You must know that the state of your health and immune system primarily determines whether or not you’ll get sick from being exposed to viral or bacterial organisms associated with infectious diseases like a cold or the flu. However, there are many ways you can boost your immune system naturally and avoid catching a cold or the flu this Winter.
My Top 5 Tricks to Boost Your Immune System:
Get Your Zzzzzs
With daylight saving time comes the need to get more shut eyes time. As the sun sets earlier, our body’s Melatonin levels (sleep hormone) start rising earlier than they do during Summer days. This change triggers the need to go to bed earlier. You may need as much as two more hours of sleep per night; compared to the months of June & July. Honor your body, get your beauty sleep.
Get Your H2O
Besides reducing your energy levels, dehydration decreases saliva antimicrobial proteins important for immunity. Water makes up a large percentage of blood. It is the life-giving liquid that brings oxygen, nutrients and vital processes throughout the body. This includes the immune system! Lymphatic fluids, also part of one’s immune system, make up four times the volume of blood. These fluids are designed to remove waste products from one’s body.
Essential systems throughout the body can become impaired if the body doesn’t receive a safe and reliable supply of water. The vast majority of people are chronically dehydrated, and over time, long-term health conditions can develop.
The average 64oz a day the media keeps telling us about is NOT enough for most of us. The accurate formula to boost your immune system is: half of your body weight in ounces per day. So, if you weight 200lbs, you need to drink 100oz of H2O every day.
Get Your R&R
Stress is a silent killer that shuts down the immune system. Not only because many people cope by engaging in unhealthy behaviors (eating sugar, smoking, taking drugs, etc…) but also because when the body senses stress (whether it be emotional, physical or else), our Cortisol levels go up, affecting our sleep, our blood pressure, and our ability to digest nutrients from our foods.
Too much cortisol results in lower amounts of a protein and lymphocytes in the blood and lymphatic systems, which are critical to boost your immune system and tell those cells that they need to get active. Without these reinforcements, the body is susceptible to contacting acute illnesses, and prolonged healing times.
Find an activity or a combo of several to do on a DAILY basis (even for 5 minutes!) that relaxes you. My favorites are: reading, walking on the beach, doing some gentle yoga (these are all FREE!) or getting a massage. I also get a chiropractic adjustment every 4-6 weeks, to make sure my spine stays aligned and I am not suffering from structural stress. We are all different, so, some strategies may appeal to you more than others, pick what feels right to you, and DO IT!
Get Your C, D & Zinc
- Vitamin C – It is a well-known fact that foods rich in Vitamin C like citrus fruit help boost your immune system quickly, but there are many other foods that will also help boost your immune response mechanisms and get you back up and feeling great in no time: strawberries, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, pineapple, squash, spinach, collard greens.
- Vitamin D – The research is quite clear on this point: The higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections. The best source for vitamin D is direct sun (UVB) exposure. If natural sunlight is not an option, then eating foods rich in Vitamin D3 will help. Using an oral Vitamin D3 supplement is also recommended. Just remember D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means you will need to take it with food that contains a little bit of fat in order for your body to absorb it properly. Best foods are: whole grains, fatty fish, fortified dairy, fortified cereals, cheese.
- Zinc – Research has shown that when taken within one day of the first symptoms, zinc can cut down the time you have a cold by about 24 hours. Zinc also greatly reduces the severity of symptoms. Suggested dosage to boost your immune system: up to 50 mg/day. Zinc was not recommended for anyone with an underlying health condition, like lowered immune function, asthma, or chronic illness. Food high in zinc are: alfalfa sprouts, garlic, whole grains, mushrooms, barley grass, wheatgrass.
Other Ways to Boost Your Immune System
- Echinacea – It is one of the most widely used herbal medications in Europe to combat colds and infections. One review of more than 700 studies found that using Echinacea can reduce your risk of catching cold by as much as 58 percent. This herb a fantastic choice if you want to boost your immune system.
- Garlic – It is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal agent. Ideally consume it raw, and crush it just before eating. A garlic soup can help destroy most viruses and help you recover a little quicker.
- Coconut Oil – It contains lauric acid that your body converts into monolaurin. Monolaurin is a monoglyceride with the ability to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as influenza, HIV, herpes, and measles. The monoglyceride can destroy gram-negative bacteria as well.
- Fermented Foods – They help “reseed” your gut with beneficial bacteria. Examples of fermented foods that can boost your immune system include raw kefir, kimchee, miso, pickles, and sauerkraut. A probiotic/prebiotic supplement can also help you meet your goals. I recommend one with at least 5 billions of 10 different strains as maintenance; more if you have been on antibiotics or have had surgery in the last 3-6 months.
To schedule your personalized wellness consultation on how to boost your immune system with Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Nutritionist Isabelle Simon, call 727-239-9443 or fill out the form below.