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Support a Healthy Immune system

Support Immune System Function - Dr. Mark Hyman


How to Support Your Immune System: Remember, Let Food Be Your Medicine!

Eat a whole foods, nutrient-dense diet. Our immune system relies on nutrient-dense whole foods to function well. Death from infections in the developing world is often not due to the infection itself but the body’s inability to fight it because of nutrient deficiencies. Since more than 90% of Americans are deficient in one or more nutrients at the minimum dose to prevent deficiency diseases like scurvy and rickets, we all need to focus on improving the quality of our diet. Since diabetics are more likely to die from COVID-19 and one in two Americans is pre-diabetic or diabetic, this is a great opportunity to cut sugar and starch which suppress the immune system.


Cut out sugar and refined starches. Now has never been a better time for a sugar and junk food detox. Studies have shown that refined sugars can suppress your immune system for hours after ingesting. Limiting starch and sugar will help your immune system function better and your overall health improves.

Ensure adequate protein intake. While most Americans eat adequate amounts of protein, some do not such as the elderly and vegan populations. Protein is critical for immune function and protein malnutrition is a big risk factor for death from infections. Eat approximately 1 gram/kg or about half your body weight in grams of protein a day, or about two four-ounce servings of organic, clean animal protein. Plant-based (legumes, nuts/seeds) proteins are adequate if consumed in enough quantity. Try tofu and tempeh from non-GMO soy for the highest protein concentrations.

Add garlic, onions, ginger, and lots of spices (oregano, turmeric, rosemary) to your meals! Add these to your soups and vegetable dishes, as well as bean dips and sauces. Garlic and onions offer wide-spectrum antimicrobial properties.

Eat fruits and vegetables high in vitamins C, A, and phytonutrients that support the immune system. Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower), peppers, sweet potatoes, and squashes.

Eat fermented probiotic foods to support your microbiome and immunity. Eat sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, unsweetened yogurt, include prebiotic foods asparagus, artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens, leeks, onions, garlic, Green bananas, apples, jicama, flax seeds, and seaweed.

Drink plenty of fluids, especially warmer fluids. Consuming adequate fluids supports all your bodies’ functions including the immune system. Make soups and broths (from scratch with fresh vegetables is always best) and have them throughout the week. Drink herbal teas like ginger and turmeric tea.


Get sufficient sleep! We all know sleep restores and heals the body. Without adequate sleep, optimal immune function is next to impossible! Get in a better rhythm and head to bed earlier. Aim for seven to eight hours a night. Incorporating various relaxation and breathing techniques throughout the day to help with stress and allow the mind to rest is also very helpful!

Get regular exercise. Mild to moderate exercise (for approximately 30-45 minutes) helps boost the immune system.

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