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How I’m Strengthening My Immune System

How I’m Strengthening My Immune System

Happy Wednesday ladies. It’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless these days so I’m taking control of a few things that I can control.  My immune system. I don’t think of myself as having an overly healthy one so I asked on my Facebook page, what others were doing.

There is no magic pill or potion you can take to boost your immune system but there are some popular best practices that many of us are using.

*Please note- I am not a doctor so please check with your own physician before changing your supplements or trying anything new. This is what lots of other ladies are doing to help boost their immunity.

Healthy Lifestyle

This is the biggee and includes-

  1. get plenty of exercise
  2. eat more fruits and veggies which are full of antioxidants
  3. eat fermented food to boost your intestinal flora or see the probiotic I recommend below
  4. stay hydrated – clean water is the best
  5. eat healthy oils like olive oil which is anti-inflammatory
  6. manage your stress levels with yoga, aerobics, mindful techniques like meditation or a gratitude journal
  7. getting enough sleep
  8. supplements to fill in for where your healthy diet may be lacking

Tumeric Turmeric

I’ve been taking Turmeric for inflammation for many years. I even take it for headaches. It turns out that many of you are too. Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric which is a strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Many of us are taking it to boost our immune system right now, and I say, it can’t hurt. In fact, I’ve started sprinkling Turmeric into our eggs because it really has no taste and just makes them yellower.

Vitamin C

I take 1,000 mg each morning and if I feel like I’m coming down with something, I’ll add an additional 1,000 mg a few times a day. Vitamin C which is a terrific antioxidant and bolsters our health.

Zinc

Many people swear by zinc to lessen the severity and shorten their colds so it stands to reason that it could help bolster your immune system.

Oregano Oil

My husband has this in drop form but I find it too strong that way, so I take it in capsule form. Oregano Oil has been used medicinally for years and is reported to be antifungal,  antibacterial, antiseptic, and immune-boosting.

Probioticbottle of probiotic

A strong intestinal flora is well known to help strengthen your health and immune system. I take this one which says it “provides digestive and immune support to promote a healthy microbiome”. I’ve taken far more than my fair share of antibiotics over the years for chronic sinus infections so I find a daily probiotic very helpful.

Elderberry

Many of you swear by Elderberry and if the shelf at my local Whole Foods is any indication you are not alone. There are gummies, lozenges, syrup, capsules, tincture, you name it. You can also just eat the berries🙂

Garlic

It’s said that the alliin in garlic can boost the number of virus-fighting T-cells in your bloodstream which can help fight infection. I use a ton of fresh garlic in my cooking and know that many people also rely on garlic supplements to get enough. Here’s the thing, if you eat enough garlic people will be more than happy to stay 6 feet from you, which is a good thing these days.

What are you doing to strengthen your immune system these days?

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Thanks for reading and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.

.

 

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47 Comments

  1. Marcella Foster
    May 19, 2020 / 12:47 pm

    I don’t know if others mentioned this as I didn’t read all the posts, but Olive Leaf Extract is excellent for upper respiratory illnesses. I always take more than what is on the label (ex.: 2 in am, 1 at lunch, 2 at bedtime).

  2. Bab
    April 30, 2020 / 6:49 pm

    Always great to hear how other women are promoting their health. You can’t fulfill all of your nutritional needs from foods we consume daily. Certainly it is your choice to take supplements. I take several to help my body deal with an auto-immune disease.
    A note about pet peeves…….don’t sweat the small stuff. 😊

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 30, 2020 / 10:29 pm

      Thanks for putting it so eloquently. 🙂

  3. cindy
    April 30, 2020 / 2:40 pm

    Overall we eat extremely healthy. We cook every night (even before the pandemic), eat a lot of salads, vegetables, and vegetable-based soups. I need to get on the turmeric wagon. I am 65 do not take any medications, take plant-based calcium, and vitamin d. I don’t take vitamin c unless I think I am coming down with something. If you eat 2 to 2 1/2 cups of fruit and or veggies a day that is the equivalent of 1000 milligrams of vitamin C. If you take over 1000 milligrams of C I believe you are peeing it out so to speak and can cause gastrointestinal distress. I should get more exercise, but I walk and garden! Great post!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 30, 2020 / 6:32 pm

      I need more exercise too:)

  4. Anon
    April 30, 2020 / 7:24 am

    I’m making sauerkraut as we speak, or rather, it is making itself. Turns out the ancestors knew a thing or two about gut health and immunity after all.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 30, 2020 / 6:34 pm

      We are eating a lot of that these days. I should try making it too.

