Something that’s been on allll of our minds, probably even this year more than ever? Boosting our immune systems. Staying HEALTHY, in our bodies.
So as we enter into cold & flu season,in a year that has a global pandemic already happening…. I want to share with you all my favorite immunity hacks that can support your immune system, nervous system and all the cells in your body, from the inside out. And from a preventative way, instead of reactive one (when it’s usually too late to do much).
Here are my absolute essentials for boosting my (and my fam’s) immune system, all year long.
FOOD & DRINKS:
Let’s just start with the BIG ONE. What you eat = #1 effect on your immunity. Make cooking and eating REAL food a priority first and you won’t have to play catch up/use ‘band-aid’ quick fix approaches. Your immune system is built and restored with every bite of nourishing food you take. DO NOT OVERLOOK THIS ONE, it’s crazy important and is the foundation of everything.
Some other great boosting foods:
Soups or an organic bone broth: one of the most healing foods you can eat is bone broth, or soups made with a real broth. It’s so healing for the gut, and so full of trace minerals and nutrients that support the immune system. This blog post from a few weeks ago has 7 of my favorite cozy soup recipes to rotate through all fall/winter long. Bone broth can be great to sip on like tea too, in the winter months. You can make it at home (there are so many recipes online), or get a well-sourced brand (I like to get mine on Thrive).
Golden milk: ginger and turmeric are the kings of immune health and helping soothe any inflammation in the body. I have a simple recipe for a Golden Milk Paste in the Simply Real Eating cookbook (find it here) or grab this golden milk mix from Amazon for an easy way to get it. Make sure to combine with a fat (nut milk, coconut milk, etc.) and that there is pepper in your recipe/mix to be best absorbed. Try it latte style, in curries, in soups, etc. It brings so much warming flavor!
The Lemon Ginger Tonic: the most nourishing bevvy that’s good for whole body health. Here’s the easy recipe.
Matcha: made from matcha tea leaves that are ground up, matcha is a very special and very POWERFUL food to have in your life. It has huge amounts of antioxidants, l-theanine to help with brain function and cognition, and a great little boost caffeine wise…. but minus the spikes and crashes that coffee can bring. It’s known for it’s calm buzz and energy, and has so many immune boosting and gut health building properties. It’s so worth a try! My fav (and daily morning) recipe is in the Simply Real Eating Cookbook. Here’s my full guide to trying matcha + my go-to recipe.
Carrot Turmeric Ginger Smoothie: this smoothie has almost ALL immune booster ingredients in one little punch. Recipe here.
Anything citrus: from fresh squeezed grapefruit juice + Topo Chico, oranges, lemons in cooking, lemon water in morning. If you can squeeze some citrus in anywhere, do it friend. It’s the most absorbable form of vitamin C you can get!
Red Peppers: bell peppers are very high in vitamin C, so they’re a great one to incorporate into your meals this time of year. Try the Photoshoot Salad or this Roasted Poblano Tortilla Soup.
SUPPLEMENTS, POTIONS & POWDERS:
Vitamin D/K2 drops : there are so many studies that have linked high vitamin d intake to high immune protection and function. If you live in the PNW, you can probably be certain that you don’t get enough. And for everyone else, you can get a quick test at your next doctor’s appointment to see where you’re at. I love and have been using these drops for years, and I bump it up for the fall and winter months. I’ve even started putting a few drops in Noah’s food (it’s tastless).
Chlorophyll drops: chlorophyll is a natural blood builder, and is great for building up your red blood cell count. It’s also high in iron, and gives you a great little energizing boost. It also helps the body naturally detox (but gently). I put 15 drops in water that you can get at Whole Foods or here on amazon in the mornings after my workout and it’s such a refreshing way to start the day (don’t worry, it’s a minty taste even though it looks dark green). I also love this mid-afternoon for a little boost, or sometimes in my smoothie bowls at lunch.
Spirulina powder: My favorite superfood of all time, for how versatile it is. Spirulina is a algae that is high in iron, zinc (which helps boost the immune system), calcium, and even natural protein. I add this to all of our smoothies, into my energy bites, pancakes, etc for a little extra nutrient infusion boost. It’s also great for kids. Keep stored in the fridge after you open.
Chewable Vitamin C : this is a little trick I do most days after dinner (sometimes lunch too)– 1 have 2 chewable vitamin C’s. They’re sweet and sometimes I want a little sweet to end my meals. Bonus that it’s giving me a little something too. Just make sure you get a brand that doesn’t have tons of junk it in too.
Magnesium- the master mineral. This one helps our nervous system, sleep, and overall health sooo much. And because good sleep and grounding your nervous system (aka, not letting stress take over your life) directly impacts our immunity, I’m including this one too. I take it nightly and it helps my muscles recover from workouts, helps my mental game, and helps me sleep.
Lavender essential oil, Primally Pure home fall collection oil, this Palo Santo room mist & Palo Santo oil (my fav right now, I’m looking at it on my desk as I type this) or “On Guard” by DoTerra: to place into your diffuser to help cleanse and purify the air. What we breath in matters (as we all know with a airbone pandemic). Since we’re all inside a lot more these days, you might as well make your home space feel as relaxing and rejuvenating as possible…. but minus the toxic chemicals in most fragrances. All of these natural oils helps boost your immunity over time, and help calm the nervous system, it’s just a bonus that they smell amazing. Get 10% off all Primally Pure products with the code “simplyrealhealth” at checkout.
