Get A Head Start On The Cold And Flu Season: Build Your Immunity

Since cold and flu seasons will be here soon, many people go running to the medicine cabinet for vitamin C and a zinc lozenge after just one cough or sniffle from someone around you. By strengthening your immune system you can enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season. Immune boosting is rather difficult because immune function is not specific to one place or organ in the body. The liver, spleen, and blood make up the majority of immune function, along with biochemical products including enzymes and prostaglandins. However, immune function is influenced by the entire body.

It is also influenced by outside factors ranging anywhere from depression to allergies, causing immune dysfunction to vary greatly depending on the person. Due to the complexity of the situation, without long term care, quick fix immune boosts will have little effect so immune boosting needs to be a year-round effort. However, many of us only remember to strengthen our immune system when reminded by the first case of a winter cold. Luckily, building immune-boosting habits is not hard and can be easily incorporated into any lifestyle. Long-term immune boosting can be started by learning which factors lower natural immune function. These include both physical and emotional stress which are very hard on your body systems and make you very vulnerable to illness. Physical stressors can come from medications, stimulants, poor diet, free radicals, fatigue, and nutrient deficiencies. Emotional stressors can come from anything as mild as a traffic jam to chronic depression.

To strengthen the immune system, there are five tips to follow.

1. Decrease your use of pharmaceuticals and caffeine to a minimum. Medications and artificial stimulants cause stress on your immune system that can weaken natural immune defenses over time. Exercise is a great way to boost your energy and increase your overall health along with drinking plenty of water and tea.

2. Make a commitment to eat better. Immune cells can be weakened by alcohol, polyunsaturated fats, and refined sugar. Try to decrease your intake of these items. A recent study found that white blood cells of vegetarians are twice as effective against tumor cells as those people who eat meat. Many experts believe that the phytochemicals in plants can protect people against cancer and heart disease.

3. Take an antioxidant supplement such as vitamin C and E or alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) regularly. These are excellent for fighting free radicals that damage the body cells and stress the immune system.

4. Glyconutrient supplementation is one of the best known ways to fight off illnesses and is imperative for healthy immune function. Most people know that large-scale malnutrition makes individuals more likely to get diseases. However, many people are not aware of the various vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can lead to dysfunction of the immune system.

5. Although emotional stressors will probably never disappear, they can be managed by getting adequate rest, doing relaxation techniques and exercising regularly. The single most important factor in boosting your immune system can come from reducing the stress in your life.

Even after following all of these tips, some bugs will still find a way to get through. To tackle those, short-term immune boosters including echinacea, astragalus, garlic, and reishi mushroom may be beneficial. Most importantly listen to your body. Even though the basics of immune boosting are the same, your individual regimen must be specialized for your own needs. The longer you treat your body right, the healthier you will be.

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About the Author: By Darrell Miller. More information can be found at where supplements and articles can be found to help prevent colds in the winter months.