  5. Tensil Claton
    April 30, 2020 / 5:15 am

    Vitamin D levels are 25 to 100 and a blood test to check your level is recommended. I take vitamin D-3 5,000 IU (soft gel) by NOW because my blood work showed my level was low. Doctors do recommend turmeric -support later healthy inflammation response. Drink water and get enough sleep. The book, The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Hiffington is a good book to read. I enjoy your blog!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 30, 2020 / 6:34 pm

      Thanks, I loved that book too.

  6. Jill
    April 29, 2020 / 4:07 pm

    I don’t understand why anyone would take supplements rather than simple healthy lifestyle. Supplements could be snake oil for all we know. Not a regulated industry and choices made on flimsy evidence.

    Be careful.

  7. Kay
    April 29, 2020 / 3:04 pm

    Okay, Mona Lisa in the mask is a hoot! I was supposed to be in France visiting the in-laws this summer. Sigh. I guess I’ll find the pictures I have online somewhere of the last family trip to Paris where I forced the grandchildren to the Louvre to see two things: Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. I told them someday they would thank me. The worst part of this quarantine is no travel.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 30, 2020 / 6:35 pm

      Hopefully, you will be able to travel soon. I know I’m looking forward to getting out of town.

  8. Penelope
    April 29, 2020 / 2:25 pm

    So much to share on this subject as we ( my daughter and I ) both require much self care for our autoimmune conditions and have done considerable study and research to find ways to improve our health.
    I appreciate your adapting your blog to reflect the mode of the day. I’m sure we can all relate somehow. I also appreciate your sharing your protocol. I agree with you on many of your products. A comment was made that supplements just create expensive urine and I absolutely agree with that… if you are taking an inferior product. Many products are worthless.
    But soil overuse and other factors have depleted the nutritional content of our food supply and we really do need supplementation from a quality source. My opinion.
    Probably the # 1 practice for immune health that we have found for our family is to avoid sugar, and also refined starches, (which convert to “sugar” in the blood).

    Fact: Sugars inhibit immune activity for up to 6 hours after ingesting. So if one is consuming something sweet periodically all day, the immunity is going to be very weak.
    For our personal health care we eat no sugars and only minimal fruit, mostly berries and lemon. And we do take supplements. Fortunately to have a resource for those which makes highly chelated, balanced minerals. The iron is exceptionally absorbable.
    Stay safe and happy.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 30, 2020 / 6:38 pm

      Thanks for sharing Penelope. I didn’t know that about sugar

  9. Val
    April 29, 2020 / 1:43 pm

    I’m not a great fan of supplements. I eat well, lots of veg and berries. No red meat. I walk a lot and am generally very healthy. Taking all those supplements lead to very expensive pee 😜 in my opinion.

  10. Norma G
    April 29, 2020 / 1:00 pm

    I have a regular regimen of multi vitamins and supplements that I’ve taken for years and it seems to be working for me. Occasionally, I have left off one item for a few months just to see if there’s any difference in how I feel. Besides a regular multivitamin, I have taken Glucosamine Chondroitin for decades and although the Dr tells me I have arthritis, I have no joint pain and can move easily. I take Echinacea and Vitamin C and I think those help me in fighting off colds. I even escaped the regular flu this past winter and both sons at home were very sick with it months ago. For the past 2 or 3 years, I’ve added a daily supplement that contains Biotin, Niacin, Calcium and a few other antioxidants to help with healthier hair and nails. These all seem to work for me. I take no other medication. Even my very rare asthma is under control and I’ve had no problems with that in over 2 years,

