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Thursday, April 26, 2012

7 Tips to STOP Getting Sick

Here are 7 tips on how to boost your immune system and ward off sickness;

1. Focus on Vitamin D.

This is probably THE most important of all of these tips!

If you get your vitamin D levels tested, you generally want to be between 40-70 ng/ml. Once you get above 50 ng/ml, that's where the real benefits start to happen with a maximized immune system and balanced hormones.

When it comes to Vitamin D, you need to be careful about artificial forms as these are almost always either ineffective or possibly even detrimental to health. Vitamin D2 is generally the artificial version. Vitamin D3 from either cod liver oil or an oil-based D3 supplement are better options.

Keep in mind that it's best to get your vitamin D naturally from the sun if you can. It is the absolute best source of vitamin D, and leads to a powerful strengthening of your immune system when your body can naturally produce Vitamin D from moderate sun exposure. When the UVB rays from mid-day sun hit your skin, it reacts with oils in your skin to produce vitamin D that is slowly adbsorbed by your body. Note that sunscreens block the body's ability to produce vitamin D.

People with very pale skin tones may only need 10-15 minutes or so in full sun in the middle of the day to get adequate vitamin D before any skin damage occurs, but darker skin tones may need a slightly longer time (about 40-60 minutes). In general, the UVB rays are only strongest from about 10 am to 3 pm to trigger Vitamin D production.

How can you keep Vitamin D levels from falling dangerously low in your body?

The best food sources of natural Vitamin D are egg yolks, fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, organ meats, and some mushrooms. However, keep in mind that it's tough to get enough vitamin D in the winter from food sources alone.

Make sure to get at least a decent amount of the best absorbed vitamin D by taking a moderate dose of cod liver oil daily in the winter. Take only small to moderate doses of cod liver oil (enough for about 100% to 150% DV of vitamin D), as large doses can possibly give you an overdose of Vitamin A.

To prevent taking in too much vitamin A, only take cod liver oil about 3 days per week, On the other 4 days (only in the winter), take an oil-based vitamin D3 supplement.

2. Garlic to strengthen your immune system!

Garlic is one of the most potent of all superfoods! Not only does high dose garlic go back thousands of years for treatment of sickness, but recent studies back up the legendary claims for garlic boosting your immune system.

What's best though -- "aged" garlic pills, whole garlic in foods, capsules, etc? I can't seem to find a consensus on this one, so what I simply try to do is use a variety of sources, including garlic powder on a lot of my foods, fresh chopped garlic in meals, and also a garlic capsule or two each day.

If I feel a possible cold or sickness coming on, I really start loading garlic into my foods heavily and I take a few extra garlic capsules that day too.

3. Kombucha tea (and other sources of probiotics) strengthen your immune system

Kombucha tea is a fermented tea that contains billions of friendly gut organisms (probiotics) that help to strengthen your immune system by bolstering your levels of good organisms in your gut.

Kombucha tea has a strong taste, so try to mix it with normal iced teas at 1/3 Kombucha and 2/3 regular iced tea. For a probiotic drink, get one that has very minimal sugar per serving (3-6 grams per 8 oz serving is acceptable).

You can also get beneficial probiotics from fermented foods such as sauerkraut (non-canned), yogurt, kimchi, and other fermented foods. There are also plenty of probiotic supplements you can take.

4. Green tea, Chamomile Tea, and other teas

There is evidence that green tea and chamomile tea can help aid in strengthening the immune system.

Even if the effect is small, you can't go wrong because both are loaded with powerful antioxidants unique to each tea.

For that reason, try to drink a couple cups of green tea with a small bit of raw honey early in the day, and then at night, have a couple cups of chamomile tea.

5. Loading up on antioxidants

We already know how important antioxidants are to overall health as well as immune system support.

Make sure to really load up on antioxidant-rich fruits, berries, teas, unsweetened cocoa (in smoothies, etc), and veggies to help prevent sickness.

Sometimes I make what I call my "Superhuman smoothie", which I believe can really bolster your immune system, with loads of powerful antioxidant-rich berries, raw cacao, maca, spirulina, chia seeds, etc, etc.

6. Light exercise (yes - light exercise, not hard)

When you feel a sickness coming on, a super-high intensity workout is not a good idea, as hard training forces the body to do a lot of recovery, this at a time when your body needs all of it's efforts on trying to fight off the oncoming sickness.

Although I usually recommend high intensity training most times... when sickness might be coming on, it's just a good idea to get some light exercise instead.

Personally, I like to get outside for some fresh air and go for a hike or go snowshoeing in the winter. These aren't very strenuous for me, so they won't cause my body to be forced to do a lot of recovery... but just getting out in the fresh air and getting the circulation going can help the body fight off the sickness.

7. Avoid ALL processed foods and sweetened soft drinks

If you're serious about your health and getting lean for life, this should be an everyday rule for you (except maybe for cheat meals)...

All of these force your body to do extra work to deal with all of this junk and the internal inflammation that they cause in your body. And by the way, grain-based foods like bread, cereal, muffins, pasta, and bagels are a big culprit in causing internal inflammation and disrupting normal gut function, so avoid grains as much as possible.

Instead, (especially when you might be getting sick) you need to give your body only wholesome unprocessed foods that are only 1 ingredient and that we were meant to digest most efficiently...fruits, berries, veggies, eggs, nuts, seeds, grass-fed meats, etc.

These 7 tips will go a LONG way to helping to ward off that sickness that is trying to get a hold of you... Here's to a healthy strong body!

[This post is an extract from an article by:
Mike Geary - Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author of best-seller: The Truth About Abs]

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