The best ways to support your immune system this fall.

For your little ones as well who seem to get it the worst.

Everyone seems to get sick right around this time. The change of weather, school germs, and just because it is going around in your neighborhood.

You can be the lucky one who walks away unscathed. It all goes back to the basics with lifestyle changes.

Best Ways to Support Your Immune System This Fall

Nutrient-Dense Diet | A nutrient-dense diet that is high in fiber, protein and plants. Lots of vegetables and fruits (about half the plate and 5 servings a day). Whole grains, lean protein especially wild-caught fish, healthy fats and oils, dairy. Eating the rainbow to get a diversity of nutrients and microbial diversity.

Gut Health | 70% of our immune system is located in the gut. Nutrition is a key modulator of immune function.  Immune cells in the gut interact with the microbiome (the diverse bacteria and fungi that live in the Gastrointestinal tract) and are directly influenced by an individuals diet and lifestyle. The microbiome and the immune system are critically intertwined. Other foods that boosts microbiome diversity and improves immune responses are fermented foods such sauerkraut, yogurt (without added sugar), kefir, fermented cottage cheese, kimchi, and other fermented vegetables.

Sleep | Our bodies need it. Lack of sleep could triggers cells in blood vessel walls that activate inflammation and might also alter the body’s stress response system making you more susceptible to get sick after being exposed to a virus.

Exercise | Adults should exercise 150-300 minutes a week. Children ages 6-17 should do moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for minimum 60 minutes a day. Research shows that moderate intensity exercise can boost immunity by increasing the circulation of immune cells in your body. This helps your body better prepare for a future infection by detecting it earlier and reduces inflammation. Exercise intensity matters though. Studies show that moderate-intensity exercise reduces inflammation while prolonged bouts of high intensity can actually increase inflammation. Being active doesn’t just mean being in a sport, it can also mean, going to the playground, going for a bike ride or a walk.

Manage Stress | Psychological stress can dysregulate the human immune system. Chronic stress is associated with higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increases the risk for chronic disease and can lead to activation of viruses. Make sure you have downtime for play, access to activities and spending time together as a family without an agenda. Being so busy and overscheduled can really add to our stress.

Exposure to Cold | Cold showers, ice face dunks, cold plunges, and/or cryotherapy can induce a temporary increase in your white blood cells.  White blood cells are the immune cells that are responsible for defending against viruses, bacteria, toxins and other foreign invaders. A temporary increase is a great thing because it builds a stronger immune system, and the short but significant increase in white blood cells allows your immune system to attack and destroy viruses and bacteria early on.

Onion & Garlic | If you or your children do get sick with the common cold and have mild congestion, chop up 1/2 a white onion and 1 garlic clove. Mix it all together in a bowl and place under the bed throughout the night. This will suppress your cough and help you breathe better at night.

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