Simple Tips for a Robust Immune System

Nobody likes getting sick, but we don’t ever think much about it until we finally feel it coming. Then we find ourselves suddenly stocking up on vitamin C and drinking herbal tea, trying all the home remedy tricks we learned from our grandmothers. However, the best way to fight off illnesses is to prevent them in the first place, by doing simple things each day that boost the immune system.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough quality sleep each night is so essential for a healthy immune system. Try to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sound sleep each night, which may take some practice to build up to. Studies have shown that lack of sleep significantly weakens the immune system. If you have trouble falling asleep, set up a good nightly routine to relax and prepare for sleep. Put your screens away at least an hour before bed or get some blue light protecting glasses.

Eat Your Antioxidants

Our bodies need the right fuel to fight off infections. Antioxidants clear out free radicals from the body, which can otherwise cause inflammation and weaken the immune system. Vitamins A, C, and E are rich in antioxidants and can help regulate the immune response. Make sure you’re eating your vegetables and fruits to get these essential micronutrients, and if you can’t get enough through your diet, consider taking a high-quality multivitamin.

Stop Stressing

Stress not only affects your mental well-being, but it also takes an enormous toll on your physical health. While acute stress is sometimes useful for those short bursts of adrenaline, most of us are dealing with chronic stress. This wreaks havoc on your body and can lead to adrenal fatigue, chronic low-grade inflammation, and a weakened immune system. If you’re feeling stressed out, try getting to the root of the problem and fixing that. Take some time to relax and unwind after a stressful day so that your body can recover.

Exercise, But Not Too Intensely

Exercise is so vital for overall health, but it specifically benefits the immune system by promoting helping to circulate your immune cells throughout the body.  It also lowers inflammation and reduces stress levels, which is key for a robust immune system. However, some studies have found that overly intense exercise, especially without enough recovery time, can have adverse effects on your immune health. So, exercise, but give your body enough time to recover as well.

Practice Good Hygiene

While it is essential to have a strong immune system that can fight off infections, the best way to protect yourself is to practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face if you haven’t. If you’re out and aren’t able to wash your hands, use sanitizer or a hand wipe.

This is an interesting time we’re living in, and boosting the immune system is at the top of everyone’s priority list. Along with these daily tasks, eating as many plants as possible will give you the strong immune system you’re longing for. Load up on veggies, drink copious amounts of fresh water, and lessen the load of environmental toxins.  Make time for things that make you happy, nourish your relationships, and make sure you feel connected. There are so many things that come together to create a robust immune system.

Do you plan your meals ahead of time?

Do you typically plan your meals for the week ahead of time?

Or do you shop throughout the week for a few days at a time?

I know people on both sides of the fence:

Those who rotate the same recipes week after week, and those who like to try new recipes and mix it up each week.

Which one are you?

The Lowdown on Sprouting

Sprouting your food is super easy, inexpensive, and provides so many nutritional benefits. You don’t need much of a green thumb to have success with sprouting—it’s low-maintenance and requires basic equipment that you probably already have lying around in your house. You can sprout most legumes, nuts, seeds, and some grains, such as wheat. There are, however, a few foods you should be careful about sprouting, such as kidney beans and quinoa, which might upset your stomach. Sprouted kidney beans should not be eaten raw. You can also ‘technically’ sprout chia and flax seeds, but it is difficult and not usually worth the effort.

Contrary to what some might think, sprouting your foods is safe and simple. Because you will be working on such a small scale (compared to the mass production of companies), it is much easier to control your environment and keep it sanitized. It would be best if you made sure that the supplies you’re using are clean, that your sprouts are getting enough air, and that you always wash your hands before and after handling the sprouts.

So, what do you need to sprout?

While you don’t need special sprouting seeds, they make the process easier. Most imported foods that we find at the grocery store are irradiated so that they cannot sprout. Secondly, companies sell sprouting seeds knowing that you intend to sprout them, ensuring their environment is sanitized correctly and that there are no harmful pathogens in them.

