Winter is approaching faster than we’d like, and with it comes a familiar rotation of head colds, flu, and all kinds of funk. Not to mention Covid is still around us. Our philosophy is to be proactive and preventative, especially with our kiddos in school, so we can feel empowered around our health daily.
Today we’re sharing our tried and true 10 easy things you can do to help supercharge your immune system so your body can be prepared.
Most of our tips for you are food-based because, well, we love food!
Food is powerful medicine and eating is something that we all do every day. So it makes complete sense that what we eat affects how we feel, how we respond to stress, and how we combat all the pesky bugs and viruses that come our way.
Before we share with you some ways you can boost your immune system, we want to highlight one of the most important foods you should avoid if you want a strong and healthy immune system: sugar!
Studies have shown that refined sugar suppresses your immune system for hours after eating it. That means you’re left more vulnerable to picking up germs that you can’t fight off.
So as often as possible, in place of all the sweet treats, desserts, cupcakes, candy bars, and soda, reach for a piece of fruit like an apple, pear, or a cup of berries (whatever fruit is in season for you). Fruit is full of antioxidants like vitamin C that support a healthy immune system and is one of the most healing foods on the planet.
Take a look at the list of tips below and start thinking of ways you can incorporate them into your daily lifestyle. If any of the vitamins mentioned are difficult for you to get in your diet (for example, if you’re vegan), seek out a high-quality supplement to fill in the gaps.
With love and strong immunity,
Jo and Jules
10 Tips To Supercharge Your Immune System
- Stay Hydrated: Staying properly hydrated is at the top of our list because it’s the foundation of a healthy immune system. Drink plenty of purified, room temperature water throughout the day, warm lemon water first thing in the morning (which is extra great for supporting your body’s detox pathways!), and green or herbal teas to help support a strong immune system.
- Get good quality sleep: Getting enough sleep is essential for both your physical and emotional health. Aim for 7.5-8.5 hours per night, and don’t hesitate to get more if you feel you need it. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, consider limiting your exposure to blue light from screens as much as possible, especially at night. Try making your bedroom an electronics-free zone to help get higher-quality ZZZs.
- Reduce Sugary Foods and Alcohol: We know this is a hard one since it’s very tempting to stress-eat and drink right now. We’re not saying totally eliminate sugary foods and alcohol, but be mindful of your consumption. Sugar and alcohol can tax your immune system and destabilize your mood. Look for healthier options for your favorite drinks and treats (check out our healthy cocktail recipes here or some healthy dessert options here). Opt for better forms of sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, stevia or Lakanto, and consider switching to a wine with lower sugar content.
- Load up on vitamin C: Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune boosters! Lack of vitamin C actually is linked to getting sick more often. Our favorite foods high in vitamin C are foods like bell peppers, citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, parsley, and kale. Bonus tip: add in 1,000-2,000mg of supplemental vitamin C when you’re feeling run down. Our favorite food-based, organic brands are MegaFood and Truly Natural vitamin C.
- Cook with Ginger, Onions, and Garlic: Ginger, onions, and garlic are well-known fighters of infection, bugs, and bacteria. In fact, garlic has been called nature’s antibiotic. So toss this immune-fighting trio into your soups, stir-fries, and marinades to protect you from getting sick and to help you recover fast if you do catch a bug.
- Add Prebiotics and Probiotics to Your Plate: Since your gut and immune system are very closely linked, (80 percent of your immune tissue is in your digestive tract) adding prebiotic and probiotic-containing foods can be a real game-changer for your immune system. Fermented veggies are loaded with probiotics and strains of good bacteria. Try kimchi and sauerkraut to help balance your microbiome. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut. Eat foods like Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, garlic, onions, radishes, leeks, and tomatoes. Pro tip: Eat the stalks of the asparagus and broccoli. They are the most fibrous and nutritious for gut bacteria.
- Eat Foods High in Vitamin D: Although we get the best vitamin D from the sun, foods like salmon and eggs (specifically egg yolks) are high in vitamin D and a great way to boost your vitamin D stores, which tend to be especially compromised as the weather gets colder and cloudier. Salmon is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, helping to ward off inflammation — the precursor to all disease. If you don’t eat fish and can’t tolerate eggs, consider taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement!
- Take Turmeric: Turmeric, a relative of ginger, is one of nature’s most potent immune-boosting spices. Known for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-fungal qualities, turmeric is delicious in soups, smoothies, warmed in a turmeric nut milk latte, or simply brewed up as a tea.
- Bone Broth: There’s a reason why your mother always told you to have chicken noodle soup when you were sick! Bone broth is an amazing tonic that helps repair the gut lining and reduce inflammation thanks to its high concentration of the amino acid l-glutamine. Nutrient-dense and easy to digest, bone broth will boost the immune system and improve liver function, aiding your body in detoxification.
- Load up on Zinc: Known to act as an antioxidant, this free-radical fighting trace mineral is a well-known way to reduce the length of a cold. Get your daily dose of zinc by eating pumpkin seeds, lamb, garbanzo beans, grass-fed beef, cashews, and cacao.
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