Here are my daily habits that help my immune system be as strong, nourished, unencumbered, neither suppressed nor overactive, and intelligent as possible.
This list is by no means the end all. There are so many health-boosting techniques out there you can add. Start here, see what works for you, and unleash more unto yourself as you can.
These are what I do all the time no matter what. That said, in the winter months (cold and flu season) and in response to the novel corona virus, I'm being a little more diligent with my already comprehensive protocol.
Building my immune health diligently doesn't make me 100% immune to everything, but does help significantly and imparts peace of mind.
Every time I've ever gotten sick, it was right after a night or more of not enough sleep.
Sleep time: No matter what time I drift off, it's important to get plenty of hours of sleep for immune system rejuvenation. Everyone varies in their sleep cycle timing. My body is slow to move through sleep cycles so I need at least 9 hours to complete my rest. If you think you need much less, get a Fitbit to prove it and error on getting more sleep anyway - it's glorious!
Therapeutic sleep time: I take at least 2 nights/mornings a month to sleep an extra therapeutic long time. Sleep in fully. It's like a full nights rest plus an extra sleep cycle plus a nap, but all at once. Example: If you normally sleep 8 hours, sleep 11+ hours.
There are countless sleeping meditation techniques that can help me fall back to sleep when I'm not very tired. I usually count my breaths. I start back at '1' if I lose count. I've never made it to 100. If you think you just can't sleep that much or that you are above this, then that's why we need to do it - to offset our weird life-long cultural/psychological compulsion to under-sleep. No excuses: If I wake up groggy after sleeping extra then I go back to sleep until I'm bursting with rejuvenation.
Sleep timing: The earlier the better. My default is to be a night owl, but I'm gradually setting my bed time earlier and earlier. Baby steps.
Darkness timing: The later I stay up, the more important it is to switch off lights and screens that emit white/blue/green light and stick with red lights and apps that make screens orange/red. My main light in my bedroom and bathroom is a red light. This helps circadian rhythm and allows the body to start producing melatonin better (which is great for the immune system and just about everything else.)
Pro-tip: If there are lights outside, get non-off-gassing blackout curtains (yes, most are toxic so find natural materials) and/or wear a natural-fiber eye mask.
Natural orthopedic bed: Most beds and bedding are full of itchy off-gassing synthetic materials and flame retardants. I saved up for a Samina (organic bed from Austria that has a unique orthopedic wood+latex flexible slat system and feels like true sleep therapy.) At the very least, consider a natural latex (flat mattress, not a clumpy futon) with wool topper, organic sheets and wood (non-metal) frame bed.
Your bedroom is a sacred space. It's for glorious sleep, glorious sex and maybe meditation/stretching/yoga. Keep the electronics and day activities elsewhere.
I stay active throughout the day. I work at a standing desk and have to meander my feet around my dog nearby. Sitting all day is no bueno for your spine, butt and circulation, but neither is standing for too long so I do my best to take breaks, hang upside down on my yoga swing or go outside every hour or so. I take 2 to 4 walks (with at least one of them being 45 min+) with my dog each day.
High Intensity/Weight training > Low Intensity/Long Distance: A great way to beat down your body and suppress your brain function, hormone balance and immune system is to do nothing but long distance cardio. I did that in the past when I listened to old school fitness platitudes that have been since debunked.
Weight resistance and high intensity exercises create the best long lasting effects, which includes sending a cascade of hormonal messages to your brain, muscles and body which promotes better immune, mental and physical health. Yes, get your heart rate up too and sweat, but don't only do that.
I stretch and do yoga as often as I can to keep my tissues supple, which helps one's immune system remain free and unencumbered.
Chiropractic: I get adjusted by my chiropractor every week which helps with nerve, circulation and immune system health.
My diet: I eat the following way because my body likes it the best at this time in my life and reacts to other choices. It may not be the best for you and your immune system right now, but for some people, looking at my diet as a guideline might be really helpful in helping you individualize your nutrition for optimal health, performance and immune function.
I eat an organic, keto, paleo, low PUFA (no seed/nut oils), high animal fat (mostly wild boar lard and beef fat), nutrient dense diet with plenty of pure fresh spring water. My average meal these days is a giant pan seared 100% grass fed beef burger with a 2 oz blended raw beef liver or kidney shot, steamed/pressure cooked veggies, topped with homemade sour garlic sauce and a big ice cream scoop of lard, with a collagen-protein-based food-bar-treat for dessert.
