Boost your immune systems with these tricks

Published On: Jan 26 2013 10:55:31 AM EST
Updated On: Jan 24 2013 05:00:00 PM EST

Local 10's Kristi Krueger looks at some natural ways to help you avoid getting sick.

For years, Taryn Sheir has suffered from digestive disorders, which make her susceptible to getting sick.

"I really have to keep my immune system as strong as possible," said Sheir.

Acupuncture physician Elizabeth Trattner focuses on natural ways to help her clients stay health year round, mostly through food. At the top of her list is ginger, which is both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory.

"It's great to take when you have fever and chills. It's great to take as a preventative. It's an anti-nausea," she said.

Trattner also suggests boiling bone marrow.

"These's active compounds called AKGs, which actually stimulate white cells to protect our immune system," said Trattner.

Fresh garlic serves as an anti-bacterial guard against infections, and elderberry, which is sold in syrup and tablets, can protect against 10 strains of the flu.

"You can take them before you get on a plan, you can take them every day, you can take them if you get sick and they do protect against viruses," said Trattner.

Vitamin C, found in fruits and vegetables, helps increase the body's level of interferon, which keeps viruses from entering cells.

Asian mushrooms, like shitake, have been shown to boost disease fighting white blood cells.

And an herb called astragalus helps the body defend itself in times of stress.

"I know I'm protecting myself and I'm feeling healthy for the first time which is amazing," said Sheir.

The Omega 3 fatty acids found in flaxseed oil and fish increase the activity of white blood cells.

A recent study found that children taking half a teaspoon of flaxseed oil per day experienced fewer infections and missed fewer days of school.

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