Monday, November 3, 2014

Take these 4 Things to Keep a Healthy Immune System

Snow Canyon 1With winter always seems to come at least some sickness from colds and the flu. I hate being sick.

Rather than taking the hit of being sick, feeling terrible, and wasting time while being sick, it makes a lot more sense to do what we can to stay healthy.

Our health almost completely comes down to the condition of our immune system.  

Not only does it determine whether or not we get a cold, but it can also determine whether we get a serious disease or illness as well.  For these reasons it's really important to keep your immune system healthy and strong at all times.


There are 4 main things we can take to keep our immune systems strong and healthy... 


Vitamins

To stay healthy our bodies need vitamins, and the best source of vitamins are real food. Each day try to eat fresh fruit and vegetables (preferably organic), to get the vitamins your body needs. We also get vitamins from meat, particularly if the animals are raised humanely.

If you feel like you still aren't getting enough try a high quality, food grade multi vitamin like Melaluca brand.

                                            Sweet Strawberries 2


Vitamin D

Depending on where you live you may be blessed with lots of sunshine year round, or if you're somewhere cold like I am, you have about 6 months where it's cold outside and don't want to go out that much.

Vitamin D is made naturally in our bodies when we get sunshine on our skin. It's a crucial vitamin that having a deficiency in often opens the body's door to a variety of diseases.  At any rate I'm a big fan of recommending vitamin D supplementation to most people's diets.

Most Americans are very deficient in vitamin D. There is little concern of vitamin D toxicity. You would have to consume 50,000 IU's of vitamin D a day for months before toxicity syptoms would show up. (source)

I like Green Pasture's brand because the cod liver oil is fermented, which makes the nutrients more available and easier for your body to absorb. I also like that in taking cod liver oil it has vitamin A and omega 3 which allow for better use of the vitamin D in the body. I take 1 capsule a day. They also carry a liquid but I tastes pretty bad.

Since my kids can't swallow pills very well, so I buy them this brand of cod liver oil. It's more processed so some of the nutrients are stripped out, but I do notice a difference when they take. It helps them to stay calmer and more focused.

Products like milk often have vitamin D added in, but not enough to meet your daily needs. The vitamin D in milk is a synthetic vitamin (meaning man made) that is called vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 absorbs pretty well for most people and is a decent vitamin, although not as effective as having it in balance with other vitamins like in cod liver oil.

Vitamin D2 is another common synthetic form of vitamin D, however D2 does not absorb well and doesn't provide what is needed as well as the other forms. D2 can also cause inflammation in some people, which can lead to health problems.

Vitamin D3, or a natural supplement like cod liver oil, are good choices. Dr. Mercola is a big fan of krill oil which has similar benefits.

                                                         


Probiotics

Probiotic foods are a major key to health that many people are unaware of. Probiotics, or good bacteria, are very important because the make up 70-80% of our immune system. When we don't have enough of them we are not only vulnerable to sickness but also much more likely to develop a disease.

Recent studies have shown that when children lack enough good bacteria it can show it's self as ADD/ADHD type behavior.

Probiotics are the good bacteria in our intestines. When you take antibiotics they kill off the bad bacteria attacking your body, but they also kill off the good bacteria that protect your body.

I personally take this probiotic once a day, and give my kids half a cup of kefir about every other day. For more information on probiotics choices check out Varieties of Probiotics.

                                       fruit shake


Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup has the potential to act like a natural alternative to the flu shot. It's high in antioxidants and vitamins A, B, and C which are great for stimulating the immune system. I usually only make it for Fall and Winter, but it would be beneficial all year round.

Using dried elderberries it's pretty easy to make the elderberry syrup. Here's the recipe that I use, and I highly recommend making it with raw honey for an extra immune boost. If you'd rather buy elderberry syrup consider trying this one.


Elderberry Delight


To boost your immune system for winter, and all year round, you can take vitamin D, probiotics, and eat lot's of fruits and vegetables. If it's cold and flu season taking elderberry syrup should give your immune system an added boost against the flu and colds.

Here's to staying healthy!


*Disclaimer- As with all supplements or changes to your diet you may want to consult your doctor to make sure these recommendations won't cause any problems with any medications or healthy problems you may have.
 
                           
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