How to Improve your Immune System
Improving your Immune System
Television ads show how hand washing is a good thing during flu season. It is one thing to keep the flu virus from getting in your body somehow. It is another to empower your immune system to fight off any bacteria or virus that does make it past the mucous membranes. Most any Reader's Digest health article or Prevention story will give you common sense tips. I am writing this because it helps me remember those same pieces of advice and practice what I preach.
Getting enough rest. My immune system suffers when I don't get enough sleep. Sleep is a healing time for the cells. Getting enough fluids. Water is good, if it is pure. Green tea is good. High fructose corn syrup; not so good. I have weaned myself off Mountain Dew and other soft drinks and feel better. I also understand that caffeine is a lifesaver if you are having to drive tired. I go back to my first point. Get enough rest. A nap is a good thing if you need it. Going to bed at a regular time and getting up at a similar time is important. Having a routine helps.
A warm bath with epsom salts (about two cups) will relax those sore muscles. Exercise is a great way to work up a sweat and get rid of toxins. Drinking lots of fluids helps get rid of toxins also. I have read where using a salt water nasal spray can help in the flu season. Any virus inhaled might sit in the sinus cavity and multiply. Salt water spray makes the membrane not so friendly to the virus that makes it that far. For that matter, gargling with warm salt water helps for the virus that makes it further back toward the throat.
I also am trying to lower the amount of sugar I consume. Again, there is sugar in most everything, and I realize I need glucose to make energy. Too much of any good thing is not so good. There is sugar in complex carbs that breaks down slower, also fresh fruits and vegetables are a good place to start. Eating more slowly and chewing food thoroughly might help the immune system by helping you digest those important vitamins and minerals the body needs.
The overwhelming evidence of the healing power of food.
watch out for gluten
If you have any food allergies like gluten or dairy, there are alternatives like soy or almond or rice milk, and look for the GF label on foods which means Gluten Free. Gluten is a part of wheat, oats, etc and can cause inflammation of the digestive tract. Milk can be difficult to digest and lactose intolerance is one cause. There are tablets like lactaid which might help.
Taking a multivitamin will give you a healthier immune system in my opinion. Men don't really need extra iron, but all the other vitamins are needed. Living in a northern climate, I think Vitamin D is important. I try to get time in the sun, but in the cloudy winter months and autumn days with shortened light, it is tough. Your skin needs to be exposed and it doesn't work through glass. You can get Vitamin D from milk or fish. Also I think the ratio of fat should be fifty fifty, with more Omega 3's, the kind you get from salmon or sardines. That is the stuff cell membranes are made of and it helps with cell communication; like brain cells, vision, etc.
Good fats like Omega 3's also help me feel more satisfied, when I am tempted to junk foods although there are Frito's corn chips on the shelf as we speak. Try to avoid trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils. Eat a small handful of nuts like almond, walnut, cashews for a satisfying snack. A juicer is good, in my opinion, for the immune system. You can get lots of phytonutrients from fruits or vegetables, the more colorful the better. A freshly made glass of juice from organic or home grown carrots, apples, etc will give you some good immune fighters.
Taking a sauna or steam bath is good for sweating out stuff. Only be sure to be aware of your need for lots of cold water to replenish what you sweat out, and take breaks by stepping out for cool fresh air as needed. Having a hobby like art or landscaping can help with stress, which also hurts the immune system.
Having healthy bacteria in the gut also helps your body digest the vitamins and minerals it needs. There is no place like home for a place to recharge from the chaos of the outside world. Taking time to retreat and being aware when you are under the weather means that home should be a safe, comfortable place to renew, relax and rest. Sometimes a vacation is healing; a change of climate or environment that gives renewal.
Reading a good novel or working your mind on puzzles or crosswords or games can help the body by giving you exercises that keep you alert or active. A balanced life includes time for prayer, reading the Bible, getting out of doors, good wholesome nutritious food, lots of good fluids like water, green tea, etc (at least for me). There are some drinks that don't have high fructose corn syrup or food coloring. Dark chocolate has good stuff in it.
In closing, if you are sick, there may be a time to see a doctor and get help. I got bit by a tick and suffered for a week of fever, chills, etc this summer before going to the clinic and getting antibiotics. They helped. Get through one day at a time. Be thankful for the measure of health you have today and make choices that encourage good health for the future. I will try to do the same.
More by this Author
My dad has always loved birds. He doesn't let hunters shoot at geese or ducks in the fall when they rest on his lake. He knows when the bluebirds will return and puts out an orange slice for the baltimore orioles. I...