You know that first sign that you're getting sick. For me, it's that scratchy sore throat that cannot be quenched with water. It's at that point that I pull out my arsenal of immunity boosting tools to fight off the germs and keep myself from getting really sick. I'm going to tell the tricks that I've learned that work for me every time.

The majority of people get sick, complain about having to find time to go and rot in the doctor's office, and whine about not having time to be away from work to be sick. Life doesn't have to be measured from one sickness to the next or by how much money you've spent on copays, meeting insurance deductibles, and prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications. Instead, you can learn some pretty simple techniques for keeping your immune system strong and preventing those sicknesses before they take hold.

Lemon Juice to Save the Day

Every morning, I start the day with fresh squeezed lemon (half of a lemon) topped off with some water and a little stevia to give it some sweetness. If it's cool weather or if my throat is sore, I put in hot water that I've heated in my coffee pot. The hot water makes it even more soothing for a sore throat and also feels good in the cold weather. It also helps to get your bowels moving.

When I first started this regimen, I did so because I heard a claim that a man did this and never got sick. I thought I'd give it a shot and it has worked fantastically for me. In the times that I started to feel like I was getting sick, I would do a couple doses of the lemon juice throughout the day- one in the morning, one around lunchtime, and one in the evening after dinner.

You might be wondering what is in the lemon juice that would work so good in boosting our immune system. Lemons are high in Vitamin C and flavonoids, which contain antioxidants and are so important in boosting our immune systems. The lemon juice also has antiseptic properties, which is why it can soothe a sore throat by actually killing the germs that caused the sore throat. It also helps to create antibodies that fight off germs, thereby fighting off infection.

Another incredibly important thing that lemons do is they help to detox the liver and clean the digestive tract. Did you know that your intestines make up 80% of your immune system? Knowing this, it is incredibly important to cleanse your digestive tract so that it can function properly and keep you healthy.

Sun Exposure is Good- WHAT??!!

With so much talk about skin cancer and the sun's damaging rays, the sun has gotten a bad rap. In fact, so many people are afraid to go out in the sun because of all the news hype about skin cancer and the wrinkles that people get from too much sun exposure.

Unfortunately, people seem to go from one extreme to the next. They either bake in the sun or they stay away from it altogether. Neither of these lifestyles are healthy for our skin or for our immune system.

Did you know that when you are exposed to UVB rays from the sun, your body naturally produces a form of vitamin D that is critical for your health? It's true. In fact, vitamin D is not really a vitamin, although that is what it is commonly called. It is actually a steroid hormone that is critical for your body's health and wellness.

Ideally, your body should have a vitamin D level between 50-70 ng/ml year-round. However, what typically happens is that most people have decent levels of vitamin D during the warm weather months (if they spend some time outdoors), but their levels drop drastically during the cold weather months. Many people have low vitamin D levels year-round because their jobs require them to be inside and their levels reflect their lack of sun exposure.

Some people take a vitamin D supplement, but research shows that the body does not absorb this source of vitamin D very well. Depending on the person, a vitamin D supplement may help some. However, the best way to have good vitamin D levels are to have safe sun exposure.

During the warm weather seasons, you just need about 20-30 minutes of sun exposure in order to get your vitamin D fix for the day. However, you need to be wise about how you expose yourself to the sun, especially if it is at the beginning of the warm weather season. In that case, you should start out in small increments of time to build up your body's pigmentation that protects you (aka a tan). Getting a sunburn is definitely not good for your skin and puts you at risk for developing skin cancer.

During the winter, it is not possible to get the vitamin D from the sun's rays (depending on your latitude and longitudinal location). The sun has to be above 50 degrees from the horizon in order to benefit from the UVB rays. If it is below 50 degrees, the UVB rays are reflected by the ozone layer and only allows the harmful UVA rays through. You can check your location to see when the sun is above 50 degrees by going to this website:http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/AltAz.php

If you cannot get the good sun during the cool winter months, you could consider taking a D3 supplement, or you could invest in a special vitamin D sun lamp. These lamps expose you to light as if you were out in the sun for only a couple of minutes a day. The point of this lamp is not to get a tan but to help your body to make the all important vitamin D during the cool weather months.

Avoid Sugar

If you feel like you're fighting something off or you feel abnormally tired and run-down, then you definitely want to stay away from sugar. Sugar depresses your immune system. If your body is trying to right off an infection and you have sugar, then you are definitely more likely to help that infection take hold and get sick.

Interestingly, there have been times when I was feeling really drained and was offered something sweet and just wasn't in the mood for it (out of character for me). The next day I woke up with the telltale signs of my body fighting something off.

Other healthful supplements:
  • Green tea has antiviral components that can help to fight off infection. Drinking one to five cups of green tea a day has been shown to help prevent infection.
  • Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and can help to boost your immunities.
  • Olive leaf extract is known as a natural boost for the immune system that is not toxic.
Common Sense Aids to a Strong Immune Response

Below is a list of some common sense things that we all know are good for us. When we do these things, our bodies are healthier, and we are much happier.

  • A good night's sleep- 7 to 8 hours is considered to be the amount needed for adults. Children and teens need much more.
  • Exercise consistently- Exercise has been shown to trigger a response in your immune system to increase the cells that attack any invaders. The increase in body heat when exercising also helps to kill any bacteria that may be in the body.
  • Wash hands often- Washing hands with good old soap and water is one of the best ways to prevent illness by getting rid of the germs before they even enter your body. Hand sanitizer does not do as good of a job. If you find you're getting sick and use lots of hand sanitizer, try switching back to hand washing and see if you notice an improvement.



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