It’s that time of the year again where viruses are spreading and we need to protect ourselves….
Your immune system is doing that job for you, but how “fit” is your immune system? Or should I rather ask: is your immune system not too busy managing other tasks?
That’s usually what happens right: your immune system is busy being involved in different stressors like: stress at work or at home, toxins (from pollution, beauty & household products, foods, medication or supplements, plastics, chemicals, preservatives, clothing, bedding, carpets, water, cookware) nutrient depletion, food sensitivities, blood sugar imbalance, overexercising, inflammation in the digestive tract… you’re getting the picture, right?
So one thing that you can do to support your immune system is to give it less work, so that it has more resources to fight a virus or infection.
Here are some things you can do in terms of diet and lifestyle that will help:
Eat plenty of dark leafy greens, broccoli, and yellow/orange veggies (pumpkin, squashes, carrots, bell peppers if tolerated). These are high in carotenoids that have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and support respiratory health.
Eat Vitamin C-rich foods: parsley, bell peppers, broccoli, lemon, lime, & green leafy veggies as much as possible to support your vitamin C levels. Include these in most of your meals and you can also drink warm lemon water which not only provides vitamin C but is also a great support for healthy digestion.
Did you know that humans compared to animals are not able to produce their own Vitamin C? So we must consume it in our diet to have adequate levels.
Vitamin C is known to be THE immune boosting vitamin: also acts as an anti-histamine and helps to control hyperinflammatory responses to infections and allergies
Drink bone broth: it’s a deeply nourishing food that has plenty of minerals and is great for your gut lining too. Adding spices high in Vitamin C like oregano or parsley are a definite plus! For a bone broth recipe check out my hormone & blood sugar balancing cookbook here.
Intermittent Fasting: combining intermittent fasting with vitamin C supplementation and lemon water can be of great benefit for improving blood sugar regulation and immunity. Fasting will improve your blood sugar levels and take stress off of your digestive system, which frees up more energy for immune function, healing and repair. For more info on intermittent fasting, read this article.
Boost Glutathione: Glutathione is an enzyme produced in your body that’s known to be “the master antioxidant”. It helps to improve the inflammatory response and protects your cells from free radicals and repairs free radical damage.
Glutathione also helps to recycle vitamin C, so it helps your body to maintain proper Vitamin C levels (if sufficient amounts were delivered with the food you consume). For optimal glutathione absorption within the cell, you want to use an acetylated form of glutathione that bypasses the gut and is easily absorbed, like the one I recommend below.
Make sure you get good quality sleep: the more the better! Go back to my article on sleep here for more tips and info.
Daily movement: Moving your body helps with lymph flow, among many other benefits.Even when you are sick, go outside, if you can. Do not push for strenuous exercise with symptoms.
Humidifier: Dry air exacerbates symptoms, so use a humidifier or an essential oil diffuser (bonus you can add essential oils like rosemary, cinnamon and clove that have antibacterial properties and will clean the air) .
Regular sauna: Infrared is the best choice as it puts less stress on your body by warming it from the inside rather than bringing on a heat shock from the outside. It is therefore also more efficient for detox. I used my sauna blanket when i got my 3rd shot in January this year and was really ill after that - lots of chills and sweating. So the next day I did a session in my sauna blanket and that did the trick - I felt 300% better in the afternoon! If you don’t have access to a home sauna, do an online search for one in your community. If you cannot find an infrared sauna, other saunas are still great but not recommended when you are already sick or have symptoms.
Foods to avoid getting sick or when you are sick:
Avoid sugar and stick to a lower carbohydrate diet: this includes processed sugars but also high starch foods such as potatoes, rice, high sugar fruits like bananas, mango, pineapple, grapes, watermelon, etc.
Lower inflammation: Start by eliminating/minimizing inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, sugars, and processed carbs (like bread, pasta) along with whatever foods your body doesn’t tolerate well. Keep a food journal to keep track of your symptoms and/or contact me to do a food sensitivity test.
