Jul 29, 2020 12:00:59 PM

Simple Daily Recommendations for a Stronger Immune System

Simple Daily Recommendations for a Stronger Immune System - featured image

Your immune system is constantly on high alert, watching for invading pathogens, toxins and allergens. When an unknown substance is detected, a healthy immune system mobilizes its army, eliminates the invader, and health is restored.

A healthy person’s immune response to any infection varies due to differences in genetics, exposure to pathogens, sleep habits, microbiome, exercise, nutrition, gender and age.

It is the cumulative effect of all of your choices that will create your health outcomes. This doesn’t mean that you won’t ever get sick. What it means is that your risk of chronic health conditions is greatly lowered and, in the event that you do get sick, your chances of recovery and avoiding co-morbidities are improved.

My top 5 tips for maintaining a healthy immune system:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Poor nutrition is well known to impair immune function. Statistics show that the average Canadian is deficient in several micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, and other plant chemicals that play important roles in supporting our immune system. Here are a few you should focus on:
  • Vitamin A; important for the maturation of immune cells. Deficiency may increase your risk of developing respiratory infections. Sources: eggs, liver, cheese, full-fat milk, butter and fish as well as orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens.
  • Vitamin C; is a potent antioxidant and helps the immune system by producing T cells which organize the immune response against bacteria and viruses. Sources: peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, kiwi fruit.Pretty young woman with sketched strong and muscled arms
  • Vitamin D; did you know that everyone with COVID-19 who was also tested for Vitamin D has been deficient? Vitamin D is a major immune regulator and plays are particularly important role in preventing respiratory tract infections. Low plasma vitamin D levels is associated with an increase in mortality from respiratory infections in both adults and children. Sources: full-fat dairy products, cod liver oil, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and sunshine!
  • Zinc; almost half of people over the age of 60 don’t get enough zinc from their diet. In addition to this, vegetarians, vegans and those who frequently consume alcohol need to be aware to consume more zinc. Even a mild zinc deficiency can reduce immune function. Sources: whole grains, milk, red meat, oysters, legumes, cashews, almonds.
  • Omega-3’s; these are essential fatty acids that support your immune system by lowering inflammation and have been shown in clinical studies to protect against acute lung injury. Sources: salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, anchovies, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds.
  • Water; drinking plenty of water can help flush out toxins and bacteria, while carrying important nutrients throughout the body.
  • Support gut health; another good reason to eat a whole food, plant-based diet is because it will support your microbiome. The gut microbiome plays a starring role in immunity. Your gut microbes communicate directly with your immune cells, regulate inflammation, and encourage the functions and activities of the immune system.
  • Manage stress: Stress uses up important nutrients that your body needs to manage inflammation and energy and can put a big burden on your immune system. Read my blog post on stress management here: My Blog post on Stress
  • Get enough sleep: Your body needs plenty of rest in order to repair damage on a daily basis. Even partial sleep deprivation can impair immune function. Aim for 7-8 hours and try to keep a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking around the same time every day.
  • Exercise: People who exercise on a regular basis have stronger, healthier bodies that can better fight off infections. If you want to maximize the benefits of your exercise, get outdoors and take a brisk walk in the sunshine and absorb some vitamin D while you’re at it!

Allthough the above recommendations are general for all people, your body and situation may require some assistance from a qualified nutritionist. Please feel able to connect and discuss.

Health and happiness,




Overview of the Immune Response, David D. Chaplin, M.D., Ph.D., J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Feb; 125(2 Suppl 2): S3–23

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