The last two years have put health at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The stress, uncertainty, and conflict didn’t boost anyone’s immune system. The Pandemic caused everyone to rush to research foods and herbs that help strengthen their immune system. But certain lifestyle choices, herbal supplements, and foods can all help reinforce your immune system and keep you healthy.
Your immune system is your body’s natural defense against disease. Like any part of your body, it can be affected by your mental, emotional, and physical health. Taking extra precautions to protect ourselves from potential illness with immune-boosting foods or herbs can help. This can all be done without any drugs or medical treatments.
Many natural and homeopathic remedies have been shown to boost the overall immune system, which helps your body fight off all types of viruses and infections. Taking the time to reset, reconnect, and remember what is truly important in life can be one of the best ways to strengthen your immune system. After all, anything that helps your mood and emotions can help your immune system.
Here are some of my favorite supplements, foods, and health tips to help me stay healthy and keep an illness from completely knocking me out.
Natural Remedies to Boost Your Immune System
Here are several natural immune boosters to add to your daily routine. These remedies can also help ease aches and pains if you do get sick. Please note that these are general recommendations, and are not necessarily recommended for COVID-19 or as medical advice.
Manuka honey has so many amazing benefits I wrote an entire blog post about it! Manuka honey has antioxidant, antiviral, and antibacterial properties that help boost the immune system. There is also an active ingredient in Manuka honey called methylglyoxal (MGO) that reduces nasal mucus. It’s the perfect treat if you have a stuffy nose or are suffering from allergies or a respiratory infection. Add some of this honey to your favorite herbal tea.
Flushing your sinuses with salt water helps keep your mucous membranes moist. A flush also protects you by moving microbes out of your nasal passage. The warm saline solution provides both antibacterial and healing properties and soothes while clearing your nasal passages. Products such as a Neti Pot, Nasal Flow bottle, or simple nasal saline spray are great to start when you feel a cold coming on.
Immune support supplements
Taking a supplement can be a convenient way to support your immune system, but there are so many out there it can be challenging to know which to use. First, it’s important to check labels, research brands for quality, and ensure no additives or fillers are used. I also suggest taking supplements in liquid form (liquid gels work if a liquid is not available). I also recommend organic formulas for herbal supplements.
I’ve made it a point to share my favorite supplements on my site. These are all part of my regular and my “sick” herbal regimen to help you feel your best.
Zinc Picolinate, Vitamin D, Glutathione, Vitamin C, Echinacea / Golden Seal, Elderberry, Mullein Leaf, Arabinogalactan, L-Lysine, Astragalus, Oil of Oregano (use in moderation), and Colloidal Silver (use in moderation), OregaRESP (related to Oil of Oregano), Nettle Leaf, Quercetin Phytosome, Propolis, Yin Chiao, Wellness Herbal Resistance Liquid by Source Naturals, ImmunoCare by Himalaya, Turmeric, Ginger, NAC, Host Defense Comprehensive Immune & Support.
I also created my own supplement to help my clients boost their health and energy. Just Add Water is full of superfoods, adaptogenic herbs, power greens, essential daily vitamins, minerals, probiotics, prebiotics, dietary enzymes, and amino acids to support your health today and always. The best way to prevent illness is to stay at the peak of health. The right balance of vitamins and minerals can do just that.
Eucalyptus oil steam shower
If you know me, you know I am a big believer in the power of essential oils and aromatherapy. If you missed it, check my post about all of the benefits of aromatherapy. Eucalyptus is one of my favorite essential oils when I’m not feeling my best. Put 3-5 drops of eucalyptus oil in a bowl and add boiling water. Cover your head with a towel and lean over the bowl inhaling and exhaling deeply for 3-10 minutes. The combination of steam and oil will help you breathe better. Be careful not to burn your face with steam. But the vapor can help with clearing your respiratory system and the hot vapor can help break up any phlegm.
It’s not news that Vitamin C supports the immune system. Though research has shown that Vitamin C might not protect you from getting a cold, it just might help reduce the duration and severity of your illness. I like to recommend getting your extra vitamin C directly from fruits and veggies when you can. Foods like oranges, dark leafy greens, strawberries, broccoli, guavas, papaya, and sweet potatoes are all good sources of vitamin C. But, during cold and flu season, a supplement with Vitamin C can give you that extra boost.
