Building Immune Strength

During cold, flu and allergy seasons, the best defense is a good offense – a strong, healthy immune system. When the immune system is working properly, the body can defend against those things that want to make us sick.

So what does this look like?

Eat real, whole, nutrient dense food, like pastured grass-fed meat, poultry and eggs, and organic fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables not only contain tons of the vitamins and minerals we need, they also have what are called phytonutrients. Probably the most well-known phytonutrient is beta-carotene, found in orange and yellow fruits and veggies. Phytonutrients play a huge role in keeping us healthy, and only come from plants. One of my favorites is quercetin – it helps me enormously with respiratory/allergy symptoms. It’s found in green leafy vegetables, red onions, apples, broccoli and others.

Additionally, pay special attention to foods containing immune-supporting vitamins, like vitamin C, which is found in citrus fruits, strawberries, red bell peppers, kiwi, broccoli and cauliflower, cantaloupe and others. Vitamin A is found in both plant and animal foods, in precursor form. These include liver, egg yolks and dairy products, as well as yellow, orange and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin D is found in fatty fish, while vitamin E is found in almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, hazelnut broccoli and spinach. Vitamins A, D and E are all fat soluble, which means that they need to be eaten with some fat for best absorption.

Garlic and ginger are both especially helpful to the immune system. Garlic stimulates certain immune cells, and large doses of fresh ginger have antiviral properties. So eat up!

Avoid processed, refined, junk foods and sugar. These often provide less nutrition than they require for processing and when you’re trying to build the immune system, those nutrients are key.


You’ve probably been hearing a lot about washing your hands for at least 20 seconds – it’s still the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Be sure to get between the fingers and under the nails. But did you know that the friction of rubbing your hands together is where the magic happens? When that friction is created, oils, dirt and germs are loosened, so they can be washed down the drain. And hand sanitizer… rub that for 20 seconds too, to create that friction. It needs to be at least 60% alcohol, and the alcohol needs to dry on your skin – don’t rub it off. Use hand sanitizer in a pinch, but good old soap and water is still your best bet.

Get plenty of sleep. When we’re sleeping is when the body repairs itself. Compounds that fight infection and inflammation are released, but not so much when we’re sleep deprived.

Move! Walk, work out, do yoga – whatever. Moderate exercise stimulates the lymphatic system, which contains immune cells. But don’t overdo it – that can actually decrease immunity.

Relax! Almost every person who comes to my office has symptoms of being overly stressed out. In that condition, the body releases a number of stress hormones, including cortisol. Excess cortisol wreaks havoc all over the place, including weakening the immune system . Take the time to enjoy your life. Rest when you’re tired. Laugh. Connect with your loved ones. All of these things help to dampen the stress response.

Take care of your gut health. A large part of the immune system is located there. The good news – all of the immune-boosting tips above have a positive effect on the gut.

Bottom line: the healthier your lifestyle, the stronger your immune system.





Hi, I'm Kris

I help busy professional women overcome fatigue, headaches, brain fog and other bothersome symptoms, so that, coming from a foundation of optimal health, they can excel in their professional and personal lives.. 

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