The best ways to boost immunity include drinking enough water, eating fresh food, getting exercise, managing stress, sleeping well, and taking natural supplements and extracts.
The immune system is one of the most complex and remarkable systems in the body.
Some of the key organs and glands of the immune system include the skin, the spleen, the liver, the bone marrow, the lymph nodes, and the thymus gland.
Researchers don’t have all the answers as to how the immune system works, but we do know that one of its main purposes is to identify the body’s enemies (such as bacteria and viruses) and to eliminate them.
Just as diet and exercise can contribute to overall health and vitality, similar lifestyle habits (such as optimal hydration) can keep your immune system strong so it can defeat the enemies it encounters daily.
In order for the immune system to function properly, drinking enough clean water on a daily basis is absolutely necessary.
Water is required for every metabolic function in the body. It also delivers nutrients to the cells and helps remove toxins and waste.
Water also plays an active role in the lymph system, which helps filter and transport excess water and waste through the bloodstream.
When water is lacking, the areas most prone to bacteria and virus overgrowth, such as the bronchii and gastrointestinal lining, are then vulnerable to the onset of colds and flus.
One of the other key ways to boost immunity is by eating a diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, and other foods that are high in fiber.
These same foods are high in a class of nutrients called antioxidants—including vitamins A, C, E, and zinc and selenium. Antioxidants disarm harmful molecules in our bodies called free radicals.
Some of the factors that contribute to the excess production of free radicals include pollution, radiation, smoking, drugs, pesticides and chemical contaminants, emotional stress, and high-intensity exercise.
Foods and beverages that can weaken immunity include:
The main supplements I recommend for daily intake to support the immune system are (1) a whole food multivitamin, (2) omega 3 (fish oil or vegan), (3) turmeric, and (4) vitamin D3.
A few of the most effective natural extracts you can take short-term for an immunity boost include oregano oil, olive leaf, elderberry, echinacea, astragalus, vitamin C, garlic, and medicinal mushrooms.
If your digestion is weak and your colon is toxic, you could eat the best food and take all the right supplements and still be nutrient deficient.
Toxins in the colon can also lead to self-poisoning caused by wastes and microorganisms in the body, which weaken the immune system.
Nearly 70 percent of our immune system resides in the wall of the colon. Thus, colon health is critical to overall immunity.
The average diet consists of only a small fraction of the fiber necessary to promote daily elimination of toxins from the body.
Studies indicate that up to 90 percent of all diseases and discomfort is directly or indirectly related to a toxic colon.
To ensure proper elimination, it is absolutely essential to drink enough water on a daily basis to stay hydrated. Exercise also helps to speed up bowel action and encourages healthy elimination.
A few colon-health supplements include the following:
Simply stated, stress is the way we respond to change in our lives, good or bad.
A state of continued stress over a long period of time is particularly dangerous and will wear out the body. In fact, medical research has linked chronic stress with up to 70 percent of all disease.
Stress negatively affects immune response, which increases susceptibility to illness and prolongs healing.
An important first step in managing stress is to identify the sources of stress in your life. Once you’ve identified the main sources, you can start to take some simple steps to minimize its effects on your body.
A few of the most effective ways to boost immunity by managing stress include:
Exercise increases production of white blood cells, the immune cells in the body.
Besides this direct effect on the immune system, regular exercise has been shown to lower stress and help people sleep deeper, both factors that can increase immunity.
One of the benefits of regular aerobic exercise is its moderating effect on emotions. If you feel angry or upset, a brisk walk will often put you back in a good mood and minimize the effects of a stress on your body.
Seven to eight hours of sleep is the best prescription for fighting infection. The immune system recharges during sleep.
When the body slows down and the major organs are at rest, your heartbeat is slower and breathing is more relaxed. Consequently, the immune cells are then first in line to receive nutrients for nourishment.
In fact, during the first couple hours of deep sleep, hormone messengers deliver the protein supply directly where it will produce more white blood cells.
Researchers have determined that positive thoughts and emotions affect the healing process.
A study of 54 people who underwent heart surgery showed that optimists healed faster, went home sooner, had fewer complications, and were significantly less likely to experience a heart attack after surgery than pessimists.
Other studies have shown that laughter and other positive emotions can enhance the immune system.
Research continues to reveal ways to boost immunity but the basics will always include clean drinking water, fresh food, exercise, a positive attitude, and quality supplements.
We have an army of microscopic cells and other compounds working round the clock to keep our bodies safe from invaders and damaged cells.
With a little effort and knowledge, we can give our immune systems every advantage possible to win every battle.
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Phyllis A. Balch; 2006
The New Optimum Nutrition Bible, Patrick Holford;
The Natural Pharmacy, Schuyler W. Lininger.