As I’m writing this, I just learned that my son’s school will be closed the next two days in response to the coronavirus. This news is one of many closures and event cancellations that have been announced. So while I had this post in mind for some time, I’m filing it in with some urgency to get this info out there while people stock up and get ready to hunker down.
Whether its during cold season in the middle of winter or during a pandemic there are proactive measures that we can all take to keep our bodies ability to fight viruses and illness strong and healthy. Here are some ways you can harness your kitchen and build healthy habits for a stronger immune system.
Nutrition tips for a strong immune system:
Stock up on real food non-perishables. Fill your pantry with real food ingredients. They are frozen vegetables, grains, canned beans, canned fish (salmon, wild-caught tuna, and salmon) dried pasta, frozen meat, freezing bread, organic stocks. And your favorite treats of course! 🙂 But sticking to real, whole foods and not processed convenience foods will be health supporting in these stressful times. There are ways you can turn your pantry items into delicious meals, conveniently!
Daily dosage of anti-viral foods. There’s no better time than now to get into the habit of incorporating culinary spices and herbs to help keep you immune system strong. Use them daily. Everyday foods with antiviral properties: garlic, ginger, oregano, turmeric, green tea, apple cider vinegar.
Mushrooms to boost your immune system – all culinary mushrooms are excellent for immunity with variations on each one and of course some with more medicinal powers and some magical 🙂 From white button mushrooms to shiitakes add them to your regular meals. Medicinal mushrooms have gained popularity as powders and capsules which make it convenient to consume. I love Four Sigmatic and lion’s mane to my coffee and occasionally have their mushroom coffee mix.
Gut health – digestive health is so important for immunity. 70% of the immune system lives there. You have a one cell thick layer from your mouth all the way down to you-know-where as a barrier between the outside world and your insides. Wild right? To keep that barrier healthy we need a good balance of bacteria. This is where probiotics come in – take a pill, eat probiotic foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, tempeh, traditionally fermented pickles). Prebiotics are what the good bacteria need to survive so that’s where fiber comes in – makes sure to get your veggies in daily. They love fiber!
Lifestyle habits for boosting your immunity
Exercise – move your body everyday! Make exercise a non-negotiable and don’t let perfection get in the way – exercise doesn’t have to look like an intense spin class. Take advantage of the warmer weather and get some vitamin sunshine in while you’re at it! You can also try the huge inventory of (free!) online exercise on youtube. I love Yoga with Adriene. If you have kids and they’re stuck at home, here’s Star Wars Yoga for Kids.
Meditate – I know, I know. If you hear one more person telling you to meditate … this is new for me and I’m working on it, but every time I’m done with a 5 minute or 10 min guided meditation, I immediately feel a difference. There is so much science supporting its benefits, including mental resiliency, reducing stress it doesn’t hurt to try. The insight timer app has some free guided meditations that I find helpful.
Sleep – Lack of sleep can compromise your immune system. But I hear you, it’s hard to fall asleep or have a deep restorative one if you’re stressed out from reading the latest news before bed or you stay up way past your bed time. A bedtime routine (yep just like toddlers need one) can be helpful for us adults. Find a simple routine that signals that its time for bed, turn down the lights, diffuse some calming essential oils, take a natural sleep aid like Calm sleep with magnesium if necessary to help you switch off especially during heightened times like this. And goes without saying (note to self) but try not to read the news right before bed.
Which one of these tips will you try?
Share your tried and true ways of protecting your immunity!