Boosting our immune system has never been more important and truth is it’s easier than we realise (if we know what to do).
Whether your goal is to reduce sick days off school, avoid or reduce severity of common colds and viruses or need an immune boost after a stay in hospital, these strategies apply.
I use these very strategies daily, which equipped us well, when my husband contracted Covid-19 in March 2020. Todd my husband recovered within a few days, and the boys and I either didn’t catch it (despite 14 days in isolation together) or were asymptomatic. At the time there was a shortage of tests. so we’ll never know.
As worrying at the positive result test was, deep down I felt peace and confidence we’d be ok. After years of experience, I know these strategies do wonders at boosting immunity now and providing protection moving forward. I credit them as well for my youngest son, Coops, never having a single sick day off school since daycare 4 years ago and now kindy.
I’m grateful for this knowledge and I’d love to pass this on to you and your loved ones, because these do make a huge difference to your wellbeing and vitality.
So let’s get started with my Top 10 Immunity Boosters:
1. Make and consume homemade chicken bone broth
Our immune systems thrive off broth. It’s the reason it’s been used for thousands of years across almost all cultures to heal the sick. In the Middle East it’s known as Jewish Penicillin and in South America there’s a common saying that “a good broth can resurrect the dead!” Its no coincidence chicken soup is used to heal the sick.
That’s because a stack of minerals get leached from the bones, and these abundant minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals are all easily absorbed to boost your immune system. Many of us are in fact deficient in these minerals and as soon we replenish our bodies, our immunity shifts gears. Click the links below to learn how I add broth to meals to ensure we have it regularly. It’s so easy and quick to make and makes savoury dishes taste amazing.
- Need a recipe? Click my broth recipe HERE.
- Want to watch how to make it? Click here for my video HERE.
2. Take zinc supplements daily
Zinc is a nutrient that plays many vital roles in your body and is one of the most important minerals to fight off viruses and infections. Because your body doesn’t naturally produce zinc, you need to obtain it through food and supplements.
Zinc is found in sprouts, micro greens, collard greens, pumpkin seeds, radishes, artichokes, parsley, onions and raw honey. And sadly the levels of zinc in these herbs and vegetables have deteriorated greatly due to modern faming methods and mass production.
That’s why supplementing with zinc daily for your entire family is essential to maintain proper immune function and overall health. It’s a game-changer. I recommend pharmaceutical grade brands and looking for a good quality Liquid Zinc Sulfate (drops) or a zinc picolinate (caps):
Click here for practitioner brands I recommend:
Other supplements and herbs can also be really be beneficial.
3. Adding super green powder blends into the diet
It’s no secret that most people (and children) aren’t eating enough vegetables or having the variety.
By consuming green powders we greatly boost our levels of minerals and vitamins (in one big hit), including selenium, iodine, chromium and vitamins A, C and K. Plus these super foods are often far more nutrient dense than everyday vegetables.
I’ve found adding green powders to our morning smoothies to be one of the easiest ways to increase our daily amounts of nutrients. Start small amounts in a fruit smoothie (so its delicious) and build up to the recommended dose.
I personally like to add spirulina, barley grass powder and a dulse seeweed to our smoothies but I change it up all the time. Here are a few brands I use and recommend:
4. Remember to stay hydrated
Drinking water provides endless benefits to your immunity. Water helps carry oxygen to your cells, aids in removing toxins from the body, improves digestion, absorption of nutrients, circulation and maintains correct body temperature…all supporting effective immunity.
Bored of plain water, then try the following ideas:
- Add lemon: The health benefits of lemon water are plentiful. Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, which is known to boost the immune system, prevent disease, fight the common cold and protect cells.
- Immune boosting teas: Sipping away on tea’s especially when the weather is cold is not only comforting and delicious, the ingredients can really support immune function too. Try this simple recipe of hot water, ginger, turmeric and honey by Well Nourished or here’s a list of 5 teas that support immunity.
5. Get plenty of sleep
We hear it all the time but here’s why it’s so important to have some self-discipline at bed-time.
