Naturally boost immune system

Published 4:41 pm Friday, October 21, 2011

In last week’s column we explored some of the advantages and disadvantages of taking the seasonal flu vaccine.
This week I’d like to show you some ways to naturally strengthen your own immune system, thereby helping keep you healthier this time of year.
Strengthening your immune system is indeed one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself, not just during cold and flu season, but all year long.
Even though these tips are easy to follow, it’s important that you be very consistent in performing them.
Here they are:
1) Drink lots of lemon. Yes, that’s right. Lemon is one of the best foods known for restoring our bodies’ acid-alkaline balance. During respiration (everyday living), our cells give off acids. The more acidic our bodies are, the weaker our immune systems will be. Lemons actually alkalize our cells.
This may seem confusing, since we usually think of citrus as being acidic. Actually they are before we eat them. Once they’re digested though, citrus fruits turn alkaline in our bodies.
Use lemon juice in your water, tea, soups or in just about any thing.
On my website I have a list of acidic and alkalizing foods. Also, natural unfiltered, unprocessed cider vinegar, also turns alkaline.
Now, I’m not saying you should never eat acidic foods. Many acidic foods contain nutrients we need. What I’m suggesting is that you try to incorporate more alkaline foods into your diet every day.
2) This may not be a very popular one… but stop drinking coffee. Coffee acts as a diuretic. This not only depletes your body of valuable water, but leaches out essential vitamins and minerals. By the way, eating chocolate does the very same thing. If you are going to consume coffee, I recommend you drink two glasses of water per cup of coffee.
3) Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is so important, because since blood volume is mostly water, we need an adequate amount to carry not only oxygen, but also vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to our cells.
There are two things to be careful of though.
It‘s dangerous to drink too much water in one sitting if you were to drink 2 gallons at one time it could kill you by making your brain swell.
Drinking plenty of water can flush out minerals, called electrolytes, which could in turn cause cramping, so I recommend taking a good vitamin/mineral supplement. “Provide,” by “Solaray,” is the best one I’ve seen on the market.
4) Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables. These contain phytonutrients that protect our cells. Dark produce, especially, has more flavinoids, polyphenols and other antioxidants that protect our bodies.
5) Cut out refined sugars. Refined sugar suppresses your immune system. I recommend using agave, or stevia instead.
6) Get plenty of sleep. During rest,your body heals and rebuilds itself.
7) This may sound like an odd one, but spend some time out in the cold. Exercise releases endorphins, which helps heal your body and can make a noticeable difference in your happiness and wellbeing. Indoor air in the late fall and winter can be unhealthy.
Cold air stimulates the thyroid gland. Add these tips to your everyday routine, for better health.
Fitness or nutrition question?
Email me at or visit David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist for 24 years.  He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A, head strength coach for the S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, USC-Spartanburg baseball team, Converse college equestrian team, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.

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