The key to staying healthy and to avoiding nasty bugs is to strengthen your defenses, primarily your immune system, so that your body can fight any virus as it enters the body. Here are some powerful ways to boost your immune system and prepare you and your family for flu season.
- Add Some Sunshine: Vitamin D plays an important role in strengthening your defense system to better fight any invading viruses and bacteria. Vitamin D is produced when the body gets adequate levels of sunshine, which is naturally less produced during rainy months. An alternative way of getting this powerful immune boosting vitamin is by taking cod liver oil. In addition to the Vitamin D it offers, it’s also a great source of Vitamin A, which is an immune system superstar, and Omega 3 fatty acids, which holds significant health benefits for the heart, brain, skin, and much more.
- Fighting Fire with Fire: It´s estimated that 80% of your immune system resides in your digestive tract, so it’s vital to keep your digestive system healthy when trying to avoid getting sick. Thankfully, our gut is filled with a large amount of “good” bacteria, or flora, that help fight all the “bad” bacteria and yeasts that are trying to find their way into our system. Because of diets high in refined sugars, frequent antibiotic use, and everyday stress, most people do not have a healthy balance of good versus bad bacteria, leaving one more vulnerable. Probiotics, or “good” bacteria, can be found in any health food store in the refrigerated supplement area. An excellent whole food source of probiotics is kefir. Kefir has significantly more “good” bacteria than yogurt and is much easier for your body to digest.
- Get Moving: Most of us are very aware of all the amazing benefits exercise has on our overall health and well-being. Few of us, however, know that exercise is one of the most powerful ways to boost the immune system. Not only does exercise improve the circulation of white blood cells throughout your body, but it has been shown to increase the production of natural killer T cells, which are essential for maintaining an optimum immune response. The amount of exercise required to obtain an immune boost is relatively low, 20 minutes of brisk walking 4-5 times per week has been shown to significantly improve the body’s immune response. This is also a good opportunity to get a little bit of sunshine to stimulate Vitamin D production.
- ‘An Apple a Day…’: When it comes to fighting cold and flu, it is essential to decrease your sugar intake. Sugar has devastating effects on the immune system. Not only does sugar increase the production of hormones that suppress the immune system, refined sugar needs micronutrients to be metabolized. This requires your body to use stored vitamins and minerals, further harming your defenses. On the other hand, eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will make sure that your body is getting all the vitamins and minerals that are essential to fighting of the cold and flu.
- Keep Balanced: By now, we all know that stress is bad for us. However, relatively few of us are aware of how stress actually impacts the health of the body. When we experience stress, the natural balance of the body is affected in ways we could never imagine. In fact, stress takes an enormous toll on the immune system. For this reason, it is important to find ways to bring the body back into balance. Meditation, prayer, exercise, and yoga are all great ways of taking care of yourself and keeping stress levels low. Chiropractic adjustments also have a significant effect on the nervous system, creating balance, helping to restoring the body’s natural healing potential.
As the rainy season gears up, get proactive. By implementing these five simple tools, you can dramatically increase your ability to make it through the season without ever having to miss a day from work or school. So, this year instead of making a trip to the doctor’s office, make it to your local health food store and see how good you can feel even during the rainy months.