This article is sponsored by our friends at Tonic Herb Shop in Shepherdstown, WV.  They are accepting online and phone orders currently with curbside pickup!

The world is a pretty crazy place to be right now. We’re all navigating situations we’ve never been in before. A global pandemic. Mass unemployment. An illness with no known cure or vaccine. My brows furrow as I type this because it feels wrong to say, but it is our current reality, and likely it is going to be for a while. 

With these foreign situations come so many negative side effects: stress, fear, discomfort. I often find myself feeling helpless, which, to some, is the worst feeling of all! So what can we do to remedy these side effects? Focus on staying healthy.

Beyond the CDC and government regulations and suggestions, beyond the hashtag #staythefuckhome, beyond gloves, bleach wipes and face masks, there are many things you can do to keep your immune system in peak performance. Now that some businesses are starting to open up, stay at home orders are being lifted, and we are gradually reintegrating into society, keeping healthy is going to be more important than ever.

Your immune system is just that – a system, or a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network (thanks, Google). It sounds complicated because it is! Your immune system is basically your entire body, and all the things that it does to combat illness. Simply taking care of yourself is the best way to keep things performing as they should. Don’t wait until your sick to start boosting your immune system! Here are 10 simple tricks that you can practice at home to naturally keep your immune system happy, healthy, and in tip-top shape.

1. Water, water, water and water 

You can never drink too much water. Well, you can, but it takes a lot. We all know our bodies are made up of 60% water. We need it! Water protects and cushions our organs and joints. It helps to turn food into energy. Water helps to absorb nutrients. Without water, things stop functioning properly. You should drink about half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.

2. Eat a balanced diet

Food is our fuel. Food provides the nutrients that allows cells to perform their functions. And this doesn’t mean just any old food. Be conscious of the food your putting in your body. Think fruits, veggies, lean protein, nuts, grains. Sugar may suppress the immune system, so keeping your sugar intake at a minimum will boost your health (in more ways than one). Find a balance that works for you.

3. Sleep well.

7 hours is what is recommended for adults. Some people require more, some require less. In a time where we have all the time in the world, it’s easy to think pushing yourself a little later is ok, but keep in mind that sleep is key for a healthy heart, blood vessels, and brain. Give yourself the sleep you need.

4. Exercise/movement

Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. Exercise is also known to be hugely beneficial in keep stress levels, which is a great bonus in staying healthy.  

5. Supplements (Vitamins and herbal)

Eating a balanced diet ideally provides you with the vitamins and minerals you need, but sometimes it’s not always that easy. When you can’t get everything from food, look into supplements*! From iron to calcium to vitamin c, we’re all familiar with vitamin supplements. They can be hugely helpful to getting all the things you need to balance your body.

In addition to the classic vitamins, herbal supplements can be extremely helpful in boosting your immunity. Echinacea and astragulus are some healthy herbal options, as well as concentrates of garlic and oregano. Elderberry is a very popular herbal supplement that usually comes in a syrup form. Try Tonic’s Elderberry Ginger syrup for a great-tasting option.

*It’s a good idea to check with your doctor before starting supplements, especially if you are currently taking any prescription medications.

6. ACV 

Apple Cider Vinegar is a magical thing. When consumed regularly, ACV can help to normalize intestinal bacteria, reduce cholesterol, improve digestion, control blood sugar, boost energy and regulate PH. All of these things not only help your immune system to run smoother, but aid in all around health. Tonic offers a Fire Cider already concocted to fire up your immunity!

7. Mental health/Meditation

A key component to physical health is your mental health. This might sound crazy, but when things aren’t going well inside your head, that can show in the form of physical ailments. Taking care of your mental health is as important as the physical. In trying time like we are currently experiencing, maintaining your mental health should be a high priority. Take the time to practice self-care. Some of my favorite ways to keep my mind healthy include meditation and breathing exercises (check out Wim Hoff if you don’t already love him), long baths, and walking outside. 

8. Mushrooms

And I’m not talking the psychedelic kind. Edible mushrooms contain powerful compounds that enhance and balance your body’s ability to fight disease and stay healthy. Fungi are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components that destroy infections, slow down aging, and regenerate nerve cells. If that scream “natural immunity booster” I don’t know what does. Mushrooms can be eaten, mixed into drinks, or even taken in capsule form. Some key types to look into for health benefits are Shiitake, Maitake, Cordyceps, and Turkey tail. Tonic’s Immune Building Broth contains Shiitake plus other helpful herbs in a tasty blend.

9. Massages/detox

Massages can detoxify your body through repeated movement to relax muscles and release cortisol, a stress hormone. A massage can help to spark the bodies natural healing processes and detoxify lymph nodes. Check in to detoxifying self-massages. 

10. Wash your damn hands, decrease your exposure to germs, bacteria, viruses. Be courteous of others by wearing a face mask in public areas. And if you can help it — just stay home!