Five Top Ways To Boost Your Immunity Against Cold & Flu

Sunday, 13 Oct 2013, 9:21:00 AM

Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Are you dragging yourself through the day? Fatigue can be your first signal from your body that your immune system is run down, leaving you open to cold and flu.

When your system is busy fighting a cold or flu, it takes almost all of your body’s resources, leaving you extremely low in energy. We have all heard that prevention is the best medicine; take these tips to up your immunity and boost your energy level – before the cold or flu strikes.

1. Stroke Your Way To Immunity

Researchers have confirmed that joy and laughter trigger the release of chemicals in the brain that enhance your immune function, protecting you from invading germs. Start by petting Fido or Kitty for an immune-boost.

A study from Wilkes University found that stroking a dog for 18 minutes caused a significant increase in secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA), your body’s natural antibody against colds and flu. No pet? Don’t fret!

Many recent studies have found that simply touching a loved one affectionately – giving them a shoulder rub, for instance – causes a similar benefit, and also helps lower the levels of stress hormones that interfere with white blood cell function.

2. Soup Up Your Immunity

Your immune system needs a lot of minerals to function properly and the typical Western diet often falls short. Soup to the rescue!

When you slowly simmer foods over low heat, you gently leach out the energetic and therapeutic properties of the foods, preserving the nutritional value of the food and making it easier for your body to assimilate the nutrients.

3. Bring On The Beta-Carotene

To really boost your immunity, eat the veggies that are packed with beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A. What’s so important about vitamin A? Vitamin A strengthens cells and helps them defend against invading bacteria. Many studies suggest that beta-carotene can enhance cell-mediated immune responses. Load up on beta-carotene laden carrots, winter squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, goji berries and especially greens, such as spinach, collard greens, and kale. Many of these foods also contain vitamin C, a famous immunity support.

4. Supercharge Your System With Ligustrum

Ligustrum has undergone much research recently, which has revealed this herb’s immune-boosting functions. Its actions include increasing white blood cell production, phagocytosis, and T-lymphocyte cell activities. Easily taken in capsule form or as tea, ligustrum can be found in health food stores and at the offices of acupuncturists. Or look into an herbal blend that features ligustrum, along with other potent immune-boosting herbs in a natural formula called Perpetual Shield.

5. Make Time For R&R

Studies show that your immune system function drops by an average of 60% after just three nights of poor sleep, so be sure your are getting plenty of quality rest, at least eight hours each night. Carve out some time in your schedule for relaxation and control stress with meditation, tai chi or yoga.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter, visit

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