“How can I boost my immune system?” It’s one of the most common questions we get asked at D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition. And now, in light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the question is being asked with more fervor than ever before.
Although it feels like the answer should be bigger or grander in some way, our answer remains exactly the same. “Follow the diet, focus on beneficial foods and be extra careful to stay away from avoids.”
Over 40% of our immune system is located in your digestive tract, so what you eat is your number one defense against lurking germs and viruses. Of course there are other steps you can take as well, including exercise, sleep and supplements.
Here are some of the top ways to boost your immune system effectively and naturally.
Be Diligent with Your Diet
Right now, with so many of us staying at home 24/7, it’s oh so easy to stress eat. With the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets only steps away, the temptation to munch all day long is a real one. Not to mention the seduction of sugary, comfort foods that give the illusion of satisfaction and a sense of calm. But truthfully, now is the time to be more diligent than ever.
Your blood type is the key to your body’s entire immune system. Eating right for your type is one of the best tools to improve immunity and support the body's defense against disease. If don’t already follow The Blood Type Diet, there has never been a better time to get started! For those that already follow a personalized nutrition plan, here are some things you can do to step up your game:
- Eat more beneficials
Focusing on the foods that are most advantageous for your individual blood type - beneficials - can go a long way towards reducing inflammation, balancing the immune system and lowering the stress load on your body. These blood-type-specific superfoods can have a positive and direct impact on the state of your health and overall well being.
- Remain vigilant about not eating avoids
Sure, everyone strays once in a while. “What’s the harm in one little cheat?” you might say to yourself at your best friend’s wedding or a family barbecue on a gorgeous sunny day. Now is not one of those times. When boosting your immunity is of utmost importance, you really have to remain alert. Watch out for temptations, recognize them and then let them be. Reach for a beneficial instead, reminding yourself of its immune-boosting benefits. Remember that avoid means avoid.
- Download the Blood Type Diet App
Stress levels are high enough. Don’t go at it alone. Use all the resources available to you to help make meal planning and preparing as easy as possible. The Blood Type Diet App keeps all of your food lists at your fingertips and makes shopping lists for multi-blood-type families a breeze.
- Keep a food journal
For many of us right now, keeping to a “normal” schedule is challenging. And that goes for eating as well. Without that structure, it can be hard to remember just how many beneficial and neutral foods you’ve consumed. Keeping a journal of what and when you eat is an easy way to keep yourself on track. Read more about food journaling here, and get a free printable chart to get you started. You can also use Dr. D'Adamo's DietBuddy* to track your meals.
- Reduce alcohol intake
A glass of wine is enticing right now for sure. But avoiding (or reducing) alcohol is actually a gift to yourself. Alcohol can act as an immune suppressant, and since the goal is to boost immune, it’s best to avoid it if you can.
Exercise Right 4 Your Type
Moderate exercise can both reduce inflammation and help your immune cells regularly regenerate. But all exercise is not created equally. Just as different foods react differently to different blood types, so do different types of exercises. While intense exercise plays a key role in lowering stress for Type O individuals, Type As do best with low impact relaxation-based workouts like tai-chi and yoga. Learn more about how to exercise for your blood type.
Get adequate sleep
Sleep and immunity are closely tied. Inadequate or poor quality sleep is linked to a higher susceptibility to sickness. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night. If you’re having difficulty falling or staying asleep try limiting screen time for at least an hour before bed. Going to bed at the same time each night is also helpful in establishing a natural sleep-wake cycle.
Keep stress low
Long-term stress promotes inflammation and can cause imbalances in immune cell function. Because stress and immunity go hand in hand, it’s important to focus on both in a way that complement one another. Try practicing stress management strategies that work for you, whether that is meditation, going for a walk or calling a friend. Read more about keeping stress at bay during challenging times.
While eating right for your type is the best way to boost immunity, some supplements may also be beneficial:
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C may be beneficial in both preventing and treating pneumonia.
- Vitamin D: Inadequate levels of Vitamin D may reduce immunity.
- Elderberry: This immune-boosting flowering plant has shown to be an excellent ally in the prevention and treatment of the flu and other upper respiratory infections.
- Stinging Nettle: Nettle leaves and roots have a long history of use in herbal medicine and may be worthy of consideration as an anti-viral agent. Read more here.
- Chinese Skullcap: This flowering plant supports healthy digestive and immune system functions.
For more information on supplements that are right for your blood type, and health goals, visit Vitamins & Supplements.
Following these simple steps to boost your immune system can go a long way towards keeping you healthy. And if you do get sick, a healthy immune system may cause your symptoms to be milder and shorter in duration. There’s never been a better time to focus on a personalized nutrition plan based on your blood type!
*The Datapunk DietBuddy is a unique, free-to-use web-based program conceived and coded by Dr. Peter D'Adamo. Providing a unique way to track and measure adherence to any of his current D'Adamo Diet Systems (The Blood Type Diet, GenoType Diet and SWAMI protocol), it utilizes a simple and quick diet diary input system. DietBuddy allows tracking of simple health data, such as your weight and daily water consumption. Your compliance will also be displayed as valuable feedback by a series of informative infographic pages.