By Tiffany Paige, Contributing Editor
Your immune system is a sophisticated computer, elegantly communicating and coordinating many functions throughout your body. It protects you from illness, infection and disease, and some 70% to 80% of your body’s immune system cells are located in your gut. There are natural ways to support it and even boost it to keep it running optimally strong. Remember, prevention is always better than treatment. Here are some easy ways to keep your immune system army working for you:
Stay Hydrated – A great habit to start is adding fresh squeezed lemon to your water (room temperature-to warm) in the morning. It has many health benefits including a rich source of vitamin C, which aids in immune system deficiencies, maintains ph balance, cleanses the liver; and lemons’ anti-inflammatory properties help fight respiratory tract infections. The list goes on.
Breathe - Deep breathing is a simple, yet highly effective way to lower stress, calm the nervous system and strengthen your immune defenses. Did you know that stress lowers your immune system? In through the nose (take in as much air as your lungs can hold), out through the mouth, relaxed and steady. Try a few.
Eating Healthy - An array of organic fruits and vegetables will nourish you and give you less cravings. If you need that dessert tonight, know that it is all about balance… and no self-judgment, of course. You could also benefit by adding superfoods to your diet – herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, and oregano oil all have anti-viral properties and nutrient benefits.
Get Enough Sleep – Many people don’t put enough importance on sleep and its regenerative qualities. A minimum of 7 hours, and up to 9 hours, is ideal. Recent studies have shown a strong connection between sleep and the human immune system, so you can function at your best.
Get Outdoors - Go for a walk (and bring your mask for when you’re near others). Soak up the sunshine and some vitamin D. Allow 10-15 minutes before sunscreen application for proper vitamin D production. Sunlight directly activates key immune cells. Studies also show sunshine’s “happy effect” on mental health, so go ahead and take in the beauty of nature.
Supplements: My go-to is Counter Attack with a blend of vitamin C, Zinc and herbs. They are my “magic pills”. I take 2 any time of day and I like that you can take them on an empty stomach. I also recommend Vitamin D3, especially if you’re not getting enough naturally. Choose vitamin brands that are made from organic, sustainably grown, high quality whole foods like Mega Food and North American Herb & Spice.
Exercise: Regular physical activity can strengthen your immune system and help your body fight off infections and viruses. You can reduce stress, improve your mood and mental health, as well as your bone and muscle health. Exercise enhances oxygen flow to the brain and gives you an energy level boost.