A cold? The flu?! No way–not us– and not you! 🙂
As registered dietitians and certified personal trainers, we’re fortunate in that we know what it takes to bolster our immune systems– and those things are part of our daily routines. However, we’ll admit, we struggle with number 5 as getting our zzz’s is the toughest for us. And if we ever start to feel a bit run down, the first thing we say to one another is, “Ah! I just need a good night’s sleep and I’ll be back to normal!” 😉
Here are our top five steps for a Bulletproof Immune System:
Do these to prevent that achoooo! from coming from you! 😉
1. Follow our Red, Orange & Green Rule— include one red, green or orange vegetable or fruit in every meal.
If you’ve read our articles or our book The Veggie Cure, you know how we feel about veggies–eating more of them is single-handedly the best thing you can do for your health. When you concentrate on getting one of these colors at each meal, you won’t forget them. Vegetables and fruits are packed with disease-fighting nutrients (antioxidants, phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds) that bolster your body’s immunity, fend off inflammation and protect the body against disease. Getting them regularly (at every meal) means you’re constantly flooding your body with the protection it needs to fight illness and to stay strong.
- And fruits and veggies keep the body healthy, are helpful in achieving a healthy weight, fend off damage from toxins and help to prevent premature aging— so it’s no wonder why we’re constantly getting requests for delicious veggie recipes without high-calorie dressings (that’s why we created our Colorful Detox Salad, our Roasted Detoxifying Veggies, and our Kale Recharge Smoothie)!
- If you’re a broccoli lover, load up. In fact, eat a lot of it and other veggies in the “cruciferous” family like Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale, as they may help to stop viruses from reproducing! Cruciferous veggies contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) which in studies has shown the potential to interfere with the way many viruses reproduce.
Try these easy ways to get more veggies at your meals:
- use nori, collards or lettuce for traditional sandwiches or wraps rather than carb-rich bread
- top baked potatoes with steamed vegetables
- mix pureed canned pumpkin into oatmeal and add cinnamon
- make/ order omelets, sandwiches, pizzas, wraps and burritos with veggies added
Make this immune-boosting lunch to take to work.
2. Get Probiotics–these are the friendly bacteria that your body needs in order to crowd out the harmful bacteria that naturally exist in your digestive tract. Our health begins in our gut so whether you take a probiotic supplement, drink kefir or kombucha, eat yogurt, sauerkraut or kimchi, these food are a great way to add to the good bacteria in your gut. (Seventy to eighty- percent of the cells that make up the immune system are located in your gut, which contains both helpful and harmful microorganisms.)
- When the harmful bacteria outweigh the beneficial ones, your body suffers, causing systemic inflammation, disease, and making you sick (colds, flu, etc.).
- Bolstering your gut with beneficial microorganisms is key to maintaining gut health, stabilizing immune function, and reducing inflammation.
- As you likely know if you’ve read our other posts, we’re big yogurt fans. If you don’t like it straight up…
- You can get more yogurt in our recipes like our:
3. Hydrate! Your body needs water to function at it’s best, and your immune system is no exception.
Staying adequately hydrated can help your body flush out toxins and wastes, helping your immune system to better fight infection. Dehydration can also affect your energy levels, as well as your ability to sleep, which can make you less likely to exercise, which is another trigger for a weakened immune system. If you have trouble hydrating, try these easy water infusions that taste great to encourage drinking and that have restorative nutrients:
- Apple Cider Vinegar Mint “Detox” Drink: Among many great ingredients that help to flush bloat, it’s got mint–we like to think of it as a peace maker in the body It eases indigestion and calms the stomach, likely by improving the flow of bile through the stomach, which helps to speed and ease digestion. Thanks in part to it’s anti-inflammatory antioxidant rosmarinic acid, it “calms your insides” to ease the havoc inside your body!
- Lemon Mint “Detox” Drink: Lemon, mint and ginger flood your body with nutrients that help your body to fight of damage from foreign invaders and free radicals.
- Mixed Citrus Ginger Flush: Packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components to neutralize free radicals including chemicals that can travel through the body and cause damage to healthy cells.
4. Sip on green tea throughout the day.
Green tea is packed with antioxidants called flavonoids, which help to keep your cells healthy. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is also a potent antioxidant found in green tea that has been shown to boost immunity. EGCG has such incredible and broad antiviral effects that is has been proposed to be promising for preventing and treating viral infections such as as SARS and MERS.
Green tea contains l-theanine, which brings on a mental calmness, yet alertness which helps to fight stress and anxiety. When you’re stressed, your immunity is weakened and it’s more likely that you’ll fall prey to colds and flus. L-theanine may help produce T-cells, which help to fight germs. For an added benefit, squeeze lemon into your tea to for an extra vitamin C boost (vitamin C needs increase during times of stress and when you’re fighting flus and colds).
- Get a good night’s rest. The body repairs itself when you sleep. When your body is building its’ strength, it’s bolstering your immune system–you’re ready to fight off colds and flus! Aim for 7-8 hours a night. Pssst…if you know us, call us in the late evening and make sure we’re getting ready to hit the sack, we need a little help with this one! Thanks! 🙂
To get our FREE Guide To Get The Body You Want Even While Eating Pasta click here!