We all want to care for our families in the best way possible. We are the caretakers, the nurturers, and the one who suffers when others don’t feel well. One way we can really up our game in this area is to be learning everyday on what can actually help our body rather than hinder it.
Before you gloss over and think this post will be all about essential oils – hang with me – I am going to share with you what my family uses to help support our immune system – and they are NOT essential oils!
You already know how much I love them and many of the ways we incorporate them, but hey – they are not the be-all-end-all for system support! I have some other goodies in my mom toolbox to care for my family, especially during the winter months. Be sure to check with your own physician to decide what is best for you and your family.
#1: Get Enough Sleep and Manage Stress
Sleep deprivation, which is more common today than ever before, and the addition of stress actually increases the hormone cortisol. Prolonged elevation of cortisol actually ends up suppressing immune function. Um, no thank you!
#2: Avoid Refined Sugar
Besides getting enough sleep, avoiding refined sugar is next on the list. Sugar attacks your body and reduces its ability to fight off infection.
EATING ANY KIND OF SUGAR HAS THE POTENTIAL TO REDUCE YOUR BODY’S DEFENSES BY 75% OR MORE FOR FOUR TO SIX HOURS. (source)
#3: Eat Fresh Fruit and Veggies
Fresh is always best. As a norm, the diet we eat is seriously lacking on important nutrients and minerals. When we cook foods or eat processed versions, it even lowers what our body actually gains from eating. So rather than just get a bunch of empty calories, be sure to eat raw fruits and vegetables to equip your body.
#4: Drink Plenty of Water
Our body craves water and when it becomes dehydrated we are unable to keep flushing out the stuff we don’t want to keep in! I love having a glass water bottle (I even got my six year old a smaller size too!) that I can take anywhere. It is not leaching chemicals into my body either with BPA or other toxins. One of the best changes you can begin to do for you and your family is to drink and eat from glass!
#5: Elderberry Syrup
This is almost like a little “special sauce” in your toolbox! You can use this to combat flu, colds, sinus infections, and boost your immune system. It is pretty darn amazing. You can purchase it ready made (we have used this brand before) or you can make your own using dried berries (these are my favorite and they are on sale right now!) and this recipe.
#6: Vitamin C and/or Emergen-C
No home should be without a way to get extra Vitamin C! We love and use Emergen-C often. It’s easy to take and you are getting more water in your body as well when you take it. You also get some other vitamins, antioxidants, and electrolytes which your body can use too.
#7: Vitamin D3
I regularly take Vitamin D3 each day, but when I am beginning to feel under the weather, I will boost my intake to about 15,000 IU for two days and then taper back. I have used this brand for over four years and love it. I recently got Vitamin D3 drops for my son who is six, so I could boost his dose too when he needed extra. He does take this mutlivitamin, which is great, but when he needs extra I have it on-hand.
I have learned so much over the past three years, and one big part is understanding how much our gut health impacts everything in our body. I take a probiotic from Young Living, which I love, and I grabbed this one for my six year old. I also purchase yogurt from our local co-op made from grass-fed cow milk which helps keep his gut in good shape. If you are not aware of the relationship with your gut and your overall well-being, I would do some more reading on the topic. You could solve many issues with being intentional with healing your gut.
#9: Get Moving
Exercise – in whatever form you like to get your blood pumping! Getting regular exercise helps to ensure your lymphatic system runs smoothly so it can protect your body against infection and disease.
#10: Eat Garlic
Garlic has a long history of use as an immune system booster because of its antiseptic, anti-fungal, and detoxification properties. Eating this raw is best, but you can take tablets. Adding it to recipes in the last few minutes of cooking will help you get the most from this amazing powerhouse!
What are your favorite immune system support tools?