If there was ever a time when we all need a healthy immune system, it would be right now. We’re coming out of cold season in a pandemic that has lingered like an unwelcome houseguest. Here are a few simple strategies to coax your immune system in the right direction:
1. Eat real, whole, living foods. These are foods that appears close to the way they do in nature. Oatmeal instead of manufactured cereal. A fresh-cooked piece of fish or beef instead of the processed stuff that passes through a fast-food window. The more colorful the foods on your plate are, the more nutrients you will imbibe. And more nutrients translates to better immunity. One of my favorite go-to dishes in the winter is zucchini stir-fried with red onion and red bell pepper with some dried dill weed sprinkled over the top.
2. Get enough sleep. Even one night of sleeplessness can affect your immunity. Without enough sleep, you are more likely to get sick and less likely to recover as quickly.
3. Walk away from sugar. Sugar can suppress your immune system. Opt for natural sugars; an orange instead of a cupcake. My new favorite sweetener for tea and coffee is Smart Monk. It is intensely sweet, so a tiny bit goes a long way. And, it doesn’t spike your blood sugar or affect immunity.
4. Get enough vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc. Choose vitamin C supplements from a whole food source such as acerola cherry or camu camu because they also contain other nutrients that work in concert with the vitamin C. Zinc and vitamin D have been well documented for their positive effects on the immune system. Have your blood levels of the two nutrients checked regularly to make sure you are getting enough.
5. Take a walk in the fresh air. But it’s cold outside! Even in winter, there are days when the temperature outside is moderate enough if you have a good coat and hat on. While scientists are studying all the different ways that exercise benefits us, they are not disputing its positive effect on immunity. And fresh air? You guessed it – it also helps your body stay strong and resilient against germs.