Tips for Immune Health
I’m sorry to say it for all of you busy, hardworking people, but rest is vital to immune health. Our bodies can only repair and regenerate when we get good quality and quantity of sleep. If our tissues don’t repair, they’re left vulnerable to the microbes and chemicals in the environment.
Cut out sugar
Sugar actually slows down the immune system. Our white blood cells are meant to travel around the body and get rid of foreign invaders. Studies have shown that when there’s extra sugar in their environment, they get really sluggish and can’t clean up the mess effectively, which allows pathogens to multiply. Movement Most of our white blood cells are traveling through the lymphatic system – a series of vessels similar to blood vessels, except that lymphatic ducts don’t have a pumping action like blood vessels do. So, what moves lymphatic fluid around the body? Muscles! Using your muscles puts pressure on those ducts and pumps white blood cells around the body so they can do their job. Getting some light movement in when you start to feel sick helps your immune system kick the bug out faster.
Stress effects every system of the body. We’re built to handle short periods of stress and respond accordingly, but for most people in today’s society, stress lasts all day every day. When we’re stressed, our fight-or-flight nervous system is revved up. In this state, your body is in fear-mode and puts no attention on repairing and maintaining tissues. The other side of the nervous system (rest-and-digest) needs to take over to repair and rejuvenate our tissues, which is essential to protect us from bacteria, viruses, chemicals, etc. If you tend to feel stressed, take the time to figure out ways to relax and rest to prevent illness.
Smoking causes repeated damage to the lining of the lungs and airways, creating a constant problem where your body has to continuously try to repair that tissue. The airways are lined with little hair-like projections that brush mucus, bugs, and substances up and out of the lungs. Those also get damaged with smoking, leaving your lungs vulnerable to bugs and gunk getting trapped in there, causing infection and toxicity. Eat more produce Fruits and vegetables are filled with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that we literally can’t get anywhere else in our diet! This doesn’t mean you have to eat salads all day every day but incorporating veggies into your meals is important to make sure your body has the right nutrients to fight off infections. To make sure you’re covering your bases, eat the rainbow! Color variations in produce represent different nutrients and vitamins, so try and eat a little bit of every color when you can.
Things you can do at home:
Bone broth is rich in vitamins and minerals that support the immune system. If you make soups at home, leave bones in there while it simmers and add 1-2tbsp of apple cider vinegar to help pull out the minerals (you won’t taste it, I promise). You can also just buy bones from the grocery store (usually through the butcher) and boil them down with vegetables as you would with soup. Take the bones out before serving. Not only will your soup be savory and delicious, but great for immune (and joint) health!
Raising your body temperature helps activate enzymes the immune system uses to fight off infections. If you’ve been stressed for a long period of time, you’re probably depleted and your body may not be able to mount a sufficient immune response in a reasonable amount of time. Help out your immune system by warming yourself up to open up circulation and activate those enzymes so your body doesn’t have to work so hard to do it. Plus, hot baths are great for self-care, especially with 2 cups of Epsom salts to relax your muscles and maybe a few drops of essential oils (eucalyptus is great for opening the airways and relieving coughs), so take advantage of this!
I put tea in quotes because some might argue that it’s not really tea. I don’t know what else to call it but it works! Plus, you probably have at least most of these ingredients in your kitchen. Put ½-1 inch ginger sliced, juice of ½ lemon, 1-2tsp honey, 1tsp ACV, and sprinkle of cayenne pepper into a mug and pour a cup of hot water over it. Let it steep for at least 5 minutes and then drink. Be careful not to use too much cayenne, just a little sprinkle is enough and too much will irritate your mouth and throat. Some like the taste of this and some don’t, but it’s really helpful to kick a sore throat or cough.
This is a pretty simple recipe that’s basically an easy way to get a bunch of ginger and garlic into your system to fight off unwanted bugs. Put ½-1inch ginger, 1 clove garlic, and ½-1 cup pineapple or mango into a blender and blend until smooth. The fruit should cover up the taste of the garlic and the recipe can be tweaked as needed for taste.
Supplements to consider:
- Vitamin D – if you have low vitamin D, your immune system will be struggling. Vit D directly effects white blood cells to function properly. It’s best to get your levels tested for appropriate recommendations.
- Vitamin C – protects healthy cells and helps the immune system function Zinc – prevents viral infections and interferes with virus replication
- Elderberry – prevents viral infections and reduces duration of illness
- Mushrooms – no, not magic mushrooms. Some species of mushrooms actually stimulate immune cells to do their work!
- Echinacea – prevents viral infections and stimulates the immune system
- Probiotics – when needed, probiotics can be a game-changer for immune health. If you have a history of antibiotic-use or your body is over-run by “bad” bacteria, the right probiotics can help clear them out and re-balance normal flora.
It’s best to consult a physician before starting any supplements to make sure they’re right for you. This list is for informational purposes only and products can be found on our webstore.