What does it take to have a healthy immune system? To answer this question, first we have to understand why immune system function is so critical to our health. The immune system is responsible for ensuring our body can fight infections. Infections could be such as the common cold or flu or something more serious like cancer. Unfortunately, the body can get caught in a vicious cycle of having a weak immune system, which leads to illness. Illness depletes the strength of the immune system, keeping the body sick.
While the immune system is responsible for fighting infections, 65% of it is located in the digestive system. That means if our digestive system is not working well, our immune system is not working well. The body is pretty amazing when you think about how the entire body works in unison to keep us healthy.
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10 of the Best Products for a Healthy Immune System
#1 TAKE VITAMIN C DAILY
You may be thinking - of course Vitamin C! But I would be remiss if I didn't include it when discussing the immune system. Vitamin C is one of the most powerful vitamins to boost the immune system. It can help lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, protect your memory and boost your immune system. (Source: Healthline)
The great thing about taking Vitamin C is the body retains what it needs and eliminates what it doesn't. Take 3,000 mg daily when you are very stressed, during cough cold and allergy seasons. An easy way to get 3,000 mg is to combine both oral supplements and powdered drink mixes.
#2 DRINK MUSHROOMS
If you haven't gotten on the mushroom bandwagon yet, now's the time to try them. The research on mushrooms and immune system support is really strong. Cordyceps mushrooms are known for antiviral and anticancer properties. They contain nucleosides which support the immune system. (Source: DailyNutra).
I found Cordyceps mushroom powder on amazon. What I love about them is they are sweet and easy to drink. A very small scoop is all you need, daily. There are 113 servings in the bag making it only $0.19 per serving. That is less than your favorite fancy coffee or tea from a barista!
#3 TAKE PROBIOTICS DAILY
As I mentioned above, 65% of our immune system is in our digestive system. Keeping the digestive system healthy means the immune system will be supported. Probiotics are key to keeping the good bacteria in our guts strong to help fight off pathogens. Look for a probiotic that contains the species Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are the most prevalent in our bodies. Below is a probiotic that is available on amazon.
#4 SLEEPING WELL
Getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep will help keep your immune system healthy. Why? Sleeping allows the body to repair itself. It gives the body time to only focus on itself. Think about sleep as self-care for the body. When we allow it to repair itself, the healthier and stronger it will be. If you have trouble sleeping or staying asleep you can try a couple of things.
Melatonin may help you fall asleep. It is a natural substance that exists in the body that helps you fall asleep. If your body's melatonin levels are low, it can be harder to fall asleep. Another tip is to try not to look at your phone or computer at least a half hour before sleeping. There are studies that show exposure to blue light before sleeping can cause interrupted sleep. A way to stay asleep is to make the bedroom as dark as you can. Can't get it almost pitch black? Use a sleeping mask.
#5 EAT MOSTLY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Fruits and vegetables are immune boosting foods. The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables provide powerful support to the immune system to help fight pathogens and free radicals. Not sure you can incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your lifestyle? Here are a few ideas:
Drink Smoothies for breakfast. Smoothies are great because you can mix fruits and vegetables to achieve optimal support for the immune system. Plus, they are easy to take with you anywhere you are going!
Try a meatless Monday meal with the family. Here are a few websites to help you with recipes.
Make snacks a priority in your lifestyle and make them healthy. Above I shared a great product, Mushroom Jerky. There are other products such as fruit bars that can be thrown into your purse or kept in your desk at work. Eat them as a mid-morning snack.
#6 USE ESSENTIAL OILS
If you haven't tried essential oils, you really should. They are a great way to support your health in a variety of ways. Essential oils can be inhaled, used topically or added to drinks. When inhaled, they work by telling the brain to focus on a specific system in the body. When used topically, they are absorbed into the blood stream from the skin and go to work on the specific system that the oil is targeted for. Below is an immune system support oil.
#7 COOKING WITH ANTIVIRAL SPICES
There are a lot of herbs and spices you can use when cooking that support the immune system. Garlic, ginger and turmeric are my favorites! There is nothing better than chopping up garlic cloves to use in a variety of recipes. The smell is awesome and the flavor it adds to the dish is amazing. Ginger can be added to smoothies or herbal teas. I often use turmeric when I make salad dressing. Turmeric needs black pepper to accompany it to activate it's potent abilities. Each of these ingredients are antiviral, which means they prevent bacteria and viruses to grow. Below are websites where you can learn more.
#8 DRINK WATER AND HERBAL TEA
Believe it or not, staying hydrated by drinking clean water and herbal teas is critical to keeping your immune system functioning to the best of its ability. When we are drinking soda, tap water (even if it is filtered) and alcohol, our body has to fight the sugar and chemicals we are putting into it. This means the immune system is called upon to help with the fight. This weakens the immune system and when a bacteria or virus shows up, the immune system may not be able to keep us healthy. Everyday we need to drink at least half our body weight in water, which includes herbal tea. Drink clean bottled water to ensure you are avoiding chemicals that confuse the immune system and weaken it. Below is an immune support tea you can try.
#9 USE HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS
Herbal supplements to boost the immune system may be something you want to look into. Unfortunately, when people start to think about herbal supplements, it is usually when they start to feel sick. That is the wrong time to incorporate elderberry or ginseng into your routine. Herbal supplements take at least 21 days of routine use to start providing a benefit to the body. Since it takes time for the body to benefit from their use, the best time to start using herbals is when you are healthy. Below is a supplement to try.
#10 REDUCE STRESS
Stress is an awful reaction that physically makes the body weak. In fact some experts claim stress is responsible for as much as 90% of all illnesses and diseases. (Source: Psychology Today). Reducing stress in your life is an important activity to boost the immune system. Not only are there supplements, teas and essential oils that can help, there are other techniques. Such as a breathing practice.
I don't want to use the word meditation because there is a stigma with meditation. Often people think you have to sit in one position and not think of anything. A breathing practice is quite different. It is simply sitting or laying down and being still for a period of time while breathing slowly.
The method is very simple. Breathe in through the nose until you fill the belly with air so it extends and then slowly let the breathe out through the nose so the belly deflates. If you are going to try a breathing practice, pick a time that you can breathe regularly. There are no rules but try for 10 minutes, three days a week to start. It is OK to think about things during this time. Thoughts will come and go. Just let them. If you feel you can't do a breathing practice without some help, you can use YouTube for free guided meditations. Click here to access a Mindfulness Meditation.
I hope you enjoyed this post on products that can help boost the immune system. If you use any of them, let me know what you thought! Stay healthy!