Simple Steps to Boost Your Immune System

Here are some simple, yet effective steps you can take to keep your immune system healthy and therefore greatly reducing your risks for colds & flu:
  1. SLEEP (7-9 hours/night)  There is a reason why the days are shorter in the winter.  Take advantage of your natural body clock.  Sleep is healing when you consistently get greater than seven hours/night of uninterrupted sleep.  This allows your body to enter into stage four deep sleep where you produce the majority of your human growth hormone.  Growth hormone is important for healing and regeneration in adults.  Read more about sleep hygiene.
  2. SOUP STOCK is a powerful tool for increasing necessary mineral nutrients, improving digestibility of foods and calming digestion.  This works best with traditional homemade stock.  There are a few frozen stocks available in the grocery if you don’t have time to make your own but the real thing is a specialty item.  You can utilize soup stock in cooking grains such as brown rice and quinoa, cooking vegetables as well as preparing soups and sauces.
  3. COD LIVER OIL is a great for a variety of reasons, but Vitamin A and D are immune boosters that are particularly useful in the winter.  I recommend Nordic Naturals that comes in liquid (flavored) or capsules.
  4. AVOID JUNK FOOD – Sugar & refined carbs (bread, candy,most cereals, pasta) are anti-nutrients and they have been proven to impair immune function for up to 6 hours after eating them.  In addition, sugar and refined foods make it difficult for your body to maintain balanced blood sugar throughout the day.  This can cause highs and lows that drive food cravings.  If this occurs chronically it can lead to insulin resistance – the precursor for type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.  NOTE: Even if the bread is gourmet and the cereal says whole grain, they are still refined carbs.  The only exception are the sprouted breads in the freezer section and the whole cereals such as oats.  But beware, these are still carbs and some people are very sensitive.
  5. WATER… drink at least half your body weight in ounces of spring water every day.  Bottled water from soda manufacturers or private label “filtered” brands are usually just expensive tap water.  Water filters are fine.  I use Ozarka, Rain Fresh or mineral waters such as Gerolsteiner.  It is best to drink water early in the morning when rising and throughout the morning and afternoon thirty minutes or two hours after a meal.
  6. Keep nasal mucous membranes MOIST with humidifiers, saline sprays.
  7. KEEP MOVING!  Regular, moderate exercise is of great benefit for body and mind.  I recommend a mixture of cardio, weight bearing and stretching exercise.  For the purposes of immune system strength and blood sugar balance, it is best to consistently exercise for thirty minutes at least six days a week.
  8. LAUGH:) It really is good for the body and soul.
  9. PRACTICE GRATITUDE:  An “attitude of gratitude” might be a platitude, but science is proving the wisdom behind taking a few minutes every day to be thankful.  In fact, negative emotions such as anger, resentment and guilt can knock your immune system off balance for up to eight hours!  Conversely, positive emotions such as gratitude and care can actually boost your immune system for more than eight hours.    Check out figure 21!

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