Natural ways to boost your immune system

John Kopischke
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How to know when your immune system is weak

A weak immune system leads to chronic or recurring health problems and infections and can be caused by stress, poor diet, malnourishment, or lifestyle choices.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, your immune system may be low:

  • Frequent colds, sore throats, trouble breathing, sinus problems, bronchitis
  • Infections and/or fungi
  • Repeated ear infections
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Minor cuts and scrapes continue to seem to fester and won’t heal
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Heavy metal toxicity

How to eat to support your immune system

Your immune system strengthens every time you exercise, and studies have shown that exercise reduces the length and severity of a cold. It even reduces susceptibility to a variety of conditions such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

We can afford to get sick by having an occasional time of rest. But we cannot afford chronic stress. Chronic stress weakens our immunity, thus lending to more frequent sickness.

The key to maintaining strong immunity and avoiding sickness is to live a happy, healthy lifestyle. That means eating well, exercising, getting good rest, and maintaining appropriate stress levels in your daily life.

Although a healthy diet may not cause you to be immune to viruses, it can help your body recover so you can fight off infections more effectively. Consuming the following foods will give you the strength to ward off a virus.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in high-quality fiber, which promotes good digestion and elimination. This keeps you free of toxins in your body and intestines, which weaken the immune system.

Water is the best way to carry nutrients to each cell in your body. Drinking at least eight glasses of water every day will give you a hydrated body and strong immune system.

Eat red peppers. Capsaicin found in red peppers has been shown to fight off every strain of influenza virus, including H1N1, one of the most recent strains of the virus.

Best supplements for your immune system

Whether you are on your first year or your ninety-fourth year, you must have noticed how the constant changes in our life, environment, and food habits affect our general health. This is why you need to do what you can to maintain your health.

This does not only involve making sure that you visit your doctor and eat the right foods, but also knowing some ways to boost your immune system.

There are several things you can do to keep your immune system functioning at its peak. All you need are the correct supplements to help you stay on the top of your health.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and berries. If you want the right amount of vitamin C, you need to make sure that you eat vitamin C-rich foods regularly.

Vitamin C can prevent colon cancer, cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder, as well as AIDS and cold sores.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is vital for a healthy immune system. It helps combat viral infections, bacterial diseases, and allergies, not to mention promote growth and vision.

You can get vitamin A from sources such as fish liver oil, liver, cheese, and egg yolk.

Iodine

Iodine is a natural element in the body. It becomes an essential nutrient for the human body when it is combined with organic substances.

Best type of exercise for your immune system

What type of exercise will give you the biggest immune system boost? Take a look at three common types of exercise and their effects on our immune system:

  • Aerobic activity – such as jogging and swimming – has been shown to raise several different immune system markers for a short period of time after being performed; however, these effects begin to dwindle after six to eight weeks. So although aerobic exercise may temporarily increase immune cells, it doesn’t make our immune systems stronger over the long haul.
  • High-intensity interval training – these brief spurts of intense activity alternate with low-intensity intervals. Examples include sprints, cycling, and swimming. High-intensity interval training, has been shown to increase the activity of several types of immune cells for up to 24 hours after exercise. In addition, studies have found that high-intensity exercise has also improved the function of immune cells by increasing their production and improving their ability to kill pathogens.
  • Resistance training – such as lifting weights, building lean muscle mass. Resistance training has been shown to increase T helper cells, which stimulate and assist other types of immune cells to respond to invaders. Resistance training has also been shown to improve the function of various types of immune cells.

How sleep helps your immune system

Sleep helps your body get the rest it needs to function well. And a well-rested body is an efficient body. When you’re well rested, you’re better able to fight off diseases.

It doesn’t take much, though. A lack of just two hours of sleep can make you feel as if you have the flu without contracting it.

During sleep, your immune system functions at a high level and is capable of fighting off infections.

In a study of medical students, researchers found that an overly demanding workload was related to reduced immune function. After four weeks, the group of students that took the most courses had a drop in their immune response. Those in the group that took the least amount of classes did not experience this decrease.

Another study found that people who slept fewer than six hours per night, experienced increased blood pressure, high cholesterol, and reduced glucose tolerance. They were also more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.

So, whether you have one baby or two babies, you need to make sleep a priority. The rest of your immune system will thank you.

How much water you need to be healthy

We have all heard how much water you need to drink each day, but did you know that your body depends on water even more than vitamins, minerals and food? In fact, the human body is over 90% water. Your blood cells are literally floating in a sea of water, and you couldn’t survive for more than a few days without water in your system.

It is recommended that adults drink 8 glasses of water per day. If you live in the humid south like we do (we bathe in the humidity here in the summer) or if you exercise, you’ll need the extra water.

Here’s a little trick you can use to know if you are drinking enough water.

First thing in the morning, before you get out of bed, take a look at your urine. Is it clear, light yellow or straw in color? If so, great job, your body is doing what it’s supposed to do. If it’s dark in color, your kidneys have either been working too hard or you’ve not been hydrating enough. Your body needs water in order to function properly.

How stress affects your immune system

Stress is a killer. And it’s not just in the psychological sense of feeling uptight or under pressure. The physical effects of stress can seriously harm your health, too.

Stress can weaken your immune system, disrupt your sleep and digestive patterns, and produce high levels of hormones that can increase inflammation in your body. Plus, stress can cause serious ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and even some types of cancer. The good news is that your body can fight the harmful effects of stress! Here are some ways to do so:

  • Sleep more! Many experts now believe that an 8-hour sleep a night is vital for preventing or reducing the negative effects of stress.
  • Pace your life. Don’t add more stress during a stressful period just to keep up with your daily tasks.
  • Take deep breaths. Relaxation exercises such as meditation, yoga, and even simple breathing exercises can help you unwind when you’re frazzled.

How deep breathing helps your immune system

Deep breathing is a key component of many alternative health practices like yoga, Qigong, and Chi Gong.

When you're stressed, your autonomic nervous system (ANS) kicks in and makes special adjustments like an increased heart rate, shallow breathing, and shallow digestive tract contractions. This is your body's survival mechanism when you perceive a threat. The problem is that when we are always in this state, our bodies stay in survival mode when there is no threat. This means that your immune system is chronically down-regulated.

The following are three breathing exercises, that can help you unwind and naturally boost your immune system. The exercise is a simple three-step, deep breathing routine.

To do this, you will need to find a comfortable place to sit or lie down and a quiet place to do this exercise.

Once you have chosen a place to sit, close your eyes, relax, and take some deep breaths. This step serves to help you relax so that you can focus on the breathing exercises. Do this for about 2-5 minutes, until you begin to feel calm and relaxed.