Four Key Strategies to Support Your Immune System

Learn how proper nutrition and other lifestyle choices can help you stay healthy during this time. If you are wondering what you can do right now to optimize your immune system, focus on these four areas.

 

NUTRITION: Eat as many whole plant foods as possible (to both optimize nutrient content and minimize toxic burden).

Why Diet Is So Important to Supporting the Immune System

70 to 80 percent of your immune system resides in your gut. Your food choices can benefit the gut, which in turn also benefits the immune system.

The best choices include foods that are highest in fiber, which are whole plant foods. This includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.  It’s important to eat as wide of a variety as possible, since whole plant foods contain different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phyto-chemicals that work in synergy.

 

SLEEP: Ensure that you get sufficient sleep (for most of us that is 8 hours).

Why Sleep Is So Important to Supporting the Immune System

Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep.

 

ACTIVITY: Get your body moving by engaging in moderate daily activity (everything from dancing to following online exercise videos).

Why Activity Is So Important to Supporting the Immune System

Exercise (1) can contribute to a healthy immune system by improving blood circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.<p>

 

STRESS MANAGEMENT: Take daily measures (e.g., meditation, yoga or other self-regulating techniques) to get your body out of survival mode and into relaxation mode.

Why Stress Management Is So Important to Supporting the Immune System

When you’re under chronic stress or anxiety, your body produces stress hormones that suppress your immune system.

A 2012 study (2) found that adults who either did a daily exercise routine or performed mindfulness meditation were less likely to get sick with a respiratory infection than subjects in a control group.<p>

 

References:

(1)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254618301005

(2)https://www.annfammed.org/content/10/4/337.long