11 Ways to Support Your Immune System Now
by Amy Love
Food is medicine, and there has never been a better time than now to improve our health and boost our immune system through optimal eating. Here are 11 simple ways you can start today.
1. Eat nutrient-dense real food. Death from infections is often not due to the infection itself but the body’s inability to fight it. Since more than 90 percent of Americans are deficient in one or more nutrients, we all need to focus on improving the quality of our diet. Nutrient-dense foods include meat, fish, chicken, shellfish, organ meats, eggs, berries, green leafy vegetables, nuts and healthy fats like butter, ghee, high fat dairy.
2. Go Low Carb. Since diabetics are more susceptible to COVID-19 and one in two Americans are pre-diabetic or diabetic this is a great opportunity to start reducing sugar and starch which suppress the immune system. Now has never been a better time to reduce or eliminate sugar, processed carbohydrates, starches and junk food from our diet. Studies have shown that refined sugars can suppress the immune system for hours after ingesting.
3. Consume adequate protein. Be sure to eat the right amount of protein for your age and level of health. Protein is critical for immune function and protein malnutrition is a big risk factor for death from infections.
4. Add antimicrobial foods to your diet. Garlic, onions and ginger, along with many spices, can provide antimicrobial benefits. Add them to soups and vegetable dishes to ensure you’re consuming enough of these beneficial foods.
5. Eat the rainbow. Add more fruits and vegetables into your diet that are high in vitamins C, A and phytonutrients. Some of the best immune boosters include leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, peppers, sweet potatoes and squash.
6. Consume fermented foods. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, unsweetened yogurt and kefir, help support your microbiome and immunity.
7. Drink plenty of fluids. Support your immune system by consuming adequate fluids including water, tea, homemade soups and broth. Avoid fruit juices and sweetened beverages, as the sugar content is harmful for immunity.
8. Ensure good rest. Sleep restores and heals the body. Without adequate sleep, optimal immune function is next to impossible.
9. Get exercise. Mild to moderate exercise helps boost the immune system. If you can exercise outside in less populated areas, even better! If not, find workouts and yoga classes online.
10. Practice meditation and yoga. Increased levels of stress increase susceptibility to viral infections. Now is a great time to learn online through meditation apps, including HeadSpace, Insight Timer, 10% Happier and DharmaSeed.
11. Plant a garden. If you live in an area with a lawn or access to land, grow some of your own food. This is also a great learning activity for kids while they’re home schooled this month.
If we all stay calm, avoid contagious fear, and take care of ourselves and our families, we can get through this together and dramatically reduce the severity of this current global health crisis.Amy Love, RN, is a health and wellness coach known as the Low Carb Nurse. She works with clients in the Inland Northwest to address the four pillars of health—nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management—and focuses on individual goals to optimize and reclaim vitality. For more information, personalized assistance and nutritional guidance, visit CustomizedHealthandWellness.com.