Are you taking the right steps to build your immunity?
With the cold season just a few months away, it’s important to be prepared.
In this article, we cover the most important steps to build your immunity.
It’s time to show those viruses who’s boss!
What Is Immunity?
Immunity is the body’s natural defense mechanism against foreign invaders and mutating cells.
It protects you from disease, allergies, autoimmune disorders, and infections.
How the Immune System Works
The immune system includes several organs, including the:
Together, these organs make different types of white blood cells that fight disease. (1)
T cells destroy foreign bacteria, viruses, and mutated cells.
In other words, they act as enforcers.
B cells, on the other hand, act as the body’s intelligence system to coordinate a response.
All-day long when your body is exposed to new germs, your immune system creates specific antibodies that are designed to destroy them.
But there’s one more very important piece of the puzzle…
Minerals called “electrolytes” control immune signaling.
At the same time, they prevent invaders from entering your healthy cells.
Later on in this article, we’ll talk more about where to get electrolytes.
Even more important, however, is a healthy digestive system.
The gut lining is the body’s first line of defense against the inflammatory compounds in food.
Without a healthy gut, your entire immune system can be compromised.
Now let’s take a closer look at the biggest steps to build your immunity:
8 Steps to Build Your Immunity
1. Eat Less Sugar
Sugar is the #1 enemy of your immune system.
For starters, it increases the risk of obesity, and obese people are more likely to get sick.
For example, a recent study found that obese people are twice as likely to get sick from the flu vaccine. (2)
Plus, sugar is strongly linked to gut inflammation.
As it turns out, sugar acts as fuel for bad gut bacteria.
In turn, this damages the gut lining and increases food cravings.
The problem is that the gut lining is only a single cell thick, and it relies on good gut bacteria to reinforce it.
However, sugar weakens the gut lining and allows inflammation to enter the bloodstream.
Ultimately, this can contribute to heart conditions, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disease.
Fortunately, eating less sugar is proven to decrease inflammation, promote weight loss, and reduce the risk of chronic health conditions. (3).
2. Eat More Healthy Fats
Healthy fats, like cold-pressed coconut and olive oil, are extremely anti-inflammatory.
Since inflammation damages immunity, eating more healthy fats may help you stay healthy.
Olive oil, for example, can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. (4)
Plus, it’s anti-inflammatory properties combats bacteria and viruses.
However, the king of healthy fats is fish oil.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in wild-caught salmon, sardines, and other fish are potent anti-inflammatories.
3. Drink Bone Broth
Bone broth is your new secret weapon in the fight against the disease.
It’s loaded with collagen: a protein that gives structure to your cells.
Your body needs collagen to form the lining of the GI tract and it works wonders on leaky gut.
When it comes to gut health and immunity, collagen can repair a damaged gut lining fast.
Plus, bone broth can normalize mucus membranes and prevent inflammation from sneaking into the bloodstream.
Ultimately, the collagen gets broken down into another compound called gelatin.
Gelatin contains tons of important amino acids that are essential to immunity, including:
Together, they can even fight food allergies and reduce signs of aging.
4. Eat More Fibrous Produce
Your mom was right when she told you to eat your veggies!
Veggies and low-sugar fruit are loaded in all the nutrients that are great for immunity. including:
For starters, the fiber from spinach, broccoli, and kale act as fuel for good gut bacteria. (5)
As a result, your gut lining becomes stronger.
At the same time, cucumber and celery contain a ton of water and electrolytes.
As it turns out, hydration is one of the most important steps to build your immunity, but more on that in a minute…
Vitamins and antioxidants reduce damage and protect the body on a cellular level.
Berries, in particular, are excellent sources of antioxidants.
And last but not least, the digestive enzymes in certain types of produce are gut-health superheroes.
Papaya, for example, contains papain: a powerful enzyme for the gut.
5. Take Probiotics
Probiotics are healthy bacterial strains found in supplements.
They help your immune cells tell the difference between normal cells and harmful invaders.
Once inside the gut, probiotics live in the digestive tract, strengthen the gut and support immunity.
In fact, they even produce serotonin and other important neurotransmitters.
Believe it or not, roughly 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is produced by bacteria in the gut. (6)
6. Hydrate Like You Mean It
Dehydration can make you more likely to get sick, so make sure to drink plenty of water.
Electrolytes, however, maybe even more important to hydration than fluids.
That’s because electrolytes help the cells produce energy and remove waste.
Ultimately, dehydration can have negative effects on:
Physical performance (7)
Unfortunately, there aren’t any crystal-clear guidelines for how much water to drink.
Ideally, you should sip on water throughout the day and hardly ever feel thirsty.
That’s right, thirst is actually the first sign of dehydration.
It’s also important to note that older adults often lose the ability to feel the early signs of thirst.
When you exercise, try to drink roughly 16 ounces of water at least an hour before your workout.
In hot and humid weather, be prepared to drink a little more.
Remember, when you sweat you lose water and electrolytes, and you need both in order to build your immunity.
7. Get Plenty of Quality Sleep
Sleep and immunity are joined at the hip.
Believe it or not, the worse your sleep is, the more likely you are to get sick.
In fact, studies show that sleeping less than 6 hours a night increases the chance of catching a cold. (8)
Adults should shoot for roughly 7 hours of sleep, teens 8-10 and younger children up to 14 hours, including naps.
Need a few tips for better sleep?
Stop using your phone, computer, and T.V. an hour before bed
Eat your last meal at least three hours before bed
Sleep in an entirely dark room
Wear a sleeping mask
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every night
Out of all these, avoiding electronics is one of the most important steps to build your immunity through better sleep.
That’s because the blue light emitted from these devices is incredibly disruptive to the sleep-wake cycle.
8. Reduce Stress
Reducing stress and anxiety is a critical step to build your immunity.
The fact is, chronic stress boosts inflammation and damages immune cell functions.
Unfortunately, kids are even more sensitive to stress than adults.
Over time, stress can seriously weaken their immune response.
But no matter the age, make sure to spend plenty of time having fun.
Bonus points if it involves exercise, like yoga or hiking, but anything that brings you joy will do.
That includes journaling, meditation, and other mindfulness practices.
By lowering your stress levels, you can support the immune system and prevent disease.
10 Immune-boosting Supplements
Probiotics give your gut the good bacteria they need to strengthen the gut lining, lose weight, reduce inflammation, and fight disease.
L-lysine is an essential amino acid that the body needs for healthy tissues and immune cell support.
Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant that supports a healthy immune response.
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil promote white blood cell function and fight inflammation.
Vitamin C is a master antioxidant that fights free radicals and is essential to the immune system in many ways.
Vitamin D helps the body process calcium. Studies show that vitamin D supplements boost immunity. (9)
Vitamin B-6 is known to fight stress and fatigue while supporting several immune functions.
Vitamin E is another master antioxidant that affects immunity in several ways.
Zinc is a mineral antioxidant that plays a key role in immune cell signaling. Your immune system can function without it!
Echinacea is an herb native to North America that is packed with immune-boosting antioxidants.
Life can be hectic, but if you don’t take basic steps to build your immunity, you can pay for it with your health.
Luckily, the right supplements and lifestyle changes can strengthen your immune system.
If you have any more questions about the steps to build your immunity, feel free to contact us at Complete Care Health Centers.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.