The immune system is a complex network of organs, tissues, cells and proteins, and all of them build a dynamic physiological system that helps us not get sick frequently and to heal faster. Aside from the nervous system, it is the most complex system that the human body has.
The immune system works to keep foreign invaders out of the body, or if they do enter the body, to find and destroy them. It can distinguish our tissue from foreign tissue. Dead and faulty cells are also recognized and cleared away by the immune system. If the immune system encounters a pathogen, for instance, a bacterium, virus, or parasite, it mounts a so-called immune response.
The body makes proteins called antibodies that destroy foreign cells. They help fend off common ailments like the flu or a cold and also protect you against major illnesses like cancer and heart disease. But also you have a backup response that involves immune system cells rather than antibodies. This means that they help your body create memories of past defenses against certain threats.
There are many ways to boost your immune system naturally, but first, you need to find out what causes the weakened immune system. It is important because once you pinpoint the underlying cause, you can make the right lifestyle changes. The most common causes of a weakened immune system are lack of sleep, poor diet, stress, vitamin D deficiency, dehydration, not enough exercise, pregnancy, an autoimmune disease.
Your body will show you if there is a problem. So listen to your body and pay attention to signs of a weak immune system. You probably need to boost your immune system if you experience: recurrent colds, infections longer, chronic fatigue, chronic dry nose or eyes, excessive allergies, eczema, digestive problems, diarrhea, constipation. The immune system works all day and night to maintain health in the body. And we need to take care of ourselves to have an effective immune system. Below are the things we can do to optimize our immune system to protect us from colds and flu, fight any infections and keep our body healthy.
Boost Your Immune System Naturally
– Hydrate – by drinking plenty of water your body gets enough oxygen and also helps your kidneys flush out toxins. Experts recommend at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. But if you are pregnant, nursing or exercising a lot, you will need even more water. Also you can receive hydration from herbal tea, juices, fruits and vegetables.
– Vitamin D – deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to poor immune system function, with a higher risk of autoimmune conditions and increased susceptibility to infections. This vitamin boosts the immune response and plays an important role in protecting your bones by helping your body absorb calcium. Children need vitamin D to build strong bones. Adults need it to keep their bones strong and healthy. But, unfortunately, many people are deficient in vitamin D. Especially during the winter months. Taking a daily vitamin D supplement is recommended, to increase your body’s vitamin levels and boost your immune system effectively. If you go out without sunscreen you can quickly restore vitamin D levels. Foods rich in vitamin D are oily fish, salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, egg yolks, mushrooms, almond milk, yogurt, and orange juice.
*Important note: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it is good to take it with oily food and during meals. Vitamins work interconnected and to absorb well from the body some vitamins require the presence of others. And because of that vitamin D supplements should be taken in combination with other vitamins. Combinations with magnesium, vitamin K, zinc, omega 3 or calcium are very appropriate. When you combine vitamin D with another vitamin (magnesium, vitamin K, zinc, calcium, omega 3 or another supplement)- don’t take them at the same time. For proper absorption from the body, take them at different times of the day.
But, keep in mind that too large amounts of vitamin D can cause an abnormally high level of calcium in the blood, which can lead to nausea, constipation, confusion, or increased heart rhythm. It is better to check your calcium levels before combining it with vitamin D. So, consult your doctor if you want to take a vitamin D supplement to choose the most appropriate combination for you.
– Vitamin C – this vitamin is one of the most popular immune boosters and daily intake of vitamin C is essential for good health. Vitamin C is water soluble and because of that your body will just eliminate the excess. If you dividing your daily dose throughout the day will help to avoid losing this vitamin through your urine. It is very effective in cold, flu and infections, helping the healing process and shortening the period of illness. If you are going to use vitamin C supplements it’s better to use vitamin C sourced from real plants, because it is more efficient. And because your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, it must come from the foods you eat every day. Foods rich in vitamin C are oranges, grapefruits, kiwis, strawberries, and spinach.
– Zinc – Zinc is a mineral that is important to the body because it keeps the immune system strong, helps fight infection, helps heal wounds, and supports normal growth. But if you already have enough zinc from your diet, probably getting more supplements will not be beneficial to you. And it is not necessary. Usually, zinc supplements are recommended for people who have zinc deficiencies, like strict vegetarians, breastfeeding women, or people who have a poor diet. Foods rich in zinc are oysters, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds: meats, mushroom and spinach.
– Fermented foods – Fermented foods are the best way to load your body with vitamins, minerals, probiotics and enzymes. Good bacteria help in the digestion and absorption of various nutrients, strengthen the immune system and increase immunity, help the body maintain its normal weight, detoxify the body, improve brain activity and cognitive health. Fermented foods are the best way to get beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, to our gut flora. Such foods and drinks are yogurts, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and miso.
– Aloe Vera – often Aloe Vera is called “miracle”. It contains over 200 different ingredients, some of which are extremely rare in nature. Because contains most of the bioactive compounds in the plant, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, are a popular medicinal plant that is used in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries. The gel, which is in the leaves of the plant, is rich in vitamins A, C, E, B, folic acid and also many minerals – copper, iron, chromium, sodium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese. Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties, and also benefits the immune system. The benefits of taking aloe vera are a lot. Aloe Vera gel cleanses the entire digestive tract, reduce constipation, strengthens blood flow and prevents the risk of heart attacks, protects against hypertension and heart problems, lowers blood sugar levels, provides energy and strength, activates the immune system, improve skin and prevent wrinkles, also provides the health of gums and teeth. But do not exceed the recommended daily dose as this may cause stomach problems and diarrhea. I drink aloe vera gel every morning. But keep in mind that it has a specific taste and not everyone likes it. So try different options and choose the aloe product that you like the most. Aloe vera can be found in the form of aloe vera gel, juice, supplements and oil. In addition to health food stores, you can find these products online as well. But if you want to use aloe vera products to treat a specific disease, you should first consult a doctor.
