How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally
Boosting the immune system is something we should all consider now that fall is fast approaching! The flu has certainly run its course this summer with local, national, and international reports of the swine flu and other virus strains that we have not seen before. The good news is that you can do something about your vulnerability to the flu and other illnesses that can leave you feeling sick and weak for days!
Boosting your immune system naturally can be divided into three sections: diet, internal and external stressors, and supplementation.
The first step to boosting your immune system, and the one that I believe is the most powerful, is to address unhealthy eating habits that can impair your immune system’s response. The goal is to eliminate or drastically limit foods that create inflammation and cause your body to work overtime to heal. These foods are anything with added sugar, which include most boxed, packaged, or man-made foods. Excessive sugar consumption alone can result in reducing overall immune activity by half for a period following the consumption.
Start reading labels; sugar is added to so many foods—even those that sound “healthy” like juices. Excessive alcohol intake can also burden the detoxification system and limit the immune process. Inadequate intake of proteins that help produce antibodies in the body, and of course, a diet that is low in whole grains or colorful foods such as fruits and veggies, will leave one low in zinc, selenium, and vitamins C, E, and A.
The second step is to eliminate or cut back on internal and external stressors. Toxic stress (constant busyness, emotional stress, anger, etc) is recognized as one of the most significant destroyers of the immune system. High stress leads to elevated cortisol production, which results in an immune-suppressed state leading one to have increased susceptibility to infections and illness. Additionally, food allergies or gastrointestinal tract imbalances such as fructose intolerance or Candida, can also lead to compromised immunity. Ask your healthcare provider to test for allergies or imbalances if you have ongoing digestive tract symptoms.
The third step is to incorporate supplements and herbal remedies to help support your immune function.
- Vitamin C: excellent support to fight infections from viruses or other pathogens. It can also help reduce the duration of illness, virus or the common cold.
- Mixed Carotonoid complex: This can be used preventatively to strengthen the immune system.
- Zinc: when zinc levels are low; the white blood cells (body’s defense) function is compromised
- Vitamin D: This supplement should be used year round with higher doses in the winter/spring months. This supplement alone can help you fight off exposures to viruses. Having Vitamin D levels checked annually will help determine your supplementation needs.
- Goldenseal: contains an alkaloid that has an antimicrobial activity against many organisms as well as stimulating your immune system.
- Astragalus: a Chinese herb used for improving the body’s resistance to disease.
- Echinacea: this is a potent stimulant to the immune system and can work as an antibacterial and anti-viral agent.
- Flavonoids: quercetin, bioflavonoids, and green tea polyphenols, have been referred to as nature’s immune booster. They can help the body’s reaction to allergens, viruses, and toxic chemicals.
Start now getting your body prepared for the bugs that cross your path this winter! Staying on top of your self-care can make all of the difference in the way your body reacts to toxic exposure!
Here’s to a high powered immune system!