Now more than ever, it’s essential to keep your immune system strong. We are forced indoors in cubicles all day, breathing in each other’s stale air. Then, there’s the spread of pandemics these last few years, like Ebola and the COVID-19 coronavirus. Our immune system has a lot to contend with; so, the best way to go about life is with your dukes up. Here are ten ways to boost your immune system.
- 1 How to Boost Your Immune System
- 2 Resources
How to Boost Your Immune System
There’s more to boosting your immune system than popping an Emergen-C or eating an orange. Many factors are at play that impede your immune system. Your body needs you to tend to them all.
Otherwise, you run the risk of something slipping through the cracks. This “something” typically comes in the form of a free radical or bacterial overgrowth. Boosting your immune system is a well-rounded approach to wellness. Here are some tips to boost your immune system that you can easily implement into your day-to-day routine.
Cut Out Allergens
A significant reason why we get sick is that our immune system is already pretty worn out. So many commercial foods are made with potential allergens in them. As the world of food production gets more contaminated with hormones, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the more likely these allergic reactions are going to occur. The top two allergens in food are gluten and dairy.
For many of us, gluten causes our body to produce zonulin . Zonulin is an enzyme that allows for nutrients in the small intestine to permeate back into the system. Unfortunately, if we’re still consuming these gluten-laden foods, that means whole food particles are entering the bloodstream.
These undigested particles don’t commute with the receptors on blood cells. So, this awkward interaction causes the immune system cells to spark inflammation. So, if you are sensitive to gluten and eat a lot of it, your immune system will be compromised.
Unfortunately, getting rid of gluten isn’t just cutting out in bread. Gluten is in everything from toothpaste to soup stock. Learn about 10 items you had no idea contained gluten.
We are the only mammals to do two things–drink milk past infancy and consume another mammal’s milk. Adult bodies have not evolved to break down lactose properly. Up to 50% of adults are lactose intolerant .
Furthermore, many of the cows are fed hormones and antibiotics. The hormones are so that the female cows stay in a continuous pregnant state. That way, they always produce milk. They are also given antibiotics as a preventative treatment.
We emphasis “preventative” because the cows don’t even need the antibiotics. However, they eventually will because their udders are going to become damaged from milking machines. Since it’s inevitable, the cows are administered antibiotics to fight off seemingly inevitable infections. We then consume that dairy, higher our risk of antibiotic resistance.
Eat More Fruits and Veggies
The greatest support we can lend our immune system are antioxidants. They fight off the growth of free radicals that can cause the spread of disease. Our most significant sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables.
There are many types of antioxidants. Each helps boost your immune system in their own particular way. So, the most efficient way to boost your immune system with fruits and vegetables is to eat the rainbow.
Adding a variety of colors into your diet will ensure you are getting optimal nutrition. That’s because each fruit and vegetable get their color from a specific group of antioxidants. So, more diverse colors mean a more robust immune system.
Diffuse Essential Oils
For centuries, our ancestors would put herbs, fruits, and vegetables into medicines. Many would heat the item, causing its flesh, leaves, or stems to release aromatic molecules. These molecules are known as terpenes, and they have amazing healing properties.
Essential oils have the ability to bypass networks to get the central nervous system. So, their essence can hijack a lot of conversations in the brain. That’s why many studies confirm that essential oils can help boost your immune system .
Some of the best essential oils to boost your immune system include:
- Tea Tree
You can also add essential oils to a carrier oil and apply to your skin. This practice is an excellent to rejuvenate your skin naturally while simultaneously boosting your immune system.
Get More Sleep
Sometimes our immune system needs a break. That means it requires us to shut off our brains, stop moving around, forget interacting with others, and get some Zs!
During our sleep hours, the immune system can regroup. That way, it can best serve you once again when you’re back awake. However, if you’re up all night tossing and turning, your immune cells are along for the ride.
Not to mention, your immune cells work better when you are sleeping. Researchers found that being awake promotes the production of neurotransmitter norepinephrine .
This hormone interferes with microglial cells. These are immune cells that work on the brain. So, being awake stops immune cells from helping our brain cells repair themselves.
We sit down up to 6.5 hours per day . Living such sedentary lives sets us up for weight gain and cardiovascular disease. You don’t need to be a doctor to realize that these will all hurt your immune system.
Simply put, if you want to boost your immune system, start exercising. Movement causes the heart to work harder. Therefore, oxygenated blood cells will make it to more areas of the body. In turn, debris and other potential immune suppressors get flushed out of the system.
There’s no denying that life can be quite stressful. Whenever we experience stress, we get elevated levels of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine causes the angsty adrenaline we feel when we’re stressed. However, stress also causes cortisol production.
Cortisol is our fight-or-flight mode. So, it creates a constant state of feeling like you have to react. When stress becomes chronic, it makes it harder for other hormones to influence the system. In turn, we might not produce enough melatonin to help us sleep through the night or enough reproductive hormones to be intimate with a loved one. Not meeting these needs will suppress the immune system.
So, try meditation out. Not only will you clear your mind, but you’ll become more in tune with your body’s needs. That way, you might be able to draw energy to areas that need TLC and perhaps thwart off the growth of an illness.
