12 ways to boost your immune system

12 ways to boost your immune system

How to boost your immune system

A strong immune system starts with a healthy lifestyle. But it is also important to understand what weakens your immune system too and to avoid those things. Here are 12 healthy ways to a stronger immune system. 

1. EAT a high SOLUBLE FIBRE, high BIOACTIVE FOODS DIET

The University of Illinois Medical School has shown conclusively that a high intake of soluble fibre boosts the immune system. Indeed, people with the highest intake of soluble fibre have the strongest immune systems - oats, nuts and seeds, psyllium, vegetables and pulses would be a start.

The colourful Mediterranean Diet is the CANCERactive diet of choice - the Rainbow Diet - because there is so much clear research to support it. It advocates eating whole foods with lots of natural fibre (think lentils, nuts, seeds, fresh vegetables), low but ’whole’ carbs, high levels of good fats (like olive oil; fish) and good amounts of foods with vibrant colours, which are linked to high levels of bioactive compounds such as Polyphenols and Anthocyanins.

More than 90 research studies have shown that the Rainbow Diet is actually a better diet for the prevention and treatment of all manner of chronic diseases like heart, diabetes, stress reduction and cancer than those recommended by Health Authorities! Research even shows it will help you live longer!

Go to: The Rainbow Diet.

The Rainbow Diet also provides good levels of essential minerals, like potassium and magnesium (fundamental to controlling your body’s pH) while giving the body bioactive natural compounds like phenols, carotenoids, anthocyanins and sulforaphanes. Garlic, selenium, fish oils, carotenoids, salvestrols like resveratrol, the dark red anthocyanins of beetroot and cherries are all important. You can also look at our review on Epigenetics - how 60 or more natural compounds in fruits and vegetables have corrective benefits in cancer. It's not surprising. A  meta-analysis of 83 studies shows that eating more vegetables and more fruits increases the strength of your immune system

You can buy the Rainbow Diet book (and also Rainbow Recipes) by clicking this link.

2. CUT SUGAR INTAKE

Importantly, the diet also involves no ’empty’ calories - sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, processed or refined foods. 

A glucose-rich drink (for example, a Coca Cola, bought smoothie, ice cream, refined pasta) temporarily flattens the immune system for anything from 40 minutes to 5 hours! 

Secondly, reducing glucose and High Fructose Corn Syrup consumption greatly, also reduces your insulin levels and, in turn, inflammation in the body - really important when fighting cancer.

Sugar itself helps promote and cause cancer to grow. There are too many top Hospitals and Professors saying this from their research, for the myth that sugar doesn't feed cancer to continue.

Go to: 20 links between glucose and cancer

Finally, sugar intake actually damages you in the longer-term.  2015 research in the American Journal of Public Health showed that a daily glucose rich fizzy soft drink damages your immune system AS MUCH AS SMOKING!! 

Please don't just think this only refers to bought drinks. A coca Cola gives you 10.9 gm sugar per 100 ml. A home-made fruit juice gives you 10.3 gm per 100 ml. 

3.  TAKE EXERCISE where you get out of breath

Exercise produces hormones called endorphins, and these are powerful positive drugs inside your body. Exercise massively improves the immune system. It moves the lymph and dissolves visceral fat, both taking toxins away from cells. It oxygenates the blood, and endorphins neutralise the harmful hormones like Cortisol, the stress hormone, and Human Growth Hormone.

Research now clearly shows that LIGHT TO MODERATE DAILY EXERCISE is the aim - about 40 to 60 minutes a day, ideally early morning and, ideally, you need to get puffed/out of breath. If you can manage it. It improves survival rates of some cancer patients by 50 per cent. It does not have to be strenuous. But you have to do it. Movement is essential as you have no ’heart’ to pump the immune system for you. You have to do this for yourself. You don’t need to go for the ’burn’ or wear lycra; Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga are a good place to start. You need to move your thoracic duct in your chest - so press ups and swimming breast stroke are great if you feel more energetic. 

