50 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

50 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

50 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

Approximately 80% of our immune system is produced in the gut.

The Bottom Line: Our immune health is a direct reflection of what is going on in the inside (our gut health and foods we eat).

Immune Health=Inflammation

Immune conditions (from allergies, to autoimmune conditions, acne, breakouts, eczema, psoriasis, colds and flu’s etc.) are a sign of “inflammation” in the body.

What causes chronic inflammation?  It starts in the gut.

The Gut is the Root of Your Immune System

woman touching belly boost immune system

Eighty percent of our body’s health and immunity is produced in your gut, making our gut health a crucial component to maintaining a low level of inflammation in the body. When our gut is not healthy our body has a difficult time eradicating inflammation, allowing greater room for an “immune response” to occur—from skin breakouts, to allergies, colds, the flu, autoimmune disease and more.

What to do about it?

Boost your immune system…in your gut!

Love Your Gut to Boost Your Immune System

It all starts with anti-inflammatory gut-loving foods, supplements and lifestyle choices that help create less internal stress for a chronic “immune response” to occur. 

After all, inflammation is not a bad thing, but when inflammation persists (chronic inflammation) without the ability to recover or your immune cells go into “hyperactive” (overdrive) mode is when “immune issues” (like skin breakouts, autoimmune conditions, allergies, and more occur.

Want a stronger immune system?  

Here are more than 50+ nutrition, supplement and lifestyle essentials that go beyond expensive face washes, allergy shots, steroids, and Benadryl.

50+ Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally 

Natural Immune Boosting Foods

Eat These Superfoods

Incorporate these foods on a regular basis in your diet:

  • Wild-caught fatty fish (1 lb./week) &/or extra virgin cod liver oil
  • Fermented Foods
    • low-sugar kombucha
    • kefir (coconut, water)
    • Kvass
    • fermented yogurt & coconut yogurt
    • sauerkraut
    • kimchi
    • Fermented veggies

  • Prebiotic fiber
    • cooked & cooled potatoes/sweet potatoes;
    • cassava;
    • coconut flour;
    • green dehydrated plantains;
    • jicama;
    • artichoke;
    • asparagus;
    • chicory root;
    • Root veggies & soluble fibers (rutabaga, turnips, beets, squash, roasted carrots)
    • garlic/onion (as tolerated);
    • Apples, green-tipped bananas & berries

  • Meat Stock or Bone Broth. 1 cup/day
  • Dark Leafy Greens (raw and cooked. Mix it up)
  • Pastured egg yolks
  • Organic organ meats
  • Grass-fed, pastured meats/poultry
  • Fermented dairy (only if tolerated)

Remove Foods That Trigger an Immune Response (“AIP”)

For at least 30-60 days, take a break from the top inflammatory foods:

  • Grains (corn, rice, pasta, bread, ancient grains)
  • Legumes (peanuts, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, etc.)
  • Coffee
  • Soy
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Nightshades (white potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, bell peppers, spices derived from peppers like paprika & chili powder, sweet and hot peppers)
  • Gluten-cross reactive foods (oats, quinoa, buckwheat, casein, whey, rice, white potato, corn, hemp, millet, barley, amaranth, rye, sesame, sorghum, spelt)
  • Refined sugars and oils
  • Nuts and seeds (almond, walnuts, cashews, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, flax, chia, etc.)
  • Food additives and chemicals
  • NSAIDS (asprin, ibuprofen)
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Eggs

Natural Immune Boosting Gut Health

Not to sound like a broken record, but your gut holds the key to good skin health:

probiotic in a jar boost immune system

Probiotics

Probiotics help regulate and balance the immune system as well as promote the function of T regulatory cells. Think of probiotics as “immune regulators,” not increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut, but instead fine-tuning and regulating the immune system. (Prebiotics help increase the number of probiotics.

