There are many lifestyle factors that impact the body’s ability to withstand immune system attacks from viruses, bacteria, and other villains.

The NEW START acronym provides a good framework to remember the different lifestyle factors that boost immunity. NEW START is an acronym created by the NEW START Lifestyle Program operated by Weimar Institute in California.

Nutrition:

  • Eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits to get plenty of antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamin C, and zinc. Aim for 9 servings a day with an array of colors. The fiber promotes a healthy microbiome, which is especially important since about 70% of your immune system is in your gut.
  • Focus on the immune-boosting foods: GBOMBS as recommended by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Learn more about Dr. Fuhrman’s book, Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free at Dr. Fuhrman’s website.
    • Greens
    • Beans and lentils
    • Onions and garlic
    • Mushrooms
    • Berries
    • Seeds
  • Crush, mince, or press garlic ten minutes before cooking it. This allows the cancer-fighting, immune-boosting compounds to develop. Learn more about garlic from Dr. Micheal Greger.

crushed garlic

  • Make this Lentil Soup that includes greens (Swiss chard), beans (lentils), and onions, and garlic as a tasty way to include three of the GBOMBS foods.
  • Avoid overeating and snacking so the body can have more resources to focus on the immune system instead of digestion.
  • Occasionally reduce food intake and consume primarily vegetable soup, vegetable juice, vegetable salads, and water.
  • Do intermittent fasting. The best way to do it is to eat a good breakfast and lunch and skip eating in the evening.

Exercise:

  • Get exercise in the fresh air as much as possible.

Water:woman holding a glass of water

  • Water Internally: Aim to drink half your weight in ounces.
    •  This keeps the nasal mucous membranes moist and makes it harder for viruses to survive.
  • Water Externally:
    • Take Contrast Showers: 60 seconds of as-hot-as-you-can-stand-it water followed by 15 seconds of cold water. Repeat three times, ending with cold.

Sunshine:woman in the sunshine

  • Get exercise outdoors in the sunshine as much as possible.
  • Take a vitamin D supplement

Temperance:

  • Avoid what is harmful.
  • Use the good in moderation.
  • Limit or avoid sugar. Sugar suppresses the immune system. It weakens the white blood cells’ ability to destroy bacteria.

Air:

  • Breathe deeply.
  • Exercise outdoors.
  • Sleep with the window open.

Rest:

woman resting in a field

  • Sleep 7-9 hours per night. The hours before midnight are especially important.
  • Observe a Sabbath rest.
  • Spend time in nature.  The Japanese call a leisurely walk in the woods shin rin yoku, which means “forest bathing.” Scientific studies show that this reduces stress and bolsters the immune system.

Trust in Divine Power:

  • Let God carry your burdens and give you peace.
  • Focus on faith, not fear.
  • Maintain an attitude of gratitude.  Don’t be the surly bird that catches the germ!

Additional Remedies for Boosting Your Immune System:

  • Nature’s Penicillin: Create your own immune-boosting elixir from oranges, lemons, grapefruit, garlic, ginger, and cayenne. Here’s a recipe on the LifeandHealth.org website.
  • Astragalus root: Add a 2-inch strip of this immune-boosting botanical to soup, stew, or beans.  Remove it before serving like you would a bay leaf. To learn more, refer to Healthy at Home: Get Well and Stay Well Without Prescriptions by Tieraona Low Dog, MD. astragalus root
  • Black Elderberry: It reduces the duration of colds and flu. Choose preparations that don’t contain a lot of sugar.
  • Zinc lozenges for a sore throat. Suck on them while lying down for the best effect.
  • Activated Charcoal: Take 6 tablets or capsules three times a day for a sore throat. Learn more about charcoal at CharcoalRemedies.com

activated charcoal capsules

What natural methods have you found to boost your immune system? Let me know in the comments.