10 easy ways to boost your immunity
10 ways to boost immunity + feel great over the holidays
Though I’ve been lucky to enjoy a strong immune system as of late, I'm really feeling for my hubby and a few of my clients who are getting the early onset symptoms of a bad cold. Keeping the immune system strong can be difficult in the wintertime – a time when our body wants to hibernate, relax, sleep more, do less and our culture wants to inundate us with parties, rich foods, tons of shopping-pressure, and often year-end-high-intensity-job-stuff.
Not a culture-nature alignment match made in heaven, huh? Nonetheless, there are ways to boost the immunity without turning into a hermit for the next few weeks. Here are some of my favorite easy tips to facilitate health, healing, and immune boosting this holiday season:
- Pump up the leafy greens- this is HUGE. Often we get sick because our bodies are in a state of stress – stress impacts the gut, the gut doesn't digest as well or filter out toxins as well through the lymphatic system and we get sick. Helping the body to detox and flooding it with green vibrant things will facilitate a stronger digestion. Cellulose and fiber from veggies helps move those toxins along and get ‘em out if you know what I mean. In the winter, when it’s colder out, it’s best to cook your veggies (steam/stir fry/ etc.) so the digestion doesn’t have to work as hard to absorb their goodness. The darker and more cruciferous (think broccoli, kale, collards), the better.
2. Eat more garlic – garlic, onions, scallions, shallots, leeks –are all alliums. These lovely foods are super charged with anti-bacterial and anti-viral powers; garlic really being the king here. They are particularly good at fighting congestion as well. So sauté a few extra cloves in your morning eggs or evening pasta. Add to soups, salads, add to everything. Then just brush your teeth well before you go kissing people.
3. Make some turmeric-lemon water – this recipe is a go-to when sick or feeling like I’m on the brink of getting sick. I recommend it once in the morning and once before bed. Lemon is a powerful detoxifier for the body and turmeric (especially when heated) – packs a one-two-punch with it’s anti-inflammatory, digestive, and regenerating properties for the body. Add a little honey if you want some sweetness (and even more anti-bacterial fighting) and enjoy.
4. Take (and eat) probiotics – Again, back to healing the gut to heal your cold. This is one of the most important things to learn about the immune system – that our gut houses about 80% of it! Keeping the gut healthy + happy is of utmost importance when fighting off a sickness and probiotics can help do just that. You can of course supplement with high quality probiotics and you can get them from your food or drink. Kombucha, miso, kimchee, sauerkraut, really any raw, fermented foods, are going to be super helpful here and will be a surefire way to speed healing.
5. Drink your bone broth – bone broth is a rich, healing stock that soothes and comforts the throat, the belly, and the body. Some have called it the year’s biggest fad, others are realizing that bone broth is really just stock from animal bones and has been around forever. There’s a reason mom’s chicken-noodle-soup is comforting and healing. There are a plethora of minerals and vitamins in broth and when properly prepared, this can be deeply healing for the body. You can also always of course buy organic chicken or beef stock but as with most things, making your own is usually the most healing + helpful. I love this recipe.
6. Take a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is absolutely essential to ensure our immune system functions properly. The best source is the sun (sans sunscreen) and we can get as much as we need in about 10 minutes. The problem is, the sun isn’t out as much in the winter annnnd it’s cold! So we’re wearing more layers. Dr. Frank Lipman recommends a Vitamin D3 supplement each day to optimize health. He recommends a dosage of about 2,000 IU daily. Of course you should always talk to your doctor to find the optimum level for you but paying attention to your vitamin D is important – especially in the winter.
7. Lay off the dairy – If you’re feeling a snotty, mucus-filled cold coming on, dairy is not gonna be your friend. Sadly milk products are mucus-producing – so especially when trying to cut the sniffles, it’s important to reduce or eliminate these foods. Put the yogurt and cows milk latte down and switch to a nut-milk or coconut milk latte, eat oatmeal, a green smoothie, or scrambled pastured eggs for b-fast.
8. Get more sleep. This sounds obvious, but it’s true. Sleep is the best time to repair your immune system and we neeeed more sleep in the wintertime. If you can’t sleep –try some yogic sleep. I have 2 meditations on my site here or find a yoga nidra class near you for a meditation class that will feel like a 4 hour nap.
9. Sweat it out - If you’re not knee-deep in a full-blown cold or flu, a bit of exercise is actually really good for the immune system. It helps ensure the lymphatic system works efficiently and effectively, moving and removing toxins out of your body. It also relieves tension and increases endorphins in the bod ensuring you get a happy feeling brain-boost. So keep on breaking a sweat – just don't push yourself to the absolute max.
10. Use essential oils – last but not least, essential oils are a great way to give your body a completely natural and plant-based health boost.Oregano oil and Thieves oil are two of my absolute favorites when I’m feeling sick. I slather a few drops onto the soles of my feet so they’re absorbed into the bloodstream without irritating any sensitive parts of the skin. You do want to make sure you’re using a high quality oil that is certified pure therapeutic grade – otherwise it’s likely full of ‘fillers’ – not as potent and potentially harmful
You can of course find more helpful tips and healthy recipes on the website here and write me back with any remedies you use and want to share.
Hoping you and yours have a vibrant, happy, and restful holiday season.