In contrast, if you buy a regular bag of beans, the manufacturer is assuming you will boil them, getting rid of any potential lingering pathogens, so they aren’t overly careful. You can order sprouting seeds online if you have trouble finding them at your grocery store. Once you have your seeds, all you need is a clear jar, some breathable material such as cotton, and a rubber band. The first thing you need to do is soak your seeds in the jar. A general ratio to follow is 3:1 parts water to seeds. Depending on what you’re sprouting, the soaking time will vary.

For example, chickpeas should soak for 8 hours, whereas sesame seeds should soak for only 2 hours. You can leave the jar open or close it with your breathable cloth and rubber band. After soaking, drain and rinse with fresh cold water. Place your jar in a bowl upside down and make sure it’s able to drain. Twice a day, rinse and drain your sprouts. The length of time you harvest your sprouts depends on the type of sprout and personal preference.

When they’re finally finished, rinse and drain them one last time and lay them out on a kitchen towel to dry for around an hour. Make sure to store them in a container with some paper towel to absorb any excess moisture and place them in the fridge. They can usually last a week if stored properly. You can add sprouts to your salads, sandwiches, add them to your omelet, or whatever you choose—the possibilities are endless.

One thing I always keep on hand is an “emergency” freezer meal for those busy days I’m tempted to order take-out instead of finding the time to cook.

Stir-fry is a great freezer meal option.  You can keep a frozen bag of stir-fry veggies, a microwaveable brown rice option, and any protein you’d like to add to the mix.  Mixing all of this together can have dinner on the table in 15 minutes or less. I like to use an Asian sauce to the pan when mixing everything together — and it’s always a crowd-pleaser!

What’s your go-to “emergency” meal for when the time has slipped away from you?

Your schedule is packed.  Your days are full.  And you have absolutely no idea what you’re cooking for dinner tonight. 

Sound familiar?  This was my biggest struggle while trying to create a healthy lifestyle that sticks.  It’s just so simple to speed through a drive-thru on the way home from work, and not have to worry about cooking.  Right?

Clearly, fast food isn’t going to help us reach our health goals — this, we know!  So something else has to happen… something more permanent.

It took awhile, but I finally hacked the kitchen confusion and figured out how to plan healthy, simple meals without spending hours in the kitchen daily.

And I’m going to teach you those simple strategies!  Go ahead, take that deep sigh of relief.

Join me for my 5-day Simple Summer Meals Series starting on July 6, 2020.

Sign up HERE

 

 

Sign up HERE
Date: July 6, 2020—July 10, 2020
Event: Simple Summer Meals Series
Sponsor: Kim Zajan, CHC
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.

Do you typically multitask while you’re eating?

If you are used to scrolling on your phone or watching television while you eat, try something different this week.

Try eating with no distractions, even if just for a few days. Try to be mindful of chewing each bite well, breathing calmly throughout your meal, and taking your time.

It can be challenging to recognize the cues from your body to stop eating when you’re busy with other things. Leaving this mental space for you to pay closer attention to what you’re doing while you’re eating can help you tune in and see what your body is telling you.

What’s your typical meal routine?

Have you ever tried to make your own pickles at home? It’s quite easy, and a fun experiment to see what different flavors you can add to them to spice them up a bit.

A great simple recipe to try as a base:

1 Pint-sized mason jar with lid

Pickling cucumbers

Fresh dill sprigs

3 Garlic cloves, sliced

1 cup apple cider vinegar

8 cups of water

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/3 cup Himalayan salt granules

1 teaspoon pickling spices

 

Slice your cucumbers into spears and set aside with dill and garlic.

Combine all other ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Stir until all salt and sugar have dissolved.

Place your cucumbers in your jar with dill and garlic. Pour mixture into the jar and refrigerate for 24-48 hours before eating.