Immune System: The 30 best tips to “boost” your immunity

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

The best tips and advice to boost the immune system and prevent illness

Stimulating your immune system is one of the best ways to protect yourself from diseases such as colds and flu. Researchers at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York have found an explanation for our susceptibility to influenza 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, it is unlikely to escape everyone.

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

Take yogurt and foods rich in probiotics

Immunity is intestinal health are intimately related. The probiotics  are good bacteria that relax immunity. Probiotics directly stimulate the immunity of the whole body by increasing lymphocyte function and strengthening the strength of its bonds with antibodies, which causes a faster reaction to infection.

“It’s still too early to say that probiotics can prevent colds and the flu , but they certainly promote the health of the immune system,” says Dr. Eric Gershwin, Chief of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the university. from California of Davis. Probiotics are supplements of live microorganisms that are added to foods such as yogurt, and can also be purchased in capsules.

In a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine , it was found that athletes who took a probiotic supplement had half as much respiratory problems as those in the control group. For some benefit, however, one to ten billion viable units (or colony forming units, CFUs) of probiotics per day must be consumed, says Carolanne Nelson, a professor in the Department of Family and Nutritional Sciences. University of Prince Edward Island. Be sure to buy products with the indication of the number of CFUs.

Exercise regularly and in moderation to enhance immunity

According to the results of a study recently published in the American Journal of Medicine , the risk of catching a cold increases when a person stops being active. Researchers at Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle measured the incidence of colds in 115 women divided into two groups: the first group had 5 exercise sessions of 45 minutes a week, while the second group had only one treatment session. 45 minutes stretching. The latter had almost four times more colds than others in one year. “We believe that the number of active immune cells increases temporarily each time a person exercises Explains Cornelia Ulrich, an associate member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and lead author of the study.

The response of your immune system to exercise is to make more of the globules that attack the bacterial invaders. And the more you exercise regularly, the more durable these changes are. American research shows that people who exercise moderately five or six days a week have half as many colds and sore throats as those who do not.

However, even when it comes to physical activity, moderation is the key. If you train intensively for 90 minutes, the production of macrophages, the cells that fight the microbes, temporarily decreases, which increases the risk of infection. So you still need to include a lot of recovery days in your training program to keep the immune system healthy. 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 first were three times fewer than the seconds to sniff and sneeze. “No one can say for sure how much exercise is needed to improve their immune system,” said Thomas Lower.

Wash your hands often to better protect yourself from diseases

“To stop the spread of infection, hand washing is probably one of the most revolutionary public health measures on par with vaccination,” says Dr. Plourde. After all, just get in touch with the cold or flu virus and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth to get infected. The authors of a review of studies published in the British Medical Journal in 2008 point out that handwashing is much more effective than antivirals in reducing risk. However, it is important to do it well: wash them for 20 seconds with warm water and soap.

Experts recommend washing 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, our expert advises.

Boost your vitamin D level

Stress and increased cortisol levels are associated with an increased risk of viral infection. Vitamin D helps reduce the production of stress hormones, increases NK cell production and strengthens T-cell function. Researchers have also found that this important vitamin promotes mucosal production of a naturally occurring antibiotic protein that builds an immune barrier against viruses and probably contributes to the expression of essential genes to fight infections.

Finnish researchers have also found that people with low blood vitamin D levels are one and a half times more likely to get a respiratory infection than others. In another study conducted at the Winthrop University Hospital Center 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 found that those who took the supplement had three times fewer symptoms of colds and flu than those in the placebo group.

Get vaccinated to protect yourself from diseases

Although seasonal flu vaccination is only 80 percent effective, it remains one of our best defenses , says Dr. Plourde. Some fear that the presence of various viral strains of the flu in the same vaccine compromises the immune system, but there is no need to worry. “The immune system has phenomenal means,” he recalls. Nearly eight million Canadians are infected with the influenza virus each year, resulting in 20,000 hospitalizations and 4,000 deaths (mostly seniors and very young children). The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks, says Dr. Pierre Plourde.

Eat foods rich in vitamin B12 to boost your immunity

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

As for sugar- free vitamin waters , although they are preferable to sweet sodas, they contain only trace amounts 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.

