A strong immune system is at the heart of our very well-being – we can fight off most diseases and conditions that come our way. But if our immune system is weakened for whatever reason, we become very vulnerable. Holistic medicine recognizes that illness is not caused by viruses and bacteria but by weakened immune systems.
Learn about those things that can weaken our immune system
We also need to take on board the many ways in which we can actually strengthen our system. There are so many natural immune system boosters and most of these are based on common sense and a balanced lifestyle.
• Lemon is an easy way to start. Add lemon juice to a glass of water or your cup of tea daily to help maintain your body’s internal “climate” at a pH that supports healthy bacteria instead of the viruses and harmful bacteria which thrive in more acidic environments.
• An herbal boost from the large selection of medicinal herbs, well known for their immune strengthening properties that are even safe for children too, will give your body additional support during the winter months.
• Essential oils are a particularly effective natural immune system booster. When treating conditions such acne
, anal fissures
, athlete’s foot and more with products formulated from essential oils, part of the healing process is to ensure the formula is absorbed into the blood stream. This is achieved by massaging a drop of the treatment under each foot. This boosts the immune system and acts as a preventative.
• Eat raw fruits and vegetables rather than the cooked version whenever you can. Their nutritional content is unparalleled, with many antioxidants to protect those cells in your immune system from damage by toxins in the environment. Eat as many different colors of fruit and vegetables as possible. Dark colored produce such as berries, kale and broccoli are especially good as well as nuts, seeds, garlic and kelp.
• The foods that boost immunity contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Carotenoids, Bioflavenoids, Zinc, Selenium and Omega-fatty acids. Spirulina is good as a naturally digestible food because it supplies so many of the nutrients you need.
• Sufficiently high levels of vitamin D are vital for boosting your immune system which you can get by optimizing sun exposure year-round or by taking oral vitamin D3 supplement when the weather is not suitable.
• Remind yourself to drink lots of water. Your urine should be the very palest of yellow otherwise you are just not drinking enough.
• Make sure you are getting enough sleep. You know how much you need as an individual and it mostly likely means you have to go to bed earlier every night to achieve the hours of sleep you require.
• Whatever the weather, spend more time outdoors and take the opportunity to exercise while you are there. Encourage the whole family to do the same.
• And have a good laugh. Laughter significantly increases the activity of T cells and other markers of healthy immune function. If we can laugh, we will automatically relieve our stress levels.
Have you had to take a course of antibiotics recently?
If so, you will need to restore the healthy flora balance in your body by taking a probiotic containing acidophilus. Unfortunately, antibiotics can harm the good bacteria in your system, and therefore your immune system, while they are fighting an infection in your body.
Boosting your immune system naturally means avoiding some things
• Coffee - as caffeine depletes the minerals and vitamins in your body and dehydrates you. If you have to drink a cup of coffee, then add 2 more glasses of water to your daily water intake to counteract the downside of the coffee.
• Sugar and artificial sweeteners - sugar is particularly addictive so keep sugar to the minimum and avoid the white, refined type at all costs. Artificial sweeteners contain chemicals that are potentially harmful to the immune system.
• Smoking including second hand smoke - when you introduce cigarette smoke to your body, you are inviting multiple invaders for your immune system to chase, catch and remove. The more you smoke, the harder your immune system has to work. So of course your immune system is going to be weakened.
• Alcohol and drugs - low or moderate alcohol consumption will stimulate immune functions in a positive way but excessive consumption depresses immunity. All drug abuse will cause immune dysfunction.
• Processed food and saturated fat.
Boost your immune system and you are much less likely to become sick. You have a good chance of avoiding those other conditions that can rear their ugly heads when your immune system is compromised.
Jane writes for Healing Natural Oils, a producer and retailer of high-quality, all-natural treatments for a variety of conditions as well as a range of beauty products. Apart from writing about those various conditions, she also covers general health, environmental and other subjects of interest. She has lived in Kenya as well as Cape Town, South Africa and spent time in San Diego, USA. She now lives in Somerset, England with regular visits from her far-flung children and grandchildren. She is a keen gardener and enjoys growing fresh fruit and vegetables with her husband on their joint allotment. As a result, there is something available to use in the kitchen virtually all year round. Her regular posts can be found on our blog.