Eat 9-13 servings of fruit and vegetables a day
They are anti-inflammatory and loaded with tons of Phytonutrients, vitamins, fiber and more importantly antioxidants. Be sure to eat a wide diversity of plants. They are great in downregulating an overactive immune system response. You may need a high quality multivitamin to fill in the gaps. On the flip side, limit or avoid foods that cause inflammation such as sugar, trans fats and highly processed foods.
Improve your gut microbiome
80% of your immune system lies in your gut. It’s so important to get it and keep it healthy! In addition to antioxidant foods above, try incorporating fermented foods into your diet such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, miso and sauerkraut. If they don’t sound appealing, then maybe a good quality probiotic would be a better option for you. The goal is to increase the good bugs in your gut and crowd out the bad. They protect the mucosal layer in your gut to prevent leaky gut thus keeping out unwanted pathogens.
Stress be gone
This is especially true if you have ongoing chronic stress. It can be beneficial to have small amounts of stress but If it’s chronic then find ways to reduce your stress such as seeking out respite, exercising, yoga, meditation, mindfulness or tai chi. It’s so important to practice mind-body exercises to help tamp down your stress response thus keeping your immune status strong.
Sleep, sleep, sleep
It is so restorative and important for your immune function and maintenance. You must get good quality and quantity of sleep (7-8 hrs)! Start by practicing good sleep hygiene. Go to bed at the same time each night (preferably before 10), turn off screens one hour prior to bed time, make sure your room is cool and dark. Take a warm shower or bath, sip a cup of sleepy time tea and read a good book.
For immune health, avoid conflicts or non-supportive behaviors and seek out positive and encouraging relationships. Social isolation, loneliness, bereavement and conflict is pro-inflammatory and can reduce the effectiveness of your immune system. So be sure to make those positive social connections with friends and family.
Here’s to a happy well-functioning immune system!! - Be Well!
P.S. Disclaimer, check with your MD before starting any supplements