There are more than five ways to boost immune system from eating specific foods to adopting immune-friendly lifestyle habits.
Part one of this series dealt with the diet: how sugar and different fats weaken or strengthen body defenses. If you missed it click here
Most of us live in a germophobic state. This state is happily perpetuated by sensationalistic media and health agencies. These made us believe that conscientious disinfecting practices, tireless sterilization, over-washing, as well as pasteurization of food does serve us well and protects us against immune system disasters.
We are eager to use anti-bacterial mouth washes, germicidal air fresheners, medicated body lotions, antibiotic creams, hygienic wipes, detergents with aseptic properties and cleaners that kill bacteria just to feel safer. The problem is that “kill-all” attitude is not only counterproductive but actually detrimental to our bodies.
Boost immune system without killing innocent
It will be years if not decades before general public understands that immune system thrives not in a sterile, but in a well-microbially balanced body. It is a proper balance and not absence of microbes that protects us against colds, flus, and other disasters which includes cancers.
Kids that develop in dirt-free environment have a much higher rate of asthma and allergies, both conditions involving immune system dysfunctions. Women who use antibacterial wipes on their private parts have higher risk of Candida (yeast) infection due to decimating protective flora of their external genitals.
Also consider that pasteurized milk is devoid of immune boosting bacteria. Breastfed kids have more robust and stronger immune system than those that are fed with sterile infant formulas. Human breast milk, which comes from a breast unpasteurized, contains millions of indispensable immuno-protective microbes.
Drop your germophobic streak to strengthen immune system
One of the ways to boost immune system is to protect and keep your good bacteria flora intact. Reduce unnecessary use of disinfectant sprays, washes, cleaners, wipes, and cosmetics in your household. Many times they are completely unwarranted and instead of protecting, they can weaken your defenses.
These antibacterial lotions and potions not only kill bad guys but also the good ones. So whenever possible use natural cleaners such as vinegar that reduces yeast and fungi, but is very friendly towards good bacteria. The reduced use of anti-microbial chemicals will go far to improve immune system function. Remember also that those bacteriocidal chemicals when disposed are also capable of changing the balance of our planet’s fragile microbial ecosystem.
Say no to antibiotics
Use of antibiotics even for the good reasons has far-reaching consequences
- Antibiotics kill an immuno-protective coat of good microbes in your body
- Antibiotics contribute to development of antibiotic resistant super-bugs, which is definitely not a good way to boost your immune system
Unfortunately most of us demand some kind of medical treatment when sick. When you are bothered by a cough, flu, bladder infection or other minor nuisance you may want your doctor to prescribe antibiotics.
One cannot deny that antibiotics provide a substantial emotional comfort of knowing that the infection is going to be over soon. However, many people do not realize that in the majority of cases walking out of the doctor’s office without a prescription is better for the immune system than taking antibiotics.
A large proportion of infections are self-limiting. It means that the body is capable of dealing with the infection by itself, without any additional medical intervention. It has been estimated that every second antibiotic prescription in USA is UNNECESSARY.
Do not destroy, talk to your doctor
One of the ways to boost immune system is to ensure viability of your friendly bacteria. Friendly bacteria are not easy to regrow and a belief that a cup of yogurt will just do is childish.
The best way to keep your protective microbiome intact is simply NOT to destroy it in the first place. Use antibiotics only if ABSOLUTELY necessary. Many doctors prescribe out of habit just to satisfy patients’ expectations. Make sure your doctor does not make assumptions about you.
Eat fermented foods to boost immune system
First, do not foolishly destroy your microbiome. Second, add more microbes to build its strength. Naturally fermented foods are full of immune system boosting bacteria.
Yogurt and sauerkraut are two best known examples of those. However, every country seems to have some kind of a fermented specialty. For example, tempeh a fermented soy product is known in Indonesia, and poi is a fermented specialty of Hawaii.
Naturally fermented foods are rich in friendly bacteria flora that is necessary for health of digestive system, food absorption, and production of vital nutrients all of which strengthen immune system.
Fermented foods around the world
Below is a list of most common fermented foods around the world. If you are not fermenting these foods yourself make sure to buy only naturally fermented versions available in stores. Many food manufacturers use shortcuts to boost their profits rather than boost customers’ immune systems.
Instead of attention demanding process of natural fermentation they use vinegar to arrive at the sought after sour taste. Although the taste of naturally fermented food is very similar to the “cheated” version, the effect is very different.
How do you know which foods boost immune system? You will need to turn the jar and read food ingredients listed on the back. Making a distinction between original food and food imitation will make a difference to your immune system.
Vinegar-soaked vegetables such as commercially available pickles do not have immune-boosting microbes. Sorry, your pickle-stuffed McBurger is immune system useless.
- Dosa – fermented crepe
- Fish sauce – fermented fish in sea salt
- Kefir – fermented milk product
- Kimchi – fermented vegetables
- Kombucha – fermented black tea
- Lassi – yogurt based drink
- Miso – seasoning made of fermented rice, barley, or soy
- Nato – fermented soybeans
- Pickles – fermented vegetables, usually cucumbers
- Sour cream – fermented cream
- Sauerkraut – fermented cabbage
- Poi – fermented taro
- Soy Sauce – condiment made of boiled soybeans
- Tapai – fermented cassava
Avoiding sugar, eating the right type of fats, avoiding antibiotics, decreasing use of germicidal agents as well as eating naturally fermented foods can make a big difference to your health and the health of our planets’ ecosystem. Follow the above five simple rules and you will be on your way to substantially boost immune system for yourself and your family. For a more comprehensive approach follow the steps outlined in “Ousting Sniffles“.