How Do You Spell Immunity?

January 18, 2013

I bet you didn’t know that the word immunity is spelled with ZZZ’s, EOs, and greens!

It’s full-on flu season time!  And that means your best bets are to improve your own resistance.  Here are some essential tips to do just that.

Low in Z’s?

Don’t roll your eyes.  Close them.  And go get some rest.  We don’t get enough – you might be tired of hearing it, but that’s just because you’re chronically tired.  Adult humans need 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  No, you’re not the exception.  You’re fooling yourself if you think you are.  Sleep is when your mind stores the day’s memories and when your body sends out repair and recovery hormones.  If you cut it short, you cut short your body’s ability to defend itself from injury, inflammation, and illness. 

You don’t have to be an early-to-bed and early-to-rise person – that’s a big sleep myth.  You just need a quality 7-9 hours of sleep per night.  And yes, you can make it up.  Try to turn lights low early in the evening, avoid watching anything too stimulating on TV and don’t turn on that bathroom light if you get up in the middle of the night to go – use a night light.  Light entering your eyes shuts down melatonin production in your brain and this makes it harder for you to sleep.  

Use those EOs

EOs, or essential oils, can play a crucial role in building your defenses.  I asked Rose Chard, a certified aromatherapist, and owner of Your Body Needs to provide information on oils that strengthen the immune system. Here they are:

1. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris):  Recommended for most infections. Known to stimulate the production of white blood corpuscles and thus strengthen your body’s immune system. Thyme is excellent oil for addressing infection. It helps support good immune, respiratory and circulatory systems. Thyme brings relief and strength to the discomfort of infections such as colds, flu and bronchitis. It is also a powerful anti-viral.

2. Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia):  Tea is a powerful immune stimulant. Tea Tree is antifungal and antimicrobial.

3. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis):  strengthens the immune system and Eucalyptus (Eucalptus globulus) helps stimulate the immune system.

How to Use:

  • All these oils can be used in a diffuser blend, up to 12 drops total. Perhaps, 5 drops Thyme, 4 drops Tea Tree and 4 drops Eucalyptus added to water in a nebulizer or tealight diffuser.
  • As a rub, add 5 drops eucalyptus, 5 drops rosemary and 3 drops tea tree added to 1oz (30mls) of grapeseed or almond carrier oil. Use a small amount to rub over chest, neck, shoulders or feet once a day.

Eat Your Greens (and Other Healthy Foods)

Your body builds its defenses from vitamins and minerals – the micronutrients found in food.  They are not found in orange juice, but in real, whole, intact food.  Eat an orange, don’t drink the juice.  Plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, are packed with the micronutrients your body needs to build its immunity against viral and bacterial infections. 

And it might not be bad to take a supplemental probiotic and enzyme blend.  The probiotic will help ensure you have enough healthy, good bacteria in your gut that help with proper digestion and an enzyme blend will help your body more efficiently use the vitamins and minerals in the food you eat. In case you are wondering, I use a New Chapter’s All-Flora Probiotic and Omega-Zyme’s Enzyme Blend

And if you do get sick and have to take a round of antibiotics, once it is over, take a larger daily dose of the probiotics and/or consume extra probiotic foods to rapidly rebuild the colonies of healthy bacteria in your gut.


Immunity isn’t something we have or don’t have.  It is something we build.  And you can build it by combining healthy behaviors to make sure the flu flies right on by you this year!

Jonathan Ross — fitness expert for Discovery Fit & Health and creator of Aion Fitness — was voted Exercise TV's "Top Trainer" and named in Men's Journal magazine's list of Top 100 Trainers in America. His personal experiences with obesity — "800 pounds of parents" — directly inspired his fitness career. His ability to bring fitness to those who need it the most has made him a two-time Personal Trainer of the Year Award-Winner (ACE and IDEA). His book, Abs Revealed, is filled with cutting-edge exercises in a modern, intelligent approach to abdominal training. His leadership and fresh perspectives on fitness earn him praise as a frequent go-to source of credible fitness information.


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