BY KAILA CRUTTENDEN | Moonshine Ink

In this time of uncertainty, when our health, stability, and social norms are being questioned, we can feel overwhelmed and not know where to turn. One thing we do know is keeping ourselves healthy and optimizing our immune system is a must. 

Health is important, but now more than ever it’s imperative we make it a priority. Our bodies are excellent at keeping us well and thriving when our immune system is strong.  

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Most of us have a lot more time on our hands at the moment, which means we can actually take action in self-care. 

Here are my top tips to boost your immune system to keep yourself and your family healthy:

• Focus on Proper Nutrition: Food is our first line of defense and nourishes our bodies to keep them strong. Remove sugar and alcohol from your diet as they will weaken the immune system. Prioritize nutrient-dense foods packed full of vitamins and minerals that optimize your entire system. Here are five main areas to focus on:

      1. Clean proteins: salmon, cold-water fatty fish, wild game, grass-fed beef, eggs (entire egg), grass-fed butter, ghee, liver
      2. Fresh vegetables: all vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, squash, carrots, beets, artichoke, garlic, ginger
      3. Fresh fruit: oranges, berries, kiwi, apples, pears, cherries, melon, etc.
      4. Healthy fats: avocado, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds
      5. Legumes: all legumes including peas and lentils
      6. Big immune supporters: garlic, ginger, citrus fruits, bone broth, fermented foods.

• Prioritize Sleep: Sleep is critical to optimal immune function. If you are sleep-deprived, you are not at your peak immunity.

• Stay Hydrated: Water is the foundation of our health. Clean/filtered water consumed regularly helps keep our whole system functioning optimally, including our immune system. Optimal intake is half your body weight in ounces as a baseline. (If you are sweating, traveling, or active you will need to increase intake.)

• Keep Moving: Physical activity and exercise boost the immune system, improve lung function, lower stress, and improve energy. Many local businesses are offering live or recorded workouts to do right in your own home. We are also fortunate to be surrounded by open space. Get outside! Move your body. The fresh air and sun are great for you physically and emotionally. Just be sure to keep that 6 feet of social-distancing space between you and those around you!

• Reduce Stress: During this time of tension, stress can run high. Stress has been proven to compromise your immune system. It is of utmost importance to surround yourself with positivity. Reduce stress by practicing yoga, mindfulness, breathing exercises, starting or continuing a gratitude practice, chatting with uplifting friends/family, or reading an inspiring book.

• Supplementation:  There are some key vitamins, nutrients, and botanicals that will help to boost and optimize immune function such as:

    • Vitamin C: Sodium ascorbate (I recommend the Nutribiotic brand) is the best bioavailable form. This is a great supplement for the entire family.
    • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin A
    • Zinc
    • Elderberry
    • Probiotics
    • Immune boosting mushroom blends: Host Defense MyCommunity or Thorne Research Myco-Immune
    • Botanicals such as cordyceps, angelica, rhodiola, and astragalus 
    • CBDs (also GREAT at reducing stress): Charlotte’s Web

** These are recommendations to boost the immune system when you are well and are not currently experiencing symptoms. If you come down with something, contact a health care provider to get the best recommendations on how to proceed with supplementation.

There are a lot of unknowns in our world today, but what we do know: The human body is resilient, programmed to heal, and thrives when we nurture it and give it the essentials it needs to run properly.

~ Kaila Cruttenden, L.Ac, Dipl. OM, is a licensed acupuncturist, nationally and with the state of California. She practices Chinese medicine as well as functional medicine, and has a passion for helping people achieve optimal wellness and live long, healthy lives. By restoring balance through acupuncture, herbs, nutrition, and functional medicine, she can treat a wide array of ailments from chronic pain to digestive issues. During this time of social distancing, she is offering virtual appointments offering nutrition, supplement, herbal and lab testing recommendations. For more information go to elementalbodies.com.


Main Image Caption: BODILY BOOSTERS: Find a vast selection of immunity-building vitamins and supplements at stores like New Moon Natural Foods, with locations in Tahoe City and Truckee. Photo by Wade Snider/Moonshine Ink

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