Several studies confirm the link between sleep and a healthy immune system. When you’re well rested it improves the function of white blood cells, so you’re less likely to get illnesses like respiratory infections, colds, and the flu.
In fact, research analyzing the vulnerability of sleep-deprived adults found that those who slept less than six hours a night were more than four times likely to get a cold than adults who slept more than seven hours! Yep I’m turning Netflix off early!
Adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours and children depending on age 10 – 14 hours.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, limit screen time an hour before bed, avoid caffeine or alcohol (eeek a hard one!) in the evenings, have a bath and listen to some relaxing music to really wind down and get sleepy.
6. Reduce Stress (sounds impossible but it can be easier than you think!)
Studies continue to prove time and time again that chronic stress suppresses protective immune responses. In order to promote health and healing you need to minimize your stress levels.
I know this is difficult, especially when we have so much on our plates (hello home-schooling) and we’re concerned about becoming ill. So here are a few suggestions that really help me:
- Do this 2 minute breathing exercise it’s amazing! This famous 4-7-8 breathing technique developed by Dr Andrew Weil is described as a ‘natural tranquilizer for the nervous system’ helping to quickly reduce tension and allowing the body to relax. Here’s a quick video of the doctor himself showing how to do it.
- Go for walks with or without the kids. Things can wait.
- Meditate – I use the Calm app
- Do some exercise.
- Focus on the moment and avoid letting your mind look to the future and the unknown.
7. Get some Vitamin D
New research suggests that getting plenty of vitamin D may help with protecting yourself against coronavirus.
In two studies led by North western University, researchers found that countries where people had lower levels of vitamin D had a higher rate of severe COVID-19 cases and deaths compared to countries where people had higher levels of the nutrient. They found a strong correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates.
The best way to get vitamin D is to go out in the sunshine. Remember to have your kids play outside too. If that’s not an option, supplement with a quality pharmaceutical grade vitamin D. I like the Bioceuticals range.
7. Take a real interest in your diet
Only 5% of Australian children are eating the recommended amounts of vegetables a day. It’s also recommended for optimum health to eat 30 different plant based foods a week. So you need the quantity and diversity.
Food is the most powerful tool you have to change your immunity, mood and health. So ensure your diet is high in fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains and seeds, particularly pumpkin seeds (which are high in zinc), protein from lean meat, organic chicken and fish. Try and avoid fried foods, high sugar foods and other ‘junk’ food.
Did you know that when you eat sugar, your immune system lowers by 40% for the next 5 hours! Instead of refined sugar, replace it with healthy alternatives: raw honey, dates and organic maple syrup.
Need recipe inspiration? Then check out the recipe tab on this site.
8. Regular exercise kills natural virus-killing cells
Whether it’s a walk, jog, yoga or breaking out in dance moves in your kitchen. All you need is 30 minutes a day.
Did you know that aerobic exercise speeds up the heart, increases breathing rate and oxygen transfer and stimulates sweating – all of which increases the body’s natural virus-killing cells.
9.Wash your hands (obvious but here’s what to buy)
Send those germs down the drain before your body ever has to fight them off. Use soap and clean, running water. Wash for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, a hand sanitizer can help (unless your skin is caked with dirt and grease). Just know that it won’t remove all the germs and other bad stuff. Choose one with at least 60% alcohol.
Here’s where to buy natural soaps and santisers
For natural hand sanitisers and soaps check out my favourite zero waste, toxin free online store Biome for their amazing recommendations and products.
Let’s end on a happy note a giggle or two cannot be underestimated. Not only does it make you feel better, there’s no downside.
The wonderful thing about letting out a hearty laugh is that it decreases the amount of stress hormones in the body, while increasing a type of white blood cell that fights infection.
One study found that after people laughed out loud at funny videos, their immune systems worked better for a period time.
For me spending quality time with my kids, having a great conversation with friends can do just the trick. And don’t underestimate the power of a good comedy either!