With the craze of the coronavirus, I thought I would share some tips on boosting your immune system! I am a huge believer in Eastern medicine and the body’s powers and abilities to heal itself. After meeting with and learning from dozens of doctors, naturopaths, and dietitians, I’ve put together a list of five effective immune boosting habits.
I strongly believe in using food as medicine. The nutrients, vitamins, and minerals we get from consuming veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc. are SO important in optimal immune functioning. Load it UP!!! Making your meals as colorful as possible will ensure an intake of a wide range of vitamins and nutrients.
Do your best to limit any foods that may contribute to inflammation such as sugars and processed foods. Inflammation just creates more work for the immune system!
Some of my favorite nutrient-dense foods/drinks:
- Matcha/green tea
- Turmeric tea (or anything turmeric) [tip: combine turmeric with black pepper to increase absorption]
- Veggie/green juice
- Citrus fruits
- Green leafy veggies
- Tomatoes, peppers, bright colors
- Probiotic foods (coconut yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles, kimchi)
If you want to take it to the next level, maybe throw some supplements in there—Vitamin D, multivitamins, fish oil, probiotics, elderberry, maybe some medicinal mushrooms (known for immune boosting properties!!).
At minimum, you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every single day. Carry a bottle of water with you everywhere and sip on it all day!
Water helps to oxygenate the blood and the cells. Oxygen allows our cells to function at their best. Proper hydration improves kidney function, eliminates toxins, and betters movement of the lymphatic system. Our lymphatic system is important for cleaning out the waste and bacteria surrounding our cells. Water helps us expel bacteria.
Relax and De-Stress
There is a proven and obvious link between the mind and body. Our stress response sends chemical signals to our body to enter into fight-or-flight mode. When in fight-or-flight mode, all of our energy is sent to our muscles and systems needed to fight or flee from a dangerous situation. That means our immune systems are suppressed!
So stay relaxed! Try meditation, painting, and make even more of an effort to do the things that keep you happy and calm.
Don’t forget to stay active. Movement does not have to be intense. Walking is actually one of the healthiest forms of exercise! Physical activity is an important pillar in health for many reasons:
- It increases circulation which helps with cell oxygenation and detoxification.
- Exercise can help move the lymphatic system (especially jumping). Unlike our vascular system, our lymphatic system does not move on its own. It requires physical movement to flow. The lymph fluid circulates and collects the waste and bacteria surrounding our cells to be excreted.
- Movement can also boost our happy hormones and reduce stress by producing endorphins and improving sleep quality.
We’ve all heard how important sleep is. Don’t underestimate it. 8+ hours of sleep is so, so important for a healthy body! During sleep, the stress hormones are at their lowest and the body is optimally prepared to detox.
When sleeping, naive T-cells are at peak. These cells are super important in adaptive immunity and fighting infections, diseases, and viruses. The body also produces cytokines when sleeping (a protein that fights inflammation and disease). Less sleep = less cytokines.