By: Dr. Will Cole
These days, it seems everyone is talking about how to support the immune system. And as a functional medicine practitioner who consults patients around the world via webcam it is my job to help you stay on top of your wellness game, naturally. And while eating a clean, whole food diet is foundational to a healthy immune system, there are also other things you can do to keep your immune system strong to fight off infections and improve your overall resilience.
Some of my favorites include spending time in the sun and getting out into the fresh air. Not only do these help lower stress and inflammation - studies have shown that sun and fresh air can help to kill off bacteria and viruses. Plus, spending time in nature is completely free!
A few of my other go-to immune-supporting tools include cinnamon, astragalus, vitamin c, zinc, green tea, ginger, and garlic. Health doesn't have to be expensive.
I also advocate for a mostly plant-based keto diet in my book Ketotarian to use your meals as medicine to support a healthy immune system. I go into a deep-dive in the book as far as the nutrition science, recipes and meal plans but these are the basic guidelines to follow:
1. Eat real food.
2. Keep your carbs low.
3. Keep your healthy fats high.
4. If you eat a nonstarchy vegetable, add some healthy fats.
5. If you eat a healthy fat, add some nonstarchy vegetables.
6. Eat when you are hungry.
7. Eat until you are satiated.
8. Keep alcohol intake to a minimum.
• Avocados/avocado oil
• Olives/extra virgin olive oil
• Coconut cream, milk, and oil
• Sea vegetables (i.e., nori sheets, dulse flakes)
• Dark leafy vegetables (i.e., spinach, kale)
• Sulfur-rich vegetables, like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and asparagus
• Nuts and seeds, like macadamias, almonds, and walnuts
Ketotarian also has vegetarian keto recipe options so you can add in pasture-raised organic eggs or grass-fed ghee (clarified butter), as well as pescatarian keto options. This is where you bring in clean, wild-caught fish, like Alaskan salmon, with their beneficial omega-3 fats. All of these make great snacks by themselves or can be added to delicious, quick salads.