Most people don't automatically think of the Vitamin B Complex vitamins as very important for a healthy immune system, but they are! One reason why this is the case is that the immune system can be compromised by physical or emotional stress, especially if it goes on for a while. Unfortunately, modern life is full of stress, often both physical like commuting to work and not getting enough sleep, as well as emotional. When the body is under stress, many of the B vitamins are used up at a faster pace, and since many of us don't get enough B vitamins in the first place, that can be a big problem.
B5, B6, B12 and more are all good vitamins for boosting immune function, but since the B vitamins need each other in order to work properly, it is really best to get them from your food or from a whole food B vitamin complex supplement. In addition, smokers, alcoholics, women on birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy may very well require additional B vitamins.
Other Vitamins and Minerals that Boost Immune Function
Boosting your immune system can help you fight off everyday illnesses like the common cold and flu, but can also help protect your body from cancer. In addition to the B vitamins, other antioxidants are well known to help the immune system, like the C and E complex vitamins as well as the minerals selenium and zinc. Vitamin D has also had a lot of press lately as well as far as being a great preventative for both colds and flus as well as cancer, so don't forget to eat right and take other food-based vitamins or superfoods.
Refined Sugar and the Immune System
Last, but certainly not least, if there was 1 thing you could do that would boost your immune system, it would be eliminating or greatly reducing refined sugar in your diet. Refined sugar creates havoc in your body in many ways. Many of the B vitamins are depleted each time you eat refined sugar, since your body need B vitamins just to process that sugar, and it has been denuded of all B vitamins; in fact all vitamins and minerals.
My personal story about cutting our refined sugar is this: First of all, it was difficult to do; refined sugar is an addictive substance. It probably took about 2 years for me to do it consistently. The keys for me was to add more good fats to my diet, so use natural sweeteners judisciously and to make sure to not eat sweet foods, even those made with natural sweeteners, without some fat and some protein, which both slow down the rate at which the sugar goes into the bloodstream. The fats and proteins also help keep you from being hungry again so soon, and grabbing that candy bar or cookie for a sugar rush.
Anyways, in the about 7 years since I have practically eliminated refined sugar, I have had just 3 colds, and 2 of them were when I was traveling, and what do you know, eating some refined sugar! (Which is found in almost all restaurant food, even if you are not eating desserts). The third one may have actually been a healing crisis that just seemed like a cold. I used to catch several colds each year (probably around 3-4) and also got the flu, perhaps every other year, so that is a huge improvement! So NO more flu for 7 years, probably just by eliminating refined sugar. Of course, getting rid of sugar in your diet is good for you in other ways as well, and if you want to try, I recommend the book: "Get the Sugar Out," by Ann Louise Gittleman PH.D.
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