• Robin Thomas

Keep Your Immune System Strong

Our immune system is essential for our survival, working to keep us healthy when exposed to pathogens- microorganisms that cause disease. Using diet and lifestyle modification, you can support your immune system and create a strong, resilient response to infectious diseases. If you care about your health, you’ll want to nurture this important protection system.


10 Tips That Promote a Healthy Immune System


  1. Reduce Stress When we are stressed, our bodies produce more cortisol. Cortisol interferes with immune function. When we feel like we don’t have control over our circumstances, of course we are stressed. We DO have control over our reactions to stress, though. Deep breathing, meditation, and time spent in nature have helped me reduce my own stress level this year.

  2. Community I do hate the words “social distancing” as they make no sense. We all need a community of support, and thanks to technology, we are able to stay socially connected through our phones and our computers. Helping our neighbors, especially those who are older or immune compromised, brings us together as a community. Let’s not become socially distanced, but stay connected safely!

  3. Listening or Playing Music actually boosts your immune system. Research has shown that music listeners have higher numbers of an immune cell type called "natural killer cells," whose job it is to attack bacteria and infected cells. Listening to music also reduces levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body.

  4. Hydrate Water allows your kidneys to remove toxins from your body. It allows your cells to take in nutrients, and it also allows them to expel waste products. If you don't drink enough water, toxins will build up, weakening your immune system. Hydrating regularly also helps to keep those mucus membranes moist.

  5. Sleep Well Making sure we consistently get a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways we can improve our immunity and defend against viruses and disease. Sleep is a natural immune booster. Research shows that well rested people have stronger immune systems.

  6. Exercise Regular aerobic exercise increases the body’s ability to deliver and use oxygen and has been shown to increase the “T-cells” or immune cells in the body. It also boosts the immune systems by decreasing the stress hormones in the body and increasing insulin sensitivity in the cells that lowers blood sugar.

  7. Gut Health A healthy gut flora supports a healthy gut, a major barrier against pathogens and integral to the immune system. 75-80% of your immune system resides in the microbiome in your gut and maintaining the right balance of beneficial gut flora is critical for these immune cells residing in your gut. Eat fermented ( not vinegar) sauerkraut and pickles and take a probiotic supplement and prebiotics daily.

  8. Laugh a Lot! Some studies have shown that the ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells as well.

  9. Eat the Rainbow I doubt I have a single article that doesn’t mention the value of eating the rainbow of fresh foods. The flavinoids of brightly colored foods support our immune system through inhibiting viruses from attaching to and entering our cells. Buy from your local farmers! A diet high in processed foods just sets you up for a poor immune system. Reduce sugar! Refined sugar suppresses your immune system for hours after eating it.

  10. Helpful Supplemental Support Eating a healthy diet is of prime importance, however there are specific What I recommend: a quality, broad spectrum multivitamin and mineral supplement that contains a synergy of antioxidants, micronutrients and flavinoids, Vit D3 based on your blood level of 25-OH vitamin D ( optimally 60+ ng/dl ) and Vit C. I take vit C ascorbates combined with quality grape-seed extract. Vitamin C plays a role in the normal production and function of white blood cells and antibodies. You need to keep those abundant if you want a strong immune system. Grape-seed bioflavonoids can help support your cells’ ability to communicate with each other for healthy immune responses.


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Robin Thomas worked for 25 years in Medical Research at UNC studying inflammation in chronic and autoimmune diseases. She left UNC to start her own Wellness Business in 2004 and founded Living Well Connections, a community for people whose passion is healthy living, in 2015.


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