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4 Simple Ways to Boost Your Family's Immunity
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4 Simple Ways to Boost Your Family's Immunity

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With the colder months on their way, fall is the perfect time to start boosting your family's immunity. As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure! So make a cup of ginger tea, get cozy and let’s get into it.

Immunity is your body's ability to fight off bacteria, germs, and other nasties that could make you ill. And what happens when your immunity is low? Well, your body then struggles to fight off viruses or bacteria and as a result you, or your loved ones, can experience illness.  

There are a number of things that cause a weak immune system (and this is by no means an exhaustive list), but a few of the common ones are:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Exhaustion
  • Not enough hydration
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol intake
  • Excess sugar

We know life can be busy and sometimes we all go into survival mode, but the health of you and your family is an investment you should care deeply about. So if you’re asking yourself ‘what can I do to boost immunity?’, look no further.

 

1. Introduce Gut Healthy Foods

Health really does come from the inside. So the best place to start when trying to improve an immune system is to start with the gut. Did you know that 70% of the immune system is located in the gut?! This is thanks to all the millions of good bacteria found in our microbiome (the unique community of microorganisms living in your gut). When there are not enough good bacteria and too many bad bacteria, our bodies struggle to keep our immunity soldiers in tip-top shape. So here are some ways you can boost the health of this all-important environment.

Buy organic

We know these can come at a higher price, but look at it as much more reliable health insurance! When we don’t purchase organic, our foods can be laced with toxins, pesticides, and a host of nasty chemicals which enter our systems and wreak havoc with our hormones, microbiome, and nervous systems. Change is a process, so we’re not advocating throwing everything in your kitchen away and starting from scratch, but the next time you head to the supermarket, try filling your cart with some organic produce.

Introduce fermented foods

Fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, and probiotic yogurt (to name a few) are absolute superstars when it comes to gut health! They are full of the good bacteria your gut is looking for, easier to digest, and have antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory health benefits. In addition, when our foods are fermented their health potential increases by making the vitamins and minerals they provide more available for our bodies to absorb. 

Spices like turmeric, cayenne, thyme, cinnamon, ginger, and garlic are also so good in keeping inflammation and bad bacteria at bay, so why not incorporate them in more cozy dishes, soups, and teas? 

 

2. Exercise

We don’t need to repeat how vital movement is for a healthy body, but even as we slow down and spend more time indoors, there’s good reason to make exercise a priority. When we exercise, our white blood cells circulate more rapidly which means they can detect illnesses earlier, and in more places than they might have before. It also helps clear bacteria from your airways and reduces the stress hormone cortisol (more on that later). We know it might take more motivation, but your body will thank you, and so will your family when they're not all bundled up with snotty noses instead of ice-skating with their friends.

 

3. Supplements

When our diets are not balanced, we can be deficient in certain vitamins. There are too many to discuss in this one brief blog, but the ones to focus on as the season shifts are:

  • Vitamin C as it is one of the most potent immune-promoting nutrients and can be found in broccoli, strawberries, citrus, and dark leafy greens. You may want to supplement it during the winter months, but ensure you include zinc with it as zinc aids its absorption (while sugar inhibits its absorption). 
  • Vitamin D is one of the most common deficiencies among people in winter (as the majority of our vitamin D comes from the sun), so a high-quality supplement may be beneficial. Other good sources are egg yolks, liver, and cold-water fish.

Fun fact: Sugar, refined carbs, alcohol, tobacco, and trans-fats are all known as ‘Immuno-Supressors’. They can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from our foods and make it hard for our immune systems to do their jobs. So if you do feel that cold kicking in, try to limit your intake of these for a quicker recovery. It may be hard to convince your kids to give up the candy, but help them understand how these items interact with their body and they may be more willing.

 

4. Self-Care & Rest

Stress and exhaustion are two big factors when it comes to compromised immunity. Sleep deprivation can make adults more susceptible to illness by reducing infection-fighting antibodies and cells, and stress produces excess cortisol which has been shown to suppress our immune system's effectiveness in fighting off those nasties.

As adults we require roughly 8 hours of sleep, an infant may require up to 16 hours, toddlers should have 11 to 14 hours, and preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours. This may not always be realistic but feeling sleep-deprived should be the exception, not the rule. And for all our newborn moms out there, just do your best, it will get easier!

If sleep escapes you, try incorporating moments of rest and self-care where your body can deeply relax to avoid those cortisol spikes. This could mean taking a bath with a scented candle, trying meditation, going for a quiet walk, or using essential oils.

 

At the end of the day, health is about balance. So add more clean, whole foods to your diet, limit immuno-suppressors like sugar, move your body, get enough rest, and if need be, offer your body some support in the form of high-quality supplements.

We hope you found value in this article! If so, share it with others and send us some love on socials @thejmkcollection

 

This article is not intended to provide any medical advice. Please consult a medical practitioner before implementing any changes listed above.