30 good tips to boost your immune system

30 good tips to boost your immune system

Protect yourself from colds, flu and disease with these 30 simple, yet effective tips to boost your immune system!

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1 /30 Strengthen the immune system: the best tips and advice to avoid disease.

The best tips and advice to strengthen the immune system and avoid disease
Boosting your immune system is one of the best ways to protect yourself from illnesses, including colds and flu.Boost immune system

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York have found an explanation for our susceptibility to flu viruses during the winter: these microorganisms survive longer when temperatures are cold and dry, which promotes their spread.

In the droplets of water and air. As for the common cold, which is caused by more than 200 viruses, there is little chance of escaping everyone.

“However, a few simple preventative strategies to strengthen your immune system will get you far,” says Dr Pierre Plourde, a doctor with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Discover without further delay the 30 most effective and promising ways to strengthen your immune system and thus better protect yourself from the disease.

2 /30 To strengthen your immune system, take probiotics.

Eat yoghurt and foods rich in probiotics
Immunity and intestinal health are intimately linked. Probiotics are good bacteria that serve to relax this immunity.Boost immune system

Probiotics directly boost the entire body’s immunity by increasing lymphocyte function and strengthening the strength of its bonds with antibodies, which causes a faster reaction to infection.

“It is still premature to say that probiotics can prevent colds and flu, but they certainly promote immune system health,” said Dr.Eric Gershwin, head of the university’s department of rheumatology, allergy and clinical immunology from California’s Davis. Probiotics are supplements of living microorganisms that are added to foods like yoghurt and are also available in capsules.

In a study, the results of which were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it was observed that athletes who took a probiotic supplement had half the breathing problems than those in the control group.

To get any benefit, however, you must consume between one and ten billion viable units (or colony-forming units, CFU) of probiotics per day, adds Carolanne Nelson, a professor in the department of family and nutritional sciences of the University of Prince Edward Island. Be sure to purchase products with the number of PDUs indicated.

3 /30 To strengthen your immune system, play sports.

Exercise regularly and in moderation to strengthen immunity
According to the results of a study recently published in the American Journal of Medicine, the risk of catching cold increases when a person stops being active.30 good tips to boost your immune system

Researchers from the Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle measured the incidence of colds in 115 women divided into two groups: those of the first did 5 45-minute exercise sessions per week while those of the second only did one ” 45 minute stretches.

The latter had almost four times more colds than the others in a year. “We think that the number of active immune cells temporarily increases each time someone exercises,” says Cornelia Ulrich, an associate member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and lead author of the study.

Your immune system’s response to exercise is to make more of the blood cells that attack bacterial invaders. And the more you exercise regularly, the longer these changes will last.

American research shows that people who do moderate exercise five or six days a week have half as many colds and sore throats as people who don’t.

Even in physical activity, however, moderation is key. If you train intensively for 90 minutes, the production of macrophages, these cells that fight microbes, temporarily decreases, which increases the risk of infection.

So always include a lot of recovery days in your training program to maintain a healthy immune system. In a 2006 study, the sample included women who exercised moderately five times a week and others who exercised excessively once a week.

At the end of the study, the former were three times less likely than the latter to sniff and sneeze. “No one can say for sure how much exercise it takes to improve your immune system,” says Thomas Lower.

4 /30 To boost your immune system, wash your hands.

Wash your hands often to help protect yourself from disease
“To stop the spread of the infection, hand washing is probably one of the most revolutionary public health measures, on par with vaccination,” said Dr Plourde. After all, it is enough to come into contact with the cold or flu virus and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth to be infected.

The authors of a review of studies published in 2008 in the British Medical Journal pointing out that hand washing is much more effective than antivirals in reducing the risk. However, it is important to do it well: wash them for 20 seconds with warm water and soap.

Experts recommend washing your hands several times during the day, especially before and after eating, after using the toilet, after coughing, sneezing, or touching objects that may have been handled by sick people.

Above all, do not use soaps, lotions or antiseptic gels, which could promote the resistance of bacteria. Instead, use alcohol-based gels advise our expert.

5 /30 Strengthen your immune system by taking vitamin D.

