Supporting your immune system naturally provides many benefits and can be much easier than you might think!
Many factors come into play to keep our immune systems functioning at full capacity. So, are some simple ways to boost and support the immune system naturally.
TEN WAYS TO NATURALLY BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
1. GET PLENTY OF VITAMIN C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is essential for immune function. Vitamin C is also needed for proper adrenal function and gets depleted during times of stress. I think we all could use a little extra vitamin C right about now!
Some Vitamin C Rich foods include:
- Citrus Fruits (lemon, grapefruit, orange, lime)
- Bell Peppers
- Brussel Sprouts
- Collard Greens
2. UTILIZE ANTI-VIRAL AND ANTI-BACTERIAL BOTANICALS
Many herbs and spices contain anti-microbial properties, along with immune-boosting nutrients. Cooking with herbs and spices or making botanical elixirs, teas and remedies is a great way to combat and prevent many pathogens.
Some Anti-Microbial Herbs Include:
3. LOAD UP ON NUTRIENT-DENSE & ANTIOXIDANT-RICH FOODS
This one is pretty much a no-brainer. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens is one of the best ways to fuel the body with antioxidants and vital nutrients that contribute to keeping the body strong and healthy.
4. EAT GUT-LOVING FOODS
When it comes to immunity, gut health is so important. About 80% of our immune systems are made up of our microbiota (the bacteria that live on the inside and outside of our bodies). Eating a variety of fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, apple cider vinegar, tempeh, yogurt, etc.) is one of the best ways to ensure a healthy microbiota as these foods provide a diverse range of good bacteria.
Another no-brainer. As we all know, hydrating is one of the best ways to help flush the body of many pathogens and toxins.
6. REDUCE ALCOHOL & REFINED FOODS
Refined sugars, refined grains and alcohol are all known to weaken the immune system for several hours after consumption, leaving the body more susceptible to infection. Sticking to whole foods is a great way to ensure no added sugars are sneaking their way into your diet!
7. KEEP STRESS LEVELS LOW
Stress is another way to weaken the immune system. When the body becomes stressed, cortisol is released (which prepares the body to either fight or flee). This hinders and shuts down many functions in the body, including the immune system. I know just as well as the next. It's easier said than done to reduce stress, especially in times like these. Taking long deep breaths is one the easiest and most effective ways to calm the body down. Click here, to check out a few more simple and effective ways of reducing stress.
8. KEEP MOVING
Even though we're on lockdown doesn't mean our bodies need to be. Staying active provides support to the immune system as it can also help to flush toxins and harmful bacteria out of the body. Exercise also increases circulation, which is said to increase white blood cell and antibody activity, potentially helping to prevent and detect infections. That being said, over-exercising can put too much stress on the body. Which, as we learned above, stress suppresses the immune system.
9. CATCH SOME RAYS
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for immune health. Not to mention, getting outside (especially into nature) can help reduce stress and anxiety. Connecting with nature is a great way to feel more grounded and centred. If you're unable to get outside, and even for us folks in the northern hemisphere, it's a good idea to supplement with vitamin D3. A little Vitamin D could help boost all our moods while we're cooped up for the next little while!
10. MAKE SLEEP & REST A PRIORITY
This is probably one of the most underrated yet crucial aspects of immune health. Rest allows the body to repair itself and work on ridding toxins. Proteins called cytokines are also released during sleep, which are needed when the body is under stress and when fighting inflammation or infection. Not to mention, when we don't get enough sleep, the amount of antibodies in the body reduces, leaving us more susceptible to infection.