March Health Series: Optimizing Your Immune System

| Sarah Johnson, MS, RD

Spring is just around the corner, meaning longer days of sunshine and a time for rejuvenation and growth.  Unfortunately, spring is also a peak time for colds & flu.  Here are 5 simple things you can do this March to keep your immune system strong and you enjoying the pleasant signs of spring.

  1. Limit Sugar Intake: Excessive sugar intake weakens our immune system, making it harder for our bodies to fight infection.  Sugar causes inflammation in our bodies, which makes us more susceptible to catching a cold or other viruses. Limiting sugar is essential for maintaining a strong and resilient immune system.  Sugar is quite addictive, making this goal difficult for many.  Rather than focusing on the sweets you cannot have, try focusing on increasing your intake of protein and healthy fats in place of high-sugar foods. 
  2. Stay Hydrated: Staying hydrated is crucial for keeping your immune system functioning at its best.  Water helps transport key nutrients in the body and, most importantly, helps your body eliminate toxins. Aim for at least 8 cups of water a day.  Tip:  Make it easy and accessible by filling water bottles the night before and keep them in your fridge. 
  3. Get Adequate Sleep: When we sleep, our bodies are hard at work, creating proteins called cytokines, which help fight infection and decrease inflammation in our body.  Prioritize 7-9 hours of sleep each night for optimal immune function.
  4. Get Your Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps regulate our immune system and having sufficient vitamin D levels has been shown to decrease the risk of getting a cold or influenza. Vitamin D from the sun is ideal but difficult to get this time of year, so D3 supplements are recommended.  1,000 IU per day is right for most adults. Discuss with a dietitian or MD if you are severely deficient.
  5. Prioritize Gut Health with Probiotics: A significant portion of your immune system stems from your gut, so gut health is key to staying healthy.  Focus on getting probiotic-rich foods such as Keifer, Sauerkraut, kimchi, Kombucha, and some low-sugar yogurts. 

By adding these five steps into your daily lifestyle, you can provide your immune system with the support it needs to function optimally, helping you stay healthy all spring long.  Caring for your body is a powerful form of self-care that pays off immensely. Click here to learn more about our dietary services at Live Your Life and contact us today for a free consultation!   


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