Boost Your Immune System to Stay Healthy All Season
It is so important to do the right things to maintain a strong immune system. A strong and healthy immune system means a strong and healthy body. Not only does a healthy immune system help you avoid the standard cold and flu that is so common this time of year, it also protects you from more serious illnesses such as cancer. Your immune system is continuously recognizing and adapting to constantly changing threats. By taking care of your mind and body, your immune system will be properly equipped to do its job.
I’ve decided this week to give you a list of key things you must do to support your immune system. Most of this is simply a common sense approach to taking care of ourselves, but we all need to be reminded of how important these points are for our overall health and wellbeing. So, please consider the following key points:
- Drink plenty of filtered or spring water. It is so important to be properly hydrated so that your body can filter and flush toxins and bacteria etc…
- Get plenty of rest. When you rest, you recharge your immune system so that it can respond to any threat to your physical health.
- Get moderate exercise for 30 – 60 minutes at least five times a week. This is even better if you are able to get this exercise out in nature. Exercise is important to oxygenate your blood and keep lymph moving. Being out in nature getting fresh air (even when it’s cold outside) will also help you to relieve stress (see later point on stress). Also, being outdoors will sometimes give you access to sun to get your vitamin D (please see the next point).
- Get the real vitamin D from the sun when possible and consider a supplement otherwise. Vitamin D is so important for the health of your immune system. Some say that the sun may be one of the most powerful immune system regulators available. Vitamin D activates your natural killer cells that are a key part of your immune system to fight viral and bacterial invaders. Research at the University of Copenhagen found that your body relies on vitamin D to be present in the blood for the immune system to work properly. When you can’t get enough quality sun, find a good quality supplement, especially for the fall and winter months if you live in the north.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables to obtain the power of their antioxidants and phytonutrients that nourish your immune system to keep it healthy and strong. Your immune system must be fed these important foods to supply it with the ammunition it needs to fight illnesses and signs of aging. Include a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies as they each have different but equally as important antioxidants and nutrients to stay healthy.
- Avoid chemicalized processed foods with artificial ingredients and immune suppressing unhealthy fats and oils. For healthier fats, stick with extra virgin olive oil or omega 3 fats from flax, hemp, walnuts and chia.
- Cut back on meat, dairy, sugar and fried foods that are the source of many serious health challenges. Instead of getting protein from foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, choose plant proteins from beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, especially hemp seeds. Hemp helps our body build antibodies that are our first defense against infection and disease. They also contain a healthy balance of omega fats 3, 6, and 9.
- Include good bacteria in your diet by taking a probiotic or by eating fermented vegetables and foods, like apple cider vinegar. By having good bacteria in your digestive tract you support a healthy and strong immune system.
- Include certain mushrooms in your diet or consider a supplement. Maitake and shiitake are wonderful in soups and stir fries and are medicinal in nature. According to Dr. Weil, reishi, agaricus, and enoki can be found in supplement form and are wonderful immune boosting mushrooms.
- Increase intake of foods high in vitamin C by eating a wide variety of fruits and veggies and consider supplementing with 1000mg per day.
- Include lots of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, bok choy, brussel sprouts and other cabbages. Cruciferous vegetables are very potent sources of powerful phytonutrients that support a strong immune system.
- Include ginger and garlic in your diet for their immune boosting qualities. Garlic has been found to be a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-parasitic food.
- Include pumpkin seeds in your diet to get the proper amount of zinc or supplement with 30mg per day.
- Include Brazil nuts in your diet daily to get the proper amounts of selenium or supplement with 200mg.
- Consider taking a healthy organic whole food supplement to make sure you are getting a wide variety of critical nutrients.
- Other possible supplements to consider, to boost your immune system, are astragalus and Echinacea. Echinacea with goldenseal is smart to take immediately upon feeling the first signs of a cold or flu. Contact me by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org for a natural supplement that contains these two powerful herbs.
- Elderberry has been found to prevent and ease symptoms of cold and flu. This can be found in a supplement or juice form.
- Reduce stress in your life or learn ways to better handle stress. Negative stress has been proven to suppress your immune system. Holy Basil is a wonderful herb to have on hand or drink in tea to help calm stress. According to Dr. Weil, arctic root or rhodiola have been used traditionally in Eastern Europe to reduce the harmful effects of stress on the immune system.
- Smile! Learn to laugh more, live more, love more, create more and believe more. According to Norman Cousins in his book “Anatomy of an Illness”, laughter and humor enhance the human immune system.