Maintaining a healthy immune and respiratory system is important for everyone, regardless of the time of year. Luckily, there are many things you can do to improve your immune and respiratory health, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep. The information in this A to Z guide is a perfect start to a new journey on maintaining your immune response and respiratory health.
Two important amino acids for immune system health are l-lysine and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). Support lung health with NAC found in BreatheMD™, and help maintain a healthy balance of adrenals for a proper response to everyday stress with l-lysine, found in ImmunityMD®.
Berries contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has powerful antioxidant properties, helping to reduce occasional oxidative stress to support the respiratory tract and immune function. So, grab as many strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries as you can.
Chromium, a trace mineral, promotes a healthy immune response by supporting the increased production of T-Cells, B-Cells, cytokine, and macrophages. Increase your chromium intake with apples, broccoli, potatoes, and whole grains.
Stay hydrated. The lymphatic system relies heavily on a fluid called lymph, largely made from water. A well-functioning lymphatic system helps remove occasional toxins while also transporting immune cells throughout the body. Physicians recommend drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses per day to support lymph production and immune activities.
Like other berries, elderberry berries are a natural source of antioxidants, which are known to contribute to overall health. Antioxidants can play a role in supporting the body's natural defenses, potentially aiding in maintaining a healthy immune system.
Fermented foods like yogurt are rich in probiotics. They help promote gut health which lies at the center of immune strength. Keep fermented foods around as a healthy snack and help promote immune system health by nourishing your gut microbiome.
African Geranium is known to support the body's natural defenses and has been used to support the body against common headaches, fatigue, cough, and nasal drippage, making it extremely powerful at sustaining the immune system and fighting off seasonal threats. Get the support you need with a daily dose of award-winning BreatheMD™.
Spending some time in the sun each day can do wonders for your immune and overall health. Your skin produces vitamin D3 when exposed to the sun, and this essential vitamin is an integral part of respiratory health due to its ability to support the production of specific molecules that promote healthy lung tissue and immune cell activity.
There are a few ways through the day that you can increase activity to keep the circulation of nutrients, oxygen, and immune cells around the body. Take the stairs instead of elevators, park far away from stores or buildings and walk to them, and jog in place or use a treadmill when watching television.
Cut out junk food. The added sugars and saturated fats will work against your goals for long-term immune health. In addition to triggering occasional oxidative stress and unnecessary immune responses, these foods can alter the gut microbiome, which is a large part of your immune system and can impact how you take on seasonal threats.
Handwashing with soap and water is the most effective way to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. Help promote proper immune defenses by washing your hands frequently or using sanitizer when hand washing is unavailable.
Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus are two bacterial strains found in the body that help promote a healthy microbiome balance. Almost 70% of the immunity-supporting tissues in the body are located in the gut, and with ImmunityMD®, these two strains can help promote gut and immune health.
The body undergoes an array of healthy processes during sleep. Follow a nighttime routine so you can wind down before bedtime and aim for 7 to 9 hours. Make sure you are sleeping in a cool, dark room for optimal recovery and to maximize the release of melatonin for a more restful sleep.
Physicians recommend five servings of fruit and vegetables a day for good reason. These foods are beneficial for immune and overall health. To promote respiratory and immune function, fill your plate with the immune-supporting nutrients found in citrus fruits, berries, cherries, papaya, broccoli, and spinach.
Get more omega-3s with fresh salmon or tuna or through supplementation. Omega-3 fatty acids contain powerful antioxidants that help reduce occasional oxidative stress and unnecessary immune responses. In addition, certain immune functions are promoted by dietary omega-3 fatty acids, such as phagocytosis, which protects against environmental threats.
Don’t wait until your body starts slowing down. With a proactive approach that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and healthy habits, you can start promoting immune health to help defend against environmental threats now and later.
Smoking affects lung function and overall immune health. Quitting is the only way to promote healthy lung function and support immune cell activity, so the immune system can properly respond to everyday toxins.
Promote healthy lung and respiratory function with BreatheMD’s marshmallow root. This herb encourages phagocytosis, which cleans up damaged or dead cells from the body and acts as a naturally-occurring mucilage. This lubricating compound can help maintain the respiratory tract’s moisture levels.
Find a way to add garlic and ginger to your meals. The two spices contain powerful compounds that support immune health. The phenolic compounds in ginger can help reduce occasional oxidative stress and support respiratory health, and garlic contains allicin, which supports immune cell activity.
One of the most important parts of a healthy routine is stress management. Everyday stress can affect your health, so make time to breathe deeply, meditate, read, go for a walk, relax in a hot bath, or write in a journal to help the body manage stress to promote a sense of calm and focus.
It is important to make time for proper nutrition, exercise, and rest. For example, if your mornings are busy, do some light cardio or stretching and grab a nutrient-packed smoothie for breakfast. But, most importantly, make time for activities you love because supporting mental health will support immune health too.
Immune system function requires increased energy levels to maintain optimal function. This energy comes from nutrients in your diet, including several essential vitamins. Through food or supplement, the vitamins you want for immune support are vitamins A, C, D3, and E.
Healthy weight management contributes to overall health. By maintaining a healthy weight, you support every system in your body, including your immune system, by reducing occasional oxidative stress and unwanted immune responses.
Exercise mobilizes immune cells throughout the body, and you only need thirty minutes a day. With optimal circulation, the body can flush environmental threats from the lungs to support healthy respiratory function. The best exercises for immune health include walking, cycling, strength training, and Tai Chi.
Like Tai Chi, yoga’s deliberate, low-impact movements can support immune and overall health. These movements steady your breathing and work to promote healthy lymphatic system function, so check out yoga classes, both online and in health centers.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that plays a crucial role in various physiological processes. Adequate intake is important for overall health and well-being, as it supports normal bodily functions. Make sure you get zinc every day with either BreatheMD™ or ImmunityMD®.
There are many things you can do to improve your immune and respiratory health. So, start small by incorporating a few changes into your life. Then, turn these tips into a healthy routine that includes nutrition, exercise, and stress management to promote immune and respiratory health.
It’s important to remember that everyone is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. If you have any concerns about your immune or respiratory health, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Dr. Brian Greenberg
Dr. Brian Greenberg is an immunologist, allergist, and pediatrician who received his medical degree from the University of Florida, and completed his residency and fellowship at UCLA. He has practiced medicine in Southern California for almost 25 years.