How To: Support Your Immune System
How do you support your immune system? A lot of people would answer this question with one word: supplements. But what if we told you there was a better way? We put a lot of focus on how we can boost our immune systems with synthetic vitamins and supplements (especially around cold and flu season) but tend to forget that there are simple ways that involve small changes to our daily lives that can have a seriously positive impact on our immune systems. Before you stock up on vitamins and supplements, try doing the following first:
Improve The Quality Of Your Sleep:
We talk about how to get better quality sleep in our blog post here. What it comes down to though is that sleep is the time our body takes to recover. Our bodies need sleep and rest to repair, recuperate and regenerate. This is why we often feel lethargic and tired when we’re sick: it’s our body’s way of telling us we need to slow down and allow ourselves the time to get better. Quality sleep is linked to getting sick less often, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing your risk of serious health problems, reducing stress and improving your mood (among many others!).
Reduce Your Screen Time:
You’ve probably heard this a ton lately: “logging off until tomorrow!” “going screen free for the weekend” “taking a break from social!”. It’s becoming more popular to disengage and spend less time in front of our screens. Although the goal here for many is to spend less time engaging online and more time being present IRL, spending less time on your phone or in front of a screen can also help boost your immunity. The screens that many of us spend countless hours a day in front of emit a blue light that can have negative effects on the quality of our sleep. We’re trying to improve our sleep quality, not make it worse! Plus, going offline has also shown to have positive effects on your mental health, which in turn can help improve your overall immunity.
Move Your Body:
Do you know why people like to sit in the sauna? To sweat and remove toxins from the body. Removing toxins is necessary in maintaining a healthy immune system. You know what else results in sweat? Moving your body! When people hear this they automatically assume that it means they have to get a gym membership, buy expensive athletic apparel or equipment and spend hours each day on the treadmill, lifting weights or in a spin studio. You know what else you could do that requires spending zero dollars and takes little to no experience? Go for a walk! Something as simple as going for a daily brisk walk for as little as 30 minutes can have serious health benefits. While you walk you’ll improve your circulation, ward off heart disease and lower your blood pressure. You’ll also strengthen your bones, lighten your mood, regulate your weight and support your joints - which if you didn’t catch on to yet, all have positive effects on your overall immunity. Plus, if we’re trying to bring this full circle, getting in some daily movement is also one way to improve the quality of your sleep!
Get Some Vitamin D:
One of the reasons that cold and flu season also happens to be during the winter is because the days are shorter and we spend less time outdoors. Vitamin D is essential for helping our immune systems stay balanced, especially during cold and flu season. Low levels of vitamin D may not directly cause issues with your autoimmune system BUT it can definitely make your situation worse. You can definitely find a vitamin D supplement but again - there’s also a way to get it for free: sunlight! The sun is the best source of vitamin D you can get and it’s free, so why not? Kill two birds with one stone and get your daily movement outside in the sun, just make sure you’re also pairing it with sunscreen because not only is the sun free, it’s also extremely strong.
Fuel Your Body:
You can check all of the above off your daily to-do list but if you’re not fueling your body with the right foods, your immune system will have a harder time reaping the benefits. These are our go to superfoods for building a strong immune systems:
One of the most nutritious berries on the planet, acai berries are definitely at the top of our list when it comes to immune boosting foods. Unfortunately this berry isn’t native to North America so we can’t eat them fresh but luckily we’ve got the highest quality organic acai berry powder to enjoy. Acai berries have shown to boost the production of white blood cells in the body which is key to ensuring your immune system remains in tip top shape. This antioxidant rich superfruit prevents bad cells from accumulating and improves overall cellular health.
Another superfruit with dark purple pigmentation, maqui berries are loaded with antioxidants which help prevent and treat inflammatory diseases. We’ll say it again and again, inflammation is often found at the root of illness and disease so you better believe we’re loading up on antioxidant rich foods like maqui and acai. Maqui berry powder also contains antibacterial and antiviral properties, helping to ward off bacterial infections and treat viral conditions. It’s also said to have anti carcinogen effects thanks to its strong antioxidant makeup.
The fruit so nice they named it twice. We’ve got a whole blog dedicated to this superfruit which you can read here. To keep it short and sweet, this superfruit is one of nature’s richest sources of wholefood vitamin C. One serving gets you over 200% of your RDI of vitamin C! Why would you opt for a synthetic supplement when you can get it from whole foods?
Just like maqui berries and acai berries, blueberries get their purple pigmentation from a specific type of antioxidant: anthocyanins - a powerful disease-fighting compound that aids in reducing inflammation. Phytochemicals found in blueberries positively affect our GI microflora aka our gut bacteria and in case you didn’t know, research has shown that about 60-80 percent of our immune system originates from our gut! A happy gut = a happy immune system. One serving of our organic blueberry powder is equivalent to ½ cup of fresh blueberries!
Gram for gram, what contains: two times the amount of protein of yogurt, four times the amount of vitamin A as carrots, three times the amount of potassium as bananas, four times the amount of calcium as cow’s milk AND seven times the amount of vitamin C as oranges? Moringa!! Moringa aka the miracle tree is praised for being loaded with nutrients and for its ability to help reduce inflammation, improve digestive health, balance your blood sugar, nourish your skin and protect your brain (among others) - all of which contribute to a strong, healthy immune system. Want to learn more about moringa? Check out our superfood spotlight here!