by Will Grumke September 29, 2021 7 min read
Have you ever wondered why some people get sick all the time, while others don’t catch a single sniffle?
A big reason for that is our body’s immune system. See, we all possess the ability to protect ourselves from catching a cold, getting the flu, or becoming ill.
A strong immunity is the first line of defense against colds, the flu, and countless other viral and bacterial germs.
Since prevention is better than a cure, it pays to work on giving the immune system all the help it can get.
Our bodies and immune systems are constantly being exposed to bacteria, germs, pathogens, and carcinogens from every direction.
Therefore, let’s dive into immune health and how to strengthen/support your immune system so you can not only stay healthy, but also keep working toward your goals!
"Immune" means to be protected. So, a system in the body that helps fight off sickness is called the immune system (protective system).
Our immune system is essential for our survival. Our immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body.
Without an immune system, our bodies would be open to attack from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more. It is our immune system that keeps us healthy as we interact with the world and germs/pathogens around us.
This vast network of cells, organs, and tissues is always on the lookout for invaders, and when an outside invader is spotted, a complex attack is mounted.
The immune system is spread throughout the body and involves many types of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues. When our immune system is working properly, we don’t even notice it.
But when we have an under or overactive immune system, we can be at a greater risk of developing infections, getting sick, and other health conditions.
Kids and aging adults are two main groups of people that need to be even more mindful of supporting their immune system, as they are more likely to get sick, but it should really be a focus for all of us.
Because one thing is constant for all groups of people ... no one likes to get sick. That’s why you’re reading this blog — because you’re wondering how to support your immune system.
The good news is, we’ve got you covered — these 11 tips can help support your immune system on a daily level and improve your health.
To maintain a healthy immune system, it needs plenty of micronutrients and essential nutrients to operate effectively.
Therefore, loading up on vitamin and mineral-rich foods is one of the best things you can do for your immune system!
Fruits, vegetables and other plants contain naturally-occurring substances known as phytochemicals and flavonoids.
They are what give fruits and vegetables their color and flavor.
Phytochemicals are essential to your immune health and help protect your body from damage.
But just eating fruits and veggies won’t be enough.
You can’t forget about protein because it is a building block for a healthy body and immune system...
...and whether you prefer animal or plant-based protein sources, the most important part is that you consume adequate amounts of protein every day.
You also need to make sure you are simply eating enough to prevent malnutrition.
Malnutrition results when the body does not receive enough calories and/or nutrients to promote good health and sustain healthy functioning of your body’s systems.
Unfortunately, if not managed properly, too big of a calorie restriction can be a reason you get sick, and can actually prevent fat loss (but we’ll get more into that another time.)
While you can certainly keep working to lose weight and be in a caloric deficit and stay healthy, you just don't want to drastically reduce calories and food.
Yes, getting more sleep helps ... but what really matters is getting good, deep sleep.
By getting into deep REM sleep, you allow your body to shut down, de-stress, and help produce the proper hormones it needs.
If your stress level, cortisol, is elevated for prolonged periods of time, it can suppress your immune function.
A few common and effective ways to improve sleep quality are to avoid the use of electronics like the TV, computer, or phone before bed.
Refrain from drinking caffeine and pre-workouts too late into the evening.
You can use a supplement like melatonin, or other natural ingredients to help your mind and body unwind from the stressful day.
Shoot, even taking a relaxing shower or bath is another option!
Pretty straightforward ... smoking undermines basic immune defenses and raises the risk of bronchitis and pneumonia.
Cut out smoking and you can help improve your immune system.
Excessive consumption of alcohol can impair the immune system and increase your chances of getting sick.
I get it, sometimes drinking sounds good ... and trust me, I will have a few drinks myself ... but sitting at home drinking because you're bored ... or drinking every night because you are stressed ... or just simply drinking a lot because you like the taste won't help your immune system.
I'm not saying you can’t drink at all, or need to cut out all alcohol, but I'm saying that the more you drink, the harder it can be on your immune system.
So it's a good thing to keep in mind and drink responsibly.
