Everyone wants a strong immune system, no one likes to be sick. Whether you’re a student who can’t spare a single day without falling behind, or a parent juggling working from home and watching over the kids, none of us have the time nowadays to spend bedridden.
Sadly, there is no magic ‘cure-all’ or snake oil you could buy that’s going to give you an impenetrable immune system, but there are lots of natural strategies to boost your immune system this year.
Below are 10 ways you can improve your immune system naturally, without taking a jab in the arm.
This list is going to be divided into three sections…
First, Supplements. What are the closest things to magic pills that we can add to our daily routine to keep our immune systems firing on all cylinders, and how do these things even work?
Second, Diet. It’s obvious that someone eating clean and healthy will be much healthier, much stronger, and much more protected than someone who eats fast food 5-days a week. But what does ‘clean and healthy’ really mean? In this section, we’ll be diving into the foods that supercharge your immune system.
Finally, Lifestyle. How you live your life is the biggest factor affecting your immune system. We’ll be looking at what you should be doing, and what you should avoid with a 10-foot pole.
1. Probiotics & Prebiotics
The average person has 4lbs of bacteria in their guts that help them digest food.
These bacteria are super important because, without them, we wouldn’t be able to break down the food we eat and pull out the nutrients for our bodies to use.
Probiotic Supplements are living strains of bacteria, or cultures, that add to the bacteria already in your gut.
Prebiotic Supplements are specialized plant fibers that feed your existing bacterial cultures. This keeps your bacteria healthy, strong, and plentiful, meaning you can digest food easier and absorb more of the bioavailable nutrients.
Our 50 Billion Probiotic includes 50 billion bacterial cultures, cultures like Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus casei that help you digest a wide range of foods.
These 50 Billion cultures are all contained within a specially formulated plant fiber pill. The same specialized plant fibers that your gut bacteria crave to grow healthy and efficient. It’s a two-in-one to keep your lower half happy and healthy.
The term ‘superfood’ is thrown around a lot today, but there is truly a no better candidate for that title than Elderberry.
Elderberry is PACKED with antioxidants along with a high concentration of immune-boosting vitamins like vitamin C & D.
We here at Ascent Nutrition, recognize the importance of a superfood like Elderberry. We’ve put together a super supplement focused on boosting your immune system. Check it out here.
This super supplement includes Elderberry, along with other natural immune-boosting foods like Oregano, Ginger Root, Moringa, and Garlic.
Oregano contains Thymol, a powerful antifungal, and antibacterial that aids your body’s immune system in ridding yourself of harmful bacteria and other infections.
Ginger Root contains Gingerol, which is one of those specialized plant fibers we spoke about earlier that feed and boost the bacterial cultures in your digestive tract.
Moringa is another plant that is PACKED with antioxidants. Antioxidants help round up and expel harmful free radicals that gather in your body. Think of free radicals as the waste our bodies produce from turning our food into energy. Antioxidants are the clean-up crew that protects us from these harmful molecules.
Garlic is one of the last ingredients in our Elderberry Super Supplement, you can read more about it below.
Garlic deserves its own entire section with all the benefits it brings to your body. Garlic improves your immune system, your heart, and your gut health.
Ancient civilizations believed that garlic held mystic medicinal properties for thousands of years. Now, in the age of science, we’ve proved that long-held belief.
As far as your immune health goes, Garlic is a jack of all trades. Garlic is an antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic. Garlic will help your body more effectively fight off everything from the common cold to E.coli.
Garlic also lowers blood pressure, relieves hypertension, and improves your heart health. Not to mention lowering levels of LDL-Cholesterol, the cholesterol responsible for heart disease and heart failure.
We all want healthy immune systems and a healthy heart, so you can’t go wrong in incorporating high amounts of garlic into your diet.
Speaking of diet! Let’s move on to our next section!
1. Eating Whole Foods.
Supplements are a fantastic tool for us to become healthier people, but they are not a replacement for the nutrients we get from food, and shouldn’t be taken as so.
Without a whole and healthy diet, all of the supplements in the world are still going to leave you needing more. Supplements go on top of a healthy diet.
Why? Because supplements are isolated molecules that we need in high doses to live healthily.
But that’s not how our food is naturally structured. Our natural foods contain beneficial molecules that support whatever active ingredient we take alone in a supplement.
Take the Three Sisters. The Three Sisters are Corn, Beans, and Squash.
These three plants have been grown together and eaten together by Native Americans and the ancient Mayan tribes for thousands of years.
Besides these plants’ uncanny ability to keep each other alive when planted together, these three plants provide the complete spectrum of macros, minerals, and vitamins that we need to lead a healthy life, all in one meal!
Loads of carbs and 15% of your daily allotment of vitamin C are in one cup of corn alone.
Beans contain isoleucine and lysine, two essential amino acids. These are amino acids that our bodies cannot produce, that we MUST get from our diets.
Finally, Squash is packed to the brim with Vitamin C, antioxidants, and other minerals that we can only get from eating whole foods like the Three Sisters.
So if you’re eating rice and chicken for every meal, you need to rethink your diet because you’re missing out on a wide range of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins that only whole meals made from a medley of natural foods can give us.
Not to mention, whole meals taste way better than boring old rice and chicken. 😉
2. Fermented Foods
Maintaining a healthy immune system is really just the byproduct of living a healthy life. Our body has lots of moving parts. When all of those parts are in happy working order, you have a strong immune system, but if you have a sick heart, a sick stomach, or a sick liver, your immune system will not be able to keep you fully protected.
