Oh no! Not again. Natural methods can keep you avoid getting sick.
We all know what it’s like to get on a roll, feel like you’re getting on top of your fitness regime, and being productive at work, when – da da da dum – you get sick. Then you’re missing time off work, important social events, and generally feeling like crap. Nobody wants that!
Just because you’re exposed to a lot of illness doesn’t mean that you have to get sick.
Here’s how to boost your body’s natural immune response and increase your chances of fighting off those nasty foreign invaders:
1) Reduce your sugar intake
Sugar in all its many forms can depress your immune system. That includes alcohol folks, sorry! The action of white blood cells, which help to fight off infection, is reduced after the consumption of sugar.
Check your diet for obvious and less-obvious sources of sugar, including soda, juices, pastries, dairy products, and syrups. Fruit can also be a major source of sugar, but the phytonutrient benefits and fibre that most types – especially berries – provide can partially offset some of the drawbacks of the sugar. Even so, don’t overdo fruit consumption.
2) Take vitamin D
Vitamin C used to be the big immune system nutrient, but the latest research indicates that vitamin D is probably even more important. Vitamin D is best obtained when the sun shines on your skin. If it’s winter, you’re dark-skinned, or you don’t get outdoors daily, then you’re more likely to have low vitamin D levels.
Although vitamin D is important, and a dose of 4000IU a day is reasonable, it’s best to get a blood test to confirm that you’re deficient before supplementing specifically with this vitamin. Excess intake of vitamin D, as well as other fat-soluble vitamins, can be toxic.
3) Eat more veggies
Not particularly original, I know, but still a useful tip. Vegetables and fruits are packed with various phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that strengthen your immune system. Garlic and onions are particularly powerful, as they contain allicin, an important disease-fighting compound. Tomatoes and sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that supports the immune system.
4) Get more sleep
As if you needed another reason, getting sleep is crucial for maintaining your immune system. If you’re constantly tired and need caffeine to get through your day, your body won’t have the resources to fight off infections. Most of us are sleep-deprived so if you want to take a big step towards healing your body, scheduling some extra shut-eye will pay bid dividends.
5) Take Probiotics
The gut is made up of all sorts of bacteria, “good” and “bad”. Probiotics help to balance the bacteria in your intestinal tract, which is thought to support the function of the immune system.
An individual with a gut imbalance will likely suffer from vague digestive issues like bloating, gas, and constipation, but may also be more susceptible to infection. Most of us suffer from some degree of digestive imbalance due to processed foods, eating too much, and eating foods that aren’t compatible with us. Probiotics can help balance the intestinal flora and keep us healthier.
As the cold and flu season approaches, it’s important to build up your body’s natural defenses to protect against catching these nasties. Maybe this will be the season that you stay vigorously healthy…and don’t spend a wasted minute on the couch watching bad daytime TV.