Increase your vitamin D levels
Stress and increased cortisol levels are associated with an increased risk of viral infection. Vitamin D helps reduce the production of stress hormones, increases the production of NK cells, and strengthens the function of T cells.

Researchers have also found that this important vitamin promotes the production in the mucous membranes of a naturally occurring antibiotic protein, which erects an immune barrier against viruses, which presumably contributes to the expression of essential genes to fight infections.

Finnish researchers have also found that people with low vitamin D levels in the blood are 1.5 times more likely than others to get a respiratory infection. In another study at the Winthrop University Hospital in New York, to assess the effects of vitamin D supplementation (2000 IU per day) on the bone density of African American women, the researchers discovered that those taking the supplement had three times fewer cold and flu symptoms than those in the placebo group.

6 /30 Boost your immune system by getting vaccinated.

Get vaccinated to protect yourself from disease
Although the seasonal flu shot is only 80% effective, it remains one of our best defences, says Dr Plourde.30 good tips to boost your immune system

There are concerns that the presence of different viral strains of influenza in the same vaccine could compromise the immune system, but there is nothing to worry about. “The immune system has phenomenal resources,” he recalls. Nearly eight million Canadians are infected with the flu virus each year, resulting in 20,000 hospitalizations and 4,000 deaths (mostly among the elderly and very young children). The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks, says Dr Pierre Plourde.

7 /30 The immune system needs vitamins B12.

Eat foods rich in vitamin B12 to boost your immunity
You may have heard that injections of vitamin B12 boost immunity, but no studies have been done to prove that they protect against colds and flu. “Most people who eat a healthy diet eat enough,” says Eric Gershwin. For the majority, the injection is an unnecessary expense. ”

As for vitamin waters without sugar, although they are preferable to sweet sodas, they only contain traces of vitamins; it’s not enough to prevent a cold or boost the immune system, says Aileen Burford-Mason, immunologist and president of the Holistic Health Research Foundation of Canada.

8 /30 Graying-hair-cigarette.

Avoid tobacco smoke, the enemy of the immune system
Primary smoke, the smoke you inhale while smoking, and second-hand smoke, from others, reduce the effectiveness of your immune system – not to mention the risk of heart disease and cancer they put you at risk.

They wreak havoc on T cells lining the lungs, making them less and less able to respond to invaders and increasing your risk of respiratory tract infections.

In your lungs, macrophages become less able to destroy viruses, bacteria and cancer cells and to communicate with other actors on the immune scene.

Tobacco smoke also increases the antibodies that trigger allergic reactions. This is why smokers have far more allergies than others.

The more you smoke, the more your immune system suffers. Good news: research shows that you regain normal immunity just a few months after you quit smoking.

Second-hand smoke is responsible for more than thousands of cases of lung cancer each year among non-smokers in North America.

 Make sure to know these 8 incredible foods to stop smoking 

9 /30 Boost your immune system, laugh, sing and listen to music!

Laugh, sing and listen to music to strengthen the immune system
Laughing could boost your mood, as well as your immune system. Laughter increases the level of antibodies in the blood and of the white blood cells that attack and kill bacteria and viruses. Laughing also increases the number of antibodies in the nasal mucus and the airways, which are the entry points for many microbes.

A study with a German choir found that singing activates the spleen, thereby increasing blood levels of antibodies. If choral singing is not for you, there is no risk in singing your favourite tunes in the shower.

According to a study, 30 minutes of music increases the production of proteins that boost immunity by up to 30%.

The music also stimulates the production of natural painkillers, the endorphins, so that some doctors have gotten into the habit of making the patient listen to his favourite music during surgery or childbirth. No matter what type of music, as long as you like it.

10 /30 Boost your immune system, eat good fats.

Choosing the right fats to boost your immune system
Certain fats are essential for cell formation and the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like compounds that help regulate the immune system’s response to infections, especially the making of white blood cells to fight invaders.

Italian athletes who followed very low-fat diets lacked this type of cell considerably. The secret is to choose your fats carefully. Prefer unsaturated fats of vegetable origin to saturated fats of animal origin, which decrease the capacity of white blood cells to eliminate bacteria.

