Your immune system is a built-in set of responses to attacks that come from outside the body. A lot is still unknown about the system since it is not a single entity. It works very well most of the time but sometimes it fails and we get an infection and become sick. It can also become weak due to many factors in people’s lives including slow poisoning from chemicals in food, the air, and water and also due to too much use of antibiotics at a young age. When immunity is weak, we can boost it again in various ways.
The Nature of the Immune System
What is known about the immune system is that it has many facets and a series of dual natures. For example, it has self/non-self-recognition ability, and it is also natural/adaptive, and general/specific. The immune system can be compromised by our actions and it then attacks the body’s cells. This is how a person develops an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s disease, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, to name but a few. At times the immune system lodges unwarranted responses and this is what we call allergies.
Why You Must Improve the Immune System
When the immune system is compromised, you either get autoimmune diseases, or you easily succumb to infections. Infections cannot be avoided completely as we all have to move and work among other people. To protect ourselves we must keep the immune system working well. When immunity is compromised, is it possible to restore its integrity? The answer is yes, there are a number of natural ways to do that.
How to Improve Immunity
Because the immune system is not even understood by scientists, we cannot wait for them to learn the truth before we can protect it or boost it. As individuals, what we have in our control is lifestyle choices and that is what we can change in order to boost immunity.
Manage Your Stress
Stress takes a toll on the immune system as the body uses all its adaptive energy to try and adapt to the stress. In the end your immunity is so low that you easily get sick. If you want to improve your immunity, you have to manage stress. First you can adapt to the stressful situation but deciding to stay neutral and not be bothered by what is happening. Alternatively, you can seek intervention such as relationship counseling or conflict resolution. If intervention does not work then find a way to remove the stressor from your life or to remove yourself from the stressful situation.
Get enough sleep
Sleep gives the body and mind a chance to rest and recover from stress. If you fail to sleep, you increase cortisol secretion and that suppresses your immune system. No matter what is happening in your life, try to go to bed early so that you can get up refreshed, strong enough to tackle the day’s challenges.
Stop tobacco smoking
Tobacco and the chemicals found in cigarettes affect your immunity and increase the chances of suffering from pneumonia and bronchitis. If you smoke, stop or at least decrease the number of cigarettes that you smoke per day, and make sure that you go outside to smoke.
Avoid or reduce alcohol consumption
Too much alcohol reduces your immunity and increases the risk of getting lung infections.
Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds
Plant-based foods contain phytochemicals that boost immunity. Add to your diet:
Citrus fruits such as grapefruits, oranges, lemons, tangerines, limes and clementines. Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C which boosts your immunity and keeps it strong all year round. Eat them daily because the body does not store vitamin C.
Red bell peppers which contain more vitamin C than any other fruit or vegetable. They are also rich in beta carotene which keeps the skin and the eyes healthy.
Broccoli which is filled with vitamins A, C and E and many other antioxidants which fight free radicals.
Garlic which has been used for centuries, if not millennia, to fight infections. It is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. It contains immune boosting compounds such as allicin. Add it to food just before serving because heat deactivates its active phytochemicals.
Ginger with its many health benefits, including anti-inflammation.
Spinach which is rich in vitamin C, a well-known antioxidant, as well as beta carotene and other antioxidants.
Almonds which contain vitamin E, one key to a healthy immune system. Vitamin E is fat soluble so its presence in almonds is helped by the presence of healthy fats in the nuts.
Turmeric, the bright yellow spice, a well-known anti-inflammatory.
Papaya which is rich in vitamin C, the well-known nutrient and antioxidant. It also contains papain, a digestive enzyme that has anti-inflammatory properties.
Sunflower seeds contain vitamin B6 and vitamin E, both of which enhance immunity. Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant that protects DNA and cells from damage.
Goji berries are currently considered one of the so-called super foods, thanks to incredible nutritional properties.
You can take probiotic supplements, making sure that you purchase good quality probiotics. You can also eat cultured foods such as fermented milk and other fermented foods. If you are into yogurt, make sure you eat the type that is plain and has “live and active cultures” printed on the label. The cultures stimulate the immune system improving your immunity.
Drink green tea daily
Black and green tea are both full of flavonoids, an antioxidant. Green tea has an additional powerful antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG which enhances immunity. EGCG is destroyed during the fermentation process that creates black tea. Green tea also contains amino acid L-theanine which enhances the production of germ-fighting compounds in T-cells.
Eat chicken and chicken soup
All poultry provides much-needed vitamin B6 which is essential for many processes in the body., including formation of new red blood cells. Stock or broth from chicken bones contains gelatin and other nutrients that help with gut healing and immunity.
such as clams, crab, lobster and mussels which contain high levels of zinc that is needed to keep our immunity intact.
Bask in the sun
daily because the sunlight prompts the skin to produce vitamin D which boosts immunity. In summer 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight is sufficient. For those who live in cold climates and have no proper sunlight from November to February, it is necessary to take vitamin D supplements.
Eat medicinal mushrooms
such as shiitake and maitake if you can find them. If not, buy the concentrated extract of shiitake. These mushrooms have been found to enhance immunity.
Take herbal supplements
that are known to support the immune systems. These are eleuthero, echinacea, Asian ginseng, American ginseng and astragalus.
In the same way that exercise strengthens the heart, the lungs, the muscles and the bones, it also strengthens the cells that attack bacteria. The cells seem to work weakly in people who do not exercise and strongly in people who exercise. It is not yet understood how this happens but certainly people who exercise regularly are better equipped to handle infections than those who do not.
If you are into aromatherapy, use myrrh essential oil which boosts immunity through its antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal properties. You can diffuse it or rub it onto your skin after diluting with a carrier oil.
Take Steps to Improve Your Immunity!
Obviously, there are many ways to boost the immune system. Choose what works best for you and adopt that into your lifestyle. Soon you will be healthy while everyone else complains of the flu.