12 Ways to Strengthen your Immune System | Conscious Cooking

Winter is here, and it’s time to boost our immune system to help our body stay healthy and avoid infections. It’s important to have a strong and balanced immune system to stay healthy. 

Here are my top 12 tips to help you boost your immune system:

1. Get enough sleep

Ideally, you should get 8 hours of sleep a day. Take an afternoon nap if needed (I know this can be tough though!). The body rejuvenates and strengthens as it rests. Chronic fatigue decreases immunity and increases risks of illness.

2. Eat fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are important as they provide antioxidants and vitamin C, which help to strengthen the immune system and keep the body overall healthy. Great food sources include berries, citrus fruits, bell peppers and dark green vegetables.

3. Keep a healthy, balanced diet

Many nutrients, such as vitamin A, C and E, as well as minerals selenium and zinc, essential fatty acids, and a well-balanced protein intake, are essential to support the immune system. Avoid processed foods and stick with real and whole foods such as quality animal proteins (if not vegetarian), legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.

4. Use herbs and spices

Herbs and spices help to support the immune system. Use garlic, ginger, tarragon, cayenne pepper, allspice, curry and turmeric more often in your cooking.

5. Drink plenty of water

Water helps in the production of lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune system cells. Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your health. For an extra boost, add a slice of lemon to your water which will provide extra vitamin C.

6. Get friendly bacteria

Probiotics are a great way to enhance your immune system. You can get them from whole foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt and kefir, or in the form of supplements. If you buy supplements, it’s best to choose a brand that offers many different sources of bacteria and that is refrigerated.

7. Get good quality supplements

Boost your diet with supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, mushroom extracts, raw honey, bee pollen, echinacea, elderberry, olive leaf extract and colloidal silver.

8. If possible, avoid antibiotics

Antibiotics have been shown to attack beneficial bacteria in the stomach and suppress immune functions. Unless you really have to, see if you can heal yourself naturally.

9. Exercise

Exercising is not only a great way to get in shape, but also a great way to evacuate toxins and stress and increase immune function. Exercising is also helpful to improve sleep quality. Exercise makes your body stronger.

10. Get some sun

Vitamin D is important to strengthen the immune system so try to go outside a few times a week for about 30 minutes, without sunscreen, when the sun is not at its highest. You can also get small doses of vitamin D from fatty fish. Most Americans are deficient in vitamin D.

11. Relax, laugh, and enjoy life!

This helps to relax the body and reduce stress levels. Stress and depression can weaken the immune system. Don’t take life too seriously and make sure you have fun too!

12. Avoid sugar!

Stay away from refined flour and products, sweets, baked goods, etc. Sugar is known to cause systemic inflammation in the body and suppress your immune system. It’s definitely the no. 1 “food” to stay away if you want to keep a strong, healthy immune system.