And avoid trans fats, from factory-prepared foods, labelled “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated”. Trans fats, which are often found in processed foods and baked goods,

Oily fish like sardines, herring and mackerel contain proteins essential for the development of cells that fight invaders, and omega-3 fatty acids that regulate the functioning of the immune system.

When the body is attacked, the body’s first response is acute inflammation. However, omega-3s decrease the production of inflammatory compounds and increase the production of anti-inflammatory drugs, thus promoting healing and even suppressing the growth of cancer cells. In clinical trials, omega-3s have also been shown to activate parts of the immune system that disrupt the activity of attack cells once their job is done.

11 /30 Boost your immune system, avoid eating too much sugar.

Stay away from sugar so as not to weaken your immune defencesEating too much sugar: recognizing the 9 warning signs
Just 10 tsp. sugar, the amount contained in two 350 ml (12 oz) cans of soda or carbonated lemonade, to affect the ability of white blood cells to neutralize or kill bacteria. Also, limit artificial sweeteners and without calories and if necessary, choose a natural sweetener, such as that from stevia.

Here are the 5 sane snacks for diabetics 

12 /30 Boost your immune system, stay warm.

Avoid being cold to help your immune system
Your mother was right: you are more likely to get an infection if you are cold. In one study, 90 people left their feet in a bowl of cold water for 20 minutes, and another 90 put their feet in an empty container at the same time.

Five days later, 20% of subjects with cold feet had a cold, compared to 9% of those whose feet remained warm. Having cold ends seems to decrease the formation of white blood cells, which are the first line of the immune system to defend against invaders.

13 /30 Boost your immune system, try echinacea.

Echinacea to boost the immune system
Echinacea is a herb that is considered by many to be one of the best natural remedies for strengthening the immune system.Boost immune system

Today, it is used worldwide to resist colds and flu by stimulating the body’s natural defences such as interferon and T and NK lymphocytes. As the polysaccharides (carbohydrate molecules) of echinacea help the tissues to rebuild, it accelerates the healing of wounds.

German research has revealed that these plants have anti-infective properties. For example, 108 people prone to upper respiratory infections took either a placebo or 4 ml of fresh juice extracted from the leaves of E. purpurea twice a day for eight weeks as a preventive measure.

Those treated with echinacea experienced twice as many days without infection as the others and the symptoms of those infected were less severe and less persistent.

Echinacea is most effective against colds and flu, as proven by three placebo-controlled studies. In one, 199 volunteers who said they were very vulnerable to colds were asked to absorb, at the first sign of a cold and without knowing what they were taking, a daily dose of 240 mg of extract of E.purpurea in two tablets for eight days, a placebo.

According to the doctors, echinacea worked in 68% of the cases; placebo, in 40%. Find more natural remedies to cure colds.

Echinacea would have other virtues. According to the journal Immunopharmacology, by measuring the cellular function of NK lymphocytes, we have seen that echinacea extracts stimulate the immune response of patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and AIDS. However, the safety of these extracts for people with AIDS is still under study.

Contraindications

Do not take echinacea if you have a systemic disease such as tuberculosis or an autoimmune disorder, or if you are taking immunosuppressants. Echinacea has little effect on allergic people whose immune systems work at full capacity most of the time. Before taking a supplement or natural food, consult your doctor.

14 /30 Boost your immune system, protect yourself from polluted air.

Avoid polluted air, a factor harmful to the health of the immune system
The lighter-than-air particles of smog enter your lungs and raise free radicals while the dust and chemicals you breathe can cause genetic mutations leading to cancer. IgE antibodies multiply: the body is more sensitive to allergens. Unless you’re fleeing civilization, it’s hard to avoid smog, especially if you live in a large metropolitan area.

Limit the risks! Stay indoors as much as possible when there is a lot of smog, usually in the afternoon with a peak around 2 p.m.

Avoid exercising outside during morning and evening rush hour near large arteries. Do not stay very long in poorly ventilated places where chemicals are used (hairdressing salons or service stations) and where new carpets or other new types of fabric have just been installed.

The car undermines immunity. Automobile exhaust contains toxic chemicals. Animal studies have shown that one of them, pyrene benzoate, triggers cell mutations and, over time, decreases immune function by lowering the production of IgM, the first antibody secreted by the immune system. a virus.

According to other studies, these same exhaust gases reduce the amount of interferon (chemical messenger of the immune system) emitted by macrophages, weakening our resistance to viral infections.

City dwellers who cannot escape it will protect themselves a little by absorbing antioxidant vitamins (C, E and others).

15 /30 How to boost your immune system: think positively.

Think positively for better to guard against illness
It may sound trivial or simplistic, but a positive view of things could help us better protect ourselves from the common cold. “Happier people are less likely to get a cold when exposed to viruses,” says Sheldon Cohen, professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.Stay positive

In his studies, he found that people who said they were less happy, less calm, and lacking in vitality were three times more likely to get sick than those who saw themselves more positively.

In the latter, the production of cytokine, a protein responsible for regulating the immune response, is high enough to mobilize the other cells of the immune system in its fight against infection, explains the psychologist.

16 /30 Metabolism: watch the sunrise each morning.

Protect yourself from the sun, an unsuspected enemy of the immune system

Choose a sunscreen with a protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. In general, antioxidants help defeat free radicals – harmful molecules that form after exposure to the sun. Strengthen your immune system If you take a vitamin sunscreen, apply it liberally, not forgetting the front and back of the neck, the bottom of the chin, the back of the knees, the armpits and their circumference as well as the top of the feet. Remember to protect yourself all year long.

17 /30 The immune system can be weakened by misused antibiotics.

Use antibiotics well for an optimal immune system
Aggressive bacteria sometimes reproduce so quickly and release toxins so quickly that they can irreversibly harm the body before the immune system takes control. Doctors then prescribe antibiotics – penicillin, tetracycline, sulfa drugs, etc. – to block the infection.

But there is a glitch. Antibiotics lose their effectiveness over time. If only a few bacteria mutate and survive the drug, they produce a new generation that is resistant to the antibiotic. In turn, this recurs, so the infection can come back or spread easily.

You then have to make new antibiotics for these new bacteria and the cycle starts all over again. Research shows that antibiotics can also suppress immunity.

Scientists have discovered, among other things, that tetracycline inhibits the ability of phagocytes to devour and destroy bacteria. Other antibiotics slow the production of antibodies and reduce the activity of T cells.

Should antibiotics be avoided at all costs? Of course not. They saved who knows how many lives; used well, they may save yours. But taking them unnecessarily, you run more risk of being sick.

What is more, because they act powerfully in such a short time, we forget that the disease can have positive aspects. Some minor infections allow the immune system to get back into shape and increase its fighting power tenfold to eventually face new attacks.

Some advice on antibiotics

Only the doctor can tell you if you can do without antibiotics. If you are prescribed it, keep these guidelines in mind: Follow the entire treatment:

by stopping it prematurely because you feel better, you can allow the bacteria that are still alive to restart the infection.

Do not save antibiotics for later.

The doctor should assess your case each time you think you need antibiotics.

Antibiotics don’t work against viruses, but kill bacteria – the bad as well as the good.

Take yoghurt or acidophilus to quickly restore the intestinal flora.

18 /30 The immune system can be weakened by plastic containers.

Another potential threat to immune health: certain plastics
Plastics are so present in everyday life that we don’t even notice them anymore. We drink from the plastic bottle, we buy food wrapped in plastic and we use plastic wrap to store them.

Plastic, however, is not immune to any suspicion. If you put it in the microwave, unless it was designed for that purpose, it releases chemical vapours which are said to alter the production of hormones. In laboratory animals, these byproducts cause cancer, birth defects and immunity issues.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has long authorized the production of plastic-based food containers which, under the effect of heat, emit by-products.

We know, however, that the Agency is concerned about the accumulation of evidence to the effect that these plastics could harm the endocrine system, both in animals and in humans.

What to do? Putting a plastic container in the microwave is safe if this use is specified. But never put in a commercial plastic packaging, nor the storage boxes designed for the refrigerator.

