How We Build Our Immune Systems During a Pandemic
I am a firm believer that we should always be taking care of our bodies all year round, not just during cold/flu season or during a pandemic. Fighting sickness first starts with prevention. Poor nutrition, being run down or stressed, and getting too little sleep can all make you more susceptible to getting sick. It’s important to prioritize a nutrient-dense diet, supplement with additional immune-boosting nutrients, and protect yourself from becoming run down and sleep deprived in order to stay healthy and well all year long.
During seasons like this, when we want to be extra cautious in protecting ourselves from sickness, we should add in some additional things to help prepare our body to fight off and prevent illness. Below are some vitamins and supplements my family adds on to help support our immune system and stay healthy! These are “extras” we add to what we already take on a daily basis (such as a good multivitamin and probiotics).
1. Vitamin D
Nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin”, our primary source of Vitamin D is through sun exposure, which triggers a process on your skin that produces Vitamin D. This is why it is crucial to get outside, but even more so during times where you are at a higher risk for getting sick. Sufficient levels of Vitamin D reduce your risk of infectious disease by strengthening your immune system. Vitamin D turns on key peptides in your immune system that trigger a strong antimicrobial response, allowing you to quickly and effectively fight off invaders before they can develop into a full-blown infection.
To maximize our Vitamin D levels we try to get out everyday in the sun (which is completely FREE!) or if that is not possible I like supplementing with this Vitamin D in capsule form. We try and do this everyday, but during this pandemic we are making more of an effort to be in the sun for longer periods of time.
2. Vitamin C
Everyone knows that Vitamin C is crucial for immune function. During times like this we up our intake to help support our immune system. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. This is the brand we like. It is lypo-spheric, so it is designed to improve absorption of nutrients and is easier on the bowels.
This is not something we normally take unless we are trying to prevent sickness, so add this one in during cold/flu season! Zinc is crucial for immune support and has been proven to shorten the duration of sickness. The body’s immune system needs zinc to do its job, so ensure you are supplementing with a high quality zinc product like this one.
We add this herb when we are in prevention mode because it is used to support continual immune health. Echinacea is a flower in the daisy family that has a long history of treating illnesses. It is rich in polysaccharides and compounds called alkylamides, which are responsible for this herb’s ability to support a healthy immune response. We love this supplement by Gaia Herbs.
Elderberry is something we add in for extra immune boosting power, especially when we may have been exposed to sickness of some kind. Elderberry has a long history of uses as both an herb and food, helping to support immune health. Elderberry assists with the body's natural defenses and cell communication. We love this elderberry product from Gaia Herbs.
Other things we are doing for an optimal immune system is managing our stress and getting good sleep. These two things are EXTREMELY important, and I think they are underrated in our culture. Mediate, turn off the news, do a yoga flow, go for a run, take a social media break or do whatever it is that you need to do to get your stress down. Also, go to bed at a decent time, put your screens away at least an hour before you go to bed and prioritize sleep! Both of these things are essentially free, easy, and insanely crucial to your immune system.
I would love to hear from you— what you are doing to keep your immune system functioning at its best during the coronavirus crisis?
This article is not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All information, content, and material found in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.
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