Your immune system is much like the muscles in your body: you have to train it to do its job correctly. With that in mind, here are seven key things you can do to help strengthen and support your immune system.
Take a probiotic that has a broad array of species
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two of the most important families of bacteria that populate our gut from birth, and they have been shown to positively affect our immune health. Remember, probiotics are full of live organisms, so it pays to spend a little more on a good-quality brand.
Get this: it takes three to six months for our microbiome to recover from one week of antibiotic treatment, so best to avoid them unless really needed.
Colostrum is the “first milk” from nursing mammals, which is rich in protective antibodies.
Incorporate immune boosting food and nutrients
There are several immune-boosting foods you can include in your diet to give you an extra boost. Bone broth is a great example of one of these ingredients, containing natural gelatin, collagen, and amino acids which tend to the gut, improve wound healing, and help support the health of individual immune cells such as lymphocytes. Fungi are another delicious immune helping food, with Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake all being found to boost the immune system.
To fend off sickness, take the following three vitamins and minerals each day: zinc (15-30mg), vitamin D (2,000 IU), and vitamin C powder (1,500mg). Studies have shown Magnesium is also important for immune cell functioning, finding that mice with a lower magnesium diet produced weaker immune responses to cancer and influenza.
Harness the power of the sun
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased frequency of infection, so go outside and get some sun, take some supplements, or try and incorporate some vitamin D packed food into your diet.
With regular exercise, you improve your antibody response to infections.
Relax and sleep
Chronic sleep deprivation and disruption of the sleep-wake cycle cause an activation of the inflammatory immune response. Get your rest to avoid this.
Sleep is also essential to manage chronic stress, which can suppress the immune system. There are several ways you can unwind to decrease stressful feelings, such as meditation, eating well, and more, which you can check out here.