How to Boost Your Immune System with Nutrition and Diet
Immune System: Scientists are finding new and exciting links between nutrition and the immune system every day. Here is the latest advice on how to get the most out of your nutrition to boost your immune system.
Much of the advice included in Dr Mercola’s Total Health Program, which I HIGHLY recommend. Learn more about Dr Mercola at his website.
Dr Barry Sears, the developer of The Zone program, has advice similar to Dr Mercola’s. I recommend his book, The Omega Rx Zone.
An underlying premise of Dr Mercola’s program is to eat according to your metabolic type. Each person is different, which is why different people respond differently to the same program. If you identify your metabolic type, you can develop your nutritional plan to give you the best results.
Without further ado, here are some key things to do to clean up your nutrition and develop eating habits that boost your immune system:
- Eliminate or minimize sugars and processed grains, especially corn.
- Eat fresh, raw, organic vegetables, not counting potatoes
- Eating legumes in moderation
- Eat fresh, raw, organic fruit in moderation. Focus especially on berries, and especially blueberries
- Eat nuts in moderation, particularly walnuts
- Seeds, flaxseeds, sesame, pumpkin, and squash
- Eliminate or minimize vegetable oils. Replace with coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. Use coconut oil for cooking.
- Fresh organic meat
- Clean water
- Consume only necessary supplements
- Make a conscious decision that you WILL eliminate your bad eating habits and replace them with GREAT eating habits
- Keep a nutrition journal and track everything you eat and drink for a week (weekend included)
- Review your nutrition journal and identify the areas that need improvement.
- For each item identified, indicate its absolute priority, as well as the degree of difficulty to change
- Pick one or two of the high priority, high difficulty items to improve. DO NOT TRY TO CHANGE EVERYTHING AT ONCE! You will FAIL!
- Pick one or two of the relatively easy things that you can improve. Improve those now.
An Exercise Program For Your Immune System
There are so many different ways to exercise, how do you know which type of exercise you should do? Should you jog 5 miles a day? Lift weights 3 days a week? Sprint 100 yards?
Well, one thing I have found out personally is that TOO MUCH exercise is just as bad, if not worse, than TOO LITTLE exercise. So, don’t be lazy, but don’t go crazy, either.
I have found that I can train so hard that my body can’t recover, and I end up feeling even more tired and run down. Talk to any hard training athlete, especially marathoners and triathletes, and you’ll find that quite a few end up getting sick within a day or two after a competition.
In general, I recommend a program that combines strength training 2 to 4 times a week with some high-intensity cardio 2 to 4 times a week.
Research has shown that too much aerobic work stresses the body too much and weakens the immune system.
No matter how you find a trainer, be sure to interview them to ensure that there are a fit and chemistry between the two of you.
Finally, there are plenty of options that include:
- Martial arts, such as karate, kung fu, aikido, judo, tae kwon do, tai chi, qui gong
- Yoga in its various forms
- Core training
- Alternating sprinting and jogging/walking
- Traditional weight training
- Russian kettlebells
- Cross country skiing
- Pick your favourite activity
It doesn’t matter what activities you do. The key is to incorporate both strength and cardio work into your program, and to do it consistently, to get the full immune system-boosting benefits.
How to Boost Your Immune System with Rest and Relaxation
To build a strong immune system requires rest to counter the effects of stress.
For many people, myself included, resting and relaxing is a tremendous challenge, especially in today’s wired world with the ability to work anywhere and anytime, and the pressure to get more done in less time. Many people are always “on”, and don’t turn “off” their engines to cool down, gas up, and change the oil.
As a result of this constant mental and physical activity, their immune systems don’t operate at peak efficiency, and they get sick.
An area that I need to work on is my sleep habits. I tend to be a night owl, and enjoy tremendous productivity after everybody goes to bed.
So the challenge for me is to forego the rewarding productivity at night for the healthful sleep. And find ways to increase my productivity during the day.
The key is to recognize the challenge and meet it head-on by making better choices and instilling healthy habits.
Here are a few ideas:
SLEEP! Go to bed at a reasonable time, at the same time every night. Don’t watch TV in bed!
- Quiet time
- Read a book
- Listen to music
- Chiropractic treatment
- Massage therapy
- Emotional Freedom Techniques
- Enjoy time with loved ones
- Socialize with friends and family
Anything that relaxes YOU and allows YOU to rest and recuperate from daily stresses
As you can see, there is any number of ways to rest and relax. Balancing work, play, exercise, and other activities with rest allows your immune system to recover, so it remains strong enough to do its job as effectively as possible.
How to Boost Your Immune System with Supplements
There are so many choices available for immune system supplements.
Please remember that you don’t supplement a bad diet! Instead, you CORRECT a bad diet first and then SUPPLEMENT a good diet.
Here are some of the best supplements to try based on the latest research on the topic, as well as my personal experience.
REMEMBER: Before you take any supplements, be sure to consult your physician if you take any medications for blood pressure, cholesterol, or heart.
- Prebiotics and probiotics
- High-quality multivitamin/mineral that includes adequate amounts of vitamins A (beta carotene), C, B6, B12, and folic acid, as well as the minerals copper, selenium, and zinc
- Omega-3 fish oil – pharmaceutical grade
- Herbs, botanicals, and mushrooms
More details for each item below:
Prebiotics and Probiotics
There is a reason why this one is listed first. That’s because the digestive system is critical, repeat, CRITICAL, to your health. A properly functioning digestive system allows for maximum absorption of nutrients, as well as maximum elimination of wastes, toxins, and poisons, enabling your body to operate at peak efficiency.
Digestive system health frequently overlooked, which is a tragedy. Well, I’m doing something about it, and I’m telling you right here, right now, that you need to take this seriously.
I recommend a high quality prebiotic and probiotic combination on a daily basis, for the rest of your life.
Everyone benefits from a high-quality multi-vitamin/mineral that includes adequate amounts of vitamins A (beta carotene), C, B6, B12, and folic acid, as well as the minerals copper, selenium, and zinc.
Omega-3 Fish Oil – Pharmaceutical Grade
Omega-3 plays a role in preventing heart disease, cancer, depression, premature birth and Alzheimer’s disease, and is useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, Raynaud’s disease and a host of other diseases.
The best natural source of omega-3 is fish. Unfortunately, there are many concerns about contamination with mercury and other toxins.
The next best alternative is the daily consumption of high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil that is regularly tested by an independent FDA registered laboratory for potency and purity.
Herbs, Botanicals, and Mushrooms
There are various herbs, botanicals, and mushrooms that have shown to play a part in boosting an immune system. Chinese herbs, in particular, are well known to have a positive effect on the immune system.
This is becoming more known as a demanding supplement for optimum health. Mainly when certain drugs are known to practically strip the body of its CoQ10 reserves. Your Most Important Supplement, on this important nutrient.
It can have a powerful antioxidant effect in the body, which means it helps to protect against damaging free radicals. Garlic also acts as an antibiotic against bacteria and viruses, and may also be able to fight cancer.
If you don’t want to or can’t eat fresh garlic every day, then a good garlic supplement can do the trick. Look for a supplement where the Alliin (precursor to Allicin, the medicinal compound in garlic) is kept intact. Most odourless garlic supplements do not follow the Alliin intact.
Carotenoids And Bioflavonoids
More on this family of nutrients is coming.