6 ways to support your immune system naturally
April 5, 2022
There are lots of ways to provide natural immune support for your body. They range from healthy habits to getting a pet to upping your vitamin intake. And they all add up to supporting your body’s own natural defenses. It’s not always easy to make the right choices for your health, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to make better ones. Here are six ways to provide your body with natural immune support.
You knew this was coming. Exercise is a key part of supporting your health and your immune system is included in that. When you work up a sweat through jogging, hot yoga, biking or some other exercise, you are helping your body flush out toxins.
“Exercise helps a lot,” said Dr. Dawna Venzon, a principal research scientist for Nutrilite™ products and a registered dietitian with more than a decade of experience in the dietary supplement industry. “It can improve your metabolism, help maintain muscle, support healthy cholesterol levels and provides those much-wanted endorphins as well as support for your immune system.”
Daily movement can also promote good circulation, which allows the cells of the immune system to move more efficiently.
Commit to doing some sort of physical activity every day to keep your body moving. Hit the gym, do a circuit on the stairs at work, stream a workout in your living room or take a brisk walk. Research shows a link between moderate, regular exercise and a strong immune system.
And if that exercise is outside, exposure to the sun will help your body generate some vitamin D, which will also support your immune system. (More on that below!) Is regular exercise something new for you? Consider challenging yourself with a couch-to-5K plan that will guide you to a gradual increase in activity.
Many of us have been experiencing occasional stress much more frequently in the last few years, especially as we continue to juggle the priorities of the everchanging landscape at work, school and home. But all those hassles of daily life are more than just annoying, they can affect your overall wellbeing.
Too much stress can suppress the power of our immune systems. Cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, can create a flight-or-fight response when prevalent for more than just a few days and can weaken your white blood cells, so finding ways to cope is extremely important.
Self-care is key to managing occasional stress: Try taking a bath to relax, lighting your favorite scented candle, watching something that makes you laugh, meditating, exercising or journaling.
Stress can be the thing that keeps you up at night, but restful sleep can help regulate your emotional stability and decrease anxiety. Keep a notepad near your bed at night to get nagging thoughts out of your head and down on paper. Revisit them the next day to organize and prioritize a to-do list.
While we’re on the subject of sleep, it’s important that you get some. Sleep is your opportunity to recharge the body. The right amount of sleep supports overall health and wellbeing, including immunity and mental health. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night can support your body in its production of white blood cells.
“Getting a good night's sleep is the foundation for an effective immune system and your body’s natural ability to build virus-fighting antibodies,” Venzon said. “Research shows that a lack of sleep is linked to long-term health issues. Diet, stress and exercise all impact our sleep, so make sure to look at the whole picture.”
Make sleep a top priority. Stick to a sleep schedule to help regulate your body clock, avoid long naps and stay active during the day. (There’s that exercise again!) According to the CDC, 30 minutes of activity a day not only improves sleep but makes a meaningful difference for your mental and physical health.
Pay attention to what you eat and drink within a few hours of bedtime, too. Focus on being satisfied – not overly hungry or stuffed – so you don’t wake up feeling uncomfortable. Also, avoid stimulants like nicotine and caffeine, which can keep your eyes from closing. And although alcohol might make you drowsy initially, it can disrupt sleep later in the night. Overindulging on alcohol can also affect your immune system, Venzon said.
This is another one of those healthy habits that we know we should be doing, but we don’t always achieve: Eat a nutritious diet loaded with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Consuming more vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables and avoiding sugars and saturated fats provide your immune system with the right micronutrients to support your overall health.
To make it easier, always have them at the top of your grocery list and keep them front and center in the refrigerator or on the counter for grab-and-go convenience. Antioxidant-packed blueberries and elderberries, citrus fruits rich in vitamin C, copper- and iron-filled spinach, and garlic all have immune system benefits.
“Colorful fruits and veggies contain vital phytonutrients and antioxidants like vitamin C and beta-carotene that support your immune health,” Venzon said. “As a bonus, the fiber they contain promotes a healthy gut, too.”
Pets can be a lot of work, but they also can make your life better. When we’re stressed, our bodies release cortisol, that hormone that can suppress the immune system. Spending quality time with our pets, however, lowers that stress hormone.
Research shows people who were petting a dog registered a drop in blood pressure. And 87 percent of cat owners reported that their kitties had a positive impact on their wellbeing, while 76 percent reported being better able to cope with daily life because of their cat.
Also, spending time enjoying the slow pace of your fish in an aquarium or interacting with your pet birds is similar to connecting with nature, another proven reducer of occasional stress.
As we said earlier, eating healthy is a great way to support your immune system naturally because fruits and vegetables contain vital phytonutrients, vitamins and antioxidants that provide natural immune support.
But we don’t always fill our plates with as many healthy foods as we should. Taking vitamins and supplements is one of the easiest and best ways to support a healthy immune system as they can help make sure you’re consuming the recommended amount. And there are plenty to choose from!
Probiotics are actually tiny living microorganisms that help create a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut. They support your digestive health and your body’s immune system. In fact, 70 percent of your immune system is located in your gut so keeping it running smoothly is key!
Consider adding a probiotic supplement to your routine to ensure your gut is getting what it needs. Nutrilite Balance Within Probiotic on-the-go stick packets are easily added to your food or drink to help maintain a balance of good bacteria.†
Many people load up on vitamin C each day in the form of lozenges, gummies, drinks and supplements. The thinking is: If some is good, more is better – especially when it comes to their immune system.
But vitamin C doesn’t quite work that way. Your body can’t store vitamin C. Once it reaches its absorption limit, any more added to your system is simply flushed out along with all the other things your body doesn’t need.
Some supplements, like Nutrilite Vitamin C Extended Release, can help with that. It has a special fibrous ingredient that allows the tablet to slowly dissolve in your gut over the course of 8 hours, delivering a steady stream of the nutrient your body is easily able to absorb.†
Vitamin D is another nutrient necessary for optimal immune function. In addition to getting vitamin D through foods like oily fish and egg yolks, our body produces vitamin D when we’re exposed to the sun. But not many of us get outside as much as we would like, and it can come with concerns over too much sun exposure.
A supplement like Nutrilite Vitamin D helps fill in those gaps without fear. The nutrients in the supplement come from mushrooms – one of nature’s most concentrated botanical sources of vitamin D. (If you prefer gummy vitamins, consider n* by Nutrilite™ Rays for Days.)
Zinc is critical for healthy immunity in large part because it is required for the optimal function of immune cells. Plus, zinc helps maintain the integrity of skin and the protective membranes that line the nose, mouth, throat and intestinal tract, also important for the immune system.
Our bodies don’t store zinc, which means we need a daily dose. Nutrilite Immunity Defense Zinc + Holy Basil delivers 20mg of zinc and 400mg of holy basil. The combination supports your respiratory health and provides daily support to your body’s natural defenses.†
Elderberries are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients that help support your immune system. It has been enjoying some renewed popularity and can be found in several supplements, including multivitamins, powders or gummies, like n* by Nutrilite Go Shield – Immunity Gummies.
The n* by Nutrilite Gummies have a blend of elderberry, vitamin C and zinc, all working together to provide immunity support.† Plus, they’re vegetarian-friendly!
Supporting your immune system takes work but you can choose some strategies that work best for you and backstop your efforts with daily supplements and vitamins for immunity. Read Immune System Booster: Fact or Fiction for more tips.
And click here to learn more about all the Nutrilite products that can help you naturally support your immune system.
†This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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