Your body has an incredible ability to heal and protect itself if given the right nutrients, stress is managed and sugar is eliminated from your diet. There is no shortage of talk these days in the media about the Swine flu and the fear is building. However my friends, you need NOT be scared if you are taking the right steps to protect yourself and your family!
Here's my top 5 tips for keeping your immune system strong and germs away:
1. Wash your hands, but NOT with anti-bacterial soap. Did you know that there is no evidence (conclusive studies) that anti-bacterial soaps prevent more infections than good ol' fashion plain soap? In fact, anti-bacterial soaps have very powerful chemicals that you don't want to be using on your skin (can cause skin rashes). They kill both the good bacteria and the bad. Your body has TONS of friendly bacteria - in the trillions! Use them to your advantage. Common sense rules - avoid touching your eyes or mouth after being in public places (like the subway) before washing.
2. Supplement with powerful Probiotics. Studies prove this boosts your immune system and this is only one benefit of many!! My 2 fave brands are Seroyal (aka. Genestra) and UDO's. Both of which you can find at your friendly local health food store. The more expensive, the better because you will get a larger dosage of bacteria - look for Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacterim lactis/bifidum. In short, good bacteria in your belly, manufacture some very important immune system cells like macrophages and lymphocytes (these are your soldiers that take down those invaders). See my previous post for more benefits of probiotics .
3. Take Vitamin C (2-3 per day g) - but make sure it's buffered with Calcium (reduces acidity on your body). Our body needs more Vitamin C than we can adequately obtain from diet alone and C is anti-viral AND anti-bacterial. It boosts your immune system so you AVOID getting sick and if you do get sick, you will get better quicker with the help of those C-fighters. This is a supplement I take everyday religiously - regardless if I am sick or not.
4. Avoid Sugar like the plague. Sugar is a bank robber. 1tsp of sugar will suppress your immune system for 4 hours and it takes your body's own mineral reserve to assimilate and decide what the heck it's going to do with the sugar. Sugar is a nasty beast and I call it a bank robber because it does not contain minerals that it can deposit back in to your body to restore what it steals. Sugar comes in many forms - avoid sugar from alcohol, highly refined carbs, candy, chocolate and hidden sugars which are in nearly every packaged food (even seemingly healthy foods like granola bars). Look for malt syrup, corn syrup and then of course the more obvious ones like sucrose, dextrose and maltose. Always read your labels and don't be deceived by healthy looking packaging! I have noticed with my own eyes, clients I've seen over the years whose diet is high in sugar always suffer from the most colds and flus. Try Stevia instead!
5. Exercise. You will notice many of my tips include exercise because the benefits are endless and here is another one - it boosts immunity! There was a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine that proved 45 minutes of brisk walking everyday reduced the incidence of upper respiratory infections, cut the duration of illness in half and increases your Natural Killer cell activity in people prone to these type of infections.
These tips barely scratch the surface in terms of things you can do to boost immunity because there are foods you can eat to increase immunity, certain relaxation exercises like yoga and meditation and the list goes on. This is really great news though, because ... this means if you follow these 5 tips and do more research to discover the plethora of immunity boosters, then you are far more likely NOT to be taking antibiotics and far more likely to be feeling like a superstar everyday of the year.
Lastly - I have a rant! The flu shot is a big time NO-NO and I am dead set against it. There is no valid research out there to prove that taking the flu shot does any good. Please do yourself and your family a favour and read this article on 6 reasons to avoid the flu shot. Just like SUGAR, avoid the flu shot like the plague - please!
Happy Immunity Boosting!