Getting healthy and boosting your immune system can seem like a complex science experiment or math problem. As a health coach, I get frustrated looking through Pinterest and seeing posts that say “27 simple ways to boost your immune system.” Um 27?! That sounds impossible and honestly, it’s a much much. Sure all of them are typically good advice but do you really need to do ALL of them? The answer is most likely not. However, there are 5 things you can start today that will support your immune system, help you stay healthy, and recover quickly if you do get sick.
#1 Eat Well
You need to avoid highly processed foods and foods loaded with added sugar. These foods are inflammatory and suppress your immune system. By adding in fresh produce to every single meal and snack you’ll dramatically improve your health and support your immune system. A simple way to do this is to have half your plate full of vegetables with every meal (this includes breakfast!).
#2 Get Sufficient Sleep
It isn’t easy getting enough sleep these days. Having kids, working late and waking up early to workout (or have some alone time), waking up all night long and not being able to go back to sleep, and the list of reasons Americans don’t get enough sleep goes on and on. It’s tough. However, it is ESSENTIAL that you get 7-8 hours of sleep consistently every single night of the week. There is no such thing as catching up, unfortunately. Not only do you need to get 7-8 hours per night but to really get the maximum benefit you need to go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day as well.
#3 Manage Your Stress
You will never truly be healthy if your stress is out of control. You have to find strategies to keep your stress at a reasonable level. Sometimes it will be changing your living or work situation, sometimes it will be changing your mindset, and sometimes it’ll be stress management techniques including meditation, exercise, eating well, and journaling. Sometimes it will take a combination of all 3. Pick the easiest thing you can do first, then go from there.
#4 Heal Your Gut
Your gut is your first line of defense against invaders and inflammation. Stress, medications, poor diet, and food sensitivities can compromise our intestinal wall and cause increased intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut). Healing your gut is a foundational step to supporting your immune system. Learn all about leaky gut and how to restore the intestinal lining in this webinar.
#5 Supplement Correctly
America’s food system has left our soil horribly depleted of nutrients. Plus most people hardly eat just one serving of fresh produce per day, let alone the 7-9 that is recommended. Most people don’t need to take a million supplements either. A high-quality multivitamin, vitamin D with K2, magnesium, omega-3 (fish oil) and probiotics are the foundational supplements recommended. Vitamins C and zinc are also well-known and scientifically supported to support the immune system and shorten the duration of a variety of illnesses.
While there are many different strategies for boosting your immune system, these 5 are the foundational steps where it all begins.