Dillan DiGiovanni

Being Sick Sucks: 5 Immune Boosts

Health and WellnessDillan DiGiovanniComment

Yep. It's January 22nd, 2013, and I have not been sick since... wait. I can't remember when.

Not to say I haven't been stressed. Oh my, yes. Transition isn't a walk in this park...actually, no. It is. I am actually enjoying myself a whole LOT! Life is incredibly different for me these days and WAY more fun and enjoyable. Is it like this for everyone, trans* or not? I know it's not. That's why I'm working my ass off to help more people love their lives. And be happier, healthier people. *we are taking over*

Back to being sick.

I am either extremely lucky  or I'm doing things right. Since I was chronically ill from the age of 17-33, I will say it isn't luck. I wasn't "born" with a healthy, thriving immune system. Someone suggested that to me the other day and I smiled. He doesn't know my past, and that's ok.

My past included a lot of unhealthy habits and behaviors that caused me to be so ill. Some folks have to work harder to be healthy, either because of their age or other immunity challenges. But everyone can choose the healthiest habits possible for their situation, and thrive in the midst of those choices. That I do believe.

Here are 5 tips I've been following to keep healthy despite this flu thing ravaging my city. Sounds bad and scary and I hope I don't get it, but I can only do my best. I'm not doing anything crazy over here. No daily doses of handfuls of vitamins or anything. *knocks wood*

5 TIPS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

1) SLEEP: I can't stress this one enough. If you want a strong, healthy immune system, you need to sleep. A lot. Every night. I don't mean sometimes or twice a week. I mean every single night for 7-8 hours. I'm not a biologist or anything technical like that, I'm a healthy living coach. If you're not sleeping and you're sick a lot, I know there is scientific evidence that talks about the importance of sleep from a biological and physiological perspective. I hope you Google that if you need more evidence beyond what you're experiencing right now. If you ARE sleeping a lot and still sick--keep reading...

2) EAT GREENS: Leafy greens are your friends. They are jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and they cleanse your gut and colon. This means bad things don't have a chance to hang around and fester and cause issues. They strengthen your immunity and are especially good for clearing up respiratory and sinus symptoms. Iceberg lettuce won't cut it. The darker and greener, the better. Do whatever you have to do to them (one client pureed them with cream cheese in a food processor for her bagels) but just eat them.

3) PROBIOTICS: Whether you take a wee pill from Whole Foods or the health food store closest to you or eat fermented foods, take these good bugs. These bacteria live in your body anyway, so don't feel weird about ingesting more of them. The more you have, the more you can fend off the bad guys. Think of it like a military strategy: you want guys on the ground, snipers, the jets, tanks, etc. Each bacterial strain is like another superpower so get a pill or eat foods with a range of strains. Got it? Good.

4) REDUCE STRESS: A stressed system is susceptible to illness. You can eat the greens, get the sleep, take the bugs but if you're constantly worrying or stressed out about life, your immune system will have to choose between keeping you alive to combat the stress or succumbing to the bad bug. Think about it. Don't make your poor little body work harder than it already is this time of year. Take it easy. It's winter. Enjoy this time of year to eat and rest and read books. Your pile is falling off the bedside table. Get on it!

5) REDUCE SUGAR: Speaking as a sugar baby myself, I can tell you this works. When I eat sugar these days, I can almost hear my body protest. "NO!!!" it says. "Yes," I reply. But I eat sugar in VERY REDUCED AMOUNTS compared to my all-too-recent past. As recent as three years ago, each morning started with Starbucks hot chocolates and scones. And what a waste of my freakin' money! That stuff doesn't even taste good. If you're going to eat sugar, at least take 30 minutes on a Sunday and make yourself some damn good muffins. Like these from my gorgeous friend, Michelle Pfennighaus. Since I've stopped eating so much sugar, I've had fewer colds in the past year than I did in a week just a few years ago. And it's not like I live in my house and never leave. I interact with a lot of people every day of the week.

Those are my tips, beautiful friends. 5 of the most basic, simple steps you can amp up to increase your immunity. Post comments below, keeping in mind that I publish what will add to the learning and love of my readers.