I hope this information finds you and your family healthy and well. This information is meant to be empowering and provide you with tools you can use right away to support your immune system. No particular diet, supplement, or lifestyle change can promise to prevent getting sick, but making certain changes can definitely improve your immunity and support your body. By choosing to eat mostly nutrient-dense foods and making lifestyle choices that support your body, you can give your body the tools it needs to keep your immune system functioning at the highest level possible. When your immune system has the fuel and support it needs, it can do it’s best job in helping fight against bacteria and viruses. A supported and strong immune system isn’t a guarantee that you won’t get sick, but it is a tool you have that can reduce your risk. It can also help you recover quicker if you do get sick.
Immune Support Basics
Eat a wide variety of colorful vegetables, including plenty of dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts, cauliflower, and kale. Eating the rainbow will help you get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to support your body and immune system.
Eat colorful fruits, especially dark berries, which are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Eat enough food for your body. This one may surprise you! However, many people don’t eat enough to fuel their body’s needs for each day. Undereating places excess stress on the body, which may increase inflammation and decrease immune function. Food provides the basic building blocks your body needs to build a strong immune system.
Eat mindfully to help improve digestion and absorption of your food. When we’re stressed, it’s hard to digest and absorb all our food! Eating mindfully can help reduce stress, which means you’ll get more benefits from the food you eat. Some ideas to start eating mindfully: take some deep belly breaths before eating; pay attention to the sight, smell, taste, and texture of your food; chew and eat slowly; remove distractions (especially screens) while eating.
Stay hydrated! Aim for at least half an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. Being hydrated supports the mucus membranes in our nose and throat which are our first line of defense against pathogens!
Stay active by doing regular daily movement that you love. This doesn’t have to be vigorous exercise – just reduce long periods of sedentary time and get your body moving in a way that feels good! Movement reduces inflammation, increases circulation and can also help reduce stress. It can also support your mental health and help you feel good 😊
Sleep! Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep each night, which has been shown to increase resistance to viruses. When you’re sick, you need more sleep for your body to rest and repair, which is why we often feel tired when we’re sick. So listen to your body and take a nap or sleep in 😊
Do your best to reduce stress. Stress increases inflammation, which can weaken your immune system. Find small spaces in your day to meditate, take some deep belly breaths, or just have some quiet time to yourself. Small changes can make a big difference! Also, make time for what brings you joy!Pay attention to your intake of caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and ultra-processed foods. Excess sugar can decrease immune system function by 20%!. These foods/beverages can also be dehydrating and may increase inflammation.
This doesn’t mean don’t eat these foods/beverages, but consider your intake of these in addition to your intake of other foods mentioned here. Finding the right balance that works for your mind, body, and soul is key!Be Kind to yourself and others. Realize everyone (including you!) is doing the best they can. You don’t need to do everything on this list to support your immune system. Start small with what you can do, then do more as you are able. Compassion for both others and yourself can reduce stress and help you make the changes you want to support your health! Listen to your body to tune in to your personal needs.