DietThe first step to boosting your immune system is to address unhealthy eating habits that can impair your ability to respond quickly and effectively to an attack. The goal is to eliminate, or significantly limit, foods that create inflammation in the body and cause your body to work overtime to heal. These foods include foods with added sugar and most boxed, packaged, or man-made foods.
Excessive sugar consumption alone can result in a 50% reduction in overall immune activity for up to five hours following consumption. Start reading labels! Sugar is added to so many foods, even those that sound “healthy” like juices.
Excessive alcohol intake can also burden the detoxification system and limit the immune process.
Inadequate intake of proteins can also be problematic as protein helps produce antibodies in the body for added defense.
Stress ManagementEliminate or cut back on internal and external stressors. Toxic stress (constant “busyness,” emotional stress, anger, etc.) is now recognized as one of the most significant destroyers of the immune system. High stress leads to elevated cortisol production which results in an immune-suppressed state, leading to an increased susceptibility to infections and illness. Additionally, consider testing for allergies to foods or chemicals, and possible gastrointestinal tract imbalances such as fructose intolerance or Candida. These internal stressors can also lead to further compromised immunity.
SupplementsThe last step is to add supplements and herbal remedies to help support your immune function. The following are some of the most beneficial supplements to support your immune system:
- Vitamin C: Excellent support to fight infections from viruses or other pathogens. It can also help reduce the duration of illness, virus, or the common cold.
- Mixed Carotenoid Complex: Can be used preventatively to improve the status of the immune system.
- Zinc: When zinc levels are low; the white blood cells (your body’s defense) function is compromised.
- Vitamin D3: Use year-round with higher doses in the winter/spring months. This supplement alone can help prepare your body for a viral attack. Having Vitamin D levels checked annually will help determine what your supplementation needs are.
- Goldenseal: Contains an alkaloid that has antimicrobial activity against many organisms, as well as stimulating your immune system.
- Astragalus: Chinese herb used for improving the body’s resistance to disease.
- Echinacea: Anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent, used to help stimulate the immune system.
- Flavonoids: Quercetin, bioflavonoids, and green tea polyphenols, have been referred to as nature’s immune boosters. They can help the body’s reaction to allergens, viruses, and toxic chemicals.