4. HEAL Ur GUT

The 60 year old theory that the immune system has two components is now known to be wide of the mark. Even today, inaccurate articles talk about -

     * the front line Innate Immune System - a slow, general but less-than perfect response to pathogens from birth - and,

     * the Adaptive Immune System - which develops over time as you are progressively infected, is home to the immune memory and makes B- and T-lymphocytes that form antibodies

We now know that the microbiome is crucial to a strong immune system. Elements of the Adaptive System respond to the volume, and the diversity, of the species and strains in the microbiome. 85% of your immune memory is stimulated in this way. Yet the microbiome is not even mentioned in the majority of articles on strengthening the immune system. 

The following deplete your microbiome and thus your Adaptive Immune System - drugs, Proton Pump Inhibitors and antibiotics; sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, lactose; infections (parasites, viruses, yeasts); and stress, smoking and alcohol, amongst other things.

Research has now shown your gut ’microbiome’ gets ill first, then you get ill. And you cannot get better until it gets better. But then it doesn’t just control your immune system; it MAKES certain compounds like B vitamins, melatonin and serotonin for mood, and short-chain esters which can control cholesterol levels and/or reduce chronic inflammation throughout the body. Without them, your body takes another battering. It it is imperative that you give yourself a HUG - 

Go to: Heal Ur Gut, and so Heal Ur Body

5. ACTIVATE YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM WITH VITAMIN D 

It seems that boosting the volume of the white cells AND getting them to recognise a rogue cell still isn’t enough. 2011 research showed that the first thing your T-cells do before they attack a rogue cell is pick up a vitamin D molecule to ’activate’ themselves. Without the vitamin D, your immune system cannot attack pathogens. This is one reason why vitamin D is so important. If you cannot get 2 to 4 hours in the sunshine a day, take Boston Medical School’s recommendation. Supplement with 5,000IUs a day if you have cancer; 2,000-3,000 if you do not.

Vitamin K plays some part in this binding process but this is not perfectly clear as yet. 

So, Vitamin D is crucial to a strong immune system. It is important to note however that taking drugs greatly reduces your plasma vitamin D levels and so you should increase you intake of sunshine or supplement.

6. TAKE VITAMIN A - IN COD LIVER OIL

As we age, our Thyroid weakens. This has many effects on our body. Sometimes the thyroid is just short of iodine - taking a little sea kelp can help.

When it does weaken, we lose the ability to convert Beta-carotenes into vitamin A.When we were young, it was always better to eat lots of beta-carotenes (red and yellow peppers, sweet potatoes, greens, carrots, apricots) and let your body make the vitamin A levels it needed. Too much vitamin A might have caused liver problems. But once we get past 50, this ceases to be the case.

Vitamin A strengthens cell membranes - it builds walls and can restrict a virus' ability to attack a cell. Vitamin A is also anti-inflammatory; and it boosts immune system cells like macrophages, T-cells and NK cells.

Cod Liver Oil contains much higher levels of vitamin A than other fish oils. It also contains a little vitamin D.

7. TAKE SUPPLEMENTS

OK. So they are the long-term fixes. What can you do in the short-term? 

You have approximately 20 different types of white cell. You are unlikely to boost all the different types with just one supplement. We suggest a spectrum - for example, curcumin, grape seed extract/pine bark extract, herbs such as echinacea or astragalus or cat’s claw, beta-glucans, and astaxanthin. That should cover pretty well everything.

Beta-glucans - naturally occurring polysaccharides from pathogenic bacteria and fungi (like ’medicinal’ mushrooms’). They have a strong effect on the immune system (1) by causing a positive reaction, and enhancing natural killer and macrophage action. You can eat mushrooms, and buy extracts. Immiflex, PSP and PSK are the ’in’ ones at the moment.

In a world of Coronavirus three supplements are worth extra consideration.

VITAMIN C - There is research that mega-doses (4-10 gm) of vitamin C can reduce colds - in terms of severity and time - by up to 85%. In the Northwell Group of Hospitals in New York, they are giving Covid-19 patients 1.5 gm on arrival at the Hospital and then the same dose 4 times per day. Apparently, when the Covid virus starts to cause severe respiratory problems it icrashes Vitamin C levels in the body.

ZINC - There is research from the World Health Organisation that children who develop respiratory problems have low zinc levels; and that zinc supplementation can prevent pneumonia.  There is research on zinc and vitamin C reducing the risk of respiratory problems. 

SELENIUM - a known anti-viral; it attacks the walls of viruses. Low selenium levels have been shown to promote the growth of influenza and even its mutation into more aggressive strains.