The plastic wrap should not touch the food being heated. You should also not drink liquids heated in a polystyrene cup.

19 /30 How to boost your immune system: zinc and vitamin C.

Vitamin C and zinc to strengthen your immune system
This vitamin plays an essential role in the reaction of white blood cells and antibodies to infections, bacteria and viruses.Vitamin c supplements

Vitamin C enters infected cells, binds and neutralizes the protein shell made by viral DNA, and then stops the virus from replicating. Citrus, cayenne pepper, red or green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and strawberries are packed with vitamin C.

Zinc is essential for the development and functioning of neutrophils (first-line defence cells), natural killer cells (NK) and the activation of cytokines (T cells), inflammatory molecules that destroy pathogens.

Zinc also has antioxidant properties and helps strengthen the mucous membranes lining the throat, nostrils and digestive tracts, which decreases the ability of viruses to attach to it and enter the body.

20 /30 How to boost your immune system: Vitamin C and zinc.

Reduce stress to strengthen your immune system
This ugly little bomb that raises blood pressure, speeds up the heart rate and releases dreaded hormones into the circulation.

Since stress is inevitable, we have to find a way to manage it. Using techniques like deep breathing, massage therapy or music therapy) to reduce the hormone cortisol and strengthen the immune system.

Moderate exercise decreases stress and boosts the immune system. By following these tips, you will really help reduce the severity and frequency of typical winter illnesses.

Deep breaths. Breathing slowly is a quick way to relax mentally and physically. To do this, start by stretching the skin at the bottom of the rib cage.

This stimulates the diaphragm and makes breathing deeper. By getting used to this “belly” breathing, you will appreciate the resulting oxygenation.

Health cure. To reduce anxiety and relax muscles, treat yourself to a good relaxing bath. Or spend 10 minutes lounging in the shower. Start with very hot water, cool it little by little, then return to hot water to warm up. Alternating temperatures and water massage relax the body and restore balance to the mind.

21 /30 How to boost your immune system: watch out for chemicals.

Avoid exposure to volatile organic compounds
Countless common cleaning products – carpet and oven cleaners, paints and thinners, hairsprays and fragrances, hair sprays, and dry cleaning agents – emit volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, liquid substances that easily pass into the state vapours.

Wood finishing products, plywood, wood, fibre and particle board, carpets, furniture, wrinkle-free fabrics, curtains and mattress covers also emit VOCs, which contribute to what is known as sick building syndrome. One of the most common VOCs, formaldehyde, is among the likely causes of cancer in humans.

In laboratory animals, it causes cancer of the nasal passages. In humans, it irritates the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Another VOC, chloroform is the by-product of a process used in filtration factories to make water potable.

What to do? As a recognized and common threat to your immune health, many articles containing VOCs have a label that explains the risks and gives directions for safe use.

When buying a carpet, look for the CIT / CRI green label from the Canadian Carpet Institute and avoid sticking it if possible. When you buy a new piece of furniture, ask that it be ventilated before being delivered.

If you are painting the interior, open the windows wide and choose environmentally friendly paint that contains as little VOC as possible. If you are handling varnishes or solvents, work outdoors as much as possible.

22 /30 How to boost your immune system: drink wine.

A small glass of wine to strengthen your immune system
Wine can help maintain immunity: the secret is in moderation. Just as it would be unthinkable to eat 500 grams of chocolate a day, to drink more than two glasses of wine is to go overboard.Tips to strengthen the immune system

There are several reasons for this: wine dehydrates, prevents you from sleeping well and can provide a significant number of calories when consumed too much.

23 /30 To strengthen your immune system, adopt a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

A healthy and balanced lifestyle to strengthen immunity
Think about travel
A study has shown that those who never take a vacation are more likely to die from a heart attack.

No need to go far, or even leave. The bottom line is taking time to do the things you love, not just cleaning the house or other late chores.

Call friends and relatives you
like. American researchers have found that the richer and more diverse your relationships (spouse, close friends, colleagues, sports partners), the less you are prone to viral infections, especially the common cold.

