Striving for a healthy immune system feels more important than ever during these COVID times, as our immune system is what helps us fight off infections. Unfortunately, our immune systems are not as straightforward as we may like them to be. In fact, they are incredibly complex. They’re called “systems” for a reason. Many factors go into a healthy one and researchers are still learning the ins and outs of the interconnectedness of it all. While we may not be able to boost our immune systems overnight, there are habits and lifestyle changes we can make that may lead to a healthy one over time. Let’s go over what some of those are.
How Can I Boost My Immune System Quickly?
You are what you eat
As cliche as it sounds, this saying couldn’t ring more true. We are what we consume. Eating a balanced diet with whole foods will ensure that your entire body is working optimally. Whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, fats, and grains will provide your system with the nutrients and energy that it needs to operate effectively. Additionally, research shows that lacking certain micronutrients plays a role in how our bodies fight infections.
Vitamins B6, C, and E, zinc, and iron are just a few examples. Acquiring these micronutrients through whole foods (instead of just relying on supplements) is the best route. For example, B6 is in salmon and bananas. Vitamin C is in fruits and tomatoes. And vitamin E is in almonds and peanut butter. Our bodies need a variety of both macro and micronutrients to function properly.
Move your body
Many people dismiss exercise as only for those interested in the esthetic appeal. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s not just about losing weight and gaining muscle (although these can both benefit our bodies if done properly). Our bodies were designed to move. Boosting circulation and releasing endorphins are only a couple of reasons why you should get up and move. Houston Methodist Leading Medicine states that boosting your overall circulation makes it easier for immune cells and other infection-fighting molecules to travel more easily throughout your body. Engaging in just 20 to 30 minutes of activity each day can go a long way in boosting your immune system over time.
Sleep is essential
With the hustle and bustle of modern-day life, many adults and even children are walking around like tired zombies. Sleep may be one of the most important factors in keeping your immune system robust. Without adequate sleep, we may experience more cortisol, which will simply add to any stress we’re already feeling. Aiming for roughly seven hours a night should allow for the creation of infection-fighting molecules.
Drink up, buttercup. And no, I’m not referring to bottomless mimosas at Sunday brunch. Considering our bodies are made up of around 60% water, it seems pretty obvious that we should be consuming it through water intake and hydrating foods. Properly hydrating will ensure you have healthy lymph. Without a healthy circulatory system, you may experience an impaired immune system. Calculating how much water you need each day will allow you to set and maintain a goal.
The intricate connection between the gut and the brain continues to be heavily researched. It’s much more significant than we’ve realized in the past. Whether it’s through foods or a capsule, probiotics are some of the best foods to boost immunity. Some of these foods may include kimchi, kefir, miso, or kombucha. Keep in mind that some of these foods are an acquired taste, so you may need to have some patience!
This is much easier said than done. However, there are tangible and practical steps to create a more peaceful life. Whether it’s following some of the habits in this blog, meditating, practicing yoga, being present, or spending time with people you enjoy, you don’t have to experience life in a stressful state.
Additional Reading: Seven Tips to Reduce Stress (Source: Texas Health Resources)
Again, whole foods are considered the best way to get your nutrients. However, some may reach for supplements during times of crisis. If you’re considering supplementation, make sure to research the company and consult with your doctor if you feel the need.
Strengthening our immune system
Whether it’s maintaining a balanced diet, getting great sleep, exercise, hydrating, healing your gut, keeping stress at bay, or even supplementing here and there, there are concrete ways that we can boost our bodies and our immune systems. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits.
Southlake Natural Family Wellness
Our mission is to support the health and well-being of our patients by offering individualized, comprehensive holistic care including acupuncture, herbal recommendations, customized nutritional counseling, allergy elimination (NAET), whole food supplements, lifestyle suggestions, moxibustion, and cupping, as well as helping couples get pregnant and STAY pregnant by supporting all the paths to conception.
About Farrah Hamraie
Farrah Hamraie, L.Ac, MOM, Dipl.OM (NCCAOM), is licensed and board-certified in Acupuncture and Herbal medicine in the State of Texas with a Masters of Oriental Medicine from the Dallas College of Oriental Medicine. She is also a Diplomat of NCCAOM (the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), a Board Certified Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, and a member of the American Association of Oriental Medicine.