9 Ways to Support Your Immune System
70% of your immune system is formed in your gut.
1. To build up your immune system, it is important to take a quality probiotic. I like to use Probiotic Supreme DF .
2. Related to the onion family, garlic contains a compound called allicin that fights bacteria. You can use 2 cloves a day or used crushed, fresh garlic while cooking.
3. Mushrooms contain beta glucan. Beta glucans stimulate the activity of These are the immune cells that ingest and destroy invading microorganisms such as pathogenic bacteria while they stimulate other immune cells to fight back. In addition, macrophages release cytokines. These are chemicals that when secreted allow the immune cells to talk to each other. And finally, beta glucans stimulate your white blood cells to bind to viruses or even tumors and release chemicals to destroy them. Miatake and Shiitake varieties are particularly good sources of beta glucan.
4. Beef is a great source of Zinc. Zinc increases white blood cells (lymphocytes) and these are the cells that fight off the bugs. Grass fed, organic is the best option with the highest source of zinc and omega 3 fatty acids.
5. Leafy Greens/Colorful fruits and veggies. The more color you add to your diet (naturally, that is) the more antioxidants you get. The antioxidants sweep up and help get rid of the free radicals hanging around in the body. Read here for an example of this here.
6. Bone broth. Grandma’s chicken soup is not just an “old wives tale.” The nutrition contained in the bones is amazing. It helps soothe and heal the gut, absorb minerals from your foods, and the collagen from the bone broth helps with joint and bone health. Read here about the healing effects of bone broth and try the recipe here.
7. Vitamin C. Immune system cells accumulate Vitamin C and actually help those cells perform their tasks. This is especially true for phagocytes and t-cells. A deficiency in Vitamin C or a low intake of foods with Vitamin C is associated with reduced resistance against bacteria and viruses. The best food sources of Vitamin C are berries, red and green pepper, kale, kiwi, broccoli, cauliflower, pineapple, brussle sprouts, oranges, papaya, and mango.
8. Vitamin D. Vitamin D is involved in immune cell receptors. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. The best source is the sun, of course. Exposing your arms, and face to 10-15 minutes per day is ideal – no sunscreen during that time, though – but living in northern parts of the country makes this difficult. The next best option is food but there are few foods in nature that contain vitamin D. Your best options are fatty fish – salmone, tuna, mackerel – and fish liver oils. Some Vitamin D is found in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks, although not ideal. To supplement, I offer a Vitamin D supplement – click here to order.
9. B Vitamins. Make sure you get enough B vitamins to support the organs that handle stress. These vitamins are found primarily in animal based foods such as fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy.
WHAT NOT TO EAT:
1. Refined carbohydrates – crackers, chips, popcorn, etc.
2. Refined sugars – corn syrup, and sweeteners found in processed foods and baked goods
3. Processed oils – they are high in Omega 6s which are inflammatory and don’t help your immune system. These are oils such as “vegetable oil”, canola, soybean oil, corn oil and ANYTHING hydrogenated (these are called trans fats)
4. Basically, avoid junk food and eating in restaurants frequently.
1. Go to bed. Staying up at all hours of the night depresses the immune system.
2. Drink water. Hydration supports your cells and, in turn, your immune system.
3. Mange stress. Take up yoga. Check out Live True Yoga for all kinds of yoga practice. Eating and sleeping properly go a long way in helping your immune system. See #9 above.
4.Minimize intake of Antibiotics. Taking these too often kills the good gut bacteria that helps build up your immunity. Of course, take them when you NEED them. Just don’t demand them from the doc for every little sniffle. And, when you do take them, take the whole prescription as directed. Don’t take a few and save for later – That’s bad!!
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