3 Tools to Boost Immunity
Immunity feels extra important right now. The reality is, though, that immune system strength has ALWAYS been important! It's just that right now it's something that we're all becoming much more aware of as a collective.
An imbalanced or weak immune system is what puts a person at risk to all things aka viruses, infections, allergies, asthma, cancer, joint pain, etc.
A balanced immune system = thriving and resilience, high energy and clear skin, ideal weight and peak fertility, high sex drive and a clear mind. The list goes on and on. But the point is that we have much more control than historically we have been led to believe.
Tool #1 = Eat organic berries every day (and other alkalizing foods + minerals).
Alkalizing foods = organic berries, green juices made primarily from vegetables, dark chocolate, flax seeds, etc.
In natural health we know that a virus can't replicate in a more alkaline solution... Yes our blood consistently maintains a certain pH, but the muscles and tissues are more vulnerable to becoming acidic based on how we eat and live. The more acidic the muscles and tissues the more a virus can replicate. Help your body boost its natural defenses by consuming these anti-inflammation, alkaline promoting foods + minerals.
Of course, these foods won't prevent or cure but they are clinically proven to help to boost the immune system.
*The above supplements are from Equilibrium Nutrition but you can purchase from any brand that you trust. Also, none of the above supplements should be considered medical advice, nor do I promote not seeking medical help if needed. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your supplement routine.
Tool #2 = Get Deep Sleep.
High stress = high cortisol = lowered melatonin = lowered sleep quality = lowered immune system + motivation to make positive lifestyle choices
Melatonin helps to calm the nervous system and decrease cortisol which naturally boosts the immune system. We produce it naturally at night when the sun starts to go down, but there are many things that do lower our body's ability to produce enough melatonin to get a deep sleep (stress, news before bed, late night screen time, eating a heavy meal before bed, caffeine, etc).
Here are some of my go to deep sleep tips that really work and naturally boost immune system functioning.
Darkness = Our bodies secrete melatonin largely in response to darkness. So! Start dimming lights at sunset. Ensure your room is pitch black or use a face mask. As the sun is setting this is when I put on my blue light blocking glasses.
Avoid screen time in the 1-2 hours before bed. My partner and I just started putting our phones on airplane mode at 8pm and we'll be charging them in a different room aka not in our bedroom. Otherwise we too easily get caught up in the late night scrolling = less connection time with each other and ourselves.
Reduce loud noises. Our evening cortisol levels are lowest in environments with low noise too. I started using ear plugs back in college and now I'm addicted! What also helps is turning the TV volume down and perhaps investing in a fan or white noise maker if you live in a busy area.
Choose evening activities that calm you and avoid those that stress you out aka the evening news, a crime show, work email, or ever-longer to-do lists.
Herbal tea (e.g. lavender, chamomile, valerian, passionflower)
A hot bath with Epsom salts may work well
10 minutes of gratitude journaling or reading an inspirational or spiritual book
Don’t eat in the 2-3 hours before bed, but if you must because you work late then avoid meals with heavy protein. The body has to use some of its energy digesting that heavy meal vs going into deep sleep and repair. No action in the body is free and we only have a limited amount of energy each day.
Avoid Afternoon Caffeine. I stop having it between 12-2pm because otherwise I'm wired and dancing all around the room at bedtime :)
Lower the Temperature. Studies show that 67 degrees F is the ideal temperature for deep sleep.
Feeling safe. This may sound obvious but have you ever noticed that you don't sleep as well in new places like a hotel room? It's because our bodies are wired to only go into deep, repair mode sleep when we feel 100% safe and secure. This may mean that for you to feel completely secure you have to lock your door and do a pre-bed meditation. The point is, our bodies won't produce enough melatonin to let us sleep deeply through the night if we're stressed, on any level, about our safety.
Tool #3 = Reduce Stress 3x A Day
High stress = high cortisol = lowered immune system.
So! Stressing and buying into a constant state of fear, anxiety and uncertainty actually makes us way more susceptible to all things. We've got to take repeated action throughout the day to turn the stress off and the rest/digest/zen on.
If we allow ourselves to live in a constant state of fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system activation) then it's only a matter of time before we break down. The fight or flight nervous system was designed to help us escape the tiger during a short, quick, isolated event! Then we're meant to go back into resting and digesting (parasympathetic nervous system activation).
Let me give you an example to fully hit this home because everyone knows they should 'reduce stress' but it's actually a matter of life or death as you'll see below:
During times of war and famine... And now during times of extreme daily stress, a woman's body will often stop or delay ovulating in order to lower fertility. Her body, in its wisdom, knows it's not safe to bring a new life into the world! Constant low grade stress is a huge reason why we have so much infertility today among young people. Our bodies prioritize escaping the tiger and creating stress hormones over optimizing fertility and creating sufficient sex hormones (progesterone in women is what suffers most leading to what many doctors will diagnose as estrogen dominance).
The body is always acting in our best interest based on the inputs we give it. So! Let's change the inputs :)
Set up 3 'anchors' throughout your day where you can re-set and reduce stress:
And after the work or school day.
Examples of anchors = going for a walk around your neighborhood, breathing, a yoga flow, meditation, journaling, FaceTiming someone you love, reading 10 pages of that book on your bed stand, and listening to your favorite music/podcast/uplifting video.
Start with implementing one anchor at a time and don't add another until you've mastered one. Baby steps.
The goal is that we never want to go more than 4 hours without a re-set, turning off fight or flight and tuning on rest and digest
When I'm not feeling extra inspired to self care I'll set an alarm for 5 minutes. Even just 5 minutes, 3x a day is so transformational for boosting immunity by reducing stress and reducing cortisol.
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