The holiday season is here and with it comes parties, good food, quality time with friends and family, and plenty of celebrations. Unfortunately, it is also the time when many of find ourselves feeling under the weather. Here are some simple things you can incorporate into your daily routine to help boost your immune powers.
Sleep is my theme for December and I can’t stress enough how important it is to make this a priority. Sleep is your body’s time to detox and replenish. (1)
2. NURTURE YOUR GUT
A healthy gut = a healthy body…and mind. More and more research is showing the link between our immunity and our gut health. Did you know that about 90% of our bodies’ immune system is located in our gut? Keep your healthy gut flora thriving with probiotic foods such as raw sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and kombucha (look for ones with 5 grams of sugar or less). For an extra boost take a probiotic supplement. I love Megaspore probiotics because they don’t have to be refrigerated so they are perfect for traveling. Reach out if you’d like me to mail you some- shipping is on me! (2)
3. FILL UP ON FIBER
Prebiotic fiber is healthy gut bacteria’s favorite food. When bacteria ferment prebiotics, short chain fatty acids are released in our gut which act as immuno-modulators and increase the production of T-regulatory cells. These help regulate our bodies’ immune response. (3)
Some great prebiotic food sources are asparagus, artichokes, sunchokes, onion, garlic, unripe bananas, and jicama.
4. HAVE A SPOONFUL OF ELDERBERRY SYRUP
Elderberries are a rich in vitamins A and C, and bioflavonoids which are crucial in helping the body maintain optimal health. Elderberry syrup reduces mucous secretions and fights the swelling of respiratory passages which helps soothe a cough and makes breathing easier. (4)
5. GET THOSE RAYS
Get at least 15 minutes of SPF free exposure to the sun daily to make sure you are producing vitamin D, or take a vitamin D supplment. Research shows that vitamin D plays a role in the activation of several types of immune cells and people who have low levels of vitamin D are more likely to get sick. (5).
Vitamin D rich food sources include fatty fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies as well as cod liver oil.
6. EAT FOODS HIGH IN VITAMIN C
Eat lots of vitamin C rich foods like brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach and strawberries or take a Vitamin C supplement made from fruit. (6)
7. DON’T FORGET YOUR ZINC
Zinc is involved in more enzymatic reactions in your body than any other mineral. Zinc increases your production of white blood cells and helps them fight infection more effectively. It also increases killer cells that combat cancer, helps your immune system release more antibodies, and supports wound healing. (7)
Some food sources of zinc include meat, shellfish, seeds, nuts and eggs.
8. EAT FRESH, RAW GARLIC.
Garlic is high in allicin which is the pungent oily liquid that gives garlic it’s distinctive smell and also has antibacterial properties. Garlic also has sulfuric compounds which helps your body absorb the trace element zinc, which is an immunity booster. Garlic has also been shown to boost the body’s virus fighting T-cells which matters since colds and the flu are caused by viruses. (8)
9. ALSO EAT ONIONS, HONEY, COCONUT OIL, OREGANO/OREGANO OIL.
These all contain immune boosting properties like anti-fungals, anti-microbials, and anti-bacterial.
10. DECREASE YOUR SUGAR INTAKE.
Sugar wears the body down and we want it to be at full capacity to tackle those germs. According to a 1973 study done by Loma Linda University, when you eat 100 grams of sugar, about as much sugar as you find in a 1 liter bottle of soda, your white blood cells are 40 percent less effective at killing germs.
You can cripple your immune system for up to 5 hours after eating sugar! Glucose, fructose and sucrose all significantly decreased the activity of neutrophils to engulf bacteria! (Neutrophils are the "first responders" of white blood cells when there are invading microbes.) (9)
Need help breaking up with sugar? Check out my small group sugar detox workshops.
Laughing, having an overall positive mood and expressing gratitude, lowers stress levels and can promote sleep- both of which are essential for a thriving immune system. (10)
(Find all of my favorite immune boosting supplements in my Fullscript pharmacy under the Dispensary Categories button.)
(1) https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/281827Vitamin C https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19263912
(4) The Journal of International Medical Research (2004; 32: 132 140)
(9) Sanchez, A., et al. Role of Sugars in Human Neutrophilic Phagocytosis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Nov 1973;261:1180_1184