Health & Wellness Articles

6 Steps to Strengthen Your Immune System

Boost Your Body's Defenses

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5. Quit Smoking
In an older but still relevant study published in the 1983 edition of the Medical Journal of Australia, immune system markers in 35 smokers were analyzed before they quit smoking and then again three months after they had quit. Compared with a control group who continued to smoke, the ex-smokers had significant, positive changes in many measurements of their immune systems. Smoking and using tobacco products contributes to a host of health problems, and this is one more you can add to your list for reasons to quit.

6. Consume Alcohol in Moderation
Chronic alcohol abuse is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as the use of alcoholic beverages despite negative consequences. Besides the social and economic consequences of chronic alcohol abuse, a 1998 article in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research states that alcohol abuse can also cause lead to immunodeficiency, making you more susceptible to bacterial pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other communicable diseases. But the moderate use of alcohol (one drink daily for women, and two for men) has not been associated with negative effects on the immune system. In fact, according to a 2007 article in the British Journal of Nutrition, there is an increasing body of evidence linking health benefits linked with moderate consumption of polyphenol-rich alcoholic beverages, like wine or beer. The article states that, while heavy alcohol use can suppress the immune response, “moderate alcohol consumption seems to have a beneficial impact on the immune system compared to alcohol abuse or abstinence.” So for the time being, the advice remains: everything in moderation.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • What a fantastic naturopathic website! Thanks so much for the referral. - 9/28/2014 10:31:54 AM
  • MD_BRANDNEW
    Great information provided. In addition I have also came across a great article that focuses on ways to check if you have a low immune system as well as how to boost your immune system.Thought it would be worth the share: http://www.drdnat
    uropath.com/i
    ndex.php/how-
    to-build-a-st
    rong-immune-system/
    Enjoy! - 12/4/2013 11:21:28 AM
  • I still recall that when I was a smoker I ALWAYS had to stop when I got a cold or the flu.
    - 11/3/2013 8:31:54 PM
  • ...duh. Fluff piece. - 1/15/2013 6:52:31 PM
  • Pretty much things in moderation & not to abuse our bodies with smoking & alcohol - makes sense. - 9/8/2012 10:13:26 PM
  • Really enjoyed this article! The 6 tips were great! Definetely will put them to practice! Good thing I am not a smoker, so that is one less thing to worry about! - 2/23/2012 10:42:16 AM
  • Definitely need to follow this advice! - 12/8/2011 10:24:25 PM
  • Good article! Clearly I need to find ways to stress less and exercise more. I'm glad to see that I'm doing most of the other things right. - 12/8/2011 11:09:28 AM
  • DAMSELFLY3
    Great article. I know we have heard so much of this info before, just need to apply it! I catch colds way too often, now I have some immune ammo to build up my body with. hugs deb - 8/29/2011 6:28:22 PM
  • If your family medical history lends itself to autoimmune disease, please read about gluten grains and how eliminating them might help your pain, inflammation, immunity. Google is your friend.

    Here's one woman's account: http://autoimmune
    diseasesgfliv
    ing.blogspot.
    com/2009/03/g
    luten-autoimm
    une-disease-connection-or.html or for shorter, easier copying and pasting:

    http://bit.ly/e1o
    lsH

    If you or someone you love has IBS, it might be celiac disease and misdiagnosed. Gluten-free diet helps with epilepsy, Tourette's, narcolepsy ...

    ~40% of our population have the genes for celiac disease. Doesn't mean they're triggered, but stress can do it. 95% of the population are undiagnosed. I am not even talking about gluten "sensitivity" which is another topic.

    Sure, you can take QUALITY vitamins, but are you absorbing them?! Your immunity is in your gut, so take care of it!

    Speaking from experience (unfortunately). :P

    (Always cracks me up that people have to be told to be moderate in their drinking. Why isn't it ever suggested to not drink at all? ... I know, killjoy, huh?!) lol - 3/21/2011 4:57:00 PM
  • Very good article.So glad I love broccoli.No wonder I rarely get sick.I try to eat right,get exercise and keep a positive attitude. - 3/21/2011 1:53:44 PM
  • Your otherwise useful article is marred by the offhand comment "supplements can be shady". It is a complete mischaracterizati
    on that dietary supplements are unregulated. Foods are no more regulated than supplements in terms of providing the stated nutritional levels. Both foods and supplements are regulated by the FDA, both are subject to Good Manufacturing laws (cGMPs), which, help ensure safety, identity and quality of food and dietary supplement ingredients, all of which help ensure these products provide the stated nutritional content. The FDA has similar powers to enforce these laws for foods as it does dietary supplements and the FTC has jurisdiction over claims for these foods including nutritional content and health claims. Some nutrients are even acknowledged by the medical profession as difficult to acquire from the typical diet alone, especially as we age. Women don't get enough calcium, most of us don't get enough Vitamin D. So If you think you can get all the nutrients you need from the fabled "healthy diet" go right ahead and try! Me, I will continue to take my fish oil, Vit D, calcium, chromium, magnesium and zinc because I personally feel better when I'm taking these supplements and I have confidence that they are just as regulated as foods! - 3/21/2011 10:47:07 AM
  • I am 70* years old, widowed recently and have been taking vitamins from a very reputable company for over 35 years. I see the difference the older i get. I'm a firm believer in the premise that good nutrition and regular exercise improve our quality of life, do not necessarily extend it...............
    ........there is a company called Nutrilite that can answer a lot of questions regarding supplementation and they've been around for over 65 years............
    . - 3/20/2011 8:49:30 PM
  • Good article to reiterate why we use and need spark people. On page 2 the last sentence there is a typo, it should be eat instead of each. Keep the articles coming - we need all the help we can get. - 1/17/2011 12:49:45 PM
  • K_RENEE
    This article carries a rather condescending tone, in my opinion. - 1/17/2011 12:39:06 PM

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