When was the last time you got sick? Was it a couple of months ago when allergy season caused sinusitis? Was it during the winter since you were stuck indoors mostly and unable to avoid germs? Or is getting sick a yearly routine for you?
Sure getting sick may be a yearly event for most but what if you were able to stop getting a cold, flu or other viruses every year? What if you were able to strengthen your immune system and not have a cold, flu or virus for a really long time? It can be done! But not without a commitment to making change in your life.
Covid-19 may have been a wake-up call for you or others you know. The rate of deaths for people with the following underlying health conditions is much higher than for otherwise healthy people: Heart Disease, Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Maybe you don't have one of those conditions. Maybe you have some warning signs, such as cholesterol rising every year, gaining a couple of pounds every year or even your resting blood glucose level is higher than it should be.
To keep the immune system strong so it fights illness such as Covid-19, is not hard. The hardest part is to remember to follow the new routine you create for better health. The strategies for a strong immune system are pretty basic and may seem too easy. Before we look at the Top 10, what causes a weak immune system?
Eating fast food meals with bright green drinks, sitting for long periods of time, drinking alcohol, going to concerts and taking prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs to live our best life are just a few activities that causes a weak immune system. Don't get me wrong, prescription drugs are great for emergency situations. Unfortunately, we've been taught that we need them to live.
This is where making changes in your life will help reduce the amount of colds, flu's or viruses you get. Change is hard! Especially when you are used to your current routine. Your current routine has developed over many years. It makes your life easier because you do not think about things such as drinking beverages, eating foods you are used to and sitting on the couch binge-watching series.
To make effective change in your life, start with one of the Top 10 Best Healthy Immune System Strategies listed below. Try to do it 2 to 3 times a week. It will take a couple of weeks for the new strategy to become part of your routine. When it does, add a 4th day and (if you are ready) add a second strategy. Building a new routine slowly is the best way to make it a lasting part of your life.
One last thing before the Top 10 list, don't think you have to totally stop everything you are currently doing - unless you want to! Start moving into a mindset that your current routine results in sickness. It is something you want to change, you are ready to change, so that your immune system is strong.
Think about one thing you do everyday that does not match well with the Top 10 Strategies below. Make a change by not doing that thing at least 1 day a week. To make the change more powerful, write down what you are reducing.
For example, if I wanted to stop drinking soda everyday, I would write down: I will not drink soda on Wednesday. Then I would place that note to myself somewhere where I see it everyday. It may even be a reminder on your phone! Once you are able to consistently stop for 1 day, stop doing it 2 days. Keep reducing the days until it becomes a treat going forward.
TOP 10 BEST HEALTHY IMMUNE STRATEGIES (#6 Is A Must)
#1 DRINK WATER
Not just any water, drink clean, purified and warm water. That's right - warm water! Drinking cold water impacts the ability of the digestive system to effectively process food. Why do we care about the digestive system? Because 70% of the immune system lives in the digestive system.
Also, being hydrated is essential to stopping pathogens from entering the body. The nose is our best defense against getting sick. When the nose is moist, it fights pathogens and does not allow us to get sick. When the nose is dry, pathogens easily enter and cause havoc on our body.
How much water should you drink? Every day you need to drink half your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 pounds, 75 ounces of water is what you need to drink every day. Don't like water on it's own? Add lemon, lime, cucumbers or any other fruit or vegetable to it. Don't like fruit or vegetables in warm water, add ginger or make herbal teas to sip on throughout the day. Just don't load them up with honey or sugar! You'll see why in a moment.
#2 REDUCE SUGAR
Sugar is everywhere! It's in bread, cereal, pasta sauces, ketchup and can even hide in canned soup! We have a sugar epidemic in the United States. The Diabetes Council estimates that Americans eat 29.5 teaspoons of sugar a day. The recommended daily amount from the government is 13 teaspoons a day.
What does sugar have to do with the common cold, flu or other viruses? Sugar stops your body from being able to fight viruses and other infections in the body. How much sugar stops your body from fighting viruses? 17 teaspoons. The worst part is that once the immune system is weakened from sugar, the effect lasts for 5 hours.
Here are some examples of how hidden sugar can add up:
Canned tomato soup = 5 teaspoons
1 Chocolate Chip cookie = 2.5 teaspoons
1 can of soda = 9 teaspoons
1 Sports drink = 8 teaspoons
1 cup of pasta sauce = 2 teaspoons
#3 EAT ORGANIC
Organic food is produced with few pesticides which is beneficial for the immune system. Pesticides have been studied for their effect on the immune system. The immune cells are in our body to protect us. Pesticides can attack and interfere with the specific functions of some immune cells. (Source: Science Direct)
Whenever I recommend eating organic, the first thing people tell me is that organic food is too expensive. That is not true anymore! Due to the increased demand of organic food, the prices have been declining. But it is like anything. You need to know your prices! Plus, shop when produce is in season to get the best deal. Club stores also offer larger sizes which means you pay less per serving.
Think about it, would you rather spend $30 now on organic produce or spend over $10,000 for a hospital stay if your immune system failed and you needed to be on a respirator? (Source: Business Insider)
#4 TAKE VITAMINS
Vitamins are part of a healthy lifestyle and can help the immune system stay strong. Even if you eat organic food, vitamins are a great way to ensure your immune system is strong. What vitamins are good for immune system?
Vitamin C is the most underutilized vitamin. It has so many great benefits and it is not that expensive. Studies show that vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher likelihood of infection. (Source: NIH)
Vitamin D is another great immune system vitamin. Vitamin D deficiency increases the likelihood of infection. (Source: NIH) Vitamin D is mostly found in egg yolks, oily fish, red meat and liver. Since eating those foods every day is probably unlikely, taking a vitamin D supplement is the best way to keep the immune system strong.
