Apparently, it’s that time of the year again. Everyone around me is falling sick by the bushels. When visiting home my ‘little’ (6″7′ish, lol) brother reminds me of me when I was his age; coming down with the flu and ‘common’ cold all too often. His diet now and my diet then also show a lot of resemblance; lots of processed non foods (only I think my alcohol intake was thrice his). Well, at least my mom has him on green smoothies in the morning now. Go mom!
If you’re like me and you simply don’t have the time to deal with sickness and don’t feel for being bedridden for days (hm, come to think of it, this would give me time to catch up on all the documentaries that are on my must-see-NOW list…), follow these tips and become immune to the cold & flu this season….
Top Tips for Boosting Your Immune System
Immune Boosting Super Foods & Nutrients
Foods & Supplements to include;
- Bee products; raw, organic honey (especially Manuka), royal jelly, bee pollen & bee propolis
- Chaga & Reishi mushroom (tea, powder or tincture)
- Raw garlic
- Ginger & turmeric (fresh is best. Add to juice, or boil for tea)
- Cinnamon (antibacterial)
- Oil of oregano capsules (antibacterial)
- Wheatgrass shots. Nature’s multivitamins!
- Green & white tea (full of flavonoids, plant nutrients that fight inflammation and infections)
- Vitamin C
- Lysine (essential amino acid)
We all know (right?!) exercise is imperative for overall health and well being. Exercise is also vital for a strong immune system, and here’s how. Exercise stimulates the lymph system. All cells release metabolic waste products into a surrounding solution, which is referred to as the lymphatic system. This lymphatic system also transports nutrients all around the body and provides cells with the appropriate nutrients. The lymph system is responsible for clearing the body of harmful metabolic waste products, foreign material and cell debris. Unlike the blood, the lymph system doesn’t have a pump, that is why we need to stimulate the flow to get rid of the toxins. Poor circulation causes stagnant lymph fluid and a build-up of toxins, which in turn makes all of our trillion cells undernourished and more susceptible to disease. In addition, exercise increases the amount of leukocytes, an immune cell that fights off infection.
No body can be truly healthy without some form of exercise!
Gentle exercise is best for the immune system as it stimulates the lymph system without putting too much stress on the body. Impact exercise (like jogging) is very effective, as is Yoga. Other ways to stimulate your lymph system are rebounding (jumping for 20 or more minutes per day on a mini trampoline), massage, and dry brushing.
Bonus points for outdoors exercise, always.
Easy there tiger, I said gentle!
Keeping Your pH in Check
Your pH balance is everything. pH balance stands for the level of acidity or alkalinity in your bod, and should always favor slightly to the alkaline side. When our bodies become too acidic, the whole system starts to malfunction. An acidic body is too busy dealing with the toxins consumed by processed foods, stressful lifestyle, and polluted air to be able to fight germs and bacteria. In most cases, colds and flus could easily be prevented with an alkaline diet and lifestyle.
Alkalize Your Body;
- Eat low sugar, mineral rich, raw plant foods (especially green juices!)
- De-stress (meditate, exercise, think happy thoughts)
- Avoid coffee, alcohol, drugs/medicine
Avoid Excess Sugar
Did you know sugar suppresses the immune system for up to 8 hours after consumption? I can definitely attest to this! I used to be a (refined) sugar junkie, and I was always sick and feeling run down. Now, whenever I eat a good dose of junk with artificial sugar, I wake up the next day with a stuffed nose and not feeling so hot.
I couldn’t find any research on this that differentiates between natural sugars and refined sugars (shocking… not!) but speaking from personal experience, I definitely do not have this problem with eating an abundance of healthy, whole foods that contain sugar (like fruits and root veggies), and then there’s of course the fruitarians who live off of fruit and their immune system seems to be excellent, so my conclusion here is; natural sugars don’t cause this effect. Makes sense, since whole foods that contain sugars also provide plenty of immune system boosting nutrients such as fiber, iron, vitamin C and B vitamins!
Avoid eating too many cereal grains (like bread), white flour and rice, cookies, pastries, candy, etc. This is always sound advice, but especially if you want to boost your immune system, not suppress it!
Crank Up the Probiotics
It is a common myth that harmful bacteria make us sick. In fact, it is a lack of good bacteria that make us sick!
We all need bacteria to survive – the friendly ones that is. Our gut is where 90% of our immune system resides, in the form of good bacteria. These little buggers do a lot for us; they help digest food, they synthesize some vitamins, and they fight off the bad guys. As long as you have enough good bacteria in your colon, the bad bacteria are not much of a threat to you, and you no longer have to worry about shaking hands, being in contact with flu-y people or airplane travel (like those weirdo’s waring mouth caps on the plane…. eh).
So what does a healthy colon make? You’ll want to start off with getting rid of the bad guys, and the best way to do this is a series of colonics or enemas. Then, follow this by a healthy diet rich in probiotics, and it is helpful to take a probiotic supplement during this time as well.
Foods high in probiotics (friendly bacteria);
Break up with Stress
Stress is double trouble. Stress decreases your pH (causes acidity) and suppresses your immune system.
So ease up, relax, and enjoy life. Whenever you find yourself fretting over this or that, catch yourself in the act and ask yourself if it’s really worth it. Really – you can train yourself to become a happier person, it just takes some time and diligence.
Especially helpful to fight off stress is meditation. Meditation has been shown again and again to lower blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol (the stress hormone) levels.