Sometimes life makes it difficult to prioritize self care. Whether it’s stressful days at the office to meet a work deadline, a week of eating out while on vacation, or long sleepless nights with a newborn, there’s time where it’s impossible to give our body the care it needs.
All that stress can take a toll on the immune system. Poor nutrition, stress, and sleep deprivation can wreck havoc. As life begins to settle, help your immune system recharge with these four steps.
Did you know that 70% of the immune system is located in the gut? Having more good gut bacteria and a greater diversity of bacteria means a healthier immune system. To help restore the immune system by improving gut health, be sure to regularly include fermented food in your diet. Snacking on probiotic rich yogurt or blending a smoothie with kefir, a kind of drinkable yogurt. Sip on kombucha, a type of fermented tea. Look for a variety fermented vegetables and relishes which you can find in most grocery stores. Try a scoop of kimchi over Luvo’s So-Cal Kale and Beans.
Catch some zzz’s
Sleep is a time for our body to restore, and lack of sleep suppresses the immune system. It’s recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. To make the most of your time in bed, practice good sleep hygiene. Avoid caffeine too close to bedtime as well as alcohol, which may help you fall asleep faster, but disrupts sleep later in your sleep cycle. Also, try to avoid looking at your cell phone or TV about an hour before bed, as the blue light can be stimulating. Also, get some movement in during the day, especially outdoors, as natural light helps with your circadian rhythm. You might also benefit from a bedtime ritual, like a series of stretches or taking a warm bath.
Because stress has such a significant role in the immune system, meditation is crucial for keeping it in tip-top shape. It works through a variety of ways, reducing inflammation, improving gut health, and boosting immune cells. To start meditating, simply lay down or sit in a comfortable position and focus on your breath. Your mind will wander, but just keep bringing it back to your breath. If you need more support, look for guided meditations, which are especially helpful for beginners.
Eat immune boosting food
Nutritionally, the most important thing for immune health is eating an overall well balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. But there are certain foods that seem to have special immune boosting benefits. Try vitamin C rich citrus fruits, garlic, and antioxidant rich green tea. Other immune boosting foods include ginger, mushrooms, spinach, turmeric, almonds, and even chicken noodle soup. You could also sip on this immune-boosting latte, which packs multiple immune boosting ingredients into your coffee cup.
Do you have any favorite tricks for boosting your immune system? Share your comments below!
Did you enjoy this post? Stay in the know with more nutrition tips, and exclusive promo offers — join our newsletter.