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Ways to boost the immune system

The immune system is constantly regulating outside threats and working to keep our entire system in balance.  We know maintaining a robust immune system is crucial for overall health and well-being, especially as we head into the season of spending more time indoors and with others.  So, what can we do to set our immune system up for success?

Scientists are studying direct connections between lifestyle choices and our immune systems.  Starting with diet, recommendations include eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables every day, which gives us the key nutrients, minerals and vitamins our immune system needs.  Eat the rainbow, from red bell peppers to oranges to purple cabbage plus grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits.  Variety helps to fight off “invaders.”

The fiber from fruit and vegetables can also help the gut’s microbiome produce important compounds that decrease inflammation and promote a healthy immune system, according to researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine.

Fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha and sauerkraut naturally create more diversity in the bacteria in the gut, which helps one’s body ward off pathogens.  Devon Nelson, FNP at Big Life Integrative Health recommends drinking organic sauerkraut juice because it helps detoxify pesticides like glyphosate from one’s system.

Staying hydrated can boost immune health too, whether it is increasing one’s water intake or eating more hydrating foods, or both.

Studies show the immune system is very responsive to exercise.  Getting one’s heart pumping has many positive side effects including anti-inflammatory effects that are good for a strong immune system.

Sleep is critical to the immune system; when the body does not get enough sleep, the immune system is negatively affected.  Most adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

Stress of all sorts directly weakens one’s immune system, increasing the risk of infections or the reactivation of viruses.  Doing one’s best to reduce stress, using the above recommendations to start, can make a big difference in how one’s body reacts to disease-causing germs.

At the first sign of illness, many people will take zinc tablets, elderberry, echinacea, garlic, honey, turmeric and/or ginger.  Nelson commented, “These all have great immune support properties,” adding a recommendation to try “wellness shots” that can be made at home.  Visit for recipes.

Nelson concluded, “The number one way to stay well is to wash your hands and not touch your face!”

immune boost text with fruit and vegetables

Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes is a great way to get the vitamins and minerals needed for a robust immune system.


By Lisa Nicklanovich; courtesy photo




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