Boost Your Immunity

By Unite Fitness Retreat Dietician, Brooke Bouwhuis, RDN

Beyond hand washing, social isolation, travel restrictions and kiddos home from school –Take a deep breath – what can we do to improve our immune health?

What we eat plays a huge role in how well our immune system works.

Give your body good things that fuel life and healing and strength result.

It’s no secret that sugar and processed food is inflammatory and wrecks your immune system.  Studies have shown that when we consume 75-100 grams (20 tsp) of sugar in a sitting it decreases the amount of white blood cells that kill bacteria and germs by 40-50%. This decreased immunity begins within 30 minutes and can last up to 4-5 hours.  Shoppers hoarding Pop Tarts, Fruity Pebbles, frozen waffles and soda easily hit that 20 tsp mark with a single meal or snack.  These foods furiously suppress your immune system.

75% of all processed food on a grocery store floor has sugar added to it.  It’s cheap, delicious and wrecks our immune system.  This past weekend we went on an adventure to see the status of the grocery store.  We went to a Walmart Supercenter just to see what was left from the crisis buying (which I will fully admit I was part of).  If Top Ramen, pasta or pasta sauce was on your list it was extremely thin pickings.  Processed white flour or sugar, Jell-O, puddings and canned soups are out of luck until the next delivery arrives.  Anything on the cold and flu isle was obliterated so call a neighbor for Mucinex or a shot of NyQuil.

If you needed whole grain bread with fiber and protein it was there.  If you wanted frozen berries or frozen cauliflower, it was there.  If you needed milk or eggs, almonds, or dark chocolate they still had some.  Oranges, blueberries, bananas, onions, garlic and cabbage were on the shelves.

More tips to boost your immune system:

  • The cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, arugula and kale) are serious game players when it comes to boosting your immune system.  Not only does the fiber help your sewer system scootch the crud out but those foods contain the compounds which are used to create glutathione, the liver’s number one detoxifying antioxidant.
  • If you feel sick, stay away from people.  Get the rest you need and for most of us we will be just fine.
  • Water – drink plenty all day every day.  It’s cheap, clean and easy to find.  Drinking water boosts the immune system because your body doesn’t have to fight dehydration.  Your blood can be filtered properly allowing your kidneys to work their magic keeping toxins out of your blood and you body able to fight off invaders.
  • Exercise promotes good circulation, clears the lymph system, boosts immunity, and is just an all-around excellent habit.  It helps us deal with stress, allows us to sleep better and builds muscle which burns calories.  Improving our health is a system and exercise is part of building a stronger system.
  • Getting enough sleep is critical to staying strong and healthy.  If we don’t allow our bodies enough time to rebuild and rejuvenate each night, it’s so much easier to get sick. Having good sleep habits with a routine before bed, getting 6-8 hours, and limiting caffeine so you can wind down.

Stay safe and healthy my friends!