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How to Strengthen Your Immune System

Updated: Apr 10

With the rising numbers of respiratory illness cases, now is the time to prioritize maintaining a strong immune system. Strengthening the immune system isn't just about fending off viruses and coughs; it's about cultivating a state of health that supports the body year-round.


In this article, I will talk about what will help you boost your immune system:



Top 3 Challenges of Maintaining a Healthy Immune System


In order to build a strong and healthy immune system, it is important to understand the challenges that may get in the way. This will enable you to make informed decisions and take proactive steps to maintaining a healthy body:


1 - Stress and other lifestyle factors: Chronic stress, poor dietary choices, a sedentary lifestyle, and inadequate sleep take a toll on the immune system. They can contribute to a rise in stress hormones, like cortisol, that can weaken the immune response against pathogens. Also, poor dietary choices can lead to deficiencies in nutrients that are crucial to the immune response.


2 - Nutrient deficiencies: As you may know, vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and selenium, play important roles in proper immune function. When these nutrients are deficient within the body, the immune response is compromised. A diet lacking in whole foods and malabsorption/digestion issues contribute to nutrient deficiencies that can affect immune health.


3 - Microbiome imbalance: An important player for the immune system is the gut microbiome. A careful balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria needs to be maintained, and any disruption in this balance can lead to increased susceptibility to infection. Disruptions can be caused by antibiotic use, a diet that mainly consists of junk food, high stress levels, and environmental toxins. To help with your gut health, I curated a list of supplements that show great results in my patients.


Immune Strengthening Strategies


Now that you know of the common challenges for a healthy immune system, let's take a look at the steps you can take to make your immune system strong.


The following are simple, yet effective steps that help my patients and myself maintain strong immune systems throughout the year. Remember, preventing illness involves habits and actions that have profound compounding effects that lead to a healthier you!


1 - Prioritize Quality Sleep: Sleep is a cornerstone for great health, but because of our fast-paced lives, it can be overlooked. Getting enough sleep is crucial for a healthy immune response. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night. This can be achieved with a consistent relaxing bedtime routine to signal your body to wind down. If you are a night owl, consider wearing blue light blocking glasses to ensure your brain makes enough melatonin for a good night's sleep. Also, if you find yourself having trouble with your sleep quality, I've put together a list of supplements I use with my patients to help improve their sleep.


2 - Nourish Your Body with Whole Foods: What we eat plays a significant role in our immune systems. Whole foods are full of nutrients and vitamins that are essential to a healthy and strong immune response. Make sure the majority of your diet is comprised of lean proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, and fruits. Stay away from highly processed junk food as they can contribute to nutrient deficiencies, an impaired gut microbiome, and weakened immune system.


But, if you're thinking, "Dr. Francesca, I don't have time to cook and I need things that are easy to grab or heat up!" To that concern, I have a couple of great solutions for you! I find ordering my healthy snacks through a trusted website like Thrive Market takes the guess work out of trying to find on-the-go snacks that are tasty and healthy. Also, consider using meal services like Factor or Hello Fresh that provide healthy meals that you can heat up quickly for those nights when the last thing you want to do is cook.


Also, take the guess work out of finding quality meat with Cooks Venture. This is one of the more affordable meat delivery services I've found, and they guarantee that their animals are raised on farms that use regenerative farming techniques, that their beef is grass-fed and grass-finished, and that their chicken is pasture-raised. I think their commitment to these principles make their products some of the tastiest meats I've had through a delivery service. Definitely check out Cooks Venture for a trusted source of your chicken and beef delivered straight to your door.


3 - Stay Hydrated: Water helps flush toxins from the body, regulates body temperature, and supports immune cell function. Aim to drink at least half your weight in ounces of water each day. Consider incorporating herbal teas, broths, soups, and electrolytes into your daily routine for added hydration. I love recommending LMNT electrolytes because of their refreshing flavors and easy portability.


4 - Manage Stress Effectively (with Mindfulness Practices): Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and make us more susceptible to illness. Incorporating stress-reducing practices into your daily routine can help support your immune health and overall well-being. One effective technique is mindfulness, which involves bringing your attention to the present moment.


