As the weather changes, people tend to get sick more often. Many people by default turn to flu shots and take artificial precautions against getting sick. However, you don’t always have to rely on things outside of yourself – you’re not completely defenseless against harsh conditions that bring along colds and the flu. The tips below will help you boost your immune system to prevent and combat the common cold, flu, and allergies the natural way.
10 Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System and Eliminate Sickness:
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a balanced diet with adequate carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats keeps the immune system running well and helps ward off sickness. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Many people rely on over-the-counter medicines to keep them healthy through the winter months, but eating a diet rich in fiber and whole foods can be much more effective in preventing illnesses. According to Dr. Mercola, “most people, including many physicians, do not realize that 80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system, making a healthy gut a major focal point if you want to maintain optimal health.
Remember, a robust immune system is your number one defense system against ALL disease.” By eating healthy, you can throw away the antibiotics and boost your immune system naturally.
2. Get Plenty of Rest
The body is an incredible machine that helps you accomplish goals, digest your food, and do your job each day. With everything the body does for you, it needs time to rejuvenate and rest to get ready for the next day. Your cells actually repair themselves and regenerate during sleep, which is why getting at least seven hours of sleep a night is vital to keeping your immune system healthy. Getting adequate sleep helps your immune system fight off illnesses because your body produces hormones while you sleep, such as melatonin, growth hormones, and prolactin, all of which your body needs sufficient amounts of to function properly. Sleep heals, so make sure you’re getting enough each night to support a healthy immune system.
Exercise provides a bevy of benefits, such as regulating hormones, balancing brain chemistry, controlling appetite, and promoting a better night’s sleep, but did you know it also can help you fight off colds? Studies show that exercising at least thirty minutes a day for five days each week can boost your immune system tremendously and keep colds at bay. If it’s too cold for you to workout outdoors, you could do at-home workouts or go to a nearby gym. Working out might at first seem like a chore, but staying active can help prevent colds and flus and keep you feeling great throughout the colder months of the year.
4. Get Plenty of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known to help prevent colds and allergies, and help your body heal if you already have a cold. Vitamin C helps repair and regenerate tissues, helps support a healthy immune system, and acts as a natural antioxidant. The best way to get Vitamin C in your diet is by eating plenty of oranges, tomatoes, red and green peppers, cantaloupe, broccoli, and red cabbage. Drinking just one 8 ounce cup of orange juice a day can help boost your immune system tremendously and combat the common cold.
5. Drink Water, Water, and More Water
Most people don’t drink near enough water each day, which can be detrimental to maintaining good health. Doctors recommend drinking at least eight 8-oz glasses a day for most adults, because water helps your body perform many necessary functions, including cleaning out toxins, providing oxygen to your blood, circulating white blood cells and nutrients to the tissues in your body, aiding in digestion, and keeping your brain chemistry balanced. Since our bodies are made up of anywhere between 50-75% water, we need to keep hydrated to keep all of our body’s functions performing optimally.
Natural Remedies for Colds/Flus:
6. Drink Herbal Tea
One of the most common ways to treat the common cold and flu is to drink hot herbal tea. The heat is soothing on a sore throat, and the herbs in the tea can help your body get rid of the virus faster. The herbs and roots most effective at fighting off colds and flus are thyme, licorice root, Echinacea root, elderberry, and St. John’s wort. When looking for herbal tea, try to find some that include these herbs, or take a separate supplement if you need to.
7. Oil of Oregano
Oregano contains a slew of essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin B6. Oregano provides many benefits to the body, such as antioxidants to support a healthy immune system, anti-inflammatory properties, and is useful for treating upper respiratory infections. To use the oil, simply put a couple drops in a pot of steaming water and inhale the steam, or put a few drops in an 8 ounce glass of water. Only do this once a day though, as it is very strong. Pregnant women are advised not to use oil of oregano.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar each day helps to create an alkaline environment in the body, which keeps your immune system functioning properly and allows the body to fight off colds easier. If the vinegar is too strong by itself, add it to a glass of water or tea. You can use it as a preventative practice, or use it at the first sign of illness and repeat until symptoms subside.
9. Neti Pot
A neti pot is widely used to treat colds, and happens to be a very effective way to clear the nasal passages. A neti pot looks like a cross between a tea pot and a genie’s magic lamp, and uses a mixture of water and saline to clear the nasal passages. To use it, simply boil some water and add it to the neti pot, and either mix in saline solution or a teaspoon of salt for every two cups of water used. Shake the pot gently to mix the solution, and then lean your head forward and to the side over a sink. Insert the spout of the neti pot in one nostril, allowing the liquid to come out your other nostril. Repeat these steps for the other nostril. Then, blow your nose. You should instantly feel your sinuses clear up, and you can do this each day for as long as your symptoms persist.
10. Eat Foods Rich in Zinc
Finally, zinc plays an important role in immune system health and restoring and repairing cells. Many people are deficient in this vital mineral, but you can easily obtain it through certain foods. Legumes, green beans, brussel sprouts, corn, berries, and dates contain a fair amount of zinc per serving, and the added fiber is beneficial to maintaining health as well. Zinc blocks viruses from gaining full access to our cells, and keeps the immune system balanced. You can also take a zinc tablet as well to get the required amount in your diet.
If you have any more tips on preventing the flu or the common cold, or natural ways to boost your immune system to avoid getting sick altogether, please add it in the discussion below!