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It's just about winter now and with the season comes the colds and viruses. It's just now December and each one of us have already had a head cold in my family. My daughter even ventured into Bronchitis territory. I admit before getting sick we weren't doing the normal things people do to keep these viruses at bay but since recovering I've been doing what I can to make sure we stay as healthy as possible.
10 Tips to Help Improve Your Immune System
Our immune system has a big job. That is to fight germs and keep us from sickness and disease. Because the immune system plays such an important role in regards to our health, we should do everything we can to keep it strong.
Here are some ways you can assist your immune system to make it the best it can be.
1. Eat Whole Foods. Start making things from scratch. Eat (and serve) foods that can be eaten straight from nature. Concentrate on fresh fruits and vegetables, and add in healthy fats, lean proteins, and whole grains as well. By eating a large variety of foods, you will benefit from the combination of vitamins and minerals that each of them provides, which work together to strengthen your immune system.
2. It's time to learn more about the specific benefits of individual foods. We are becoming so health conscious (good thing) and learning that there are so many foods that have special immune-boosting qualities. In our Kids Cook Real Food Class we learned that fresh garlic is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. We also learned how to maximize it's healing properties. For years we've known that Yogurt contains probiotics, but just in the last few years, we've learned more about these probiotics. How they benefit the immune system by giving you a healthy balance of gut flora and where else you can get probiotics. Also a little bit about which strains to look for say if you've had a run in with antibiotics.
3. Be sure and Practice good hygiene. Simple steps such as washing your hands after using the bathroom and before eating can have a profound impact on your health. Okay and I admit to having my daughter wash her hands after playing with her friends. A healthy amount of exposure to germs is okay but when things are going around I take extra precautions.
4. Get your sleep each night. Our bodies and immune system works best when it has had time to rest. When you are run down from lack of sleep, your immune system will be compromised and will be less able to fight off colds and the flu.
5. Get some exercise. Did you know that exercise stimulates the immune system by increasing the production of macrophages, which attack bacteria. When I worked outside the home I made sure to get at least 30 minutes of walking or a workout video in every day. In 10 years I caught a cold once. Now I'm much more sedentary and get at least one cold or virus in the Fall and then again in the Spring. Gotta change that!
6. Drink lots of water to help your immune system function at its best. Since becoming sick about a month ago I've been drinking a lot of water every day. More than usual. Not really to accomplish anything but my body has been craving it. My body knows best. (BTW my cold is gone). Consuming at least 8 glasses (yes this is debatable) of water per day assists your body in flushing out toxins. Your body also uses water to produce lymph, which transports white blood cells and other immune cells all over your body to fight infection and disease.
7. Steer clear of unnecessary chemicals and toxins. I've been begging a health-conscious friend of mine whose husband is a health practitioner to guest post on my blog on just this topic. She is supremely sensitive to chemicals and has done tons of research on this topic. Taking in chemicals and toxins puts a stress on your immune system. Some are unavoidable but stay away from the ones you can. These include produce with heavy pesticides, nicotine, and alcohol. Avoid chemicals you apply topically such as certain perfumes and lotions. Watch those plug-ins (an area I struggle in)!
8. Get daily fresh air and sunlight. About a week ago I was feeling really run down and tired. My friend suggested getting more Vitamin D. She was right! I made a point to get out of the house and being winter I supplemented with a Vitamin D capsule. This is the brand I take. The change was almost overnight! Did you know that sunlight is necessary to allow your body to synthesize the production of Vitamin D, which prevents susceptibility to infection. Breathing fresh air brings oxygen to every part of your body, which fights a variety of illnesses, infections and diseases.
9. Avoid sugar and all substitutes. I hang my head in shame after just ordering some candy. Sugar depresses our immune system, making it more likely for us to become ill with any virus that we are exposed to. Sugar substitutes are no better, which are related to a variety of health problems. Let fresh fruit satisfy your sweet tooth. My family, and I found ourselves craving sugar much less when we tried Trim Healthy Mama. We have plans to do that again in 2018.
10. Don't forget your mental health. Stress is a health killer. When you are not happy, your immune system suffers. Make time for your happiness and mental wellness. Surround yourself with people who love and care for you, and avoid people and situations that add to your stress level.
Your immune system fights constantly for you. It has a tough job to do already, so help it function at its peak. Do what you can to assist your immune system by following these 10 simple tips.
Help your immune system by joining Crystal Paine's 15 Days to a Healthier You Course!