My diet is mostly AIP (auto-immune protocol) which means I avoid seeds/nuts/beans/grains and dairy, and keep the nightshades to a minimum (though lately I've been going high in chipotle, ashwagandha extract, and Goji Joy goji extract which are all nightshades.) For folks with either auto-immune symptoms or - as in my case -just auto-immune food sensitivities, doing an AIP elimination diet for a few months can be revolutionary!
Sun: The sun's rays are an essential nutrient that create the proper metabolite forms of vitamin D (that you can't fully get from a supplement) - a vitamin that many believe to be the single most important nutrient for the immune system. Naked sun time is the best. During the winter I use a tanning bed every week. I prefer to be saturated in a cascade of vitamin D metabolites at all times.
Herbs and supplements: I love taking herbs and supplements throughout the day. This is nutrition therapy to be enjoyed. Every dose is a chance at making strides in my health, in my life! Taking my nutrition stacks is never a chore for me; it's always an exciting expression of my passion.
I won't list everything I take (it's a big list) but these are the top picks that the research says have a direct impact on the immune system:
Minerals: Zinc - Optizinc is fantastic as are other forms! Magnesium in its many forms too!
Probiotics: Just Thrive probiotic and Seed probiotic are my two favorites right now.
Nano silver: Like colloidal silver but smaller. I use St. George Nano Silver. Spray in mouth, hold in mouth for a minute, swallow, spray on everything else too.
Cleanses: Every so often I do a cycle of substances like activated charcoal, zeolites, diatomaceous earth and clays.
Vitamins: I love high vitamin C fruit extracts of camu camu and rosehip. I blend them with electrolyte powders and stevia to make really hydrating immunity berry flavored elixirs! I make the Goji Joy Power Elixir Recipe most days and have been adding electrolytes, magnesium and vitamin C fruit extract to the recipe which turns it into a no-sugar fruit punch with a punch!
Lysine: I'm a big fan of taking lysine every day. It slows virus replication. I put some in every elixir I make.
Adaptogenic herbs: Herbs like gynostemma, nettle extract, red asparagus root, he shou wu, ginsengs, astragalus, noni, schisandra and more I put into my daily Longevity Power Elixir for maximum immune system nourishment! You can get all of these too easily and quickly with Longevity in a Bottle.
Medicinal Mushrooms: Each major medicinal mushroom has a unique set of immune-modulating compounds so I take them all in one delicious elixir. Reishi mushroom, chaga, lion's mane, cordyceps, turkey tail and others are all part of my daily immune and rejuvination protocol. (What are the differences between these mushrooms?) I make my Vanilla Mushroom Immunity + Focus + Chill Elixir Recipe on the daily for evergreen immune protection.
All the physical practices can't fully replace the immune benefits of feeling mentally well. I'm doing my best for inner peace as I attempt to strike just the right balance between stretching my comfort zone with daily challenges and calming my body and mind with self care. Find what makes you happy and live it!
These are immune benefiting practices many of which I dabble in and would love to do way more!
Bodywork: Give me all the deep tissue and trigger point please!
IV nutrition: Things like vitamin C, B vitamins and glutathione straight into my veins please for a bigger effect than just taking these orally!
Regular Ice baths: I do plenty of cold showers and wild water cold plunges but would love to have a more regular extra cold Wim Hof routine with a home ice bath.
More testing and refining of hormones/nutrient levels: I will go further in doing all possible tests for hormones, minerals, heavy metals, isotopes, and all toxins and nutrient levels in my body.
Stem cell therapy and future anti-aging medicine: As much as I love DIY natural products and home practices, I'm looking forward to how anti-aging medicine develops in the next 20 years.
Even though I do these regularly (aside for the aspirations section, but I'm getting there!), I'm of course not 100% immune. I still tend to catch a flu-like virus once a year that might take 2 weeks to fully kick. I probably annually kick the ass of many other contagions that would have taken over if I treated my body worse. So I still wash my hands regularly and - unfortunately - don't let my dog lick my face anymore. But I imagine that if I did catch something, I'd eventually be very well again because of all the work I invested into my body.
Do you already do any of these immune health practices? How have they changed your immune-response? What immune-boosting practices did I miss? Let me know in the comments below.
To your greatest immune system and greatest life possible!