How to Naturally Strengthen Your Immune System
It’s time to take action to boost your immune system, naturally. Learning how to naturally strengthen your immune system is especially important in this global climate, with the COVID-19 pandemic making everyone more aware of good practices for immune health.
One of the best ways to avoid getting sick or be able to better fight off illness is by keeping your immune system strong with nourishing foods and a healthy lifestyle.
Let’s start by talking about factors that lower your immune system:
1. Lack of adequate sleep.
Sleep is so important! Certain cells like natural killer cells are lowered, so we are prone to infection. The quality of your sleep directly affects your immune system, so try and aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep. No light, cool room, no electronics, avoid night eating.⠀
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2. Cut out sugar.
Sugar actually suppresses the immune system! The results of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) demonstrates that the amount of sugar in two sweetened beverages lowers immune response by 50% for up to five hours after drinking or eating. Sugar also feeds the bad bacteria, the yeast, the fungi in your gut. 70-80% of your immune system lives within your gut. Sugar depletes you of the nutrients you need for a strong immune system. Ditch the sugar!
While some stress is actually good, and can contribute to a healthy immune system because it strengthens your body’s ability to fight, too much stress can compromise your immunity. If you find yourself overly stressed, be sure to take measures to relax. Have a nap. Read a book. Do dee breathing. Practice yoga. Enjoy a bath. Take healthy measures to unwind.
How to Naturally Strengthen Your Immunity: Tips for Prevention
So what boosts our immune system:
Get seven to nine hours of sleep. Figure out your sweet spot. Just like being sleep deprived, your immune system does not function optimally when you are in the stress response.
2. Vitamin D
40-70% of Canadians are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body identify bacteria and viruses, it helps keeps our immune system, bones, heart, lungs and brain strong. Since there’s not a wide variety of vitamin D-rich foods (besides salmon, sardines, egg yolks, and certain mushrooms) and the sunlight is scarce in winter, almost everyone can benefit from supplementing with vitamin D. It helps prevent seasonal affective disorder and winter blues. Canadians need vitamin D. Most experts recommend taking it with food, and suggest taking it in the morning with breakfast.
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3. Healthy bacteria.
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4. Vitamin C.
This antioxidant vitamin protects your cells against free radicals, energizes your healing process, and helps your body form blood vessels, muscle, and collagen.
Your body doesn’t produce vitamin C naturally, so it’s crucial you get it from foods, like citrus, berries, bell peppers, leafy greens, and tomatoes. Additionally, a variety of vitamin C-rich gummies, chewable tablets, and more can be found at your local health food Vitamin C helps stimulate white blood cells. Eat the rainbow. Here’s a simple way to remember: at lunch and dinner, eat half your plate should be fruits and vegetables.
5. Eat immune-supporting superfoods.
The key is to eat colour. Eat a rainbow of foods, which have high sources of vitamin C, zinc, magnesium and selenium.
6. Adequate protein.
Protein fights infection because it helps make antibodies. Sprouts and pumpkin seeds are good examples of excellent protein sources for vegans or vegetarians.
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7. Happiness is a nutrient for great health.
Psychological stress does happen to our immune system. Focus on the good things in your life and do things that make you happy.
8. Spend time outside.
Go walking or sunbathing in the fresh air (preferably in nature) to bolster your immunity, naturally.
9. Talk to loved ones.
Call them or FaceTime to get an instant boost of good vibes that will support your physical and mental health.
10. Take this time to meditate, reflect, journal, play games.
These small measures can go a long way towards feeling grounded, helping to put you into a parasympathetic state where your body can rest, heal and digest.⠀
How do you plan to naturally strengthen your immune system? Share in the comments!