Find In: Supplements: Soil based formulas are often best tolerated by most people until you’ve assessed whether or not you have bacterial overgrowth through gut testing (stool, SIBO, urine organic acids testing); Foods: Fermented foods, Prebiotic foods (see list above)

Pre-biotics

Feed healthy bacteria that’s already in the gut and will increase those levels over time.

Find In: Supplements*: Partially hydrolyzed guar gum, unmodified potato starch, plantain or banana flour, oligosaccharides (FOS, XOS, GOS), *start dose small; Foods: Prebiotic foods (see list above)

Digestive Enzymes

Helps break down foods you eat so your body can more easily digest them!
Find In: Supplements (pancreatic enzymes, ox bile), Foods: Sprouted Seeds/Legumes, Pineapple, Kiwi, Grapefruit, Papaya, Mango, Raw honey, Avocado, Bee pollen, Raw fermented dairy, Extra virgin olive oil, Coconut oil

Hydrochloric Acid (HCL)

Boosts stomach acid to assist in the complete breakdown of foods

Find In: Supplements, Apple Cider Vinegar (1 tbsp in 4-8 oz water), Lemon Water

Possibly: Antimicrobial Herbs

If you have an underlying inflammatory gut or liver condition, antimicrobial herbs may be warranted. (See Signs & Symptoms Assessment Hacks in Resources)

Find In: Supplements. A broad spectrum herb is often best. May include: Oregano oil, thyme, sage, garlic, berberine: goldenseal, Oregon grape, olive leaf, Pau d’arco, ginger, licorice, and skullcap, Foods: Oregano, garlic, ginger, clove, raw honey, thyme, basil

Possibly: Biofilm Disruptors

If you discover you have an underlying bacterial overgrowth, bacterial infection, parasite, dysbiosis or candida/fungal overgrowth, then antimicrobial herbs in conjunction with a short-term course of taking a biofilm disruptor can be helpful for ridding of unwanted pathogens. Biofilms are often overlooked when working on gut healing.

Most bacteria are present in biofilms, not as single-acting cells.

Biofilm is like the “steel armor” of some gut bacteria. When individual yeast, pathogens and parasites attach to a surface, such as the GI tract, they clump together into a matrix and create a colony. Larger colonies can contain different species, creating very complex structures.This matrix forms a type of shield (biofilm) around the clump making the microorganisms hiding inside hard to detect in testing, and difficult to address. If unaddressed, biofilm can prevent your “gut healing” herbs and protocol from working.

Find In: Supplements (some of these are found in antimicrobial herbs as well). Interfase Plus (Klair Labs), NAC (N-acetylcysteine), Monolaurin (Lauricidin), Colloidal silver, citrus seed extract, berberine, oregano oil, chitosan, citrus pectin  Foods: Cranberry, garlic, Manuka Honey, olive oil/oleic acid, apple cider vinegar, ginger

Natural Immune Boosting Supplements

There are several natural herbal and supplemental strategies for building a stronger immune system when allergies, autoimmune conditions, colds and skin imbalances strike.

Allergies

All of the following work to boost T-cell function and counter the histamine response.

Extra Virgin Cod-Liver Oil
Anti-inflammatory fats that activates immune fighting cells.
Find In: Supplements or 1 lb./cold water fatty fish/week

Ginger Tea. Works as a natural antihistamine, potent antiviral agent, and immune booster.
Find In: Tea or add, eat raw to recipes/foods.

L-Glutamine Powder, Colostrum or a Dairy-free Source Immunoglobulin G (IgG)
Promotes healing support for the intestinal lining.
Find In: Supplements, Colustrum Whey Protein

Liposomal Curcumin

The active ingredient in turmeric that promotes T regulatory cell function, decreases inflammation and reduces oxidative damage. However, most forms of curcumin are poorly absorbed when taken orally or consumed in foods; reach for a liposomal form. Find In: Liposomal curcumin supplements (600 mg, 1-2 times per day)

Liposomal Vitamin C
Fights oxidative damage and strengthens the stress (adrenal) response.
Find In: Spinach & other dark Leafy greens, Citrus fruits, Bell Peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, Strawberries, Supplements: Liposomal Vitamin C (500 mg)

