After a night of sleep, you woke up this morning to start your day. What did you do? Did you think about habits to support immune function? Did you proactively improve your health with your actions? Or, did you fall into a default mode to just get through it?
If you’re running on default, you can make lifestyle changes to revitalize your health, energy, and life. These start with the immune system. You don’t have to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars to do it, and you can start right now! In fact, here are 10 easy and free habits to support immune health. Plus, an invitation to join a 21-day health-changing program to detoxify your body and support immune function and whole-body health.
How Can Habits Support Immune Function?
There are a few different ways lifestyle habits can affect immune function.
First, they can reduce inflammatory actions and oxidative stress in the body. Next, they can activate immune cells directly. Third, they can indirectly affect your immunity. For example, high blood sugars are associated with increased infection risk, while controlled ones are not.
Lastly, and on the other side, they can negatively impact immune function by diminishing the health of immune cells or degrading the body’s overall health.
Your daily habits matter. Throughout each day, you can choose to support your immune function. Make your habit choices wisely.
10 Free Daily Immune Habits
1. Free Habit #1: Gratitude When You Wake
How can you prioritize your health and immune function right when you wake up? You can be purposeful to start the day with gratitude. Whatever lies ahead in the day, you can be grateful for something or someone to start.
How does this support immune health?
Gratitude is one of our daily immune support habits because it can reduce stress and cortisol. Cortisol increases inflammation in the body. What’s more, gratitude can improve sleep while reducing stress.
A study of 400 individuals found that writing gratitudes during the day and/or before sleep improves both the quality and duration of sleep (1). Another study found that gratitude was linked to a 10% improvement in sleep and a 19% decrease in sadness levels in patients with health issues and insomnia (2).
For an extra boost, combine your time of gratitude with meditation. Focus on the moment, the day, and those things for which you are grateful. Be present in these thoughts, not thinking ahead or behind. Incredibly, this sort of mindful meditation can stimulate the immune system. Its benefits include improvements in specific markers of inflammation, cell-mediated immunity, and biological aging (3).
2. Free Habit #2: Ice-Cold Shower for Better Immune Function
Not everyone enjoys an ice-cold shower or burst of cold water in the morning. But for those who can stand it, it will support immune health!
First, cold showers are linked to an improved immune system. A recent study from the Netherlands found that cold showers significantly reduces sick days in workers. In fact, 30 seconds or more of cold showering per day reduced sick days by 29% in the study. Additionally, more than half the participants decided to continue the cold-shower practice after the study since they were convinced by the results (4).
Why would cold water improve immunity? It’s thought that cold-water-stress induces the production of catecholamines, which may play a critical role in supporting the immune system.
3. Free Habit #3: Get Outside into the Sunshine Early
There are many benefits to getting outside. And, the earlier you do it, the better. Sunshine and time outdoors supports immune health, for free! They:
- Increase vitamin D production: Optimal vitamin D levels are associated with fewer seasonal illnesses. What’s more, optimal vitamin D levels support health throughout the body, from bones to skin to organs.
- Improve melatonin levels, especially if you’re out in the early hours after waking. Why does this matter for immune function? Optimal melatonin improves sleep, and sleep is directly beneficial to the immune system.
- Improve mood, which decreases cortisol to support health and immune function.
Get outside whenever you can, and aim for early hours if possible.
4. Free Habit #4: Daily Hydration for Health and Reduced Cortisol
Did you know that fluid restriction and dehydration may increase cortisol in your body? This becomes especially true if you are participating in an outdoor activity (5).
To reduce cortisol and therefore inflammation, hydrate your body regularly.
As a bonus, you’ll promote overall cell health and skin. One recent study has shown that increasing water consumption by 2 liters per day improved skin condition and physiology, even in those who already consumed high amounts of water. The researchers concluded that this increase and improvement in skin health would likely have the most positive effect on those with lower daily water consumption (6).
If you want to take the immune and health benefits even further, drink green tea for part of your daily hydration.