Think yoga
This age-old method strengthens the body, gives tone and flexibility, and calms the spirits. Its effects on blood pressure, insomnia, asthma, migraines, diabetes, arthritis and back pain are scientifically proven. Take a class or rent a cassette.

24 /30 Get enough sleep to strengthen your immune system.

Get enough sleep to better prevent illness
Less than 40% of people sleep the universally recommended eight hours. This means that after a year, they may miss two full weeks of sleep.

To strengthen your immune system, make sure you get enough sleep and remember that waking hours are not the only ones that count. Go to bed earlier and sleep for a number of hours that will make you feel fresh and ready when you wake up.

25 /30 To strengthen your immune system, try ginseng.

Ginseng to boost immunity
Ginseng is known to help the body adapt to all stresses. It also has the power to help him recover from illness, increase his physical and mental energy and fight fatigue.Ginseng and immune system

Its main active elements, ginsenosides, would be able to pass from a stimulating effect to a calming effect, according to the needs of the moment. A related species, American ginseng has a similar chemical structure but has been the subject of less research.

Animal experiments at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark have shown that ginseng makes white blood cells better fight bacterial infections while reducing cell damage. According to other data, ginseng acts against cancer, especially that of the stomach.

In 1996, a study carried out on 501 volunteers, revealed a significant increase in the quality of life (from negative factors affecting depression, self-esteem, energy, libido and sleep) in those who had taken 40 mg of extract of ginseng and a multivitamin every day, compared to those who only took a multivitamin.

Contraindications

Commission E in Germany, an authority on medicinal plants, reports no harmful effects. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement or natural food.

26 /30 To strengthen your immune system, make sure you have good air quality and counteract germs in the house.

See the air quality in your home and watch out for germs in your apartment
With all these microbes, pollens and smog lurking outside, we would be tempted to stay at home.

But there too, there are dangers. Your house may be spotless, but only in appearance. How to stay healthy in this environment that is ours? This is the job of the immune system, and here’s how to help it:

Unearth microbes: by avoiding them as much as possible, you are less vulnerable to infectious diseases like the common cold.
Wash your clothes in very hot water to kill the mites in clothes and linens. Another solution: wash with cold water and dry your linen and clothes at high temperature.
Provide slippers.

One way to keep dust, chemicals, and the like out of your home is to leave your shoes at the door, especially if you have carpets. Give everyone saves and plan some for guests.

Another solution is the doormat.
The hot and humid air that emanates from your dishwasher, washer and dryer is contaminated.

Ventilate the laundry room and the kitchen by opening the window or by activating an extractor fan.
Inside, moulds release substances that are toxic to the immune system. Always turn on the fan to take your shower.

27 /30 To strengthen your immune system, take care of your teeth and mouth.

Good oral health
Poor oral hygiene weakens your immune system and decreases your body’s ability to fight off potential diseases and cancers. The mouth can harbour hidden infections that undermine the immune system. Brush your teeth and tongue twice a day and use the wire at least once. Take two dental exams a year.

28 /30 To strengthen your immune system, try natural remedies.

Promising natural remedies to boost your immune system

Lemon Balm

The lemon balm is particularly effective in stimulating the immune system. Its chemical compounds have been shown to paralyze viruses, reduce inflammation, and decrease gastrointestinal problems.

Research has revealed that the active compounds in lemon balm inhibit the herpes virus type 1, or cold sores, and herpes type 2, or genital herpes.

Studies have shown that when applied topically, lemon balm accelerates the healing of herpetic lesions and lengthens the periods of remission.

Contraindications of lemon balm:

Lemon balm can cause intense fatigue, especially if combined with a sedative. Do not take it orally if you have a thyroid disorder. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement or natural food.

Astragalus

Long prescribed in traditional Asian medicine for people prone to infections, astragalus strengthens the effects of interferon, the body’s natural antivirus.

It is also believed to increase the activity of T cells. In this sense, it is considered one of the best natural remedies for strengthening the immune system.

The best evidence on its immunostimulatory effects comes from the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston. Following test tube research, it was discovered that astragalus polysaccharides (a kind of carbohydrate) restore the immune cells of cancer patients.