OTHER PRACTICES & RITUALS:
Epsom salt baths: they’re known to clears & neutralizes our energetic field. Which helps with stress. See the connection? Plus being submerged in hot water can help raise our body temperature, which helps us naturally fight off any offenders, assisting the natural way the immune system works. Ditto if you have access to a infared sauna. These are incredibly powerful tools this time of year. Epsom salts = magnesium too, so you’re getting a two for one here.
Staying warm (warm socks, slippers, hats, scarfs): staying warm & cozy also helps your body temperature fight off anything it needs to, gently. Stay warm. Am I telling you I justify s few new cozy items this time of year for my health? Yes, yes I am 🙂 If you missed last week’s post with some of my favs, catch it here.
Natural hand sanitizer: My favs are from Primally Pure & EO peppermint spray. I have one in car, one in my purse, one on our kitchen table…. you get the idea. There’s nothing worse than having to use the grocery store’s version of it, in my opinion 🙂
Gardening or farmers market veggies: eating food grown from the earth and in beautiful soil, helps encourage a healthy microbiome. It’s true, I’m becoming such a garden lady over here this year.
Workouts: daily to move blood, lymph, and keep tissues all getting enough oxygen to remain strong. These have been my favorite at-home workouts this year.
Dry brushing: dry brushing before your shower or bath helps to increase lymph flow (which detoxes the body and helps fighter cells stay ready). This is my fav brush to use. Let me know below if you want me to do a little tutorial on this! I love using this oil afterwards on clean skin. SPA like, for real.
Gua Sha (for the body): you guys know I’m a major fan of this skincare tool for your face (my favorites are this one for a heavier stone, and this one for a lighter one— I use both every week). Gua sha, similar to dry brushing is all about the lymphatic system and helping release stagnation (thus helping boost your lymph flow and therefore your immune system). One of my favorite companies just released a gua sha stone for your body: think neck, chest, back, legs, arms, etc….. and it is incredible. The stone is bigger, there’s a different ritual with it, but it’s such a beautiful and calming practice I’m excited to incorporate this winter. Get 10% off any of these special items with the code “simplyrealhealth” at checkout, I’m a big fan.
Ok, while I’m not one to bring the negativity, let’s also just talk about a few things that don’t help our immune system. It’s just good to know. Not that you can’t or shouldn’t every do or have these things, it’s just something to be mindful of, in the big picture of things. For example, while alcohol isn’t the best, that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to have any this season (ha). It just means I’m extra aware of it— and super choosy about the kind of wines I’m drinking (this why I get mine here), the whole experience of it, etc vs just drinking a glass out of habit every night. Make sense?
Ok, let’s get to it then:
THINGS THAT BRING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM DOWN QUICKER:
Processed food & processed health food: the chemicals, additives and toxins in processed foods are harder for your body/digestive system to process, which diverts cellular functions into digestion vs immune protection.
Not dealing with stress/anxiety with healthy outlets (and often): the body keeps a count of all the emotional/mental turmoil you experience and can “fight” stress in a way that weakens your immune system. Try practicing meditation, go on walks, journal your thoughts/feelings, take long baths, and do things that bring down your stress every day.
Alcohol: yup. It’s a poison to the immune system. Like most things, a glass of wine in moderation here & there probably won’t hurt you, but heavy drinking hinders your sleep and destroys your immune system.
Sugar: slows down the cells that attack bad bacteria. Again, be choosy. Have good standards about what goes in to your body, and when you do enjoy something be FULLY present for it and savor it!
High toxin lifestyle (personal care, cleaning products, etc): all of these things that we use every day– our personal hygiene and cleaning and skin/beauty products– can create inflammation in the body that weakens immunity if they’re filled with toxic chemicals (hint: most are). These chemicals can also wreck havoc on your hormones, which then effect your fertility, immunity, etc. My go-tos for cleaner options are: Primally Pure for skincare, Follain for beauty products (see my specific favs here), and better cleaning products here.
Staying stagnant (blood flow and lymph): your body and blood and cells need fresh oxygen to clear out the bad toxins and bacteria. Movement and lymphatic massage is one of the best ways to move things through your body every day.
Not washing hands with basic soap and water: every time you enter your house, after using the restroom, before cooking, etc. Just make it a habit. Want to elevate it a bit? This Everything Soap and this Autumn Soap bring me little bursts of daily joy these days and make our bathroom feel like a spa, without anything drying.
It’s a lot, but also so, so many of these things are so simple when you think about it.
Real food first, always. Supplements to boost & complement those foods. Movement, stress management, clean living & healthy lifestyle practices to top it off (which will not only help your immune system, but all of your health, mind and body). You’ll feel better this season in ALL the ways if you start incorporating these, not just immunity wise.
Want a few ideas for what real-food recipes to make all season?
The Fall Meal Plan is out & has four full weeks of recipes, grocery lists, and meal plans to eat health & vibrant food that supports your immune health this fall.