While I don't have time to go into great depth on this subject, I thought I could at least bullet some ways to help boost your immune system. As we enter the fall/winter season, it seems that we become more vulnerable to colds, flues and other viruses. Dr. Mercola recently posted a video on many ways to naturally boost your immune system, so I thought I would share some of his tips. I respect the quality of his information and trust his opinion on most health topics. So here we go!
So, your throat may be feeling scratchy, or your stomach doesn't feel quite right. What do you do?
1. Eliminate sugars - Sugars are proven to impair your immune system, so at the first sign of symptoms, cut your sugars for a few days. This will give your immune system a hands up in fighting the infection.
2. Go to bed - Our immune systems function best when we get 6-8 hours of sleep. So if you aren't feeling so good, try not to burn the midnight oil for a few days. Do your best to minimize interruptions during the night(parents with young children, good luck!).
3. Deal with your stress - Research is showing that stress has a much bigger impact on our physical and mental health than we have ever before realized. While we can not eliminate stress completely, at the first signs of sickness, try and lessen your stress load. Delegate some responsibilities to others. Spend some time in prayer and relaxation. Turn off your cell phone, computer and TV for a few hours. Just let the unimportant things slide for a few days.
4. Probiotics - In our modern day society, new research is showing many people's bodies to be deficient in important good bacteria. This is due to our very sterilized food chain, overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial agents, and the lack of naturally fermented foods in the Western diet. A quality probiotic supplement or probiotic foods and drinks such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha and naturally fermented pickles, salsas and sauerkraut can deliver much needed good bacteria to your digestive tract. It is now believed that your digestive tract makes up 85% of our immune systems, so if we take care of our digestive health, we are taking care of our overall health.
5. Eat healthy, unprocessed foods - Again, to take care of our bodies, we need to be putting the good stuff in. Healthy unprocessed foods deliver the most nutrients to our immune systems, which provide the fuel to fight off infection and disease.
6. Vitamin C - While it is easy to get Vitamin C, many doctors in the natural health circles are recognizing the importance of taking Vitamin C that is derived from a natural, whole food source. Synthetic, isolated forms of Vitamin C are not as beneficial. Dr. Mercola stated that he prefers Vitamin C from Acerola cherries because they tend to have 80X the Vitamin C of other foods.
7. Oil of Oregano - This supplement is shown to be beneficial in fighting off infection. Dr. Mercola said to look for Oil of Oregano with a high concentration of carvacrol. The higher the carvacrol concentration, the greater the antimicrobial effects.
8. Olive Leaf Extract - Research shows that Olive Leaf Extract has amazing antimicrobial actions without any toxic side effects.
9. Elderflower Extract - It is shown to support your immune system.
10. Vitamin D3 - There is tons of amazing research on the effects of Vitamin D3. If you have the time, check it out for yourself. Dr. Mercola stated that a daily dose of Vitamin D3 produces 200 to 300 antimicrobial peptides, which is basically your body's natural antibiotics.
Dr. Mercola also stated that Peppermint powder and Yarrow are also affective in boosting your immune system among other natural supplements. His main recommendation was that all supplements need to be high quality, made with raw material and processed in a way that doesn't harm the useful qualities of the ingredients.
I thought that these were a good starting place for anyone looking for natural ways to help their immune systems. On a daily basis, whether we are healthy or sick, we drink Monavie(one of the blends that contains probiotics) and take a probiotic supplement or eat some form of probiotic food. When we get sick, I try and add some additional natural supplements to our diets to help us fight and recover from the infection. We have been utilizing many of these ideas, but I will definitely have to give a few more of them a try the next time we start getting sick. I hope these are helpful, but I pray you won't even have to use them because you will remain in excellent health!