Having a healthy gut, with the right balance of healthy bacteria, and a healthy digestive tract is an important aspect to staying healthy.
A little fun fact that many people don’t know is that the majority of your immune system lives in your gut. Your gut wall houses 70- 80% of the cells that make up your immune system.
Therefore, to help support your immune health, as well as nourish your body ... gut health is important.
Probiotics are good bacteria that help you utilize nutrients to help with the detoxification of your colon and support your immune system.
Consuming enough vegetables on a daily basis is also extremely important to keep your immune system working at its best.
Eating a variety of vegetables helps to give your body the phytonutrients and antioxidants that help regulate free-radicals, and give your immune system extra support!
If you struggle to eat enough fruits and vegetables or find yourself eating the same types of fruits and veggies over and over again, consider adding a greens supplement to your daily routine.
It's a great way to make up for what you're missing by not eating enough vegetables, and give your body extra nutrients to help fight off germs and other illnesses.
When your digestive tract is operating effectively with the proper balance of good bacteria, your immune system works better, and you can better utilize the vitamins and minerals from your food and supplements.
Vitamin C deficiencies are a lot more common than you would think.
One major reason is that much of the Vitamin C you get from the foods you eat is not easily absorbed by the body.
Another reason is because Vitamin C is one of the first vitamins to be depleted in drinkers, smokers, athletes partaking in long, strenuous events, and overweight individuals.
The consequences of being low in Vitamin C are known and documented to bring about a host of unfavorable consequences, including a suppressed immune system, and increased vulnerability to illness.
By addressing this nutritional deficiency, you can help support your immune system. If you decide to use a Vitamin C supplement, a great option is a Liposomal Vitamin C.
Activity helps to improve your immune system and your body’s ability to respond to attacks.
At a baseline, you want to shoot for at least 30 minutes of activity a day to reap the benefits for your immune health.
This activity can be whatever you enjoy.
Just make sure that you have at least a moderate level of intensity. Slowly trudging along on the treadmill, putting forth little to no effort isn't as beneficial.
Sunlight is one of the major contributors to the production of Vitamin D in our body.
Vitamin D is essential for healthy functioning of the immune system, as it helps the body to produce antibodies. Low levels of Vitamin D can also be a reason for respiratory problems, and low energy levels.
Do you ever notice you seem to have less energy in the winter?
One reason can be because we spend more time inside, and when we go outside we have less skin exposed to sunlight due to long sleeves and pants ... Vitamin D production will go down.
So even though it's not winter now, and we might think we are getting plenty of Vitamin D ...
It's still a good idea to make a conscious effort to get outside and soak up some sunshine for 10-15 minutes a day, and even supplement with Vitamin D, if needed.
Living with high levels of stress can lower your immune system and make yourself sick. Stress of any kind—emotional, physical, or psychological— can have a negative impact on your immune system.
Even negative emotions like worry and anger can lower your immune system.
Therefore, one good way to help support your immune system, as well as to improve the general quality of your life, is to eliminate these negative thoughts and emotions.
Supplementing with a full spectrum multivitamin, such as Micro Factor, can help with staying healthy and just overall health and wellness.
Your body needs nutrients to support your immune system for growth, maintenance, and regulation of bodily processes.
Daily Essential Nutrient packs, like Micro Factor, offer a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals in specific forms and amounts to help keep your body functioning well.
Using a potent green superfoods powder, like Opti-Greens 50, can be very beneficial.
Not only will the good bacteria help fight off illness, but when your digestive tract is operating effectively, it can help you better utilize the vitamins and minerals from your food and supplements.
Right now, a lot of people are looking to improve their immune health ... support their immune system ... and simply stay healthy.
I know I am. The good news is that we can work to support your immune system in two ways.
One way to keep your immune system strong and healthy is to avoid behaviors that might weaken your immune system, like smoking and excessive amounts of drinking.
The other way is to take daily actions to improve and support a healthy immune system.
Actions such as fueling your body with essential nutrients every day, improving sleep quality, staying active, and managing stress better!
Simply put ... starting to implement some, or all, of these 11 ways can help support your immune system.
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, NASM VCS Virtual Coaching Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer