8 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

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While it feels like so many things are out of our control, one thing we can do to positively impact our well being is to support our immune system. When the body comes under attack, from bacteria, viruses or allergens, the immune system launches a counter attack. Its job is to defend the body against disease causing micro-organisms.

A healthy body supports a healthy immune system, making it more difficult for illness to gain a foothold. A body battling disorders already or one suffering from dehydration or chronic sleep deprivation or fueled by a poor diet can’t adequately handle an invasion.

Check out these 8 ways to boost your immune system and benefit every other system in the body as well.

8 Ways to Boost Your Immune System title meme

8 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Try these supportive tips to boost the immune system and optimize the body’s defense against infection and disease.

Increase Nutritionally Dense Foods

Eat more fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes. These foods are rich with essential nutrients that the body needs to operate at an optimal level, without the unhealthy fats and sugars that bog it down.

The following foods are especially important. They nourish the body and support the immune system: citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, ginger, spinach and other dark leafy greens, almonds, turmeric, green tea, lemon balm, papaya, kiwi, berries and shiitake mushrooms.

Visit the fresh produce section of the grocery store first, and stock up. Then get creative, adding as many of these foods as possible into your daily meals.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential to help the body produce antibodies, maintain energy levels and reduce the risk of respiratory infections. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. Just 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine a day boosts the immune system and energizes the body. Take a walk on sunny days or simply pull up a lawn chair and sunbathe.

Other important vitamins for a healthy immune system include A, B6, C and E. Vitamin C is easily depleted from the body and its lack suppresses the immune system. Try a potent form of this vitamin by taking Ester-C as a daily supplement.

Boost your immune system with berries
8 ways to boost your immune system – up your nutrition

Improve Gut Health

There is a crucial connection between gut health and the immune system. In fact, the intestines house 60 to 70 percent of the body’s immune cells. Additionally, 500 different types of gut bacteria thrive there.

Studies suggest that the friendly micro-organisms in the gut help regulate immune responses. That good bacteria also balances the immune system. However, gut bacteria with too many pathogens in it shifts the immune system into an inflammatory state. And unbalanced bacterial flora can lead to disease.

Add probiotics to improve the diversity of the gut flora, which helps boost immunity and improve overall health.

Stay Hydrated

Adequate hydration helps the body flush out toxins and bacteria. And it ensures that oxygen is carried through the blood to every cell in the body. A well oxygenated body is a healthy one and the immune system functions best in a healthy body. The body needs water as well to produce lymph, which circulates white blood cells and nutrients to fight disease.

Recommendations vary on the amount of water to drink. Strive for at least 64 ounces a day. Fill a filtering water pitcher in the morning with 64 ounces of water and make it a game to empty the pitcher by the end of the day. Add lemon, lime, orange or cucumber slices to water for an added nutritional boost.

Also include herbal teas as part of the recommended amount. Lemon balm, ginger, nettle leaf and green tea are excellent choices, as they boost the immune system as well.

8 Ways to Boost Your Immune System hydrate
8 ways to boost your immune system – stay hydrated

Manage Stress

Stress taxes the body by keeping it in “fight or flight” mode and that can adversely affect the immune system. The hormone cortisol, released during times of stress, reduces antibodies and interferes with T cells’ (specialized white blood cells) ability to reproduce and receive signals from the body. Chronic stress also increases inflammation, which impairs immunity.

To lower stress and anxiety, practice excellent self care. Include mediation, breathing exercises, yoga or stretching in your day. Sing while cleaning the kitchen. Act silly with the kids. And as spring warms up outside temperatures, get into nature. Take a solitary walk. Plant a garden. Bird watch. Nature helps to relieve stress and centers us. And if you are outdoors on a sunny day, you receive the added bonus of vitamin D via the sun’s rays.

Check out this fun to use app, SHINE, for help managing stress and anxiety.

Get Enough Sleep

Many people are sleep deprived. Lack of sleep causes an inflammatory immune response, reducing the activity of T cells in the body. This in turn compromises the immune system.

Sleep restores and refreshes the body. Strive for 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night. Create a nighttime routine that prepares the body for rest. Turning off electronics an hour before bedtime, a soothing warm bath or shower, chamomile tea and soft music all contribute to a restful night’s sleep.

8 Ways to Boost the Immune System Sleep
8 ways to boost your immune system – get enough sleep

Move Your Body

Regular exercise mobilizes T cells and boosts the production of microphages, cells that attack bacteria that trigger respiratory infections. It also increases the circulation of cells that fend off viruses and harmful bacteria.

Add 30 minutes of exercise a day, to boost the immune system. Incorporate activities you can easily do at home or in your yard. Walk around the yard. Pull up a video on YouTube and practice Zumba, aerobics or your dance moves. Gardening is an excellent way to move the body and produce veggies, berries and herbs, along with gorgeous flowers. Get the kids involved with races, tag, obstacle courses or tossing a ball.

Too much rigorous exercise weakens the immune system however. Strive for about 150 minutes of exercise a week.

Things to Avoid

The following substances harm the immune system.

Smoking damages the lungs, increases the risk of cancer and weakens the immune system.

Excessive alcohol intake impairs the immune system as well, reducing the body’s ability to defend itself from infection by decreasing immune reactivity. Consume alcohol in moderation, one drink a day for women and two for men.

Refined sugar lowers white blood cells’ ability to fight viruses and infection and feeds inflammation. Substitute raw organic honey, pure maple syrup or coconut sugar.

8 Ways to Boost Your Immune System exercise
8 ways to boost your immune system – regular exercise such as walking

Improved Immune System, Improved Health

These simple ways to boost your immune system not only help to fight off viruses, colds and flus, they improve overall health.

All my life, I suffered with horrible seasonal allergies, especially in the fall. I experienced all the symptoms…itchy, watery, swollen eyes, cough, sneezing, stuffy head, headaches and sinus congestion. Twice a year, for six weeks at least, I felt miserable.

After upping my nutrition, and implementing the other practices listed above, I experienced my first allergy free fall, ever. The following spring, I remained allergy free and I’ve continued to do so. I realized the truth I stressed above. A body already beset by other conditions and struggling to operate on a poor diet cannot handle one more thing, in my case, allergens.

A healthy body, on the other hand, possesses a healthy immune system, and that body can better handle the various bugs, viruses and allergens that come our way.

I can’t promise you won’t get sick, ever again. However, you can improve your health by improving your immune system, and vice versa. And keeping that immune system strong helps to prevent other diseases and disorders as you age.

These 8 ways to boost your immune system help you feel healthier overall and give your body a better chance when fighting any invaders.

Boost Your Immune System with Sunshine

Boost your immune system with these:

 


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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

Turmeric Green Tea

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Did you know that January is National Hot Tea Month? I didn’t either and I love drinking hot tea. It’s simple to celebrate during this month. Brew a cup of your favorite tea, find a cozy spot to relax and enjoy.

Since 2014, I’ve practiced the custom of afternoon tea time, favoring herbal teas. For this special month, I am choosing to experience several new to me teas or tea blends.

Leading off the celebration is this combination of two powerful healing foods, Turmeric Green Tea.

Turmeric Green Tea title meme

The Healing Benefits of Turmeric and Green Tea

These two superfoods are packed with healing benefits. Together they offer amazing health support throughout the body.

Turmeric

I’ve taken turmeric as a supplement since starting my plant based journey. I also create a non dairy turmeric milk that is a delicious way to end the day.

Turmeric is a rhizome perennial herb in the ginger family. It is native to India and southeast Asia. Turmeric is what gives curry its yellow color, and it has been used for thousands of years in India as a spice and for medicinal purposes.

There are incredible healing benefits in turmeric. This herb contains curcumin, a phytochemical with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric also contains natural steroidal compounds that calm down the body’s inflammatory response to pathogens, such as viruses.

This makes turmeric ideal for fighting inflammation anywhere in the body, from joints to the liver to nerves to the brain. The compounds in this herb increase blood flow to the parts of the body that need it the most, lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, inhibit tumors and cysts and help to prevent all types of cancer.

Turmeric aids in combating a host of conditions, including skin disorders, anxiety, colds and flu, sinus issues, chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein Barr Virus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lymphoma, heart disease, Lyme disease, Parkinson’s, liver disorders, joint pain, headaches, leg cramps, body aches, blurry vision, brain fog, menopause symptoms and many other health problems.

Turmeric Green Tea Grated
Freshly grated turmeric for Turmeric Green Tea.

Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants, including polyphenols and catechins. These compounds protect cells and molecules from free radicals that damage the body and cause diseases.

This soothing tea reduces inflammation throughout the body. Green tea protects the skin against harmful UV radiation and fights skin cancer by repairing DNA. It also protects the brain’s neurons and improves memory, making it helpful in preventing dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

In addition, green tea supports the immune system, prevents infections and aids in weight loss by boosting metabolism and eliminating fat from the body. This tea reduces the risk for diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels and lowers bad cholesterol.

You can see why combining green tea with turmeric creates such a powerful health drink.

 

6 Teas that Soothe Anxiety Green Tea
Green Tea

Preparing Turmeric Green Tea

The tea is easy to prepare. I’d recommend using fresh turmeric root rather than dried or ground, for the best health benefits.

