We get a lot of questions about Immune Support here at the herb store, and we’re always happy to help. Oftentimes we are quick to recommend products like Elderberry & Honey Tonic or Immune Booster; and while these are excellent choices to add to your regular health regimens, we also like to encourage folks to address their lifestyle for the best defense against illness.
Having a good functioning immune system can help you avoid contracting many illnesses and common colds, or at least make them last for shorter amounts of time. Contrary to what the world tells us, good health is not found in vaccines. The best way stay healthy is to strengthen your immune system and make it work harder to protect you in your natural environment. Truly, there is a lot that goes into your immune system from your guts to your hormones to your mental health.
Here are our top 10 recommendations for keeping your immune system in optimal shape throughout the year.
1. Improve Your Gut Flora – Adding probiotics to your diet can help your natural microbiome maintain a healthy balance. The better your microbiome and digestion, the healthier you’ll be. Gut flora is important for proper digestion of all nutrients.
2. Enjoy Mushrooms and Garlic regularly – Both of these foods offer antibiotic properties that can help improve your immunity against disease. Bonus: they taste amazing while supporting your body! Try to add them to most every meal in some form. During meal prep, cook up a bunch to have ready to top on everything from toast to salads!
3. Eat More Cruciferous Veggies – Boost your liver function by eating more cruciferous vegetables, which will help cleanse your liver so that it can work better to remove toxins. The best way to eat cruciferous vegetables is to lightly steam them. Vegetables like this include cabbage, broccoli, brussels and cauliflower. What’s more? These vegetables contain compounds that are also shown to fight cancer!
4. Drink Plenty of Water – One of the first questions I ask all my clients is how much water they drink each day. Imagine what your plants look like without water – now imagine how your organs feel! Food cannot digest – and your body cannot work properly – without you being properly hydrated. Aim to drink at least half your weight in ounces of filtered water a day.
5. Support Your Adrenal Cortex – This is where I might lose from folks – but stay with me. Your adrenal cortex is responsible for producing hormones, particularly ones that help your body fight illness. Eating healthy fats (foods high in antioxidants and amino acids) improves adrenal function. This aids in helping your adrenal glands continue to provide the right hormones to your body for a healthy immune system.
6. Add a Juice a Day – Look to investing in a juicer and drink one vegetable and fruit juice serving each day. Juicing isn’t just for fancy people; it’s a great way to get all the nutrients and calories for energy without stressing your digestive system. If you’re into supporting local, skip buying the machine and find your favorite local juice cafe. Move over, Starbucks! We’re doing healthy in 2024!
7. Get Enough Sleep – I cannot stress this one enough! Most people need between eight and ten hours of sleep each night, but the world has sold us on six hours being enough; all in the name of productivity. Truly, no one gets enough sleep. I tell my clients that prioritizing rest is critical to good health. Our body does SO much healing and growing during sleep!
8. Move Your Body! – I prefer to dance (the girls here LOVE my dance moves… I think!) but even a twenty minute walk each day can boost your immunity. Moving and breathing deeply will help you not only become healthier but feel better too! Sedentary jobs do none of us any favors. If you have a job that requires sitting all day, find excuses to get up and walk around! I encourage everyone to move at least once an hour for five minutes. Take a bathroom break and do jumping jacks on your way there and back!
9. Get Fresh Air and Sunshine – Finding a way to breathe in fresh air and get plenty of sunshine each day is important. Sunshine gives you vitamin D which provides major immune system support, and fresh air helps clear your lungs and help you relax. Deep breaths are great – deep breaths outside are even better. Another tip is to open your windows as often as possible! Studies show indoor air is often MCUH more polluted than outdoors – regardless of where you live in the world! So open those windows!
10. Avoid Toxins – Listen, I’m not here to preach. I enjoy me a nice big glass of wine, and the occasional cigar for a new baby is still my favorite tradition! But keep these things to a minimum. It is no secret that smoking and heavy drinking contribute to poor health both short term and long term. Prescription medications also slow down your liver from functioning properly. Always be mindful about what you are putting in your body. The more toxins you can avoid putting into your body, the healthier you’ll become.
By following these tips every day, you’ll boost your immune system and feel better too. Living life with holistic health (mind + body + soul) in mind always provides a way for you to feel your best!