Improving ImmunityYour immune system has the ability to respond to diseases of all kinds. This is dependent on many complex reactions between the components of your immune system and the antigens on the disease causing agents. Your immune system can recognize invading substances, it can mount a specific attack on each invader as an individual, and it can remember that particular invader so that it can mount a secondary disease preventing attack upon later exposures.
Avian Flu (H5N1), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), West Nile Virus, or the common cold. If it's a virus, your immune system will try to kill it.
Your immune system's ability to protect your body is both instinctive and learned - in other words, it informs your body's actions with both innate and acquired responses. Each individual is born with innate immunity - the ability of your immune system to recognize what doesn't belong in the body. Along with passive defenses like skin, (your first line of defense), stomach acid and mucus, the innate immune system also contains active immune response mechanisms that include Natural Killer, or NK cells. Like all innate front line defense agents, NK cells do not need prior exposure in order to act. They simply recognize foreign cells and go to work.
1 .DOSE UP ON VIT CEat more black currants, green leafy vegetables red peppers and citrus fruits. All are good sources of vitamin C which boosts immune defences. Alternatively, supplement your diet with a daily dose of vitamin C. If you suffer from indigestion when taking vitamin C, a non-acid version, known as ester-C may be more easily absorbable.
2 .GET INTO CAT’S CLAWA powerful antiviral, antioxidant and immune-boosting herb from the Peruvian rain forest, Cat’s Claw contains substances called alkaloids, which research has shown help fight infection. You can drink it in a tea (one cup a day should be enough for general maintenance) or in capsule (click here to order)
3 .BE HAPPYAccording to research a good old laugh triggers the release of the antibody immunoglobulin into the blood stream while the number of white T-cells also increases, both of which increase immunity. Watch a comedy on TV or rent a funny video. And as laughter is infectious sharing your jokes with your friends and family could help to keep them in the pink as well.
4. KEEP MOVINGRegular light-to-moderate activity such as a daily 30-minute walk or swim in your local pool helps circulate the white blood cells around the body and tones up the cardiovascular system which in turn helps to strengthen your immune system.
5 .SLEEP WELLGet your nightly sleep quota and you immediately increase your chances of warding off infection. Try to stick to a regular routine of wake up and and bed time to set your biological clock.
6 .GET GARLICYThis popular herb has been shown to be more powerfully antibiotic than penicillin and tetracycline. It contains more than 200 compounds including allicin and sulphur – a strong free radical scavenger with super antioxidant properties. Eat garlic raw if possible as cooking destroys the chief active ingredient allicin. Try it sprinkled over salads or if you can’t bear the taste or smell, in an odourless capsule form.
7 .STAY IN TOUCHKeep in regular contact with your friends as much as possible; studies show that positive feelings such as joy and love can boost your wellbeing significantly – so much so that people with a busy social life have been found to be four times less likely to catch a cold. Hugs and kisses can also boost physical and mental wellbeing, helping your body heal itself and fight off bugs and viruses.
8 .DESTRESS FASTStressful moments have a direct effect on the immune system with many studies showing that constant daily pressure quickly reduces your resistance to a virus or disease. Relaxation techniques such as acupuncture, massage and even a relaxing hobby can all help to keep you calm. The gentle movements of Chi kung or T’ai Chi are also particularly effective against anxiety and stress.
9 .TRY ECHINACEACommonly known as the purple coneflower, this wonder herb contains active ingredients in its roots and leaves that have ant-viral, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is thought to help encourage the production of white blood cells and helps speed them along to infected areas. As a result it can help shorten or prevent the course of an acute infection and stop colds or flu developing into more serious conditions such as sinusitis, bronchitis or middle ear infections.
10 .GO FOR PROBIOTICSProbiotic supplements encourage the growth of friendly bacteria in the body, which help to keep disease-causing organisms at bay. Research has found that if you eat a low-fat Bio yoghurt every day, you're 25 per cent less likely to develop a cold than non-yoghurt eaters - and if you do get a cold, symptoms disappear more quickly. It's thought that the live bacteria in the yoghurt provide protection by producing natural antiviral substances in the body.