21 Ways to Build a Strong Immune System and a Healthy Body
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Strengthening your immune system is essentially a matter of applying common sense. At the most basic level, it involves eating right, exercising regularly, sleeping well, managing stress, staying well hydrated and taking your vitamins every day.
Unfortunately, in today's world, many people are unable to establish and commit to even this simple level of regular self-care. Luckily, there are some safe, natural immune boosters that you can rely upon to help attain and maintain a healthy degree of immunity. In this article, we will share 21 of the best ideas for boosting your immune system. Read on to learn more.
1. Eat Yogurt & Fermented Foods
Friendly bacteria help maintain a healthy gut. About 80% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract, so it just makes good sense to keep your digestive tract strong and healthy. You can do this by consuming regular amounts of friendly bacteria or probiotics. These can be found in yogurt and fermented foods. Your best choice in yogurt is plain, cultured, homemade yogurt. Fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, and homemade pickles. Eating some form of probiotic-containing food every day will help keep your digestive tract strong and healthy and boost your immune system.
2. Eat An Abundant Rainbow Of Fresh Fruits & Veggies
About half of your diet should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain vitamin C, flavonoids, beta-carotene, enzymes, polyphenols and many other valuable nutrients that help build a strong immune system and a healthy body.
It's worth noting that the high fiber content of fresh fruits and vegetables also help keep your immune system strong by promoting a clean and healthy gut. Be sure to eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies as this will assist in ensuring that you are getting a good balance of all of the benefits fresh produce has to offer. Take advantage of locally grown, fresh produce in-season for the greatest nutritional and immune-building benefits.
3. Enjoy Fresh, Raw, Unwashed Mushrooms
All types of mushrooms from regular button mushrooms to exotic Asian mushrooms contain polysaccharides known as beta glucans which are very effective in preventing infections by modulating and strengthening the immune system. It is best to eat these mushrooms in cold dishes such as salads and sandwiches. Both washing and cooking can reduce their benefits. If you don't like mushrooms, you can also purchase beta glucans supplements to take on an ongoing basis. Adding these supplements to your daily personal care routine during the cold and flu season can help boost your immunity.
4. Eat Plenty Of High-Quality, Lean Protein
In conjunction with abundant fresh fruits and veggies, you should also get plenty of high-quality lean protein.
Protein provides the amino acid and glutamine, which is what antibodies are made of. Some of the best food sources of glutamine are grass fed, and pasture-raised beef and poultry. Bone broth is an exceptionally rich source of glutamine, and drinking a single cup a day can help boost your immune system. You can also take L-glutamine as a supplement which is particularly useful if you are a vegetarian. Whether or not you eat meat, you should make certain that at least a quarter of your diet consists of high-quality lean protein. Some vegan and vegetarian-friendly sources of protein are:
- Nut Butter & Nut Milk
- Lentils & Beans
- Sprouted Grains
- Green leafy Vegetables
These choices also provide some other benefits such as fiber, healthy oils, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.
5. Make Sleep & Rest A Priority
Sleep long and well! In today's society, we are often made to feel that getting enough rest is overindulgent.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is your body needs 6 to 8 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep each and every night. As a result, it has valuable time to replenish and repair from the exertions and stresses of the day.
6. Manage Stress
In addition to getting adequate sleep, you should also manage stress effectively by taking regular breaks throughout your day.
A 15 or 20-minute break mid-morning and mid-afternoon can work wonders to help reduce stress and lighten your load.
7. Take Every Opportunity To Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Make healthy choices whenever you can. For example, when you take your breaks throughout the day, take advantage of the opportunity to get a little sunshine and exercise.
Both of these are important factors in building a healthy immune system. You will gain far more benefit from taking a brisk walk outdoors (or around your workplace in inclement weather) than you would be sitting around a smoky break room eating junk food and drinking bad coffee!
8. Make Good Use Of Modern Medicine
Maintaining a healthy, natural, whole foods diet and doing your best to establish wise, everyday lifestyle habits is the basis of building a strong immune system.
Be that as it may, you should not dismiss the benefits offered by modern medicine.
Strive to develop a working blend of natural and scientific personal care. Although there has been quite a bit of controversy in the past few years regarding immunizations, understand that being immunized is a good idea and a solid way to build up your immune system. Immunization works by stimulating your immune system to create antibodies against the illness for which you have been immunized.
