You’ve finished the race, you’ve crossed 26.2 off your bucket list, you’re flying high…until the ache, the cough, the unbearable runny nose! Acccchhooooooooo. Boost your immune system with the right foods and supplements pre-race and as part of your post race recovery to help your body stay feeling good.
Unfortunately, those many months of mileage build up and air travel to our racecation leave the immune system crying for some extra TLC. It’s natural after taxing the body so hard for it to find ways to force you to slow down.
Following you’ll find tried and tested tips, along with my favorite supplements to boost immune system.
10 Tips to Naturally Boost Immune System
Part of a great training season is being able to show up consistently for your runs, which means not getting sick!
No need to go to extremes, there are some great natural options which will help boost your immune system during training to keep you going strong after crossing the finish line!
1) Foods to Boost Immune System
Step number one, get focused on including as many whole foods in your diet as possible. Science has shown that the more vegetables we have in our diet, the better our total health because it ensures we’re allowing for total muscle recovery.
Additionally, we know that a body deficient in nutrients simply can’t cope with both our training and the stress of daily life, leading to a compromised immune system.
- All the greens and cruciferious veggies you can
- Eat the rainbow as often as possible (red bell peppers are high in vitamin C)
- Broth has tons of antioxidants
- Sweet potatoes
- Basically…eat a variety of whole foods, it works.
2) Oregano Oil Capsules
– 1 daily with dinner
One of my favorite ways to boost the immune system is the anti-bacterial and antiviral properties of oregano oil. This home remedy has been shown to help resolving upper respiratory issues. These are the one supplement that goes with me on every single trip now.
As always, quality is key! If it’s low grade, you aren’t going to get the benefits. Here is one I use, which contains wild oregano oil and is definitely potent so take it with food. Because it has a drying effect this one is good to take on a rotating basis rather than daily forever.
3) Water and Electrolytes
– at least 64 oz fluids
Beyond staying well hydrated with at least 64 oz of water, include electrolytes like Utlima Replenisher Electrolytes daily to maintain mineral balance. As you know from my constant talk of electrolytes, they’re highly important for those of us drinking plenty of water and exercising because we can flush them from our system.
That leaves you feeling fatigued, with muscle cramps, blood pressure changes and even irregular heartbeat. Sounds like a perfect storm for getting sick or even thinking you’re sick, when you aren’t!4) Green Juice
– at least 1 daily
Not only are whole foods a key component to total health, but green juice acts like a super booster to your immune system. Green juice or my favorite green smoothies are an easy way to get in a ton of whole food nutrition that the body can quickly absorb without needing to do any additional work.
Which is exactly what we want when trying to give our body a boost! Immediate nutrients sans effort. Adding in at least one green juice or green smoothie daily can give you a nutritional boost.
There’s a reason hospitals have signs everywhere about washing your hands, it works.
Stay vigilant about not only washing your hands and anyone who might be sick, but take time to sanitize. Use disinfectant wipes on all common surfaces like the remote and door handles. If someone is sick…I’d pretty much follow them around wiping down!
6) Hot Tea
– a cup a day
In addition to swigging water, consider adding in a daily mug of Traditional Medicine, Echinacea Immune Support. It contains echinacea which is a medicinal herb that was actually used by medical doctors all the time until we invented good ol’ antibiotics!
A study from the University of Connecticut showed that echinacea cuts the chances of catching a cold by 58%!
Additionally, I’m a big fan of nightly tea because it forces you to slow down for a moment. You can’t gulp your tea, you’ve got to sip it which is a moment to slow down your brain and your body, reducing stress which plays a massive role in better immune health.
– minimum 6 hours, better 8-9
Yes you need it when you’re sick, but you need LOTS when you’re trying to keep your immune system strong to prevent getting sick. If you think you don’t have time for a full night of sleep, wait until you have to take 5-7 days off your entire life because you’re so ill you can’t move.
Here are my top tips and natural remedies for improving your sleep!
8) I am healthy mantras
We know that stress is one of the fastest ways to decrease our immune system. That means putting in a little time each day to keep your mindset positive and encourage relaxation. When those around you are sneezing and wheezing it’s easy to start thinking you might also be feeling a tad off.
Instead of letting yourself wander down that path, immediately refocus on saying to yourself “I enjoy great health” and then back it up by focusing on all of these little tricks you’re implementing to optimize your health! Which leads to our next step…10 tips to avoid the flu without a flu shot or drugs #healthyliving Click To Tweet
9) Vitamin D
–15 minutes of sunshine daily
Head outside for at least 15 minutes each day to give your Vitamin D levels a boost. Recent studies have shown that deficient Vitamin D levels make you more susceptible to infections, while sufficient levels ensure your body is prepared to fight off invaders. You’ll get the added bonus of fresh air, which feels wonderful after hours stuck inside around those sniffles.
Truth be told through some of my blood work testing, I found that I am still often low in Vitamin D even with all the time outside and this is SUPER COMMON. So I started using a little gummy to make sure I get an extra boost each day.
10) Detox Bath
– 1 time a week
Possibly my favorite of the immune boosting tips is to draw yourself a warm bath, toss in these amazing ingredients for detoxing and then simply relax. If you noticed the theme of relaxing, good for you!
You want to fully immerse yourself in this bath for a minimum of 20 minutes and as noted below, use the right ingredients!
Detox bath ingredients:
- 1 cup baking soda
- 2 cups Epsom salt
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
We know that lavender has a soothing effect, ginger will help you sweat, while the magnesium from the epsom salts is extremely useful to treat sore muscles and keep that digestion moving. For a time saver, grab Dr Teals which already has lavender in it!
CAUTION: ALL OF THESE TOGETHER cleanse the body…yes that means if you haven’t been using any of these things before DO NOT do them all together or you will feel a bit like having the flu as your body detoxes.
There you have it, 10 easy ways to boost your immune system for better health and better running in the new year!
Do you stick to holistic options for health?
Do you get a flu shot?
Other ways to connect with Amanda
Instagram Daily Fun: RunToTheFinish
Facebook Community Chatter: RunToTheFinish
Sign Up to Receive a Weekly Newsletter with Top Running Tips and Laughs
Wow it’s amazing how a combo of such simple things really do help boost the immune system; I’ve realized that good sleep and drinking lots and some regular sunshine really are blessings to keep that immune system healthier during the winter time especially!
Thanks for sharing a more natural approach to boosting our immune system!
Carmy @ carmyy.com
This also applies to exam season too! I remember always getting sick shortly after and not being able to enjoy my freedom!
All the above but most important….wash your hands! Compulsively!
Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN
I do get the flu shot, but I think all these tips are so important for maintaining a healthy immune system. You can still get sick despite shots!
This is all very interesting. I have not tried the oregano but should. I use the same ingredients in my bath but have not tried the ginger!
Last year I was sick a lot and did some research on which supplements would boost the immune system and I came up with: Vitamin D, Vitamin E, B vitamin combo and of course Vitamin C tablets.
Now I just take all of those daily during cold and flu season.