I purchased a piece of fresh turmeric root at my local Natural Grocers. Buy a larger section of turmeric root so that it is easier to peel and grate. I used a sharp paring knife to remove most of the outer skin, leaving a section to hang on to as I grated it. Turmeric leaves a bright yellow stain on fingers and clothing so handle carefully!

Grate about a tablespoon of turmeric and save the rest, storing in the refrigerator. Bring 2 cups of filtered water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the grated turmeric and two black peppercorns or a dash of ground black pepper. Black pepper contains a compound that inhibits the breakdown of turmeric in the liver and gut. This improves bioavailability, allowing higher levels of turmeric to remain in the body and increasing the effects.

Cover the pan and allow turmeric and black pepper to steep for 10 minutes.

Strain turmeric tea into a large mug or cup. Add an organic green tea bag, cover and steep for 5 more minutes. Add raw organic honey, if desired.

Turmeric Green Tea
Freshly brewed turmeric green tea.

Enjoying Turmeric Green Tea

The above recipe makes one large cup of turmeric green tea. Double the recipe to make a pot of tea. Save the grated turmeric in the saucepan. It can be used up to three times to create tea. Store any leftover tea in the refrigerator and reheat before drinking.

I brewed this healing drink for my afternoon tea. Previously I’ve only enjoyed turmeric in curries and golden milk, so I wondered if this tea would be overwhelming or too spicy. It’s not, at least, it’s not to me. I like the taste of turmeric and don’t use any kind of sweetener in my herbal teas. I drank the turmeric green tea straight up, without adding honey or coconut milk.

It is strongly flavored, but not overpowering. I enjoyed the drink and could imagine all those anti-inflammatories going to work throughout my body. In fact, I loved it so much I’ll have a second cup of turmeric green tea before bed. The turmeric root is inexpensive and easy to grate. My intention is to enjoy a cup of this healing tea once a day for the next week and note the effects.

I’ll keep you posted!

Turmeric Green Tea Cheers
Here’s to health!

Pick up these items, to create turmeric green tea:


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Make Your Own Deodorant

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The first question you might ask is, why would you want to make your own deodorant? In the US, after all , 95% of the adult population use deodorants and antiperspirants. Why bother to make something that can be so easily purchased?

My answer, my reason for trying this Do It Yourself project, is simple. While I am in the process of increasing my health and well being by changing my diet, fighting viruses with plant based foods, and detoxing from heavy metals, it seems counterproductive to keep using a product that contains unhealthy chemicals and additives.

Make Your Own Deodorant title meme

 

Unhealthy Ingredients

My research shows that most deodorants and antiperspirants contain these ingredients that are not good for us:

* aluminum-a primary ingredient, this metal has been linked to breast cancer and increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Aluminum clogs the pores to prevent sweat from reaching the skin’s surface.

* parabens-a synthetic preservative that can disrupt hormonal balance. This chemical has been linked to birth defects and organ toxicity.

* propylene glycol-a petroleum based material that can cause damage to the central nervous system, heart and liver.

* phthalates-another chemical that has been linked to health issues, including birth defects.

* triclsoan-a substance classified as a pesticide that is a known carcinogen.

As I am seeking improved health, I have made the decision to stop using products that can compromise my well being. When I ran out of the antiperspirant I have used for years, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to switch to a healthier version. I felt inspired to make my own!

Make Your Own Deodorant

Make Your Own Deodorant

I used this simple recipe, from Thank Your Body:

1/3 cup arrowroot starch (available from health food stores or click link below)

2 tablespoons baking soda

1/3 cup coconut oil

10-15 drops of essential oil (optional)

Combine arrowroot starch and baking soda in a small bowl. (You can substitute pure cornstarch if you want. Just make sure it doesn’t have aluminum in it.) Add coconut oil (I softened the oil for 20 seconds in the microwave) and blend, using a spoon. Add essential oil, if desired. I added 10 drops of orange oil and 5 drops of rosemary, creating a light, clean scent. Combine, pressing mixture with back of spoon, until well mixed and smooth. Use by smoothing small amount on underarms with fingertips.

Make Your Own Deodorant

Does It Work?

Making my own deodorant only took a few minutes. I tried a dab on my inner wrist and tested it under my right arm. I have been using this DIY deodorant for a couple of months now, and it is working wonderfully!

I feel good about this unique creative endeavor, and good about further eliminating my body’s contact with chemicals and toxins. Healthy living, for me, involves more than diet and exercise, although those are crucial. What I don’t allow to interact with my body is important too, even if it puts me in a category considered outside the norm.

The second question you might ask, and I get this one frequently, is…are you a hippie? That’s a simple answer as well.

Yes…yes I am!

Make Your Own Deodorant

You can order arrowroot starch below:

 

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