Avoid tobacco smoke, the enemy of the immune system

Primary smoke, the one you inhale while smoking, and the second-hand smoke of others, reduce the effectiveness of your immune system – not to mention the risk of heart disease and cancer they make you run. They wreak havoc on the T cells lining the lungs, making them less able to respond to invaders and increasing your risk of respiratory tract infections. In your lungs, macrophages become less adept at destroying viruses, bacteria and cancer cells and communicating with other players in the immune scene. Tobacco smoke also increases the antibodies that trigger allergic reactions. This is why smokers suffer far more allergies than others. The more you smoke, the more your immune system suffers. Good news: research shows that you find normal immunity just a few months after quitting. Second-hand smoke is responsible for more than thousands of lung cancer cases each year among North American non-smokers.

Laugh, sing and listen to music to strengthen the immune system

Laughter could boost your mood, but also your immune system. Laughing raises the level of antibodies in the blood and 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 done on a German choir revealed that singing activates the spleen, thus increasing the blood concentrations of antibodies. If choral singing is not for you, you will not risk singing your favorite tunes in the shower.

According to one study, 30 minutes of music would increase the production of proteins that boost immunity by up to 30%. Music also stimulates the production of natural painkillers, endorphins, so that some doctors have made it a habit to have the patient listen to his favorite music during surgery or delivery. It does not matter the type of music, as long as you like it.

Choosing the right fats to boost your immune system

Some fats are essential for cell formation and the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like compounds that help regulate the immune system’s response to infections, particularly the production of white blood cells to fight invaders. Italian athletes who followed very low fat diets were significantly short of this type of cell. The secret is to choose your fat carefully. Prefer unsaturated fats of plant origin to saturated fats of animal origin, which decrease the ability of white blood cells to eliminate bacteria. And avoid trans fatsfrom foods prepared in the factory, labeled “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated”. Trans fats, which are often found in processed foods and baked goods, can interfere with the immune system.

Oily fish such as sardines, herring and mackerel contain essential proteins for the development of invader-fighting cells, and omega-3 fatty acids that regulate the functioning of the immune system. When the body is attacked, the first response of the body is acute inflammation. However, omega-3s reduce 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-3 has also been shown to activate parts of the immune system that interrupt the activity of the attacking cells once their work is done.

Stay away from sugar so you do not weaken your immune system

Just 10 c. Sugar coffee , the amount contained in two 12-ounce cans of soda or carbonated lemonade, to alter the ability of white blood cells to neutralize or kill bacteria. Also limit artificial and calorie-free sweeteners and if needed, choose a natural sweetener, such as stevia.

Avoid getting 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 during the same time. Five days later, 20% of those with cold feet had colds compared to 9% of those with warm feet. Having cold extremities seems to decrease the formation of white blood cells, which are at the forefront of the immune system defense against invaders.

Echinacea to strengthen the immune system

Echinacea is a plant that is considered by many to be one of the best natural remedies for strengthening the immune system. Today, it is used worldwide to resist colds and flu by stimulating the body’s natural defenses such as interferon and T and NK lymphocytes. As echinacea polysaccharides (carbohydrate molecules) help the tissues to rebuild, it speeds up the healing of wounds.

German research has revealed that these plants have anti-infectious properties. For example, 108 people with upper respiratory tract infections took either placebo or 4 ml of fresh juice extracted from E. purpurea leaves twice daily for eight weeks as a preventative measure. Those treated with echinacea experienced twice as many days without infection as the others and the symptoms of the infected persons were less severe and less persistent.

Echinacea is especially effective against colds and flu, as proven by three placebo-controlled studies. In one study, 199 volunteers who said they were very vulnerable to colds were asked to take a cold at the first sign of a cold and not know what they were taking, a daily dose of 240 mg. extract of E. purpurea in two tablets for eight days, or placebo. According to doctors, echinacea acted in 68% of cases; placebo, in 40%.

Echinacea would have other virtues. According to the review Immunopharmacology, by measuring the cellular function of NK lymphocytes, echinacea extracts have been shown to stimulate the immune response of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and AIDS. But the safety of these extracts for AIDS patients 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 people with allergies whose immune systems work at full capacity most of the time. Before taking any supplement or natural food, consult your doctor .

Avoid polluted air, a harmful factor to the health of the immune system

Particles – lighter than air – smog enter your lungs and raise the rate of free radicals while dust and chemical substances breathed can cause genetic mutations leading to cancer. IgE antibodies multiply: the body is more sensitive to allergens. Unless you flee civilization, it’s hard to avoid smog, especially if you live in a major 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 14 hours. Avoid exercise outdoors during morning and evening rush hours near major arteries. Do not stay for long periods in poorly ventilated areas where chemicals (barbers or gas stations) are used and new carpets or other types of new fabric items have been installed. .

The car undermines immunity. Automotive exhaust contains toxic chemicals. Animal studies have shown that one of them, pyrene benzoate, triggers cellular mutations and, over time, decreases immune function by lowering the production of IgM, the first antibody secreted by the immune system in front of the body. a virus. According to other studies, these same exhaust gases reduce the amount of interferon (chemical messenger of the immune system) emitted by macrophages, thereby weakening our resistance to viral infections. Urban dwellers who can not escape will protect themselves a little by absorbing antioxidant vitamins (C, E and others).

Think positively for better to guard against diseases

This may sound quite commonplace or simplistic, but a positive perspective on things could help us better protect ourselves from colds. ” Happier people are less likely to catch a cold when exposed to viruses,” says Sheldon Cohen, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. In the studies he conducted, he observed that people who said they were less happy, less calm and lacking vitalitywere three times more likely to fall ill than those who saw themselves more positively. In the latter, the production of cytokine, the protein responsible for regulating the immune response, is high enough to mobilize other cells of the immune system in its fight against infection, says the psychologist.

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

Whether you take a sunburn or not , ultraviolet (UV) rays cause precancerous cells in the skin and destroy the action of certain macrophages present in the superficial layers of the epidermis, Langerhans cells. In other words, the sun exposes you to cancer while depriving you of the means to fight it. Wear over-the-top clothing – a wide-brimmed hat and light-weight but tight-knit clothing – as well as effective sunscreen.

Choose a sunscreen with a factor of protection (SPF) of 30 or more. In general, antioxidants help to counteract free radicals – harmful molecules that form after exposure to the sun. If you take vitamin-rich sunscreen , apply it generously, not forgetting the front and back of the neck, the underside of the chin, the back of the knees, the armpits and their perimeter and the tops of the feet. Do not forget to protect yourself all year long.

Use antibiotics well for an optimal immune system

Aggressive bacteria sometimes breed so fast and release toxins so quickly that they can cause irreversible damage to the body before the immune system takes control of the situation. Doctors then prescribe antibiotics – penicillin, tetracycline, sulfonamides, 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, it reproduces, so that the infection can return or spread easily. New antibiotics need to be made for these new bacteria and the cycle begins 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 down antibody production and reduce T cell activity.

Should antibiotics be avoided at all costs? Of course not. They saved how many lives we do not know; well used, they may save yours. But to take them unnecessarily, one runs more risks of being sick . Moreover, 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 to increase its combat power tenfold to cope with new attacks.

Some tips on antibiotics

Only the doctor is able to tell you if you can do without antibiotics. If you are prescribed, keep these guidelines in mind: Follow the entire treatment: By stopping prematurely because you are feeling better, you allow the still alive bacteria to restart the infection. Do not keep antibiotics for later. The doctor should evaluate your case whenever you think you need antibiotics. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, but kill bacteria – both bad and good. Take yogurt or acidophilus to quickly restore the intestinal flora.

Reduce stress to strengthen your immune system

This nasty little bomb that raises blood pressure, accelerates the heart rate and releases dreadful hormones in the circulation. Since stress is inevitable, we must find ways to manage it. Using techniques such as deep breathing, massage therapy or music therapy) to reduce the hormone cortisol and strengthen the immune system. Moderate exercise reduces stress and stimulates the immune system. By following these tips, you will really help to reduce the severity and frequency of typical winter diseases.

Deep breaths. Inhale slowly is a quick way to relax mentally and physically. To get there, 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 oxygenation that results.

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 down slowly, then return to the warm water to warm up. The alternating temperatures and the water massage relax the body and restore balance to the spirit.

