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439Boosting Your Immune System

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  • LA Hopkins
    Dec 14, 2003
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      The flu season is amongst us, we are fighting hepatitis A in Pennsylvania from imported produce from Mexico , and our immune systems are at lower levels than they should be.  The flu  has been around since the beginning of time but only the last five or so years have we been focusing on the importance of flu shots in elderly and young children.  Why?  This is where are immune systems are the lowest.  Fact, the average person is not severely put in danger from the flu.  Why does our country continue to take risks by importing produce from countries that do not maintain quality standards?  What are we to do?


      What can we do?  First improve your immune system, second stay away from restaurants that use imported produce to lower their costs only to pass disease to a unsuspecting public.  I guess it is like insurance, sure you pay more for organic produce but you don�t have to worry about the diseases that come from poorly produced produce.  Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that Chi Chi's and other restaurants in PA purposely took risks.  I am saying they are substituting quality for price and the end result is the nightmare we all now face.


      To boost your immune system you need to increase your selenium intake.  Selenium is the source your body needs to make antibodies.  Eating organically helps to maximize trace elements your body needs including selenium and reduces exposure to agrochemicals such as pesticides that may affect immune function.


      Of course we all know what our doctors tell us, avoid cigarettes, avoid stress, exercise regularly, get at least eight hours of sleep, incorporate Probiotics into your diet, and take your vitamins.  Some of this is extremely hard for some of us and not accomplished by a large percent of the population.  Something we can all do is choose our food. 


      Increase your immune system by snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day.  The result is you will boost your immune system and you will eat less at meals.  You should consume five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables in a day.  Cherries, strawberries, grapes and yellow-to-orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots and oranges increase and lastly DARK green vegetables increase phytochemicals in your system.  Hey seriously try to prove me wrong?  Try this and you will see pounds shed, energy increase and feel stronger as your immune system gets stronger.


      Beef it up a little!  Just getting over a cold, flu, or people all around you sick.  Consume Brazil nuts as they are extremely high in selenium.  Cook oily fish instead of chicken or beef for meals.  Salmon, Mackerel, Herring, and Sardines are great for this.  Excellent for the budget too.  If you fish you most likely will not have to buy some as most fisherman have a nice stock in the freezer.  However, whole Salmon can be bought most places fairly cheaply.  For roughly five dollars her in South Dakota we get a whole Salmon that easily has ten servings.    If you are allergic to fish or fish oils or plain and simple can not stand fish you can supplement by taking an Omega-3 supplement or my favorite, Primrose oil capsules.


      Continue boosting your immune system by eating Shiitake mushrooms.  They are awesome on steak or in salads and most people can grow their own supply easily.  The moment you begin to feel that scratchy feeling in your throat increase your zinc intake.  Don�t forget your herbs.  Herbs are not only excellent sources of flavoring they provide many benefits.  Astragalus can be grown very easily and is an adaptogen with antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal actions that can be used to treat and prevent respiratory infections.  Many studies have also shown that it improves the immune function  extraordinarily.   Black elderberry which may be a little harder to get in some areas but can always be found at a GNC or online store contains natural antiviral substances that reduce the severity and duration of the common cold and flu.


      Garlic an all time favorite of mine.  Easy to grow and easy to store has a natural antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral action.  Garlic is also a natural blood purifier, reduces cholesterol and assists in high blood pressure.  Garlic is most beneficial when taken raw.  Cut up in a salad or simply just chop up a few cloves and swallow with a glass of water.  If you have the money you can always purchase garlic tablets and non smelling garlic tablets from a health store.  I always will recommend it how mother nature intended it though. 


      Honey, another favorite, has Propolis  which is a natural antiseptic produced by honey bees that contains bioflavonoids that help to maintain a healthy immune system.  In winter drink lots of tea and supplement honey for sugar in all recipes that you can. 


      Lastly we have the over-advertised Echinacea.  An excellent herb if you find yourself in a bind.  I am going to repeat that so there is an emphasis on ONLY IF YOU ARE IN A BIND.  Echinacea is an excellent source to boost the general immunity against respiratory and other infections by increasing the number and activity of white blood cells in your body.  If you find yourself surrounded by people getting sick and you know you have neglected your immune system and chances are really high that you are next on mother natures list you can take Echinacea.  Echinacea is only taken in two week intervals.  If you take Echinacea longer than two weeks your body will develop a resistance making it very ineffective.  I always recommend the consultation of a physician before taking Echinacea.  This is a fine line, to boost your immune system when you absolutely need it but if you over do it, it wont help you.


      In conclusion if you find yourself suffering from viral infections such as cold sores often or yeast infections recent study shows your iron is too low.  Depleted iron stores that are not quite low enough to cause anemia are linked to recurrent thrush and the herpes simplex  cold sore virus.  These are also lacking in selenium, high selenium levels interfere with the virus's ability to reproduce.


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