We've all grown up with old family traditions for how to keep from getting sick or to beat a cold. From chicken soup to ginger ale, we've all heard grandma's various solutions to staying healthy during cold and flu season. Unfortunately, while they may make us feel nostalgic for simpler times when we were young, most of these recommendations are not going to truly help us to fight off any illnesses.
The good news is there are some simple things you can begin doing today that can have a real, positive impact on your overall immune system. Even better news, chances are you're already doing some of them now. Here are five things you can do to improve your immunity.
1. Manage Stress
We get it. Anytime an article tells you to reduce the stress in your life, you automatically think "yeah if only it were that easy". But stress truly does have perhaps the greatest impact on your body's immune response. While you may not be able to stop your kids, job, money, etc. from stressing you out, you do have control over your stress response. So, just placing some focus on how you handle the stress in your life can have profound effects on your overall well-being, not the least of which is your immunity. Make your stress response a non-negotiable part of your routine, whether it's exercise, a hobby, journaling, or meditation.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
The truth is there likely isn't one special food or vitamin that alone will magically boost your immunity (sorry Vitamin C). However, getting a wide variety of vitamins and minerals from your diet is a necessary factor in having a peak performing immune system. According to this article from Harvard University, the nutrients found to be critical to the function of immune cells in the body are vitamins C and D, zinc, selenium, iron, glutamine and protein. Many of these can be found in a balanced, whole foods diet, rich in fruits and vegetables. But because many of us are lacking in sufficient levels of fruits and vegetables in our daily meals, a great alternative is Sweat Ethic's Vita Greens. Not only does Vita Greens have many of the vitamins and minerals mentioned above that are integral to boosting your immune response, but it tastes great and is super quick and convenient!
3. Focus on Rest & Recovery
Getting rest, specifically a quality night's sleep, is such an overlooked aspect of our health that most of us take for granted the impact sleep has on our health. Sleep is when our body works to restore itself by releasing cytokines, a type of protein that helps fight infections. Having a set sleep schedule where we go to bed and wake up around the same time each day can dramatically improve our sleep. So not only can we wake feeling more rested, but our body will be restored and better equipped to fight infections.
4. Take a Multivitamin
As stated above, most of us are not getting all of the nutrients we need from our diets. Even if we are focused on eating clean, chances are we are still going to be lacking in some very essential vitamins or nutrients. Look for a multivitamin that can help fill the gaps of your diet. Again, a delicious option is Sweat Ethic's Multi Reds. It's a great alternative to your multivitamin capsules that can double as a tasty treat between meals.
The body's immune system is extremely complex, so there isn't a simple, quick remedy if you are feeling rundown and sick. Focus on diet, sleep, and stress management to help your body restore its systems and improve your immune response.