Self-care, self-care, self-care! I can't emphasize it enough. If you don't have a strong foundation for immunity, your body can't work at its best. Things we know that affect the immune system include sleep, stress, nutrition, and movement.
Let’s start with sleep. You need stable, consistent sleep. Check out my favorite restful sleep tips to get started.
Next, is staying active. Make sure to incorporate movement into your day, every day, even if it's just going for a walk. People who move regularly have stronger immune systems.
Stress management is key, as is laughter. Studies have shown the positive association between laughter and immune function. It sounds silly, but it's good for the soul — and the immune system.
A healthy gut is important too. What we've learned over time is that a large part of the immune system is in the gut, so keeping a healthy gut flora may help you feel your best every day.* Eat fermented foods to nourish the good bacteria in your gut – think yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Reaching for a probiotic supplement is also a good option.
Nutrition makes a big difference in your general health. Certain nutritional inadequacies can affect the immune system; in the US, we see vitamin C as a nutrient that many people aren't getting enough of on a typical day. Eat a lot of colorful vegetables and fruits – on a routine basis, you should be eating lots of whole fruits and vegetables. Think of it like “eating the rainbow” and go for color, color, color. Eat food closest to its natural form. If you like mushrooms, incorporate them into your dietary plan. There's a lot to be said for cooking for your immune system. There are some great mushrooms that have immune properties and taste great: shitake and maitake, for example.
Staying hydrated is also important. You need lots of water, but you can also sip nourishing teas like reishi and echinacea. I also like to use astragalus in cooking, as well as rose hips and nettles. If you don't love the taste of mushrooms or can't find these ingredients at your grocery or health food store, never fear — you can enjoy them in supplement form. Nature's Way offers many of my go-to herbs as supplements, including Astragalus Root.
Other supplements to consider adding to your routine include a good multivitamin. Take a probiotic for healthy gut flora.* Vitamin C supplementation is not to be overlooked, especially in winter. I also like a mushroom blend, like Nature's Way® Immune Blend, to support immune function.*
These are all gentle, simple things you can do daily to support your immune system.*