By Jordan & Kyla Miller
For many people around the world, the flu and cold season is in full force. While the days become shorter (for those of in the Southern Hemisphere) there is less sunlight and thus warmth. As a result, we miss out on adequate vitamin D and tend to indulge in heavier meals and more food - not necessarily always making the healthiest choice.
Furthermore, many people suffer from seasonal depression as a result of shorter days; this increases stress while depleting our bodies ability to fight off infection – one of the reasons why so many get sick this time of year. Despite all the colds and flues floating about, we all have the ability to avoid catching them if we take the time to strengthen our immunity through prevention.
10 Tips to Keep Your Immune System Functioning Optimally
1. Always ensure that your eating a diet of whole foods (mainly raw).
By giving your body what it needs (i.e. vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutriets), it has a greater ability to produce the necessary t-cells and white blood cells to ward off any foreign invader.
2. Get plenty of rest.
It is important to get your proper sleep. Some require more than others, but generally speaking, 7-8 hours for most is sufficient. Ensure that you are not eating at least two hours before bed nor drinking 1 hour before bed; by following this protocol, you can successfully limit gastrointestinal problems and your time in the washroom at night. Proper sleeping patterns give your body the ability to recharge; contributing to a stronger defence system whereby the body does not have to work so hard in keeping a foreign bacteria or virus out of the body.
3. Ensure that you keep exercising.
Our body is designed to move. In order to keep our internal organs functioning properly, we must ensure that we are assisting them in their job of eliminating waste and waste by-products. Excising assists in our body’s ability to rid toxins form our body much faster and improves the overall performance of our cardiovascular, muscular, and skeletal systems. It is also important to note that our lymphatic system is a very slow moving system; thus moving at least 1 hour each day can help keep the fluids within this system moving, thereby keeping the ducts clean and efficient.
4. Provide your body with an extra boost of nutrients.
It is not only essential to eat well, but we also must ensure we are receiving adequate supplementation. Increase your intake of vitamin D and C, zinc, magnesium, and a good quality vitamin B complex. Also ensure that your getting grounded to the earth and adding plenty of garlic, onions and mushrooms to meals. Many of the noble mushrooms (i.e. reishi and chaga) have plenty of immune boosting properties within them.
5. Try to stay home as much as you can.
Avoiding illness can be as simple as staying put in your own home. It is important to avoid area such as pharmacies where you can easily come into contact with air borne pathogens from people waiting in line. Also, ensure that you make your best efforts to keep your hands clean – most bacteria and virus are spread through direct contact.
6. Stay away from the sugar (all forms, especially processed).
As 70-80% of your immune system resides in your intestines, it is important to keep it functioning properly. Sugar inhibits phagocytosis, the process by which viruses and bacteria are engulfed and then literally chewed up by white blood cells. The immune suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. That’s a long time to experience a glitch in your immune system, especially if you’re considering going into public places where there are sure to be germs all around.
7. Avoid consuming processed foods.
Processed foods have little to no nutrient value. They usually do more harm than good to your body. By eating primarily processed/packaged foods, one becomes malnourished; this in turn weakens your immune system. Not only are processed foods void of any nutrients, they also have a host of unhealthy additives and preservatives which can further suppress your immune system from functioning properly.
8. Keep your stress levels down.
Too much stress in one’s life severely suppresses one’s immune system. Where ever possible, try to engage in some light stretching or yoga, or simply practice some deep breathing techniques to bring down your cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
9. Antibiotics should be used as a last resort.
Everything has its use, although some things tend to get abused. Ensure that you have exhausted all natural remedies possible before considering the use of antibiotics. If you have no other choice, make sure to follow-up your treatment with a good quality pro-biotic supplement to replenish the good bacteria in your gut as antibiotics both kill good and bad when ingested.
10. Avoid overworking yourself.
When we enter the fall and winter seasons, it is important to adjust our activity levels as well. Generally speaking, we should reduce our activity levels as we are supposed to rest more in the fall and winter months. Furthermore, exercising is certainly beneficial, however too much is not a good thing. Too much exercising can create unnecessary free radical damage in your body, making it even harder for your body to ward off foreign pathogens or viruses.
Nothing is ever easy; we must always make an effort when it comes to our health and wellness rather than looking for the magic formula or bullet. We must take responsibility of our actions and listen to our bodies needs. Break free from the rhetoric and allow yourself to reconnect to the beautiful, powerful being that you are.
About the Authors
Jordan & Kyla are passionate about health; together, they have overcome many illnesses through dietary and lifestyle changes, and the art of practicing a positive mindset daily. Kyla is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Reiki Master, and Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist. For more information, please visit the following sites; guidinginstincts.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest
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