Gardening is an excellent way to boost your immune system on so many levels. For one, it gets your outside.
The outdoors contains the sun, our greatest source of Vitamin D. This essential vitamin is a catalyst for many benefits. For one, it plays a role in how our immune system responds to invaders.
One analysis of Vitamin D and its influence on the immune system noted,
“Researchers found vitamin D caused dendritic cells to produce more of a molecule called CD31 on their surface and that this hindered the activation of T cells .”– University of Edinburgh
Dendritic cells carry toxins into the system. By causing more CD31 to grow, it inhibited the antigen cell from latching onto other cells. Scientists noted that these reactions lessened immune response.
Microbes in Soil
Also, being in a garden exposes you to microbes in the soil. As they say, “some kids need to roll around in the dirt.” So, do adults.
One study found that six weeks of clean bedding was more likely to cause asthma in mice than those who had bedding made of soil . They found that animals who are accustomed to soil produce more of an enzyme called A20.
Furthermore, these microbiomes had higher levels ofBacteroidetes than Firmicutes stomach bacteria in the system. Subsequently, people who have asthma tend to have low levels of those two microbial phyla.
Get More Fruits and Veggies
Not only does the act of gardening boost your immune system, but so does consuming the fruits of your labor…literally. The end result is one of the other hacks on this list. So, you complete multiple tasks in one!
Just as you exchange bacteria with the soil when you garden, you do the same when coming into personal contact with another human.
While swapping spit can get you sick, it can also boost your immune system.
An analysis of the immune-boosting properties associated with sex found,
“112 college students reported the frequency of their sexual encounters and were divided into four categories: none, infrequent (less than once a week), frequent (one to two times per week), and very frequent (three or more times per week). Participants also described their overall sexual satisfaction. Saliva samples were collected and assayed for salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA). Individuals in the frequent group showed significantly higher levels of IgA than the other three groups, which were comparable .”– Psychol Rep.
IgA are antibodies your immune system creates. They help fight off sickness. So, having a sufficient level of them is never a bad thing, especially when you’re heading into cough and cold season.
Change Your Shower Routine
We’re too clean. If you want to boost your immune system, you need to allow it time to build up. Allow a little bit of dirt to get in the system so your immune cells can fight it off.
When you do shower, end it on a cold note. One study found that switching from hot to cold water up to 90 seconds at the end of your shower can lower your chances of getting sick by 29% .
Approximately 70% to 80% of our immune cells are generated in the gut . So, we need to make sure that the first live beings they meet are the beneficial kind. The best way to assure this is through probiotics.
If you allow harmful stomach bacteria to reign supreme, it will cause chronic inflammation.
Therefore, new immune cells don’t even stand a chance. They’re get scorched before they know what hits them.
So, get your gut tested with the Thryve Inside At-Home Gut Test. Based on those results, we will recommend a custom probiotic supplement for your specific gut biome.
Then, we help you find recipes chock full of fruits and veggies that you will surely love.
 Fasano A. (2012). Zonulin, regulation of tight junctions, and autoimmune diseases. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1258(1), 25–33. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06538.x
 “Lactose Intolerance: Information for Health Care Providers.” U.S. Department of Health and Social Services , Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development , Jan. 2006, www.nichd.nih.gov/sites/default/files/publications/pubs/documents/NICHD_MM_Lactose_FS_rev.pdf.
 Peterfalvi, A., Miko, E., Nagy, T., Reger, B., Simon, D., Miseta, A., Czéh, B., & Szereday, L. (2019). Much More Than a Pleasant Scent: A Review on Essential Oils Supporting the Immune System. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(24), 4530. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24244530
 Stowell, Rianne D., et al. “Noradrenergic Signaling in the Wakeful State Inhibits Microglial Surveillance and Synaptic Plasticity in the Mouse Visual Cortex.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 21 Oct. 2019, www.nature.com/articles/s41593-019-0514-0.
 Searing, Linda. “The Big Number: The Average U.S. Adult Sits 6.5 Hours a Day. For Teens, It’s Even More.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 28 Apr. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-big-numberthe-average-us-adult-sits-65-hours-a-day-for-teens-its-even-more/2019/04/26/7c29e4c2-676a-11e9-a1b6-b29b90efa879_story.html.
 University of Edinburgh. “Vitamin D Study Sheds Light on Immune System Effects.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 17 Apr. 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190417111440.htm.
 Ottman, Noora, et al. “Soil Exposure Modifies the Gut Microbiota and Supports Immune Tolerance in a Mouse Model.” The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, Volume 143, Issue 3, Pages 1198–1206.e12, Mar. 2019, www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(18)30934-5/fulltext.
 Charnetski, Carl J, and Francis X Brennan. “Sexual Frequency and Salivary Immunoglobulin A (IgA).” Psychological Reports, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15217036.
 Buijze, G. A., Sierevelt, I. N., van der Heijden, B. C., Dijkgraaf, M. G., & Frings-Dresen, M. H. (2016). The Effect of Cold Showering on Health and Work: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PloS one, 11(9), e0161749. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0161749
 Vighi, G., Marcucci, F., Sensi, L., Di Cara, G., & Frati, F. (2008). Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clinical and experimental immunology, 153 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), 3–6. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.x