Natural Strategies for Boosting Your Immune System

February 24, 2013

Healthy Life

Boosting Your Immune System

Boosting Your Immune System

Your immune system is your first line of defense against all the harmful invaders that can jeopardize our health; it fights everything from colds to cancer. While it certainly does a good job on its own, our lifestyle choices can certainly boost its power or hinder its ability to keep us healthy. A strong immune system lays a strong foundation for optimal health and here are some ways to keep it in fighting shape.

Meditation

Even if your interest in natural health strategies is minimal at best, the suggestion to meditate as a means of improving your health is probably something you have heard countless times—and with good reason. The West is finally starting to discover what Eastern traditions have known for thousands of years—that meditation is a powerful tool for promoting mental and physical health. Study after study appears to validate its power and while researchers may not be able to pinpoint exactly why it works, it is clear that it does. If you are interested in strengthening your immune system, research suggests meditation offers this specific benefit for a range of people from generally healthy to those with specific conditions that decrease immune function such as HIV/AIDS. It appears to work through various mechanisms, including increasing the production of antibodies that fight off harmful invaders.

Diet Considerations

Eating a healthy diet is a cornerstone of promoting optimal health, and while this advice may seem boring, it is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health as well as the health of your immune system. Your body uses the nutrients in food to support its various processes and heal itself. When you give it these nutrients in the amounts it requires, it is able to perform these functions successfully.

As for the health of your immune system, it appears certain nutrients and types of foods may be particularly beneficial. Vitamin C is a biggie when it comes to immune health—it helps the body produce infection-fighting white blood cells and aids in the production of a substance that coats cells and prevents viruses from entering them to name a couple of immune-supporting actions. Good sources include potatoes, citrus fruits, strawberries, papaya, peppers and kiwi. Fermented foods such as tempeh, sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt and olives are also good choices. Coconut oil is also good for immunity—it is rich in a substance that helps the body fight off viruses and bacteria; mushrooms are also a good choice.  Omega-3 fatty acids, found in flax seed, walnuts, hemp seed and fatty fish, help boost immunity by aiding in production of a particular type of white blood cell that fights bacteria. And last but not least, make sure to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in a range of colors—they are rich in bioflavenoids and other substances that promote a healthy immune system.

Supplementation

There are many supplements that may specifically benefit the health of your immune system through various means. But, remember, they are just supplements and you should not use them as your primary means of promoting health while neglecting diet, exercise and other issues of lifestyle. There are many Chinese herbs for the immune system such as astragalus, cordyceps and ganoderma. Other possible treatments include Echinacea, rhodiola and mushroom extracts such as maitake, reishi, agaricus and enoki. You do not need to take all of these supplements to receive benefit; while they are generally safe, it is not always appropriate to take herbal remedies when you have certain health conditions or take certain medications so it is important to do your research before using them.

Kelli Cooper, writing for SolsticeMed.com, is a freelance writer who enjoys sharing tips on natural health.

Natural Strategies for Boosting Your Immune System


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Immune System

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