Our bodies are bombarded by toxins in our environment everyday. Between the polluted air we breathe, the contaminated water we drink and the overprocessed food we eat, our immune systems have their work cut out for them. Despite this constant onslaught, there are plenty of natural ways to boost your immune system. Check out these ten.
Natural Immune System Booster 1 – Reduce Stress
In this hectic world, reducing stress is sometimes easier said than done. However, maintaining optimum health requires us to spend a certain amount of time each day nurturing ourselves and reducing stress. Going out to lunch with a friend, seeing a movie with your significant other, taking up a relaxing hobby or getting into yoga are just some of the ways you can take a break from the fast pace of everyday life and regroup.
Natural Immune System Booster 2 – Exercise
A lot of us either don’t like to exercise or can’t find the time. The good news is, the immune system gets a boost from mild to moderate exercise just three times per week. Grab a buddy and go for a walk on a lunch break, blast your favorite music and dance in the privacy of your living room, visit a favorite park and take a short hike or sign up for a pilates class. These are just a few ways to take the bore out of working out.
Natural Immune System Booster 3 – Sleep
Sleep is highly underrated. When we are sleeping, our bodies not only rest from a long day, they release powerful immune-enhancing substances that allow us to repair and rebuild. The average person requires 7-9 hours of deep sleep per night in order to function optimally. If you suffer from insomnia, try some natural, calming herbs such as valerian, chamomile or lemon balm. It is important to note that when taking natural sedatives to not drive or operate machinery. If you have a serious medical condition, consult your healthcare practitioner before using any type of sedative.
Natural Immune System Booster 4 – Diet
Diet, like sleep, is crucial to maintaining good health and well-being. Many people have one or more unknown food intolerances that are directly affecting their immune systems and health. The most common food intolerances are wheat, gluten, corn, dairy, citrus, nuts, shellfish and food additives. If you suffer from brain fog, confusion, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, insomnia, and/or anxiety, you may be suffering from one or more food intolerances. The best way to discover if a food intolerance is causing your symptoms is to do an elimination diet. Remove all foods mentioned above from the diet for one week and note how you feel. If there is an improvement in health, food intolerance is most likely a contributing factor. The next step is to reintroduce foods one at a time to test for a reaction. When you find the culprit, you’ll know and be able to eliminate it. Food additives such as aspartame and high fructose corn syrup have been proven to cause a host of neurological, mental and immune system problems. Replace foods containing these additives with those containing natural sugars and health will improve. Also, a diet rich in organic meats, whole grains, vegetables and fruit will keep the immune system healthy and ready to battle whatever comes its way.
Natural Immune System Booster 5 – Supplements
Many of us do not get all the nutrients we need from our diet alone. Adding dietary supplements can fill these nutritional gaps. Supplements that boost the immune system naturally are vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and selenium. Those with a serious medical condition should consult their healthcare provider before starting a supplement routine.
Natural Immune System Booster 6 – Herbs
Adding a few natural herbs to the immune-boosting arsenal can offer the support needed to combat colds and flu. Powerful antiviral garlic can be eaten as food or taken as a supplement, astragalus can be taken daily to prevent viral infection, echinacea is a potent immune system enhancer that can be used for up to two weeks to protect against illness and ginger root can be taken as a tea to combat nausea and sinus congestion. Those with a serious medical condition should consult their healthcare provider before taking herbs.
Natural Immune System Booster 7 – Essential Oils
Essential oils are natural essences that come from leaves, herbs and seeds. Unlike prescription and over-the-counter medications, viruses cannot “get used to” essential oils because each batch is unique. The strength of each is based on climate, harvest time and temperature. Oils that naturally boost the immune system are lemon, oregano, cinnamon, peppermint, eucalyptus & frankincense. A few drops of lemon essential oil taken in water may help fend off illness. Dilute strong oregano oil in olive oil and place it on the back, chest, neck and soles of the feet at the first sign of sickness. Cinnamon, peppermint and eucalyptus can be inhaled to ease breathing difficulties associated with colds and flu. Frankincense is the most expensive essential oil on the market but its immune-enhancing properties are worth the price. Frankincense can be applied directly on the skin or taken internally to combat illness. A little goes a long way with all essential oils. Take care never to get oils in the eyes, lips or genital area. It is advisable to consult a naturopath or herbal expert before trying essential oils for the first time. Those with a serious medical condition should consult their healthcare provider before using essential oils.
Natural Immune System Booster 8 – Chiropractic Care
Our immune systems, like all body systems, are controlled by the nervous system. Most of us have a spinal alignment problem that can prevent the nervous system from “communicating” properly with the immune system. The result can be frequent colds and flu, autoimmune disease or chronic ill health. Gentle chiropractic adjustments can correct these alignment problems and offer the body a chance to heal.
Natural Immune System Booster 9 – Massage
Getting a massage isn’t just a great way to relax, it helps boost the immune system naturally. Massage increases antibody production, reduces inflammation, and stimulates the lymphatic system, which is responsible for eliminating the toxins that cause illness. Massage also improves blood circulation and reduces depression by increasing seratonin and endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain.
Natural Immune System Booster 10 – Detox
In order for the immune system to function at its best, the body must detox. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. Cigarettes contain an incredible amount of toxic chemicals the body must constantly fight against, leaving less energy to prevent infection and disease. Epsom salt is the cheapest, most natural wonder on the market. Bathing in Epsom salt, magnesium sulfate, draws toxins and impurities out of the body and promotes relaxation and deep sleep. Pregnant women, diabetics and those allergic to sulfur should not use Epsom salt. Another excellent way to detoxify the body is a colon cleanse. Waste materials can often become trapped in the body causing illness and weakened immunity. Using a gentle colon cleanse every three to six months is a great way to enhance the immune system and overall health. Those who are trying a colon cleanse for the first time should consult a naturopath or natural health expert before use. Those with a serious medical condition should consult their healthcare providers before using a colon cleanse.