We are continually exposed to organisms that can cause infection and disease, and our best defence is a strong immune system.
When our immune system is functioning at optimal levels we don’t even notice it’s hard work. That also means we don’t have any way of knowing when it is weakened – until after we get sick.
Our immune system is an interactive and complex network of organs, cells, and proteins, but it doesn’t just help to protect us from illness. A balanced and normally functioning immune system also ensures regulated responses to substances such as allergens, and it helps to keep us healthy all year long.
As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”, so it’s important that we help our bodies be at their best by maintaining a strong immune system.
Luckily, boosting your immune system doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, or involve a lot of effort, as there are some simple, natural, and very effective ways to give your immune system a jumpstart, these include:
1. Eating a Varied Diet
It is important that we eat a range of fruits and vegetables to maximise our vitamin and mineral intake, all of which are important in maintaining a strong immune system. Popular immune-boosting foods include:
- Citrus fruits – contain high levels of vitamin C to boost your immune system by increasing the body’s production of white blood cells, which are important in fighting infections. The body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, so it’s important to consume enough of it in your diet for a continued immune system boost. While most people think citrus fruits contain the most vitamin C, that crown actually goes to red bell peppers.
- Broccoli – packed full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C and E, as well as numerous antioxidants and fibre, broccoli is one of the most nutritious – and immunity boosting – foods you can eat.
- Garlic – rumour has it garlic is excellent at fighting off vampires, but even early civilizations recognised its value in fighting off infections, which is mostly attributed to its heavy concentrations of sulphur-containing compounds.
- Ginger – a popular ingredient in many home-made remedies for poor health, ginger is known for its ability to treat inflammatory disorders that are caused by infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Ginger is also known to help cleanse the lymphatic system, a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.
2. Try a Probiotic
Our gut is a very important, and often overlooked, factor in the strength of our immune system. A probiotic with a broad array of species, including two of the most important families of “good bacteria” – Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium – has been shown to positively affect our immune health.
3. Avoid Medications When They Aren’t Needed
It takes the good bacteria in your gut around three to six months to recover from a one week course of antibiotics, so you should avoid taking them unnecessarily. Unless you need to take them, you should avoid medicines that lower stomach acid, such as proton pump inhibitors, limit your use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen, as these can damage the gut and weaken our immune health.
4. Drink Chaga Tea
Some of the most powerful immune-boosting, antiviral, and anti-cancer substances are found in mushrooms. The chaga mushroom is truly a superfood – bursting with antioxidants that help to rid the body of disease-causing free radicals, packed with anti-viral abilities, and rich in Beta-D-Glucans, which help to balance your immune system’s response – the disease-fighting chaga mushroom can be consumed as a tea, such as the chaga tea from Ötzibrew.
Pure Chaga from Ötzibrew was found to have high levels of the mineral manganese, which is required by the body for a whole host of functions. Topping up your manganese supplies can help promote healthy bones, prevent disease, control diabetes, boost the metabolism, reduce inflammation, alleviate PMS, improve thyroid health, boost vitamin absorption, improve cognitive function, regulate glucose metabolism and improve digestion.
5. Consider a Supplement
Sometimes it isn’t possible to include something in your diet – such as a plant extract – and sometimes getting enough of certain fruits and vegetables to hit your daily vitamin and mineral intake can be tough, and this is where supplements can be very beneficial. Popular supplements include:
- Echinacea – a plant extract that is very effective at treating recurring infections, and can also help to prevent illnesses such as the common cold. It has significant immunomodulatory qualities, which can also help to treat respiratory infections.
- Elderberry – the berries and flowers of the elder plant have been used in medicines for thousands of years, and for good reason, as several studies have shown that elderberry boosts the immune system, including its ability to help fight colds, the flu, allergies and inflammation. This is usually attributed to the high levels of flavonoids found within the fruit, which stop viruses in their tracks.
- Vitamin D – this vitamin helps to modulate the responses of the immune system, with a vitamin D deficiency being associated with an increased risk of infection. Our bodies produce vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight, so it’s important that we get enough time in the great outdoors (safely, while wearing SPF of course). However, in the autumn and winter it’s important to take a vitamin D supplement, which you might also consider if you spend a large percentage of your time indoors.
Give your immune system a boost and order your Ötzibrew Chaga today.