Simple Life Changes to Help Your Immune System
You are What You Eat
With every single bite, you are turning on and off genes that can support your immune system or make you sick. Eating a diet full of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to boost your immune system. Eating an array of fruits, in all the colors of the rainbow, can allow you to absorb many different phytonutrients and nutrients. These nutrients all support the body in different ways.
Specifically, add garlic, ginger, and onions (raw is ideal) to your meals. Together they offer potent antimicrobial, GI, and immunity-boosting benefits. This blend also helps create whole-body homeostasis. As much as we want to reach for pre-made meals or sugary and salty treats during times of stress, I urge you to try to avoid processed foods. Not only are these chemicals harmful, but the sugar, fat, and dairy in these foods can also cause inflammation and strain on your immune system. Check out my free eBook of 25 Immune-Boosting Foods.
Drink plenty of fluids
I can’t stress enough how important it is to drink enough clean purified water daily. Our bodies are made of about 60% water and all of our systems depend upon fresh water to operate properly. The more water you take in the more it cycles through your body. This is why when you’re sick your doctor recommends plenty of fluids. The fluids help your body cycle out any toxins or viruses and bacteria causing your illness.
For hydration, I recommend keeping a bottle of water with you at all times and strive to drink at least 80 ounces of water and up to your entire body weight in ounces every day. Taking in that much fluid may seem intimidating but keep in mind we can get our water intake in different ways.
Warm fluids are a great way to hydrate and provide a healing effect on the body. Try making your soups and broths loaded with veggies, spices, and herbs. When you’re looking for a warming beverage turn to herbal teas like ginger, peppermint, echinacea, and chamomile which will hydrate your body while calming you down. The caffeine in coffee and some teas can undo some of the hydration benefits because caffeine is a diuretic. My nightly ritual always includes a cup (or three!) of herbal tea which is a great natural sleep aid as well.
Get Your Beauty Sleep
Sufficient sleep (seven to eight hours) is not just important to energize your body and mind for the next day. Sleep is necessary to support all of your body’s functions, including your immune system. Studies have shown that people who do not get enough sleep tend to have a weaker immune function.
While you sleep, your muscles repair themselves, your brain regenerates, and your body creates proteins that fight infection and inflammation. Additional research also shows that a consistent sleep schedule allows for more optimal sleep and full-body benefits. To get restful sleep, try turning off your phone at least an hour before bedtime and do something calming: drink some herbal tea, practice restorative yoga, take a bath, or meditate before lying down to sleep.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise. From high-intensity training to running to more low-impact movement like yoga, the important thing is that you move your body, ideally every day. You can even use a mini-trampoline. Lymph is the fluid that carries white blood cells through your body. It doesn’t naturally pump through your body. Regular movement can help move this fluid through your body.
Exercise has been shown to boost the immune system and also to reduce stress and anxiety. One caveat is this research suggests overworking your body can lower your immune defense. It’s best to not overexert, especially if your goal is boosting your immune system. Exercise should not be painful, stressful, or viewed as a form of punishment. My best advice is to mix it up, have fun with it, do things that make you feel good. It’s better to enjoy moving your body rather than stressing about the types of exercise you think you “should” be doing. And as always, listen to your body!
Ease stress and anxiety
Especially now, this may feel like it’s easier said than done, but managing your stress level is vital to a healthy immune system. Anxiety and stress have been shown to decrease the strength of your immunity. Try incorporating a practice into your daily routine that helps you calm your nervous system. Yoga, meditation, and reiki are great tools for relaxation. A simple walk outside and laughter can also be great for your health. Talking out your issues with a friend and finding solidarity with your community can help ease feelings of helplessness and worry. We are all facing life’s battles together!
Take care of yourself now and always — don’t wait until you’re sick to start carving out time for your spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Wishing you nothing but health and happiness!
These are just a few different ways to help you naturally boost your immune system. Strengthening your immune system is not just important for the Pandemic but also for your day-to-day health. A strong immune system can keep you from even getting sick at all. But remember fear, stress, and not prioritizing your health can all increase your chances of getting sick. So find time to take it easy and make your health a priority.