Do you get sick often and take sick days off from work?

Chances are, you have a weak immune system. The immune system is designed to defend against illness and infections. But our lifestyle choices make it impossible for the immune system to do its job properly. One of the primary ways we weaken our immune systems is by eating a poor diet. The good news is, this can be reversed in short order. By avoiding the bad foods and embracing the good ones, you can boost your immune system in no time!

Here are the 5 things to keep in mind to maintain and boost your immune system:

      Sugar is arguably the worst food for your health; it severely weakens the immune system. Scientists found that within five hours of consuming 21 teaspoons of sugar, our white blood cells, which fight our body’s foreign invaders, losing a whopping 40 percent of their ability to kill bacteria. We think sugar helps the bacteria, helps the virus, helps, in fact, the cancer cells grow faster. It does all the things to make the viruses and bacteria prosper, which makes it harder for you to kill them all. Unfortunately, sugar is in far too many foods. Sometimes it’s an obvious ingredient, such as in soda. However, sugar is often hidden in foods that we don’t normally consider sweet, such as bread, pasta sauce, and yogurt.
      In addition to sugar, processed foods also weaken your immune system. Processed foods are foods that are not in their natural states, such as cookies, crackers, snack foods, frozen meals, packaged foods, and most fast foods. The majority of processed foods contain either trans fats or omega-6 fats, which cause unhealthy inflammation. Simply put, inflammation means your body is too busy repairing itself to properly fight against foreign invaders.
      Sometimes it’s not just packaged food that causes problems. The packaging itself often contains chemicals that have been shown to weaken your body’s immune function. For example, microwavable popcorn bags are commonly coated in nonstick chemicals called perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) so grease doesn’t penetrate the bag. These chemicals have been shown to mess up your immune system; vaccines given to people with higher levels of PFCs in their bodies were much less effective.Try making popcorn the old-fashioned way- Instead of buying microwave popcorn, purchase the raw kernels and make them in a pan on the stove. Pour avocado oil into the pan to cover the bottom. Pour enough kernels into the pan to cover the bottom in one layer. Put a lid on the pot and cook on medium-high heat until you hear the first kernel pop. Then shake the pot occasionally until popping slows to one pop every two seconds.
      Some of the same nonstick chemicals added to popcorn bags are also used to coat nonstick pots and pans. When you start noticing scratches on these pans, replace them with enamel, glass, cast iron, or stainless steel, which are not coated with nonstick chemicals.
    The chemicals used to make plastic have been shown to have negative health effects such as endocrine disruption, which can lead to immune system suppression. Therefore, avoid purchasing food in plastic containers and opt for food in glass or metal containers instead. Furthermore, avoid heating food in plastic containers, or storing foods in plastic containers or plastic wrap. Many companies also use cans, such as the kinds containing soup, with bisphenol-A (BPA) in the lining. This is a form of plastic that has been shown to interfere with the immune system. A better alternative to processed soup in a can is homemade.Other recommendations for a strong immune system:

    – Focus on Immune Boosting Foods:
      Garlic, Probiobiotics, Vitamin-C rich foods, antioxidants

    Improve your lifestyle:
      Get 8 hours of sleep, meditate daily, exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes each day.

    – Stay Positive:
      A positive mindset is vital for health and well-being. Research shows that positive thoughts reduce stress and inflammation and increase resilience to infection — while negative emotions can make you more susceptible to the common cold and flu.

    – Additional Immune boosters:
    Focus on taking supplements; especially Vitamin D.Recommend daily dosage for adults is  1,000 to
    2,000 IUs of vitamin D.
    Essential oils: Eucalyptus and tea tree oils have antiviral properties that may protect you against infection from
    viruses. Use an oil diffuser to inhale them or make a hand sanitizer using tea tree oil mixed with aloe vera gel and
    isopropyl alcohol. Studies also show that lavender essential oil has a calming effect, so it can help ease anxiety and
    improve sleep. Add a few drops to a warm bath or use the oil in a diffuser while you work or sleep.

And sometimes, even with lots of sleep and vitamin C, superheroes get sick. It’s OK! The key is to take time off to recharge (and avoid getting others sick). In no time, you’ll be donning your cape again. But for your health and the health of those around you, make sure you’re fully supercharged before you do.