There has never been a more important time to examine strategies to strengthen your immunity than at this present time. Your immune system is absolutely essential, not only for your health but also ultimately for your survival. Your immune system is a complex network of cells and tissues in your body with the goal of protecting you. They are watching for invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more that may attack your body. If they detect a pathogen, they will attack it to protect you from harm. Without the protection of your immune system, your body would be open to attack or harm from pathogens. 

Your immune system is there to keep you healthy. A compromised immune system becomes sluggish, and cannot properly function to protect you, leaving you vulnerable to infections, illness, and disease. Hence, good immune health is an essential base for establishing good health.

Strengthening your immune system doesn’t need to be a complicated process.  Simple strategies implemented with care and consistency can greatly contribute to improving overall health, energy levels and support immunity.  Here is a brief checklist to consider that are validated through numerous studies.

First, let’s look at things that can hurt your immunity:

Sugar: There are many problems when it comes to sugar and immunity. Eating too much sugar feeds parasites in your body and depletes your body from immune-boosting nutrients, such as vitamin C, zinc, and glutathione. Studies also confirm that excessive sugar also contributes to the development of abnormal tissues in your body and may lead to cancer growth.

Sugar may also lead to depleted vitamin C levels. Back in the 1970s, Dr John Ely discovered the Glucose-Ascorbate-Antagonism and realised that glucose (sugar) and vitamin C (ascorbate) have an incredibly similar chemical make-up. Both depend on insulin and its signals to get into your cells. The problem is that glucose has a greater affinity than vitamin C. This means that the more glucose is in your body, the less vitamin C can enter your cells. Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins for your immune system, so the fact that sugar can interfere with its positive effects is a huge concern.

Sleep Deprivation: Getting regular quality sleep is essential for good immune health and your entire well-being. Your body needs time to rest and repair in order to function optimally. Not getting enough or quality sleep on a regular basis may increase the stress response in your body and disrupt the normal cycle of rejuvenation. To protect your immune health, you need 7–9 hours of sleep every night. Getting less than seven hours of sleep on a regular basis may increase chronic stress, inflammation, and immune dysregulation in your body.  If you are having poor sleep, take a closer look at these areas as they may contribute to the root cause of this sleep disturbance:

  • Poor sleep schedule – staying up too late or at irregular times
  • Bad nutrition and blood sugar imbalances
  • On-going stress
  • Chronic pain
  • Hiatal hernia and heart palpitations
  • Gut infection
  • Sleep apnea
  • Overactive thyroid

Drinking tap water: Hydration is incredibly important for your immune health. Not just the quantity, but also the quality, as what kind of water you are drinking matters as well. Unfortunately, municipal water is incredibly toxic to your body. It is high in toxins, such as chlorine, fluoride and even heavy metals, as well as DBPs.

To get quality water, it is important to have a proper water filtration system at home. Drinking spring water may be an option as well, however, limit plastic bottles as much as possible as the plastic can leak into the water you are drinking leading to inflammation and health issues. Stainless steel and glass bottles are a safer for when you are out and about or looking for the convenience of a water bottle.

Staying Indoors: Chances are, you are like most people in our modern world and spend 90 per cent or more of your life indoors. The problem is that staying indoors all the time, you are missing out on the protective factors of nature, such as the benefits of fresh air, vitamin D from the sun, and grounding. Instead, your indoor environment may come with indoor toxins, such as moulds or chemical toxins, that can be harmful to your immune health.

Now let’s look at top foods that you can easily access to support your immune health.

Top Foods For Immune Health

Eating nutrient-dense, immune-boosting foods is one of the best ways to support your immune health. In general, low sugar, phytonutrient-rich herbs, fruit and vegetables, fermented foods and healthy fats are the best immune-supporting foods to include in your diet.

Here is a list of the top eight foods experts recommend we should be incorporating in our diet to support a robust immune health. It is recommended that we get at least three servings of one or more of these in your diet daily and try to incorporate all of these in your diet throughout the week if possible. If you have a food sensitivity or allergy to one of these foods or herbs, then be sure to avoid them and focus on the others.

