In the age of pandemic after pandemic, it's understandable that most people have questions about what to do to keep their immune system functioning at its best. We thought it might be helpful to put everything in one place. Think of this as our guide to living your healthiest life!
Get some sunshine!
Believe it or not, sunlight is one of the best ways to keep your immune system healthy. At sunrise, before looking at your phone and turning on the tv, get barefoot, go outside and get at least fifteen minutes of morning sunshine with your feet in the grass. This is how the body is meant to wake up and greet the day. It will make a massive difference in your health, improve sleep, reduce inflammation, and make your whole day seem better. Then at sunset, do the same thing again. It will make a big difference in your sleep and how you feel. Our bodies are meant to get morning and sunset sunshine. At night after sunset sunlight, wear proper blue light-blocking glasses to ensure that blue light from phones, computers, and TVs do not reverse many of the benefits of sunset sunlight. Unfortunately, most blue light glasses do not block much blue light (despite their claims). Here is our pick, which blocks over 95% of blue light. Most of us do not get nearly enough sunlight, so your first job, if you choose to accept it, is to get your butt outside and in the sun!
Get some nature!
It's time for you to get outside and get in nature. There are so many benefits.
Besides the most well-known ones of stress reduction and improved mental health, being out in nature offers tremendous benefits to the immune system. Breathing in the air, touching rocks, trees, and soil, as well as swimming in the water all expose our immune system to various bacteria. Exposure to them strengthens the immune system and improves the body's microbiome. So, it's time for you to jump in a stream, swim in a lake, climb a mountain, or just get out there!
Get some dirt!
Getting dirty is your next step on the way to wellness. Gardening, farming, sitting in the grass, and rolling around in the dirt with your kids and pets are great ways to support your immune system. Many scientists subscribe to the hygiene hypothesis, which states that our day-to-day environments are too clean, weakening our immune systems. Exposure to the bacteria in the soil is a great way to build and improve the microbiome. It's time to turn off the TV and get dirty!
Get some danger!
Humans evolved living outside in dangerous conditions. Running from predators, fighting the elements, and hunting large animals, risked death every day. While it's great we don't have to run from tigers anymore, our inner selves need a bit of danger. Working this "muscle" is a great way to stay healthy, as it " exercises" a part of ourselves that most of us have never worked out and bridges the gap to your primal self.
Some great ways to work this "muscle" are:
Cage diving with sharks
White water rafting
Anything that gets your adrenaline pumping, that you are a bit scared of, is a great choice.
Get some stress reduction!
Chronic stress profoundly impacts our health and, over time, can negatively impact the immune system. The human body has not evolved to handle modern-day stressors, so it is very important to do as much as possible to reduce stress. Check out our article, Stress 101, for lots of ways to fight the stress monster.
What does your stress monster look like?
Get some exercise!
While we tend to think of exercise for its benefits on weight and heart health, it has incredible benefits for the immune system and stress reduction.
Regular exercise may:
Flush bad bacteria out of the lungs, which may help to reduce your risk of cold and flu.
It can lead to changes in antibodies and white blood cells. It helps them circulate faster, which means they may detect illness earlier than they may have.
The increase in body temperature can prevent the growth of bad bacteria and improve the body's ability to fight infection.
It may slow down the release of stress hormones.
More important than the type of exercise is that you do it consistently. Consistency is more important than perfection!
Get some dogs!
They say dogs are man’s best friend. Humans have long had animal companions. We domesticated wolves and wild cats for a variety of reasons, not just for work. They comfort us when we are sad and love to be by our side. Having a dog will make you get outside and take a walk, give you a reason to get up in the morning, greet you at the door when you get home from work, and help you to forget the stress of the day. Dogs help to improve immune function and reduce asthma risk in children. Adopt a dog and see who rescues who! While some people cannot have pets for a variety of reasons, animal shelters and rescues are always looking for volunteers to help with walking dogs and other tasks. They are a great way to get you out of the house and get your exercise!
Get some cold!
I don't mean turn down the air conditioner a bit; I mean really cold.
Cold plunging and cold showers are great ways to support your immune system.
Improve energy and mood.
Improve mental toughness and resilience
Improve recovery from exercise and stressful situations
Strengthen the nervous system
Here is a great way to get started:
Switch from cold to hot every thirty seconds while in the shower. At first, you will hate it because of how uncomfortable it is. However, as you do it daily, it will become easier and easier as your body adjusts to it and gets stronger!
Over time you should graduate to filling the bathtub with ice and gradually increase the amount of time in it.
The stress from the cold makes your body adapt, strengthening the smooth muscles and blood vessels.
The cold breed's strength; you got this!
Get some rest!
Our bodies need to rest. In today's society, we often do not take any time to rest and recharge. Make sure you take some time to do that.
Take a break.
Take a deep breath.
