While there are various vitamins, minerals and herbs that can help to support a healthy immune system, there are also many additional ways of boosting your body’s defenses and preventing infections during cold and flu season and throughout the year. Here are a few ways to support immune function as you go about your busy day:
In the shower… Ending your shower by briefly alternating hot and cold water creates a pump-like action in your body’s circulatory and lymphatic systems which in turn improves the production and circulation of immune cells in the body, helping to support the body’s defenses.
Before breakfast… Drinking a glass of water with the juice of halt a lemon squeezed in has long been suggested as a way to cleanse the liver and improve digestion. In addition to these benefits, the added boost of Vitamin C found in lemon juice and well as various enzymes will help to strengthen the immune system while providing a great energy boost in the morning.
During your breaks… Step outside and get some fresh air and sunshine! A bit of Vitamin D goes a long way towards improving immune function. And when the weather makes it impossible to get enough, consult with your ND about a proper supplement regimen tailored to your own needs.
At the gym… A regular and appropriate exercise routine can boost immunity overall. By supporting white blood cell production and proper respiratory exchange, aerobic exercise can help to protect you from infection. However, keep in mind that vigorous exercise can sometimes temporarily suppress immunity. Speak to an ND about an appropriate exercise routine for you.
At every meal and snack… Making sure to get a full array of fruits, vegetable and whole grains is the first step to ensuring your body has all the building blocks for a healthy immune system. Colourful orange, red and dark green vegetables and fruits will provide various vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C. Zinc, another important factor in immune function is abundant in pumpkin seeds. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium. Vitamin D, in addition to being produced in the skin with sunlight exposure, can be found in fish such as tuna and salmon!
Before bed (and throughout the day!)… Making a mindful effort to relax can play an important part in a healthy immune system. Stress, just as it can negatively impact many other body systems and functions, can also depress immune function. Keeping stress low and taking some “me time” at the end of every day, can help to prevent this effect of stress on immunity. This can be as simple as 20 to 30 minutes of meditation, journaling, light yoga, pleasure reading, or any activity that relaxes you and that you enjoy.
At bedtime… Making sure to get enough good quality sleep is a crucial factor in ensuring that your immune system functions at its best. Taking steps such as sleeping and waking at the same time every day, avoiding caffeine, and sleeping in a dark, quiet environment can help to improve sleep quality.