13 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System to Avoid Sickness & Disease
Keeping your immune system in shape will help you from becoming susceptible to illness and disease
Fortunately, there are several ways you can strengthen your immune system!
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Water is so important! We need to stay hydrated to be healthy. Water transports important nutrients as well as helps to flush toxins (not to mention fat!)
I RECOMMEND DRINKING HALF YOUR BODY WEIGHT IN "OUNCES" OF WATER. For example. If you weight 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water.
More is not better though. Make sure you are not washing out the important minerals and electrolytes your body needs to remain healthy.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is a time when our body repairs itself (it also helps me from being cranky :). Lack of sleep makes us more prone to catching colds, flu and other nasty things that could potentially shorten our lives.
Sleep deprivation activates the stress response, depresses immune function and elevates inflammatory chemicals
People who sleep less are actually more likely to die from all causes. Over on "WebMD" (one of my favorite hangouts) it says...“Studies show that people who get about seven hours of sleep a night have the best survival, and if we get less than six hours of sleep a night, our mortality seems to increase.”
If you have a hard time getting to sleep you may wish to try getting a bit of tryptohan (a relaxing amino acid) via a little warm milk. If that's not working for you, we recommend a tincture called Peaceful Sleep. I use it when I can't get back to sleep and it has never failed me.
3. Say NO to Sugar
Trust me...I know it's hard. It was probably one of the hardest things I've done (other than give birth to 13 children! lol!)
Sugar dramatically decreases your immune function. Repeat: SUGAR dramatically decreases your immune function!
Honey and Stevia in moderation are a good alternative. BUT..by all means do NOT use artifical sweetners like Equal or Splenda! The are toxic and far worse than sugar!
4. Tend to Your Adrenals
Adrenal fatigue happens when your adrenal glands cannot adequately meet the demands of stress.
An illness, a life crisis, or a continuing difficult situation can drain the adrenal resources of even the healthiest person!
I like to address health issues with food. In fact...we have all heard of Hippocrates, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be they food!"
First line of attack is to eat Avocados! I suggest 1 a day. They help to support adrenal function and keep your immune system happy. Avocados are wonderful as they contain antioxidants, essential amino acids and healthy fats....all which help to balance hormone production.
5. Eat Right. Consider a Paleo Diet & Probiotic Foods (and don't forget the 'shrooms!)
Did you know that it is said that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut?
Personally, I found that adopting a Paleo diet has improved my health dramatically (and I've had the added bonus of keeping the nearly 100 pounds I lost off for several years now!)
Don't skip meals... you need to keep your blood sugar relatively even throughout the day. If you're hungry between a meal, find a good protein snack.
Remember...(and trust me I've had to remind myself)...It takes calories to form antibodies and dispatch them to the front lines when germs invade. I know this from experience. When I was a freshman back in college, my calorie intake dwindled to under 1,000 calories a day as I was busy with studying (okay...full disclosure...studying and partying) and I wound up really, really ill. When you don’t eat enough (or enough of the right foods) your body will prioritize its functions and your immune system is left to operate at a deficit. This equals sickness.
FOOD TIP: Produce dark in color (like blueberries, kale, broccoli, etc.) tends to be higher in flavonoids, polyphenols and other antioxidants. I always make sure to eat a bit of saturated fat from butter or coconut oil with my vegetables so I can absorb all their nutrients.
EAT PROBIOTIC FOODS
The beneficial bacteria in your intestines help you fight disease and absorb nutrients. Your strongest defense against sickness and dieease is keeping your gut healthy! Fermented foods and drinks in your diet will do this. Think yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchee, etc. It's best if you can make your own and I hope to show you how in the future.
That being said, fermenting your own vegetables is far potent and definitely more affordable.
Keeping your gut flora healthy helps to protect you from disease and also gives you better digestion!
I also eat mushrooms almost every day. I now most folks either love them or hate them. If you love them, you'll be happy to know that numerous medical studies have shown they can strengthen your immune system and prevent infections!
