As the days grow shorter and darker, the approaching season of coziness also brings lots of cold-weather germs.
Naturally, we want our immune system to function optimally all year round. But with the cold and flu season approaching, it’s a good time to think about building immunity.
Your immune system is a complex set of cells and chemical processes that constantly defend your body against a near-constant onslaught of pathogenic organisms like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and even toxins. Thankfully, you can support and strengthen it with lifestyle and supplement choices.
Luckily, our team of Wellness Experts put together a quick guide for anyone looking to build their immunity the “Lazy Way” with a focus on leveraging tools and habits to build your natural immunity against any threat.
Healthy lifestyle modifications are the best foundation to build and support your immune system.
Eating high-quality food, exercising regularly, reducing stress, and getting quality sleep are all important ways to improve your immune system.
Clinical evidence supports quality sleep as one of the most powerful ways to avoid getting sick while also strengthening your immune memory against prior pathogens and infections.
Creating a consistent sleep schedule, turning off all electronics an hour before bed, and hanging some blackout curtains are easy ways to increase the quality of your sleep and improve your immune health.
IMMUNE BUILDING SUPPLEMENTS THAT OUR WELLNESS EXPERTS SWEAR BY!
Known as “the sunshine vitamin,” it’s an essential nutrient for a healthy functioning immune system. Our bodies produce Vitamin D when we’re exposed to natural sunlight. With less sunlight during the days, optimizing Vitamin D intake can support your immune system. Vitamin D serves to enhance the pathogen-fighting effects of several types of white blood cells and decreases inflammation promoting a proper immune response. Low Vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory infection. Supplementing with Vitamin D has been shown to reduce respiratory infections and overall infection risk. Interestingly, Vitamin D is the single greatest nutritional deficiency in this country. Adding Vitamin D to your daily routine can have a dramatic and positive impact on your immune function.
Zinc is a mineral commonly added to immune products and lozenges to boost your immune system because it’s essential for immune system function. A deficiency of zinc is common, especially in older adults, and can significantly affect your immune system’s ability to function properly, resulting in an increased risk of infection and disease. Zinc supplementation may protect against infections like the common cold and may even be beneficial to those that are already sick. Recent research has shown that zinc may work by inhibiting viral replication within cells. Just be sure to always take your zinc supplement with a meal as it may upset the stomach. Consider taking it with flavonoid quercetin which has been shown to help zinc absorption.
Black elderberries have a long history in folk medicine and recent research validates their use to enhance immune function. Elderberry extract exerts potent antimicrobial action against upper respiratory pathogens including several strains of influenza. Not only does it show antiviral activity, but it’s also been shown to shorten the duration of colds and flu. Add your elderberry syrup to a mug of hot water and a squeeze of fresh lemon for a delicious immune-boosting tonic.
Approximately 70% of your immune system resides within the intestinal tract. Probiotic supplements can be an effective means of giving your immune system an extra boost when you need it. Not only will probiotics allow for proper nutrient absorption (think zinc) but they also create a host of immune-enhancing and pathogen-killing substances. Recent research has verified that people who consume probiotics have fewer upper respiratory infections and more immunomodulatory substances than those that don’t take a probiotic.
Medicinal Mushrooms like Reishi, Chaga, and Cordyceps are very popular for their myriad health benefits. Loaded with polysaccharides and beta-glucans they directly affect white blood cells including macrophages and NK Cells. Mushrooms can also help modulate stress which improves immune function. Read more about Medicinal Mushrooms here!
Other immune-boosting favorites include:
- Vitamin C
Our team of experts are here to make it as easy as possible for you to find just what you need.
We hope you’ll stop by one of our stores and explore immunity-boosting options and more soon!
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As we all take steps to improve our health and to live well, we inspire others and give them permission to do the same. Living Healthy improves our lives on a micro level and also helps us begin to contribute to the improvement of our environment, our communities, and our world in ways we can’t always imagine.