Romilly Hodges is a clinical nutritionist certified by the American Nutrition Association and the State of Connecticut. She is also a certified functional medicine practitioner through the Institute for Functional Medicine. Romilly spent several years as the Director of Nutrition Programs at an interdisciplinary clinic in Connecticut. As well as being a clinician, Romilly has primary nutrition research experience, has written for peer-reviewed journal publication, professional textbooks and training programs, online articles, and has been a speaker at several conferences. She also currently serves on the Board for the Accreditation Council of Nutrition Professional Education, a subsidiary organization of the American Nutrition Association (ANA). Romilly is the author of Immune Resilience published by Penguin Random House currently available for preorder wherever books are sold.
Nutrients sequestered in an immune system challenge
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Supporting your immune system can help you to fight off cancer, deal with the side effects of treatment and lower the risk of recurrence.
But to do so effectively requires a comprehensive strategy that will provide your immune system with what it needs to function at its best.
Poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and too little exercise can negatively impact your immune system and impede its ability to defend against illness.
5 Key Strategies To Strengthen Your Immune System
Eat a balanced diet to support the health of the immune system and the gut and to help lower inflammation
Add more nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Variety is the key as well as healthy proteins that provide amino acids, the building blocks of the immune system. Complex carbs like grains and legumes provide substantial energy that the body needs to function properly. Vitamins and minerals are catalysts for all body functions, especially the immune system.
2. Take supplements that help the immune system fight pathogens
Supplements that support the immune system help to fight pathogenic bacteria and viruses. They do not harm good bacteria. Examples of immune-support supplements include elderberry, echinacea, astragalus, plant sterols, garlic and algae such as chlorella or spirulina.
As our gut houses a large part of our immunity, it is very important that we make sure we give it some love as well. Probiotics, glutamine products or formulas, plant sterols, antimicrobials such as oil of oregano, aloe vera or grapefruit seed extract, essential oils* such as clove, cinnamon, thyme or lavender all support gut health and can support our immune system.
*Note: If ingesting essential oils, make sure they are food grade and mix with a carrier oil such as coconut oil.
Exercise. It improves circulation and allows cells and the immune system to function better
So get up and get moving. Go for a walk. Do some stretching. Shimmy on the dance floor. Do whatever you enjoy to get your muscles flexing and your heart pumping.
Implement stress management techniques
Some stress can be helpful for the immune system. Too much stress can use up valuable nutrients that are needed to help the immune system function. So find ways to relax and calm the adrenal glands down and lower the stress hormone cortisol.
Make sleep a priority
The immune system needs the time you sleep to repair and regenerate itself.
Here are some tips for you to help you improve your sleep:
Deal with your stress – it can keep you awake at night.
Go to bed at the same time every night and get at least 7–8 hours of sleep.
Sleep in a cool, dark room and no sound distraction. Our immune system loves the chill!
Avoid caffeine or eating a large meal close to bedtime.
Disconnect from electronics like computers, cell phones and even TV at least an hour before bedtime.
So with these strategies forming your template, design your plan and work each and every day to strengthen your immune system.