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 30, 2020 / 6:39 pm

      It sounds like your regime is working well. I wish I could say I’m not taking any medication;)

  11. jodie filogomo
    April 29, 2020 / 12:19 pm

    We do take a lot of supplements, and muscle test to make sure they are needed. But I’m ready to get out and be around some germs too. That’s another things to help our immune system.
    XOOX
    Jodie

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 30, 2020 / 6:40 pm

      I agree! It does help us build immunity

  12. Eve
    April 29, 2020 / 11:30 am

    I think if you believe something helps you, just a positive thought when you take it can help you. People were hung up on vinegar when I was younger. If you think it can help you and it won’t hurt you, take it.
    I usually go by my blood work and all my Dr tells me is “drink more water” at my checkups. I did get a red sore tongue and looked it up on Internet. I took b12 and folic acid for about a month and it stopped being sore. I dropped it off and concentrated on foods that have these in them. Plant based foods, no junk is basically my diet. 78 in June and still holding. : )

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 30, 2020 / 6:41 pm

      I agree. The placebo effect is alive and well for many of us, and that’s not a bad thing:)

  13. Kim Vardas
    April 29, 2020 / 10:58 am

    I cook with turmeric & onion, eat lots of fruits and veggies, drink a huge glass of water with lemon every night before bed, exercise and get a great night’s sleep.
    Supplements: C , D, B12, ubiquinol, , cat’s claw, resveratrol. I also make batches of Elderberry syrup, which I take daily.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 30, 2020 / 6:42 pm

      Cat’s claw is a new one to me. I’ll look it up

  14. Nancy D
    April 29, 2020 / 10:40 am

    Please … it’s turmeric, not tumeric. No capitalization either.

  15. Rosemarie
    April 29, 2020 / 10:34 am

    Hi there

    I follow Peter Twist’s instagram account. He was at one time the strength and conditioning coach for our major hockey team – the Vancouver Canucks. Unfortunately in 2011 when he felt the best and strongest in his life he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. He had an aggressive regime of chemo and radiation. He survived and needed to get his body healthy.

    Recently on instagram he mentioned that he takes:

    1) omega 3 (EPA+DHA) – comes in a bottle
    2) ENEREX – GREENS
    3) Garden of Life sport organic plant-based vanilla protein
    4) Apple Cider vinegar
    5) Ultra Cleanse Flaxseed/dandelion root

    ***Have more of a plant based diet and AVOID processed foods***

    Over the years he has opened up conditioning studios here and in Asia. He is thriving!

    Diana Amato was mentioned on the Vintage Contessa’s Blog – she drinks alkaline water daily – it reduced the inflammation in her body. She too recommended berries – dark leafy vegetables – high fibre foods.

    Best always to keep track of what you eat and take and to discuss with a nutritionist/doctor.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 30, 2020 / 6:44 pm

      I think a good nutritionist is worth their weight in gold!!

  16. Joan
    April 29, 2020 / 9:58 am

    Great post on ways to strengthen our immune system! I would like to stress the importance of vitamin D3. My husband and I take 5000 units twice a day during flu season and once a day the rest of the year. We never get a flu shot and haven’t had the flu since we were kids (very long time ago). Optimal D3 levels should be between 45 and 70. Most people have less than 25. Maintaining levels above 45 strengthen your immune system and the ability to fight off disease. It is important to note that you also need to take a good magnesium supplement and a vitamin K2 supplement (not the same K found in green veggies and won’t interfere with blood thinners) with your D3 to avoid any side effects. We also do 1000 mg of vitamin C, 200 mg of Ubiquinol (which is CoQ10 in a more usable form), and a complete probiotic. Since the Covid outbreak, we added 15mg of zinc to our regimen. So far so good 🙂
    Also as others have said, it is important to investigate what supplements might adversely interact with meds (like heart meds) before adding them to your daily routine.

