I’ve been getting lots of questions about how to strengthen the immune system, and now that we’re all stuck at home, it’s a great time to overhaul your diet. Coming fresh off my Wahls’ Protocol Certification*, I’d like to share some actionable steps you can take to support your body’s immune function.
There’s a lot to say here, but I’ll highlight the basics for now.
Avoid sugar, alcohol, and processed foods. Ideally, cut out gluten and dairy. All of these foods tax your immune system.
Choose high quality plant and animal protein sources:
- beans, lentils, chickpeas, soaked overnight or cooked in an Instant Pot to reduce the lectins.
- fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring) and shellfish (oysters, mussels, clams)
- grassfed beef, pasture raised chicken and turkey, pasture raised eggs
- nuts and seeds, ideally soaked overnight
Eat 2-3 cups from each of the following three groups per day:
- Greens: arugula, kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, collards, etc.
- Sulfur: mushrooms, onions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, boy choy, radishes
- Color: blueberries, raspberries, cherries, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, pomegranates, red bell peppers
Choose healthy fats:
- extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil for drizzling and salad dressings (don’t heat it)
- avocado or coconut oil for cooking
Include a spoonful of fermented foods everyday, like kimchi and sauerkraut. Include ginger, turmeric and lots of herbs and spices.
– Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2. My favorite is Ortho Molecular Products (Liquid D3 with K2). This form comes with the K2 necessary to deliver calcium into your bones and tissues, rather than deposit it into your arteries (which can lead to hardening of the arteries). Our bodies make vitamin D when the sunlight hits our skin, so try to get 30 minutes of sunscreen-free time in the sun with arms and legs exposed each day.
– Liposomal Vitamin C. Our bodies cannot store vitamin C, so we must keep consuming it through food or supplements. Typically, we can only absorb about 30% of the vitamin C in traditional supplements. The liposomal form does not rely on vitamin C transporters, and is therefore absorbed at a much higher rate. You can also get vitamin C from foods like bell peppers, berries, broccoli, and citrus fruits.
– Omega-3 Fatty Acids. We need a good balance of omega-6/9 to omega-3 fatty acids in our diets to balance our body’s inflammatory response. Most of us get far too much omega-6 and 9 through processed foods, meats, and vegetable oils. While we can get some omega-3 fatty acids from plant-based sources like flax seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts, this plant form requires an enzyme to convert it to DHA, and only about 5-7% of what we consume makes it that far. We’re much better off eating fatty fish, which is absorbed at a much higher rate. I use the acronym “SMASH” to remember the best sources: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring. Aim for two 3-4oz servings per week. A supplement can offer great insurance. My favorite is Nordic Naturals.
There seems to be a shortage of these supplements during the Coronavirus outbreak. Please contact me if you are interested in specific recommendations or dosage, or click the link to my online pharmacy in the ‘Shop’ tab to setup an account right now.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night
- Be active everyday in a way that feels good in your body
- Get outside for sunlight and fresh air
- Cultivate positivity through hope, joy, pleasure and gratitude
- Connect with friends and loved ones, virtually, of course 😉
*If you have an autoimmune or chronic inflammatory condition, and you’re interested in exploring the Wahl’s Protocol, please contact me.