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How to Help Boost Your Immune System to Keep Healthy

It’s that time of year when everyone around me seems to be getting sick. Whether it’s the 100-day cough, RSV, the flu, or the stomach bug…some sort of illness is lurking around every corner. I hate being sick and find it so much harder to recover these days, so I’m doing everything I can to avoid coming down with something. While I’m not a doctor, I think there are lots of things we can do at home to boost our immune systems.

Please note that this post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis of any kind. I’m not suggesting what you should take, and I encourage you to always check with your physician before adding anything to your regime.

Vitamins and Supplements

I recently shared a complete list of vitamins and supplements that I take in this blog post.

I also take 1,000 MG of this Solgar Vitamin C morning and night to help support my immune system during cold and flu season. It’s a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the cells from free-radical damage. With everything out there these days, we’d all be in big trouble without a strong immune system!

My physician also recommended I take this Country Life Chelate Zinc to support my health.

Getting Enough Sleep

A good night’s sleep is never easy for me, but I know the more rest I get, the less likely I am to get sick. I keep my bedroom cool, have these linen blackout drapes, and listen to white noise on the Calm app to block out random sounds that could wake me up. I also find that keeping to a semi-regular bedtime schedule helps me get a better night’s rest.

I bought myself an Oura ring for Christmas, which helps track my sleep, heart rate, stress levels, and activity. I’m finding it super helpful in so many other ways, which I’ll share soon.

Foods to Eat to Boost Your Immune System

LARGE OUR PLACE NON-STICK PAN

A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals is your first line of defense in boosting immunity. Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients like vitamins C and E, plus beta-carotene and zinc. I try to eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies to get as many different nutrients as possible.

Other foods that boost the immune system include:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Red bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Spinach
  • Yogurt
  • Almonds
HYDRO FLASK

Staying well-hydrated is crucial for overall health and immune function. Water helps in the proper functioning of cells and organs, including those of the immune system. Plus, my skin never looks better than when I am putting in a conscious effort to consume enough liquids! Here are some fluids you can drink to stay hydrated:

  • Honey and lemon
  • Almond milk (with B12)
  • Infused water
  • Boosted smoothies
  • Ginger tea
  • Probiotic/fermented drinks like kefir and kombucha
  • Broth

Products I Use and Love

Canopy Bedside Humidifier

I ordered this humidifier because it has smart sensors that keep it running until the unit is completely dry inside. That means there’s no water left behind for mold to grow in. I also love that the parts are all dishwasher-safe. They also have this larger model, which covers a bigger area.

This humidifier works differently than others. After you fill the tank, the water flows into the tray, where it is treated by passing through UV light. The water then goes through a paper (replaceable) filter. Then it’s evaporated by the fan, so clean, hydrated air is dispensed invisibly.

Wellness Herbal Resistance Liquid

I’ve sworn by this Wellness Herbal Resistance Liquid for years and believe it makes a huge difference if I feel like I’m coming down with something. I take several droppers throughout the day…probably more than they suggest, but it always shortens whatever I’m getting.

While I haven’t tried these products, they come highly recommended, and I’m intrigued. They’re a mix of immune-boosting products and things you can use if you feel a bit under the weather.

Bee Propolis Throat Spray Natural Throat Relief and Immune Support

Whether you need relief from a scratchy throat or want to bolster your immune defenses, this daily throat spray offers a convenient solution for overall throat health. It contains bee propolis, a substance known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as honey and herbal extracts.

Yogi Tea Elderberry Lemon Stress & Immune Support Tea – 16 Tea Bags, 4 Packs – With Ashwagandha, Lemongrass, Licorice Root & More

This Yogi Tea Elderberry Lemon Stress & Immune Support Tea features a harmonious mix of ingredients, including elderberry, ashwagandha, lemongrass, and licorice root, providing a comforting and immune-boosting tea that’s perfect for relaxation and well-being.

Nature’s Way Umcka ColdCare

I was trying to prevent a cold last year, and an AWSL reader, Hilary, shared about this product. She says, “I use Umcka at the first sign of a cold. The active ingredient is Pelargonium, and it always shortens the duration of a cold or even stops the symptoms from developing. I dissolve the powder in hot water and drink it.”

For when you start feeling under the weather:

ARM & HAMMER Simply Saline

Colds and allergy flare-ups are sometimes inevitable, so it’s important to have the proper tools on hand to help alleviate symptoms. I like using this Simply Saline nasal mist to help clear my congestion and moisturize my nose. If you prefer a more natural option, this one has great reviews.

Momcozy Nose Saline Baby Wipes

For wiping and blowing your nose, these wipes are made with saline and are both gentle and effective without drying out your face or nose. If you prefer a dry tissue or you don’t want to risk wiping off your makeup or skincare products, try these instead.

