6 Tips To Boost Your Immune System
1. Vitamin D
You might be surprised to know that MOST people have low vitamin D levels (especially in the winter), and a lot of people are surprised to find that they could be dangerously low.
Keep in mind that it's best to get your vitamin D naturally from the sun if you can. The sun is the absolute best source of vitamin D, and leads to a powerful strengthening of your immune system when your body can naturally produce Vitamin D from moderate sun exposure.
When the UVB rays (not UVA rays) from mid-day sun hit your skin, it reacts with oils in your skin to produce vitamin D that is slowly absorbed by your body. Remember that this does NOT mean getting burned in the sun… it means getting a moderate amount of sun on large portions of your body (not just your face) for approx 15-40 minutes per day WITHOUT sunscreen on (since sunscreen blocks the UV rays that directly stimulate the vitamin D production in your body).
Everybody is different based on their skin tone. Very pale skin tones may only need 10-15 minutes or so in full sun in the middle of the day to get adequate vitamin D before any skin damage occurs, but darker skin tones may need a slightly longer time (sometimes 40-60 minutes) in the sun to produce adequate vitamin D. To protect your skin, it's essential to get enough sun without sunscreen on, but NOT get burned.
If you are working in an office from 9-5 most days of the week, then most likely you need a supplement of Vitamin D. The best food sources of natural Vitamin D are egg yolks, fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, organ meats, and some mushrooms. However, keep in mind that it's tough to get enough vitamin D in the winter from food sources alone.
Natural Vitamin D from either cod liver oil and/or an oil-based D3 supplement are the best options in my opinion for the times of the year you're not getting enough sun.
Garlic is one of the most potent of all superfoods! Not only does garlic go back thousands of years for treatment of sickness, but recent studies back up the legendary claims for garlic boosting your immune system.
*Start including garlic powder on a lot of your foods, fresh chopped garlic in meals, and also a garlic capsule or two each day.
Keep in mind that 70% of your immune system lies in your gut flora and the health of the friendly organisms in there to protect you against pathogens and sickness.
Kombucha tea is a fermented tea (naturally effervescent) that contains billions of friendly gut organisms (probiotics) that help to strengthen your immune system by bolstering your levels of good organisms in your gut, which provides a first level of defense against pathogens from things you ingest. You can find Kombucha tea or other probiotic drinks at health food stores such as Whole Foods. I also recommend my very own Earth Echo Probiotic!
Kefir is a cultured/fermented dairy drink that's been used for thousands of years as a health elixer in many parts of the world. Kefir is an even better source of probiotics than Kombucha tea, but keep in mind that variety is best when it comes to probiotics, so use various sources for the best benefits to your digestive system and immune system.
Kefir is also the easiest form of dairy to digest due to the pre-digestion that's done by the probiotic microorganisms, and because of this, kefir is generally 99% lactose free. When I feel any sickness coming on, I start loading up on Kombucha tea and Kefir, drinking them both throughout the day.
I've started seeing other probiotic drinks on the market recently too, so just make sure to look for one that has very minimal sugar per serving (3-6 grams per 8 oz serving is acceptable, but much more than that is way too much).
I take a daily probiotics supplement to ensure I'm keeping my gut flora healthy and my immune system strong.
4. Herbal Tea
There is evidence that green tea and chamomile tea can help aid in strengthening the immune system. Even if the effects are minimal, you can't go wrong because both are loaded with powerful antioxidants unique to each tea.
For that reason, I try to drink a couple of cups of green tea with a small bit of raw honey early in the day. And then at night I have a couple of cups of chamomile or mint tea.
This isn't a bad idea even for a regular habit, but it's even more important when you feel a sickness coming on. I also drink a lot of other teas too such as Rooibos tea, which is thought to be even higher in antioxidants than green tea.
5. Light Exercise
When you feel a sickness coming on, a super-high intensity workout is not a good idea, as hard training forces the body to do a lot of recovery. Your body needs all of it's energy to fight off the oncoming sickness.
*Although I usually recommend high intensity training when you're healthy, when you're not feeling 100%, it's just a good idea to get some light exercise instead.
Personally, I like to get outside for some fresh air and go for a hike or go snowshoeing in the winter. These aren't very strenuous for me, so they won't cause my body to be forced to do a lot of recovery. Just getting out in the fresh air and getting the circulation going can help your body fight off the sickness.
6. Avoid ALL processed foods, sugars and white flour
When you feel a sickness coming on, this is no time to bombard your body with processed foods, inflammatory omega-6 oils (soybean oil, corn oil, etc), fried foods, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars, and chemical additives.
All of these foods force your body to do extra work to deal with all of this junk and the internal inflammation that they cause in your body. By the way, grain-based foods like bread, cereal, muffins, pasta, and bagels are a big culprit in causing internal inflammation and disrupting normal gut function. This means you should avoid grains as much as possible.
These 6 tips will go a LONG way to helping you ward off any oncoming sickness.
P.S. Please leave your comments below. I love hearing from you! And feel free to share this important information with your friends.
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