Eliminate/minimize alcohol: it’s high in sugar, impacts your blood sugar and keeps your liver away from clearing out other toxins. Alcohol is also known to disrupt your sleep - so not a good idea if you want to avoid getting sick!
Recommended supplements for a healthy immune system:
Vitamin D3+K2: 5,000-10,000 IU/day as a supplement (if your levels are low), otherwise 2.000iU/day. Get your vitamin D levels tested if possible – a healthy range is usually between 50 ng/mL up to 80 ng/mL.
Vitamin C: Get your vitamin C in the form of whole food like camu camu, or acerola instead of ascorbic acid. Aim for divided doses of vitamin C, approximately 2,000 mg/day max in total.
Liposomal Glutathione: is best absorbed by your body and if used as a liquid, it bypasses your digestive tract and liver, so you don’t lose any of the nutrient because of a lack of absorption
Zinc: Take no more than 50mg per day. Ideally use spray or lozenges several times per day, pay attention to no artificial sweeteners and colorings. Zinc chelate or biglycinate is best absorbed.
Selenium: Adequate levels of Selenium are important for initiating immunity, but they are also involved in regulating excessive immune responses and chronic inflammation. Eat 3 Brazil nuts per day to cover your need for selenium.
Probiotics: supporting your microbes, especially boosting lacto and bifidobacteria that are crucial for your immune defense, is always a plus when you feel vulnerable, when you’re traveling a lot or get a lot of exposure to viruses and bacteria.
Oregano oil at the onset of a cold or for sinus infections - this is my go to when I feel a cold coming on - it also does wonders for sinus infections! I also always take it with me when traveling. Attention though, it should never be taken long term! Prefer the liquid form: mix your own from pure oregano oil & olive oil or use the one I recommend below.
Here are my top 6 supplements to boost your immune health
Vitamin C complex -Combines different forms of vitamin C with amino acids and magnesium to create a differentiated and bioactive supply of vitamin C for the body. Combined with Immune Protect that has bioflavonoids, this is a perfect combination. 4-6 capsules in divided doses when acute, 2-4 caps on maintenance
Liposomal Glutathione 2 pumps 2x day 15 mins before meals
Immunospore: probiotics with Vitamin C and other bioflavonoids and galactans that boost the good bacteria in your gut: 1 capsule per day with your largest meal
Immune Protect: a blend of vitamins C and D, minerals zinc and selenium, and the flavonoid quercetin (not potent enough on it’s own though if you have an infection coming on: 1x day on waking
When infection is coming on, add:
Throat spray with Zinc and propolis: 2 pumps 3-4x per day when infection is coming on
Oregano oil: 3 drops under your tongue 3-4x day (only short term!)
Plants that are great for supporting immune function:
Echinacea - is a great plant for boosting immune function. Attention though if you have autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s, Grave’s disease or others, do not use it.
Elderberry - was said to be contraindicated with the C virus but that information has been revoked, so it is a great plant to generally support your immune system for any type of virus or bacterial infection
Astralagus - one of the most efficient immune boosting plants
Manuka honey, propolis, royal gelee - full of antioxidants and also boasting antibacterial properties, you can never go wrong with these!
Essential oils to increase your body temperature (can help to sweat out the virus) Ginger & Clove - apply to the bottom of your feet
Eucalyptus & thyme oil: inhale in warm steam and put one drop on your pillow or collar of your shirt.
Make a demulcent & anti inflammatory infusion:
Licorice: is a soothing anti-inflammatory demulcent and respiratory relaxant. Avoid it if you have high blood pressure! (count 1 teaspoon of licorice root per cup)
Ginger: about 2 cm of fresh root per cup
Add some combo of general nutritives, demulcents, and immunomodulators like red raspberry, skullcap, marshmallow, nettles, or oat straw. (1 teaspoon each)