Ricola Berry Medley Bag | Cough Suppressant Throat Drops

Formulated with Ricola’s signature blend of natural herbs, these throat drops provide fast and soothing relief from coughs and scratchy throats. They are perfect for on-the-go use and are a wonderful choice for anyone seeking relief from coughs and throat discomfort. I thought these caramel throat balm drops were interesting as well.

Wedderspoon Organic Manuka Honey Drops

If you aren’t a fan of Ricola, I’ve heard lots of great things about these organic Manuka Honey drops from Wedderspoon. They combine honey with the zesty flavor of lemon and the immune-boosting properties of bee propolis to provide a soothing and effective solution for throat discomfort.

Cold Kicker Shower Steamers

Most of us know that shower steam is a great tool to aid with head congestion. These eucalyptus-infused shower steamers from The Herbal Zen make that steam even more effective by releasing refreshing vapors that help you to breathe better and kick head congestion quickly.

If you’re traveling: 

Nozin® Nasal Sanitizer® Antiseptic Popswab® Ampules 10ct Pack | Kills 99.99% of Germs | Lasts Up to 12 Hours | Alcohol Based 62%

I ordered these swabs after a reader shared them with me, and I have used them on all of my recent trips. You swab your nose with one of the included cotton swabs to safely decrease germs for up to 12 hours.

Navy KN95 Masks

I hate to think that wearing a mask when traveling has become a political issue, but it has. Some people go absolutely postal when they see me wearing one. I urge you to do what works for your health and let other women do the same. I wear these low-profile Evolve Together KN95 masks when I fly. They’re comfier than my big, cumbersome ones! No, they’re not an N95, but I like them, plus they come in black and khaki.

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What products do you use, and what things do you do to improve your own immunity?

35 Comments

  1. Before Covid made is unfortunate appearance in our world, people in Japan routinely wore masks on the metros and trains if they were either thinking they were coming down with something or recovering or suffering from allergies. Everyone benefits. We need to adopt the same attitude. Also, our son, a physician (pulmonologist in the ICU) says that planes have refined and really “up-ed their game” on air filtration in planes. He still suggests masks in crowded airports and on planes except to eat and drink. And…if you think you are coming down with something, please don’t go to the gym thinking to “sweat it out”. You might, but all the rest of us get your germs etc. Going to give the swabs a try for my next trip. Thank you.

    1. I agree. It’s unkind of people to not protect others from their germs if they can.

  2. I have been taking Elderberry Syrup for about a year now. It is delicious and was prescribed by a doctor when a had an awful virus thanks to Covid .
    Seems to be working to boost my immune system.

    1. My son swears by the stuff.

  3. Thank you for all of these great suggestions. I had the 100 day cough which I found out from my doctor was parainfluenza. It has been two months and I am still drinking Traditional Medicinals Gypsy Cold Care Tea which I have used for years. I do take vitamin supplements as there are so many foods I can’t eat like wonderful tasty red, green and yellow peppers, sweet onions and pepper. But I do eat fresh fruit and some vegetables like broccoli and carrots. I try to walk but also limited there. We all do the best we can. Nasal saline spray is also excellent and really helps with congestion without having to use medication.

    1. Oh no, that’s such a nasty bug, I’m sorry you got that. My son has something he just can’t seem to kick and I’m beggining to wonder if it’s that.

  4. Carolyn W says:

    I have to chuckle about wearing a mask. At the beginning of COVID-19, people would get all upset if you did not wear a mask; now, it is the reverse. I wear a mask everywhere I go, and so does the rest of the family. I think you should do whatever you are comfortable with and not be made uncomfortable because of your decision. Life is too short! I take a variety of vitamins. I find that I feel better and it makes me have a happier disposition.

    1. There are many people with immunecompromised conditions who didnt get any immuniy with vaccines like me . Ive never stopped wearing a mask and my husband wears one for me also when ever we leave the house or are around others . Because my condition is incurable Getting covid could be fatal when you have no immune system. Risking icu or a ventilaror or lomg covid or death isnt worth it
      . I dare someone to say anything to me or go postal . Il be happy to explain it to them

      1. I’m so sorry about your condition, Susan! I sort of go postal on people who give me a hard time about wearing mine:)

  5. A friend of mine had a comeback for people who called her out on her mask. She said, “I wear it so my face won’t scare small children.” Most people chuckled at that and let it go.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    l wear a N95 mask on the plane.. too many people coughing and sneezing! I think it helps to not get covid/ the flu/or a virus.

    Love this post! I have not heard of Umcka! Good to learn something new!

  7. So many wonderful suggestions to keep up one’ s immunity to all the diseases out there. It can be mind-boggling. Speaking of mind-boggling perhaps we could take up the issue of mental fitness and keeping ourselves as free of anxiety as possible. Whether we like it or not or even care to admit, we have political anxiety and it’s causing stress throughout society that we haven’t seen before. Perhaps less media devices, more exercise, more getting “into nature” – and more “looking into our own backyard” to get along with those closest to us – friends and family – regardless of some of their beliefs. Yes, Jennifer, I know this is a non-partisan arena, but these problems I describe are affecting all of us, like it or not.

