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Top Tips to Boost your Immune System Naturally

Updated on March 21, 2014
Alison Graham profile image

Alison is a freelance writer on health, nutrition, skin care, and pets, especially cats and dogs.

If you always seem to be the one who catches colds, flu and any other bugs around, maybe it's time to check out these helpful tips to give your immune system a boost - the natural way!
If you always seem to be the one who catches colds, flu and any other bugs around, maybe it's time to check out these helpful tips to give your immune system a boost - the natural way! | Source

Here are some top tips to boost the immune system and build up your immunity naturally to fight off illnesses without prescription medications.

Undoubtedly, some people’s immune system work better than others – do you know people who seem to sail through the winter colds and flu season without so much as a sniffle whilst others seem to catch every bug going?

Luckily, there are lots of things we can do to boost our immune system without having to take prescription medicines and enable our bodies to heal and repair themselves and ward off colds and flu and possibly helping to prevent us from succumbing to more serious ailments and diseases.

Some of my tips are well known, others may surprise you - take a look and tick off which ones you are already utilizing to build up your immune system.

Here are my top tips to improve immune system and I will be dealing with these in more detail below.

How Many Of These Can You Say "Yes" To?

  • Learn how to deal with stress

  • Get the right amount of sleep

  • Drink plenty of water

  • Cut down on refined foods and eliminate food allergens

  • Eliminate toxins, chemicals and pesticides from your environment

  • Cut down on alcohol and caffeine

  • Eat plenty of Fruit and Vegetables

  • Eat fish

  • Take regular moderate exercise

  • Get plenty of fresh air and sunshine

  • Consider taking some supplements

  • Wash your hands regularly

Your Immune System Explained - As You've Never Heard It Before!

Learn how to deal with stress

Chronic (long-term) stress has been proven to age us prematurely and also to have a bad effect on our immune systems. This can make us more prone to viral infections such as colds and flu.

Stress can have many manifestations and sometimes physical symptoms like a crop of mouth ulcers can be an indicator - the link will take you to my hub on remedies for mouth ulcers if these are a problem for you.

If you would like more information on boosting your immune system naturally, please use this link to visit my article on the subject for helpful advice on foods that really do give you a boost!

Conversely, it seems that acute, (short term) stress can have a strengthening effect on our immune systems.

Get the right amount of sleep

By not getting enough sleep because of insomnia or not allowing our bodies enough sleep because of our lifestyle, we are putting our immune systems under stress. The right amount of healthy sleep allows our body to release substances that strengthen our immune system including growth hormone that boosts our immune systems and helps our body to repair itself.

Helpful Hubs on Sleep and Insomnia

Insomnia: Why Women Can’t Sleep?

Yoga for Insomnia: 5 Poses to Help You Sleep Better

The Best Essential Oils For Treating Insomnia

Drink plenty of water

Drinking plenty of water prevents our bodies from becoming dehydrated.  The effects of dehydration include fatigue, dry skin, constipation and headaches and stress on vital organs such as the kidneys.  Dehydration also causes a fall in the body’s ability to resist diseases and bacterial infections. 

Cut down on refined foods and eliminate food allergens

Refined food contains a high proportion of sugar which has been proven to have a harmful effect of the ability of white blood cells to do their work of destroying invading organisms in the short-term. Food allergies also have a harmful effect on our immune system if we do not deal with them as whilst we continue to eat those foods that cause us problems, our immune systems are fighting on two fronts, dealing with food allergens and trying to combat invading organisms at the same time. Obviously, removing the food allergens by stopping eating them or getting treatment to desensitise ourselves if that is possible, will strengthen our immune systems.

Eliminate toxins, chemicals and pesticides from your environment

Many products that we use in our homes could cause stress to our immune systems. For example, common cleaning products used in our home contain many toxic chemicals that can have a serious effect on our health. We can make healthier choices in the cleaning products we use and elect not to use chemicals and pesticides in our homes. For example, Bed Bugs have been in the news a lot recently but if we do not choose to use poisonous chemicals to kill the bed bugs, we can get rid of bed bugs with a safe, natural alternative that will kill bed bugs on contact.

There may be nothing we can do about some pollutants such as those in the air that we breathe, but we can reduce our exposure in our own homes by the choices that we make.

Cut down on alcohol and caffeine

Alcohol gets conflicting reviews, depending on which articles you read. It is true that there are many benefits for our hearts in drinking a glass of red wine but, alcohol is a depressant and there are a lot of chemicals in store-bought alcoholic drinks (sulphite, a preservative, to name just one). Alcohol also contains a lot of sugar which again, is bad for our immune systems.