A simple technique I use and recommend to my patients is Box Breathing. This is my favorite mindfulness practice for stress management because it can be done in any environment and in almost any situation.


Box Breathing: Box breathing, also known as square breathing, is a simple technique used to calm the mind and body. Here's how to practice box breathing:


  1. Find a Quiet Space: Sit or lie down in a comfortable position in a quiet space where you won't be disturbed.

  2. Inhale: Slowly inhale through your nose for a count of four seconds, feeling your abdomen rise as you fill your lungs with air.

  3. Hold: Once you've reached the top of your inhale, hold your breath for a count of four seconds, allowing the oxygen to circulate throughout your body.

  4. Exhale: Slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of four seconds, releasing any tension or stress you may be holding onto.

  5. Pause: Once you've completed your exhale, pause for a count of four seconds before beginning the cycle again.

Repeat this sequence for several minutes, focusing on the rhythm of your breath and the sensations in your body. Box breathing can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and improve overall well-being when practiced regularly.


In addition to box breathing, explore other mindfulness techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. Engaging in hobbies, spending time in nature, and connecting with loved ones can also help alleviate stress and foster a sense of balance and resilience.


By incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine, you can create a greater sense of peace and well-being, support your immune system, and enhance your overall quality of life. Remember, taking time to nurture your mental and emotional health is just as important as caring for your physical body.


5 - Have Good Hygiene Practices: Preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses begins with practicing good hygiene habits. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing, sneezing, or touching common surfaces. If you're looking for great smelling hand sanitizer that isn't full of harmful chemicals, The Honest Company has hand sanitizing sprays you won't want to leave home without. I have one bottle in each of my bags, in my car, and in my offices. It is definitely a must-have product.


Bonus Tip: Level Up Your Immune Support with Personalized Treatment Plans


In addition to the foundational tips mentioned above, consider incorporating the following to optimize your health and vitality:


  1. Glutathione Nebulizer Therapy: Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that plays a key role in immune function and detoxification. Glutathione nebulizer therapy delivers this vital nutrient directly to your lungs, where it can be rapidly absorbed and utilized by your body. By supporting your body's natural detoxification processes and reducing oxidative stress, glutathione nebulizer therapy can help boost your immune system and promote respiratory health.

  2. Nutrient IV Therapy: Nutrient IV therapy is a highly effective way to replenish essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants directly into your bloodstream. Whether you're looking to boost your immune system, recover from illness, or enhance your overall vitality, nutrient IV therapy offers a convenient and efficient solution.

  3. Personalized Treatment Plans with Supplements: As a Naturopathic Doctor, I believe in a personalized approach to health and wellness. From comprehensive lab testing to in-depth health assessments, I will work to identify underlying imbalances and develop a targeted strategy to optimize your health from the inside out. My personalized treatment plans may include high-quality supplements carefully selected to support immune function, hormonal balance, digestive health, and more. To kickstart your immune system and for a list of my favorite immune boosting supplements, click here.


By incorporating these wellness tips into your routine, you can take proactive steps to strengthen your immune system, enhance your vitality, and thrive year-round. Remember, small changes can make a big difference in your health and well-being.


 

What are your next steps?


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Let's work together!

As a dedicated Naturopathic Doctor, I invite you to schedule a personalized 1-on-1 appointment with me. Click here  for more information on how to book your appointment.


My goal is to empower you to make your lifestyle your medicine, so I encourage you to take the first step by scheduling an appointment with me. However, if you are not in the space to make an appointment with me, I encourage you to explore my health articles and e-books. Also, be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get my naturopathic tips straight to your inbox.


*Dr. Francesca works only with patients physically located in California.*


*Disclaimer: Although I am a doctor, I may not be your doctor. The information contained within the pages of this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used to treat conditions. Please consult with your doctor before implementing any of the treatments, diets, supplements, etc. mentioned in this blog.*


*Dr. Francesca is an affiliate for Amazon and other companies. Some links contained within the blog posts may be affiliate links from which she receives a small commission to help support her practice at no extra cost to the customer.*

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