Words by Kathy Iandoli

We are now in the midst of flu season, which for most people is a troubling time. Flu shots can only go as far as the next strain of flu, and that doesn’t protect against the common cold. The best defense is a strong immune system, and achieving that is much easier than you think. In fact, most of the best ways to keep your immune system in top notch condition are completely natural and easy to grab. Here are a few tools to keep in your immunity arsenal for combatting the sickest of seasons.

Work It Out

Before even reaching for a vitamin, did you know that exercise is one of the best ways to strengthen your immune system? Working out and sweating is an excellent way to push bacteria from your nasal passages and lungs. It also builds your white blood cells, which are the biggest army in fighting illness. Just don’t overdo it, because it can have the reverse effect and possibly weaken your immune system: 30 minutes a day of physical activity will do the trick, and if you’re used to more then add extra time.

Fruits And Vegetables

Man picking up healthy food
Not a fan of vitamins and oils, but love to eat? That’s fine. Reach for antioxidant rich foods to keep your immune system in tact. blueberries, spinach, kale, red peppers, broccoli, red grapes and cherries are a few options for fruits and vegetables to eat for immune system protection. If you’re a juicing fan, then juice up a few of these and drink them on an empty stomach first thing in the morning for a day’s worth of protection and a great source of energy.

Alkalize That Water

One of the best ways to keep your immune system in check and boost it up is through alkalized water. When water carries a high pH (8 and above), it helps to balance out your body’s pH levels, which has a number of beneficial health effects. You can make alkaline water yourself using pH drops or purchase bottled water labeled as alkaline. It even helps you lose weight and has been known to fight cancer.

Vitamin C + More

You’ve heard this one many times, but a daily dose of Vitamin C is great to boost your immune system. However, there are some add-ons that can kick it up a notch. When buying Vitamin C, there’s an option with Rose Hips, which provides an extra charge of antioxidants. Further, other vitamins like B12 are great for the immune system as well. It might even boost your energy levels.

Say Om

Remember that when your stress levels are high, your immune system is low. Meditation has been known to minimize stress, which in turn can give your immune system the life it needs to fight colds and flu. Take a few minutes a day to relax and focus on your breathing or listen to a meditation podcast each day. The benefits are beyond immunity, but that’s still reason enough to try it.

Zinc About It

The moment you encounter your first sniffle or scratchy throat, reach for the Zinc. It’s has been known to stop colds and the flu dead in their tracks. For an added effect, grab lozenges that have both Zinc and Elderberry. The combination is a surefire way to weaken a potentially awful bout of seasonal illness.

Don’t Forget The Echinacea

If you’re not into natural remedies, the mere spelling of Echinacea can intimidate you. Don’t let it. This helpful herb is a great immune system booster and illness repellent. When paired with Goldenseal, it actually acts as a natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory for the body. Drink it as a tea (sometimes the taste isn’t wonderful), take it in water or a vitamin. Just take it when you need it.

Aromatherapy Is For Guys Too

Yeah, yeah we know. You hear “aromatherapy” and you think of some lady selling you floral musk. Not exactly. Essential oils have been known to clear the fibers in both your nose and lungs, protecting you from foreign agents that can get you sick. Check out oils like White Flower, Thieves Oil, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint. These can all help your immune system in different ways. Use them in a diffuser or simply take a whiff of a few drops on a damp cloth. Try it out and thank us later.

Say It With Saline

Saline nasal sprays are over the counter and completely safe for anyone who needs to flush out their nasal passages. As you’re out and about during flu season, bacteria is floating around everywhere. It latches onto your nose hairs, and before you know it you’re breathing it in and getting sick. A spray of saline a few times a day keeps the lining of your nose clean and protects you from all that crazy bacteria floating around, which in turn keeps your immune system safe.