Being sick is the pits, but it’s helpful to know that there are real steps you can take to improve your immunity and lessen the odds that you end up with that cold or flu bug flying around the office.  Here are 6 simple, effective ways to ensure your immune system is in good shape.  Keep in mind that most of these are long-term strategies, not 2 or 3 day cures.  By the time you’ve gotten the cold there are a few things you can do to weather it better, but it’s best to avoid it all together.

  • Take notice of your digestion Your gut and your immune system are so intimately linked that some experts state that “80% of your immune system” is actually in your intestines.  Healthy intestinal “flora” (read: good bacteria) not only help you digest your food an assimilate nutrients, but they help create an environment that allows your immune system to protect you from potentially dangerous viruses and bacteria.  If your digestion isn’t good take steps to fix it (read below).
  • Eat fermented foods, or take probiotics No, I’m not talking about beer.  Traditional fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and miso contain beneficial bacteria called probiotics that are excellent for your digestion.  The fermented vegetables, such as cabbage, have the additional benefit of excellent levels of vitamin C and some other nutrients which are also helpful for preventing and fighting bugs.  Amaze yourself by making your own sauerkraut. It has to be the real deal: frequently the stuff they sell in the store is actually pickled, not fermented, so you’ll have to ask or check labels.  If that’s too much work for you [...]