Boosting the Immune System Naturally
Boosting the body’s immune system naturally is more important than ever these days, however keeping your immune system in top condition is a goal everyone should focus on throughout their entire life.
The immune system is our body’s defense against infection. The immune system protects against disease and other threats including parasites, bacteria and viruses.
There are simple steps that you can take to keep your immune system in top shape, these include:
- Stop smoking and vaping. smokers and vapers get sick more often. Smoke paralyzes the cilia in the lungs that sweep out bacteria. Smokers also have lower endurance for exercise because carbon dioxide replaces oxygen available in the blood. Vaping disables important immune system cells and promotes inflammation.
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits which are high in vitamin C, broccoli which contains vitamins A, C, and E and also contains important antioxidants. Spices such as garlic, which has a heavy concentration of sulfur containing compounds, Ginger which helps fight nausea and inflammation and Turmeric which is also an inflammation fighter. Spinach and other leafy greens are nutrient-rich foods you can include in your daily diet. Spinach is a fantastic source of iron, folate, chlorophyll, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin A, fiber, plant protein, and vitamin C. Nuts, seeds and another food you may not think of for immunity boosting, shellfish! Shellfish is particularly good source for Zinc.
- Avoid excess sugar. Sugar has been found to suppress the immune system.
- Exercise helps flush the lungs of bacteria and exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, mood elevators and immunity boosters.
- Balance your microbiome. This is the genetic material of all the microbes – bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses – that live on and inside our body. The individual microbiome may weigh as much as five pounds! Keeping your microbiome in balance can be done by eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and with the use of probiotics.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity causes chronic inflammation which compromises the immune system and can lead to minor and major illnesses and conditions. Increased inflammation from pro-inflammatory cytokines appear to be a leading factor contributing to obese patients being an “at risk” population for respiratory diseases and flu diagnosis. Interestingly obese patients are admitted in disproportionate numbers in intensive care units during flu outbreaks.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. alcohol disrupts the microbiome of the gut leading to increased risk of infection.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep allows the body to redistribute energy back to the immune system after a day of work. Aim to be able to sleep without the use of pharmaceutical sleep aids which may negatively affect immune health. There are many tips on how to get a better night sleep available, and include sleeping in a dark, cool room, setting a sleep schedule, etc.
- Wash your hands.
- Minimize stress as best you can with meditation and other stress reducing techniques.
- Adopt a pet. Dogs in particular have been shown to diversify the microbiome of the home they are living in, which may strengthen the immune systems of everyone in the home. Dog ownership also encourages social interaction, and exercise of the owner and may improve levels of Immunoglobulin A, an antibody that protects our gastrointestinal and respiratory systems and urinary tracts. Dr. Cushing’s trademarked AllerCease technique can help a prospective dog or cat owner to desensitize themselves to any allergies they may have to pets.
- Eliminate micronutrient malnutrition. Elderly patients particularly may be deficient in essential vitamins and trace minerals due to eating a diet lacking in variety and volume. Non-elderly patients may have an allergy or sensitivity to certain micronutrients that prevents them from absorbing nutrients properly. Micronutrient testing is available to pinpoint exactly which vitamins and minerals may be lacking.
Read Dr. Cushing’s biography