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Naturally Fight Infections

As with any disease or illness, prevention is always better than having to cure an existing problem. Our best way to defend against infection is to keep our immune systems strong and vibrant so that when an invader is present, the immune system is ready and able to attack and eliminate the bug. However, there are times we can get sick despite our best efforts. Science has shown that illness is more likely to occur when our bodies are run down and stressed. This allows intruder bugs to gain a foothold in the body. There are multiple varieties of bugs, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Knowing what type of invader you are dealing with is important in knowing what to use to treat the infection: the cold, flu, herpes, and measles are viruses; while most ear infections, stomachaches, and chest and sinus infections are bacterial; and thrush and athlete's foot typically are fungal.

During an infection, both the invader and the immune system produce free radicals in an effort to destroy the other. Because of this, we can help strengthen our immune system by increasing our intake of antioxidants. The goal is to boost your immune system by providing it with nutrient-dense foods and the proper environment.

The immune system also works best in a warm environment, which is why the body creates a fever when we have an infection; therefore, part of giving your body the proper environment when an infection strikes is keeping the body warm and getting proper rest. Lack of sleep depletes energy stores, and when energy is low the body can't heal and fight the infection as efficiently.

For the same reason of conserving energy, it is also important during a time of infection to avoid alcohol, exposure to smoky places, strong sunlight, stress, sex, and/or overeating, all of which can deplete energy that could otherwise be used to fight the infection.

Some steps to help you fight an infection naturally include:

  • Eat lightly—making sure to get enough quality protein, which is used to build immune cells—and keep warm. If the infection you have is mucus-forming, avoid dairy foods.
  • Increase intake of vitamin C to three grams every four hours.
  • Drink cat's claw tea. The benefits are greater when ginger, echinacea, cloves, and/or garlic are included.
  • If you have a cold, take one tablespoon of Sambucol (elderberry extract) four times a day.
  • If you have a bacterial, fungal, or parasitical infection, take ten drops of grapefruit seed extract two or three times a day.
  • Find out what your infection is and, if necessary, see your doctor if you are not better within five days.

Some other specific nutrients that are helpful for boosting the immune system include:

  • Vitamin A (7,500-10,000 IU/day)
  • Aloe vera
  • Antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E and beta carotene and zinc, selenium, etc)
  • Astragalus herb (200mg-1g/day)
  • Vitamin C (3-10g/day)
  • Bee pollen (1-2 TBSP/day)
  • Echinacea (1-3g/day)
  • Elderberry extract (aka Sambucol)
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Grapefruit seed extract
  • Colloidal Silver
  • Probiotics
  • Mushrooms
  • Zinc
  • Tea tree oil
Source: The New Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holfordrn"

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