How can you boost your immune system to ensure your body fights off sickness before it takes a hold of you? The human body is designed to do all of that and more if we allow it to and support it the right way.
Focus on vitamin D
The sun is the best source of vitamin D and leads to strengthening of one’s immune system when the body naturally produces vitamin D from moderate sun exposure. When the UVB rays (not UVA rays) from mid-day sun hit the skin, it reacts with oils in skin to produce vitamin D that is slowly absorbed by one’s body. (Note that sunscreens block the ability of your body to produce vitamin D, and most sunscreens also contain carcinogenic chemicals that are absorbed into the blood stream.)
The best food sources of natural vitamin D are egg yolks (from hens fed a healthy diet and allowed to get their own sunshine), fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, organ meats and some mushrooms (some portobello mushrooms and maitake mushroom are fairly good sources of vitamin D, although the type of vitamin D in mushrooms might not be the best utilised source in the body).
Fortified milk has added synthetic vitamin D, so it is not a good source of the vitamin. In fact, I don’t trust any ‘fortified’ foods at all, including terribly unhealthy breakfast cereals which claim to be good sources of vitamin D. The bio-availability of vitamins that processed foods claim to have are far lesser than you think.
Garlic to strengthen immune system
Garlic is one of the most potent superfoods. Using doses of garlic to treat sicknesses goes back thousands of years and recent studies back up the legendary claims for garlic boosting the immune system.
Yogurt, kombucha tea, kefir and fermented foods (and other sources of probiotics) strengthen the immune system. Kombucha tea is a fermented tea (naturally effervescent) that contains billions of friendly gut organisms that help strengthen one’s immune system by bolstering levels of good organisms in the gut, which provides a first level of defence against pathogens from things ingested. Kefir is an even better source of probiotics than kombucha tea, but keep in mind that variety is best when it comes to probiotics. Kefir is also the easiest form of dairy to digest due to pre-digestion by probiotic microorganisms and this is why it is 99 per cent lactose free. Reap the benefits of fermented foods such as sauerkraut (non-canned), yogurt, kimchi and other foods. There are also plenty of probiotic supplements one can take and I support them completely as they are needed by the gut in today’s world.
Green tea, chamomile tea and other teas
There is evidence that green tea and chamomile tea can help strengthen the immune system. Even if the effect is small, one can’t go wrong because both are loaded with powerful antioxidants unique to each tea. Tea infusions boost immunity and specially designed with ingredients to do so, like the leaf, ginger bits, cinnamon, pepper corn, clove, etc. I recommend something I call the ‘magic portion’ for immunity. (Mash ginger, boil in water with 2 cloves, 3 peppercorns, cinnamon stick, black or green tea leaves, simmer, strain and serve with pure raw honey).
Load up on antioxidants
We already know how important antioxidants are to overall health. From pumpkin seeds to sunflower seeds, spirulina, raw cacao nibs, goji berries, black raisins and turmeric, the list goes on. Juicing fruits and vegetables daily will help pack in nutrition your cells are screaming for.
Light exercise (yes – light exercise, not hard)
When you feel a sickness coming on, a super-high intensity workout is not a good idea, as hard training forces the body to do a lot of recovery. This is particularly not what you want when our body needs to put in efforts to fight off oncoming sickness. Getting out in fresh air and getting the circulation going is good in terms of helping the body fight off sickness.
Avoid all processed foods and sweetened soft drinks
If you’re serious about your health and getting lean for life, this should be an everyday rule for you except maybe for cheat meals. When you might have a sickness coming on, it is no time to bombard your body with processed foods, inflammatory omega – 6 oils (soybean oil, corn oil, etc,), fried foods, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars, wheat-based foods or chemical additives.
Sleep and rest
This is one of the most important parts of great immunity and health. All repair, recovery, growth and healing happens when you sleep, including actual weight loss. A lot of magic happens in the body and at a cellular level when we sleep. All of the above would be fruitless if sleep was compromised.