Do you get sick as a dog several times a year? Do your friends refer to you as “Typhoid Mary”? Are you as weak and frail as Melanie in Gone With the Wind? The average adult gets sick 2 to 4 times a year. To me, that is way too often. Who has time to be sick that much? But how do you avoid it or get over it as quickly as possible?



“The strength of our immune system is what makes the difference between who gets sick and who doesn’t. The one with the immune system functioning below base-line normal has an increased risk of getting sick,” says Woodson Merrell, MD, director of integrative medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.



Steps to take to increase your immune system:



1. Get rid of the stress or learn to handle it. This is probably the biggest thing you can ever do for your health. There are countless studies that have been done on the connection between stress and illness. So ditch the bitchy friend that is always invalidating you or learn to stand up to her.



2. Quit eating sugar, bread, crackers, chips, pasta and other refined carbohydrates and enriched “foods”! These food products actually deplete you of the nutrients you need to have a strong immune system. You need to eat vegetables, grass-fed meat, chicken, lots of fish and a little fruit.



3. You need your sleep – this is when your body repairs itself, so you need to give yourself the time to let that happen. 7 to 9 hours a night is a good, healthful goal!



4. Overtraining and working out too much will actually run down your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness. Regular, moderate exercise, like a brisk 30-minute walk three or four times a week has been shown to increase your immunity to disease. Exercise helps the lymph system become more effective and eliminate toxins.



5. Have friends, be affectionate with your significant other and get a massage. Research published as early as the 1960s at the University of California at Berkeley showed that having a social support system — particularly if it involved frequent physical touching, such as hugs and handshakes — was more predictive of long life than age, medical status, or even smoking.


6. Stop abusing your gut flora! 75% of your immune system is in your gut. Quit taking antibiotics at the drop of a hat for viruses and acne (wait till you need it like when you get a bacteria). Don’t eat the GMO foods. Get rid of the stress and carbs and toxic people and get some sleep like I said above. Take something like Zypan to digest your food because undigested food does more than give you gas – it assaults your gut lining and contributes to weight gain and food intolerances. All of these things disrupts your Gut Flora and leaves you open a very weakened immune system.



7. Last and CERTAINLY NOT LEAST – You should be taking Immuplex for your immune system, supporting your adrenals (stress glands) with Drenamin or Withania, taking Zypan for Digestion, do a 21 Day Cleanse AND a Gut Flora program few times a year -especially if you can’t stick to #’s1-6 above.



What if you do come down with something? I always have on hand an amazing herbal complex that I take, Andrographis, that will usually stop a bacteria or virus in its tracks. I also will take additional Echinacea and some Immuplex, too.



There are some home remedies that can also really help. A teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in a 1/2 a cup of water 3 or 4 times a day is an old home remedy some swear by. A few drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide in your ears can help reduce cold or flu symptoms in about 12 to 14 hours according to Dr. Mercola. I have a client, Sergio, who loves to take yellow mustard seed powder baths – 2 cups of the mustard seeds and 2 cups of sea salt in a hot bath (don’t do it if you have high blood pressure). You should expect to sweat a lot so you need to drink lots of water.



My view is that if my immune system is so taxed with handling colds and flu constantly, it doesn’t have time to take care of the bigger problems, like cancer and other diseases. So I try to support my body and immune system as much as possible so it can get on with the more important job.



These recommendations are for the reduction of stress only. They are not intended as treatment or prescription for any disease, or as a substitute for regular medical care.