Elderberry is an ingredient that has been used for treating cold and flu symptoms. While some people take elderberry as a preventative product, it actually should be used within 24-48 hours of the first symptoms. The active part of elderberry is called Antivirin. It is an antiviral agent found in elderberry that helps prevent viral infections by inhibiting their ability to invade cells. (Source: White Rabbit Institute of Healing)
#5 MOVE YOUR BODY
Our bodies were never meant to sit for 8 to 12 hours a day. Long commutes, desk jobs and binge watching TV series all promote a lifestyle that focuses on sitting. The laws of physics are right! A body at rest will remain at rest until some outside force makes it move!
Moving your body is important to the immune system because when we move, we are promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. (Source: Harvard Health)
Finding time may be a barrier but the good news is that any movement is better than no movement. When you go grocery shopping, park far away from the store to get in some extra walking time. When you are at work, set a reminder in your calendar every 2 hours to walk away from the desk. Go outside if you can or just walk a couple of flights of stairs. Moving your body is like anything else on this list, make the commitment, start slow and eventually it will just be part of your life.
#6 MAINTAIN GOOD GUT HEALTH
Why is your gut health important for your immune system health? Because 70% of the immune system is in your gut. If your gut is unhealthy, so is the rest of your body. How do you know if your gut is unhealthy?
Does any of this sound like you?
👉Diarrhea and/or constipation
👉Bloating and gas
👉Congestion, coughing, wheezing
👉Brain fog, difficulty recalling words, short term memory issues
👉Headaches and migraines
👉Acne and itchy skin
👉Tired all the time
👉Sensitivity to fragrances and chemicals
If you said yes to just one of the above, your body is telling you something is not right. Discovering the root cause and how to have a healthy gut can be confusing and hard! I am here to help.
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist obsessed with teaching people just like you how to heal their gut so you can stop suffering and get back to living!
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How would eliminating your symptoms improve your life? You could:
✅Be more present with your children
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✅Stop running to the bathroom
✅Workout without fear of an accident or farting
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✅Be able to cook healthy meals for you and your family
✅Take an active vacation
✅Reclaim your life!
Simply Great Health is a customized 5 Step plan that heals your body and fits your busy lifestyle.
It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE.
If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now.
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#7 REDUCE STRESS
Stress is an awful fact of life. It is so awful because being stressed over time causes illness. One of the best ways to relieve stress is to take time for yourself everyday. This is harder than it sounds! I know giving ourselves some attention everyday means someone else may not get our attention. But that is OK!
If we don't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of others. How to give yourself some time?
Wake up before everyone else and meditate for 5 to 15 minutes. No excuses! There are plenty of free meditations on YouTube to tap into.
Take a bath
Tell your spouse you need 15 minutes to yourself and you will return the favor.
Walk around the block, 5 times.
The point is that taking time for yourself doesn't mean you have to spend hours alone. Taking 5 to 15 minutes to do something for you helps reduce stress.
#8 PRACTICING GRATITUDE
What does gratitude mean? The dictionary defines gratitude as the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. One of the easiest ways I have found to practice gratitude is at the end of day. When I am in bed, before I fall asleep, I place my left hand on my belly and my right hand on my heart. I think of 3 things I am grateful for during the day.
Why is being grateful important? Gratitude has both physical and psychological effects. It reduces stress, it promotes happiness and keeps you healthy. Studies also find that negative emotions can weaken immune response. (Source: Johns Hopkins)
#9 EAT A WIDE VARIETY OF FOODS
Do you tend to eat the same thing week after week? Same cereal, same chicken dinner, same salad for lunch? Not eating a variety of foods actually weakens the immune system because you will be missing out on all of the nutrition we need to have a healthy body. Think about it this way, your body relies on vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, carbohydrates, protein, water, amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and healthy fats. If you are only eating the same foods over and over, you aren't giving the body the diversity of the nutrients that comes from food.
The easiest way to eat a variety of foods is to eat the rainbow. You could eat one food for each color every day or make each day a color theme. Expand your food options by trying new ingredients or recipes. You don't have to make something new every day but maybe one day on the weekend, pick a new recipe and try it. This is a great way to get the kids involved as well. Use their input (if they are old enough) to pick out the recipe. Ask them to help with the meal prep. This is a great way to improve everyone's health and teach the kids how to eat healthy.
#10 TAKE PROBIOTICS
Probiotics are the best way to ensure good bacteria is entering your body. While I would love to say our food supply is the best way, sometimes it is not about what we eat but what we can absorb. Fiber is the best food for the good bacteria that exists in our body. Most Americans do not eat enough fiber daily. Adults should be consuming 30 grams of fiber a day, most only consume 10 - 15 grams.
There are two families of probiotics that are dominate in our body: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. There isn't a top probiotics to use since our bodies are unique and we will have a different experience with the same product. As long as the probiotic contains the two families I mentioned, it will be good for general health.
When should you take probiotics? In the evening, before going to bed. The body does the most repair when we sleep. Taking probiotics before going to be will ensure your body is getting support for the repair process.
Those are the Top 10 Best Healthy Immune Strategies! Remember, making meaningful change in your life is hard. It takes time. But I promise if you start slowly and practice the above, you won't believe how good you feel. Plus, you will reduce the frequency that you get a cold, flu or virus. It has been about 6 years since I even had a sniffle. I don't even take the flu shot!
Which one of the above will you start practicing? Let me know in the comments below.