Now more than ever, a healthy immune system is important in order to fight-off diseases and keep our minds and bodies in tip-top shape. Boosting the immune system is something that most people have control over. Nutrition plays a big role in how well the immune system functions but there are other things you can do to ensure that this important line of defense is working optimally.
Below I’ve provided a list of 5 daily habits to incorporate in order to support your immune system and give it a boost when it needs it the most (i.e. after traveling or during flu season).
1. Take a dose of buffered Vitamin C before bed.
Buffered vitamin C is combined with absorbable forms of ascorbic acid and buffering minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium. This buffered version improves absorption by the digestive system, reduces stomach upset and provides support to the body to relax.
Vitamin C also has an alkalizing effect on the body which not only supports the immune system, but almost all systems in the body function optimally when the body is in an alkaline state rather than an acidic one.
Drinking buffered Vitamin C before bed gives the body the hydration and nutrients that it needs in order to assist in fighting off infection and to help you wake up rested. Check out my favorite buffered Vitamin C powder here.
2. Chill out for a few minutes in the afternoon.
In order to fully support your immune system, you’ll need to do everything in your power to get your body out of a stressed-state. When the body is stressed, cortisol is constantly being released by the adrenal glands. When your cortisol levels are elevated, your sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for activating the fight or flight response. When the fight or flight response is triggered, some systems in the body work a little bit harder while others are told to take a break. These heightened systems include: the cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular systems. During this stress response, the reproductive, digestive and immune system are turned down.
Find some time throughout the day to just chill out and focus on your breathing. Even just 5 minutes of a guided meditation or a breathing exercise will significantly reduce your cortisol levels. If you’re not into meditation, take a 20 minute nap. Reducing cortisol sends a message to the brain and body that everything is A-OK, and therefore your immune system can function as it should.
3. Drink an immunity morning cocktail before the caffeine.
When you first wake up in the morning, your body is not only dehydrated, but it’s starving for a dose of high-quality nutrients. Before you drink your first cup of coffee or tea, drink something that is hydrating and nutrient-rich. In the cold months, I like to drink a warm cup of lemon water or bone broth but when summer rolls around, I prefer a room temperature cocktail. Whatever your preference, make sue to include some combination of the ingredients below:
- lemon juice
- bone broth (I’m really digging these super convenient stick packs lately)
- pink Himalayan salt
- trace mineral drops
- medicinal mushrooms (this blend is my go-to for immune support)
- Rhodiola extract
- seaweed and algae (such as kelp, spirulina or chlorella)
- dark-colored berries
4. Get outside for fresh air and sunlight.
Regardless of the weather or temperature outside, get out of the house (or office) and get some fresh air into your lungs and let your eyes and skin soak in some natural light. This can be as simple as sitting out on your front step for 10 minutes or going for a short walk to give yourself a healthy boost. The more time you spend lapping up all that nature provides, the better your immune system will function.
5. Do some light exercise to get the lymph moving.
The lymphatic system’s job is to help rid the body of toxins, waste and other junk. Lymph is a clear fluid that circulates white blood cells throughout the body. These white blood cells are what fight off infection and defend against foreign invaders. When you move your body, your muscles help to increase circulation and therefore improving the flow of lymph throughout the body. Too much stillness throughout the day could cause congestion in the lymphatic system and may result in a weakened immune response and inflammation throughout the body (stiffness, fatigue, bloating, itchy skin, brain fog, cold hands and feet, sinus infections, etc).