• Monita Triplett

How To Improve Immune Function With Diet & Lifestyle Changes

Updated: May 3

"Our immune system’s are and will ever only be our only defense against any microbe or antigen.”

Let’s start changing the conversation. Instead of talking about how we can “hide” from a virus, let’s talk about how we can enhance our immune systems so that the virus doesn’t cause problems.

A healthy immune system will save us. Adequate nutrition, vitamin D levels, low stress and decreased environmental exposure (mold and chemical toxins) are where our conversations needs to focus.

The immune system represents a complex network of organs, tissues, and blood products whose role is to balance a state of tolerance with swift and decisive action. As an integrative practitioner my focus is to promote lifestyle balance and immune optimization by minimizing the impact of stressors and maximizing therapies that positively modulate the immune response. Fundamental tools include a comprehensive understanding of the immune system, its diagnosis, and its management; proper application of healthy diets, food elimination, and detoxification; exercise; dietary supplements; lifestyle interventions such as stress reduction, sleep, meditation, and acupuncture therapy.

1. Optimize Gut Health

The microbiome plays an integral role in keeping the immune system ready to fight off any intruders. Humans have more bacterial cells—a lot more—than human cells. Bacteria live on the skin, in the nose and ears, and, most of all, in the gut.

Until recently, if most people thought about those bacteria at all, we tended to think of them as fairly separate from us. They help with digestion, but otherwise they stay on their side of the intestinal lining, and we stay on our side. But, in fact, there is a lot of interaction between the body’s immune system and bacteria in the gut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins are now in the early stages of figuring out how the composition of the gut changes in different diseases, how the body’s immune system interacts with these tiny hitchhikers and particularly how that relationship may function in disease.

“A huge proportion of your immune system is actually in your GI tract,” says Dan Peterson, assistant professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “The immune system is inside your body, and the bacteria are outside your body.” And yet they interact. For example, certain cells in the lining of the gut spend their lives excreting massive quantities of antibodies into the gut. “That’s what we’re trying to understand—what are the types of antibodies being made, and how is the body trying to control the interaction between ourselves and bacteria on the outside?” (source)

However If you have an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria and parasitic infections, your body is going to have a challenging time regulating your immune system.

How can you optimize gut health? Take out the pathogens and parasites. Everyone has parasites. Not just if you have travelled, but if you have pets, eaten sushi, pork, been around farm animals, had food poisoning etc.

I work with clients to eliminate parasites to optimize gut function.

2. Eat Fermented foods and other foods with antiviral properties

These include coconut oil, raw garlic, oregano, ginger, walnuts, pomegranate, green tea, apple cider vinegar, and medicinal mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, reishi, cordyceps, turkeytail).

Fermented food: The probiotics contained in fermented foods have tremendous immune-boosting powers and aid in healthy gut functioning. Some examples of delicious fermented foods include sauerkraut, pi