Watch a funny movie.
Laugh with a friend.
Pet your cat.
Read a good book.
Walk the dog.
Take your kids to the park.
Get some sleep!
The importance of getting enough sleep cannot be overstated.
Sleep is essential to staying well and critical to keeping your immune system functioning properly.
According to Dr. Bruce Corser, medical director of the Sleep Management Institute,
"Sleep loss increases an individual's vulnerability to infectious diseases, "Even a mild disruption in sleep can reduce the body's immune response and lower your natural resistance against illnesses such as the flu."
Sleep is too big of a topic to fit inside this article, so click the button below to download our guide to healthy sleep.
Get some clean products!
It's to clean up and replace your cleaning, body care, and laundry products.
The skin is the largest organ. What gets put on it often gets absorbed into the system. It's very important to keep that in mind when choosing these types of products.
Most laundry detergent products are filled with questionable ingredients and synthetic fragrances, even the "natural" ones. Choose those that are truly natural and free of fragrances. This, this, and these are great options.
Skincare products such as shampoos, toothpaste, makeup, and body care products are a leading source of unhealthy contaminants that go into our bodies. Instead, choose clean products that nourish your skin and body. This, this, and these are great options.
Get some hydration!
Your body needs enough fluids and electrolytes in order to function properly.
Some good sources of fluids with electrolytes are:
Avoid those that have sugar, sweeteners, or flavorings added.
Here are our favorites.
Fruit is a great source of electrolytes.
Get some good food!
Eating well has a profound effect on your health.
Avoiding processed foods, vegetable oils, fake butter, sweeteners (use a bit of local honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar when you need a little sweetness), and fake foods is a great place to start. Focus on whole foods as close to their original state as possible.
Here are some foods to focus on that are particularly good for building immune health.
Beef, bison, lamb, mutton, goat, elk, and venison are great choices. Their meat is much healthier than chicken or turkey.
Real Bone Broth and soup made with real bone broth.
Canned wild salmon, mackerel, and sardines are great affordable choices.
Buy full-fat, unsweetened versions and add your own fruit.
Colorful fruits - Eat the fruit, not the juice.
And all the others that you love!
Many times frozen is better than fresh, especially when the fruit is out of season. Check out our friends at Stalhbush Farms if you want the most delicious and nutritious frozen fruit.
Butternut, acorn, pumpkin, spaghetti, etc.
Squash can be a chore to cut up sometimes, so we found this awesome frozen squash that can be quickly roasted and enjoyed. All of the nutrition, none of the work!
Eating real, whole foods is the best way to stay healthy and keep your immune system functioning at its best.
Get some real whole food supplements!
Sometimes we can't eat as healthy as we should, or our body needs a little extra support.
Whole food supplements are a great way to help fill in those gaps. Unfortunately, too many companies claim to sell whole food supplements that are anything but; check out our article, Whole Food Supplements 101, to learn the difference between a real whole food supplement and a fake one.
Here are our favorite whole food supplements that help to keep you functioning at your best.
First up is unrefined cod liver oil. This oil has all of its naturally occurring vitamins A and D and the important omega-3 fatty acids in their natural form. Nearly all cod liver oils (and fish oils) are heavily refined with questionable flavorings, have synthetic vitamins added, and the heavy processing changes the structure of the fatty acids to one not found in nature. They are not even close to the real thing. Check out our article to learn more about the difference between whole food and refined fish oils. If you can only take one supplement, this boat-to-bottle cod liver oil is it!
Next up is a true whole food probiotic. Your gut is a huge part of your immune system. Keeping your gut healthy is key to keeping you feeling your best. Unfortunately, most probiotics just do not live up to the hype. Check out our article, It's Time For A Better Probiotic, to learn what it takes to produce a proper whole food probiotic.
Colostrum is one of the most incredible foods that feed your immune system unlike any other. Properly made colostrum contains a number of important compounds such as lactoferrin and immunoglobulins. These compounds interact with several different parts of the immune system, helping to provide a healthy and robust immune response. Colostrum helps your immune system function just right, not too hot or too cold. Think of it like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. So if you want to feed your immune system right, good colostrum is what you want.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we just don't eat well. That's where a true whole food multivitamin comes in. It's a great way to help fill in the gaps in our diet. When we aren't eating enough whole foods, replacing that with synthetic vitamins is a mistake. They can never replace the complexity and nourishment that comes from real food. Our favorite whole food multivitamin is made entirely from real foods sourced directly from Australian family farmers in the Outback. No synthetic vitamins here.
Farm or Factory - Where do the ingredients in your multivitamin come from?
Hopefully, this blog gave you some great ideas on how to stay healthy. If you have questions or would like our full guide to getting nourished, feel free to email us at email@example.com, and we will help you on the path to a healthier you.
Now get out there and get living your best life!