It’s that time of year where colds and flu are creeping in and so to get you prepped and on top of your health we wanted to email over our awesome guide to boosting your immune system.
As a bonus, this has a spillover effect to pretty much every area of your health, including your mood!
And all of these things can make a difference for everyone in your family.
✓ STEP 1: Include WHOLE FOODS in your diet (& keep your gut happy)
There are entire books written on this topic! In a nutshell, try to:
Include WHOLE foods in your diet as much as possible. Especially plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, and legumes, which are packed with micronutrients and fiber that help your body defend itself.
Your gut microbiome is a major player in your immune system. You can help keep it healthy and happy by eating enough fiber as well as bolstering it with fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, naturally brined pickles, and kefir!
✓ STEP 2: Watch Your Sugar, Sugar.
Too much sugar can suppress your immune system. This is just one reason why experts say to limit your added sugar intake to less than 10% of your daily calories. (NOTE: this doesn’t include naturally occurring sugar like the kind found in fruit or dairy products).
What that looks like, according to the American Heart Association:
→ For men: no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) a day.
→ For women, the number tops out at 6 teaspoons (25 grams).
This adds up fast!
Just as an example, a 12-ounce (355 ml) can of regular soda contains 8 teaspoons (32 grams) of added sugar.
Also try and aim to steer clear of processed foods that come in a bag, box, or can and have a long list of ingredients.
✓ STEP 3: Get (and stay) Fit!
Most people should aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise (like brisk walking, bicycling, jogging, swimming, or any of our sessions!) every week.
This matters for your immune system because it can help reduce inflammation PLUS promote the healthy turnover of immune cells in your body!
✓ STEP 4: Drink Water
Need another reason to make sure you’re getting enough water each day?!
Dehydration can actually make you more susceptible to illness!
Exactly how much water you need is constantly being debated, but the Institute of Medicine recommends an overall fluid intake each day of:
- Men- 131 ounces (3.9 liters), 13 cups (about 3 liters) of which should come from beverages
- Women- 95 ounces (2.8 liters), 9 cups (about 2.1 liters) of which should come from beverages.
✓ STEP 5: Get Your Shut-Eye
Sleeping less than 6 hours a night is linked to a higher likelihood of coming down with a cold.
(PLUS: getting enough sleep is also linked with less stress and fewer food cravings.)
✓ STEP 6: Find time to relax.
Long-term stress can create imbalances in the way your immune cells work … and appears to even suppress the immune response. Make some time to stop and relax, reduce your use of electronics, get out the house for long walks and spend time in nature (Or go out and look at holiday decorations, yes they’re already in the shops!).
✓ STEP 7: Should You Take Supplements?
Many supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc.) may help boost your immune system … but if you’re thinking of taking them, be sure to check with your doctor first.
This is especially important if you have any health issues or take prescriptions.
As I mentioned above, all of these things affect far more than your immune system.
They also play a role in your results, your energy, AND your mood!