  17. Jen
    April 29, 2020 / 9:09 am

    Loved this post. I’m a big vitamin person: C, B12, D, Tumeric, Biotin, Iron, Magnesium Bisglycinate (for sleep), Reishi mushroom, Omega-3 and probiotics. We eat no garlic or onion due to my daughter’s allergy (and now I find it too strong a flavour) so I make sure to boost other nutrients. The last time I got a cold was when I had to go off vitamins for 2 weeks before surgery so I’m a believer now.

    • Carolynn
      April 29, 2020 / 1:37 pm

      ***You should NEVER take iron unless it’s recommended by your doctor, because “your body cannot excrete excess iron, so it stores it in certain organs, notably the liver, heart, and pancreas, which can lead to organ damage. Damage to the pancreas can cause diabetes” (direct quote from Medical News Today). Some people think if they’re tired they can just take iron supplements, but you should see your physician first. I say all this as a nurse and one who has had to endure medically-supervised iron treatments for decades, including (at times) daily injections. It’s not something to be taken indiscriminately.***

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 29, 2020 / 6:55 pm

      I need to try those mushrooms. I’m a big believer in nutrients of all kinds. Xx

  18. Gayle
    April 29, 2020 / 8:51 am

    Love your blog. Please note that it is turmeric, not tumeric. One of my pet peeves (one of my many annoying ones). Yes, I am a former proofreader/editor. Most people leave out the first “R”, even food and health writers. And yes, I am also grouchy from sheltering-in-place for weeks. Stay well!

    • Terry
      April 29, 2020 / 9:53 am

      I’m with you! Too-meric drives me crazy! It’s tur-meric!!! I notice every misspelled, mispronounced word and I was born this way!!! Can’t help it!
      Good post Jennifer. I was taking Garden of Life probiotics, which are pricey, but still had a touch of “digestive” issues on occasion. I switched to Naturelo and no issues at all and they are much less expensive. I take the no-iron version for “older” women.

  19. Carolyn
    April 29, 2020 / 8:20 am

    This is a good article. I was very low in vitamin D and vitamin B12. I had to take 10,000 units of vitamin D daily and get vitamin B shots weekly. Now I am maintenance of 1000 vitamin D taken daily. You may want to get your blood work done to check your vitamin D levels.
    I liked Mona Lisa with a mask!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      April 29, 2020 / 6:51 pm

      My vitamin D levels are consistently good but a take a small amount anyway.

  20. Victoria
    April 29, 2020 / 6:48 am

    While elderberry has some promising potential benefits, there are also some dangers associated with its consumption.

    The bark, unripe berries and seeds contain small amounts substances known as lectins, which can cause stomach problems if too much is eaten (2).

    In addition, the elderberry plant contains substances called cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide in some circumstances. This is a toxin also found in apricot seeds and almonds (1Trusted Source, 34).

    There are 3 mg of cyanide per 100 grams of fresh berries and 3–17 mg per 100 grams of fresh leaves. This is just 3% of the estimated fatal dose for a 130-pound (60-kg) person (2, 35).

    However, commercial preparations and cooked berries do not contain cyanide, so there are no reports of fatalities from eating these. Symptoms of eating uncooked berries, leaves, bark or roots of the elderberry include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (2).

    There is one report of eight people falling ill after drinking the juice from freshly picked berries, including the leaves and branches, from the S. mexicana elder variety. They experienced nausea, vomiting, weakness, dizziness, numbness and stupor (36Trusted Source).

    Luckily, toxic substances found in the berries can be safely removed by cooking. However, the branches, bark or leaves should not be used in cooking or juicing (2).

    If you are collecting the flowers or berries yourself, ensure that you have correctly identified the plant as American or European elderberry, as other types of elderberry may be more toxic. Also, be sure to remove any bark or leaves before use. (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/elderberry#risks-and-side-effects)

  21. Pam
    April 29, 2020 / 6:34 am

    It’s easy to get natural pre and probiotics from food. Just eat some sourkraut or other fermented food. Dump the meat and animal products and especially dairy and eat a whole food plant based diet. You will get all the vitamins, minerals and fiber you need except add a B12 and D3 supplement a couple of times a week. Also just watch all those extra pounds melt away which will also help eliminate inflammation.

