For most people, getting a cold or two every year, plus various fevers, flus, and bugs, is simply to be expected. Minor illnesses are irritating for a couple of days or weeks, but they do not surprise us, and we always expect our bodies to fight them off. But what if this were not the case? What if it were possible to dramatically reduce the frequency with which you got sick, and even to all but eliminate these minor illnesses from your life? No one has an infallible immune system, but by taking a few simple and natural steps, you can give your body a boost and stop many of those minor illnesses before they happen. Here are several things you can do.
1. Start with the basics: To have a healthy immune system, you have to have an all-around healthy lifestyle. This means not smoking, mostly avoiding caffeine and alcohol, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep. Consider these elements the foundation of your immune health. Without them, nothing else you do will be fully effective.
2. Get all your vitamins: There are several vitamins and nutrients that have been shown to help boost the immune system. These include Vitamins A, B2, B6, C, D, and E, as well as iron, selenium, and zinc. The easiest way to get all these vitamins is to take a good natural multivitamin daily, but a healthy and well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables can provide much of what you need.
3. Experiment with herbal immune boosters: In any health-food store, you will find many herbal supplements that claim to help boost your immune system. In many cases, these claims have not been proven, though there are plenty of herbs that can indeed help. Every person reacts differently to these herbal supplements, however, so do not take any one at face value. Instead, try them yourself, and gauge whether each one does anything for you.
4. Reduce stress: Poor immune performance has been linked to high levels of stress. This includes physical stress as well as social stress. To reduce your levels of stress, be sure to give yourself time to relax and unplug every day, and do not skimp on your social time. The effects of stress reduction might not be measurable, but you might be surprised by how much better you feel after putting your stress-reduction measures into practice for a few weeks.
5. Do not fear dirt: Studies have shown that the hypercleanliness of modern life has actually weakened our immune systems by limiting our exposure to the bacteria and toxins that serve to strengthen our immune response. This does not mean that you should go without washing, but do not be afraid to get out into nature and get dirty.
6. Use common sense: Followers of natural health trends come across a lot of supplements and so-called remedies that supposedly work wonders in boosting immune health. Some of these might work for you, but always approach them with a healthy level of skepticism—especially when it comes to treatments that have not been scientifically vetted. As always, use your own common sense, and if something does not seem to be working for you, trust your instincts and stop using it.
By Lisa Pecos