Balancing your immune system is easier than you think! Our bodies are constantly filtering out toxins. Giving your body the right foods can help you feel your best and keep you healthy throughout the winter and all year round!
Our bodies are amazing. They are designed to function properly & heal itself if you give it the right TLC (including healthy foods!) One of your first line of defenses is your liver. Your liver has a big job to do ! It acts as a filter in preventing toxic substances from passing to your blood stream. Next up is your colon. The colon has a combination of good bacteria and other not so good bacteria. You want to maintain a healthy balance of this bacteria and keep your colon flowing regularly since its main role is to flush out toxins. Then, you have your kidneys which are constantly filtering your blood and getting rid of toxins.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with thinking you need to overload on supplements to be healthy! Real whole foods go a long way. A balanced immune system has never been easier with the help of Heinen’s Grocery, including their Wellness Department which has the newest & most up-to-date features.
If you ever have any questions, every Heinen’s has a Wellness Consultant that is always happy to answer your questions.
Here are my top 5 ways to balance your immune system.
5 Simple Ways to Balance your Immune System
1. Lemons. Drinking warm lemon water when you first wake up has multiple benefits! It is a simple step that almost anyone can fit into their schedule, even busy mamas like myself! Try buying the organic lemon juice that is ready-to-go to help save on time for your super jam packed weeks.
Benefits of drinking lemon juice:
- Lemon juice acts as a digestive and a detoxifying agent and helps in cleaning the liver leading to better digestive health.
- Lemons are a rich source of vitamin C, which will help prevent sickness & help you beat colds quickly.
- Lemon juice helps balance your pH & alkalize your body (the goal is to keep your pH alkalized).
- Lemon juice helps keep you hydrated & provide you with electrolytes. In turn, this can help keep your bowels regular.
- Lemons can help prevent anemia by improving your absorption of iron from plant foods (1,2)
When one of our children was low in iron I amped up all the iron rich foods, and paired it with foods rich in vitamin C to help absorption.
2. Probiotics. More & more studies are coming out that an imbalance in your gut leads to many health issues. Eating fermented foods is very helpful as it naturally contains beneficial bacteria. Read more on our favorite fermented foods here. With our busy schedules, it may be unrealistic to incorporate fermented foods everyday and/or they may be too high in histamines for you.
Our whole family takes a daily probiotic. I tend to switch up the brands to get more diversity. Right now I am loving the Mega Food /Mega Flora brand for my husband and I. The kids take Garden of Life/Organic Kids + Vitamin D. I am thrilled to have found this probiotic! Two essentials I think are necessary for our kids (probiotic & vitamin D) are a one stop shop with Garden of Life probiotics. Our kids take them with no problem, and they actually remind me to give it to them when I forget (which is frequently!) I love that it has the minimum daily recommended amount of vitamin D in there which most, if not all, doctors recommend these days. Heinens, NOW, and Garden of Life brand all have a vitamin D product Heinen’s carries as well for adults!
Benefits of probiotics:
- Probiotics can restore a healthy balance in gut bacteria (3).
- Probiotics give your immune system a boost!! (10)
- Probiotics are most widely known to prevent diarrhea or reduce it’s severity (4). Many people taking antibiotics reach for probiotics (5,6).
- Gut health is now being linked to mood and mental health. This is a very important connection! It’s important to find probiotics that contain Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.
- Probiotics can improve allergies & eczema in children (7). One study followed children of women who took probiotics during pregnancy. Those children had an 83% lower risk of developing eczema in the first two years of life (9). So interesting!
3. Eating a variety of colorful fruits & vegetables. Time & time again we hear that fruits and vegetables are good for you. They are actually way more important than that, they are absolutely critical to our health. “In each human cell, the DNA is hit about 10,000 times a day by mutagenic oxidants.” –Bruce Ames, Ph.D., National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center. Oxidative stress wreaks havoc in our bodies. Our defense is antioxidants which come from fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants act like a sponge neutralizing free radicals. Examples of dietary antioxidants are lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and E (alpha-tocopherol). Try focusing on half of your plate being vegetables. If kids see vegetables at almost every meal, they are going to be more likely to eat them too. One way I find it easier to get fruits & vegetables in our diet is by making smoothies! Check out another blog on getting kids to eat more F&V. 🙂
4. Turmeric & honey. Honey has been known since ancient times to effectively fight infections (11) . It has antibacterial & antimicrobial properties. Honey contains antioxidants, phytonutrients & may help digestive issues which all can help balance your immune system.
Try adding honey to your tea or even coffee. For kids over 1 years old, add 1 tsp of honey in 1 tsp of warm water and have them drink it to soothe a sore throat and/or help with a cough.
Turmeric is anti-inflammtory and may be the most effective supplement to date! It has been being used for thousands of years, and recently has made a comeback as more and more people are looking for more natural remedies and improve their health. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Black pepper & fat help absorb turmeric. Heinen’s carries a ‘Sipping Vinegar’ which I love! It’s a combination of turmeric, honey and apple cider vinegar. You just add a shot to warm water and drink!
Homemade Turmeric/Honey Tea:
1 TBSP turmeric
4 TBSP honey
2 TSP raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon, squeezed
Dash of black pepper
Mix all ingredients in a jar. Add 1 tsp of mixture to 8 oz hot water. Store this recipe in the refrigerator in a jar to have on hand all week long!
5. Vitamin D. It’s hard to talk about all the benefits of vitamin D here. Vitamin D is known to help balance your immune system & keep you healthy (12). You really want to amp up your vitamin D intake during the winter months as it may prevent you from getting sick.
I believe in keeping it as simple as possible! Small changes lead to more and more changes which will make a BIG impact over time. Small changes also help you stay on track since you don’t have to overwhelm yourself with drastic changes. Just remember, you can’t go wrong with loading up on fruits & vegetables- nature’s medicine!
Looking to learn more about ways to support your immune health? Check out this post from Heinen’s Wellness Consultant, Jaclyn.
- The effects of fruit juices and fruits on the absorption of iron: ://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3593665
- Relationship between iron status and dietary fruit and vegetables based on their vitamin C and fiber content: ://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18469253
- The pervasive effects of an antibiotic on the human gut microbiota, as revealed by deep 16S rRNA sequencing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19018661
- Probiotics for the prevention of pediatric antibiotic-associated diarrhea. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26695080
- Probiotics for the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22570464
- Probiotics in the management of atopic eczema. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11069570
- Maternal probiotic supplementation during pregnancy and breast-feeding reduces the risk of eczema in the infant. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23083673
- Live probiotics protect intestinal epithelial cells from the effects of infection with enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12801956
- Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609166/
- Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/
- A Bit More Vitamin D Might Help Prevent Colds And Flu https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/02/16/515428944/a-bit-more-vitamin-d-might-reduce-winter-colds-and-flu