  22. Bea
    April 29, 2020 / 6:30 am

    Good morning! I think it is a great idea to eat nourishing foods to boost your immune system, but I am not in favor of taking supplements unless there is a particular need (such as vitamin D after blood work indicates a low level of this). I know many people think otherwise.

    Also, please be careful if you have atrial fibrillation (which I do) and you take a blood thinner. It is not recommended to use turmeric as that supplement also acts as a blood thinner. (I am not a medical person, so if there are questions, please talk to your doctor.)

    Happy Wednesday, all! I live in upstate New York and we are finally seeing daffodils and warmer weather. Hope to get outside today and enjoy.

  23. Diane B
    April 29, 2020 / 6:29 am

    Gail is so right. I always check before adding to our supplements. There are some that you cannot take with blood thinners or heart meds, for example watch out for omegas and tumeric also. Otherwise, I have added the zinc lately to my roster and think it does really help along with the others. Stress can certainly add to a need for proper nutrition. Our doctor actually suggested we up the vit.D last year to 2000 a day, but we do live further north. Good one Jennifer.

  24. Karen H.
    April 29, 2020 / 6:07 am

    I had a good chuckle about taking lots of garlic and the great side effect is keeping people at a distance! Your list of health boosting supplements looks good, but I see Vitamin D3 is missing. Have your doc check your levels. Most people are very low, especially those who are fair skinned and those who don’t get sufficient sun exposure (sunscreen). Interesting point about Oregano. I’ll check it out.

  25. Julie F
    April 29, 2020 / 6:07 am

    I like to have warm Golden Milk many evenings. I make it with turmeric, ginger, a little black pepper, & usually throw in a packet of coco flavonoids.

  26. Sharon
    April 29, 2020 / 5:51 am

    Your suggestion for taking oregano is interesting to me as I’ve been reading a lot about it lately. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Deanne
    April 29, 2020 / 5:51 am

    Ha! Love the comment about how garlic can also help with social distancing! Here’s to your health Jennifer.

  28. Susan
    April 29, 2020 / 5:49 am

    I do many of the things you are doing. Except, instead of a probiotic tablet I eat organic yoghurt with live cultures and contains probiotics, plus a good dose of Calcium. Can’t take zinc as it uosets my stomach. However, I take 1,000mg Vitamin C a day (Berocca), which is about all your body needs. As it is a water soluble vitamin, your kidneys excrete (via your pee) what it doesn’t need. One vitamin often overlooked is Vitamin D and it is worth getting your blood levels checked. Vitamin D is great for muscle strength and researchers are looking into Vitamin D and coronavirus. Probably the best thing is to stay away from sick people.

  29. Ginny
    April 29, 2020 / 5:26 am

    I am totally on board with the top 7 suggestions on your “Healthy Lifestyle “ list. When it comes to adding supplements to my diet, I take baby steps. I have added vitamin C and D in addition to a multi vitamin to my daily routine. There are so many drug companies promoting so many supplements these days . They seem to target those of a certain age. Hmmm. For me, I will try to eat healthy foods, drink lots of water, exercise daily and get a good nights sleep.
    Stay well.

  30. Kathy
    April 29, 2020 / 5:05 am

    I have been taking vitamin c daily for years. I have very few colds, in fact I can’t remember the last cold I’ve had! I’m a big believer in vitamin c .

  31. Paukette Levy
    April 29, 2020 / 5:01 am

    I’ve been taking most of your recommendations here fir a year or more. A great list! (I had sone trouble with oregano oil orally so use it in a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil transdermally. My nutritionist recommended it for me and my gut health !

  32. Gail
    April 29, 2020 / 4:18 am

    Good that you put the disclaimer of checking with your physician before taking any supplements or herbal concoctions. A lot of women are on prescriptions that can severely interact with some supplements.

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