Each day you wake up to new experiences, challenges and opportunities. You likely think about the tasks ahead at the beginning of the day. Within that time, do you think about ways you can support your immune system? Or, healthy immune function habits that promote whole body health?
If not, we have a cheat sheet for you. Here are 12 Daily Healthy Immune Habits that are easy to implement starting today. Moreover, here’s how simple habits affect immune function both positively and negatively.
There are a few different ways lifestyle habits can affect immune function.
First, they can reduce inflammatory actions and oxidative stress in the body. Next, they can activate immune cells directly. Third, they can indirectly affect your immunity. For example, high blood sugars are associated with increased infection risk (1), while controlled ones are not.
Lastly, and on the other side, they can negatively impact immune function by diminishing the health of immune cells or degrading the body’s overall health.
Your daily habits matter. Throughout each day, you can choose to support your immune function. Make your habit choices wisely.
How can you prioritize your health and immune function right when you wake up? You can be purposeful to start the day with gratitude. Whatever lies ahead in your day, you can be grateful for something or someone to start.
How does this support immune health?
Gratitude is one of our daily immune support habits because it can reduce stress and cortisol. Cortisol increases inflammation in the body. What’s more, gratitude can improve sleep while reducing stress.
A study of 400 individuals found that writing gratitudes during the day and/or before sleep improves both the quality and duration of sleep (1). Another study found that gratitude was linked to a 10% improvement in sleep and a 19% decrease in sadness levels in patients with health issues and insomnia (2).
For an extra boost, combine your time of gratitude with meditation. Focus on the moment, the day, and those things for which you are grateful. Be present in these thoughts, not thinking ahead or behind. Incredibly, this sort of mindful meditation can stimulate the immune system. Its benefits include improvements in specific markers of inflammation, cell-mediated immunity, and biological aging (3).
Not everyone enjoys an ice-cold shower or burst of cold water in the morning. But for those who can stand it, it will support immune health!
First, cold showers are linked to an improved immune system. A recent study from the Netherlands found that cold showers significantly reduced sick days in workers. In fact, 30 seconds or more of cold showering per day reduced sick days by 29% in the study. Additionally, more than half the participants decided to continue the cold-shower practice after the study since they were convinced by the results (4).
Why would cold water improve immunity? It’s thought that cold-water-stress induces the production of catecholamines, which may play a critical role in supporting the immune system.
Specific vitamins, minerals and compounds support your immune function. While you can certainly eat foods that do so as well, supplements can bolster immunity with larger amounts of isolated nutrients. Specific immune-supporting nutrients include vitamin C, B-vitamins, elderberry, zinc, and vitamin D3 (5, 6).
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for all of these compounds, try this supplement. Dr. Colbert’s Immune Support contains each one in amounts designed to support your immune system best.
There are many benefits to getting outside. And, the earlier you do it, the better. Sunshine and time outdoors both support immune health, for free! They:
Get outside whenever you can, and aim for early hours if possible.
Did you know that fluid restriction and dehydration may increase cortisol in your body? This becomes especially true if you are participating in an outdoor activity (7).
To reduce cortisol and therefore inflammation, hydrate your body regularly.
As a bonus, you’ll promote overall cell health and skin. One recent study has shown that increasing water consumption by 2 liters per day improved skin condition and physiology, even in those who already consumed high amounts of water. The researchers concluded that this increase and improvement in skin health would likely have the most positive effect on those with lower daily water consumption (8).
If you want to take the immune and health benefits even further, drink green tea for part of your daily hydration.
Throughout the day, choose foods that are anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. Vibrant fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, spices, and protein often fit the bill. Specific foods include:
Great foods can be delicious and promote healthy immune function!
Exercise provides a powerful 3-punch combination of immune function, health, and healthy aging. It:
What do healthy relationships and laughter have to do with immune function and overall health?
Incredibly, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has shown that good social relationships promote physical and mental health, provide a buffer against loneliness, increase longevity, and foster happiness. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study found similar results. This means less anxiety and cortisol, and better health outcomes.
Around 7 pm in the evening, consider starting a daily intermittent fast to support your health and immune function.
Amazingly, there are many documented benefits to intermittent fasting including:
In fact, many studies have shown that intermittent fasting supports healthy aging, brain health, heart health, and blood sugars (13).
To add intermittent fasting to support immune health, aim to fast 15-16 out of the 24 hours per day. Simply finish eating dinner at 7 pm each night, and fast with only non-carbohydrate liquids (like coffee) until 10 am or so.
Good quality sleep has many health and aging benefits. These include:
It’s a cycle. Good sleep begets good sleep, and lack of sleep increases cortisol for up to 24 hours which negatively affects sleep again (14). Lack of sleep has also been shown to reduce mental performance and alertness while increasing inflammation and cortisol (15).
Amazingly, stress and high cortisol levels can negatively affect immune function and response (22). You can fight back with an amazing all-natural stress-reducing oil.
Hemp oil, specifically nano-particle oils like those in Dr. Colbert’s Nano-Science Hemp Oil, promotes health across the body’s systems while combatting stress. In fact, it’s nature’s best stress relief.
It is a broad-spectrum hemp oil that is organically grown, vegan, and GMO-free. In terms of health, it have been shown to:
Here’s another healthy habit with a big punch! Get rid and detox from the foods that have a negative effect on health and immune function.
It’s time to reduce sweets, sugars, and refined carbohydrates, omit processed food fats like soybean oil, and help your body detox from the build-up of toxins and chemicals. How?
The easiest and most effective way is to follow the Keto Zone Diet. In fact, Dr. Colbert’s Gut Zone Book provides a complete road map to reducing these foods, achieving a healthy weight, and supporting healthy immune function.
Ready to support immune health every day? You can do it! These easy healthy immune function habits can be implemented together, or one at a time. Focus each day on your immune system and promote health throughout your body!