Thursday, January 29, 2015

Immune Boosting Food!!

First of all, let's start with the things that can hinder your immunity, especially in the winter months:

1. Lack of Sleep- During sleep, your immune system produces cytokines.  These cytokines help you to stay asleep and also increase when you are stressed, have inflammation, or have an infection (resource).  In order to fight infections, inflammation, or stress, you need to sleep so that your immune system can produce more cytokines and antibodies.

2. Stress-  Things like air pollution, a heavy work load, being a parent, being a caregiver, and so much more can put loads of stress on our bodies.  Much like with lacking sleep, stress can reduce immunity.

3. Not Enough Sunshine- The sunshine vitamin, aka vitamin D, plays a major role in a strong immune system.  If you live in a colder climate, you may go several months without proper sun exposure.  During these times, your immune system can be lowered , making you more susceptible to colds and the flu.

Ok, now that we know about the negative, let's focus on the positive!  It is always nicer to focus on the things we CAN do to IMPROVE our immune system and PREVENT colds and the flu.

Below are my top  ways to boots that immune system:

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables- Fruits and vegetables are LOADED with vitamins and minerals, even antioxidants, that help to keep your immune system strong and working.  One tip on choosing produce, more color = more nutrition!

2. Drink tea (green or herbal)- All tea can be beneficial to your health, but green tea and herbal tea especially have higher concentrations of immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin C.

3. Meditate or practice yoga- This goes right back to reducing stress.  Whether you meditate, practice yoga, or even do both, you are boosting your immune system by pumping your blood and reducing stress!

4. Increase your vitamin D- Also mentioned before, vitamin D can boost your immune system (research)!  If you physically can not get into the sun,  either incorporate some vitamin D fortified foods (i.e. wholesome cereals, OJ, etc.) or find a vegan D3 supplement.

5. Drink plenty of water- Last, but certainly not least, drink plenty of water.  Most of us should aim for a minimum of 2L per day or half your weight (in kg) in ounces of water.  Yes, water...not soda, coffee, tea, juice...straight up water!  For an added boost of vitamin C, squeeze some lemon or lime juice into your water or any other fresh fruit!
Let me know what your favorite way to boost your immune system is (or feel free to add your own!!).

Remember...luana ola, enjoy life!