They are loaded with polysaccharides called beta glucans. Beta glucans modulate and strengthen the immune system and prevent infections. It's best to eat them raw (or just slightly cooked) to get the most out of them.
Non mushroom lovers may want to consider supplementing.
We offer a tincture that consists of a a blend of mushroom extracts and Astragalus to help the immune system "adapt" and regulate.
Mushrooms are adaptogens, which basically means they will normalize your immune system, whether it is under or over active. You can see the Daily Immune Support here
QUICK TIPS: Shop the outside aisles of the store. If you can avoid the middle aisles, you'll improve your health!
RECOMMENDED COOKBOOK: .I highly recommend the Cookbook (Ebook) on eating Paleo on this page.
6. Take Immunity Boosters
I honestly would not go without our Immune Booster and Daily Immune Support (mentioned above). We've had some downright miraculous testimonies. God DOES give us all we need to support our immune system.
7. Get Your Glutamine
Your immune cells rely on an amino acid called glutamine to do their jobs. Glutamine comes from protein foods and that is why I love the Paleo Diet (my preferred way of eating since it helped heal me!)
Broths and stocks are also a good way of getting your glutamine. I make broths and stocks from grassfed beef and chicken because they are an outstanding source of natural glutamine. It's really not hard to do and I've even googled a way to do this in a crockpot!
Just one cup a day to your diet can really boost your immune system. Your immune system will thank you.
8. Use 4 Thieves’ Oil Daily, Generously & Often!
4 Thieves' Oil has saved us from colds, flus and other crazy things.
Several years ago, my husband and 2nd oldest son sat in an ER filled with folks who had the swine flu (my son nearly cut his thumb off while cutting down tree's...but that's another story!)
The ER Dr. admitted to my son and husband that he felt like **he** was coming down with it....so when they returned home after being coughed and sneezed on, I was horrified!
We immediately started using every 4 Thieves product we had! Guess what? Despite being in an overcrowded ER with folks who were extremely sick with Swine flu....my husband and son never caught it! Remember...they were literally coughed and sneezed on!
HERE IS A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FOUR THIEVES: In 1413, the bubonic plague decimated Europe. During that time, there were four thieves who robbed the dead and dying victims of the Black Death. When they were captured, they were told they must reveal how they resisted contracting the deadly plague. It was obvious that they had some type of special resistance. They explained that one of them was an herbalist and he revealed the special concoction of herbs that they rubbed on their clothes, hands,hair, face, etc. To prove is this was true, they were taken from prison and forced to bury the dead with the promise that if they lived, they would go free. They lived and everyone then knew it was true.
In today's modern scientific world, it is known that most viruses, fungi, and bacteria cannot live in the presence of many essential oils, especially those high in phenols, carcacrol, thymol, and terpenes.
Our "Four Thieves Products" contain a THERAPEUTIC GRADE blend of those oils! A nearly identical blend was tested at Weber State University (1997) for its potent antimicrobial properties and found to have a 99.96 percent effectiveness rate against airborne bacteria.
YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE.
9. Support Your LiverYou need to support your liver to make sure it's able to detoxify as much as it can and provide a good environment for immune cells that live there.
Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, lettuce and cabbage support your liver and immune function by boosting the liver's ability to flush out toxins. Eat them DAILY!
LIVER SUPPORT TINCTURE WILL BE AVAILABLE NEXT WEEK. It serves to cleanse and strengthen your liver so it can do its ever important job.
10. Clear Your Lungs
Of course you know I'm going to say, "Don't smoke"...that's a no brainer.
I'm also going to tell you that my mom didn't smoke...but...died of lung cancer at age 62. My Grandma McNamara (her mom) died of some type of undiagnosed lung condition as well.
Do you think I'm a bit passionate about this? Heck, yes! It's why I do what I do!
We need to keep our airways and lymphatics open and prevent the accumulation of toxins that may increase our risk of infection.
I have a Lung Revitalizer tincture that our Master Herbalist put together. It aids in expectoration, dilating / clearing of the bronchials and draining of excess fluids while supporting healthy immune function.
It serves to strengthen, tone and support healthy respiratory function. Part of my mission is to help spare others the suffering I watched my mom and grandmother go through.
