Can we actually “boost” our immune system? We don’t want a weak immune response but we also don’t want an overactive response either. What we want is balance. So, how do we do that? Here are the most important things we need to do to get healthy and stay there.
- Get enough sleep, the body restores while sleeping.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, they are filled with antioxidants and vitamins.
- Limit added sugars, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates which can cause inflammation, yeast, and lead to weight gain.
- Eat more healthy fats like those in salmon, olive oil and avocado which decrease inflammation.
- Eat more fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, or kefir, or take a probiotic supplement.
- Get moderate exercise.
- Stay hydrated.
- Manage stress. Meditate, do qigong, tai chi or yoga.
- Get acupuncture. Many studies have shown that it can relieve stress and boost immunity.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Don’t smoke.
- If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation.
In addition, there is research to show that certain supplements and herbs may help to fight off infection and stay healthy.
Vitamin C. Many studies show that getting enough vitamin C which is found in many fruits and veggies can help.
Vitamin D. Most of the world is vitamin D deficient, especially where it is cold and dark for half the year and if you use sunblock which will block out vitamin D production in our skin.
Zinc. Zinc is found in red meat, poultry, nuts, beans, and whole grains. Zinc picolinate is the best absorbed in supplement form.
Omega 3’s. This fatty acid is found in fish oil mostly but also in nuts and seeds such as flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts as well as flaxseed oil, and soybean oil. Omega 3’s help in many ways to keep us healthy such as lowering inflammation and reducing cardiovascular disease, which in turn will help us to stay healthy.
Elderberry. This berry has shown in studies to reduce symptoms of viral respiratory infections.
Echinacea. This plant has been used for over a thousand years to help fight pathogens and keep people healthy. Not all echinacea are the same though. They must have 2 types of echinacea and must contain high amounts of alkylamides.
Mushrooms. Certain types of mushrooms such as maitake, reishi, shitake, lion’s mane, turkey tail, and chaga are powerhouses for managing inflammation, stress, treating cancer and boosting immunity.
There are other herbs that have been shown to help people stay healthy especially Chinese and Ayurvedic formulas which should be obtained from your healthcare practitioner or herbalist. Live a clean life as much as you can, wash your hands and keep calm (meditate) and carry on.
Donna Bunte, MSOM, L.Ac. has been helping people get and stay healthy since 1995 when she started her practice in natural medicine. She is a Chinese medical practitioner and offers acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary counseling and qigong teaching as well as being an integrative nutrition health coach. Donna’s focus is on finding the cause of her patient’s issues and helping them to find the most natural way to get healthy.