– Exercise – this is another way to support your immune system. And if you have no mood or if you do not have time to practice any sport, there are many other ways to maintain good physical health. The important thing is to stay active. Going on a family walk after dinner, walking your dog an extra block or having a long walk in the park, will keep you in a good shape.
– Get enough sleep – lack of sleep can weaken your immune system. On the other hand, getting quality sleep is essential if we want to stay healthy and function well throughout the day. Sufficient night rest contributes to physical health and mental well-being and also contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system.
– Reduce Your Stress Levels – chronic stress leads to the synthesis of hormones – cortisol and adrenaline – that suppress the body’s defense. Unlike adrenaline, which can quickly leave the body, cortisol remains and accumulates in tissues and cells. As a result the immune system gradually loses its ability to respond adequately. Also sleep is disturbed, which plays a major role in the proper functioning of the immune system. So find your way to deal with stress – meeting friends, walking in nature, good music, and your body will be thankful.
– Meditate – мeditation offers many benefits. By meditation our body gets a deep rest The deeper you rest, the more dynamic your activity is. Meditation helps to relieve stress, reduce anxiety, help with headaches and insomnia, improves mood, increases your energy level, and improves the immune system. To maintain good health, we must remain mentally calm, stable and emotionally resilient. Practicing meditation every day, even for 10 minutes, will help keep your mind and your health in good shape.
All the above are great daily habits to boost your immune system. But there are also some remedies which better suited for when you feel a cold coming on, or are entering cold and flu season. These are immune stimulants and they are not intended to be used daily. Immune stimulants are substances that encourage the immune system to react.
Immune stimulants are very effective remedies and are also effective in helping the body cope with infections more quickly. Over time, immune stimulants signal the immune system to act and, if taken regularly, can overstimulate your immune system. Therefore, it is best to use them when you feel that your immune system needs an immediate boost. There are many natural and effective immune stimulants. But below I have described these immune stimulants that I use and I consider most effective. The information is based on my personal experience.
– Elderberry – elderberries contain many vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants that benefit people’s health. Also, they contain high levels of fiber and consuming elderberries as part of a healthful diet leads to health benefits. The elderberry syrup helps to boost the immune system. But even when up against the flu, elderberry syrup can shorten the duration of the illness. You can make your syrup or you can also find elderberry syrup in stores. Just keep in mind that elderberry syrup contains high levels of sugar, so you can add extra water in it. It is important to note that eating raw elderberries can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. You can find also elderberry supplements that are made from the fruit or flowers of elderberry plants. They are also very helpful for colds or flu to fight inflammation and boost the immune system.
– Echinacea – echinacea has numerous healing properties. The phenols contained therein to increase the number of white blood cells and immune T-cells, helping lymphocytes to prevent the development of harmful microorganisms in the body and to “eat” the bacteria. Echinacea is most effective at the early stages of cold and flu, significantly relieving sore throat, cough, headache and general ailments. It is used successfully in the treatment of herpes, burns, wounds, and inflammation. Some specialists recommend it in postoperative recovery when our body is exhausted or has been ill for a long time. Usually, for most people who take echinacea over the short term, it is relatively safe. But some may experience allergic reactions. Echinacea should not be taken by people with auto-immune diseases, multiple sclerosis and collagen disorders, because it can worsen symptoms of the disease. Use echinacea for a few weeks, and only if you have the symptoms of a cold. It is recommended that it be taken from the onset of viral symptoms. When you are well, taking echinacea over stimulates the immune system unnecessarily, which leads to a greater risk of illness. It should not be taken as a preventative measure, because long-term use of echinacea has been associated with toxicity to the liver.
You can find echinacea in a variety of forms, such as echinacea powders, teas or capsules and choose the one that is easier for you to use.
– Homeopathic remedies – homeopathy is an alternative treatment method that uses small quantities of natural products such as plants, herbs and minerals, which stimulate the healing process. It is believed that homeopathy activates the self-healing powers of the body. Homeopathy is used for a number of conditions and symptoms of allergies, asthma, anxiety, skin diseases, hormonal imbalance, autoimmune diseases, depression, digestive problems, chronic fatigue, insomnia, bruises, scrapes, toothaches, headaches, nausea, coughs, and colds. In homeopathic treatment, there is no risk of becoming accustomed to homeopathic remedies and side effects and is therefore increasingly preferred by many. Homeopathy combines the knowledge of modern medicine, psychology and the holistic approach to perceiving man as a whole person, composed of body, mind, emotion and spirit. This is why when you go to a homeopath, he will ask a number of questions about your mental, emotional and physical health. After that he’ll prescribe the remedy that best matches all of your symptoms and is best for you.
*Important note: You should know that 20-30 minutes before and after taking a homeopathic remedy you should not consume food and water.
– Epicor – it is a whole food supplement ingredient produced from the fermentation of brewer’s yeast. Epicor is a complex, nutrient-rich ingredient containing vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. It also helps the digestive system and increases the immune system. Epicor acts like a prebiotic in the digestive system by increasing bifidobacteria, lactobacilli and the important fatty acid for gut health. It helps to strengthen the immune system and to reduce the symptoms of a cold or flu for just two hours. You should take the epicor at the very first symptoms of a cold or flu. Because only then it is effective, and stops and protects against illness (personal experience).
All of the above natural boosters will support your immune system and your body’s health, but immune stimulants can help stimulate the immune system when extra support is needed.
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