Another potential threat to immune health: some plastics

The plastics are so present in everyday life that we notice them more. We drink from the plastic bottle, we buy food packaged in plastic and we use plastic wrap to store them. Plastic is not immune to suspicion. If subjected to microwaves, unless it was designed for this purpose, it emerges chemical vapors that would alter, say, the production of hormones. In laboratory animals, these byproducts cause cancer, birth defects and immunity problems.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has a long history of authorizing the manufacture of plastic food containers that produce by-products under the influence of heat. However, we are aware that the Agency is concerned about the accumulating evidence that these plastics could harm the endocrine system, both in animals and in humans.

What to do? Putting a plastic container in the microwave oven is safe if this use is specified. But never put a plastic packaging on the market, nor the storage boxes designed for the refrigerator. The plastic wrap should not touch the food being heated. Do not drink heated liquid in a polystyrene cup.

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 enters infected cells, binds to the protein envelope made by the viral DNA and neutralizes it, and then prevents 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 defense cells), natural killer cells (NK) and activation of cytokines (T cells), inflammatory molecules that destroy pathogens.

Zinc also has antioxidant properties and helps strengthen the lining of the throat, nostrils and digestive tract, which reduces the ability of viruses to attach and enter the body.

Avoid exposing yourself to volatile organic compounds

Countless common cleaning products – carpet and oven cleaners, paints and thinners, lacquers and fragrances, hair sprays and dry cleaning agents – emit volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, liquid substances that easily pass into the state vapors. Wood finishing products, plywood, wood, fiber and particle boards, carpets, furniture, wrinkle-free fabrics, curtains and mattress pads also emit VOCs, which contribute to the so-called unhealthy building syndrome. One of the most common VOCs, formaldehyde, is one of the probable 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 . Other VOCs, chloroform is the by-product of a process used in filtration plants to make drinking water.

What to do? As a recognized and common threat to your immune health, many items containing VOCs have a label that explains the risks and gives guidelines for safe use. When you buy a rug, look for the CIT / CRI green label from the Canadian Carpet Institute and, if possible, avoid sticking it. When you buy new furniture, ask for it to be ventilated before delivery. If you are painting interior, open the windows wide and choose an eco-friendly paint that contains the least amount of VOC possible. If you handle varnishes or solvents, work outdoors as much as possible.

A small glass of wine to strengthen your immune system

This is great news: wine helps 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 fall into excess. There are several reasons for this: wine dehydrates, prevents sleep and can provide a significant number of calories when consumed too much.

A healthy and balanced lifestyle to boost immunity

Think about traveling

A study has shown that those who never take a vacation are more likely to die of a heart attack . No need to go far, or even leave. The bottom line is to take time to do the things we love, not just cleaning the house or other chores late.

Call friends and loved ones you like

American researchers have found that the more rich and diverse your relationships are (spouse, close friends , coworkers, sports partners), the less you are susceptible to viral infections, especially colds.

Think yoga

This secular 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.

Sleep enough to better prevent illness

Fewer than 40% of people sleep the universally recommended eight hours. This means that after one year they may miss two full weeks of sleep . To strengthen your immune system, make sure you get enough sleep, and remember that wake-up times are not the only ones that matter. Go to bed earlier and sleep for hours to feel refreshed and refreshed.

Ginseng to boost immunity

The Ginseng is known to help the body adapt to all stress. He also has the power to help him recover from the disease, increase his physical and mental energy and combat fatigue. Its main active ingredients, ginsenosides, would be able to move 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.

At the University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, animal experiments have shown that ginseng induces white blood cells to better fight bacterial infections while reducing cell damage. According to other data, ginseng would act against cancer, especially that of the stomach.

In 1996, a study of 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 Ginseng and a multivitamin each day, compared to those who took only one multivitamin.

Contraindications
Commission E, in Germany, an authority on medicinal plants, does not report any harmful effects. Before taking a supplement or natural food, always consult your doctor.

