Take Care of Your Self – Boost Your Immune System

As anyone who’s had flu will attest, it’s bloody miserable: sledgehammer head, aching limbs, ice pick in the throat, painful sinuses. Need I say more. So as I lie here in bed with another bout of the pesky virus, feeling very sorry for myself, I have had plenty of time to think about health, fitness (mental and physical) and the importance of looking after myself. Being poleaxed has forced my body to take a rest. Something I’m not very good at. I tend to go all out and then collapse. Not the best strategy for life. I’ve got some homeopathic remedy this time to hopefully knock it on the head asap.

But the fact that the infection is there is telling me that my immune system is weak and that I need to take greater care of myself: physical, mentally and emotionally. We all know what we SHOULD be doing but so often we don’t take our own advice.

So briefly, if you feel like you’re getting run down. STOP! Take time out to rest. Watch your diet. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Cut down your alcohol intake. And certainly reduce the cigarettes if you’re a smoker. Your body can only go on for so long without packing up! Be kind to yourself.  I certainly intend to me much kinder to myself from now on.

Here are excellent and easy ways to maintain or boost your immune system from Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Deep sleep is one of the most important ways to boost the immune system. Chronic insomnia can lead to immune system deficiency. One good way to make sure you sleep deeper and longer is by taking a long walk each day.

Moderate exercise, at least 3 times a week, preferably daily walks. Excessive and prolonged physical activity temporarily reduces the function of the immune system. Avoid excessive sun exposure.

Reduce stress any way you know how. Stress releases the hormone cortisol which wreaks havoc with the immune system. Stress of any kind — emotional, physical, psychological — quickly damages the immune system.

Eat more fruits and vegetables. They have flavonoids that have anti-bacterial and anti-viral activity. Avoid excessive sugar intake. Consume more garlic, onions and culinary herbs such as cloves. Berry fruits are rich sources of bioactive compounds, such as phenolics and organic acids, which have antimicrobial activities against human pathogens. Among different berries and berry phenolics, cranberry, cloudberry, raspberry, strawberry and bilberry especially possess clear antimicrobial effects.

Ingest healthyprobiotic bacteria. These friendly gut bacteria may boost the immune system.
Reduce or eliminate smoking. Keep alcohol consumption low or moderate.

Drink more – up to mid-afternoon. Drinking tea appears to boost the immune system. Non-tea drinkers who downed two to four small cups of black tea per day for two weeks appeared to be better able to fight off bacterial infections. As an explanation for tea’s benefits, experiments in the lab revealed that an ingredient found in black, green, oolong and pekoe teas boosted the ability of immune system cells to attack a bacterial invader. The experiments used ethylamine, which is produced when the tea ingredient L-theanine is broken down in the liver.

Get a massage. Massage therapy reduces cortisol levels.

Pray, meditate, listen to music, or find a way to still your mind.

Do yoga, or relaxed breathing and stretching, at least once or twice a week.

Have regular exposure to the sun or take at least 400 units of vitamin D a day. Some people with little or no sun exposure may require up to 2,000 units a day.

If you’re suffering now, or feel like some bug is trying to take hold within you, try some of these solutions and you’ll be back on your feet in no time.