No one wants to be sick over the holidays and the best way to avoid that is to boost your immune system and let it take care of those pesky germs that could ruin your holiday fun. Here are some tips on ways to boost your immunity by strengthening your immune system.
- Eat lots of bright colored fruits and vegetables with antioxidants to help fight off free radicals that can damage cells and lead to inflammation, and chronic diseases.
- Vitamin D increases serotonin levels, is important for bone health and helps the body to produce a protein that kills off viruses. It can be taken in supplement form or found in fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel, fortified cereals, dairy and soy products, and white button mushrooms.
- Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that live in the intestines and help fight off the bad bacteria and germs that can make us sick. Eating yogurt with live active cultures or taking high quality probiotic supplements such as acidophilus and bifidus can help support the friendly bacteria and help them to thrive. Acidophilus is often called “nature’s antibiotic” because it plays such a vital role in immune system health. Bifidus promotes the growth of good intestinal flora in the large intestine, lowers the pH of the intestine, manufactures specific B-vitamins, and promotes immune function and overall health.
- The allicin found in garlic has been reported to fight infections and bad bacteria. One British study found that of 146 people participating, those taking garlic were two-thirds not as likely to get a cold.
- Selenium is a nutrient very important to immune system function. It helps produce cytokines in white blood cells and can be found in shellfish such as crab, clams, lobster and oysters, Brazil nuts, fish like salmon, tuna and herring, poultry, eggs and mushrooms.
- Black and green tea both have L-theanine which is an amino acid that gives the immune system a boost. One study from Harvard reported people drinking 5 cups daily of black tea over a two week period had 10 times more interferon to help against viruses in their systems than those drinking a placebo drink. A University of Michigan study reported results supporting quercetin, an antioxidant also found in black and green tea, as being able to keep viruses from replicating.
- Douglas Schar, DipPhyt, MCPP, MNIMH, director of the Institute of Herbal Medicine in Washington, DC, is one expert reporting that mushrooms are a natural immune booster. They increase white blood cell production and have properties that can help protect you from viruses, bacteria and even yeast. Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms have been found to be the best immunity boosters. You’ll find all these mushrooms as well as cordyceps, Turkey Tail and Agaricus blazei mushrooms, with astragalus, beta glucan and AFA bluegreen algae in this immune support supplement.
- Macrophages are an important part of the immune system and can be activated by beta-glucans, which are fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Grains such as oats, barley or this immune support supplement are good sources of beta-glucans.
- Stress can negatively affect the immune system, so finding a way to deal with stress is vital when your goal is to strengthen immunity. Chronic stress can lower your numbers of killer cells and affect macrophage functioning. Having a positive life perspective and engaging in activities that make you laugh have both been shown as ways to reduce stress hormones and boost the immune system.
- Exercise not only is a way to boost immunity, but also to reduce stress. Half an hour of aerobic exercise can help increase white blood cell circulation. Stick with moderate exercise though as intense exercise can actually reduce immune system function. Research shows that taking a 30 minute walk each day during the winter can reduce sick days by half as many.
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