Our bodies are bombarded by toxins every day. We breathe polluted air; the water we drink is probably contaminated; and we eat over-processed food. With all this, our immune system is on constant alert. Help it out. There are plenty of natural ways to boost our immune system. Check out these 10:
In this hectic world, reducing stress is sometimes easier said than done. But to stay healthy, we need to spend some time each day on self-care; in other words, there has to be daily effort to be stress-free.
Begin with one of the following: go out to lunch with a friend. See a movie with your significant other. Take up a relaxing hobby. Get into yoga. It pays to slow down.
A lot of us either don't like to exercise or can't find the time. But there's good news. The immune system gets a boost even just from mild to moderate exercise that you don't even have to do every day. Three times weekly will do. Grab a buddy and go for a walk at lunch. Blast your favourite tines and dance in the privacy of your living room. Visit a national park for a short hike. Or sign up for a pilates class. Can you think of other ways you can sneak exercise into your daily routine?
Sleep well and sleep enough
Sleep is highly underrated. According to a recent study, only about 45 percent of Australians are satisfied with their sleep.
When we sleep, our body not only gets to rest from a long day. It also releases powerful immune-enhancing substances that allow us to repair and rebuild. The average person needs seven to nine hours of deep sleep per night to function properly.
Do you suffer from insomnia? Try some natural calming herbs such as valerian, chamomile, or lemon balm. Remember, if you're taking even natural sedatives, you shouldn't drive or operate machinery. If you have a serious medical condition, consult your healthcare practitioner before using any type of sedative.
Follow a good diet
A nutritious diet, like sleep, is crucial to maintaining good health and well-being. Many people have one or more unknown food intolerances that directly affect their immune system and overall health. The most common food intolerances are wheat, gluten, corn, dairy, citrus, nuts, shellfish, and food additives. If you suffer from brain fog, confusion, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, insomnia, and/or anxiety, you may actually have one or more food intolerances.
An elimination diet is the best way to discover if a food intolerance is causing your symptoms. Remove all foods mentioned above from your diet for a week. If you feel better after that, food intolerance most likely contributed to your symptoms.
The next step is to reintroduce foods one at a time to test for a reaction. When you find the culprit, eliminate it from your diet immediately.
Food additives, such as aspartame and high-fructose corn syrup, have been proven to cause a host of neurological, mental and immune system problems. Replace foods containing these additives with those containing natural sugars. Then watch your health improve.
Take note: a diet rich in organic meats, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit will keep the immune system healthy.
Many of us do not get all the nutrients we need from our diet alone. Dietary supplements can fill these nutritional gaps. Supplements that boost the immune system naturally are vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium.
Remember, if you have a serious medical condition, consult your healthcare provider before starting a supplement routine.
Add herbs to your health routine
Consider adding a few natural herbs to your immunity-boosting arsenal. This can offer the support you need to combat colds and the flu. There are several you can start with. Add powerful anti-viral garlic to your dishes, or take it as a supplement. If you want to prevent viral infections, take astragalus daily. Another one that protects you from illness is Echinacea. It's a potent immune system enhancer that can be used for up to two weeks at a time. Don't forget ginger root. It can be taken as a tea to combat nausea and sinus congestion.
If you have a serious medical condition, remember to consult your healthcare provider before taking herbs.
Use essential oils
Essential oils are natural essences that come from leaves, herbs, and seeds. Unlike prescription and over-the-counter medications, viruses cannot "get used to" essential oils because each batch is unique. The strength of each is based on climate, harvest time and temperature.
There are six common oils that naturally boost the immune system: lemon, oregano, cinnamon, peppermint, eucalyptus, and frankincense. A few drops of lemon essential oil taken in water may help fend off illness. Dilute strong oregano oil in olive oil and place it on the back, chest, neck and soles of the feet at the first sign of sickness. Alternatively, cinnamon, peppermint and eucalyptus can be inhaled to ease breathing difficulties associated with colds and flu. Frankincense is the most expensive essential oil on the market. But its immune-enhancing properties are worth the price. Frankincense can be applied directly on the skin or taken internally to combat illness.
A little goes a long way with all essential oils. Take care never to get oils in your eyes, lips, or genital area. Also, if you're trying essential oils for the first time, it's best to consult a naturopath or herbal expert before diving in. The same goes if you have a serious medical condition. Consult your healthcare provider before using essential oils.
Undergo chiropractic care
Our immune system, like all body systems, are controlled by the nervous system. Unfortunately, most of us have a spinal alignment problem. This can prevent the nervous system from "communicating" properly with the immune system. The result can be frequent colds and flu, autoimmune disease or chronic ill health. Gentle chiropractic adjustments can correct these alignment problems and offer the body a chance to heal.
Get massages regularly
A massage isn't just a great way to relax. It also helps boost the immune system naturally. Getting a massage increases antibody production, reduces inflammation, and stimulates the lymphatic system. This system is responsible for eliminating the toxins that cause illness. Regular massage also improves blood circulation. Additionally, since massage increases the production of serotonin and endorphins—the body's "feel-good chemicals," it can also help ease depression.
Try self-massage with this Jade "gua sha" massage set.
For the immune system to function at its best, the body must detox. Start by quitting smoking. Cigarettes contain an incredible amount of toxic chemicals the body must constantly fight against. This continuous battle leaves your body less energy to fight infection and disease.
Another way to detox is to bathe in Epsom salt and magnesium sulfate. Epsom salt is the cheapest, most natural wonder on the market. With it in your bath, it draws toxins and impurities out of the body. It also promotes relaxation and deep sleep. But here's a reminder: pregnant women, diabetics, and those allergic to sulfur should not use Epsom salt.
A colon cleanse is another excellent way to detoxify. Waste materials can often become trapped in the body. When that happens, they can cause illness and weakened immunity. So use a gentle colon cleanse every three to six months. It will be a great way to enhance your immune system and overall health.
Are you planning to do a colon cleanse for the first time? Better consult a naturopath or natural health expert before doing it, especially if you have a serious medical condition.
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