My Favorite Ways to keep my immune system thriving!
As a Chiropractor and seeker of all health and wellness information, I have spent HOURS studying human physiology. At the basis of human physiology, we know that the nervous system controls every cell, organ, and tissue in your body. We also know that your nervous system is VERY intricately connected to your immune system. The better your nervous system is functioning, the better your immune system will function.
1. Go to a Chiropractor
This is something I do weekly as a proactive measure to take care of my health. A Chiropractic adjustment unleashes your body’s innate ability to heal itself. There is no medicine, herb, or tonic that is as powerful as your own body. We have only scratched the surface in scientifically quantifying your immune system, so we always want to make sure our bodies are functioning optimally to allow for optimal healing from the inside-out.
Sleep is super important for our immune system. During sleep, the immune certain releases certain cytokines (substances secreted by immune cells), which increase with infection or inflammation, or during periods of stress, to combat illness. If the body is deprived of sleep, it may decrease cytokine production, which can hinder the body’s ability to fight infection. Therefore, sleep is essential to building up the body’s immunity and making sure it is operating at full capacity when healthy. Studies have shown that sleep disturbance and inadequate sleep can leave one’s immune system more susceptible to infectious illnesses, such as the common cold.
3. Get outside
Have you ever thought about why the flu has a “season”? The flu is seasonal because we are moving less and getting outside less in the winter. We get the least amount of sun exposure and vitamin D in the winter. Vitamin D is incredibly important for immune function. We make vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Nearly every cell in our body has receptors for vitamin D so vitamin D really drives our innate immunity! When vitamin D attaches to these immune cells, they produce antimicrobial proteins which are antivirals. They kill a flu virus. We know that if you’re vitamin D deficient, you’re going to be much more likely to contract not only viral infections, but fungal and bacterial infections and certainly all upper respiratory tract infections.
In the winter months, when it’s not as easy to get outside and expose your skin to direct sunlight, we can supplement with vitamin D, but it’s important that vitamin K2 is included. For a Vitamin D + K2 supplement, click here. Here, you will also find a quality zinc supplement, elderberry, and vitamin C, which are all also amazing for immune support.
4. Eat WHOLE foods, especially the following:
You are what you eat! Choose foods that support your immune system.
- Beta-Carotene- root vegetables & greens- beta-carotene converts into vitamin A, which can help your antibodies respond to toxins, such as viruses. Carrots, spinach, kale, apricots, sweet potato, squash, and cantaloupe. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, so consuming foods with healthy fats will aid its absorption.
- Vitamin E- nuts, seeds, avocados, and spinach. Also fat soluble.
- Green tea- antioxidants.
- Vitamin D- sunshine, fish & eggs.
- Probiotics- fermented foods, yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut.
- Garlic- T-cell Booster- reduces the amount of stress hormones your body produces, which can keep immune function at full strength.
- Zinc- shellfish, poultry, and beans.
- Water- hydration is extremely important for immunity. You can eat your water through consuming cucumbers, watermelon, and celery.
- Vitamin C- citrus and greens- oranges, grapefruits, sweet red pepper, strawberries, kale, kiwis.
5. Elderberry syrup
Elderberry syrup has been scientifically proven in two randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled studies to inhibit both influenza A and B strains when given orally in the first 48 hours of flu-like symptoms. Here’s an interesting study on taking elderberry for improved immune function (source).
In the winter, I like to take a spoonful of elderberry in the mornings. I actually do every other morning. I don’t worry about it as much in the summer months.
There are SO many more immune boosting tips, but these are at the top of my list right now. I’ll blog more about more immune and health boosting tips in the future, so stay tuned!
In health and gratitude,