I covered two super ways to build and strengthen your immune system in this post and this one. Here are eight more ways to give your immune system what it needs to keep you well. All of these ten items are from Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and her ground-breaking book Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, Schizophrenia. Dr. Campbell-McBride is a pioneer in the field of gut, brain and immune system health.
1. Onions and garlic
Onions, garlic and other closely related foods like leeks, shallots and scallions, contain amazing nutrients that have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. They are also full of polyphenols, special nutritional compounds found in fruits and vegetables in addition to the more well-known vitamins and minerals. Garlic, according to The Herbal Home Remedy Book, garlic is one of nature’s best antibiotic and antiviral agents. Jo Robinson, author of Eating on the Wild Side, gives this important tip to maximize the nutrition we get from garlic: “ If you just chop, dice, slice or press that garlic, set it aside for 10 minutes before you expose it to heat. That garlic is producing all that allicin. When that reaction is complete, you can do whatever you want to it at that point. You can broil it, you can fry it and you get all of the allicin. It’s just press, rest for 10 minutes.”
2. Freshly Juiced Vegetables and Fruits
No juice boxes or bottles here, just the pure juice from fresh vegetables and fruits consumed as soon as they are extracted. Fresh juice contains all of the valuable enzymes and micronutrients that canning and pasteurizing destroy. Juicing makes the nutrition easier to digest, especially for anyone already suffering from digestive issues. It’s also easier to get a wider variety of vegetables in your diet when you combine less favorites ones with others that you really like. If you don’t have a juicer at home you can usually find fresh juice at many health food stores. Try mixing bitter greens, beets and celery with the sweeter flavors of apple or carrot and then add some spice with ginger, cilantro, lemon or lime. Boost the nutrient absorption even more by stirring in a little raw cream or coconut milk.
3. Regular Consumption of Greens
Parsley, dill, cilantro, green onions, dandelion, kale, and many other strong tasting, dark green vegetables support the healthy functioning of our immune system organs. Healthy people are efficient at detoxing. It happens every night while we sleep. Our liver and pancreas kick into detox mode, and by the time we wake up these organs have filtered out all the bad stuff and sent it on its way out. Leafy greens, especially those bitter greens listed here, offer just the right ingredients to give the liver and pancreas a boost so they can do their job even better. Raw, cooked or juiced – be sure to include a little butter, bacon fat or other fat to help absorb the vitamins.
4. Fermented Foods and Probiotic Supplements
Maintaining a healthy gut flora is super important for good digestion, clarity of mental function, and supporting the immune system. The majority of our immune system resides in our gut, so having healthy levels of beneficial bacteria can give us more energy and help us to manage stress appropriately. Fermented foods have been an important part of every culture all throughout history. Fermentation preserves food while at the same time making it more nutritious. Add sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, kvass, kefir, kombucha, and lacto-fermented pickles and vegetables to your daily diet. When you can’t get fermented foods probiotic supplements can step in and help. There are also certain strains of probiotics that can help target certain conditions and provide therapy to aid specific concerns.
5. Contact with Animals
Have your kids been begging you for a pet? It’s probably a good thing. Several studies link increased immune system strength to growing up with pets in the home. Having dogs, cats or even a horse can help us in many ways including lowered blood pressure, stress relief, combating depression and even aiding Alzheimer’s patients.
6. Swimming in Unpolluted Natural Lakes, Rivers and the Ocean
When you need to disinfect germs in your bathroom toilet or dirty laundry you often reach for bleach. The active ingredient chlorine is designed to kill germs, but it doesn’t distinguish between infectious germs and beneficial bacteria. So why do we want to spend hours swimming in a big chlorinated swimming pool? Chlorinated swimming pools have a strong effect on asthma and respiratory allergies. In fact, chlorinated pools have a five times stronger effect than secondhand cigarette smoke. Contrastingly, swimming in the ocean is restorative and healing helping you to detoxify naturally and take stress away from your immune system. Similar benefits are found to a lesser extent with swimming in natural, unpolluted lakes and streams. If you have a backyard swimming pool consider switching your chlorine filter for one using ozone or ultraviolet light, or copper or zinc filters. There are also safer “shock” treatments using baking soda rather than chlorine.
7. Physical Activity in the Fresh Air
Exercise can create at least an additional 50% boost in your immune system’s chance of preventing cancer, and can cause improved function in your entire metabolism. Doing this exercise outdoors gives you the added benefit of breathing in clean air and taking a break from indoor pollutants lurking in carpets, furniture, cleaners and dirty ventilation systems.
8. Exposure to Sunlight and Sensible Sunbathing
Our greatest source of vitamin D lies in our body’s ability to create Vitamin D in our skin using cholesterol during exposure to the sun. Let me repeat this – vitamin D is made from cholesterol in our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight. With all of our modern cholesterol fears and manic sunscreen use is it any wonder we have a rise in vitamin D deficiency and all of the vitamin D-related health conditions including heart disease, mental illness, auto-immune disease, osteoarthritis, cancer and high blood pressure?! According to Dr. Campbell-McBride “The skin cancer, blamed on sunshine, is not caused by the sun…it is a fact that skin cancer (just like any other cancer) is caused by our modern processed foods and our modern toxic lifestyles. Trans fats from vegetable oils and margarine and other toxins stored in the skin are a particular culprit.” Being outdoors year round is important for all living creatures, human and animal. So much has been written about the importance of vitamin D. Here is a great place to read more.
How many of these tips do you already practice? Which are your favorite? Which are you going to try to incorporate next? Let us know in the comments or visit our Facebook page and share with us there.
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This article was shared on Wellness Wednesday!