These 3 Immune-Supporting Habits Are Simply Too Good Not To Share
If protecting your immune system feels top of mind right now, you're not alone. In nearly every conversation I've had with friends, family, or co-workers as of late, someone mentions immunity and how to be resilient in times such as these. So, the curious editor that I am, I decided to scour mbg's library to find some answers.
There were plenty of expert-backed tips on bolstering the body's innate immune defenses, but these three nonnegotiable habits were simply too good to keep to myself:
Don't skimp on sleep.
"I can't emphasize enough that good-quality sleep is especially important right now to support a healthy and balanced immune response1," integrative immunologist Heather Moday, M.D., once told mbg. One major reason: the link between the circadian rhythm and the immune system.
"At night when it gets dark, there's a drop in our stress hormone cortisol, along with hormones from our sympathetic nervous system like epinephrine and norepinephrine," she explains. "At the same time, hormones connected to immune function, such as melatonin2, are elevated when we sleep."
On top of all that, integrative family physician Bindiya Gandhi, M.D., says sleep gives the immune system time to rest, repair, and produce helper T-cells3—all of which strengthen your body's natural defenses against whatever may come its way.
Up your supplement game.
If you dreaded chewing chalky vitamins as a kid, it's totally fair to feel an aversion to supplements as a grown-up. But hear us out: old-school vitamins have gotten a major upgrade lately—and it may be time to reclaim the habit.
Certain nutrients, like vitamin C, vitamin D3, and zinc, can be tricky to get through diet alone every day, which is where targeted immune-support supplements can come in handy. (Here are a few of our favorites, btw.)
"Instead of being reactive, my personal nutrition philosophy is proactive when it comes to daily immune support," mbg's director of scientific affairs and in-house nutritionist Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, says. Taking mbg's immune support+ supplement is just one way she lives out that philosophy, adding, "I have peace of mind knowing I'm laying my daily foundation of essential immune-support nutrients with vitamin C, vitamin D3, and zinc, while simultaneously strengthening my innate defenses and immune resilience via key plant bioactives quercetin and beta-glucan."*
Eat more fiber.
In case you haven't heard: A whopping 70% of the immune system lives in the gut microbiome4, and fiber helps to nourish those good gut bugs. "If those [bacteria] are not fed well, they're not going to proliferate, and they're not going to be able to do their job in helping us regulate our immune response," Moday explains. Time to load up!
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.