How to improve your immunity? The main function of the immune system is to protect the body against various infections. It is the most important body component that helps in determining one’s state of health.
The effectiveness of immune system varies from person to person. In a case of a weak immune system, the person is more susceptible to infections and other health problems.
Immune system forms various antibodies that fight against germs. The main components of the immune system are bone marrow, antibodies, cells, lymph nodes, spleen, chemicals, thymus glands, and tonsils.
What Is Immune System
The immune system is a collection of special cells, organs, and substances that defend the body against infection and illness.
It monitors the body at the cellular level and attempts to rid it of anything unfamiliar.
Any substance that enters the body that the immune system does not recognize is known as an antigen.
When an antigen enters our bodies, the immune response is triggered and the attack to get rid of it begins.
Our immune system has the ability to destroy anything containing a particular antigen, including, germs, viruses, and cancer cells.
It’s safe to say that without our immunity, we wouldn’t be around too long because it is a tireless warrior protecting our health.
There are bacteria and viruses everywhere, not to mention helminths (worms) and tiny mites that carry infection and our immune systems continuously fight all types of bacteria, viruses, and various parasites.
We also use our immunity to fight and kill cancerous cells that can pop up in our systems and while of course it is not always successful as people still get cancer, those with a poor immune system get cancer at higher rates than individuals who take care of their immune system.
It is therefore of great importance to be sure and take care of our immune system health. Thankfully, some of the ways in which we can do this are also beneficial in other ways to our overall health.
Better Immune System Tips
What are some ways we can maximize the effectiveness of our immune system to stay as healthy as possible?
Let’s look at a few:
1. Get immunized
Every year, you are given the opportunity to get an influenza shot.
This “shot in the arm” will literally boost your immunity against the likely influenza viruses floating around through the winter months.
Older people should get the Pneumovax vaccine, which prevents pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
2. Eat well
This means getting enough nutrition through fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds. There are nutrients in these foods that act as antioxidants, scavenging your body for oxygen free radicals that can damage cellular systems.
Research has shown that increasing the number of fruits and vegetables in your diet can improve the ability of immunizations to “take hold.”
3. Stay away from tobacco smoke
Tobacco smoke ruins immunity, even if you aren’t the actual smoker. Kids have an increased risk of getting middle ear infections and lung infections when exposed to second-hand smoke by way of parents or family members smoking around them.
Adults are more prone to getting bronchitis and pneumonia when exposed to tobacco smoke. The toxic ingredients in smoke lessen your ability to fight off all kinds of infections.
4. Cut down on alcohol
Those who excessively drink alcohol have an increased risk of getting infections from a poor immune system. Pulmonary infections are particularly likely to happen in heavy drinkers.
5. Eat probiotics
Probiotics are one of the best things to reach mainstream medicine. Probiotics are found in some yogurts as well as in capsule form. They consist of living spores of healthy bacteria or living organisms themselves.
They colonize the gut and displace the “bad bacteria” that can make you sick. With probiotics, you can have a healthier gut immune system and can avoid
Probiotics are one of the best things to reach mainstream medicine. Probiotics are found in some yogurts as well as in capsule form.
They consist of living spores of healthy bacteria or living organisms themselves. They colonize the gut and displace the “bad bacteria” that can make you sick.
With probiotics, you can have a healthier gut immune system and can avoid a gastrointestinal upset from bacteria or fungi in the gut.
6. Eat garlic
Garlic is an antimicrobial agent in and of itself. It boosts the immune system in a general way but is inactivated by heat. For this reason, you should add garlic to foods just before serving the food.
7. Get vitamin D
Many people in the Northern Hemisphere are deficient in vitamin D and this can negatively affect immunity, particularly in the winter months.
You can get vitamin D with exposure to the sun or you can take a vitamin D supplement. As some people need a lot of vitamin D and others don’t need as much, have your vitamin D level checked periodically until you find a dosage of vitamin D that brings your level into the normal range.
In the summertime, just ten to fifteen minutes of sunlight per day can be a big benefit to your immune system.
8. Eat shitake and Maitake mushrooms
Studies have shown that really concentrated extracts of these types of medicinal mushrooms have enhanced the immune system of women who have breast cancer.
