5 Ways to Boost your Immune System
Salmon tacos, a side salad and no mess in the kitchen. Sometimes it’s the small things in life that make us happy and I am happy that Marlow’s is open again. My family and I love to end our weekends sharing a meal there.
Last month, I wouldn’t have considered or been able to eat in a restaurant. As Covid-19 threatened our community, we retreated to our homes and worried about the future of our country and the world.
Now that restrictions have started to lift, my family life has returned to some degree of normalcy. We’ve begun to venture out and see friends. Yet I am aware that the pandemic is still very much happening. While a mask can help, our body’s defense is the best defense.
That’s why my family is focused on taking the right measures to ensure that our immune systems are robust and ready to fight any virus that comes our way.
You can join us by following some of these tips for supporting your body’s natural defense mechanisms.
You already know that you should be taking a multivitamin that contains immune-boosting Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc. But what about your Vitamin K intake? A new study showed that Covid-19 patients with better Vitamin K status were linked with improved health outcomes. If you prefer to get your nutrition from food, the best sources of vitamin K are leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. A single cup of raw spinach will give you 180% of the daily recommended intake! Add it to your meal as a side salad or chop it up and add it on top of an open-faced sandwich with a squeeze of lemon to improve the bioavailability of its iron content.
Access Ayurvedic wisdom
Did you know that approximately 70% of our immune defense is housed in the lining of the gut? That’s why I like to incorporate ayurvedic practices into my wellness plans, as this five century old “science of life” largely centers around good digestive health. Some Ayurvedic recommendations include eating at regular times of the day, avoiding overeating and cooking with immune-boosting spices like cumin, turmeric, and black pepper.
Support your microbiome
Gut health is truly the key to staying healthy! We know that our microbiota are critical to our health as they stimulate the immune system, help degrade potentially toxic food compounds and supply the body with essential nutrients. The best way to support your microbiome is by reducing sugars in the diet, eating a plant rich diet full of prebiotic fiber and taking a high quality probiotic.
Get some sleep
Studies show that sleep and circadian rhythm strongly influence immune defense. When sleep is insufficient, the body produces fewer infection and inflammation fighting cytokines and antibodies. So how much sleep is enough? According to the CDC, the average adult needs a minimum of 7 hours of sleep for optimal health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, we Georgians are some of the worst sleepers in the country, with only Hawaii and Kentucky ranking worse! To help combat those stats, you can adopt a regular bedtime, avoid blue lights from screens in the evening, get more sunlight exposure during the day and drink less alcohol.
Manage your stress
Stress and anxiety mess with our hormones and can significantly depress the immune system over time. Try to clear your mind and reset your hormone levels by setting aside ten minutes to meditate daily. Moderate exercise is also a great activity for both boosting the immune system and decreasing stress, with yoga, brisk walking and bicycling all great options.