As the weather starts to turn cooler and autumn is on the horizon, we need to start thinking about strengthening our immune systems naturally if we want to ward off unwanted infections and viruses.
The most important thing we can do to cultivate strong immunity is to start where the immune system really resides – the gut. This is where about 80 percent of your immune cells live and it's where our bodies decide what is friend and what is foe. By strengthening our gut health, we are much less likely to get sick, have allergies, and develop autoimmune disease. So here are a few immune-boosting tips.
HARNESS THE POWER OF THE SUN
Immune cells are favourably affected by vitamin D levels. In fact, vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased frequency of infection as well as autoimmune disease. So, when you see a little sunshine make sure you venture outside for a while – 20 minutes is all you need – or take a vitamin D supplement during the winter months.
USE NATURAL ANTIMICROBIALS
One of the best ways to build your immune strength on a daily basis is through a few key superfoods. These foods can be incorporated into your daily diet so that you are constantly improving and boosting your immunity while eating yummy foods.
Raw garlic - This superfood has very strong antimicrobial and antiviral properties. The potent sulphur compound allicin in garlic is known to treat serious GI infections such as SIBO (small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and kill parasites and yeast infections. At the first sign of an infection, start including raw garlic in your meals, or if that’s not palatable, use a concentrated allicin extract supplement.
Oregano oil - This oil has a long history of being used and an antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-fungal. It can be used topically to treat antibiotic-resistant staph infections of the skin (MRSA) as well as taken internally to combat yeast infections.
Turmeric - Curcumin is the compound in turmeric that contains most of the medicinal properties. Turmeric is rich in compounds called curcuminoids, from which curcumin is the most potent medicinal turmeric compound. A 2014 study on the benefits of turmeric found that it has a number of health benefits, including antimicrobial properties that help kill off bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. Taking turmeric for its healing power has been linked to treating a number of health issues. However, to get the health benefits from curcumin, it’s important to add black pepper to increase absorption in the body. A great way to get your daily dose is by enjoying a Sweet Revolution Turmeric Latte, which contains half a teaspoon in every mug – your recommended daily dose!
Aloe Vera - The active compounds found in aloe vera have been found to have immune-modulating benefits. The polysaccharides acemannan and glucomannan, which are considered to be the two main active components of the plant, have strong antiviral and antibacterial components, as they stimulate white blood cells which target infections.
MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Chronic stress actually suppresses our immune response by releasing the hormone cortisol. Cortisol itself interferes with the ability of specific white blood cells called T-cells to proliferate and get signals from the body. In addition, Cortisol also lowers an important antibody called secretory IgA, which lines the respiratory tract and gut and is our first line of defence against invading pathogens.
INVESTIGATE ADAPTOGENIC MUSHROOMS
Some of the most powerful immune-boosting, antiviral, and anti-cancer substances are found in mushrooms.
Reishi - These mushrooms have powerful anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. They can be taken as a dried capsule supplement or in a tea or tincture, or why not try a daily cup of Sweet Revolution Chai Latte which is enhanced with organic Reishi mushroom powder.
Shiitake -The delicious mushroom contains substances called beta-glucans, which stimulate the immune system and strengthen our white blood cells.
Maitake - These are also called "Hen of the woods" and are not only delicious but increase our immune cells' ability to engulf bacteria.
For both men and women, taking stock of the health of your immune system on a regular basis is not only going to keep you from getting sick, but it will help you age more gracefully and make you look and feel better.