Astragalus contraindications:

Astragalus is not recommended for people who suffer from autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. It can hinder the action of immunosuppressive drugs. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement or natural food.

Milk thistle

The seeds of milk thistle have been used for centuries as a liver tonic. Their main active element, silymarin, is said to help successfully combat the effects of alcohol, heavy metals, drugs, solvents, pesticides and other toxins by stabilizing the outer membrane of liver cells.

In Europe, emergency physicians give a derivative of milk thistle to people who have accidentally eaten phalloidin amanita, a deadly fungus.

Clinical trials show that silymarin stimulates the immune response. It also protects the liver from the dangerous byproducts of detoxification by helping liver cells to regenerate after being attacked.

Milk thistle contraindications:

Milk thistle can sometimes have a slightly laxative effect. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement or natural food.

Liquorice

Glycyrrhizin, an active ingredient in liquorice, increases interferon levels, inhibits certain viruses, reduces inflammation and acts as a cough suppressant.

Glycyrrhizin would inhibit the formation of “giant cells,” a sign in HIV-positive people that the infection turns into active AIDS. It can also stop the flu; mice injected with lethal doses of the influenza virus survived on glycyrrhizin.

Contraindications of liquorice:

In the case of kidney or liver disease or hypertension, liquorice should not be used. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement or natural food.

Elderberry

Antioxidants give it its antiviral properties. In people with colds or the flu, elderberry soothes a sore throat and promotes fever – a sign of an immune response. In a test tube, a standardized elderberry extract inhibited influenza viruses.

When researchers gave 27 people with flu either an elderberry extract or a placebo, 93 per cent 100 of the first group got better after two days against only 25 p. 100 in patients who had taken a placebo.

Contraindications for elderberries:

Products made from leaves or elderberry bark are for external use only. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement or natural food.

Hydrastis

The roots of Hydrastis (a native plant from North America), widely sold in Canada, are used against colds, urinary tract infections, gum inflammation and on wounds.

Hydrastis fights microbes, but the extent of its effects in internal medication is unclear. It is granted the virtue of curing warts of viral origin. In external application, it relieves haemorrhoids.

Hydrastis contraindications:

Avoid if you have heart disease or hypertension. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement or natural food.

Achillea millefolium Achillea millefolium
is traditionally used to stop bleeding and promote healing, but also to relieve colds and sore throats.
Two powerful anti-inflammatory drugs have been identified in yarrow, as well as another chemical, achilletin, which stops bleeding in animals.

Finally, Japanese researchers have isolated three anti-tumour substances; after testing in animals, these substances could lead to new leukaemia drugs.

Contraindications of yarrow:

Do not put on large, deep or infected wounds: extensive use can make the skin sensitive to the sun. People allergic to ragweed can also be allergic to yarrow. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement or natural food.

Spirulina to boost your immunity

Spirulina, a green blue-green alga sold in health food stores, is also promising. In a study carried out in May 2008, German researchers discovered that preparations based on spirulina, zinc and acerola powder (small tropical fruit rich in vitamin C) had anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant potential.

However, more studies are needed to determine whether long-term use of this type of preparation strengthens the immune system and decreases the risk of getting a cold or the flu. (Consult a doctor or other health care professional before taking food supplements.)

St. John’s Wort

Used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years, St. John’s Wort is now prescribed in Germany as an antidepressant 20 times more often than Prozac.

As it has antimicrobial effects, doctors advise applying it on wounds and superficial bruises. Its antiseptic properties are attributed to two of its components: hypericin and pseudo-hypericin. St. John’s Wort is also one of the natural remedies for depression.

Thanks to its antidepressant properties, which are well known in Canada, St. John’s Wort is increasingly popular with physicians as an antidepressant. Research is less conclusive on its antimicrobial effects; first, second, and third-degree burns treated for St. John’s wort healed three times faster than similar conventionally treated burns and left fewer scars, according to one report.

Contraindications of St. John’s Wort:

St. John’s Wort can interact with many medications. It can also cause photosensitivity in people with fair skin; pay attention to the sun and protect your eyes when you take it. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement or natural food.

