Dr. Hilary’s Tips For Boosting the Immune System
- Focus on eating nutrient-rich foods. Foods high in vitamin A (carrot, sweet potato), vitamin C (broccoli, bell pepper), vitamin E (almond, avocado), and zinc (meat, beans), are especially beneficial for strengthening the immune system.
- Make sure to eat enough protein. We need 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weightper day to meet our protein requirements. The immune system cells that fight pathogens are made of protein, so if we don’t eat enough protein, we can’t fight infection.
- Ask for a vitamin D blood test at least once per year. Adequate vitamin D is essential for a strong immune system, but too much vitamin D in the body can be toxic. We get vitamin D from sun exposure, so lab testing to accurately adjust supplementation is important when we live in a cold climate.
- Prioritize sleep. Lack of sleep and poor sleep quality make us more susceptible to cold and flu, and it increases the time it takes to recover from illness6. Set a bedtime, sleep in a dark room, and turn off electronics 30 minutes before bed to help improve your sleep.
- Heal the gut! About70% of our immune system originates in the gut7, and healthy gut microbiome is the foundation of a healthy immune system. Symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or indigestion may be an indication that your gut could benefit from additional support as a way of supporting immune function.