With the upcoming winter season being filled with uncertainties, we understandably want to put our best foot forward and prepare our bodies to be in tip top illness-fighting shape.
And the best way to put up your best defenses against illnesses, viruses, diseases, and harmful invaders of all kinds is to keep your immune system optimized at all times.
One common misconception about immunity is that you should focus only on swallowing as many handfuls of kale as you can and downing elderberry syrup by the bottle. In reality, leading an immune-boosting lifestyle has a lot more to do with a healthy balance of the foods you eat as well as the foods you avoid.
Your immune system really doesn't require much! All it asks for is a combination of healthy lifestyle choices combined with avoiding certain immune weakening habits.
Are you curious about what some of these eating habits that can wreak havoc on your immune system might be? Let's have a closer look at six common mistakes you should probably avoid at all costs if you want to keep your defenses high this winter.
If you want to feel your absolute best and stay healthy, there are few foods that score higher on the immunity and nutrition scale than dark, leafy greens. Green vegetables are packed with essential immune-boosting vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, folate, and vitamins C, K, A, E, and many more.
Some of the most nutrient-dense green vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy, and chard can also optimize immunity stemming from the gut. Why is this important? You may be surprised to learn that over 70% of your immune system's cells are produced in your gut!
Although it may seem like an innocent decision to finish everything on your dinner plate besides your vegetables, your immunity will thank you for reconsidering next time you toss those veggies aside.
And since we know that trying to fit in all of your daily greens each day is pretty hard, we've also formulated our Primal Greens super greens formula to support you and help you maximize your immune defenses. One scoop per day contains 50+ superfood ingredients like chlorella and wheatgrass, as well as immune-boosting probiotics, digestive enzymes, and adaptogenic mushrooms.
Have you ever had too many cups of coffee in a day only to find yourself unable to fall asleep at night? Overdoing it on caffeinated beverages can have a negative effect on your sleep quality, which in turn, can wreak havoc on your immune system. This is because deep REM sleep is an essential time when your body repairs and regenerates, optimizing immunity and bodily function.
Although caffeinated beverages like coffee and green tea can be beneficial for your health due to their antioxidant content, it's important to pay attention to your caffeine tolerance and not consume caffeine past the early afternoon. This way, you can still enjoy a good night's rest and maximize your immune defenses while you sleep.
Herbal teas and green tea are also great alternatives, since green tea is rich in polyphenols, a plant compound and antioxidant that may help support immunity and healthy inflammatory responses in the body.
Be sure to say goodbye to caffeinated sodas and sugary energy drinks that offer little to no nutritional support and usually contain artificial chemicals and sweeteners.
You likely don't need to go completely booze free if you want to keep your immune system strong, but studies show that the less alcohol you consume, the better! A glass of wine or beer here and there is generally considered okay for healthy adults, but drink in moderation and be sure to stay hydrated by sipping on water between drinks.
Studies have shown that excessive alcohol consumption, even for a short time, can severely weaken your immune system. This can put you at a much greater risk of getting sick and slow down your body’s recovery from infections and illness.
According to one paper published in the Alcohol Research journal, there has been a long and well-noted relationship between excessive alcohol consumption and lowered immune responses.
Did you know that only about 5% of American adults get enough fiber each today (at least 25 grams daily for women and 38 grams for men)? Fiber has many essential health-supporting roles, but it's especially important for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Fiber can help boost your immune defenses and overall mood by supporting the healthy bacteria in your gut, where much of your immune cells reside.
Try adding more fibrous foods to your diet to give your immune system some extra support, such as broccoli, carrots, nuts, seeds, sweetcorn, lentils, black beans, and other legumes.
Consuming too much salt isn't only counterproductive for your overall health, but it may also harm your immune system. Recent studies are now finding that a salt-heavy diet may cause the kidneys to excrete too much sodium and lower the body’s ability to fight infections.
According to the CDC, at least 70% of Americans adults' sodium intake each day comes from processed foods. This means that the easiest way to boost your immunity naturally is to avoid overly processed foods as much as possible, and to stick mostly to a plant-based, whole foods diet. This means avoiding salty chips, canned soups, frozen dinners, frozen pizzas, and other salty junk foods as much as possible.
Artificial sugar may be one of the top immune-destroying food ingredients, according to most researchers. This is because when you overload your body with sugar, the effectiveness of your infection-fighting white blood cells may decrease by up to 50%, according to one study by Loma Linda University. This immediate weakening of your immunity can even last up to 5 hours.
Whenever possible, try to limit added sugar, the type that is added to foods by manufacturers, and opt for natural sweeteners like stevia or agave syrup instead. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day for women, and nine teaspoons per day for men.
IT'S ABOUT YOU. IT'S ABOUT YOUR HEALTH. IT'S ABOUT RECONNECTING.