The first line of defense in your body is your immune system. The immune system is the police force of your body; dispatched en masse to a crime scene (source of infection) with the hope of limiting the initial damage and the public’s exposure (that would be you) to any corrupting or harmful influences (that would be the germs). Your immune system needs support to function well, just like any police force needs cooperating witnesses, well functioning and law-abiding members, and a living wage. Supporting your immune system can be done in a variety of ways; you can ensure that you have regular healthcare screening, stay on your chronic condition meds, and look after yourselves by exercising regularly and sleeping well. Doing these basic things can help your immune system to stay strong and be at its best when it needs to fight off any infections or diseases.
If you’re on the lookout for safe and healthy ways to give your immune system a little extra help, for whatever reason, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of the seven best all-natural ways to help your immune system do its job as well as possible. Let’s take a look.
Why All Natural?
If your aim is to support your body’s natural defenses, the best way to do it is by giving your body more of what it innately needs. Therefore, feeding it substances that come from the earth or ocean are thus much easier for your body to consume and absorb.
1. Eat Whole Plant Foods
Whole Foods is not just a great name for a store; it’s an excellent name for a lifestyle! When you eat whole foods from the legume, vegetable, nut, and seed families, they are saturated in nutrients and antioxidants that your body wants and needs. These nutrients boost your immune system when it comes face to face with any unwelcome pathogen and also aid in decreasing inflammation by fighting against free radicals, which are incredibly harmful if they build up to high levels in your body. The fiber that comes along with these whole foods contributes to the microbiome in your gut (aka the healthy bacteria) that helps keep your body operating well.
2. Eat Healthy Fats
Not all fats are bad! The fats found in foods like salmon, avocado, and olive oil are also top contributors to minimizing inflammation and fighting against pathogens. While small amounts of inflammation are a normal response, anything out of the ordinary is no good and can place undue stress on your immune system. Olive oil assists in decreasing heart disease and type 2 diabetes and helps destroy disease-causing bacteria.
Once again, we see how gut health is linked to immune system health. When your doctor gives you an antibiotic, they always give you a probiotic as well. These little powerhouses travel into your gut and join the (hopefully) flourishing system of gut bacteria that already live there. Research tells us that a healthy gut helps your immune system fight off only harmful bacteria and leave the good ones alone. An alternative to taking a probiotic supplement is to eat more fermented foods; you could try kimchi, yogurt, sauerkraut, or kefir. These foods are naturally rich in good bacteria and will keep your gut healthy.
4. Avoid Extra Sugars
Diets and diet cultures are no-go zones, but there is definitely a limit to the amount of refined or extra sugar that you should be consuming. If you stick to all-natural sugars in your diet as much as possible, you’ll be much better off. Curbing your non-natural sugar intake (and natural sugars, too, if your intake is too high) cuts down on your risk of developing a chronic health condition which in turn takes stress off your immune system.
5. Stay Hydrated
Preventing dehydration and making sure that you consume enough water to keep your body functioning well improves your overall health and your body’s ability to release toxins, thereby minimizing extra stress added to your immune system. Keep a full water bottle close at hand and take a few sips whenever you think about it.
6. Supplement Your Diet
You should always consult your physician about supplements taken to help manage a chronic condition. There are some supplements that are generally safe for most people to take that will help your immune system function well:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
Do yourself a favor and check for any possible allergies before starting a course of supplements.
7. Move Your Body
We said it before, and we’ll say it again; exercising means a robust, healthy immune system. Exercising TOO vigorously for an extended period can have the effect of suppressing your immune system. Moderate exercise on a regular basis is the sweet spot to hit to help immune cells do their job.
These simple tips will go a long way to helping your body’s police force operate at the highest possible level. If you want to keep viruses and germ nasties at bay, start integrating these tips into your daily routine, and you’ll soon see a change.