There is a lot of fear and stress spreading around the world at the present time. The World Health Organization (WHO) has just recently declared coronavirus a global pandemic.
The last thing we want to do is add to the media hysteria, but we feel it is important to share with our community several simple ways that we can protect ourselves from any virus by boosting our natural immunity.
We agree that fear of the unknown, especially relating to COVID-19, is a scary thing, but giving in to fear and panic should be the last thing we do.
We believe that our bodies are resilient and, if given the proper support, can and will fight any type of infection- viral, bacterial, or fungal.
Simple 7 Lifestyle Habits
For some reason, our society has the idea that there is a quick-fix solution out there that will give them the health they want without a lot of effort on their part. In the case of infectious diseases, we want a pill or a vaccine to control the spread and limit the casualties. While those might seem like appealing answers, neither of them are true defenses against disease. The only way to long-term results is to develop a balanced way of living that supports the way our body is designed to work.
The Simple 7 Strategies are the key elements of a healthy lifestyle. How we apply them will determine our expression of health. They are the key habits that will create an environment for healing and health to thrive in your life.
7 Simple Immune Boosting Solutions
Strategy #1 – Think Well
Our thoughts play a powerful role in the reactions we’ll have to the chaos that is happening around us. It is important to bring calm to our own inner environment because stress decreases the proper function of our immune system.
When it comes to cold and flu season, stress alters our adrenal hormones, particularly cortisol, which helps to regulate inflammation. Prolonged stress not only leaves us vulnerable to infections but also may impact our ability to fight infections once they set in. (For a detailed summary of stress and immunity, check out this meta-analysis.)
Ways to Use Our Thoughts to Boost Immune Health
Practice deep diaphragmatic breathing. This is a practice that will help calm your nervous system and bring peace and calm to your body and mind.
Something as simple as daily affirmations or positive mantra statements can shift our mental state almost immediately. Try these statements:
- I am aware that my thoughts impact my life. I choose to be positive.
- I am calm
- I am healthy
- I choose faith over fear
- My body is amazing and strong
Strategy #2 – Sleep Well
Sleep is one of those great mysteries of life; scientists are still trying to understand all the complex actions that take place in our bodies when we sleep. We do know beyond any doubt, however, that good sleep is the cornerstone of good health. Not getting enough sleep can weaken your immune system, disrupt your blood sugar regulation, and impact your ability to think clearly, which will impair your performance of both mental and physical tasks. It can also cause an increase in stress-related diseases like heart disease, stomach ulcers, constipation, and mood disorders.
Oftentimes, when we experience high amounts of stress or worry, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, read our 10 Tips to Improve Your Sleep.
Strategy #3 – Drink Well
Water makes up over 70 percent of your body weight and is essential to multiple functions of the body. Every cell, tissue, and organ in our body needs water to function. Water helps regulate our body temperature, release toxins, and transport nutrients into our cells.
Being thirsty can make you feel tired, weak, unable to focus, and even cause a headache. Water is the best option for keeping your body properly hydrated. If plain water sounds boring, try jazzing it up. You can also choose hydrating foods like cucumbers, celery, apples, citrus, and leafy greens. It is best to avoid all food and drinks that take water from the body. These include soda, sugary drinks, fried foods, and other refined sugar products.
Strategy #4 – Eat Well
No matter the season or time of year it is there are pathogens all around us, so it is always important to concentrate on foods that will naturally keep our immune system in tip-top shape.
Increase Vitamin C Intake
We all know that vitamin C is one of the key nutrients that help keep our immune system strong. Of course, you can use vitamin C supplements on a daily basis and even mega-dose when your immune system is weak. I think it’s more important to eat foods that are high in vitamin C on a regular basis.
Top 10 Vitamin C foods listed from highest to least amount of Vit-C per serving.
- Bell Pepper
- Snow Peas
Increase Your Zinc Intake
Our bodies require minerals, organic materials that cannot be synthesized within our body, for essential functions. Zinc is one of these minerals, important to the body in a wide variety of roles. It is needed to make proteins and DNA, our genetic make-up, but also supports the immune system and keeps it in check.
Zinc can come in tablet or supplement form, but there are great sources of the mineral available in our diets, such as sustainably-raised fish, beef, shellfish, oysters, legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans, nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp hearts, pinenuts, quinoa, and cashews- to name a few.
Make Your Own Home Remedies
Add a few of these tried-and-true home remedies.