Always work closely with your health professional in all your efforts to build a strong immune system and stay healthy. Be sure to see your doctor or health professional on a regular basis. Follow his or her instructions closely.
9. Get A Little Sunshine & A Lot Of Vitamin D
In the past several decades, people have been very alarmed by the potential damage caused by the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
As a result, we have tended to overreact, and today the vast majority of people suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Being deficient in vitamin D weakens the immune system and makes you prone to all manner of illnesses from the common cold to colon cancer.
In addition to spending 15 or 20 minutes in the sun (without sunscreen) every day, be sure to get adequate vitamin D in your diet and your daily multivitamin. You may also wish to supplement with vitamin D. Good dietary sources of vitamin D overlap with good sources of protein. To ensure you're getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D you should include foods such as whole eggs, fatty fish and grass-fed beef liver in your diet.
10. Don’t Neglect Your Zinc
Zinc is a critical mineral in immune system support. It is especially useful when taken in conjunction with vitamin D. As with vitamin D; most people suffer from a zinc deficiency.
It's best to get your zinc from food sources, and oysters are the very best of these. Other sources include grass-fed buffalo and beef. Vegetarians and vegans can enjoy pumpkin seeds as a reliable zinc source. Naturally, Zinc can also be taken as a supplement and is usually formulated with vitamin D supplement for convenience.
11. Make Smart Choices In Cooking Oils
Use healthy oils. Common cooking oils such as hydrogenated vegetable oils and soybean oil are bad for your central nervous system and contain very high levels of bad cholesterol.
Better everyday choices include coconut oil or peanut oil for hot cooking. Olive oil and nut and seed oils are best for cold food. Switching to these healthy oils will help reduce inflammation throughout your body and boost your immune system in a generalized manner.
12. Use Natural Sweeteners
Other natural sweeteners, such as molasses and honey, deliver their benefits. Molasses contains iron, and local organic honey helps your immune system produce antibodies against local allergens. Do not use artificial sweeteners such as Splenda. In fact, avoid ingesting any artificial sweeteners, ingredients, and chemicals. These things are not food and do not provide any benefits to your health. Having to process these unnatural substances presents additional challenges to your system which are unnecessary.
13. Discover The Benefits Of Oil Of Oregano
Oil of oregano is a valuable and powerful essential oil that can help keep your digestive tract clean and is beneficial to your immune system.
To use this oil, you would ingest small doses occasionally under medical supervision. Do seek one-on-one advice from your doctor or a herbalist before giving this great oil a try.
14. Disinfect With Traditional Thieves Oil
"Thieves Oil" is a natural disinfectant which is a blend of:
To prepare, you would mix these oils in equal amounts. This powerful concentrate can be combined with carriers such as water and vinegar use as a household cleaner. It can also be mixed with olive oil or coconut oil to be used as a chest rub to help boost immunity and protect you against contracting colds and flu. You can also mix a few drops with pure aloe vera gel to make your all-natural hand sanitizer. Thieves Oil is an old blend that dates back to the 15th century when a gang of thieves came up with this concoction as a way of protecting themselves against the plague when robbing fallen victims. Fanciful as this sounds, this mixture was proven by a 1997 Weber State University study to be 99% effective when used against airborne bacteria. It has also been shown to combat bacterial infections, Candida, and toxic mold successfully.
15. Make An Old-Fashioned Tonic
Another traditional folk remedy that has proven effective is "Fire Cider." It's a mixture of:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Hot Peppers
This mixture has decongestant and antimicrobial properties as well as helping to improve circulation and overall good health. To make it, you would chop up equal amounts of the fresh veggie and root ingredients and layer them in an airtight jar. Pour in apple cider vinegar to cover all ingredients. Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for approximately four weeks. When the brew is ready, strain out the solids and store the liquid in a dark glass bottle out of direct sunlight. As a tonic, you can take a tablespoon a day stimulate your digestion, support your immune system and warm up your innards. Use this concoction as an ingredient in beverages, salad dressings, soups, and marinades. It makes a tasty topping for fresh, steamed veggies, too!
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16. Stay Well Hydrated!
Staying well hydrated is essential to every aspect of your overall good health. Good hydration reduces inflammation throughout the body, keeps your central nervous system running smoothly and boosts cognitive function.