Lemons and Limes: When it comes to immune health, it is likely that vitamin C is the first thing that comes to mind. Vitamin C is a powerful immune-boosting vitamin that can fight infections and help prevent illness. It helps to build up your immune system and support your immune health. 

Some of the best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, such as lemons and limes. Lemons and limes are so easy to incorporate into your diet. You can squeeze it into just about any juice, meal, dressing, dip, or salad for extra flavour. I also recommend adding some lemon or lime juice into your water for extra immune health, detox- and metabolism-boosting benefits.

Bone Broth: Bone broth is a delicious and nutritious liquid made from brewed bones and connective tissues of cow, chicken, or even fish. It is incredibly rich in minerals and vitamins that may boost your immune health. Some of the benefits of bone broth come from bone marrow which helps provide the raw materials for healthy blood cells and immune development.

Therefore, bone broth is great for those with inflammation and immune health issues. It is fantastic for your digestion and joints as well. It may also support your sleep.

Incorporating bone broth into your day is simple. You can drink it at any time of your day or even use it as a meal replacement.

Mushrooms: Besides their powerful immune health benefits, one of the best things about mushrooms is that there are so many kinds of them. Of course, you know portabella mushrooms in some of your childhood favourites. But there is more to mushrooms than that. There are many kinds of mushrooms that are considered superfoods for their potent health benefits. Eastern medicine has been using these medicinal mushrooms for thousands of years for their immune health and other health benefits. 

Reishi is one of the most popular mushrooms for supporting your sleep, mood, and immune health. Chaga may reduce inflammation, and as a result, it may support your immune health. Turkey tail is incredibly known for its antioxidant benefits and immune health support. Lion’s Mane is great for immune health. Cordyceps is fantastic for energy. Using these mushrooms is easy. Just add them to your morning smoothies, a cup of coffee, or stir-fry.

Garlic and Onions: Garlic and onions are close relatives with similar benefits. They are found in just about every cuisine and culture around the world. They have been used to fight infections for thousands of years, not to mention enhance the flavour of food.  They are powerful foods that are incredibly anti-inflammatory and beneficial for your immune health.

Olive Oil: Olive oil has been used throughout the Mediterranean. It’s also one of the favourite oils in the US for cooking, dressings, and dipping. It is rich in healthy monosaturated fats. It is rich in antioxidants and provides incredible anti-inflammatory benefits. Research has shown that olive oil may boost your immune health, lower the risk of infections, and protect against immune-mediated inflammatory responses.

Always seek high-quality olive extra-virgin olive oil and if possible organic. Olive oil is fantastic when consuming raw. It provides a fantastic aroma and flavour to any salad dressing or dipping sauce. It is perfect for making stir-fries or bakes vegetables as well. When cooking with olive oil only use low temperatures.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar that is created from the fermented, unstrained juice of crushed apples. It is a highly acidic substance with a potent, distinct smell that may remind you of aged wine. Look for the raw, unfiltered variety that contains the mother (cloudy segments at the bottom of the bottle).

It may be one of the most versatile foods in your kitchen that may be used both internally and externally for your health, as well as a natural cleaning or beauty product. It is high in vitamin C, vitamin E, antioxidants, and has probiotic benefits. Research has shown that it is highly beneficial for your immune health and may help with congestion and colds. Experts also recommend adding apple cider vinegar to your water in the morning for extra immune health benefits. If you struggle with acid reflux, you may try apple cider vinegar water in the morning. For colds, mix one-part apple cider vinegar with 5–6 parts of water and 2–3 tablespoons of organic, raw honey.

Ginger: Ginger has been used for thousands of years in Asia for its natural healing properties. It quickly made its way to Europe and other parts of the world as a natural remedy and a flavourful spice. Research has shown that ginger has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. It may help to decrease inflammation, boost your immune health, improve sore throat, reduce pain, and improve your digestion. 

Make ginger tea for further immune health boost by boiling two tablespoons of ginger root in 1–2 cups of water for 10–15 minutes. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice for further immune health support.

Final Thoughts on Immune Health

Strong immune health is key for overall health and well-being. Your immune system protects you from pathogens, infections, inflammation, illness, and disease. With simple strategies to boost your immunity, you can support your wellbeing and position yourself for better productivity, but also improve your mood and energy levels.