See the air quality of your house and the germs in your apartment

With all these microbes, pollen and smog waiting outside, we would be tempted to stay at home. But here too, there are dangers. Your house may be flawless, but only in appearance. How to stay healthy in this environment that is ours? This is the task of the immune system, and here’s how to help it:

  • Detect microbes: by avoiding them as much as possible, you are less vulnerable to infectious diseases such as colds.
  • Wash your clothes in very hot water to kill mites in clothes and linens. Another solution: wash in cold water and dry your clothes and clothes at high temperature.
  • Provide slippers. One way to prevent dust, chemicals and the like from entering the house is to leave the shoes on the door, especially if you have carpets. Give everyone savates and plan for the guests. Another solution is the doormat at the door.
  • The warm, moist air that comes out of your dishwasher, washer and dryer is dirty. Ventilate the laundry and kitchen by opening the window or by operating a suction fan.
  • Indoors, molds release substances that are toxic to the immune system. Always turn on the fan to take a shower.

Good oral health

Poor oral hygiene  weakens your immune system and decreases your body’s ability to fight potential diseases and cancers. The mouth may harbor occult 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.

Promising Natural Remedies to Strengthen 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 reduce gastrointestinal problems . Research has found that melissa’s active compounds inhibit herpes simplex virus 1, or herpes labialis, and herpes simplex 2, or genital herpes. Studies have shown that topical application of lemon balm accelerates the healing of herpes lesions and prolongs periods of remission.

Contraindications of lemon
balm Lemon balm can cause intense fatigue, especially if it is associated with a sedative. Do not take it orally if you have thyroid problems. Before taking a supplement or natural food, always consult your doctor.

talus

Longer prescribed in traditional Asian medicine to people prone to infections, astragalus enhances the effects of interferon, the body’s natural antivirus. It is also believed to increase T cell activity. In this sense, it is considered one of the best natural remedies for strengthening the immune system.

The best evidence for its immunostimulatory effects comes from the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston. As a result of tube testing, polysaccharides (a sort of carbohydrate) of astragalus were found to restore the cancer cells’ immune cells.

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

Milk Thistle

The seeds of Milk Thistle have been used for centuries as a liver tonic. Their main active ingredient, silymarin, is said to successfully fight 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 the milk thistle to people who have accidentally eaten phalloid 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 regenerate after being attacked.

Contra-indications of Milk
Thistle Milk thistle can sometimes have a slightly laxative effect. Before taking a supplement or natural food, always consult your doctor.

Licorice

Glycyrrhizin, an active ingredient in licorice, increases interferon levels, inhibits some viruses, reduces inflammation and acts as a cough suppressant.
Glycyrrhizin would inhibit the formation of “giant cells,” sign in HIV-positive people that the infection turns into active AIDS. She can also stop the flu; mice injected with lethal doses of the influenza virus survived with glycyrrhizin.

Contraindications to Licorice
In cases of renal or hepatic disease or hypertension, licorice should not be used. Before taking a supplement or natural food, always consult your doctor.

elderberry

Antioxidants give it its antiviral properties. In people with colds or flu, elderberry soothes sore throats and promotes fever – a sign of immune response. In the test tube, a standardized extract of elderberry inhibited influenza viruses. When researchers gave 27 people with flu either an elderberry extract or a placebo, 93 per cent In the first group, 100% improved after two days, compared to only 25%. 100 in patients who took a placebo.

Elderberry Contraindications
Leaf or elderberry products are for external use only. Before taking a supplement or natural food, always consult your doctor.

Hydrastis

The roots of hydrastis (a plant native to North America), widely sold in Canada, are used against colds, urinary tract infections, gum inflammation and wounds. Hydrastis fights microbes, but the extent of its effects in internal medication is not clear. It is granted the virtue of curing warts of viral origin. In external application, it relieves hemorrhoids .

Contraindications to hydrastis
Avoid if you have heart disease or high blood pressure. Before taking a supplement or natural food, always consult your doctor.

Yarrow

Yarrow is traditionally used to stop bleeding and promote healing, but also to relieve colds and sore throats.
Two potent anti-inflammatory agents have been identified in yarrow and another chemical, achillin, which stops bleeding in animals. Finally, Japanese researchers isolated three antitumor substances; after animal testing, these substances could lead to new drugs for leukemia.

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

Spirulina to boost your immunity

Spirulina, a green blue algae sold in health food stores, is also promising. In a study conducted in May 2008, German researchers discovered that spirulina, zinc and powdered acerola preparations (small tropical fruits rich in vitamin C) had proprietary anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant potential. However, further studies will be needed to determine if long-term use of this type of preparation enhances immune defense and reduces the risk of colds and flu. (Consult a doctor or other health professional before taking any dietary supplement.)

