Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System for the Fall Season:~by Dr. Jaime~Diet: Following a diet abundant in fruits and vegetables will provide the body with plenty of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants can scavenge the free radicals that may cause us to catch colds and feel run down. In addition fruits and vegetables provide more vitamins than other foods giving that added boost to our immune system. For an additional immune boost try adding garlic, a natural anti-bacterial and anti viral. Most importantly in the diet, is to avoid added and excess sugars. Too much sugar can weaken our body’s defense system and the ability to fight germs.
Tip: Hot foods such as chili peppers, spicy mustard, hot pepper, and onions act as mucolytics (to break up mucous) that accumulates in the sinuses and breathing passages and may improve breathing.Exercise: Working out regularly can give a boost to your immune system to help guard the body against infection. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3-5 times a week may decrease incidence of colds by almost half. Be sure to replenish your body with water during and after exercise.Tip: If exercising in a gym, make sure to practice clean hygiene and wash hands after using machines, this can also help decrease exposure to germsStress Reduction: Prolonged stress can wear down the immune system and increase your vulnerability to illness. Try incorporating stress management activities and practices into your life such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing and walking. Herbal teas and aromatherapy oils are also great ways to bring some relaxation into your dayTip: Spend 10 minutes a day in quiet with a warm cup of stress relieving tea for centering and relaxationSleep: Sleep is your body’s chance to recharge its battery and is vital to a strong immune system. Make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night in a dark room with a comfortable temperature. If you have trouble falling asleep, consider a natural sleep aid to help.Tip: chamomile tea is very relaxing and a great way to prepare the body for sleep
Herbs and SupplementsDrug stores and health food stores are lined with thousands of products claming to “boost immunity” or decrease the duration of colds. Use this list to help you choose some of the most effective:
Vitamin C. Vitamin C is the most popular immune boosting supplement for a reason and continues to top the lists of cold fighting supplements year after year. Vitamin C may increase the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies. Vitamin C also acts as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory to help decrease the duration of your runny nose and body aches. When feeling sick you should take up to 1,000mg of added vitamin C per day.Elderberry. Commonly known as sambucus has been coined the natural flu remedy for its role in flu recovery. Some studies show that people taking elderberry during the flu, recover faster than those taking a placebo. In addition, elderberry is loaded with flavonoids and antioxidants that support a fighting immune system. Recommended doses are 15ml (one tablespoon) two times a day for three days.Echinacea. Echinacea was first used back in 1887 by medical doctors to treat colds before prescription meds were thought of. It is thought to support the immune system by activating white blood cells. Many studies have confirmed the benefit of Echinacea for immune support. The best way to take Echinacea is as a tincture (liquid) form. Try 1 tablespoon up to 4 times a day at the first feeling of a cold.Garlic. The immune-boosting properties of garlic are a result of its sulfur-containing compounds, allicin and sulfides. This powerful plant has natural properties as an antiviral and antibacterial Garlic can also act as an antioxidant that reduces the build-up of free radicals in the bloodstream another way it can help the body bounce back to feeling well faster! To avoid smelling like a clove of garlic look for the supplements that say odorless!Zinc. Zinc is continuously being studies for its role in enhancing the immune system, and is believed to help the body increase its production of the white blood cells that help us fight against infection. When taking zinc to support the immune system it is important to remember to take this supplement with food if taking as a pill or it could cause nausea. Zinc lozenges are also great ways to take zinc when feeling sick. Try 12 mg of zinc twice a day for three days to shorten the duration of your cold or when feeling a cold coming on. Zinc gluconate is the form more commonly used for fighting colds.Aromatherapy. Inhaling the mist of certain essential oils is a safe and effective way to alleviate the symptoms of sinusitis. To do this add two to four drops of sage, eucalyptus and or thyme to a bowl of hot (boiled) water, cover your head with a towel, lean in, and breathe deeply with your eyes closed (DO NOT put your face in the water). Try to breathe the mist from the water and oils slowly and for a few minutes.