1.) Vitamin D
It is estimated that nearly 75% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D3 and regions with long winters are particularly susceptible. Some common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency:
- Getting sick often
- Restless sleep
- Poor concentration
- Slow wound healing
- Altered mood
- Muscle pain or weakness
When you are able, 10-20 minutes of natural sunlight exposure is key in boosting your vitamin D levels. Omega-3 fish oil and vitamin D supplements are a great addition to your daily routine as well.
2.) Mindfulness & Deep Breathing
Stress plays an enormous role in whether or not our immune systems can withstand what is thrown their way. We hear buzzwords like mindfulness and gratefulness a lot, but they actually serve a great purpose in bringing us into a state of rest and relaxation. They also do not take a lot of time to practice!
Mindfulness can be as simple as starting a gratitude journal in order to reflect and re-frame your outlook on life, directing you to the present and the good that you can find. Sitting quietly for even 3-5 minute periods a day allows the nervous system time to re-calibrate.
Deep breathing is also key in regulating the parasympathetic nervous system which counteracts stress hormones and realigns the body to peace. At least 5-10 minutes a day practice deep, diaphragmatic breathing. Picture how a child’s stomach rises and falls, with the rise of the stomach on your inhale and a slow exhale.
Our bodies are made up of 60% water.
According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. With this in mind, it is imperative that we are staying hydrated! Our immune system is highly dependent on the nutrients in our blood stream, and our blood stream is made mostly of water. Staying well hydrated is also very important for detoxification pathways, healing, increasing lymphatic draining and making sure we are clearing out any foreign invaders and other waste materials.
Dehydration can contribute to muscle tension, headaches, low serotonin production and digestive issues. Things like coffee, tea, alcohol, and excess salt can be dehydrating, so drinking a glass of water for each beverage consumed is key.
The goal is to drink a minimum of half of your body weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 150 lbs that would equal 75 oz of water per day, or about 8-9 oz glasses.
4.) Leafy greens
Greens are the most underrated natural immune system booster. Spinach, kale, and other dark, leafy vegetables are packed full of antioxidants and vitamins that work to cleanse your body from the inside out. They are a natural anti-inflammatory, guarding against free radicals and lowering toxicity in the blood. Greens produce natural enzymes which aid in digestion. They also work to supply oxygen to the blood, leading to a natural and sustainable energy throughout the day.
Energy gained from greens does not have the “crash” effect that caffeine or sugar gives.
Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day gets stagnant energy in the organs flowing. Exercise reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators. Your exercise can be as simply as daily stretching, a walk, or a light jog. The main goal is to be moving your body!