprietary Blend that helps the body to relax and sleep through the night. Other oils that also help are Sandalwood, Clary Sage, Lavender, Dill, …
Stress changes the chemistry of our body, and managing stress and negativity can make a huge difference in our physical health. Managing stress takes a change of thought. When we become mindful of the thoughts that go through our head we are able to change them. It is much easier said than done, but start big. If you have BIG negative reactions to the wrong choices of others (be they your children or coworkers), take notice. Instead of thinking that your big reaction will actually change anything (it rarely does, except to traumatize them with fear), take a moment to gather your thoughts. You might have done it differently, but it is done. How can you help them feel understood, and help them rectify the situation? Mindfulness is a wonderful exercise and there are many resources to learn how to respond, rather than react, and take the stress out of any situation. doTERRA has a special collection of essential oil blends to help with mood/emotions support. This is the Emotional Aromatherapy Kit. Essential oils inhaled through the olfactory system can instantaneously affect our brain and the emotions that we are feeling. That is another way to support and change stress in our everyday lives. As an Emotion Code Practitioner, I am able to see just how much negative emotions affect our physical health. Learning to see through eyes of peace, understanding and patience can have a lifelong impact on the health and function of our bodies. Just as stress and negative emotions trigger chemicals that our body has to process and release to come into balance, our bodies have to process everyday toxins to come into balance as well.
Reducing our toxic load is critical for immune health. Our bodies need time to naturally detox and come into balance. When our bodies have an overload of toxins, our immune system is compromised and cannot function at its peak. Many toxins we encounter everyday we have very little control over, but we do have the ability to reduce toxins in our home and allow ourselves a sanctuary where our bodies can process the toxins picked up from other places throughout the day. Toxins that are common in our homes come from processed food, cleaners, perfumes/fragrances, hair care products, soaps/washes, carpet cleaners, pesticides/insecticides. Switching to products without fragrance or perfume, as well as making your own cleaners, are ways to really cut chemicals in the home. Also filling your home with plants that absorb toxins and release oxygen is a great way to boost the healing power of your home.
Essential oils are nature’s defense against bacteria, fungus, and germs. Substituting essential oils for fragrance in cleaners and body care products gives you the emotional, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-septic properties of those oils. Essential oils really are a game changer in the home if you are looking to decrease your toxic load. Some, like cilantro, even help detox heavy metals (that feed other pathogens) from the body.
When you have begun changing these first five areas of your life you will see a direct improvement in your immune health. Know that these steps really need to be incorporated together. Your body needs support in all 4 of these areas. As you gain desire and commitment to living a healthy lifestyle, you will gain the confidence in becoming more in tune to your body and its needs. Through informed self care, you will be able see what issues are coming up in your body, and know the steps to take to improve the function of your immune system so that it can fight for you. You will be able to wisely take the advice of doctors, and ask for alternatives to strong chemicals, or ask if certain essential oils could be used instead.