ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

Updated on November 28, 2013
Source

If you're prone to colds and infections, particularly as the weather turns cooler, you may have a weak immune system. Thankfully there are many things you can do to strengthen your immune system that don't involve drugs. The following simple steps can be used to help prevent and heal common illnesses.

A strong immune system requires:

  • Eating healthy
  • Adequate rest
  • Minimum stress
  • Minimum toxins
  • Keeping well hydrated
  • Regular exercise

Please use common sense where your health is concerned! This information should not be relied upon for optimum health and symptoms may be caused by something more serious than a cold or flu~ if in doubt, go see your health adviser.

What Is The Immune System?

Your immune system is a complex network, designed to protect you from anything that could disrupt your health~ such as bad bacteria and toxins. If your system doesn't manage to prevent you getting ill, it will do everything it can to remove the invader from your body.

The Immune System is made up of various organs, tissues and cells all working together. It is like your bodies monitoring system~ it recognises all cells that are meant to be there. If it can't identify something in your body (referred to as antigens), your immune system will attack and destroy it.

A strong immune system isn't just important for small illnesses. It's been proven to make a considerable difference to fighting diseases such as cancer as well.

An autoimmune disease, is when your immune system can't identify cells that should be in your body and so turns on itself. This makes autoimmune diseases particularly damaging and difficult to treat.

Immune Boosting Foods

These foods are particularly important when you're fighting a cold, flu, or infection. They either boost your immune system and/or are antibacterial:

  • Vitamin C rich foods~ such as oranges, lemons and strawberries.
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Pepper/ Spices
  • Honey

Source

Eating Healthy

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

~Hippocrates

If you're anything like me, when you're not well all you want is either comfort food, or not to eat at all! But what you eat can make a huge difference to preventing and healing illness.

Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, healthy fats and avoid anything processed.

A diet rich in Zinc and Vitamins A, C , E and D* is shown to dramatically improve your immune system. Where possible get vitamins and minerals from natural, whole foods rather than supplements or processed food~ they have many other added ingredients that can harm you.

Most illnesses start in the gut, so it's important to eat a diet that is kind to your digestive system. This means eating fibre rich foods, healthy oils and keeping hydrated.

*Vitamin D is produced when you're exposed to sunlight. If you're in a country that has little natural sunlight you may benefit from a supplement.

Adequate Rest And Minimum Stress

Allowing your body to rest regularly and fully lets your immune system work at its best. It is no coincidence that many high flyer's are prone to colds. If you are constantly strung out, stressed and don't sleep well, your body is put under a lot of pressure and will eventually shut down. It's like putting more and more books on a shelf, without taking the time to take some of them off~ eventually the shelf will break!

When sleeping, your body is still busy at work. This is when your body recharges and repairs itself, so it's important to let your body get on with it.

Taking time to rest (not just while sleeping) will reduce physical and mental stress. When you're stressed, your immune system is triggered in readiness to heal what may be coming. If there is then no physical damage to repair and you are frequently stressed, your immune system is constantly on high alert. Over time this can lead to chronic illness and autoimmune disease.

Minimise Toxins

It's hard to avoid all toxins~ especially in the modern world with highly processed food, pollution and chemical based products. But your immune system will thank you if you limit the amount of toxins you're exposed to.

As mentioned above, your system works hard to eliminate cells that it doesn't recognise as being natural to the human body. As much as you can, avoid anything that can overload and suppress your immune system. Things that can damage your immune system include:

  • Sweeteners
  • Refined carbohydrates (sugar and wheat)
  • Caffeine
  • Cigarettes
  • Alcohol
  • MSG
  • SLS & Parabens
  • Heavy metals

Source

Keep Hydrated

Part of your immune system is the lymphatic system. The lymph nodes are a network of tiny soft structures which use lymph fluid to filter bacteria from your body.

Lymph fluid is partly made up of water and so if your body is dehydrated, there isn't enough water to produce enough lymph fluid to clean your system properly.

Water flushes out toxins and bacteria~ often just drinking enough water will prevent illness, as bacteria is flushed out of the body before it can turn into an infection. If you are ill and have a fever, it's important to drink even more water than usual. Your body will use more water than normal through sweating and creating more lymph fluid and so is at greater risk of dehydration.

Regular Exercise

We all know the importance of exercise, but many of us don't take it seriously. Unlike your cardiovascular system~ which has the heart to pump blood around your body~ your Lymphatic System doesn't circulate itself. It relies on you to get the lymph fluid around your body. So a sedentary lifestyle can prevent your body from cleaning bacteria and preventing disease.

You don't have to be a gym bunny for your immune system to reap the rewards of your work, but make sure you move regularly. An active lifestyle is more important than sitting all day and then working out in the gym for an hour, so try to make movement part of your life~ this will eliminate the need for willpower to do a workout each day too.

Try to incorporate the following into each day and build up as your body strengthens:

  • Brisk walks
  • Vigorous Housework
  • Meditation/deep breathing
  • Stretching
  • Active hobbies
  • Fidgeting
  • Massage

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 

      6 years ago from United States

      Oh dear, it's the cold and flu season here too (in fact I'm having an unstoppable running nose)! Unfortunately also for me, I work on night shifts so I'm missing sleeping in the evening. I hope there's something else I could make up for that. Really informative hub, thanks for sharing. :)

    • Jasmeetk profile image

      Jasmeet Kaur 

      6 years ago from India

      perfect hub for me and I think for many others!! cold is my 12 month problem. I think I have reall weak immune system. great ideas, they will help me a lot.

      thanks for sharing :)

    • KarenCreftor profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Creftor 

      6 years ago from Kent, UK

      Thanks Mama :D I know what you mean~ it doesn't help that where Iam in the UK is so damp lol~ hope you manage to avoid colds and flu this Winter!

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 

      6 years ago from Canada

      This hub is very timely for me as we enter into cold and flu season here in Canada. You bring up some very valid ideas. I always forget how integral hydration is to health. Excellent hub, glad to have come across it.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)