How to Stimulate the Immune System Naturally

5 strategies to avoid sickness before it starts

Colds and flus never take a break but, thankfully, neither do our immune systems. It's a constant battle. And, lucky for us, we can always do some things to help our bodies' built-in defenses. It's always better to prevent a cold or flu than to fight it after you've gotten it. Here are some ways to naturally stimulate your immune system to ward off that cold or flu:

Step 1: Get plenty of rest

If your body is rested, it will perform the way it's supposed to. And that goes for the immune system, too. Sleep researcher William C. Dement, M.D., says that bad sleeping habits have contributed to the general poor health of our nation and an overall increase in the incidence of disease. Getting the eight hours you need, or as close to that as possible, will help your body keep viral intruders at bay.

Step 2: Exercise regularly

Exercising not only revitalizes muscles and organs, but it boosts the immune system as well. According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity can help you fight off viral infections and illnesses. Aerobic exercise stimulates the immune system and, therefore, can make you less vulnerable to minor colds and the flu.

Step 3: Drink lots of water

Water is essential for the body's health. Gary Rosard, a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and the author of Spring Cleaning for the Body and Mind, says that water helps the liver filter toxins out of the bloodstream. It also helps keep viruses out of the body by keeping the mucous membranes moist and functional. Rosard also recommends drinking less regular coffee, since it's a diuretic. Just as water is good for the immune system, anything that depletes your body of water is bad for your natural defenses.

Step 4: Eat raw fruits and vegetables

Raw fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants boost the functioning of the immune system and help detoxify the body. When foods like refined sugar and white flour are eaten, they put a strain on the body to process them. Additionally, they suppress the immune system and don't provide any vital nutrients.

Step 5: Relax

Relaxation reduces stress levels. And, since stress can weaken the immune system, people who take more time to unwind and enjoy life generally get sick less than people who don't. According to Theri Raby, M.D., an internist with a certification in integrative medicine, when you give your nervous system a rest, it enhances immune response and helps your body more readily ward off bacteria and viruses.

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