Author: Tom Demers
Published: Apr 20 2012
You eat healthy, exercise, and stay in shape, so why does it seem like you're always getting sick? Your immune system exists to ward off the infectious diseases all around us, and most of the time it does a great job of that. Unfortunately, the modern lifestyle dampens our immune system's ability to fight off these parasites. These 5 things can help you push back.
Garlic has been prescribed as a way to treat illness for millenia, and for good reason. Various studies have measured an improvement in immune function for people who consume garlic regularly. Research is mixed on whether it makes a difference whether or not the garlic is fresh.
Your best bet is to just get garlic from as many different sources as possible. The great thing about garlic is that it goes well in almost any non-sweet food, so it's easy to get a lot of it into your diet without making many other changes.
Heavy exercise on a regular basis is good for staying healthy, but if you have reason to believe that illness is coming on it's time to switch over to light exercise. All too often, people who become sick will either stop exercising or continue their heavy exercise routine.
Heavy exercise forces the body to repair itself, leaving less energy for the immune system. No exercise, on the other hand, puts the body into an under-stimulated state that can become self-propagating. If you are sick, or think you're about to become sick, it's good to go out for a walk and get some fresh air. Don't push yourself too hard, but don't vegetate unless moving is extremely painful.
This is an extremely important vitamin for the functioning of your immune system. Vitamin C is also very important, but most of us get enough of it, especially if we are already health-minded. In contrast, many people who live otherwise healthy lifestyles actually have low levels of vitamin D. In fact, most people fall below the recommended range.
Healthy levels rest somewhere between 40 and 70 ng/ml. Even people who take vitamins regularly fail to reach these levels. An important reason for this is that vitamin D from fortified foods or pills is typically ineffective. It generally isn't absorbed by the body. Vitamin D from oil-based foods or supplements are a notable exception.
The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. Depending on your skin tone, between fifteen and forty minutes of sunlight a day is recommended. For it to work, the sun should be exposed to several parts of your body, not just your face. The key is to stay in the sun as long as you can without getting sunburned and without wearing sunscreen.
Unfortunately, this is almost impossible for most people in the winter. During this time, you can turn to mushrooms, fatty fish, "organ meats," and egg yolks. Taking a cod-liver oil supplement is the best way to ensure you're getting a high enough dose every day.
By now most people are aware that antioxidants are healthy and can help ward off cancer, but fewer people realize that they're also good for the immune system. Try to consume plenty of berries, fruits, and vegetables. Dark chocolate is an especially great source of antioxidants.
Obviously, this is a general rule for staying healthy in the first place. Processed foods put an unnecessary load on your body, which once again directs energy away from the immune system and toward other things.
There is certainly some debate about what counts as processed food, but if you're on the verge of becoming sick this isn't the time to sit on the fence. The only foods that you should consider unprocessed are the foods that consist of exactly one ingredient. This means pure fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, seeds, and so forth.
As a general rule of thumb, a food is processed if it's something that you couldn't eat in the wild, before the invention of farming. Yes, that includes grain. You wouldn't walk up to pure wheat and eat it, nor could you cook it over a camp fire. As much as we like to pretend it's not, bread is a processed food. It creates inflammation in the body which is an unnecessary burden when you are sick.
These 5 tips should help you get a handle on infectious diseases so that you stay in good health. Stick to natural foods and supplements and you'll be much less likely to get sick.
Tom Demers writes for Del-Immune V®, a unique probiotic supplement made from the lactobacillus rhamnosus which provides immune support.
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