    1. I know they are affecting my stress level so this is a great point.

  8. Francesca B says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    My husband had an awful bout of Covid in January after plane traveling and l thought l was going to get it but instead had a nasty flu and cough that went on for days. I had a bottle of Pom cranberry juice in the fridge left over from Christmas cocktails and had 4oz of that every day and it really helped. Now l am going to keep that up through the winter months. Happy weekend !

    1. Cranberry is great for so many things.

  9. What is the recipe for the fruit you are cooking? Looks great.

    1. It’s just lots of chopped red and orange peppers with diced yellow onions. I sauté them, then add shrimp, red curry paste and coconut milk then simmer for about 20 minutes and serve over brown rice. I sometimes used cubed chicken breast instead of shrimp.

  10. Great post. So many things to consider!
    I’m wondering if the humidifier is noisy? I sleep well, but I can’t have any noise in the room. Thanks…

    1. It is fairly loud because it’s right next to my bed but it also acts as a white noise.

  11. I wear a mask when traveling, as well. I put it on when I enter my local airport and do not remove it until I exit the final destination. And yes, I do get some looks. I even had one women tell me masks were not mandatory anymore. I think it was her way of showing her displeasure. With all the different viruses making the rounds, why not take precautions.
    I don’t take many supplements or vitamins. I try to eat right, drink water, and I make my walk a priority every day. I wish I slept better.

    1. I think wearing a mask really helps me when traveling.

  12. Lynneferd says:

    Thanks for the run down on the supplements you use. Since I wear a mask nearly everywhere I go, my exposure to germs is limited. My husband and a friend have long Covid, and I certainly don’t want to get Covid again and chance that! Did you decide not to discuss your retreat in detail? I’ve been waiting to hear about the various workshops you attended and if you thought they were helpful. The best to you on your journey to improve your health.

    1. I’m still working on that post, and will share soon. I sure don’t ever want Covid again. I was sicker than I’ve ever been and it seemed to hang on forever.

  13. Lots of good ideas, thank you.
    I think the Umcka company should pay me for all the
    converts to it I have made! Umcka has saved me from
    many illnesses since I first found it in the 1990s. The most dramatic was when I flew some 15 hours to Europe in Covid times, lay down to rest as it was too early to go to bed, felt slight chills going up and down my sides and was sure I was coming down with that awful disease and would infect my hostess too. Took Umcka for two days, chills went away, no illness. I take it as soon as I feel anything slightly cold related.

  14. Consistent moderate exercise also helps the immune system, along with a stress reduction practice. I aim for 45 minutes of exercise 3to 4 times per week and a 20 minute meditation daily. Notice that I say “aim for”. It doesn’t always happen, but I do try to adhere to it.

    1. I agree and I aim for that too. The hardest is for me to get the meditation in which means I need it the most.

  15. Such a timely, informative blog this morning. I’ve added extra vitamin C for these winter months. Maybe I won’t do every single thing you suggested but sometimes just an awareness that small steps do make a difference. Stay hydrated, eat lots of fresh, healthy meals and keep moving. The older I get, the longer our winters seem to be. I keep a good book by my chair and have found a lot of fun doing some “scratch” art projects. I want to remain current and mindful every day, not always wishing for something out of my reach.

  16. Thanks for all the great info. We have a humidifier but this one looks much more efficient. My husband has us on a vitamin regimen that must be working as we rarely get sick. I’ll be showing him this post. He loves this kind of stuff where I just kind of tune out!

  17. beth byrd says:

    Thank you for these tips! As soon as the weather gets cooler — and the air drier — I start using saline nasal spray. I swear by it! As much as I abhor high humidity, the extremely dry winter air sucks the life right out of me. I also drink tea every morning and make sure to eat fresh veggies and fruit every day. I’m sorry to hear that people are offended by your mask wearing. It’s a personal choice and the only one it should matter to is you!

    1. People all have opinions and they feel pretty strongly about masks.

  18. Off the subject, however, I noticed that your nails are natural and look strong and healthy. Mine are very thin, split and tear after years of acrylic, dip, etc. Any suggestions appreciated! Nyla

    1. I’ve just gone through a rough patch of them tearing and being like paper do I stopped using everything but this Nail Tek which has made a big difference.

    2. My sister wore acrylic (and etc) nails for many years and then stopped when she retired. Her nails were in very bad shape and for the longest time she could not grow them out at all — they split and tore and grew very slowly. She was using clear nail polish and nail hardeners (and other types of nail helps) and I suggested she just stop using anything on her nails except for cuticle/nail cream. She did so and her nails grew out long and strong. It seems both she and I are allergic to the ingredients in nail polishes, etc. I, too, cannot wear polish for any length of time without damaging my nails so I don’t do it.

      1. That’s a great suggestion. Often they just need moisture.

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