It’s hard to talk about wellness these days without talking about immune support. And, while keeping our immune systems strong is important all the time, now is the ideal time to really take a look at where we all can squeeze in some added healthy lifestyle hacks for some extra immune support.
Ahead, we’re sharing six science-backed simple hacks we all could benefit from including in our daily routines. From optimizing sleep to staying on top of hydration, showing your immune system some love looks a lot like supporting overall health.
Support Your Immune System With These Six Daily Habits
#1 Get to Bed Earlier
Not only is getting enough sleep a key player when it comes to immune support, but we can’t possibly expect our bodies to function at their best if we are slacking on those Zzzzs.
Some experts note that a lack of sleep can negatively affect our immune system — increasing the chance of getting sick after being exposed to a germ. Not only that, but not getting enough sleep has also been noted to affect how quickly we get over illness.
So, give your body the rest it needs — it may make a big difference in how you feel both mentally and physically this winter, and it may give your immune system that added boost too.
#2 Lay Low on Sugar
We all know too much sugar isn’t a good thing, but did you know that research suggests that sugar can negatively affect our immune system for a few hours after consumption?
To support your immunity this season, consider keeping your sugar intake as low as possible, and choose whole foods over processed and packaged options.
Craving something sweet? Consider one of these low sugar options instead.
- Unsweetened Greek yogurt with berries and a drizzle of raw honey
- Sliced banana with almond butter
- A spoonful of almond butter with a sprinkle of raw cacao nibs
#3 Support Your Gut
We can’t talk about immune support without talking about gut health. That’s because nearly 70% of the immune system resides in the gut, making it a super big deal when it comes to supporting overall wellness.
To show your gut some love, eliminate as much sugar as possible, reduce stress (more on this below), get enough sleep, and consider adding some gut-loving foods to your diet.
Some great nourishing probiotic-rich foods include:
- Kombucha (a great soda or juice alternative!)
- Unsweetened Greek or coconut milk yogurt
We’re all feeling the stress and anxiety that is 2020, are we right? This year has come with so many added stressors, and science shows that too much stress isn’t good for so many reasons.
As it relates to immune health, research suggests that stress can, in fact, weaken our immune system, giving us one more very important reason to try to reduce as much as we can.
But, let’s face it — reducing stress is easier said than done, and sometimes the thoughts of how much stress we have in our lives can lead to stressing even more over the stress — ugh. It just becomes a vicious cycle.
Instead of stressing over having to de-stress, try starting with just 5 minutes of meditation daily. Yes, seriously, just 5 minutes. That five-minute commitment may turn into 10, 15, and so on.
The goal isn’t to have this long list of ways we need to reduce our stress — just start small and work your way up.
Try one of these FitOn meditation to get started.
- Visualize Joy with Vytas
- Morning Mindset with Amanda Gilbert
- Inviting Ease with DeAndre Sinette
- Stress Buster with Amanda Gilbert
#5 Drink Your Water
Water is life! Seriously, we need water to live, so it makes sense that it would be an important part of supporting the immune system. Water is important for helping transport nutrients to every organ system in the body, and in order for these systems to function properly, they need nutrients!
We also need enough water to support our body’s natural detoxification system, flushing out waste and other foreign invaders.
The takeaway? Proper hydration is a key player when it comes to immune support, so keep a refillable water bottle with you at all times and refill throughout the day. And, consider sipping on some herbal tea or bone broth if you need something with a bit more flavor.
#6 Add These Immune-Supporting Foods to Your Diet
Diet is everything when it comes to supporting wellness, so optimizing your diet with as many nutrient-dense foods for immune support is something we all should be prioritizing, especially this time of year.
The good news is that this doesn’t always require a total diet overhaul. Start with the basics by limiting your sugar intake and enjoying more whole foods.
There are also some science-backed foods that have been shown to come with some impressive immune-supporting properties.
Here’s a closer look at these foods that we may want to add liberally to our diet right now.
Not only does garlic make all of our favorite soups, stews, and even healthier comfort foods taste delicious, but research shows that garlic may help support the immune system through stimulating important immune cells. So, if you’re a garlic fan, go ahead and add plenty to your diet this season.
Turmeric is the golden goodness we sure could use more of — not only has this superfood spice been shown to offer impressive anti-inflammatory properties, but research also suggests that it comes with some immune-supporting properties too.
We love whipping up a turmeric latte this time of year. Here’s one right from FitOn PRO that makes a delicious addition to a calming evening routine.
- 1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 4 drops vanilla stevia (optional)
Add the milk to a saucepan over medium heat. Once warm, add the rest of the ingredients. Remove once heated.
Pour into a mug and enjoy!
All hail the mighty powers of honey! Not only does this natural sweetener make a great sugar swap in your morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s also been shown to offer some immune-supporting benefits too. Studies have suggested that honey offers antimicrobial as well as antioxidant properties.
The trick here is to get real, high-quality honey — not the heavily processed varieties. If you want to take things up a notch, you could even consider manuka honey. This unique honey is native to New Zealand, and a study published in the Science Journal, AIMS Microbiology, noted that this type of honey comes with powerful antibacterial properties and may offer other unique immune-supporting benefits.
Try using some manuka honey in your coffee or tea or even blended into a smoothie.
A Total Wellness Approach to Immune Support
The truth is that there’s no one magic pill when it comes to immune support — it takes a whole wellness approach through supporting your body with the tools it needs to function at its best.
So this season, and really any time of year, prioritize stress reduction, get enough sleep, watch out for sneaky sources of sugar, and be sure to optimize your diet and drink enough water! Not only are these all important things for immune support, but they are all excellent ways to support health, no matter where you are in your wellness journey.