Oregano Oil, Olive Leaf and Garlic.
Food and supplement forms help diminish the flare of bacteria often associated with allergens.
Find In: Oregano herbs, garlic, supplements, essential oils

Quercetin, Bromelain, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine, Stinging Nettles Leaf.
Natural anti-histamines that kick the release of histamine from the air or food sensitivities.
Find In: Supplements

Raw Manuka Honey. An anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent—all in one. Honey is nature’s “immune booster.” It is also a powerhouse of antioxidants, which are very effective for the removal of free radicals from the body.
Find In: Raw Manuka Honey (food)

Zinc:

Promotes good skin immunity and wound healing, as well as protects against UV radiation and inflammation

Find In: Spinach, Shellfish (Shrimp, Oysters), Grass-Fed Bison & Beef, Flax Seeds, Kidney Beans, Pastured Egg Yolks, Wild-Caught Salmon, Pastured Turkey, Organic Chicken, Cocoa powder,

Supplement: Zinc (aqueous or chelate) (15-30 mg/day for 8 weeks);

Note: Copper imbalance may also be a reason why zinc levels are “low.” One of the most common and important imbalances that we see in clinical practice with trace minerals is excess copper and deficient zinc. If you have this Copper-Zinc imbalance, your body could really be starving for oxygen, hence why it’s more prone to immune imbalances causing oxidative stress. Consider a serum blood test for zinc and 24-hour urine test for copper to assess. A “Zinc Tally” taste test is also worth trying with aqueous zinc to assess).

Autoimmune Conditions

Curcumin: Decreases Inflammation

The active ingredient in turmeric that promotes T regulatory cell function, decreases inflammation and reduces oxidative damage. However, most forms of curcumin are poorly absorbed when taken orally or consumed in foods; reach for a liposomal form.

Find In: Liposomal curcumin supplements (600 mg, 1-2 times per day)

Glutathione: Fights Oxidative Stress & Damage

An essential for preventing oxidative stress in the body, often deficient in autoimmune conditions. Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant. It also promotes healthy function of T regulatory cells.

Find in: Liposomal GlutathioneSupplements (preferably with N-acetylcysteine, a precursor to glutathione), and these foods:

  • Pastured, Grass-Fed Organic Proteins — aim for at least 15 percent of calories as protein (75 grams on a 2,000- calorie diet or 95 grams on a 2,500-calorie diet)
    • Collagen (peptides, bone broth, skin on chicken)
    • Polyphenol-rich fruits and vegetables — berries, peaches, pears, pomegranates, purple sweet potatoes, broccoli, garlic, cabbage, and spinach
    • Selenium-rich foods — Brazil nuts, ocean fish, and poultry

Omega 3 Fats: Anti-inflammatory Booster

Natural anti-inflammatory fats that activate your immune system fighting cells.

Find in: Cold water wild caught fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, whitefish, herring), extra virgin cod liver oil, flax seed, walnuts (soaked, dried)

Vitamin D: Creates a Stealth Immune System

Promotes T-cell function and immune system balance. Ideal levels are between 40-60 ng/mL in healthy individuals. If deficient consider supplementation for 8 weeks at a dose of 5000-10,000 IU/day, followed by a re-check of your blood levels. Long term supplementation is not recommended.

Find in: Supplements, extra virgin cod liver oil, sunlight, pastured egg yolks

Cold & Flu

Colloidal Silver Nose Spray. Can benefit people as a nasal spray and kills off Staph aureus often seen with sinus infections.
Find In: Supplemental form/nose spray.

