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The 8 Healthy Habits to Strengthen Your Immune System listed below will help to build strong natural immunity. A healthy immune system is our body’s first defense against bacteria, viruses, and infections. Review the tips listed below and begin incorporating them within your lifestyle!
As talked about in 5 Tips to Get Better Sleep, sleep is an essential function. Research has shown that not getting enough sleep may lead to poor dietary choices and reduced psychological well-being. Does anyone else get crabby after a poor night of sleep?
Getting an adequate amount of sleep also helps to increase your immune system function. It is recommended for adults to get around 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Are you getting enough?
Journal, meditate, pray. I have mentioned this before, and I will say it again. These three habits can be life-changing if you allow them to be! They are habits you can do at any time of the day.
With the mind-body connection, how you think can portray how you feel. Constant stress, anxiety, and fear can weaken your body’s ability to fight off infection, along with causing tense muscles, headaches, increased blood pressure, stomach aches, and so on.
Journal before you start your day or at night before you get into bed. Meditate and pray when you first wake up, on your commute to work, before a stressful meeting, while grocery shopping, as you prepare dinner, before bed – whenever you think of it! The mind-body connection is powerful, use it to your advantage.
There is no one food alone that will fight off all infections. However, a healthy way of eating will boost your natural immunity. Focus on meals that contain fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
When consuming foods high in fiber, this increases your intake of antioxidant-rich foods. These antioxidants commonly found in plant foods include vitamins C, E, and A. The more colorful the plate, the better!
Protein is crucial in supporting natural immunity as the amino acids that make up protein support the creation of antibodies to fight off infection (source).
Healthy fats help to better absorb those fat-soluble vitamins including vitamins E and A that act as antioxidants! The combination of fiber, protein, and healthy fats will also keep you feeling full and satisfied for a longer duration of time.
Added sugars are found in many packaged foods, it is quite ridiculous! Not only are added sugars capable of increasing your risk for developing several chronic diseases, they also play a role in eliminating the beneficial bacteria found in your gut. This gut bacteria being wiped out by added sugars have been found to be key regulators for overall health (source). Reducing your consumption of added sugars and increasing your intake of well-balanced meals will help to reduce inflammation, while building and maintaining your immune system.
Daily exercise is an important building block for living a healthy lifestyle, it can also help to strengthen your immune response. Exercise may help to prevent or manage chronic diseases, improve your mood, boost your energy, promote better sleep, and can be a great stress reliever. Exercise may help to reduce inflammation within the body and has been shown to improve your gut bacteria, which is known to play a role in improving overall health.
Choose exercises you enjoy, such as riding a bike, walking, swimming, pilates, or lifting weights. By choosing activities you enjoy, it will be far easier to remain consistent with your exercise routine. And grab a friend or significant other to join in on the fun!
Let’s not forget the importance of lifestyle activities. These include taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a walk on your lunch break, dancing, hiking, parking further away when going to the store, and so on.
What better way to boost your mood than to get outside for some fresh air and vitamin D! Sunlight exposure is important for the synthesis of Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for many health benefits, including the support of a healthy immune system. Getting outside for fresh air can also help to reduce stress, improve your mood, and make you feel more relaxed.
Our bodies are made up of 60% water, which exemplifies the importance of drinking enough water each day. Staying hydrated can benefit your exercise routine as it helps to prevent muscle soreness and tension. Drinking adequate fluids can also help with body temperature regulation, improved quality of sleep, cognition, mood, and help to prevent infection (source).
Staying hydrated doesn’t have to mean drinking plain water. You can stay hydrated when consuming tea, infused water, or from eating fruits and vegetables.
The supplement industry is a multibillion dollar business. Interestingly enough, only after a supplement is available on the market can the FDA pull supplements from the shelves if they are found to be harmful. Thus, I highly recommend you do your research on the company in which you are purchasing a supplement from, to ensure high quality (source). And as always, consult with your physician when adding new supplements to your routine.
I take Grass Fed Beef Liver as my multivitamin year round. Beef liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can consume. They are packed with vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, B12, C, zinc, iron, folate and more. What is so impressive with this brand is the fact that they come from a regenerative farm in New Zealand, where the cows are both grass fed and grass finished.
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is important for boosting immunity, strengthening bones and muscles, increasing mood, etc.. Because this is a fat-soluble vitamin, it does not dissolve in water and is better absorb when consumed with fat. I recommend consuming this supplement with a meal, such as the Goat Cheese Sausage Egg Bake, to increase absorption.
Food sources of vitamin D: salmon, fortified orange juice, egg yolks
Zinc is a trace mineral, meaning, your body only needs small amounts. If you begin experiencing common cold symptoms, start taking zinc lozenges immediately, to shorten the duration of the cold. If you are taking a daily multivitamin, be mindful of the zinc content already present within the multivitamin.
Food sources of zinc: red meat, seafood, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains
Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, is a water soluble vitamin that also acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin C, similar to zinc, may help shorten the duration of a cold, along with the severity. Taking vitamin C with food may reduce stomach upset.
Food sources of vitamin C: citrus foods, red and green bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables
The 8 Healthy Habits to Strengthen Your Immune System will help to build strong natural immunity. How can you incorporate these habits within your lifestyle? Comment below!
Shoemaker, SaVanna. “9 Tips to Strengthen Your Immunity Naturally.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 1 Apr. 2020, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-boost-immune-health.