8 Tips to Boost Your Immune System Naturally
It’s an undeniable fact that the last couple of years have been medically fascinating which has created an equally interesting challenge for our immune systems. As we pick through the rubble of the COVID-19 meteor, we’re beginning to uncover that lifting the mask mandate has forced our immune systems to make up for lost time. Adults and children alike are suffering, what feels like, a never-ending cold and flu season. As we navigate around lingering COVID cases, the flu, RSV, and whatever comes next, we have to focus our eyes on preventative measures. Supporting our immune systems is the safest path forward.
Let’s discuss the steps you can take to improve your odds of stopping illness before it starts.
1. Diet and Gastrointestinal Health
A well-balanced diet is preventative care. When we nourish our bodies with colorful fruits and vegetables, high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, we’re providing our immune system with the fuel it needs to fight illness. Foods high in saturated fats, refined sugars, sodium, and empty calories do not provide suitable nourishment for the body and increase inflammation. When routinely consumed, the body is forced to focus on healing the gut without the nutrients it needs to function optimally, increasing the likelihood of contracting a lurking illness, susceptibility to disease, and chronic fatigue.
2. Oral Health
The mouth is the gatekeeper to the body. If we have poor oral health, bacteria from the mouth travels through the GI tract, leaching into the bloodstream and opening the door for infection. This bacterial barrage will, over time, weaken the immune system. Preventative oral care reduces strain on the immune system, freeing it up for more important battles.
Proper supplementation deserves its time in the spotlight. Balanced nutrient levels are critical to immune function. For example, not only does Vitamin C boost the immune system but it also supports the adrenal glands – responsible for stress regulation. Stress reduces immune function so simply adding Vitamin C is a two-for-one special! Zinc and Selenium work hand and hand to generate, repair, and protect cells from infection. Vitamin D deficiency (prevalent in Oregon) can lead to depression, poor quality sleep, hair loss, and increased susceptibility to illness. Needless to say, if our nutrient levels are unbalanced, the body is left vulnerable.
4. Nutrient Injections and IVs
If taking daily supplements is the supplemental nutrient star, getting a nutrient injection or IV is the best supporting character. Unlike oral supplements, IVs and injections do not travel through the GI tract where they lose some of their potency during the digestion process. They directly enter the bloodstream giving you the full effect, fast. If you have plans to travel or a big event coming up, consider this option to be your insurance policy that you’re doing everything you can to fight illness.
Sleep is an opportunity to regenerate, heal, and process the events of the day. We cannot expect to have a healthy body or mind if we aren’t allowing ourselves 7-8 hours of restorative sleep each night.
The body is made up of 60% water and almost all bodily processes rely on adequate hydration. The body is not able to be fully functional when we’re deprived of this vital element. Making sure you always have your water bottle in hand is a must when it comes to boosting your immune system.
7. Reduce Stress
Introduce a few relaxing breaths or a peaceful walk into the middle of your day. Make time to find a calm moment to reconnect with yourself. Exercise improves sleep quality, reduces stress, and promotes overall health and wellness!
8. Alcohol and Cigarettes
Alcohol and cigarettes have been over-romanticized for far too long. The truth is, alcohol and tobacco are Class 1 Carcinogens. You read that right. They are just as toxic to the body as asbestos and formaldehyde. It should go without saying that toxic substances do not boost the immune system. While occasional use is less harmful, routine use can increase the likelihood of sickness and disease.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You know your body best. If something feels off or you think you deserve to feel better, it’s important to advocate for yourself and seek the care you need to be and stay well.