Double Up on Probiotics: Good Gut Bug Support

Help support the breakdown and eradication of the healthy bugs in your gut in the face of illness (in conjunction with your prebiotics).
Find In: Supplements, fermented foods

Echinacea: Cold Cutter

According to a research report (1)reviewing 14 different studies on this herb, they found that Echinacea cuts the chances of catching a common cold by 58 percent and Echinacea reduces the duration of the common cold by almost one-and-a-half days.
Find In: Herbal Tea or supplemental form (take 1,000 mg 2-3x daily)

Homemade Vapo-Rub: Breathe Easy

For temporary relief make a “Vaporub” with coconut oil + essential oils like peppermint + eucalyptus oil and put it on your chest to help clear sinuses.
Find In: Natural essential oils + coconut oil. While you’re at it, consider getting an essential oil com diffuser to diffuse oils like peppermint, lemon, Eucalyptus, red thyme, cinnamon oil and Bergamot

Neti Pot: Drainage Flow
Good bye drainage! Hello clear head and nose! This baby drains all that gunk up there to help you…breathe easy.
Find In: Neti-Pot

Omega 3 Fats: Anti-inflammatory Booster

Natural anti-inflammatory fats that activate your immune fighting cells.

Find in: Cold water wild caught fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, whitefish, herring), extra virgin cod liver oil, flax seed, walnuts (soaked, dried)

Oregano Oil & Olive Leaf: Immune Builder
Natural anti-oxidants to fight free radicals looming about. Put a few drops of essential oil oregano in a pot of steaming water, and then inhale the steam, or take in supplemental form.
Find In: Supplements, essential oils

Zinc + Liposomal Vitamin C (together): Antioxidant Fighter Team

 These two together are a powerful combination to speeding up cold healing, found to be significantly more efficient than placebo at reducing a sinus infection over 5 days of treatment in clinical trials.
Find In: Supplements; Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, dark leafy greens; Zinc: Organ meats, pastured grass-fed meats, soaked nuts & seeds, dark leafy greens

Skin Health

Biotin: Prevents Hair Loss, Dermatitis & Dandruff

An essential cofactor for enzymes that regulate fatty acid metabolism, essential to help protect cells against damage and water loss. Biotin deficiency causes hair loss, dermatitis, and dandruff.

Find in: Supplements, egg yolks, liver, Swiss chard, spinach, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, avocados, sweet potato, fermented dairy, cauliflower, mushrooms

Omega 3 Fats: Anti-inflammatory Booster

Inadequate intake of anti-inflammatory healthy fats can impact skin health and worsen inflammatory skin conditions.

Find in: Cold water wild caught fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, whitefish, herring), extra virgin cod liver oil, flax seed, walnuts (soaked, dried)

Pantothenic Acid (B5): Increases Glutathione & Protects Against Oxidative Damage

Supports wound healing, growth and skin cell regeneration. It also increases glutathione levels in the cells, protecting against oxidative damage.
Find In: B-Vitamin Supplements, organ meats like liver and kidney, egg yolks, and broccoli. It’s also in fish, shellfish, dairy products, chicken, mushrooms, avocado, and sweet potatoes

Selenium: Skin Cancer Protector & Acne Defender

Selenium is a component of selenoenzymes that allow glutathione to function.

Foods. Brazil nuts, ocean fish, poultry, Grassfed beef, organ meats

Silica: Firm Skin Toner

Interacts with glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), to form building blocks of the skin tissue, increasing skin firmness and elasticity; also hydrates skin naturally

Foods: leeks, green beans, garbanzo beans, strawberries, cucumber, mango, celery, asparagus, rhubarb

Vitamin A: Anti-Dry & Rough Skin

Promotes new cells and healthy immunity.
Deficiency signs include: rough and dry skin

Find in: Cod Liver Oil (1-2 tsp/day), Liver, Kidney, Other Organ Meats, Grass-Fed Dairy, Carrots, Bell Peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Dark Leafy Greens, Winter Squash, Cantaloupe; Supplements: Vitamin A supplements are not recommended aside from cod liver oil, since the conversion of supplemental forms does not happen well in most people.

