We all want to achieve optimum health and immune systems - and after the past
few years, who could blame you? But our bodies are complex systems, not a
single, one-size-fits-all entity. To function at your healthiest level takes a holistic
approach to wellbeing.
Think of your body and mind as a car - you don’t drive until it breaks down, you
get regular services and take measures to avoid issues. If you treat your health the
same way, you’re less likely to be slowed down by poor health or weakened
From stress to sleep, what you eat to the way you move, let’s look at some of the
big players in getting your health on track this spring…
You are what you eat
When we talk about eating well, we’ve come a long way since the ‘meat and
three veg’ rhetoric of the 60s. One of the strongest strategies today is the
move towards whole foods, which basically means eating food in its most natural
form. Whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are
packed full of various nutrients and antioxidants - the kind that can give you the
upper hand when it comes to fighting off disease.
The antioxidants present in these ingredients help reduce inflammation by
resisting what are known as free radicals - unstable compounds that, when built
up in the body, can result in inflammation. According to Harvard, many major
diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and
Alzheimer's, have been linked to chronic inflammation.
Looking to incorporate more anti-inflammatory meals in your day?
The Mediterranean diet is one to watch. Based on the traditional cuisines of
Greece, Italy and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, it was first
examined in the 1950s, when experts noticed heart disease was much lower in
these countries than in the US. Since then, numerous studies have proven that
this type of diet helps reduce risk of heart disease and stroke.
The types of foods you can expect in this lifestyle include fresh fruits, particularly
strawberries and blueberries, green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and
collards, legumes, nuts such as almonds and walnuts, herbs and spices, fatty fish
like salmon, mackerel and tuna, and importantly, olive oil as the main source of
We also need to keep our bodies hydrated if we intend to take our health
seriously. Around two litres is the recommended amount of water to drink each
day, with dehydration linked to ailments like headaches, mood shifts, digestion,
focus, and heart and kidney function. Complications like these can also result in
a weakened immune system, so if you’re trying to keep sickness at bay, drinking
water is key.
Trust us, sleep matters
Sleep is often forgotten about when it comes to good health - we sleep less to fit
more in, load up on coffee to fight fatigue, and ignore vital messages about the
good (and bad) habits around bedtime. But the truth is, both the quality and
amount of sleep you’re getting is incredibly influential on your wellbeing. In a
study looking at 164 healthy adults, the ones who slept less than six hours a night
were more susceptible to catching a cold than those who got more than six hours
of sleep a night.
As a natural bedding company, we’ll be the first ones to suggest getting your bed
setup perfect - from organic mattresses to sustainable pillows and low tox
sleep comes from the fibres you sleep on. We’re passionate about ditching the
synthetic and harmful materials in favour of natural ones, with items like our
organic latex pillows and wool quilts helping to avoid allergens, dangerous
chemicals, and risks of mould or dust mites.
Sleep hygiene refers to the habits surrounding your sleep routine - and there’s a
few in particular you should be keeping. Things like learning your body’s natural
circadian rhythm (and not messing it up with excess screen time or
over-stimulation), cutting back on caffeine and alcohol in the evenings, and
creating a meditative nighttime routine are all ways to improve your sleep.
Because at the end of the day, it’s not just about feeling less tired; poor sleep can
cause a range of health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes,
Your mindset is everything
We’ve heard it all when it comes to physical health, but the mind often gets left
behind in the quest for wellbeing. One of the biggest health concerns from a
mental standpoint is chronic stress. In the short term, stress can be useful in
boosting immunity, however when that stress shifts to long term (beyond a few
hours), it suppresses and disrupts immune functioning, while also increasing our
susceptibility to some types of cancer.
High stress levels means higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol,
which comes with several negative health implications. Cortisol releases the
inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which can disrupt sleep, exacerbate
depression and anxiety, lift blood pressure, and contribute to fatigue, poor focus
A simple but incredibly effective habit for better mental wellbeing is meditation.
8-week study even showing that meditation could reduce the inflammation
response caused by stress. Imagine that!?
As if that wasn’t enough to give meditation a crack, research has also shown how
meditation can improve symptoms of stress-related conditions like irritable bowel
syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fibromyalgia, pointing to its
benefits in both mental and physical spaces.
There are plenty of apps, programs, and teachers dedicated to helping you
meditate. But the simplest approach is to sit somewhere quiet, set a timer on your
phone, and just observe your breath, trying to direct your focus back to your
breath every time you get distracted. Start small with just 5 minutes, gradually
building over time, and if your mind feels too cluttered to meditate without help,
The way you move
Unless you’ve been living in a vacuum, you’ll know that physical movement is vital
to the wellbeing of your body. You don’t need to be training for a marathon or
heading to the Olympics, though - because research shows that moderate
exercise is the real key to boosting your immune system.
One of these studies suggested that in the event of a vaccine, people with
compromised immune systems who engaged in even one session of moderate
exercise boosted the vaccine’s effectiveness. And it comes as no surprise that
regular, moderate exercise can also reduce inflammation, while giving your
immune cells the boost they need to regenerate more regularly.
The trick is to find a type of exercise that works for you. It could be surfing
or dance classes, running or yoga, gym circuits or team sports - but find an
activity that feels fun and engaging. And wherever possible, moving outdoors in
nature will stack added benefits onto your exercise, thanks to the fresh air,
sunlight, and connection with the natural environment.
Don’t forget the mental benefits too, with exercise releasing endorphins and
serotonin in the brain, helping to improve your mood, reduce anxiety and
depression, and improve self-esteem and cognitive function.
There’s no magic pill…
While even Harvard says they can’t prove the links between lifestyle choices and
a better immune system, the decisions we make to improve our health will always
carry benefits. Making choices to improve your sleep, reduce stress in the brain
and body, and use movement and meditation to support your wellbeing ensures
a good mix of healthy habits that ultimately will lead to a healthier life. And if that
doesn’t stave off illness, then we don’t know what does!