Elderberry Syrup contains powerful antioxidants that work to keep the immune system strong and resilient. These tiny berries are also believed to contain an antiviral agent so potent they are thought to deactivate viruses, making them unable to multiply.
Elderberry Syrup has been shown to play a potent role in reducing the amount of time a cold/flu lasts. You can purchase Elderberry Syrup at any store that carries natural remedies and herbal supplements, like Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, your local health food store, or online. Or you can make your own by following this recipe.
Fire Cider is another great home remedy you can make for an immune system boost. Fire Cider is a fiery mix of a number of immune-enhancing foods such as ginger, garlic, onion, horseradish, raw honey, and apple cider vinegar. Get our favorite recipe here.
Simple Tea recipes also have potent effects on the immune system and fighting infections. Try our simple Lemon Tea or our more potent Anti-Cold and Flu Brew for a remedy that helps when you already have a cold or the flu.
Chicken Bone Broth is good for you when you are sick or to keep you from getting sick! Bone broth is an immune booster and a great foundation food for a healthy diet. By using bones that would normally be thrown out, this becomes a really cost-effective way to improve your health.
Bone broth is loaded with essential amino acids that can boost your health. Three of those are Glycine, which supports the detoxification process in the body and has anti-inflammatory properties. Proline, which helps heal damaged tissue and reduces inflammation and L-Glutamine, which is essential for the formation of cells that function in the immune system.
Sugary foods inhibit our ability to destroy harmful bacteria, so it’s best to avoid sweet treats if you feel a cold or flu coming on and also while you’re sick.
Strategy #5 – Move Well
We know that exercise is good for our health. But you may not know how important movement is to our immune system. It promotes good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.
Scientists have determined that exercise directly affects a person’s susceptibility to infection. Your body relies on your lymphatic system to remove waste, like bacteria, viruses, toxins, and abnormal cells that can lead to cancer. The lymphatic system does not have an organ like the heart or lungs to pump this waste out of your body. Lymph fluid relies on movement and the contraction of your muscles to make it flow, so every step you take helps it do its job.
To pump your lymphatic system doesn’t require much. We recommend going for a 30-45 minute walk five times a week, which helps to reduce susceptibility to infection.
Strategy #6 – Love Well
Without connection, intimacy, friendship, and knowing that we are important in other’s lives, people simply can’t feel lasting happiness. We are social creatures that need connection and love.
When we use social distancing as a way to avoid transmission of an infection, it becomes even more important that we stay connected in other ways. Community is part of the cure for so many conditions. It’s critical that we all remember to reach out in ways that are meaningful, even if you can’t be together physically. Now is a great time to get off of our devices and get our heads out of the never-ending news feeds of social media. Take some time to actually call your loved ones on the phone instead of texting or emailing them. Hearing the voice of a loved one is particularly healing and comforting.
Strategy #7 Play Well
Play is a powerful stress reducer. Time spent in “play energy” activates parts of the brain that are often neglected and helps us function more wholly as human beings. When we pay some attention to recreation, fun, and play every day, it balances our body, mind, and spirit. Remember that fun and laughter are the best medicines.
Play is just as important as all the other strategies listed above. In case you have forgotten how to play, here are a few suggestions:
- Go outside and enjoy nature. Look at the clouds in the sky, listen to the birds, smell the flowers, get your feet dirty, and just breathe in the fresh air.
- Turn on some music and dance and sing.
- Get lost in a good book full of adventure, mystery, or romance.
- Find a way to laugh.
There you have it. Boosting immunity is super simple, right? Well, it’s obviously easier said than done. It takes lots of work and effort. Some of us are just out of practice on many of these strategies. Many people feel like these strategies couldn’t possibly work and many are looking for that quick-fix solution from the scientists in the medical field.
Well, our family has been living these principles for well over 25 years and we’re here to tell you that they do work. We’ve had our share of illness but we know first-hand that, when given the right conditions, our bodies are designed to heal and repair. We know that when we work with the natural laws of our biology to build immunity instead of just suppressing symptoms, we become stronger over time, not weaker.
Now, don’t let this list of strategies overwhelm you. Realize that it is not possible to be perfect in all seven of these areas every day. Research continues to show that even small incremental improvements make a big difference in our health. We can self-evaluate and find our weakest area and focus on that first. As we get better in that area, we can shift attention to the next in line. Focus on progress, not perfection and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your body will transform.