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Though it seems like each year we hear about a new sickness or virus, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to naturally support your body’s immune system and avoid sickness.
My background in integrative nutrition counseling has given me insight into holistic strategies that have helped me boost my immune system through supplementation and focusing on nutrient-dense food. Please remember that I am not a medical professional and to always consult your doctor before taking supplements or trying alternative therapies.
Optimize Your Nutrition And Gut Health
Did you know that a good immune system begins with a healthy gut? To keep your gut happy and healthy, you’ll want to focus on eating healthy fats, anti-inflammatory foods and plenty of green vegetables. Some good sources of gut-friendly foods are bone broth, green apples, avocado, spinach, broccoli, turmeric, and fermented foods like kraut, kimchi, and kefir. Try to avoid or limit the consumption of inflammatory foods like dairy and alcohol. I’ve loved using this Probiotic Coconut Yogurt from The Coconut Cult! I take 1 Tablespoon each day (it’s very potent) to keep my gut happy.
Zinc and Propolis for Throat and Respiratory Support
Zinc has been research backed to provide immune support at the cellular level and I take these zinc capsules several times a week during cold and flu season. They have been effective in keeping me healthy and they don’t upset my stomach.
Another game-changer that I take at the first sign of a scratchy throat or cough, is a propolis spray from BeeKeeper’s Naturals, and it has helped me recover quickly on numerous occasions. They also have a great travel kit which includes brain fuel that helps you recover from jet lag! Silvercillin and the Propolis Spray are both at the top of my packing list for every trip I take!
Supplement With Essential Vitamins and Nutrients
Vitamin D3 (I love this one because it contains K2 and Magnesium which are necessary for D3 to be asborbed) and Oil of Oregano have both been shown to improve immunity. Vitamin D can also help with regulating mental health as those with depression often have extremely low levels of Vitamin D. While the sun is the optimal source, many of us can’t get enough sun during the winter, so that’s why we need to supplement with it. Start off by getting your levels tested (42% of the US population is deficient) and with the help of your practitioner, base your dosage on your current blood levels. Methylated B vitamins are also a key part of my daily immunity-boosting regimen, but be sure to check with your doctor to find out your unique nutritional needs.
Avoid Refined Sugar
Sugar is considered to be an anti-nutrient that can suppress your immune system for up to 6 hours after consumption! It’s almost impossible to avoid during the indulgent holiday season, but try to limit the consumption of refined sugar as much as you can. My go-to for a healthy dessert when I have sugar cravings is to have some berries with coconut cream as a topping. If you need some strategies to help you reduce or give up sugar, I highly recommend this book which turns the process into a game of sorts. I’m competitive, so this was incredibly appealing to me.
Daily Physical Activity
The short, cold days often make me want to curl up and hibernate for the winter, but it’s important to stay active each day. If a gym membership isn’t in the budget, you can find plenty of free online workouts or find free fitness activities near you. When you’re feeling stressed, exercise can serve to lift your mood and also boost your immunity. It doesn’t have to be anything intense or long – even 15-20 minutes will help! An added benefit of physical activity is improved sleep quality so your body can have time to repair and heal. Buy strength and toning gear at amazing prices.
Elderberry packs a huge antioxidant punch and is thought to suppress viral activity. I take a few tablespoons weekly during the winter as a preventive measure, but it’s also highly effective in reducing the duration and severity of colds and the flu if you’ve already come down with something. Try your farmer’s market to find locally made syrup that uses honey or maple syrup instead of refined sugar. For those in the Triad of North Carolina, I like Syrup and More.
Something else that has been an absolute lifesaver – Rapid Rescue. These potent capsules contain elderberry extract, olive leaf extract, echinacea and a whole host of other immune boosters. You take them at the first sign of feeling sick and they work SO well to help you heal and reduce the duration of your sickness. They are something I take with me on all my travels since elderberry syrup generally has to stay refrigerated and it doesn’t travel well (the shelf-stable brands are usually packed with sugar and not as effective).
I have also used Lauricidin to reduce the duration of colds as it is a potent anti-viral, derived from coconut. It is also beneficial for gut health. L-Lysine is another option – it’s an essential amino acid that many take to help avoid cold sores as it can assist with decreasing viral load, but it also supports general immune function and gut health.
Massages are wonderful for relaxation, but did you know you can receive specific lymphatic drainage massages to help your body detox when you’re not feeling well?
Infrared Sauna is another great therapy that warms your body from the inside and assists with boosting immunity and toxin removal. For those local to North Carolina, A to Zen Massage is my go-to for massage and infrared sauna and Himalayan Hideaway offers relaxing halotherapy.
I’m thankful to have several local farmers’ markets and wellness centers nearby to take advantage of many of these immunity boosters that I’ve mentioned. For those in NC, The Well Cafe & Juice Bar in Greensboro carries both the coconut yogurt I mentioned and the Elderberry Syrup if you’re interested! I hope these tips have given you some ideas for how you can build your immunity and prevent sickness this year. Have you found other natural ways to stay well? Please share your favorite immunity-boosting tip in the comments!
Thanks for reading and before you go, be sure to bookmark my full list of immunity boosters.