Boosting your immune system is important to fight of illness and disease, and it is not hard to do.
I recently read an article in the New York Times that quoted a doctor who said there is no way to boost your immune system to fight off the flu. He said the best thing to do is to practice hygiene and cover your face. I thought that was an odd statement. We all practice good hygiene as a matter of our daily lives. And during flu season I think we all practice it even more.
Whether it’s cold and flu season or your family history has a history of a certain disease, building your immune system is the best way to fight off illnesses and disease. Building up and maintaining your immune system is in your power to do and not hard. You can enhance your health by boosting your immune system and try to keep yourself healthier.
It is best to get all of our nutrients from our foods, but that is easier said than done, so unless you eat a broad diet that consists of all minerals and vitamins in their optimal potency, it is probably best to take a multivitamin, mineral and amino acid supplement.
Vitamin D. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, because we get much of our vitamin D from the sun. Studies have shown that people with the flu and other illnesses have a lower count of vitamin D. There are two types of vitamin D, D2 (Ergocalciferol) and D3 (Cholecalciferol).
Probiotics. Probiotics is about putting good bacteria into your gut, your digestive system. The more bad bacteria we have the worse we feel, so we add more of the good bacteria to enhance our digestive system and immune system. Much of our immune system is in the digestive tract. Approximately 70% of the immune system is in the digestive tract (numbers vary). A healthy digestive tract is a healthy immune system. Healthy digestion helps our bodies get the proper nutrients out of our food. You can get probiotics in liquid, granular and pill form. Kefir is actually better for the digestive system than yogurt is. Many of the commercial well-known yogurts are heat-treated, which kills the good bacteria in them and they also contain too much sugar in the form of cornstarch and fructose. If those items are near the top of the ingredient list, it is probably too much.
A probiotic that was suggested that I use is called Bio-K plus CL-1285, which you can get in liquid or pill form. I will tell you that if you try the liquid form, do not expect to taste a nice sweet Dannon strawberry yogurt.
Other probiotics are unpasteurized sauerkraut and miso. I have been drinking a cup of miso daily for 20 years now and believe it is very healthy. One of my favorite brands is Eden Organic.
Whole foods. Getting your nutrition from food is the best way to get all of your vitamins, minerals and proteins. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. All those different colors of vegetables and fruit all indicate they have certain nutrients we need. It isn’t hard at all to include more fruit and vegetables to your daily life. Instead of snacking on junk food, have some carrot sticks, radishes, raisins or pieces of fruit.
Cook all or most of your own meals, or at least the majority of them. You will eat more nutrients this way than if you ate processed foods.
Spices, peppers and garlic are all good for the immune system. Add all of these ingredients to your own cooking to give your immune system a boost. Garlic of the onion family is a powerful antibiotic. Add turmeric and curry to your food, as turmeric is a good antioxidant. Cayenne and chili peppers are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. For more on cayenne, please read the health benefits of cayenne.
Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is an antioxidant that is found in every cell. It is synthesized in our body and also comes in the foods we eat. As we age, the production of CoQ10 decreases in our body. CoQ10 is very healthy for the cells of our heart, converts nutrients into energy and boost the immune system. In a study done by Dr. Emile G. Bliznakov, MD, found that CoQ10 doubled the strength of the immune system by cleaning out bacteria from the bloodstream, increased white blood cells to fight off infection, fights tumors and slowed the rate at which our thymus gland aged. The thymus gland is key to our immune system.
Vitamin A is known as the anti-infective vitamin, because it is required for normal functioning of the immune system. Beta-Carotenes are converted into vitamin A in the body. The skin and the cells that line the digestive tract, airways and urinary tract are the first line of defense against infection and vitamin A is important in maintaining these cells. Foods with the highest content of vitamin A are cod-liver oil, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash, cantaloupe, kale, spinach and collards.
Selenium is a trace element found in our food and it is a great immune system booster. Studies have shown it to stimulate the immune response and an enhanced immune cell response to foreign antigens. Selenium also is important in regulating cytokines in the immune response, which is very important when fighting viruses. It has also been found to reduce the incidence of cancer. Selenium can be found in salmon, halibut, shrimp, crab, pork, whole wheat bread, brown rice and beef. And especially in Brazil nuts, one Brazil nut a day will give you all you need. Selenium in plant foods is dependent on where the food was grown.
Limit alcohol. Studies have shown that excessive alcohol inhibits the immune system by reducing the white blood cells' ability to multiply and the ability to kill germs and infections.
Excess sugar, like alcohol, also suppresses your immune system. Eating or drinking 8 tablespoons of sugar (1 can of soda pop) can reduce the ability of the white blood cells to fight infection by as much as 40% for up to 5 hours after ingesting the sugar.
Extracts like Umcka and Sambucus can help, especially when fighting of the flu and other viruses. I have written articles listed at the end of this article about both Umcka and Sambucus.
Be more alkaline, this is very important. We all have a Ph level and it should be more alkaline than acidic. A good book on this subject is called “Alkalize or Die ” by Theodore Baroody.
Other helpers to boost the immune system are 8 hours of sleep; mushrooms are very good; astragalus, glutathione, ginger; and sweating whether it be exercise or a hot bath or even a sauna.
© 2009 Sam Montana
More helpful articles include:
The Health Benefits of Umcka
Fight the Flu With Sambucus
Living a Healthy Life With Celiac Disease
Eat Your Phytochemicals And Be Healthy
How to Reduce Your Risk for Prostate Cancer