These 10 ways you can improve your immune health can help you reduce your risk of illness this cold and flu season
1. Eat a whole food diet. Eating an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables and raw nuts and seeds is important for our general health and for immune health. In particular vitamin C and zinc are immune enhancing. Pumpkin seeds, oysters and grass feed beef are excellent sources zinc. Citrus fruit and green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are high in vitamin C.
2. Improve your sleep and reduce your stress: Sleep deprivation and chronic stress can lead to an increase in cortisol which can impact immune health and increase your risk of falling ill.
3. Avoid cigarette smoke. Smoking or exposure to second hand cigarette smoke increases your risk of developing bronchitis and pneumonia and increases the risk of middle ear infections in children.
4. Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol consumption can impair your immune system and increase your risk of lung infections.
5. Take a probiotic and eat fermented foods. Studies have found some probiotic strains enhance our immune response against pathogens that cause illness. Probiotics have also been shown to reduce the incidence of respiratory infections.
6. Get some sunshine. Vitamin D is essential for immune health and we need direct sunlight on our skin to make vitamin D. In the cooler months aim for 20-30 minutes of sunshine each day without sunscreen.
7. Add garlic. Garlic is antimicrobial and an immune booster. If you are not a fan of garlic in your food take an odorless garlic capsule each day in the cooler months to boost immunity.
8. Take medicinal mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms have a variety of amazing health benefits including improving immunity. Look for Shiitake Maitake, Cordyceps and Lion’s Mane or blends that contain these varieties. You can take them as a capsule or add the powder to your coffee or smoothie.
9. Try some immune boosting herbs. Herbs such as Echinacea, Cats claw and Olive leaf improve your immune response and reduce the duration of a cold or flu. They can also help your immune system recover and replenish after illness.
10. Rest and recovery. If you do catch a bug take the time to let your body recover. Rest, get lots of sleep, drink fluids, eat nourishing soups and bone broth and take the time your body needs to recover properly before throwing yourself back into your regular routine. Doing this will replenish your immune system and reduce your risk of getting ill again soon.