St. John’s Wort

Used as a medicinal plant for millennia, 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 to apply it on wounds and superficial bruising. Its antiseptic virtues are attributed to two of its components: hypericin and pseudo-hypericin.

Thanks to its well-known antidepressant properties in Canada, St. John’s wort is becoming more and more popular with doctors as an anti-depressant. The research is less conclusive about its antimicrobial effects; According to one report, first-, second-, and third-degree burns with St. John’s wort healed three times faster than similar burns treated conventionally – leaving fewer scars.

Contraindications
St. John’s Wort may interact with multiple medications. It can also cause photosensitivity in people with fair skin; watch out for the sun and protect your eyes when you take it. Before taking a supplement or natural food, always consult your doctor.

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 element against inflammation. AGL delays tumor growth by inhibiting the growth of blood vessels.
A small UK study of women with breast cancer showed that a cocktail of GLA (also present in evening primrose oil) combined with an anticancer drug, tamoxifen, accelerated the effect of the medication. High doses of GLA can help treat rheumatoid arthritis, especially when combined with conventional therapy.

Contraindications of borage seed oil
Only seeds are used; the leaves contain alkaloids that can damage the liver. Before taking a supplement or natural food, always consult your doctor.

barberry

According to research, berberine will slow the abnormal growth of cells and thus help reduce inflammation. When 443 people with psoriasis used a holly mahonia ointment for 12 weeks, the condition of 74 p. 100 of them improved. Historically, Berberis (Thornweed and related species) has been used to treat skin disorders and cleanse the blood of toxins. It contains berberine, an antimicrobial that fights bacteria, yeasts, fungi and protozoa, especially those that cause cholera. Finally, this plant is particularly known for invigorating and stimulating the immune system.

Contraindications of berberis
Pregnant women: do not take orally; the plant can trigger contractions. Before taking a supplement or natural food, always consult your doctor.

Vitamin E and selenium

Immune cells can not function properly without adequate nutrition, says Simin Meydani, PhD, director of the Human Nutrition Research Center at the US Department of Agriculture at Tufts University. “In times of epidemic, eating poorly can be as bad as not washing your hands,” she says. But many people do not get enough vitamin E, a known immune stimulant, says Patricia Sheridan, PhD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Elderly 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 contracting colds and flus by about 20 percent. However, we must not take more. In a study that has been widely talked about, it is argued that higher doses (400 mg or more per day) can be lethal.

Selenium also contributes to the formation of the enzymes of the immune system. Most North Americans are not deficient in this regard, but they may take a little more to boost their immune systems, says Patricia Sheridan. It recommends about 55 micrograms, a dose found, for example, in a tuna sandwich.

Immune system: foods rather than supplements

If certain supplements and vitamins are effective, it is still necessary to prioritize foods with dietary supplements. If despite your efforts you believe that your diet does not meet all your needs, turn to vitamins and supplements. But otherwise, the easiest, most effective and least expensive way to boost your immunity is to eat immunostimulating foods that provide vitamins, minerals, and other known substances – not to mention the ones you still have to discover. . Scientists have made an interesting discovery that nutrients from food are better absorbed than pills. It also happens that some foods act synergistically – their effects are better when they are consumed together.

Synergy of immunostimulating foods

For example, tomatoes, peppers and garlic – the classic ingredients of Mexican sauce – have more potent and thus more beneficial effects when they are absorbed simultaneously and not separately. This discovery adds 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 to supplements. Research shows that with supplements one can abuse immunostimulants, especially vitamin E. Taking too much of these nutrients can depress immunity, increasing vulnerability to the disease. In addition to helping your body fight the infection, the immunostimulants of food bring you many other benefits. While increasing your immunity, they reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A diet based on plant foods and limited amounts of meat, dairy products 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 be added to your infection control arsenal, 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 chili peppers, which fluidify the nasal mucus; shiitake mushrooms, which help in the production of white blood cells; and ginger, which against inflammation. Do not hesitate to stock up on vegetables and colorful fruits on your plate!

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