May 12th, 2020
It is incredibly important to support our immune systems at all times to prevent infection or illness. Daily immune maintenance should be part of a healthy routine to ensure the body’s is resilient to constant change. If you are feeling run down, burnt out, foggy, low, sick, and generally unwell, your immune system likely needs a recharge. Busy schedules, poor food choices, and irregular routines take a significant toll on the body’s immune system and can deplete it’s resources that help you fight infection, stay energized, and keep you strong and healthy. With a compromised immune system, you’re more susceptible to illness, chronic disease, fatigue, and irregular moods. Thankfully, there are many ways to support your immune system through diet, supplementation, and behavioural modifications.
Here are my Top 10 favourite ways to support immunity:
Ensure adequate protein at every meal and snack. Protein is essential for the building blocks of our immune system. They help form the backbone of antibodies and disease-fighting signals.
Eat more mushrooms. Fresh or dried, raw or cooked, encapsulated or powdered, mushrooms contain fantastic immune supportive properties, as well as serving as a source of plant protein.
Reduce or eliminate refined and added sugar. Sugar is the enemy of overall good health, but especially dampens the immune system, making it less able to do it’s job.
Adaptogens like maca help the body cope with stresses and changes to your system, and also improve energy and hormone function. Look for powdered, gelatinized maca rather than capsules for enhanced digestibility.
Herbs such as Echinacea or Astragalus are fantastically powerful. Echinacea is best taken while feeling sick as it is more immune stimulating, whereas Astragalus is best taken when not actively ill as it acts more as an immune supportive herb.
Vitamin D in it’s active form (D3) supprts the immune system, improves mood, eases the transition from day to night, and regulate hormones. Most in the Northern Hemisphere lack Vitamin D, and therefore require supplementation via gel capsule or liquid. It is challenging to get sufficient Vitamin D through diet alone.
Improving gut health with probiotics is key to supporting immune health and your microbial flora which is where most of the immune system originates. Kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi are great food sources. These foods are recommended in addition to a high quality supplement in order to reap the most benefit and achieve a therapeutic dose.
Movement at home or in a gym, even when run down, will help improve energy, stimulate blood flow and oxygenation to the brain and muscles, build lean body mass, and improve resilience to illness. Whether you do it inside or outside (exercising outside has been shown to even further enhance immunity), get moving.
Sleep is when the body enters a recovery state, including the immune system. It is when the body has an opportunity to consolidate everything from the previous days and reset. Aim for 7 hours per night.
Performing a series of hot and cold (ie. contrast) cycles at the end of your shower is a form of hydrotherapy treatment. This is very similar to when you go to a spa and do a cold plunge after a sauna treatment. Alternating hot and cold has been shown to stimulate components of the immune system (white blood cells) and improve energy. Always remember to end on cold.
If you value your immune system as much as I do, and you want to learn even more ways to support it, then I suggest booking an appointment with me. That we can check-up and check-in on your immune system and really optimize it.