During this time of quarantine and sheltering at home, I’ll show you ways to easily increase your ability to boost your immune to naturally keep yourself healthy any time of the year!
Let’s get some facts out of the way first. 80% of our immune system is housed in our guts where around 100 trillion microbiota (gut bugs) live. They consist of bacteria, yeast, virus and protozoa. These microbes live together in a balanced ecosystem which is called our gut microbiome. They work with our immune system to keep pathogenic (harmful) microbiota in check and to keep us healthy overall.
When our immune system is working well along side a balanced microbiome, we feel fine (we don’t notice any issues/symptoms). But when there’s an imbalance to this harmonious system and harmful gut bugs start to out number the helpful ones and overwork our immune system to tire it out, more inflammation starts to build up. This can lead to various disorders or conditions such as acute/chronic infections (bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic), IBS(constipation, diarrhea, cramps, bloating nausea), IBD (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis) and even depression, anxiety, allergies, cardiovascular disorders, and obesity.
To rebalance our immune system and lower our risk of getting sick from infections or any of those various disorders, we can implement these 5 simple daily activities!
1. Grateful mindset is a major factor to our immune and overall health! Studies have shown that our state of mind can either help our immune to work and keep us healthy or it can lower our immunity and allow us to get sick. A simple way to start boosting our immune’s defenses is by changing our mindset from fear and worry to love and gratitude! Choose 3 things you’re grateful for and write them down or say them out loud everyday:
“I’m grateful for ___________.” (family, the sunshine, funny movies, health, etc)
2. Eat the right types of foods to boost your immune. That means choosing nutrient-rich whole foods that are minimally processed and avoiding highly processed packaged foods filled with sugars, additives, and preservatives that can imbalance our microbiome and lower our immune’s defenses. If you can’t get fresh whole foods, you can buy frozen fruits and vegetables that are a great alternative.
Here are a few great options you can start to add into your meals today:
Citrus fruits (grapefruit, lemon, oranges, kumquats, pomelo)
Berries (elderberry, black currants, blueberries)
Leafy greens (collard, kale, spinach)
Herbs (cilantro, parsley, oregano)
Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel)
Seafood (oysters are loaded with zinc which is a great immune boosting mineral!)
Organ meats (liver, heart, gizzard)
These all have immune boosting, inflammation reducing nutrients that can rebalance our microbiome and regulate our immune system.
3. Water water water. Studies show that around 75% of Americans are dehydrated and dehydration alone can decrease our immune system tremendously, leaving us susceptible to getting sick. Simply drinking more water throughout the day (every hour or so) can keep us efficiently hydrated and boost immune.
Here’s an easy way to know how much to drink per day:
Drink half your body weight in ounces. Take your weight, divide it by 2 and that’s how many ounces you should drink daily. If you’re more active or under lots of stress, drink more to stay hydrated.
4. Regular daily movement is another great way to boost the immune and also lower our risk of chronic conditions like I mentioned before. You don’t have to do crazy intense workouts in order to start boosting your immune. Start with bouncing! Yup, you heard that right. Bouncing or rebounding is a great way to get your entire body to work and increase circulation to get the immune cells to travel easier throughout the body and do their job more efficiently. This helps to remove more toxins that can cause unwanted inflammation.
Sit on the edge of your couch or even your bed and bounce for 5 minutes. You’ll definitely feel the workout!
5. Stimulating the vagus nerve directly controls our immune function. The vagus nerve connects from the brain to various organs including our guts and is their line of communication. When there is inflammation in the body, the vagus nerve can send in anti-inflammatory chemicals that regulate the immune system. So what are some ways to stimulate the vagus nerve to boost our immune? Laughter! Laughter is one of the many ways to strengthen our vagus nerve. It’s like exercise for the muscle, or in this case, the nerve!
Laugh as often and as much as you can daily! Watch a funny movie, read a funny meme or share a joke with your family/friends. For those of us who can’t be with our friends or family due to social distancing, host a virtual movie night on video chat or just call them to have a good laugh.
These top 5 ways to boosting the immune are simple and easy enough for everyone to do. So start today and if you liked this article, please share this with your loved ones and anyone else who may need a quick boost to their immune.