Staying home during a global pandemic is a great time to work on boosting your immune system, if you weren’t already! While having a strong immune system is indeed important during something like the current COVID-19 pandemic, it’s actually significant all the time. At any age, year-round, no matter your health status.
How To Boost Your Immune System Now
Of course there are tons of supplements and vitamins out there that can help with immunity (we’ll touch on that below), but there are other ways to work on your immune system that involve the things you already do every day to be and stay healthy.
Get up and exercise
Getting a daily dose of exercise is obviously good for your overall health, but did you know it can better your immune system too? The lymphatic system, an off-shoot of your veins, is the highway for your immune cells. The best way to get blood and lymph pumping is to exercise. This helps get immune cells where they need to go and helps relieve stagnation in inflamed tissue. In early stages of infection, any movement actually stimulates the immune system.
And we don’t mean you have to train for a marathon or become a powerlifter, either. If your gym is closed or you’re not the gym type, just focus on moving your body and raising your heart rate. Take a brisk neighborhood walk with the family and/or dog, have a living room dance party, search Youtube for bodyweight workout plans, do yoga! Set up a home “gym” with canned food, milk jugs filled with water, and that jump rope you once upon a time stashed in the junk closet.
Focus on nutrition
Ah yes, eating “clean.” The thing so many of us strive to do day in and day out. What many people don’t realize is how important diet is to the immune system. Poor nutrition creates inflammation that weakens the immune system, congests the liver, and potentially feeds pathogens. Gluten, dairy, and sugar are the opposite of superfoods. Gluten and dairy are two of the most common inflammatory foods, creating mucous, inflammation, and tissue damage when ingested.
Get some sleep
We all know that the standard eight hours every night is best, but it’s especially necessary to build and keep a strong immune system. When you get into a deep sleep, your body secretes growth hormone, something that helped you grow from childhood. As an adult, growth hormone repairs tissue. You cannot properly heal from injury or inflammation if you don’t sleep.
Quit those bad habits
We know a lot of people have traded smoking for vaping in the last few years, but it’s not any better for our overall health. And even though you often hear that a little nightly red wine is good for heart health, it’s important to remember that any alcohol isn’t great for the body. Alcohol, in any way, shape, or form is toxic to the liver, digestive system, pancreas, and kidneys. These are also main immune and detox organs that need support during infections.
When supplements can help
As hard as we work to be as healthy as possible, sometimes you need a little supplementation help, and that’s ok! Three basic supplements for the immune system are Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc. Upper respiratory viral infections have a classic history with Vitamin C. Even 2,000-5,000 mg per day has been shown to shorten the duration of upper respiratory infections. Vitamin D is an immune supporter, and even people with adequate sun exposure can have low-levels of vitamin D. 2,000-5,000 IUs is a helpful, non-toxic dose to support your body during infections. Zinc is an immune activator that also inhibits the spread of bacteria and viruses. Peoples Rx has a wide array of these basic supplements, as well as specialized formulas for your specific needs.
While doing all of these simultaneously are the best case scenario for your body and immune system, know that every little bit helps. Just like maintaining a healthy weight, cutting out a specific food group or habit, and sticking to an exercise routine, building a strong immune system is an ongoing, lifelong journey!
If you feel like you could use some immune support, our practitioners at Peoples Wellness Center and other Peoples Rx locations are currently scheduling virtual, discounted mini-consults focusing on the immune system. Schedule your telehealth appointment today by calling 512-219-8600.
Amy Nelson, ND* received her Naturopathic Doctorate from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR where she studied nutrition, homeopathy, herbal and functional medicine. In addition, Dr. Nelson was the Associate at The IBS Treatment Center in Santa Monica where she treated irritable bowel syndrome and complex food allergies. Dr. Nelson utilizes her experience in natural medicine to address female and male hormonal imbalances, mental health, and digestive disorders.
*Naturopathic Doctors are not currently licensed in the state of Texas.
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