There’s a reason for the saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.” A strong immune system is- and always will be- the best defense against illness. Keep reading for tips on how to strengthen it and give your body a fighting chance against disease.
A Strong Immune System Is Still the BEST Defense Against Illness
Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about how to prevent a certain nasty illness. We’re told to wash our hands, wear a mask, and stand six feet apart. All great advice, for sure, but it leaves out one very important factor- your overall health and wellness.
Whether we’re talking about the current nasty bug ravaging our nation or your average everyday cold, a strong immune system is absolutely vital. Not only does it help prevent germs from taking hold, but it can also lessen the impact on the ones that do get through. Put bluntly, a strong and healthy immune response could very well mean the difference between life and death.
We know this. It’s not new, it’s not based on some cutting-edge recent study. Our parents know it. Our grandparents knew it. Even the ancient Greeks knew about the power of the immune system. Unfortunately, we tend to be a reactionary society, meaning we often wait until something affects us personally before doing something about it.
Maybe that will cut it with something super mild, like a headache or the common cold. When it comes to potentially fatal illness, though, we may never get that chance to react. So, with that in mind, let’s look at some of the easiest ways to boost your immune system and give your body a strong fighting chance against anything that nature throws at it.
How to Boost Your Immune System & Give Your Body a Strong Offense Against Illness
From getting a good night’s sleep to using the right supplements, boosting your immune system is all about living a healthier lifestyle overall. Remember, we’re preparing a good offense, so we don’t have to rely on a defense after the fact. All of the tips below are equally as important for kids as adults, so use them for your whole family.
Just a quick note- the product recommendations below use affiliate links. If you buy through them, I get a small commission at no extra charge to you. Also, it goes without saying, but this is not medical advice.
Stop ignoring your body’s need for sleep
Did you know that sleep deprivation can actually kill you? It’s rare, yes, but still, it just goes to show how important a good night’s sleep is to our body. Yet over 35% of adults in America aren’t getting enough of it. While most of us aren’t deprived to the point of no return, we are losing enough sleep to put a dent in our overall health and well-being.
During an interview with Women’s Health, Immunologist and author Dr. Jenna Macciochi explains, ‘Sleep is the bedrock of your immunity, as lots of calibration happens when you’re sleeping that allows your immune system to work optimally.” Lack of sleep actually suppresses your immune system. So, when you do get hit with a bug, it has to work much harder to spring into action.
While the amount of sleep we need varies by age, the average healthy adult needs about 7-9 hours a night, while school-age kids should be hitting the 9-11 range. Quality matters as much as quantity, too. Try to get your body into a good rhythm, splurge on the comfiest mattress and pillow you can afford, and don’t rely on medications to knock you out. If you do need help getting into a relaxed state of mind, try this easy DIY sleepy time essential oils roll on that’s safe for kids, too.
Ditch the processed junk and start eating right
I don’t have to tell you that eating right is absolutely essential for a healthier body. By now, I think you also know my feelings on processed foods. They are SO unhealthy and just loaded with stuff that no one should put in their bodies.
Unfortunately, junk food consumption has only increased due to current events. We’re eating at home more, which should be a good thing, but we’re dealing with financial issues and random food shortages. Plus, we’re all so stressed out that we don’t really want to spend time standing in a kitchen. So, we’re turning to convenience foods way too often.
Here’s the thing, though- healthy food can be just as convenient and easy to prepare! Take a look around my recipe section if you don’t believe me. Every one of them- from breakfast to dinner to snacks- is easy enough for literally anyone to make. For those days when you’re really short on time and energy, just whip of these supercharged smoothies.
Whether you follow my recipes or not, focus on filling your grocery cart with as much fresh and organic foods as possible. Skip the boxes full of powdery cheese and processed junk. Your immune system will thank you!
Find your balance and minimize stress
I know, telling you to minimize stress during a time like this is like telling the earth to stop spinning or the sky to stop being blue. You have to try, though. Stress is NOT your immune system’s friend, or even a frenemy. It’s a downright arch-nemesis.
As clinical immunologist Leonard Calabrese, DO, explains to the Cleveland Clinic, “Eliminating or modifying these factors in one’s life is vital to protect and augment the immune response.” Minor stress is part of life. We get anxious, we deal with it, we move on. Long-term stress, though, can overwork and tire out your immune system, making it too weak to protect you when you need it most.
Try to find a balance between your work and life, between time with family and time for yourself. Give yourself a break. Focus on the things that you can control and let go of the rest for now. Schedule worry-free times, where you don’t even look at the news. Better yet, schedule your worries instead! Decide that you’ll give in to them for half an hour every other day. Sit in your bathroom, have a good cry, then move on. You’re not “ignoring the problem” or being callous if you don’t spend literally every single moment worrying about what’s happening in the world around you, I promise.
Give your body an extra helping hand with supplements
While the bulk of your nutrition should come from a healthy diet, supplements do just that- help bridge the gaps between what we eat and what we need. All vitamins are essential to a healthy body, but our immune systems in particular need enough C, D, and Zinc to fight off bugs. In fact, right now, some hospitals even have a treatment protocol in place that includes those supplements.
Your doctor can help you determine which supplements you need most. That said, I really love Garden of Life. Some of my favorites for your immune system are below.
They also have some terrific supplements for kids (the best ones, in my opinion). All of their vitamins come from natural sources, which is important period but extra-vital when we’re talking about our children.
Get your whole family off the couch and moving
Sure, there’s something to be said for “Netflix and chill,” especially when we’re overwhelmed with worries. Who doesn’t love cuddling on the couch watching the latest viral sensation? Just make sure you’re spending more time off that sofa than on it.
Make it a family affair! Kids need exercise just as much as adults do. If you’re stuck for ideas, make these DIY activity sticks. Take walks together after dinner. Go on weekend hikes. If you’re lucky enough to live near a secluded beach, catch some waves. If you can’t leave the house, then try some active indoor games. This one is really neat, and you can play it pretty much anywhere.
When you’re done playing outside, make sure you hit the showers to wash off germs. Even if you’re practicing safe distancing and staying away from others, it’s still smart. My doctor also recommended this great skin spray for after a day in the sun. Think of it as a supplement for your skin!
Look, washing your hands, cleaning your house, and wearing a mask are all super important. There’s no doubt about that. However, all the sanitizer and disinfectants in the world aren’t going to help you if you do still get sick. A strong immune system gives your body the chance it needs to fight back. It could mean the difference between a mild (or even asymptomatic) illness and tragedy.
Last update on 2021-02-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API