5. Free Habit #5: Focus on Immune Support Foods: Anti-Inflammatory, High-Antioxidant, and Healthy Fat Foods
Throughout the day, choose foods that are anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. These foods include:
- Fish and seafood
- Healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, avocados, MCT oil powder, and more
- Vibrant vegetables and small amounts of fruits
- Cacao, spices, and herbs such as ginger, garlic, basil, and more
- Potent greens and herbs like spirulina, wheatgrass, milk thistle, and more
Sound expensive for a list of free habits? Consider this: You have to eat anyway, so being more mindful about your food is a switch, not an addition. What’s more, there are many wonderfully inexpensive foods that are high on the list. Black pepper, whole or ground ginger, turmeric and/or garlic cloves, spinach, broccoli, and more are concentrated in immune-supporting nutrients and don’t cost much at all.
6. Free Habit #6: Move Your Body
Exercise provides a powerful 3-punch combination of immune function, health, and healthy aging. It:
- Modulates antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the body by supporting neuroprotective action, increasing circulating of anti-inflammatory markers, and improving antioxidant defenses (7).
- Promotes overall body composition and healthy weights. Unhealthy weights are associated with a decline in immune function.
- Decreases blood glucose. High blood sugars are linked to worsened infections.
7. Free Habit #7: Laugh and Enjoy Healthy Relationships
What do healthy relationships and laughter have to do with immune function and overall health?
Incredibly, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has shown that good social relationships promote physical and mental health, provide a buffer against loneliness, increase longevity, and foster happiness. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study found similar results. This means less anxiety and cortisol, and better health outcomes.
Next, laughter further reduces cortisol, increases dopamine, and increases endorphins. These chemicals decrease discomfort, cortisol (8), and depressed moods (9) while elevating cellular health.
8. Free Habit #8: Starting Mid-Evening, Employ Intermittent Fasting
Around 7 pm in the evening, consider starting a daily intermittent fast to support your health and immune function.
Amazingly, there are many documented benefits to intermittent fasting including:
- Immune function support (10)
- Improve cholesterol markers
- Reduced triglyceride levels
- Improved aging
- Healthy weight changes without negative cellular adaptations
- Reduced blood sugar abnormalities
In fact, many studies have shown that intermittent fasting supports healthy aging, brain health, heart health, and blood sugars (11).
To add intermittent fasting to support immune health, aim to fast 15-16 out of the 24 hours per day. Simply finish eating dinner at 7 pm each night, and fast with only non-carbohydrate liquids (like coffee) until 10 am or so.
9. Free Habit #9: 7 or More Hours Per Night: Sleep
Good quality sleep has many health and aging benefits. These include:
- Reduced daily cortisol
- Healthy immune function
- Better melatonin levels
- Less depressed moods
- Less inflammatory reactions
- Healthy body weight
- Healthy heart function
It’s a cycle. Good sleep begets good sleep, and lack of sleep increases cortisol for up to 24 hours which negatively affects sleep again (12). Lack of sleep has also been shown to reduce mental performance and alertness while increasing inflammation and cortisol (13).
10. Fast from from Detrimental Foods and Detox the Body Regularly
Here’s another habit that may seem like it’s not free. But again, it’s just a matter or trading out one type of food for another, so really, it’s a net “0.”
It’s time to reduce sweets, sugars, and refined carbohydrates, omit processed food fats like soybean oil, and help your body detox from the build-up of toxins and chemicals.
You can detox and fast from these harmful foods and substances. Join Dr. Colbert’s 21 Day Detox and Fast today!
Join Us for a 21 Days to Support Immune Function
Ready to join in and support immune function for the next 21 days? Start your journey with Dr. Colbert’s 21 Day Detox and Fast. Not only will you receive a full eating plan, food list, and detox recipes, you’ll truly learn how to eat for immune health.
What’s more, you’ll fast from foods and substances that are harming your health.
Within the 21 Day Detox, you can choose to purchase a few amazing supplemental powders that contain potent nutrients like antioxidants, liver cleansing herbs, healthy fibers, and more. You can also get Dr. Colbert’s Fasting Zone Book. Or, you can complete the entire detox with the free documents provided.
Add the detox plan to these 10 free habits to support your immune system, and you’ll be on a wonderful, healthy, immune-supporting journey for the months ahead!
Ready to support immune health every day? For free? Follow our 10 free habits for a healthy immune system. Go a step further and join Dr. Colbert’s 21 Day Detox and Fast. It’s a great way to move forward with strong immune defenses!