There are many reasons why our immune system may buffer and some just may be stronger than others. Before looking at ways to strengthen your immune system, it may be helpful to understand why it is weak in the first place. According to a report by the American Psychological Association, long term stress weakens the responses of your immune system. In addition, things like not getting enough sleep or exercise or even simply washing your hands enough, can deter your immune health. There are also bigger causes of weak immune systems such as genetics and other medical disorders that may contribute. In fact there are more than 300 types of primary immunodeficiency disorders. These problems in the genetic code act as a blueprint for producing the cells of the body (DNA) that cause many of these immune system defects.
How Do You Know if You Have a Weak Immune System?
The best way to know if you have a weak immune system is getting checked by your healthcare provider. In addition, it is important to pay attention to signs and symptoms to know when you should go and get checked. One sign to look out for is how being sick affects your body. For example, it is very common to get sick with a cold but if you're frequently getting sick and you take longer than average to recover you may have a weak immune system. Luckily there are several ways humans can naturally build up their immune systems. We've collected our top 20 ways to help you kick your immune system into high gear.
20 Natural Tips For Supporting Your Immune System
- Keep well hydrated. When you are dehydrated, your cells do not function as well, your circulation becomes more sluggish and your blood pressure tends to rise.
- Eat raw fruits and veggies daily, preferably half of your food intake. Try to make as many of those fruits and vegetables bright and colorful. Colorful fruits and vegetables have a high antioxidant content. Antioxidants help to assist your immune system and prevent you from getting sick.
- Avoid all dairy, especially during an outbreak but also when congested. Raw dairy is much better but also best avoided when congested.
- Avoid processed meats and any meat from animals raised with hormones and antibiotics. These antibiotic residues weaken our guts by killing off beneficial gut flora. We should replace and maintain normal gut flora by making probiotics an essential part of our daily regimen.
- Avoid all processed foods. This includes artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, refined carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup, food colorings, MSG etc. These deplete your immune system and make you susceptible to illness.
- Take apple cider vinegar in water daily. (1 tbsp in 4oz water) and or the juice of ½ a lemon in 4oz water.
- Take a high quality greens formula daily. Eat more greens in your diet such as kale, collards, beet greens etc…
- Use only extra virgin coconut oil to cook with. Use cold pressed olive or flax seed oil on salads. Especially avoid all hydrogenated and denatured fats, which upset your hormonal balance. This in turn causes stress and weakens your immune system.
- Take a high quality Vitamin D supplement during winter months or if you do not get sufficient sun exposure. When the sun is out, try to expose as much of your body as you can to the sun between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. Try to get at least 15 minutes of sun exposure. Sun exposure should vary depending upon your skin pigment. The lighter the skin the less sun exposure.
- Get daily exercise and maintain an upright posture. Upright posture helps maintain optimal respiratory and lymphatic function.
- Avoid public places during any outbreak.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with natural vegetable based soap. Avoid using antibacterial soaps, which kill the good bacteria on your skin. Washing off dirt and perspiration is all you need to do where hand washing is concerned. Use the same practice on your body.
- Eliminate fluoride from your water supply with a good water filtration system. Also filter chlorine out of the water you use to shower with. Both chlorine and fluoride depress your immune system.
- Use only natural, non-chemical personal care products such as shampoos, soaps, creams etc. If you would not put it in your mouth, do not put it on your skin.
- Wear natural fiber clothing. This in itself has an effect on your body’s electro-magnetic field. Synthetic clothing weakens that field. A weakened magnetic field lowers immune activity.
- Keep your living space free from clutter. Keep your kitchen and bathroom surfaces clean. Use grapefruit seed extract to disinfect, mixed with water. Use 7 to 10 drops for a quart spray bottle. This is also a great gargle (2 drops to 2 oz warm water) for sore throats.
- Use essential oils. In times of an outbreak use a quart spray bottle with the following essential oils in it; eucalyptus, pine, grapefruit, orange and lemon. Use 12-15 drops of each oil.
- Watch your emotions. Keep your stress levels low with deep breathing, good communication and a healthy lifestyle. Stress weakens the immune system.
- Take immune building herbs such as astragulus, ashwagandha, echinacea, osha root, shatavari, siberian ginseng, reishi, maitake, cordyceps, agaricus, shitake and coriolus. These herbs and mushrooms all work to help prevent you from getting sick.
- Adopt a healthy sleep regimen. Lack of sleep weakens your immune system and in many studies has been repeatedly demonstrated to have effects ranging from immune system suppression to increased blood pressure and poor sugar metabolism.