While eating the mushroom alone hasn’t been studied, it may have a beneficial effect on the immune system of otherwise healthy people.
9. Immune Supporting Herbs
There are tons of immune-supportive herbs out there and probably yet to be developed. Some important ones are eleuthero, Asian ginseng, astragalus, and American ginseng.
These have been used in Chinese medicine for millennia to prevent infection and keep the body healthy. They can be found at health food stores everywhere and even at certain pharmacies.
10. Echinacea tincture
Echinacea is good for respiratory infections, especially when taken early in the course of the infection. Make a tincture yourself or get one from a reputable herbalist.
11. Vitamin C
You are probably already aware of this reliable supplement. Your body cannot store vitamin C so it is dependent on your dietary intake.
To make sure you are getting enough it is recommended to take 1,000 mg a day to fight off infection.
You will find this remedy very effective in not only preventing infection but also reducing inflammation after you have a cough or flu symptoms.
This herb is a member of the Ginger family and also known as Curcuma. We have a good article on the UHR site on Turmeric along with a chicken recipe that uses this exotic spice.
Animal research has shown this herb to be beneficial as an immune stimulant. Recommended dosage is 200 mg per day to support immune health.
These mushrooms enhance immunity and are especially effective in helping the body to inhibit cancer growth.
Maitake appears to activate the immune response by stimulating the T- cells that are the body’s defense against viruses and cancer cells. Recommended dosage is 3-7 g per day.
15. Aloe Vera
Supplementation with Aloe Vera has been shown to be extremely effective in bolstering and balancing the immune system.
Recommended dosage is a quarter glass of juice each morning. Take twice a day when you feel a cold or flu coming on.
Is a non-essential amino acid that promotes wound healing and improves the immune response against bacteria, viruses and tumor cells. Levels of L-Arginine drop during periods of increased stress. Recommended dosage is 3-6 g per day.
Used for nearly 4000 years in traditional Chinese medicine. Early Chinese writings refer to it as “the superior tonic.”
Astragalus is a favorite immune system builder among the natural health community. It is good for colds, immune- deficiency- related disorders, including AIDS, cancer, and tumors.
18. Black Tea
You may be able to boost your fight against the flu with black tea.
In a recent study, people who gargled with a black tea extract solution twice per day showed a higher immunity to flu virus compared to the people who did not gargle with black tea.
Black tea represents probably the single biggest source of flavonoids–a natural class of antioxidants that are found in many natural plant- derived foods.
19. Olive leaf
Olive leaf extract is a powerful tool in the fight to kill viruses such as the cold, herpes, and Epstein-Barr. Its power also extends to helping wipe out sinusitis and bronchitis, as well as reducing hypertension and cholesterol levels.
The most important element in olive leaf extract is a compound called oleuropein.
When purchasing this supplement, look for capsules standardized to 6 percent oleuropein. The recommended dose is 500 mg daily to fight an existing bacterial or viral infection.
Scientific studies have shown that licorice stimulates immunity. Its ability to fight flu viruses and bacteria allows using it not only for treatment but also for flu prevention during epidemics.
Licorice root should not be used in cases of high blood pressure, water retention, pregnancy or if on medication.
It is best to start thinking about immune health before you become ill with the cold or flu virus.
Now is a great time to start improving your diet, learning to cope with stress and taking an inventory of the gaps in your diet to help decide which supplements will be of most benefit to you.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
Immune system forms various antibodies that fight against germs.
Immune system is a collection of special cells, organs and substances that defend the body against infection and illness.
Antigen – any substance that enters the body that the immune system does not recognize.
- Get immunized
- Eat well
- Stay away from tobacco smoke
- Cut down on alcohol
- Eat probiotics
- Eat garlic
- Get Vitamin D
- Eat shitake and maitake mushrooms
- Immune-Supporting Herbs
- Echinacea tincture
- Take Vitamin C
- Consume Turmeric
- Maitake Mushrooms
- Aloe Vera
- L – Arginine
- Black Tea
- Olive Leaf Extract
– Does your immune system important to you?
– How do you keep your immune system strong?
– What do you do when at times that your immune system weakens?
– What other immune system boosters you know?
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