You can see our Lung Revitalizer HERE.
(PS...This is especially good to have on hand if you are fighting a cold, flu, bronchitis, etc. It has also been used successfully by a lot of folks for their allergies.)
11. Get Plenty of Vitamin D
If you live above the equator, there's a good chance you are deficient in Vitamin D.
When I was experiencing some odd symptoms, I went to my family doctor and requested to have my D levels checked. I will admit, I KNOW I didn't get enough sun as I spent most of my time working in the office or educating my kiddo's.
We also live in Upstate NY and the sun can be quite elusive...so...it was no surprise when my D level came back so low that even the doctor was shocked.
I immediately rectified this with my favorite Vitamin D supplement. Cod Liver Oil. Before you start gagging, there is actually a very good one out there...and it is one of the purest. It is Carlson's Cod Liver Oil (Lemon flavored is the best!)
Now mind you...low levels of vitamin D can cause very serious illness and infections. In fact, I will go as far as to say that if you do nothing else...get your D levels up! First get them checked, of course. It's a simple blood test, just ask your family physician.
That being said, I now get my Vitamin D naturally by daily exposing as much of my body as I can (without being scandalous) for 20-30 minutes in the sun. I've developed a nice, healthy tan which tells me (along with my bloodwork) that I'm getting adequate Vitamin D.
Unfortunately, we only get a few months of sun up here so I seek out good dietary sources.
As mentioned, I take the good old fashioned cod liver oil from late September until May. You may also want to consider eating grassfed beef liver, egg yolks from pasture raised chickens (we have a farm so I'm blessed) and fatty fish like salmon.
You can also buy liquid Vitamin D supplements which are very effective and easy to take. I highly recommend Carlson's Cod Liver Oil.
12. Get your zinc and consider supplementing!
Studies have shown that even a mild zinc deficiency depresses immunity..so I take this pretty seriously.
There are these icky things (okay some people like them) called oysters that have an amazingly highly amount of zinc...but..if you don't like them (I don't)... grab a grass-fed burger: Beef and buffalo are other good sources of zinc.
You can also get zinc from pumpkin seeds, which is the highest plant source of the mineral, but you’ll need to eat 3 whole cups of them to get the same amount of zinc that is in just 2 oysters! Maybe I need to acquire the taste :)
Most people are low in zinc, so you might consider supplementing with something called zinc gluconate. Just be aware that zinc is not well absorbed in pill form, so it’s best to get it from food whenever possible.
Once again, Hippocrates was right...Let food be they medicine and medicine be thy food. That being said..sometimes we need to supplement. Studies show a link between deficiencies of zinc, selenium, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, D and E to reduced immune function.
If you follow all of these 13 tips and make sure these levels are optimal, your immune system will thank you because it will have the tools to stave off sickness and disease!
13. Reduce Stress!
We all get stressed...can't help it...that's life!
It's no secret that stress can weaken our immune system. When we are stressed our...our adrenal glands produce epinephrine (aka, adrenaline) and cortisol.
Psychological stress raises the risk of getting sick.
Modern medicine has finally recognized that a wide variety of maladies, including stomach upset, hives, and even heart disease and other diseases and sicknesses are linked to the effects of emotional stress.
Many researchers report that stressful situations can reduce various aspects of the cellular immune response.
A research team from Ohio State University suggested that psychological stress affects the immune system by disrupting communication between the nervous system, the endocrine (hormonal) system, and the immune system.
These three systems “talk” to one another using natural chemical messages, and must work in close coordination to be effective.
The Ohio State research team speculates that long-term stress releases a long-term trickle of stress hormones — mainly glucocorticoids. These hormones affect the thymus, where lymphocytes are produced, and inhibit the production of cytokines and interleukins, which stimulate and coordinate white blood cell activity.
Okay...now that all that fancy scientific stuff is out of the way, I do have tips on how you can reduce stress HERE. Scroll down when you get there.
Incorporate all of these 13 tips and you WILL build an awesome Immune System to fight off the nastiest of nasty.