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Give yourself an immune boost this year

A robust and properly functioning immune system helps you go about daily life as you encounter germs and bugs from pets, other people, and your environment. Without a healthy immune system, you could pick up infections and infectious diseases more easily, and the effects could be serious!

We believe the key to strong immunity is to develop healthy habits and stick with them over time. To make it easy, we have identified four essential lifestyle categories that have huge impacts on your immunity — food, sleep, stress, and attitude — and provided specific habits you can adopt to strengthen your immunity long-term.

But first, let us sort out a definition so we are on the same page. Your immune system is your body’s innate defense mechanism against sickness. It is responsible for detecting and regulating your body’s response to germs such as bacteria and viruses. With such a busy job, your immune system is incredibly complex. It must be strong enough to fight off a variety of illnesses and infections, but not so strong that it overreacts unnecessarily — causing allergies and other autoimmune disorders to develop. To operate in such a delicate balance, it is important that your everyday lifestyle habits give your immune system what it needs.

Now, in no particular order, let us get down to the basics for building strong immune systems:


The gut, which researchers are now calling “the second brain” produces hormones and biological responses, which create the antibodies your immune system uses to detect anything foreign in your body. In other words, consistently eating well is like preparing your body for (germ) battle.

Want to eat your way to strong immunity? We recommend these foods to give your system a boost:

·         Zinc and Selenium: nuts, seeds, tahini, beans, hummus, tofu, whole grains

·         Vitamin D: salmon, mushrooms, tofu, fortified dairy or dairy substitutes (check the label)

·         Vitamin A: carrots, mangos, papaya, sweet potato, cooked tomatoes

·         Vitamin C: strawberries, blackberries, kiwi, oranges, bell peppers, parsley, kale

·         Prebiotics/Probiotics: high-fiber foods such as vegetables, legumes, and whole grains; dairy substitutes with live cultures; and other fermented foods (yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, natto, tempeh)

Try to include a couple of these nutrient sources at each meal. Getting an enormous amount of these foods at once will not necessarily increase immunity, but you can build it up over time by consistently sprinkling them into your meals throughout the week.


On the one hand, poor sleep quality and chronic sleep deprivation can have negative consequences on your immunity as it reduces your cellular immune responses, which could increase your susceptibility to disease. Some researchers are even finding that bad sleep habits may even impact the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. On the flip side, a good night’s sleep can help decrease stress, reduce negative effects on the immune system, and improve exercise performance.

The recommendation is seven to eight hours of sleep per night. There are many ways to help you get those z’s and improve your sleep, including stretching beforehand and banning your cell phone from the bedroom. When a full night’s sleep is not possible, as a backup strategy take a 30-minute nap twice a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.



What often stresses us out in our individual lives (jobs, relationships, personal circumstances, etc.) is being amplified right now with all the havoc around us from the pandemic. The news alone about the pandemic is enough to keep us completely stressed out!

Our recommendation is to create daily stress-reduction strategies and use them as if they were prescribed medicines. These include:

·         Deep-breathing breaks

·         Meditation

·         Walks

·         And of course, Exercise

Getting back into a regular fitness routine in the gym is key. Be sure to adhere to physical distancing rules when you are exercising. Preserving space around you minimizes exposure to pathogens and can help slow the spread of the coronavirus in your community. However, community and commitment might be just what you need to strengthen your immune system…and your body and mind. 


Research shows that positive thoughts reduce stress and inflammation, which increases resilience to infection — while consistent negativity can make you more susceptible to the common cold and flu.

The influx of news from 2020 is scary, so it is easy to spiral down in negative thoughts. Change the story you tell yourself from ‘It’s not going to be OK’ to ‘I am safe at home with the people I love.’ Start your day with a positive thought or even a mantra such as, ‘I am well!’ or ‘Today will be a good day!’

The common thread between all four categories is frequency and focus. If you only eat nutritious food, sleep well, manage your stress, and work on your attitude when you are sick, that will not do much. It is like going to the gym: working out hard once in a while will not achieve the same results as consistent habits. If you do develop these habits daily, however; you are giving your body what it needs to build a strong immune system.

Your fitness is 100% mental, Your body won't go where your mind won't push it.