The Battle for Your Immune System
As the famous saying goes, “The best defense is a good offense!” That couldn’t be more true when it comes to the immune system. Prevention is key, so protecting and boosting your immune system before it has a chance to weaken is extremely important, especially in the winter months when flus and colds run rampant.
One of the most important aspects of prevention is decreasing our stress! Nothing hurts our immune system more than the daily worrying most of us are so used to. According to the American Psychological Association, “managing stress, especially chronic or long-term stress (even if it’s not intense), may help people to fight germs.” This is because time after time, it has been shown that the mind-body connection is strong and when our emotions and thoughts become too overwhelming, our bodies pay the price! Stress causes the immune system to suffer, so the best thing for your mental and physical wellbeing is to deal with the stress directly, in the best way you can. For some it means doing yoga and meditation, while for others that means going for a run or doing something fun with family and friends. Whatever your coping mechanism is, use it, because stress is the strongest enemy of a healthy immune system.
There are the well-known home remedies such a high doses of vitamin C and drinking hot tea with honey and lemon, but there is so much more that you can do for the immune system! Certain foods and supplements are such excellent immune boosters, that you might not have to even hear the word “antibiotic” all year! Let’s break it down and learn how to protect your immune system naturally.
Foods, specifically garlic, ginger, and mushrooms are three “super-foods” that are extremely effective in boosting the immune system. The active components in these foods play a major role in the immune system response. Cooking with these ingredients allows you to improve your immune system while enjoying a nice meal! People tend to forget that food has healing powers and what we eat is just as important as the supplements we take. So next time you are preparing your breakfast, lunch, or dinner, throw some garlic, ginger, and mushrooms into the mix. You’ll be glad you did when the cold and flu season comes around!
Echinacea and Goldenseal – these two herbs, when combined, have extra strong immune boosting powers! Taken daily, for example in the form of tea, they can serve as overall immune system champions, taking preventative measures to fight off any immune attacks. However at times of immune deficiency, when cold and flus take your immune system hostage, echinacea and goldenseal (in the form of tinctures, powders, teas, tablets, and capsules) are the first line of defense in the fight for your health. These herbs stimulate the destruction of bacteria and viruses, clearing them from the body. They are especially effective for infections of the upper respiratory tract, digestive tract, and urinary tract.
Vitamin D – this well-know vitamin is hailed as the “miracle nutrient” and it is just that! It does so much for your body and mind, and has a tremendous effect on the immune system. This little vitamin mounts a full defense against incoming and already present infections and microbes by modulating the immune response. According to the Vitamin D Council, people who live in the northern part of the United States and in Canada do not get enough hours of direct sunlight (which is the best and most natural source of vitamin D) and tend to be vitamin D deficient. The recommended dose will differ based on one’s vitamin D level in the blood, and may be anywhere from 1,000 IU to 10,000 IU per day. Most medical research has determined that a blood level of 50 ng/ml or higher is generally regarded as sufficient, but the fact of the matter is that the higher the number, the better chance your immune system has to persevere during the cold and flu season.