There are simple, basic steps to boost your immune system. The idea of boosting is not quite right. You want your system to be strong every day without having to be “boosted.” Its normal state can provide you with energy and a sense of well being, as well as prompt recovery in case you do get sick or injured.
So this page deals with the steps to stabilize and strengthen your immune system, to raise its normal level by feeding, nourishing, and supporting your immune system.
When your body gets a big dose of strong nourishment, your immune system benefits and says “Oooo la la! Give me more of this!” and it surges in strength. Your immune system continues to change and evolve as you get older. It can become stronger. Foods, herbs, and supplements that strengthen the immune system are called immune potentiating.
Do NOT short yourself on sleep. It catches up with you, like waves gradually wearing down a beach. Could be fast or slow, and you may not notice it, but it happens.
Lots of water
The minimum you should drink every day is one ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water, broth, or tea daily. There are 32 ounces in a quart or liter, so you need a minimum of 2 quarts 11 ounces (or 2.3 liters) every day.
Sweetened drinks do not count, because they act as food, producing waste–not like water, which would be removing it. This includes juice, soft drinks like coke, and milk.
If you regularly drink less, your immune system is distracted and can be worn down as it works on neutralizing the poisons accumulating in your body that you are not eliminating in your urine. If you are sick, double or triple that number. You will be amazed how much faster you will recover. Inadequate water consumption has also been linked to asthma, allergies, arthritis, angina, migraine headaches, and more.
Clean means food not contaminated with the hormones, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides that are intensely used in conventional farming. Over 200 different pesticides are used to raise non-organic strawberries. These added chemicals can suppress or damage the immune system. To get cleaner food that is not depleted of key nutrients, people go to organic food or local food raised on farms that treat the soil well.
For meat and eggs, choose products from pastured-raised, grass-fed animals, who choose their own healthy diet and are treated humanely. The fats and other nutrients of such animals are dramatically superior. To find such foods, look for a CSA in your city or community, or consider joining (or starting) a food coop like Purple Dragon.
Lots of Vegetables
Vegetables are incredibly powerful for nourishing the immune system, and especially when they still have strong bright color when you eat them. Not only do they provide a very special nourishment for your body (among other things) that strengthens the immune system, but they also contain wonderful chemicals that give protection from disease on their own. Especially leafy green vegetables. Eat at least 7 servings of fresh vegetables and 2 servings of fruit daily.
During the darker and colder months, we don’t get the amount of vitamin D our bodies need from sunshine. Vitamin D is important in keeping disease like colds and influenza out of an otherwise healthy body. About 2,000 IU per day should suffice for an adult, and 800 to 1000 IU daily for kids. Manage your stress well. By this we mean emotional stress, which suppresses and weakens the immune system. Such stress has become normal life for many people, jammed up with too many things to do, rushing, eating poorly, resting poorly, in families with arguing and conflict ongoing, long commutes, disconnected from nature, and with heavy demands from employment.
Take steps to both (a) change your life to be less stressful, as well as (b) do things every day that help you respond to stress so it does not hurt you. Many tools can help to manage this, such as: writing or otherwise communicating your feelings, doing anything that gives you joy, dancing to your favorite music, hot baths, lavender oil fragrance, sipping a cup of lemon balm or chamomile tea, caring for a pet, biofeedback, meditation, or Breathwork.
An excellent introduction to meditation is Wherever You Go. Information on Breathwork is here. Programs are offered around the Western world. For New Jersey/New York area programs, click here and here. Find a lifestyle that helps you to feel good. You may also need to leave a difficult, stressful situation that is wearing you down and out (like a boss or spouse, a poor diet, or bad air where you work or live). You might get psychological counseling. Sometimes a stuck emotional or mental condition keeps drawing us back into stressful or painful situations.
Even small a amount of regular exercise strengthens the immune system. This is an essential component for health, period. Time outdoors in nature. Possibly the easiest, least expensive way to help yourself heal. Let nature do it.
Herbs or homeopathics instead of drugs
Pills and medicines usually bring some level of stress to the body. Herbs and homeopathics avoid that, and both of them are sometimes more powerful than conventional medicines.
Thoughts and emotions
One of the huge discoveries of the past few years is that your own thoughts and feelings make a tremendous difference in how well your immune system works. Your state of mind and heart actually appears to create or destroy parts of your immune system in ways scientists cannot yet explain.
For example, there was research a few years ago that showed that people who watched a scary movie experienced a very large drop in a type of blood cells that fight disease! And people who watched a feel-good movie that left them with positive feelings like appreciation for good things in life, or love, or believe in their power to improve their lives or help people – these people experienced a surge in the number of these cells.
What made this test so extraordinary is that the two hours it takes to watch a movie is not nearly enough time for the physical processes needed to create these cells. They seem to appear out of thin air–or disappear into it–based only on how you feel! Feeling love and feeling loved both powerful lift the immune system. So does having sex and doing things just for the joy they bring you. These discoveries have helped conventional doctors to take the field of mind-body medicine more seriously.
One of the related areas that this led to was the discovery that simply being near certain things, or in the invisible energy field around certain things could weaken your immune system. Working on computers and being in front of illuminated screens for extended time are some of these things, and although we don’t understand it all, we can see the results of doing these things.
Have a spiritual foundation in your life in some way can boost your immune system. This could be as simple as meditation (which has no dogma and is not a religion), or another spiritual practice that you refer to regularly.