Keep Healthy and Boost Your Immune System
10.23.13 Keep Healthy and Boost Your Immune System
At this time of the year, the effort to strengthen the immune system gains attention as this likely concerns many folks while moving into colder drier weather. Consequently, we spend much more time indoors, with a ripe environment to spread sickness.
So, of course a strong immune system is much to be desired to effectively fight off viruses and bacteria that lurk about. In addition to eating whole foods, staying well-hydrated, getting regular exercise, meeting a good sleep quota, taking time to chill and de-stress and laugh, it's also important to be aware of the daily toxins that exist in many unfortunate places like shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent and household cleaners (to name a select few). Toxins play a role in weakening our immunity so it's a good idea to try and reduce exposure to harmful chemicals for optimal health.
So, instead of busting your immune system, give it a boost!
EXERCISE: Even with moderate amount, exercise slows down the release of stress-related hormones and gives a boost to cells that are conditioned to attack bacteria.
SLEEP: It seems obvious and cliche to state the obvious, but...our bodies do their repair work when we sleep. And further, studies show that we produce less antibodies to ward off illness when we get less sleep. Make it a priority to get 8 hours of shut-eye and you'll reap the benefits from quality sleep.
RELAX: Another obvious one but again, often overlooked. Take a bath! Sweat out some toxins in the super healthy mustard bath and enjoy the downtime while flushing out and detoxifying your bod. Mustard baths are known to increase circulation, oxygenation and activate the largest organ in eliminating toxins. Make plans to head straight to bed after this type of bath - it's a natural downer.
LAUGH: Say what? Well, it turns out that in addition to helping reduce stress, laughing helps to increase white blood cells that work to fight infection.
STAY HYDRATED: drinking water carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, protects organs and tissues and removes toxins. Enjoy both warm and cold (and add some lemon!). Plan ahead and fill a reusable water bottle to take with you, hydrating throughout the day!
ANTIOXIDANTS: Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene (supports the body's mucus membrane, making it harder for bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause havoc.), bioflavenoids, Selenium, Omega 3 fatty acids and zinc: fill up foods loaded with these essential nutrients!
- Oregano: an antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and immune stimulant oil. Considered a "hot" oil, this is best applied to the back, shoulders and bottoms of feet.
- Lemon: add a drop daily to your water for maintaining optimal health with antiviral, antiseptic, antioxidant and antifungal properties.
- Thieves: highly effective at killing airborne bacteria, this essential oil can be applied topically or taken internally for a boost.
- Frankincense: anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious oil used to strengthen the immune system.
And on to the delicious part...head to the kitchen for some natural immunity boosters.
Avocados: Support the adrenal funtion and keep the immune system happy with amino acids, antioxidants and healthy fats.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Kale, broccoli, lettuce and cabbage boost the liver's ability to flush out toxins.
Ginger: Warms the body and helps break down the accumulation of toxins in the organs. Ayurveda: helps cleanse the lymphatic system.
Black Currants: Rich in Vitamin C and anthocyanosides, black currant seed oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) an effective ingredient in fighting disease.
Oatmeal: Soluable fiber reduces LDL "bad" cholesterol and also helps fight bacterial infections by helping non-specific immune cells called neutrophils (the body's first line of defense against pathogens) heal infected tissues.
Pomegranate Seeds: Ellagic Acid and Punic Alagin fight damage from free radicals. An excellent antioxidant- rich source that are high in phytochemicals and polyphenols.
Pumpkin Seeds: Contains a wide variety of nutrients including magnesium, manganese, copper, protein and zinc....a real nutritional powerhouse in a small seed! Pumpkin seeds also contain phytosterols and free-radical antioxidants -important for immunity, cell growth and sleep.
Raw Honey: contains propolis, a substance bees make by combining tree sap with their own secretions. The benefits: propoplis has natural antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Add with a bit of turmeric and the combination will help thwart viruses or at least lessen their duration.
Cinnamon: protects the body from bacteria and viral attacks. Oils derived from cinnamon are antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial.
Pears: excellent source of Vitamins C and E and K, as well as natural dietary fiber. Contains cooling compounds that energize the lungs, keeping them moist and free of bacteria.
Elderberries: black elderberries have a potent antiviral effect. Rich in anthocyanins (a type of flavonoid) this antioxidant protects cells from free radicals while supporting the body's immune system. With a fighting power of 5 times that of antioxidant cousins (blueberries and cranberries) this berry is a good one to make into a healing elderberry syrup for your flu fighting arsenal.
Eggs: Contains Iron, biotin and Vitamin B12. The yolk also contains zinc and selenium which are important minerals to boost the immune system.
Garlic: with the unique combination of flavenoids and sulfur containing nutrients, garlic (an allium vegetable) is known to supercharge the immune system. Combine with lemon juice, cayenne and raw honey for a superpower boost.
Apple Cider Vinegar: helps to balance our bodies pH levels to be alkaline (bacteria and viruses flourish in acidic environments). Apple cider vinegar is also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. Unprocessed and unfiltered version is best!
What do you like to add when you feel the need for a boost?