Fermented foods are an easy, and tasty, way to manage your gut health, and ultimately your immune health.
Fermented foods have a probiotic effect similar to probiotic supplements. Fermented foods carry millions, even billions of bacterial cultures into your digestive tract. These new bacteria mix and strengthen the bacteria currently in your guts.
Here are some tasty fermented foods and recipes you can try to strengthen your stomach and your overall health.
Kimchi (aka Asian-style fermented cabbage) – 29 Recipes with Kimchi
Sauerkraut (aka German-Style Fermented Cabbage) – 40 Recipes with Sauerkraut
Tempeh (Japanese cake made from Fermented Soy Beans) – How To Make Tempeh
3. Citrus & Veggies
Eat your vegetables, eat your vegetables.
We’ve all had this burned into our minds from a young age.
You’ll find that science is starting to prove and back the ideas we’ve known through the ages, and eating your vegetables is no different.
Bell Peppers, Broccoli, and Spinach are all great immune-boosting foods.
When you think of Vitamin C you probably think of citrus, lemons, limes, or oranges. But ounce for ounce, bell peppers actually have more vitamin C than oranges and lemons.
Not just by a little bit either! In one ounce of lemon, there is 15mg of vitamin C, whereas, in one ounce of bell pepper, there is 36.2mg of vitamin C! That’s over 120% more per ounce!
Vitamin C is so important because it’s one of the most powerful antioxidants, keeping your body clean and clear of all the harmful free radicals that are floating around waiting to cause irreparable harm to your cells.
Broccoli is also high in antioxidants, but contains vitamins A & E, along with a high amount of fiber to keep your digestive system in smooth working order.
Spinach is the final vegetable that you should be incorporating into your diet. Again, packed with antioxidants and useful minerals but Spinach has another ingredient that makes it absolutely essential in any diet. Protein.
There is no vegetable on earth with more protein than Spinach. Protein is used for so many different things in your body that we could write a whole blog on that alone, but one of its key uses is to repair the damage that has been caused to your cells, primarily by free radicals.
So having a whole meal, with whole foods like corn, beans, squash, bell peppers, and spinach will give you not just antioxidants to prevent future cell damage, but also carbohydrates and protein to give you the energy and the material your body needs to repair the damage that has already been done!
So ditch that chicken and rice. Spice up your meals with some tasty and colorful vegetables, your body will thank you.
Our final section on improving your immune system is Lifestyle.
Using supplements and eating right will bring you a long way, but changing how you live your life on a day-to-day basis is going to be the one thing that makes the BIGGEST difference in supercharging your immune system.
1. Don’t Smoke
This probably seems like common sense, but smoking, specifically nicotine (cigarettes, cigars, vapes, etc) is horribly destructive to your body and your immune system. If you smoke, cutting it out of your life is the single best thing you can do to improve your immune system.
All of the super supplements and superfoods you eat will be pointless if you’re smoking a pack a day.
This is a lifestyle change that might not seem so obvious to improve your immune health. Sleeping does a lot more than give you funky dreams and relieve stress.
Sleeping is the time when your body takes to recuperate and replenish itself.
So you could be absorbing all of the Vitamin C and antioxidants as humanly possible, but if you don’t sleep and give these molecules time to work, you won’t be improving your immune system at all.
Sleep is essential time you need to give your body to replenish itself once you’ve given it the right fuel.
Exercise has a laundry list of benefits.
From relieving stress to building muscle, to keeping your organs healthy and fat-free, the list is almost never-ending.
But exercise can be a double-edged sword when it comes to your immune health. Studies show that working out 3-4 times a week is the sweet spot to get all of the benefits of exercise without the negatives.
Exercising hard, 7-days a week, giving your body no rest can actually be detrimental to your health. When you exercise you burn through energy and supplies that would be normally used for other things like cell repair.
When you don’t give yourself the time to replenish and recharge your body, exercise can actually start depleting these stores dangerously fast.
We all have that friend that works out 7 days a week but never seems to get any fitter. Well, that’s why. They’re burning through all of their reserves without taking the time to replenish and heal.
4. Water. Water. Water.
Water is the lowest common denominator for all life.
Life could not be possible without water.
The average person needs to drink 3L-4L (102oz-135oz) of water per day. But most of us usually only get half of that.
Every single chemical process in the human body utilizes water. Water is the gas that allows your body to run, so without enough of it, your body cannot run in tip top shape.
Drink 4L of water per day and you’re going to see that you’re peeing out much more waste, your skin will clear up, and you won’t feel so drained all the time, not to mention that you will get sick far less.
Try it! This week drink 4L of water every day and see the difference for yourself!
And that’s it! You now have all the information you need to lead a healthy and protected life.
Take your newfound knowledge and lead the healthy life you deserve!
Ways To Boost Your Immune System…
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Try to minimize stress.
- Keep current with all recommended vaccines. Vaccines prime your immune system to fight off infections before they take hold in your body.
- Eat whole foods and whole meals
Eat Whole Foods
(2) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-boost-immune-health #2.-Eat-more-whole-plant-foods
Eat Fermented Foods/Probiotic Supplement
(4) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-boost-immune-health #4.-Eat-more-fermented-foods-or-take-a-probiotic-supplement
(9) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-boost-immune-health #9.-Supplement-wisely
Foods To Boost Your Immune System