Step #2 Drink a Daily Immune Booster
When I think of building an immune system through functional medicine in Atlanta, I focus on increasing your cellular oxygen levels to fight off viruses and bacteria, beating inflammation, and building up essential nutrients. My favorite is:
Turmeric Pepper Honey Tea: Black or green tea both are known to help the body fight viruses; turmeric, is known to fight inflammation and balance hormones; black pepper, also an anti-inflammatory, boosts turmeric’s bioavailability (you get more bang for your buck); and honey is one of nature’s immunity building agents.
Step #3: Eat to Heal Your Adrenals
You have two adrenal glands, one on top of each of your kidneys. Your adrenals are responsible for producing your stress hormones, and keeping them in check will keep your immunity maximized because chronic stress is one of the hardest blows your immune system can experience.
The key to adrenal balance and health? Eating every 3 to 4 hours and getting 60 grams of protein a day—that’s 15 to 20 grams a meal and 7 to 10 grams at snacks. Plain Greek yogurt, chicken, fish, are your best choices, and (as long as red meat doesn’t cause you digestive problems) include some grass-fed beef or lamb a couple of times a week.
Step #4: Bulk Up Magnesium
Have a daily dose of leafy greens—spinach, kale, swiss chard, or beet greens—these are highest in magnesium. Almonds are also high in magnesium. I call magnesium the miracle micronutrient because it works as a cofactor for hormones and neurotransmitters, and it’s also calming, relaxing and promotes sleep and reduces anxiety. Enjoy them steamed with a teaspoon of olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.
Being overly-stressed and sleep-deprived makes you more susceptible to getting sick, and functional medicine in Atlanta aims to tackle the health of the whole body to address symptoms as well as underlying causes of stress and other illnesses.
Step #5: Include Probiotic Foods
These good bacteria are important in balancing your gut (which balances your hormones). A healthy gut supports a healthy immune system. They are naturally found in certain foods such as yogurt, kefir, bone broth, sourdough bread, and kombucha. Aim to have a serving or two of these foods each day.
Step #6: Avoid Inflammation-Causing Culprits
Inflammation is an immune response that happens when your body perceives a threat. Highly processed foods, refined sugars and carbohydrates, red, fatty meats, alcohol—and many people now find that gluten, lactose, and dairy foods can set off inflammation because these foods disrupt or damage digestion. And again, when the gut is damaged or hindered, it literally switches on an inflammatory cascade that puts your body on the defensive, which then affects your hormone balance and production.