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5 Tips to Boost Your Immune System Now

Dec 23, 2020

Having a healthy immune system is always a good idea and is especially important as we make our way through flu season in the era of a global pandemic. Here are fantastic ways to help you optimize your ever-important immune system. Keep in mind that it is still critical that we continue to practice physical distancing, mask-wearing and hand washing.

1. Cultivate a healthy gut microbiome.

Did you know that 70% of our immune cells live in the gut? These immune cells work closely with our gut microbiome, so it’s smart practice to keep the microbiome in robust shape. Try these tips:

Eat fresh, organic, unprocessed foods.

Eating whole foods like an entire steamed sweet potato or an apple, for example, rather than eating sweet potato chips or crackers, allows our gut to naturally absorb the appropriate nutrients, including the fibrous parts of fruits and veggies. Whenever possible, choose organic produce. Avoid processed foods – generally most things that come in a box or a can.

Eat fermented foods daily.

Foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut and miso are great ways to incorporate naturally occurring and necessary living micro-organisms into our gut. I recommend trying plant-based yogurts or kombucha if you haven’t already given them a go. I make miso soup for my family at least once a week in the wintertime.

2. Make sleep a priority.

Studies reliably show that adults need at least 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night in order to have optimal immune function. We know that an array of complex detoxification processes take place in the body and brain as we slumber, so don’t skip these necessary hours of sleep. Practicing meditation and mindfulness during the daytime can help us fall asleep faster and stay asleep.

3. Use Spices creatively and in almost everything you eat and drink.

Using food as medicine is one of my favorite parts of educating my patients. Here are spices I recommend everyone keep in their pantries and use multiple times daily:

Ginger

Turmeric

Thyme

Cayenne pepper

Cinnamon

Garlic

Each of these tasty powders pack an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-fungal punch.

4. Drink organic green tea daily.

Tea drinkers reap a multitude of health benefits, including improving immune function. Green tea (vs. black) is highest in phytonutrients and the most impactful of these is polyphenols. Polyphenols are also known as catechins and they work as potent antioxidants. They help activate cell repair and strengthen the immune system.

What is interesting is that the blacker the tea, the less polyphenols it generally has. Studies show that adding milk to any tea also decreases its antioxidant potency. So, enjoy that nice warm cup of organic green tea daily, and skip the milk.

5. Exercise daily.

We know that movement is a great immunity builder. Making the time to exercise is essential this time of year. One thing I discuss with my patients is that over-doing exercise can actually weaken our defenses. So, now is the time for moderate exercise that you enjoy and can keep going on a daily basis. My daily habits are yoga, outdoor walks and if the weather is not cooperating, the ever-handy peloton bike.

Now is the time to give your body the support it needs to fight off infections, even if you are exposed. Think about boosting your immunity with each small decision you make every day. Work on building immune resilience by keeping the above tips in mind.

In my practice, I work closely with my patients and clients individually to recommend a variety of additional ways to keep themselves strong and healthy. I may recommend supplementing with certain vitamins, such as Vitamin C and D. Ayurvedic herbs are also a great strategy I use with patients. If you’re curious or interested in optimizing your lifestyle, contact me directly to set up a discovery call.

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