Having a strong immune system is key to a healthy life. Being sick is no fun and during the colder months our immune system needs all the support we can give it. Certain natural supplements and vitamins are known to help counter bacteria and viruses and should play an important part in boosting your immune system this winter.
Provide Your Body with Good Nutrition
If you are undernourished, either generally or lacking specific groups of vitamins and minerals, your body will be susceptible to disease and sickness. Eat nutrient-dense whole foods and concentrate on eating five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Avoid sugars and processed foods as they are known to decrease the function of your immune system and should be avoided at all costs if you are on the verge of sickness. Also drink plenty of clear liquids every day – water and herbal teas are best – to keep the body flushing out any toxins.
Get Plenty of Sunshine or Vitamin D
There is compelling evidence showing that colds and flu are related to a deficiency in vitamin D. Spending ten minutes in the sunshine each day, exposing arms and legs, is sufficient to allow your body to produce its own vitamin D. If you live in an area where that is not practical, then make sure you take a vitamin D supplement daily.
Take Vitamin E
Vitamin E naturally strengthens the immune system by stimulating the production of immune cells that create antibodies to fight germs and disease. In a study on vitamin E supplements conducted by Tufts University in Boston, the patients who received 200mg of vitamin E for four months produced more antibodies in response to vaccines for tetanus and hepatitis B than those who were given a placebo.
Studies in Germany are way ahead of the U.S. and in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies Echinacea users had less frequent virus infections and less severe symptoms than those taking a placebo. Echinacea is most effective if taken when you feel a cold coming on, when you are under extra stress or when entering a situation that will challenge the immune system, such as returning to school after a break. A 300mg dose taken three times a day will be an effective natural immune booster.
Exercise helps boost the immune system as the increased blood flow stimulates all the body’s cells. Regular exercise allows the immune system to counter bacteria and viruses before they can cause problems, resulting in less colds, sickness and flu.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Your immune system will function best if you are well rested. During the cold and flu season your immune system is at its most stressed, so make a special effort to get plenty of sleep.
Chronic stress is known to suppress the immune system. Studies have shown that people living stressful lives have a lower count of white blood cells, an indicator of a poor immune system. Laughter helps lower the stress hormones that circulate when you are under pressure, so make sure you laugh with friends or have a few good comedies to watch to boost your immune system and ward off illness the natural way this winter.