How to improve the immune system is on everyone's mind. Immunity is the body's guardian angel against opportunistic pathogens. There's never a better time to build immunity than now.
As defined by Merriam-Webster, here is the full definition of immunity:
": the quality or state of being immune specifically: a condition of being able to fight a certain disease, particularly through inhibiting the formation of a harmful bacterium or battling the effects of its products."
However, taking steps to improve the immune system goes beyond resisting disease. As you'll discover in this article, boosting immunity can lead to higher energy levels and mental clarity.
Please stick with us because these ten tips to improve the immune system are life-changing.
1. If your life depends on it, sleep (Because It Does)
Have you ever participated in a late night out, got crap sleep, and then woke up with a throat tickle that turned into a full-blown cold or flu?
The above story is an all-too-common scenario—making the body vulnerable to invaders that may have already set up shop in the body. Perhaps with a good 8-hour night, the immune system can do something about it sooner.
Sleep is a huge fuel source for the immune system. That's why being ill practically forces us to nap.
Sleeping well depends on good sleep hygiene. The best techniques to sleep well include:
- observing a consistent bedtime each night
- Shutting off blue light (devices) two hours before bed
- Finishing your last meal four hours before bed
We're believers in ancestral nutrition. Grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, fruits and vegetables, all the good stuff that the body appreciates (and has appreciated for millennia)... This is the stuff the immune system enjoys.
Foods like pineapple (rich in vitamin C and enzymes), organ meats (excellent B-vitamin profile), and medicinal mushrooms (check out ours here) are all promising for bolstering immunity and giving the body a fighting chance at avoiding illness.
3. Consume Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus Obliquus)
Chaga mushroom is exciting stuff. It's a fungus that looks like tree bark and is coined as the "king" of medicinal mushrooms due to its awe-inspiring health benefits.
In terms of immunity, chaga, according to research, is a potent immune enhancer with great potential; it has the power to bolster the immune system in patients undergoing chemotherapy!
So what's the mechanism of action here?
Chaga contains betulinic acid and other phytochemicals that stimulate the immune system. The massive benefits of such compounds have led us to formulate our own Chaga Mushroom Powder Extract, which we source responsibly from small farmers and clean growing conditions.
4. Sunlight, Sunlight, Sunlight
Remember as a child when the adults had us convinced that sunlight is harmful? Yeah, well, forget all that stuff.
Sunlight is responsible for the production of ample vitamin D in the body. As many know, vitamin D is essential for all functions, including bolstering adaptive immune responses.
5. Collagen (Surprise!)
But isn't collagen just a protein for joint and ligament support, you ask? Surprise! It's also been shown to support gut health.
Much of the immune system is stored in the gut. There's this thing we talk about frequently called intestinal permeability. In short, the heart forms these micro-holes in response to environmental toxins and stressors.
Collagen, such as our Wild Collagen Peptides, contains the correct balance of amino acids to support the mucosa lining in the gut, thus helping seal the leaky gut.
Try a "minimum effective dose" of exercise to improve immunity. What does that mean exactly?
It means that exercise is excellent, but only to a certain extent. We've all heard of the bane of overtraining, which can be detrimental to the body, causing all sorts of gut issues and even dampening the immune system. If you've ever trained too hard during a cold or flu, then you know what we mean.
Discovering the sweet spot is crucial. Thirty minutes of weight training, brisk walking, a mile jog… You get the idea.
8. Cold Exposure
Popularized by the legendary "iceman" Wim Hof, cold exposure is a promising therapy for balancing immunity. Research beginning in the 1990s shows a correlation between cold exposure and heightened immunity.
Word on the street is that ice baths, cold showers, and even simple strolls in cold weather are all effective protocols.
Yes, it's true. Without breathing, we, along with our immunity, cease to exist. So why does something as intuitive as breathing make a list?
Breathwork is the process of manipulating the breath for some benefit. Like cold exposure, breathwork shows therapeutic potential for strengthening immunity.
Check out this study published in 2014 by PNAS showing that meditation and breathing techniques "exhibited profound increases in the release of epinephrine, which in turn led to increased production of anti-inflammatory mediators and subsequent dampening of the proinflammatory cytokine response elicited by intravenous administration of bacterial endotoxin."
The results are profound; using the breath in specific ways seems to harness immunity against systemic inflammation.
10. Nature Walks
We're all aware of nature's positive impact on the nervous system (like calming anxiety), but can it benefit the immune system?
So far, research is tying spending time in "green spaces" to various health benefits that could theoretically be linked to immunity—things like reducing diabetes risk, heart disease risk, premature death, preterm birth, stress, high blood pressure, etc.
When we spend time outside, things get better. Spend more time outside!
11. Be Thankful
Finally, we have the recently-popularized practice of having gratitude. Interestingly, science is finding immune-enhancing benefits from being grateful.
So then… How to be thankful? It's a way of existing. But it's also a practice. Many people are beginning to count their blessings first thing in the morning or right before bed (or both).
Being grateful is feeling the abundance of what you have instead of focusing on what you don't have.
It may just prevent your next cold or flu.