Wondering How to Boost Your Immunity Naturally? These Tips Will Help!

10 tips for boosting your body's immunity using natural supplements and techniques. Sinead Adedipe

Do you find yourself fighting off a cold, the flu, or do you just feel under the weather often? Maybe you feel inflamed or have skin concerns and are looking for how to boost your immunity naturally? Well…a weak immune system may be to blame. Your immune system protects your body from outside invaders. These include germs, viruses, bugs, and harmful chemicals. It also mediates your inflammatory response to help heal your injuries! With such a powerful role, it is important to note that your diet and lifestyle greatly impacts how effective your immune system is at protecting you! Check out these top 10 tips from our Vessel Health Experts on how to boost immunity naturally!



Tip #1 - Manage Stress

While many of us do not “feel stressed” most of the time in general, we underestimate its impact on our health. Stress makes our immune system believe we are under attack, and if it is busy fighting an invisible attacker, it won’t be ready for the real thing! Make a point of taking a stress inventory of your life once a week, and make a point to carve out time for yourself as well. This may be date-night with a partner, or some alone time in nature. A weekly “destress date” will remind you that stress management is an ongoing commitment.

Tip #2 - Adaptogens

Another tip on how to boost immunity naturally…take “adaptogens”, such as Rhodiola, reishi mushroom, and ashwagandha. These supplements help the body better adapt to stressors, acting as a primer for the immune system, and have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as Ayurveda for thousands of years. 

Tip #3 - Exercise

Exercise has a profound effect on the normal functioning of the immune system. To cash in on the benefits of exercise, you don’t need to go crazy. Thirty minutes of exercise 5 or more days a week will do it! Schedule 30 minutes of exercise 5 times per week to optimize your immunity and overall health! No matter the culture, frequent exercise is associated not only with better health outcomes, but those who move less have more pain, and more chronic disease. One study estimated that if the world’s inactivity levels were by 10-25%, 1.3 million deaths could be averted every year.

Tip #4 - Sleep

Sleep is essential for our immune systems to function properly. Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night in order to boost and maintain a healthy immune system.

The need for adequate and high-quality sleep built around our normal circadian rhythm (sleeping when it's dark out) has been well proven in the scientific community. Perhaps the bigger point though is just how damaging irregular, short or low-quality sleep is on our immune system. If you are someone who always catches that cold that is going around, chances are you may also be the person who thinks “I can get by with 6 hours” of sleep a night. Unfortunately, the data shows very few of us (likely less than 1%) have genetics made for that. Most of us are chronically sleep-deprived. If you want to boost your immunity naturally, start making sleep a priority!

Tip #5 - Hug Someone

A 20-second hug reduces the immune-busting hormone cortisol and increases the relaxing hormone oxytocin. Make an effort to hug someone daily. One of the most reliable predictors of health in older age is the number of meaningful relationships a person maintains.

We evolved in tribes, and are programmed to thrive when in one. If you have a tribe, nurture it. If you feel that you don’t, sit down and write who you would call if you needed help at 3 a.m. Wondering if they would come to your rescue? Perhaps asking them now would relieve your fears, or encourage you to reach out and strengthen that relationship.

Tip #6 - Laugh

Not only can a good laugh improve your mood, but it turns out it may also make your immune system better at its job. Find a way to laugh daily. This may mean calling a friend, watching a funny video or making yourself laugh!

A 2005 study reviewed the effects of humor on natural killer cells (kind of like the bomb-carrying fighter planes of our immune system) and showed that the more a person laughed, the more “lethal” their natural killer cells were to germs. So turn on that beloved comedy and laugh it out.

Tip #7 - Intermittent Fasting

Perform a fasting window of 12 hours daily. For example, finish your last meal by 8 pm and start your first meal at 8 am. This allows for 12 hours of a fasting window. The theory is that this provides stress on your cells, making them a bit more ready to take on larger stresses like infections. Some data even suggest it may slow cellular aging too!

There is a growing body of research around intermittent fasting (eating in an 8-12 hour window each day), prolonged fasting (reduced to no calories for several days at a time), and carbohydrate fasting (ketogenic diets) as a way to reset or even cure autoimmune disease, or as treatment from disease.

While most types of fasting are not realistic (or safe) for most of us, intermittent fasting is something to consider. You simply prolong the period of your nighttime fast and ingest all calories in a specific window of fewer than 12 hours.

Tip #8 - Vitamin C

Speaking of antioxidants, it is true that vitamin C is needed by the body to recover from illness, but it needs some help. While a long acting vitamin C supplement is great to take once you are ill (1000-5000mg daily should do it), regular intake of a good multivitamin will make sure you get other key vitamins for immunity like vitamins A and E, and the bright colored orange and red veggies and fruits will supply beta-carotene, another key to boost immunity naturally.

Tip #9 - Vitamin D

Most people consider vitamin C the heavy hitter vitamin that rev up our immune system.  But most do not realize that it is vitamin D (which the majority of us are probably deficient in) that makes our upper respiratory tract more resistant to viral infection to begin with.  With some studies showing close to 90% of us having low levels, a vitamin D supplement of 2000 IUs daily will get levels to a great place, and may lead to fewer bouts of upper respiratory infections.

Tip #10 - Meditation

Start with 10 minutes of meditation per day. A great way to learn mindfulness is on some of the many apps out there, like CALM, INSIGHT TIMER, or HEADSPACE. The result of Meditation is a lower stress response, and a lower level of perceived stress as well.

An increase in stress hormones, such as cortisol, make us more vulnerable to illnesses. Meditation practices have become very sexy in the past few years and for good reason. Requiring no special skills or training, nor much time, mindfulness starts to shape the brain immediately.


References:

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