By Alissa Lubanski
If you haven’t gotten that dreaded winter cold already, then you probably would like to prevent it in any way possible. The key is to keep your immune system strong so it can fight off any harmful invaders in your body. In order to do its job, the immune system requires a constant supply of energy and nutrients.
The following tips can help build up the immune system, and in turn, can combat not only that cold, but a host of other diseases.
Keep sugar to a minimum. Sugar depletes nutrient absorption in your body and raises your body’s insulin levels, which in turn, depresses the immune system.
Get enough sleep each night. When you sleep, your body is able to make repairs. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will not only feel run-down but your immune system will also suffer.
Exercise. Exercise is beneficial in so many ways. It helps combat stress, which can take a toll on the immune system. Yoga, for instance, can help balance energies and certain poses help massage organs, improving immune system function.
Wash your hands. Wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you come home, and always before you eat. This reduces your exposure to bacterial and viral infections. Don’t use antibacterial wipes, because that can allow strains of virus and bacteria to mutate and become stronger, making them more difficult to treat.
Eat your fruits & veggies. Get necessary antioxidants, vitamins A, C & E, lycopene, Omega 3, folate and other nutrients from colorful fruits and veggies to feed your immune system.
Ingest probiotics. The majority of the immune system lies within the digestive tract. Help your body keep up the good fight against bad bacteria with probiotics (aka healthy bacteria) found in yogurt, kefir and even in supplement form.
Drink tea or tisanes. Green tea and herbal teas (aka tisanes) such as Echinacea, Goldenseal, Astralagus, and Cat’s Claw are all shown to boost the immune system. Add a cinnamon stick or a teaspoon of honey to tea for extra health properties.
Get a massage. Massage stimulates the lymphatic system, improves circulation of blood, and nourishes the entire body, which in turn helps to rid your body of unwanted debris or metabolic waste products that can cause disease.
See a chiropractor. According to Dr. Ron Pero at New York Preventative Medicine Institute and Environmental Health at NYU, people who receive regular chiropractic adjustments have immune system competency that is 200 percent greater than those who don’t. Need we say more?
Do the Thymus Tap. The Thymus is sometimes considered “the mother” of the immune system. Located behind the breast bone, it produces T-cell lymphocytes which help fight infection. Make a fist and tap on the sternum, or center of chest on the breast bone, for 20 seconds while taking deep breaths and humming. Pounding on the sternum will stimulate the thymus gland (apparently Shirley Maclain swears by this!). Think Tarzan thumping his chest; in effect, this is what he was doing, giving himself a boost of energy and courage, while improving his immune system!
Laugh often. Laughing reduces stress hormones like adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol. It also benefits your immune system by increasing the number of T-cells that help your body fight infection and disease.
Break out the humidifier. Keep the humidity inside your house between 30 and 50 percent. This will prevent the drying out of mucous membranes in the nose. The cilia, or fine hairs in the nose, help catch and prevent harmful bacteria from entering the body through the nose. When the cilia dry out, germs can enter much more easily.