Borage seed oil

According to recent research, borage seeds are a source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid that produces prostaglandin E1, a natural chemical against inflammation. AGL delays tumour extension by inhibiting the growth of blood vessels.

A small British study of women with breast cancer found that a cocktail of GLA (also found in evening primrose oil) combined with the anti-cancer drug, tamoxifen, accelerated the effect of the medication. Large doses of GLA can help treat rheumatoid arthritis, especially when combined with conventional therapy.

Borage seed oil contraindications:
We only use seeds; the leaves contain alkaloids that can damage the liver. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement or natural food.

Berberis

According to research, berberine slows down abnormal cell growth and thus helps reduce inflammation. When 443 people with psoriasis used a holly-leaved mahonia ointment for 12 weeks, the condition of 74% 100 of them has improved. Historically, berberis (epinevinette and related species) has been used to treat skin disorders and to purify the blood of its toxins. It contains berberine, an antimicrobial that fights bacteria, yeasts, fungi and protozoa, especially those that cause cholera. Finally, this plant is particularly known to invigorate and stimulate the immune system.

Berberis contraindications:

Pregnant women: do not take it orally; the plant can trigger contractions. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement or natural food.

29 /30 Vitamin E and selenium to boost the immune system.

Immune cells cannot function well without adequate nutrition, says Simin Meydani, PhD, director of the Center for Research in Human Nutrition at the United States Department of Agriculture at Tufts University. “Eating badly can be as bad as not washing your hands during an epidemic,” she says.

Many people don’t get enough vitamin E, a recognized immune booster, says Patricia Sheridan, PhD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Older people and those with weakened immune systems may need more vitamin E, says Simin Meydani. In her study of people in nursing homes, she reports that such a supplement reduces the risk of getting colds and flu by about 20 per cent.

However, we should not take more. In a much talked about study, it is argued that higher doses (400 mg or more per day) can be lethal.

Selenium also contributes to the formation of enzymes in the immune system. Most North Americans don’t have a deficiency in this regard, but they could take a little more to boost their immune systems, says Patricia Sheridan. She recommends about 55 micrograms, a dose found, for example, in a tuna sandwich.

30 /30 Strengthen your immune system with food, especially fruits and vegetables.

Immune system: food rather than supplements
If certain supplements and vitamins are effective, it is still necessary to favour foods over dietary supplements. If despite your best efforts you believe that your diet does not meet all of your needs, turn to vitamins and supplements.

But otherwise, the easiest, most effective, and cheapest way to boost your immunity is to eat immunostimulatory foods that provide vitamins, minerals, and other known substances – not to mention the ones that are yet to be discovered.

Scientists have made an interesting discovery: nutrients from food are better absorbed than those from pills. It also happens that certain foods act synergistically – their effects are best when eaten together.

A synergy of immunostimulatory foods
For example, tomatoes, peppers and garlic – the classic ingredients in Mexican sauce – have more powerful and therefore more beneficial effects when they are absorbed simultaneously and not separately. This discovery gives weight to the assertion that supplements can never replace a varied diet.

Supplements can create imbalances in the body
There is another reason to prefer foods over supplements. Research shows that supplements can overuse immunostimulants, including vitamin E. Taking too many of these nutrients can depress immunity, increasing vulnerability to disease.

In addition to helping your body fight infection, immunostimulants from food bring you many other benefits. While boosting your immunity, they reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

A diet based on plant foods and limited amounts of meat, dairy, and high-fat foods is effective against cancer, especially if you maintain the right balance of calories and exercise.

Garlic and onions in soups, stews and other dishes are two sources of powerful antiviral substances that can boost your resistance to infections.

Many other vegetables can add to your arsenal of infection control, including carrots and sweet potatoes: they are rich in beta-carotene, which has an anti-inflammatory action and increases the speed of production of white blood cells.

Other powerful allies include chilli peppers, which thin the nasal mucus; shiitake mushrooms, which help in the production of white blood cells; and ginger, which against inflammation. So don’t hesitate to stock up on colourful vegetables and fruit on your plate!

Avoid taking these supplements which are a total waste of money (and even be dangerous).

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