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With flu season fast approaching in the Northern hemisphere, and all of the Swine Flu hysteria, a lot of people are wondering about ways to naturally boost your immune system.
There are many ways to naturally boost your immune system. Here are 7 tips to get you started:
- Get plenty of rest and avoid stress. I know it’s hard to get a full 8 hours of sleep every night, but get as much rest as possible. It’s how your body heals itself. If you aren’t getting enough shuteye, your body won’t be able to fight off infection as easily. Same goes with stress. Relax and don’t let the little things stress you out. Participate in stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, reading and taking long walks.
- Avoid processed foods, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol. All of these things will decrease your immune system function and make you more vulnerable to infection. Also minimize dairy as much as possible. Eat whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean organic meats and whole grains. I know it can be hard to get your kids to eat their vegetables. Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica Seinfeld, wrote a great book about hiding vegetables in your kids food: Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food. This might even work for uncooperative husbands ☺
- Get adequate exercise. Even if that means going for a walk with the kids for 30 minutes. Or running around the playground with your kids. Just get yourself moving and make sure you spend 30-60 minutes of exercise, in some form, each day.
- Optimize your Vitamin D levels. It’s a lot harder to get the proper amount of vitamin D from sunlight during winter months. That can be especially hard on your body if you didn’t stock up on enough sunlight during the summer months (the increased use of sunscreen has made this a very common occurrence). The best way to know your levels is to ask your doctor to test them for you. If they’re not in range (most people’s aren’t), take a high quality Vitamin D (D3) supplement. This is the one I’m taking right now: Carlson Vitamin D 2000 IU.
- Take high-quality nutritional supplements. A good Multi-Vitamin, Probiotics and Omega-3 Fatty Acids are the most important. Rainbow Light is my favorite brand for multi-vitamins. They’re all natural, food-based supplements so your body assimilates them easier than a lot of multi-vitamins. I prefer Nordic Naturals DHA for an Omega-3 supplement. They’re strawberry flavored (so no fishy burps) and they’re purified. The most important thing with pro-biotics is to make sure they have a lot of different types of bacteria that are delivered live rather than in a powdered form. Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics 12 Plus is a good one.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration makes your body more vulnerable to infection and weakens your immune system. Make sure you’re drinking at least 8-10 glasses (8 oz.) of pure water every day. Juice, soda, tea and other beverages do not count toward these 8-10 glasses.
- Improve your alkalinity levels. I think I took this one from a Jay Robb book, but there’s a drink I make regularly to help maintain my body’s alkalinity. I have a big plastic cup I drink out of all day (yes, I know I shouldn’t be drinking out of plastic, but that’s a whole other issue). I put about 20 oz of water in it, squeeze half a lime in, add one tablespoon of Acerola (Powdered Vitamin C), add about a teaspoon of agave nectar (stevia also works great) and a few ice cubes. I shake it all up and try to drink two of these each day. You can also use lemons if you prefer. It’s actually pretty tasty.
These are just a few simple ways to naturally boost your immune system. Of course there are more ways that could be added to this list, but following these 7 tips to naturally boost your immune system should get you started off on the right foot this flu season.