Caffeine is the most widely used chemical stimulant in the world. It can prevent the deep, restful sleep that is vital for the health of our immune systems, research suggests it may also be harmful to the processes that keep our bones strong and healthy and people with osteoporosis are advised to cut coffee down to one cup a day or eliminate it from their diets altogether. As a sufferer from osteoporosis myself, I restrict myself to one, delicious, freshly brewed cup of coffee each day!

Eat plenty of Fruit and Vegetables

One way of making sure that we get all the vital vitamins and minerals for the health of our bodies and our immune systems is to make smoothies. Smoothies to boost the immune system are the group of smoothies that have seen the biggest percentage rise in sales. It is easy to make them at home and the fresher the smoothie, the more of the vital enzymes will be retained. Fruits and vegetables have been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties and it is these antioxidants that researchers are finding have a protective effect on our bodies and help to prevent the oxidative stress that researchers believe are contributory factors in the process that leads to Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative conditions.

Eat Oily Fish

Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are a great way to get the Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 that our immune systems need. These Omega oils are referred to as essential oils for good reason as they are vital for the repair of every cell in our body and so really are essential for the health of our immune systems. Some people may find oily fish difficult to digest, or may be vegetarian and in this case, the necessary fish oils are easily obtainable in fish oil capsules.

Take regular moderate exercise

Studies have shown a beneficial boost to our immune systems during moderate exercise as immune cells move through are bodies more quickly and seem to be better at killing the bacteria and viruses that cause illness.  This benefit only lasts a few hours after an exercise session but scientists now believe that the beneficial effects are longer lasting if exercise is taken regularly.  Beware though, it has also been shown that intensive training and physical exercise will cause a temporary dip in the functioning of the immune system for around 72 hours and this is believed to be due to the hormones produced by the body during very rigorous exercise.

Get plenty of fresh air and sunshine

Sunshine is vital to the health of our immune systems.  Exposure to sunshine is the way our bodies produce the Vitamin D that helps build strong healthy bones and has been shown in laboratory studies to be involved in the activation of T cells vital to the immune system response.  Sunshine is also proven to increase the white blood cells in our bodies that fight illness and infection and it has a lowering effect on blood pressure and blood sugar levels.  Exercising in the fresh air and sunshine is a great way to give our immune systems a boost.

Consider taking some immune system supplements

Even if you have a healthy diet, you might still wish to consider taking an immune system supplement. For example, probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help our digestive systems. Probiotic yogurt can be added to delicious fruit smoothies. These are especially beneficial if you have had to take antibiotics and definitely also boost the immune system. Echinacea is a herb that is often taken in the wintertime to ward off colds and flu and it is a great immune system booster. Spirulina is probably best known for it’s detoxifying effects but it is also valuable for the minerals it contains. A good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement is always an option if you want to ensure your intake of vital nutrients. However, it should always be remembered that supplementation should never be taken as a way of avoiding the necessity of a good, balanced diet.

Wash your hands regularly to avoid Colds and Flu

Washing your hands properly and regularly is a very effective way of preventing infectious illness. Research reveals that as much as 80% of infectious illness in the USA is spread hand to hand.

The most important rule to follow is NEVER touch your eyes, nose or mouth without washing your hands. This is because the bacteria (or colds and flu virus) from our hands can be transported into our bodies by the moisture in our tears, saliva and nasal passages, our eyes being the most common way that these illnesses infect us, as we often unconsciously rub our eyes, or remove a bit of grit (or what my Mum used to call ‘sleepy dust’) from the corner of our eyes without thinking.

From my research on this article, I have also discovered that it is better to dry your hands on a paper towel than under a hand dryer from the point of view of removing germs. In public restrooms, after washing your hands, turn the faucet / tap off and open the door with a paper towel to prevent re-infecting your hands with germs. For this reason, in the colds and flu season, you may prefer to wear gloves when shopping so that you do not touch shop door handles either.

Obviously the same courtesy in reverse is required if you have a cold, as you should sneeze or blow your nose into a tissue and dispose of it and then wash your hands before doing anything else.

You may think that this all sounds rather over-zealous but if you have suffered the misery of colds and flu and seem especially prone to them, these are sensible precautions and will definitely lower your risk of catching infections. Repeated infections weaken and stress the immune system and we become 'run down'. By doing our best to prevent infection we help our immune systems to remain strong.

Proper Hand Washing Technique Tor Remove Bacteria

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