The change of seasons, plus the busyness that comes with the upcoming holiday season, can lead to lower immunity to colds, flus and allergies. When you combine that with poor choices you might make in terms of your diet, activity level, and prioritizing your health, getting unwell or experiencing symptoms is likely.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to boost your immune system so you don’t become unwell. Even better, these things are easy to do!
Of course, the best approach to getting and maintaining a strong immune system is to consistently make great choices for your body and mind all year round. Then when seasons change or stress happens, you will be primed for an easy transition through these times and your body will cope with the shifts.
Here are seven easy and natural ways to boost your immunity, and gain more energy and vitality to boot!
1. Add greens to at least two of your meals each day.
Leafy green vegetables are an amazing source of easily absorbed plant protein, chlorophyll, essential minerals and vitamins like magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium, vitamins C, K, E and many of the B vitamins, and are packed full of antioxidants. This makes leafy greens incredible detoxifiers, blood cleaners and immune builders. Aim to eat a large portion of greens with at least two meals per day, three when possible.
Here are some ideas for how to include them and some leafy greens you might enjoy:
- Carrot greens
- Beet greens
- Sweet potato greens
- Mustard greens
- Fresh herbs like parsley, mint, cilantro/coriander, basil, dill
Ways to get your greens:
Eat a big, delicious salad. Fill a giant serving bowl with a a whole head or bag of greens, add your favorite chopped raw and cooked veggies and top with a healthy dressing. (You can find some ideas here.)
Juice your greens! (See point 2, below.)
Add greens into a smoothie. Blend fruit, water and some greens together for a green smoothie. Baby spinach is a wonderful and mild option. You won’t even taste the spinach! I adore this Chocolate Green Smoothie and this Mojito Inspired Smoothie.
Steam, saute or stir-fry your greens with other vegetables or just on their own. Top with lemon juice and a little high quality cold pressed oil, sea salt and pepper, or top with marinara sauce or a pesto or dressing.
Wilt greens into whatever you are making. Making a lasagne, pasta or rice dish? Add spinach into your tomato or creamy sauces or stir fresh spinach through your meal. I love to add fresh spinach to just cooked meals so it wilts without overcooking. I often stir a whole bag of baby spinach into a bowl of spaghetti squash.
Make a green soup like this yummy vegan recipe.
Add fresh herbs to everything! Herbs create so much flavor and variety as well as packing a serious nutritional punch. Cook with them and also add them fresh to your meals, salad included. Average meals are instantly elevated.
2. Get into green vegetable juicing daily.
Enjoy daily fresh green vegetable based juices to power up your immunity all year long. Truly "life in a glass," these vegetable juices provide so many nutrients, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in an easy-to-consume form.
If you were to eat all the vegetables in a green vegetable juice, you'd not only find it tedious but probably very challenging! You would also need to chew extremely well to get even near to the benefit juiced vegetables provide where the extraction of the nutrients from the whole vegetables is done for you by the juicer. If you are keen to seriously boost your green power and give your body a break to recharge, try an intelligent juice fast.
3. Avoid refined sugar and processed foods.
If you’re eating processed, packaged foods regularly, it is going to be very difficult for your body to maintain a strong immune system. Processed foods such as cookies, candy, white pasta, rice, bread, frozen meals, soda and fast food are devoid of essential nutrients and vitamins that support your immune system to be strong and robust.
By eating processed foods, not only are you robbing your body of this nutrition, you are also making your body work extremely hard to process and digest foods that are not fit for the human body. Focus on eating whole foods (foods as close to their natural state as possible), particularly fresh, raw vegetables.
These mushrooms are extremely powerful aids in boosting your immune system, reducing stress, aiding longevity and reducing inflammation. Aim to drink one teaspoon of each per day for great results which you can do in one cup or use a half teaspoon and drink two cups of tea.
These teas come in a powder form that you simply put in a cup, add hot water and a natural sweetener like stevia (if you like) and voila: incredible immune-boosting tea to enjoy! These teas taste so good and remind me of my coffee drinking days with none of the adverse effects and a hundred more health benefits.
I've noticed a wonderful difference in my strength and sustained energy since I have been drinking Reishi and Chaga tea daily. You can pick up these teas for the best price I have found online here. Bonus: they are all raw, wildcrafted and in a concentrated form. No more need to boil huge woody mushrooms, just add into your cup with water and stir.
Your immunity is always affected by negative or heavy stress. Breathing deeply calms your mind and body and brings a sense of peace and manageability to what you are dealing with. Take time every day to breathe deeply, ideally outside in nature so you can inhale fresh air.
Try this simple breathing exercise: breathe in for four counts through your nose, hold for four counts (if you can’t do this right away, do not worry, just build up to this over time) and then exhale for four counts through the mouth. Use this technique daily and employ it whenever you feel stressed or your immune system is a little compromised.
6. Sleep and rest.
Your body needs regular sleep and rest to be able to perform at its best and ward off sickness and symptoms. Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep per night, ideally sleeping and waking around the same time each day. This creates regular cycles for your body to restore and rejuvenate so your immune system is strong. If you are unable to get the regular sleep you would like, aim to rest every day.
Take a half hour power nap or lie down and enjoy some deep breathing or read a good novel where you can switch your mind off. Even just lying down will give your body an opportunity to strengthen and balance.
7. Move your body daily.
Your body is designed to move. Sitting on the couch all day is fighting the natural calls of your body and will therefore affect your immunity over time. If you are feeling very tired or unwell, then skip the exercise and rest, but first check in with your body to see if a gentle walk outside in the fresh air will actually help you rather than hinder.
Getting in tune with your body so you are able to know what type of exercise will serve you on any given day is a wonderful gift you can give to yourself.
How do you stay healthy and strong throughout the changing of the seasons and times of stress? Please share your tips and experiences below.