Vitamin C: Smooth Wrinkle Free Skin

Essential for healthy collagen in skin (helps protect against wrinkles and keratinization-hardening of skin)

Find In: Spinach & other dark Leafy greens, Citrus fruits, Bell Peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, Strawberries, Supplements: Liposomal Vitamin C (500 mg)

Vitamin E: Natural Skin Cancer Protector

Defends against free radicals that cause skin damage and inflammation. It also has a synergistic effect with selenium to boost glutathione levels, preventing inflammatory damage from sun rays.
Find In: turnip greens, chard, sunflower seeds, almonds, bell peppers, asparagus, collards, kale, and broccoli, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil; do not use supplements due to their cardiovascular disease risk factors

Vitamin K2: Skin Wrinkle Guard

Prevents calcification of the skin’s elastin (what gives skin its youthful, springy quality, prevents lines and wrinkles). People who can’t metabolize vitamin K can end up with premature skin wrinkling.
Find In: High-fat grass-fed dairy, especially cheese and ghee, egg yolks, liver, natto, which is fermented soybean, and sauerkraut.

Zinc: General Immunity & Anti-Inflammation

Promotes good skin immunity and wound healing, as well as protects against UV radiation and inflammation

Find In: Spinach, Shellfish (Shrimp, Oysters), Grass-Fed Bison & Beef, Flax Seeds, Kidney Beans, Pastured Egg Yolks, Wild-Caught Salmon, Pastured Turkey, Organic Chicken, Cocoa powder,

Supplement: Zinc (aqueous or chelate) (15-30 mg/day for 8 weeks)

Note: Copper imbalance may also be a reason why zinc levels are “low.” One of the most common and important imbalances that we see in clinical practice with trace minerals is excess copper and deficient zinc. If you have this Copper-Zinc imbalance, your body could really be starving for oxygen, hence why it’s more prone to immune system imbalances causing oxidative stress. Consider a serum blood test for zinc and 24-hour urine test for copper to assess. A “Zinc Tally” taste test is also worth trying with aqueous zinc to assess).

Natural Immune Boosting Lifestyle Hacks

Eliminate Stressors.

Stress may worsen or provoke many skin conditions, especially autoimmune-related skin issues Commit to regular (daily/weekly) stress management practice such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, prayer, time in nature, acupuncture, journaling, etc.

Get Enough Sleep.

Lack of sleep activates the stress response, in turn activating how we experience stress most. (For some of us, that is sleep).

Exercise Regularly…But Don’t Overdo It.

Both overdoing it or under-doing it can create stress for your body. Aim for a mix of cardio and resistance exercises (e.g., walking/jogging and weight lifting) three to five days per week. Regular exercise can increase glutathione levels (antioxidant boosting chemical) Exercise also releases endorphins (“feel good” chemicals that cause the “runner’s high” and also regulate the immune system).

Use Toxin Free Products.

non-toxic beauty products to boost immune system

Not all “natural” skin care options are created equal. We need to update the 1938 law that gives the FDA almost no authority to regulate cosmetics. Today, companies are allowed to put nearly any chemical into personal care products sold in the US—even known carcinogens—without any safety testing, and without disclosing all the chemicals on labels. Each day, the average American woman uses about a dozen personal care products containing more than 100 chemicals that we ingest, inhale, and absorb through our skin, so they end up inside us. Use resources like the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database and Think Dirty phone app to choose truly green products, and when in doubt, good ol’ food-based sources (like apple cider vinegar, honey, coconut oil, olive oil, castle soap and water go a long way). 

Filter Your Shower Water.

Similar to how tap water is not so great for our gut, the same thing goes for the water in which we bathe.

Sun Exposure.

Vitamin D is a natural immune system booster. Ideally our Vitamin D levels should be between 35-60 ng/mL. Supplementation can also be helpful if you fall below that level.

Do you have any favorite immune system boosting secrets? Share them with us in comments and we will add ‘em to the list!

References

1. University of Connecticut. (2007, June 26). Echinacea Could Cut Chance Of Catching Cold By More Than Half, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 7, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070626152809.htm

By |2019-03-07T07:48:29-05:00March 7th, 2019|Gut Health|0 Comments

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