View Full Version : Eating to build a stronger immune system?

Mar 10th, 2013, 10:23 AM
Since I started working in a school in October, I've had one virus after another. I had a cold, followed by flu, then tonsillitis and today I've awoken with another nasty throat infection. I feel rundown all the time as I don't get chance to recover from one illness before I get another.

I know vitamin C is important for immunity, is there anything else? I take multivitamins everyday but there must be more I can do..?

(Ps I've always had a really weak immune system even as an omnivore and vegetarian, so it's not linked to veganism)

Mar 10th, 2013, 02:39 PM
I used to work in a health food shop and we were told that vitamin C and zinc are good for getting over colds and echinacea is good for boosting immunity.

Mar 10th, 2013, 04:35 PM
Nothing you can do really IMHO. Nothing you eat is going to stop you getting those illnesses.

It's bound to happen working in a school, I'm sure it'll get better though since just by having these illnesses you're building your immune system against them. You can't catch the same cold twice.

Mar 12th, 2013, 10:11 PM
I have 2 children, I've stopped getting their colds (I get a tiny scratchy throat or runny nose but nothing else) since going vegan. It took about 6 months of healthy eating then the colds stopped.
DS doesn't get them either as bad as DD--he's still breastfeeding and eating vegan at home whereas DD is eating kindergarten food.
So, it could just be a coincidence, but I don't think so. I used to get sick every time something was going around but the last few rounds of illnesses--everyone else got it but me.
Whole foods are especially important in my opinion, especially fruits, leafy greens and other veg, and legumes. Vitamin pills do not have the same effect, they do not contain phytonutrients.
I really like Dr Fuhrman, check out some of his books or visit his web site www.drfuhrman.com (http://www.drfuhrman.com).
And give yourself some time, too--if you're working in a school you'll need some time for your immune system to get used to the new environment. The say children get sick the first 2 years of day care or school, it could be the same for an adult. :(

Aug 12th, 2013, 05:25 AM
Hi Lilystein,

You can absolutely improve your immune system. I've done that, there's no reason why you can't do it. I used to catch common cold/the flu at least 5-6 times a year! I used to be sick all the time. Would you believe it if I told you I have not had even a simple cold in 4 years?!
And, I'm a school teacher too. I am around more than 100 students almost every day. What is my secret then? Healthy eating and healthy lifestyle. I became vegan and more importantly I quit bad food (a lot of vegans/vegetarians eat bad food). The key is to get as close to the nature as possible. Let me tell you though that I'm not a raw vegan. But more than 60% of what I eat is raw. Generally speaking, the closer you get to a raw diet, the better. I know a few raw vegans who have not been sick for 20,30, or 35 years!
send me a message or post here and let me know if I can help in any way.

To your health

Aug 12th, 2013, 12:29 PM
Would you believe it if I told you I have not had even a simple cold in 4 years?!

Yes, it's not uncommon.

Eating raw food will not stop you getting a cold. Sorry to be rude but your anecdotal evidence means nothing, you may as well put it down to a particular brand of socks that you wear.

Want to get less colds? Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.

Aug 14th, 2013, 05:09 AM
Raw garlic allegedly gives our immune system a boost.

Aug 14th, 2013, 11:41 AM
I am a little skeptical that simply changing and practicing a certain diet is going to completely prevent illness either though it might help improve a weaker immune system and improve some diseases (such as cardiovascular, inflammatory etc) and it can help recovery time. I have been eating a very clean whole foods vegan diet for several years. I rarely eat out (three or four times a year on average) and prepare my own meals at home. I grow a lot of my own food in my vegan garden (this is my second year of growing my own vegetables and third year of growing my own herbs). I eat a minimum of two to three cups of leafy greens (usually raw but sometimes steamed) each day in addition to lots of other fruits/vegetables/raw seeds and nuts/legumes/whole grains from seed etc. I used to make my own plant milks but do sometimes buy cartons at the store and sometimes with my busy work and school and fitness schedule six days a week I concede and buy canned beans instead of dry or Ezekiel sprouted bread or some other more "convenience" type of food in place of homemade to save time and prep work. Once in a while I make room for a little homemade dessert that involves flour and sugar which I otherwise avoid aside from fresh fruit. I exercise often and in the summer I am outdoors a lot when not studying or working. At the least I make use of my bicycle to travel and run errands and get to work every day. Despite all this I still get sick. I am only human. Right now I am supposed to be on a wilderness canoe camping trip with my husband. But the night before I was hit hard with a stomach virus and up all night vomiting and with awful diarrhea and muscle cramps and fever/chills. Despite months of planning and packing and preparing mentally, physically, and psychologically for this trip, I could not go (my permit reservation had to be used on a specific date and it is impossible to have it changed due to demand and limits). So my husband is doing the canoe camping trip solo and I am here resting. I think food is only one component of health. How one deals with stress, genetic makeup, mental illness, sleeping habits, physical environment, working conditions, finances, there are so many variables that come into play and how they affect your ability to cope. I am also admittedly underweight and have been for years due to an eating disorder I have battled and battled. I know that this is hurting my body too and weakening my immune system regardless of how well or balanced I may eat and I have done a LOT of work with dieticians and medical doctors in this area and research on my own. I am also under a lot of stress trying to finish school later in life while juggling other responsibilities and battling a mental disorder. I seem to get sick when I get a vacation from school and work. Never fails. I hold it together long enough to get through the important stuff and succeed quite well and then my exhausted mind and body just falls apart when its "safe". I don't sleep well when I am stressed. I am also rarely around children and my job can be somewhat isolating (I work with medical records in a cubicle) and I am an online student so when a situation does arise that I am exposed to a lot of people my body might not be as primed for the germs that are going to be inevitably shared as it might otherwise be. Last week I was talking to a woman with four small children and viola a few days later the stomach virus hit, also as I was winding down from the last semester of interning, juggling two classes, and working and exercising almost two hours a day to cope with the stress. My guard was down. I get a bit irritated when people start to critique my diet (whether it be because I am vegan and they are not or because I am not a raw vegan or supposedly not eating the "right" food) and blame that for why I am sick more than others and have suffered some injuries also. If anything I have had to learn to relax my diet a bit and not be so strict partly for financial reasons and partly because I can not afford to keep losing weight or be so afraid of eating and view food as "good" or "bad" or "black and white". To get to the point of what the OP is asking, focusing on stress reduction, quality sleep, and good hygiene are important also in helping strengthen the immune system. I can imagine the stress of starting a new job in a new environment when your body is already susceptible to illness for whatever reason. I worked in a hospital setting for years and it took a solid year for my body to be exposed to and get used to all the extra germs floating around there. I was constantly sick at first. Also, the air quality of the area where I worked was questionable as I worked in a room just below where the ambulances pull in and unload people going into the ER. You could actually smell the car exhaust from time to time and we complained constantly to no avail.