On the long list of to-dos you have lined up in preparation for your big day, too few of them are likely focused on self-care. While it’s true that your seating chart and menu selections should be in place, it’s also true that you should be in a good place mentally, physically and emotionally—and there are certain immune-system boosters that can help. Otherwise, you risk one of the most important aspects of your big day—your overall health and wellbeing. After all, if the bride or groom is under the weather, all those hard-worked plans are kind of gone to waste.
For this reason, experts recommend taking the following immune-system boosters to prevent any illnesses from creeping into your all-important wedding week.
*Note: Please check with your doctor before starting any of these regimens.
Take a multivitamin.
Consider a daily multivitamin as an insurance policy on your health and an immune-system booster. “Taking a multivitamin leading up to your wedding day will provide your body and immune system with minerals and vitamins that can play a supporting roll to your immune system, especially during a time when you may feel rushed and not able to eat as well as you would like,” says Olivia Rose, ND, a naturopathic doctor in Toronto, Canada.
Score some vitamin D.
Since not all multivitamins contain vitamin D, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting your fair share. “Vitamin D is regulator that is widely known to enhance the absorption of calcium to support bone health,” says Dr. Rose. “In addition, the function of your immune cells is also influenced by vitamin D.” If you’re not sure you’re getting enough, she recommends having your levels checked by your healthcare provider. “The aim to get your blood levels between 120 to 150 nmol/L and keep them there for optimal immune function,” she adds.
Fill up on probiotics and probiotic-rich foods.
Including a probiotic and more fermented foods in your diet will support healthy numbers of gut bacteria which is a big immune-system booster, according to Dr. Rose. She recommends choosing foods such as plain, organic yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha, all of which contain probiotics, and even considering taking a probiotic supplement. Doing so will help boost the amount of good bacteria in your gut, which can help fight off the bad.
Though it might seem basic—and it is!—sleep is one of the most essentials ways in which you can give your immune system the pick-me-up it craves in time for your big day. “Sleep is the cheapest and easiest way to boost your immune system's function,” says Dr. Rose. “The production of small proteins called cytokines and immune cells known as T cells is enhanced during sleep.” Not only will a good night’s rest on a consistent basis help you feel your best, but it will also help you look your best on your wedding day.
Keep stress in check.
When you are stressed, such as before a big event, your immune system’s ability to fight off the foreign invaders (antigens) is reduced, explains Karen Owoc, clinical exercise physiologist, member of the American College of Sports Medicine and International Society of Sports Nutrition and author of Athletes in Aprons. “When you’re stressed, the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol is released into your bloodstream and can suppress how well your immune system functions (e.g., lowers the number of white blood cells, which makes your body more susceptible to infections),” she says.
Get regular exercise.
Exercise is a wonderful cure-all for a myriad of ailments. Not only does it improve your protection against a variety of diseases, but it also improves your blood pressure and body weight, which can contribute to dangerous chronic system inflammation if they are out of normal range, according to Owoc. “Exercise also contributes to promoting good circulation, which allow your immune cells to move more easily through your body and do a more efficient job of fighting off invaders.”
Consider IV nutrition.
While it might sound a little scary, especially if you’re not keen on shots at the doctors, IV therapy can be an immune-system booster. It is packed with immune-boosting vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, selenium, calcium and zinc, that optimize cellular function and allow your body to fight off infection more efficiently, explains Tahl Humes, D.O., founder of Vitahl Medical Aesthetics in Chicago and Denver. She recommends starting monthly IVs a few months before your wedding, getting an IV one week before the wedding as well as the day before the wedding for optimal boost.