Signs of a Healthy Immune System
You might wonder what the signs of a healthy immune system might look like. Winter brings its share of cold and flu, so it is important time to keep immunity it’s highest.
Here are some signs that your immune system is working how is should:
- You physically feel well.
- You sleep well.
- You manage stress and try to keep it to a minimum.
- If you have a cut or bruise, it heals quickly.
- You recover in a timely manner when you get a cold or flu.
Here are some signs that your immune system may need some tender loving care:
Immune Disorder Symptoms: Fatigue, Rashes, Numbness and Pain (webmd.com)
Lifestyle Habits for a Healthy Immune System
- Eat foods that will help boost your immune system. Choose a colorful diet, eat adequate protein and drink enough water. See below for some immune building nutrients. Choosing meals and snacks that have a lot of plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains which are low in saturated fat is a great way to build a strong immune system.
Limit foods that increase inflammation because it will limit the effectiveness of the immune system. Here is some information on foods that are proinflammatory: Do antioxidants Reduce Inflammation (vineripenutrition.com)
2.Getting enough sleep. During our sleep cycle, our body heals its systems. When we don’t get adequate sleep, our body’s systems wear down. We need our rest, here are a few tips to help you get the shut-eye that you need.
3. Physical activity can have a positive effect on the immune system. Here is a little more about how this happens.
4. Being at a healthy weight may help boost the body’s defense system. A healthy weight is individualized for each of us and many of the health benefits may be because a person is eating a healthy diet, exercising, reducing stress and sleeping adequately. So, the bottom line is work towards the healthy habits and focus less on body size.
5.Managing stress with healthy coping skills can help keep us well by lowering stress levels. Stress can reduce the immune system effectiveness because the stress hormone cortisol is proinflammatory.
Immune Building Nutrients
Nutrients to build a healthy immune system include vitamins C, A and E, zinc and selenium are all healthy choices. Vitamin C foods include kale, peppers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin E foods include nuts, oils, wheat and greens and vitamin A choices are sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and collards.
Vitamin D is an important nutrient for our immune system. This nutrient is a little hardy to get in our diet and sunshine for about 15 minutes a day may help maintain healthy levels, but it is a good idea to get this nutrient tested so you know. Food sources include fortified dairy and other plant-based products and mushrooms.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also important to keep our immunity up and running, fatty fish is one of the best sources of this nutrient, but seaweed and microalgae can be good sources for someone who is vegan.
Nuts, beans, milk and beef are rich in zinc and meat, dairy, grains and eggs contain selenium. The more colorful your diet, the healthier that it is because you are getting a lot of phytonutrients that help keep you healthier. You are what you eat, and this is one of the best things to remember when it comes to staying healthy.
Be Cautious of Costly Products Not Shown to Boost Immune System
It is a good idea to be cautious of many of the products that claim to boost or support immune systems since many may not have been scientifically researched. In addition, they can be quite costly.
Read labels carefully and do your research. Probiotics can do a lot to help build a healthy immune system and the best ones come from food like yogurt, kefir, kombucha and pickled vegetables.
Here is a little bit of information on fermented foods: Fermented Foods and Your Health (vineripenutrition.com)
If you do find that you do come down with a cold, in addition to rest and eating healthy, you also need to drink lots of fluids. With the flu, it may be necessary to seek medical attention and many groups of people may even benefit from a flu shot to prevent getting it.
Immune Happy Tea Recipe
Hot Tea, Honey and Lemon Recipe
Years ago, when I was expecting my son, I got a terrible cold. The nurses at the health clinic where I worked had a tasty remedy. You may already use it but if you don’t, it will help you feel better along with some rest.
Makes 1 cup of tea
1 tea bag (use the tea of your choice)
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
Heat water for tea and let the tea bag steep. Add honey and lemon juice.
Strengthening Your Immune System to Keep it Healthy
I hope some oof these tips will help you boost your immune system, so you stay healthy this winter season! As a registered dietitian nutritionist in Asheville, I believe that food can be a very powerful way to keep you healthy in both the short and long run. You can read more about my services here! You may also be interested in signing up for a Fresh Approach to Eating Programs where you can create a plan to help reduce your risk for inflammation!
In addition, here are some additional posts on our immune system ways to fight inflammation in our bodies and autoimmune conditions:
Do antioxidants Reduce Inflammation (vineripenutrition.com)
Autoimmune Disease and An Anti-inflammatory Diet (vineripenutrition.com)
10 Anti Inflammatory Recipes for Spring – Vine Ripe Nutrition
Plant-based Anti-inflammatory Benefits – Vine Ripe Nutrition
Mediterranean Diet Appalachian Style – Vine Ripe Nutrition
Food for Your Brain Health – Vine Ripe Nutrition