If you're someone who would like to balance your immune system naturally, and keep it that way year round, then this is going to be the most interesting message you will ever read.
Our body's natural state is health. So it be a surprise that it doesn't take a whole lot to maintain a strong immune system.
A balanced immune system is resilient immune system - able to overcome anything that comes your way.
It's like an invisible bodyguard that's working in the background. It'll allow you to do all the things you love to do, fighting off enemies without you ever even knowing about it.
Now, that's peace of mind.
Read on to learn the 5 ways you can balance your immune system year round - the natural way.
1. Get Quality Sleep
You're probably thinking, "yeah, yeah, I know."
But I'm not going to tell you to get more sleep. Instead, I'm telling you to get the scientific minimum...
At least 7 hours. Anything over this is your 'added bonus.'
Of course, more can be better. But there's really no point in aiming for 8 hrs and then beating yourself up when you can't be perfect about it.
Seven is your sweet spot to keep stress hormones low and support a healthy immune system. But the real factor here isn't actually the hours of sleep...
Perspective shift: It's the sleep in the hours.
That's right. The higher the quality of sleep you can cram into each hour, the better you'll strengthen the immune system.
Here's actionable tips to improve your sleep quality...
- Get it dark - this means cutting out unnecessary lights and eliminating the blue light emitted from screens 2 hours before bed. If you absolutely must be on a screen before bed, get the app called Flux. It take's the blue light out of your screens on the same timeline as the sun in your specific location.
- Get it cold - sleep at 69 degrees or lower. To reach deep sleep, the body temp must drop slightly. A cold room helps this process along. If your partner is not having it, you're going to want to consider a Chilipad.
- Let yourself unwind each night - everything having to do with quality sleep is associative. So it's wise to have a routine that'l tell your brain, "it's now time to fall into our natural sleep cascade." Every night, drink your magnesium, have some sleep tea, or take a hot bath - whatever it is for you. The consistency is the key.
- You may even want to consider these additional options: a sleep mask, a white noise machine, or Blue Blocker shades.
For our full guide to a better night's sleep, check out our other article called:
2. Move Often
Humans were designed to move. When you exercise regularly, you'll naturally boost the immune system.
And it's no secret why this happens. Stress applied to the body creates a response to build back stronger.
After those rigorous exercise sessions, your body ramps up all of its natural healing and protective properties to build a more robust system.
But do know this...while regular exercise supports a healthy immune system, if you actually have a cold - then go easy.
When you're feeling under the weather, a light and easy walk can stimulate the immune system in a positive way.
Just don't make it too intense. A strenuous exercise session temporarily overloads the system and it may take longer to get over your cold.
3. Up Your Nutrient Density
Perspective shift: It's not about how many calories are in the foods we eat, it's about how many nutrients are actually in the food we eat.
A nutrient-dense, whole-food, and balanced diet is the best way to give your immune system everything it needs to maintain proper functioning.
The more phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and polyphenols you cram into your eating plan from real food, the more you'll support your total body health.
These foods work to support a positive impact on the immune system. So here's what you're going to want to load up on:
- Plenty of fruits like berries, kiwi, apples, melon, and more.
- LOTS of green veggies like kale, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, spinach and others. Not only will you get all the phytonutrients you need, but it'll come with beneficial fiber types for a healthy gut.
- Bonus nutrients from organic superfood greens powders. Look at these as an addition to your daily greens intake, not a replacement.
- Matcha tea. This superfood tea is loaded with 10x the antioxidants of regular green tea. It's loaded with naturally detoxifying chlorophyll, rich in health promoting catechins, and full of beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols.
- Gut health foods. 70-80% of the cells that make up the immune system reside in the gut. This is because the primary way we interact with our environment is through the food we eat. Besides eating a variety of fruits and for a variety of beneficial fiber types for gut health, you may want to consider supplementing with collagen (of course, check with your physician first). Collagen helps support gut health for additional immune health. Fermented foods like sauerkraut can be excellent to include as well for natural probiotics.
- Immune supporting supplements. Consider vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc. Even with honest attempts at eating the most nutrient dense foods, you may still need some help optimizing these 3 key immune supporting nutrients. So be sure to work with your qualified physician and get these dialed.
4. Enjoy Natural Light
Spending some of your time outside each day has major benefits for a more balanced immune system.
First, getting outside is crucial to produce natural vitamin D from the sun. This is one of the most important immune supporting nutrients.
Second, a major factor of improving sleep each night has to do with how much natural light you're exposed to during your day.
Our circadian clock needs the light contrast between day and night. And if we sit inside all day, we don't get a pronounced difference between light and dark.
Inside lighting lumens are just not bright enough. But outside, even on a cloudy day, you'll get way more lumens. It's a major contrast.
Staying inside all day isn't natural and having a contrast of daylight and night time is what helps your brain dial in higher quality sleep at night.
When you combine the vitamin d production and the improved sleep, you get major benefits for a more balanced immune system.
Even if these benefits don't have you convinced, here's one more...
Regularly getting outside each day will give you some fresh air. This an immune boost in itself since we don't have to filter the germs from recycled air that we're constantly exposed to while indoors.
5. Stress Less
Chronic stress takes a major toll on our gut health. Over time, it can begin to erode the gut lining.
Since the connection between gut health and the immune system seems highly correlated, runaway stress leads to a weakened immune response.
Having stress management practices in place are key.
You may not be able to control what's causing the stress, but you can control how you react to it.
Here are 3 ways you can instantly change your state to a more positive mood with less stress:
- breath - focusing on breathing in through the nose and slightly longer exhale through the mouth.
- gratitude - feeling gratitude for something small, like the wind in your face or that you're alive!
- the words we say to ourselves - self talk.
You can use these 5 easy-to-implement ways to balance the immune system, naturally.
The reality is that a whole food diet and a few simple lifestyle strategies will help you thrive.
Which one of these are you willing to implement this week?
Written by Brett - Nutrition & Health Coach / Co-Founder of Moontower Matcha
Brett has worked for the last 10 years with thousands of individuals one-on-one to achieve their own health and fitness goals.
His mission is to share healthy habits, real-world solutions, and comprehensive strategies around nutrition, movement, sleep, and stress management to help guide individuals to the results they desire most.