If you’re anything like me, you grew up thinking of “immune boosters” as canned chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, and saltine crackers (ha!)
…but I’m here to tell you there are so many other ways to support your immune health. I am all about being proactive with my immune health instead of reactive, and this quick list will give you super tangible, holistic ideas that you can use to support immunity in your everyday life.
What this post is (…and isn’t)
This post is not at all focused on COVID-19, but will offer more of a general, holistic overview of ideas that you can implement into your life whenever you need a little extra immune support! This post is not a substitute for following recommended health guidelines or seeing your healthcare provider. I just wanted to share some general information on some extra health-promoting goodness to support your immunity whenever you need a little boost. I think you’re going to love it!
Without further ado, let’s dig into 15 holistic ideas that can be implemented to support your immune system + promote overall well-being. Ya ready?
1. Garlic: I mean… who doesn’t love garlic? Not only is it delicious, but garlic has been used for centuries for its properties of empowering the immune system and its antioxidant effects. A 12-week study in nearly 150 people found that supplementing with garlic reduced the incidence of the common cold by about 30%. Delicious and immune-boosting. Bon Appétit!
2. Meditation: While we all know the benefits of meditation for stress management, it’s also great for immunity – specifically, reducing inflammatory processes and increasing cell-mediated immunity. This is kind of random, but one of my meditation pro tips is to throw on a Primally Pure face mask and meditate while the mask sets in. 2-for-1 self-care goodness!
3. Echinacea: Numerous studies have correlated this powerhouse herb with shortening the duration and severity of colds and other upper respiratory infections. You can have this in tincture form, but I prefer having this tea when I feel a cold coming on.
4. Chaga mushroom: My personal opinion… chaga is basically the superwoman of the mushroom fam. It’s overflowing with antioxidants, insanely good for fighting free-radical damage and boosting your immune system. I generally try to have this packet of chaga powder 2 times a week for general wellness (mixed into a smoothie, my matcha, etc.) but when I feel a little cold sneaking up on me… this is my absolute go-to for a quick, effective immune bolster!
5. Sauna: One study found that taking saunas for 20 minutes per day for 7 days reduced cortisol and boosted immune markers in participants. My husband and I have a simple little sauna in our backyard and it is one of my favorite health-promoting rituals!
6. Sleep: Okay, okay, you’ve heard it before, but seriously, please don’t overlook the power of a good night’s sleep in supporting your immune function. If you’re ready to uplevel your sleep, feel free to check out one of my most popular freebies “The Holistic Guide to Deeper, Dreamier Sleep.”
7. Vitamin D3: Of course I knew that vitamin C was important—but I had zero clue just how crucial vitamin D was for optimal immune function. Studies have shown that people with vitamin D deficiency are 11 times more likely to get a cold or flu… not only that, those who supplemented vitamin D reduced colds and flu by 42%. Adding vitamin D may be a good idea for your immune system, but as always check with your doctor first!
8. Gut health: Did you know that approximately 70 to 80 percent of the immune system is in the gut? Support your natural microflora and immune cell production by taking probiotics and eating fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.
9. Vitamin C: While I am very open to supplements, I first turn to natural food sources for needed nutrients. If you’ve been following along on insta, you’ll know I have a warm lemon water every single AM to kick off my hydration + digestion. An added bonus? Lemons + other citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C. (Other great dietary sources of vitamin C include red bell peppers, kiwi, broccoli, and spinach.)
10. Reishi mushroom: Due to their work as an “immune modulator,” reishi mushrooms can help restore homeostasis and promote immune function. This mushroom is packed with antioxidants and is shown to be anti-inflammatory in nature. Not to mention, this mushroom is incredibly calming and something that I turn to in moments of overwhelm. My husband drinks this reishi hot cacao before bed and he calls it his “zen in a pouch.” Relaxing, delicious, and great for immunity.
11. Primally Pure hand sanitizer: It’s no secret that regular hand washing and clean hands are great for protecting us from germs. Unfortunately, most hand sanitizers on the market are full of unnecessary chemicals and additives. I have LOVED using Primally Pure’s all-natural hand sanitizer to protect myself from germs while using natural, beautiful, effective ingredients.
12. Turmeric: This beautiful, bold, yellow spice is proven to have antioxidant effects, reduce both chronic and acute inflammation, do wonders for your digestion, annnnnd inhibit the growth of a variety of bacteria, pathogenic fungi, and parasites. You can find my 3 different recipes for a nourishing, calming turmeric latte here. (pssssst: I bet you have alll the needed ingredients in your kitchen right now, *wink*).
13. Cold showers: While it may not seem like the most ~relaxing~ idea, turning the water to very cold for the last few minutes of your shower is a super simple and impactful way to stimulate immune health. This one took me a while to get used to, but now I genuinely look forward to the uplifting boost of a few minutes of cold therapy.
14. Elderberry: Mmmmmm, elderberry. Another immune go-to of mine. Traditionally used to treat influenza and colds, elderberry is associated with counteracting oxidative stress and aiding the immune system. I personally use this tincture for a little immune boost!
15. Stress Management: Long-term stress can cause inflammation, as well as weakening of the immune system. Here are 8 Simple + Grounding Rituals for Peace you can implement to manage your stress and subsequently support your immunity.
There you have it! 15 simple, natural ideas to support your immune health during this time. What did you think? Are you implementing any of these already?
While there are never any guarantees with health, I am all about doing everything within my power to cultivate a vibrant, healthy, vital life – and that includes supporting my immune system. In my opinion, it’s always wise to treat our bodies well + support our body’s natural immunity, but especially now. I hope this post helps you do that!
Follow along with Kate on Instagram or binge The Foundation Blog for even more holistic (and realistic) wellness + lifestyle inspo.