If you wish to boost your immune system naturally, consider that your immune system is not one organ but an interconnected system of organs. When you refer to the “immune system,” you may actually be referring to your immune response.
The immune response is a protective process where the body’s defense forces actively recognize invading bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Your body then releases armies of antibodies that tag the invaders so that the macrophages and phagocytes can surround the invaders and destroy them.
When you boost your immune system, your body’s response will be efficient in recognizing antigens, as well as repelling and eliminating disease and infection. Here are 10 ways that you can boost your immune system naturally.
- Eat a Clean Diet
Eating a clean diet means choosing local and organic foods whenever possible. It also means cooking your own meals and avoiding processed foods at all costs. Local and organic whole foods are absolutely bursting with the nutrients that your immune system needs to thrive. Processed foods tend to lose their nutrients throughout processing, which leave your immune system slacking. You may also wish to avoid the top allergens such as dairy, eggs, nuts, wheat, corn, and soy. These allergenic foods can wreak havoc on your immune system.
- Get Plenty of Sleep
In order for your body to thrive, the average adults needs to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and children need even more! Your body repairs itself while it is at rest. If your body is not getting the rest that it needs, it will not be able to heal itself and it will not be able to prevent disease.
- Don’t Be Afraid of the Sun
Vitamin D is absolutely vital for immune system health. Due to fear of developing skin cancer, many people have started to avoid the sun. When they do go outside, they are usually covered with clothing or sunscreen. Depending on where you live, 15 minutes – 1 hour of direct UVB sun exposure per day will drastically boost your vitamin D levels, and in turn, your immune system. If you live somewhere that is far from the equator, you may wish to take a vitamin D supplement in the winter.
- Avoid Sweets
Sweet foods contain sugar, and in most sweet foods, the type of sugar used is highly processed. We already discussed how processed foods weaken the immune system, but processed sugar is perhaps the worst villain of all. Sugar, especially when it is highly processed, encourages the growth and proliferation of bacteria.
- Move Your Body
One of the best ways that you can boost your immune system is through exercise. When we say exercise, we simply mean finding time to move your body at least once per day. Exercise can be anything from walking your dog, hitting the gym, swimming some laps, playing outside with your kids, taking a yoga class- any activity that raises your heart beat for at least 30 minutes per day. Moving your body improves blood circulation. It is your blood’s job to bring the body’s defense forces to the site of the infection. Therefore, by exercising, you increase blood circulation which helps to prevent and fight disease.
- Add Superfoods to Your Diet
The list of superfoods that help to boost your immune system is nearly endless. A few of our favorite immune boosting superfoods include cod liver oil, coconut oil, acai, baobab, elderberry, oil of oregano, and olive leaf. You can even find everyday immune boosting superfoods in your own kitchen- fresh garlic, mushrooms, and citrus fruits work to boost your immune system naturally.
- Take a Probiotic Supplement
Probiotic supplements boost the amount of good bacteria found in your body while simultaneously combating the bad bacteria that makes you sick. Probiotic supplements also improve digestion and enhance nutrient absorption which will also help to boost your immune system naturally.
- Practice Moderation with Coffee & Alcohol
Coffee and alcohol both harm your immune system in different ways. The caffeine in coffee causes your body to produce more of the stress hormone called cortisol. It also prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep. As previously discussed, in order to boost your immune system, you must get adequate sleep. Having excess stress hormones also weakens your immune system, so limit your caffeine intake. Alcohol damages your liver and kidneys- two organs that help to fight disease. It also reduces the amount of beneficial bacteria found in your body, and it is impossible to have a healthy immune system without healthy bacteria in your body.
- Maintain Good Hygiene
It is a good idea to wash your hands, brush your teeth, and bathe regularly. This does not mean that you should be obsessively applying hand sanitizer throughout the day. Simply using soap and warm water will kill the germs sufficiently. Whenever possible, choose natural personal health care products that are free from toxic ingredients.
- Reduce Stress & Anxiety
The best thing you can do to enhance your immune response to microbes and pathogens is to reduce the amount of stress and anxiety in your life. Stress taxes your whole body as well as your mind.
Think of your body’s stress response system as soldiers within an army. When you are chronically under stress, you can imagine your body’s soldiers working hard to keep your body running at top speed – your heart is beating fast, your skin is producing sweat to cool you down, and blood is racing to deliver oxygen throughout your body.
If your body’s soldiers are constantly met with emergencies and possible threats, they will be unable to do their job of recognizing, tagging, and fighting pathogens. Thus, stress distracts your body’s soldiers and sends them off to do a job other than protecting your body from disease.
Well there you have it! Your immune system is a powerful response system that works to keep your body healthy. You can boost your immune system by following the tips outlined in this article. How do you and your family boost your immune systems? Let us know in the comments section below.