What’s your plan of action when you feel a cold or other illness brewing? In our home, we take a multi-faceted approach to boost our immune system.
First, we have a mantra that we’ve said for years. It sounds a little hokey, but we use it whenever one of us is feeling run down and susceptible to illness: I am healthy, and I will remain healthy. This mindset shift works as a code to ourselves. And it’s a signal to each other, I’d better take care of myself.
It’s a cue that we need to get more sleep, take in more clear liquids, and tweak our diet.
What steps do we take, and why?
- Get More Sleep – People who sleep fewer than seven hours a night are nearly three times more likely to get a cold than those who average eight or more hours of sleep. That’s according to a 2009 study at Carnegie Mellon University.
- Try Light Exercise – a reduced-intensity workout such as a walk instead of a run, actually can benefit you if your symptoms are above the neck, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Take in More Liquids – Decaf tea, water with lemon, and clear soups and bone broth are great fluids to work in. Avoid sugary drinks – even ginger ale – and dairy. These can increase inflammation, suppress the immune system, and actually make your symptoms worse.
- Focus on Nutrition – Beyond drinking clear soup or bone broth, eating so-called “superfoods” can help boost your antioxidant intake. They also keep inflammation low. Green, leafy vegetables, blueberries, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids also help.
If your diet is less than optimal, as is many Americans’, it can be important to supplement with plant-based nutrition and immune-system boosters. (Click here for my full disclosure agreement.)
We consistently taking a vitamin and mineral supplement containing all 90 essential nutrients. When we are feeling extra susceptible to a cold or flu, we also add in the Seasonal Immune Support Pak. It includes zinc, Vitamin C, colostrum, echinacea and other nutrients and herbal extracts.
We keep the Seasonal Immune Support Pak on hand year round, but especially in the fall and winter. My husband, a frequent flier for business, typically gets sick a few times during the winter, when germs are easy to transmit in enclosed spaces such as airplanes.
Other Lifestyle Changes
In the past year, though, we’ve made some dietary and lifestyle changes. As a result, my husband has been able to keep from developing a full-blown cold or flu despite maintaining his travel schedule.
According to immunologist AJ Lanigan, a healthy immune system typically operates with about a 30% capacity to respond to unhealthy invaders. But we can boost it to operate at 50% or even 70% efficiency, he says.
Lanigan manufactures an immune booster known as Beta 1, 3-D Glucan. Beta glucan has been studied extensively in medical universities and teaching hospitals, with thousands of studies published at pubmed.org.
Here’s a video I made, detailing the products that have helped my family make it through the fall and winter cold and flu seasons without many illnesses.
We’ve realized that many pieces go together to support and spur our immune system. How are your immune-boosting methods working? What steps are you willing to try next time you’re feeling a bit under the weather?
Hi, I’m Amy, an integrative health coach offering grace and space for a healthier you. If you like to stay connected, I invite you to subscribe to my weekly Well Check. It includes links and information that might be useful on your path to optimal health and well-being. Please CLICK HERE to subscribe to it and my other email updates.