A friend’s doctor told her something that makes perfect sense to me: a healthy immune system doesn’t mean you’ll never catch anything (although you’ll catch much less of what’s going around), but it means that if you do catch a bug and your immune system is doing its job, you’ll have milder symptoms and get over it quicker.
This made even more sense to me recently when I had the flu. The real flu. Not the stomach bug that we used to call the flu. Influenza symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, sore throat, and cough. Thankfully, it was very mild and short-lived. The first day I took a couple short naps, and was very achy with a low-grade fever and sore throat, but I still had energy to do some things around here and I even ran an errand (don’t worry, I wasn’t by any other people). I got a lot of sleep, and tried to drink a lot of fluids, but wasn’t great about that. The next day my symptoms were much improved, and I just took it easy, got more sleep, and made the most delicious tasting vegetable beef soup ever, with homemade beef stock and plenty of onions and garlic. That was all that sounded good and it hit the spot – homemade stock, onions & garlic, are very healing – all you’ve heard about chicken noodle soup is true! (Not the kind from the store, though.) That was it, only a couple days of not-too-bad symptoms.
How do you support your immune system?
- Get enough sleep (I need to do better with this one!) Thankfully, I’ve never dealt with insomnia, but my best tip is to read a book that a friend recommended, Say Good Night to Insomnia.
- Read why it’s important to take your cod liver oil! It’s a powerful immune system booster and natural anti-inflammatory. (Where to find fermented cod liver oil.)
- If you’re really sick or have long-term issues, look into a strong probiotic (here’s where I get mine), otherwise, try to get more fermented foods & drinks into your diet – like yogurt, Kefir soda pop, Kombucha, fermented veggies, etc. Raw milk also has natural probiotics. (Where to find good probiotics or fermented food starters.)
- Eat well – watch those refined carbs! (Not easy, believe me, I know.) Drink bone broth or make soups!
- Eat a lot of healthy fats! They are so nourishing!
- Eat fruits & veggies, yes, but organic is best so your body doesn’t have to deal with all the preservatives, pesticides, & GMO‘s. (Same thing for meat – find safe meat from a local farm or from this trusted online source.)
- Exercise is as important as you’ve heard. Even just a nice walk in the fresh air, especially with a good friend you can talk to.
- A few things I’ve listed are part of the Gaps Diet, but for some, in order to build up your immune system, you may need to take it further and implement even more of the GAPS Diet principles. (Get the GAPS book here.)
- Find ways to cut the stress in your life. I know, I know, many of you don’t see a way to do that. I feel like that at times, too. So here’s 2 more tips then: 1. Learn an easy way to relax, at least for a moment, in the midst of the stress, and 2. Read about someone at my other blog who can help you get through the tough times in your life.
- This last one is for you to fill in the blank – what did I forget? What have you done to build, or heal, your immune system? (Be sure to check the comments for great advice from readers!)
- Do germs really cause disease?
- Is our environment too clean?
- Myths about what really makes us sick
- Are you under stress in your life right now? Health & Nutrition not high on your priority list at the moment? It’s OK.
- Should you get the flu shot?