Water helps flush impurities from your body and helps your immune system operate efficiently. Drinking plenty of water is of particular importance if you do become ill because adequate hydration will help you recover from your illness more quickly. Be sure to drink plenty of your own, filtered tap water. Don't drink bottled water because it is inferior to your fresh tap water run through your filtration system. Bottled water is just filtered water from somewhere else that has been sitting in a carcinogen-leaching plastic bottle. You have no guarantee regarding the quality of bottled water, but you do have the guarantee of your filtration system when you drink fresh tap water. Be sure to carry your filtered tap water in a stainless steel or tempered glass container. Don't use plastic because it leaches carcinogens into your water. Fresh, filtered water is better for your health, your pocketbook and the environment.
17. Be Happy!
Boost your immune system by being kind to yourself! Be sure to take good care of yourself and keep your stress levels low.
It's essential in attaining and maintaining a strong and healthy immune system. Take these positive, measurable steps to improve your happiness:
- Keep your expectations positive and realistic.
- Take up meditation, yoga or a quiet hobby.
- Spend time with friends and family.
- Take time to appreciate nature.
18. Enjoy Frequent Exercise
Keep moving! It’s a natural part of life, and you don’t have to punish yourself to enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle.
Get at least 15 or 20 minutes of light to moderate exercise daily. Good choices for casual daily activities include:
- Horseback riding
- Water aerobics
All of these activities are relaxing, enjoyable opportunities that will help improve your circulation, keep you limber and flexible and give you the chance to take a few steps back from your everyday challenges. Of course, very vigorous exercise is also good for you, but don't fall prey to the notion that you must always participate in an extreme form of exercise to get any benefit from it. Excessive exercise is as stressful as excessive work. It is far wiser to partake of light exercise regularly and vigorous exercise once or twice a week. This sort of schedule will reduce stress, improve your circulation, and result in a strong immune system and overall glowing good health.
19. Just Say NO To Bad Habits
Avoid harmful indulgences that diminish your immune function. Among these are:
- Excessive Caffeine Consumption
- Excessive Sugar Consumption
- Abuse of Prescription Drugs
- Use of Tobacco Products
- Alcohol Consumption
- Use of Illicit Drugs
All of these practices deplete your immune system and damage your health. Follow these guidelines when making decisions regarding negative indulgences:
While some believe that drinking in moderation can be healthy, the fact is alcohol converts to sugar in your system. Germs, bacteria and fungus all feed on sugar which acts as an immune depressant. Excessive amounts of sugar in your system can make you more susceptible to both major and minor illnesses. It also hampers your ability recover when you are ill.
It goes without saying that use of tobacco products and illicit drugs presents unreasonable challenges and unnecessary dangers to your health. The same applies to abuse of prescription drugs. Staying away from illicit drugs and tobacco will protect your health and save you a lot of money and stress. When you do have to take prescription drugs, be sure to follow your doctor’s orders carefully.
Caffeine consumed in small amounts will not harm your health. In fact, enjoying a cup of coffee or tea morning and or early afternoon and provide stress reduction along with a healthy dose of antioxidant and flavonoids. Be sure to indulge in a quality cup of coffee or tea and take your time to savor it. Of course, if you can be satisfied with herbal tea or rooibos tea enjoy all the stress reducing benefits without the caffeine. Don’t get your caffeine from power drinks and soft drinks. In fact, avoid these altogether. They are nothing but artificial chemicals, coloring, and flavors and have absolutely nothing to recommend them. Making pure filtered water, high-quality coffee and tea and fresh juices your beverages of choice will deliver myriad health benefits.
20. Explore Essential Oils
Add essential oils to your daily care routine. Learning about essential oils can be a refreshing and relaxing pastime and hobby that will enrich your life and lower your stress levels.
Additionally, the measurable benefits to be derived from use of essential oils are very genuine. For example, essential oils such as sage, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus can help clear your sinuses and your lungs. Additionally, they have powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. They can make valuable additions to your medicine cabinet be used in your humidifier or a pot of hot water as a steam inhalant to relieve symptoms of colds and flu.
21. Walk Whenever You Can
Taking a walk at break time or when you only have a short distance to go can provide you with a healthy dose of vitamin D along with a healthy dose of stress reduction.
Walking several times throughout the day can help you prevent illness because staying active improves blood circulation and distributes white blood cells and antibodies throughout your system.
How to boost your immune system: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
10 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System: http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/10-ways-to-strengthen-your-immune-system
23 Immunity-Boosting Tips: http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/colds-flu-prevention-strategies-and-immune-boosters
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