5 Immunity-Boosting Tips

5 Immunity-Boosting Tips

We’ve been hearing about the immune system more than ever these past few months, but how many people really understand what the immune system is? The Harvard School of Public Health says “on a daily basis, we are exposed to potentially harmful microbes of all sorts. Our immune system, a network of intricate stages and pathways in the body, protects us against potentially harmful microbes.

While that may sound pretty abstract to many people, there are some concrete steps you can take to support your immune system. Here are 5 immunity-boosting tips you can incorporate to your routine.

1. Get enough sleep

This sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. The CDC reports that 35% of adults in the US don’t get enough sleep. In addition to contributing to depression and weight gain and impairing judgment, sleep deprivation also affects immunity. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus.”

Small changes you can make that can contribute to better sleep include lowering the lights 30 minutes before bedtime, monitoring your caffeine intake throughout the day, and disconnecting from your devices an hour before you head to bed.

2. Eat a protein-rich diet

Protein is a vital part of any diet. Getting the right amount of protein can support immune function and, according to Harvard, “prepare the body for microbial attacks and excess inflammation.” A diet that is rich in lean meats (like beef, pork, and chicken), seafood, eggs and dairy products will help you to get all of the essential amino acids your body needs. For vegetarians and vegans, it’s important to incorporate quinoa, tofu, edamame, amaranth, lentils, chickpeas, nuts (and nut butters), and rice and beans into your diet.

3. Supplement Strategically With Whey Protein

Because our immune system is made up of proteins, it can be helpful to supplement with whey protein powders. Whey contains all nine essential amino acids, considered the benchmark for proteins, and Biochem contains the 18 naturally occurring amino acids in whey protein. Because Biochem sources its whey from the milk of grass-fed cows, it proves an excellent vegetarian protein option. We have a wide variety of Whey Protein options that you can incorporate into your diet through smoothie bowls, protein balls, and even muffins!

4. Stay hydrated

We all know that drinking enough water is important for our overall health. Whether we’re exercising, traveling, or just sitting at our desks, we should be monitoring our water intake to make sure we’re getting enough H2O. Staying hydrated is especially important for our immune system because it helps the body to eliminate toxins and supports organ function. The Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute at UC Irvine says that it’s a key element to maintaining a healthy immune system because “if we don’t have enough water, we cannot properly transport nutrients to each organ system.” So fill up that glass!

5. Meditation/Breathing Exercises

Chronic stress can suppress protective immune responses, so maintaining low, or at least manageable, stress levels is an important part of supporting your immune system. Simple meditation and breathing exercises can be incorporated into your daily routine to manage stress, increase mindfulness, and even improve sleep.

Apps like Insight Timer provide thousands of free guided meditations and talks from reputable teachers. You can filter meditations by topic, choosing from anxiety, gratitude, presence, and hundreds more. Many of these meditations are under 10 minutes, so they are a great way to take a moment to get centered before you start your day.

Breathing exercises are another way to reduce stress as it comes up in your daily life. One of our favorite techniques is called Box Breathing, or Square Breathing. Here’s how it’s done:

  • To begin, find a comfortable seat, with your spine straight, but not rigid. Place your hands gently in your lap.
  • Exhale all the air from your lungs.
  • Slowly begin to inhale for a slow count of four through your nose, feeling your lungs expand.
  • Hold your breath for a count of four.
  • Slowly exhale for a count of four through your mouth.
  • Hold on empty at the bottom of the breath for four counts.
  • Repeat this cycle four times.

The Mayo Clinic has stated that this type of conscious, intentional breathing has the ability to release negative emotions during times of stress, so this is a great tool to have in your anti-stress arsenal.

While there is no silver bullet for improving immunity, and none of the tips in this article will prevent Covid-19, there are dietary and lifestyle changes you can make that will strengthen your immune system and help you on your way to #NextLevelLiving.

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