“Prevention is the best treatment” is what people say. Our immune system is working hard every day of our life, it simply doesn’t take a break, because if it would, we would most likely be dead and buried in a week. That is why we need to help it from time to time, so that it can stay strong and help us when we do get sick. For example, colds and flu don’t have a cure, so we just need to let them run their course and how we feel during that time depends a lot on how strong our immune system is. We’ve already talked about some super foods that boost your health and today we’re going to give you 10 best tips to strengthen your immune system, so read on and take notes!
10. Eat Enough Good Food
Include plenty of fresh vegetables in your diet: don’t cook them, but try to eat them raw as much as possible. Replace bad food with good food: for example, throw out your potato chips and replace them with nuts or oven baked kale chips. It’s all about making the healthy choices and taking it one step at a time.
9. Consume More Glutamine
Did you know that glutamine is an amino acid which helps your immune cells work properly? You take the acid from foods which contain protein, so if you’re not eating enough protein, you’ll start borrowing from your skeletal muscle, which is never a good thing. Stocks and broth made from chicken or beef are a great source of glutamine, but if you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, you can try L-Glutamine in pill form.
8. Drink Plenty of Water
We know that you probably heard this about a million times, but here it is yet again: drink plenty of water. Our bodies contain a lot of water and fluids not only transport nutrients in our body, but they also carry toxins away to be disposed of. Green and herbal tea are also great for the immune system.
7. Eat Mushrooms
Beta glucans! They strengthen the immune system and prevent infections and you find them in various types of mushrooms: shitake and even the humble button mushroom. The best way to get all those beta glucans is to eat them raw, but if that seems a bit iffy, you can always make a nice marinade and let them sit in it overnight. They’ll be absolutely delicious yet still raw in the morning.
6. Oranges, Lemons and Carrots
It’s all about the immune system boosting vitamin C! One orange a day provides our bodies with all of the vitamin C requirements. Also, orange vegetables contain beta-carotene which is converted by the body into vitamin A. A recent study shows that high levels of beta-carotene in the body equate to fewer respiratory infections, so strengthen your immune system with carrots and oranges.
5. Consume Oysters
The richest source of zinc can be found in oysters and zinc is absolutely essential for immune cell function. Even a mild zinc deficiency can depress immunity and invite disease in. If you’re not a big fan of oysters, raw pumpkin seeds are the highest plant source of this mineral, but you’ll need to consume quite a bit (3 cups) to get the amount of zinc you would get from 2 oysters.
4. Quit the Sugar
Forget about any other tips on our list! Cutting out sugar is the most important thing you need to do to boost your immune system. White sugar is indeed a poison, which decreases immune function. Even if you can’t eliminate it completely from your diet, cut it out whenever you feel like you’re coming down with something, because sugar is a huge immune depressant. Use honey or stevia instead, but in moderation.
3. Eat Probiotic Foods
Our gut is full of beneficial bacteria which make up for 80% of our immune system. And when we say full of bacteria, we mean trillions of bacteria. Keeping the bacteria population happy and healthy is the perfect way to help yourself stay healthy. The gut flora can be replenished by eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt or kimchee. Make your own pickles and you’ll have homemade probiotic foods at your disposal.
2. Get Enough Sleep
It’s been known for ages that getting little or no sleep can make us sensitive to colds and disease and that can happen pretty fast. This is because insufficient sleep depresses the immune system, so turn off your cell phone, grab your favorite blankie and take a long and refreshing nap.
1. Get Plenty of Vitamin D
We take 90% of our vitamin D from the sun. Exposing our face and arms just 20 minutes a day to the sun gets us all the vitamin D we need for that day. Low levels of vitamin D invite infection and disease in, so get busy in the sun! If you live somewhere cloudy, you can also get vitamin D from liver, egg yolks, fatty fish or vitamin D supplements.
Do you have any other tips or foods that strengthen your immune system? Care to share with us? Leave us a comment in the section below and let us know about them! We love hearing from our readers.