" If you are thinking of supplementing with any of the above products you may like to see what NATURAL SELECTION has to offer.  Please CLICK HERE "

8. HAVE UNINTERRUPTED SLEEP IN A DARKENED, EMF-free ROOM

Sleep is healing. A lack of sleep also weakens your immune system and makes you more prone to infection - for example, you are four times more likely to develop a cold fif there's one around.

Always sleep in a fully darkened room with no EMFs around you - Elctromagnetic Fields include WiFi, computers, cell phones, masts and aerials and more. About 1 hour after you fall asleep your pineal gland makes Melatonin and it pushes you into a deeper sleep. People who have disturbed sleep develop more hormonally-driven cancers.

What few people seem to know is that melatonin is the biggest antioxidant we animals make and is also a strong anti-inflammatory - add these together and it is why sleep is so healing.

Melatonin also regulates oestrogen and growth hormone in the body. We make less and less of it as we pass the age of 50 years.

Your gut bacteria have circadian rhythms - if you cannot get to sleep, the problem lies with how much melatonin you make. If you constantly wake up early, the problem lies with how little melatonin they make!

You can supplement about 30 minutes before going to bed. It was thought that supplements above 10 mgs could cause vivid dreams and even hallucinations but there is clear research on the benefits of 20 mg supplements of melatonin to fight cancer. Available in supermarkets in the USA, you can only obtain it on prescription in Europe.

As we age, our white cells start to lose their ability to 'see clearly' and we develop more auto-immune diseases, which are highly inflammatory. Our white immune cells have melatonin receptors and it aids their function to see and attack pathogens rather than attack our own bodies; and being an anti-inflammatory, it helps reduce any damage caused by the faulty immune response.

The age-related fall in immune function starts around age 60; and research is very clear that melatonin supplementation boosts immune function in the elderly. 

9. LAUGH, BE HAPPY

Remember what you enjoyed doing a decade ago? Playing Tennis, watching comedy shows? People who laugh a lot have stronger immune systems; so go and buy some old funny videos. People who have good sex lives have stronger immune systems - no comment. People who meditate have stronger immune systems - find a meditation class to go with the yoga. UCLA have produced several studies showing those who meditate survive significantly longer! People who and in awe of a wonderful view - they have a boost in their immune system too.

Be Happy - Conversely, cut out the things (and people) who make you feel inadequate, worthless, guilty, cause you stress.

10. AVOID STRESS

Hardly a UCLA have a Stress Management Laboratory - it specialises in cancer. They say that "Actively managing your stress improoves survival times significantly". They also say that this is the most ignored area of cancer treatment. Well it would be - especially as Charities such as Cancer Research refuse to accept stress has anything to do with cancer!

Stress flattens the microbiome; stress flattens the immune system; stress (adrenalin and cortisol) turns on an enzyme COX-2 in every cell of the body and causes inflammation throughout the body.

Exercise and yoga produce endorphins which neutralise cortisol; prayer and meditation increase levels of opioids in the body which neutralise adrenaline.

UCLA say that you can manage your stress through counselling and other management techniques such as EFT; and you can reduce stress hormones through 

     * A colourful Mediterranean Diet

     * Fish oils

     * Yoga

     * Meditation

People who cannot do exercise should look at the adaptogen Ashwagandha which reduces cortisol and is anti-inflammatory.

11. DON’T SMOKE

Hardly a surprise really. The main reason is that it reduces blood oxygen levels and alters hormone levels; it also alters the naturall acidity in the blood and damages the gut microbiome. The first directly down-grades the immune system; the second stops your commensal gut bacteria doing their immune boosting job.

12. DON’T DRINK TOO MUCH ALCOHOL

Latest Government advice is for a maximum of 15 units a week. Alcohol reduces your magnesium and B vitamin levels, poisons your liver and depresses the immune system. 

However, a little (2-5 glasses of red wine per week) does help reduce stress and inflammation, promoting well-being. It can also lower LDL cholesterol.

Go to: Red wine increases friendly gut bacteria

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Readers of this article also read:

12 foods to fight cancer

20 herbs that fight cancer

12 of the best supplements to fight cancer

15 ways to control inflammation in your body

 

Ref (1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17895634 

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