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Ways To Boost Immune System

Winter is the cold and flu time of the year. While we can’t guarantee you won’t get sick, we definitely have a few ideas on how to boost your immune system to swing the odds in your favor.

Eat Right

There is an old saying which goes, “We are what we eat.” Therefore, if all we consume is fast food, artificial sweets, and caffeinated beverages, our bodies won’t be too healthy. Opting for the homemade when possible, the salad instead of the fries and the fruit smoothie instead of the soda are little ways we can feed our bodies and improve our overall quality of life.

Get Outside

Our bodies require fresh air, sunlight and exercise to thrive (sort of like a houseplant but with more complicated emotions). If the weather permits, get outside for a brisk 30-minute walk and take some deep breathes of the fresh air or sunbathe for 20 minutes while watering your garden. The exercise will get the body moving with blood flow circulation increasing, and our bodies will absorb valuable vitamin D from the sun.

Reduce The Stress

Stress can have negative consequences on our health and break down our immune system defenses, leaving us vulnerable to the invasion of germs. Therefore, we should actively try to reduce and avoid unnecessary stress in our lives. Take a relaxing bath; turn your phone off, say no to more projects and events piling up on your plate.

Adequate Shut-Eye And Hygiene

Sleep deprivation can have devastating effects on our long-term health and cognitive processes. Try to get a consistent amount of sleep regularly every night (or day if you are on the flip schedule). And pay attention to personal hygiene. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20-30 seconds after every bathroom trip, after touching yourself anywhere (especially if you are sick) and before preparing food. It won’t hurt either to take an antibacterial wipe to all the doorknobs, sink faucets and toilet handles in the house. And the TV remote while you’re at itsince it is pretty grimy.

Try A Probiotic

Studies have shown that it can take our bodies 3-6 months to recover from one week of antibiotic use. This means that it is important to maintain the health of our gut and the easiest and most effective way to do this is with the use of probiotics. Probiotics come in a variety of options form whole milk yogurts and kefir to fermented drinks like kombucha and even sauerkraut, kimchi and miso qualify. Always opt for good quality and organic and natural when possible.

The Power Of Three

Deficiencies in zinc, vitamin D and vitamin C have been linked to frequent colds and longer durations of illness. Zinc is an antioxidant mineral, and the daily recommended dosage is 15-30 mg. You want to be careful and not overdose on this as too much zinc can negatively affect the immune system. Vitamin D is absorbed naturally from the sun, but most of us don’t get enough sunlight in the northern hemisphere for this to be effective alone. The daily recommended dosage is 2,000 IU. And vitamin C is an immune-boosting powerhouse. You will want 1,500 mg minimum a day. If you overdose, whatever your body doesn’t need you will expel through urination.

Bone Broth

The secrets of homemade bone broth are like healing whispers from the ancients. The naturally occurring gelatin, collagen and amino acids are amazing for gut health, wound healing and deeply nourishing to our hungry bodies. Bone broth is also beneficial to the immune compromised as it boosts a different part of the immune system.

Those Funny Fungi

If mushrooms are your jam, then you will be stoked to know that certain types can have a boosting effect on your immune system. Reishi is inedible but can be dried and consumed in probiotic drinks or soups or taken in capsule form, and it is a powerful antiviral and fights cancer cells. Shittake stimulates the immune system and boosts white blood cells (not recommended for immune compromised individuals), and maitake boosts the cells ability to engulf and destroy invading bacteria cells.

Sweat It Out

A day at the sauna sounds divine and has some health benefits as well. Raising our body temperatures kills off certain heat sensitive germs, boosts the immune system’ defensive measures and causes us to sweat which naturally detoxes our body and gets rid of unwanted toxins clogging up the system.

The Anti-inflammatory Diet

When inflammation is rampant in our bodies, it is diverting the resources normally used for bacteria defense and hogging other sources of nutrients that our body needs. An anti-inflammatory diet supplies our bodies with the nutrients, minerals and vitamins needed to fight off and eliminate the inflammation while also removing the unnecessary sugars and other ingredients which feed the inflammation.

Avoid Dairy

While some dairy can be beneficial to our bodies, the majority of us could do with a drastic reduction in our consumption of milk, cheeses, ice cream, sweets containing dairy and coffee creamers. The protein molecules that make up milk are designed to be processed by a larger mammalrequiring more work for our bodies to break down which uses more enzymes than other food groups. Additionally dairy can cause inflammation and excessive amounts of mucus in the bodyleading many of us to feel sluggish and tired.

Other Beneficial Supplements

The powerhouses of the supplement game are Echinacea and elderberry. These boost and stimulate the immune system to defend against invading bacteria, viruses and other germs. Antimicrobials such as raw garlic and oregano oil are also hugely beneficial when cooked with (they are also antiviral, and oregano oil is antifungal). Turmeric is the secret weapon often employed by inflammation-suffers and Rheumatoid Arthritis patients to ease the rampant inflammation fueling their joint pain. And finally, antioxidants found in foods such as pomegranate are great at battling free radicals which can damage our bodies on the cellular level and reduce the immune system’s recourse and response to invasion.

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