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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Boost Your Immune System Naturally


It's that time again! Cold and flu season has started and will continue, even getting worse, as the months get colder and we have less and less exposure to the Sun's rays. While we often look to eradicating germs as a way of keeping ourselves from getting sick, strengthening your body is a more powerful and effective approach to staying healthy this season. When your body and health are strong, your likelihood of invasive germs taking root and creating sickness in your body severally decreases, in fact when your health is strong it is entirely possible to not get sick AT ALL this cold and flu season! 


Here are the top areas of focus for giving your immune system a natural boost!


Antioxidants 


Antioxidants are paramount in fighting off germs and bacteria. Germs produce free radicals inside of your body which kill immune cells, who are trying to kill the germs!  Antioxidants such as Vitamin C, A, E, selenium and zinc all disarm free radicals and weaken germs.  Antioxidants are the key to killing off germs and their toxic byproducts the moment they enter your body. When your antioxidants levels are high, your incidence of sickness is low. Antioxidants live in the colored pigment of plants. They are highly vulnerable to heat, so eating lots of vibrant raw foods keep your antioxidants levels high. I was stunned to personally learn that my antioxidant level registered 60,000 points higher then the average American. I can only attribute this to the high proportion of raw foods I include in my daily diet. 


Exercise


Exercise not only strengthens your muscles, but also all of your body's internal processes, especially your immune system. Over exercising or exertion of the body has been found to suppress the immune system, but with balanced healthy exercise, the body's natural germ killing immune cells, T-cells, actually increase! Your lymphatic system is also dependent upon how much you exercise. The immune system cells that fight off invading germs filter into your lymphatic system. This is why when you have an infection your lymph nodes become swollen. The lymph system does not have its own pumping mechanism so relies on the movement of your muscles for movement. Moderate exercise, even walking a mile or two at least three times a week, helps your lymph system cleanse impurities and keep producing healthy germ fighting lymph!  

Stress


When your body is stressed, whether that be from emotional stress or over stressing your body through exercise or work, your adrenal glands produce a chemical called corticosteriods. This chemical directly suppresses the ability of your immune system to do its job. Finding healthy ways of reducing and releasing stress helps to naturally boost your immune system. Meditation, especially has been shown to increase T-cells and improve overall immune function. Other healthy ways of reducing stress in your body are exercise, yoga and deep breathing. 



The B Vitamins


B vitamins create energy at the cellular level and also help the immune system stay strong and active. Your body is dependent upon B vitamins to produce antibodies so they are critical for overall immune system health. B-vitamins need each other to work well, which is why when sold as a supplement, you see they are sold as a "complex." B vitamins are found in a variety of plant based foods from nut butters, to bananas, to avocados and lettuce. If you know you are overly stressed or tired a supplement may be a good idea, otherwise you can get your B-vitamins by eating a variety of foods. Mix it up to get the best broad spectrum of B-vitamins!  

Vitamin D


Heading indoors and out of the sun in the Fall is one of the top reasons there is an increase in colds and flus in the Fall. Your body makes vitamin D from sunlight. The sun is your most significant natural source of Vitamin D, although it is present in small amounts in certain foods. The best plant based source of vitamin D available is shiitake mushrooms. Vitamin D is needed for a strong immune system and something most of us are deficient in because we have bought into the lie that the Sun causes cancer. While burning and blistering your skin can cause abnormal cell changes that later can lead to cancer, cancer comes from inside of your body. You need the sun's rays to be healthy! You want to get at least 30 minutes a day, give or take depending on skin type, of healing Sun rays on unexposed skin for good vitamin D levels.

Probiotics


It is surprising to learn that your body contains ten times more bacteria than cells. Most of the bacteria inside of your body is friendly and needed. Friendly bacteria not only attack pathogenic bacteria and fungi, but also  triggers appropriate white cell reactions to invaders. Probiotics are critical for a healthy immune system. Most of us have killed all the friendly bacteria in our body through toxic chemicals (in-organic foods), antibiotics in animal products, alcohol and other toxins we expose ourselves to on a daily basis. Friendly bacteria naturally grows in fertile organic soil and clings to the outside of plants that you then eat. So eating organic is key. Make sure not to overly scrub your veggies, because you will wash away these helpful little guys! You can also get probiotics through fermented foods, yogurt, Greek yogurt, Kefir or Kombucha.

Eliminate Sugar


Sugar is toxic to the body, and especially to your immune system. A study from Loma Linda University. showed that sugar actually killed immune system cells! Eating sugar suppresses the immune system cells responsible for attacking bacteria. Even consuming just 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution (about the same as in two 12-ounce sodas) reduces the ability of white blood cells to overpower and destroy germs. Cutting out sugar is good for your health on so many levels, but most especially for increasing your immune system.

Go Raw


Eating raw foods and drinking raw juices helps to continually cleanse the body or germs and bacteria. Raw foods are nothing other then fresh foods. Fresh foods provide you with the highest quality and quantity vitamins, minerals, phytochemcials and active enzymes all of which help the immune system stay strong and fight off germs. Drink at least 1 glass of fresh veggie juice a day and eat at least 50% of your daily foods fresh, with an 80/20 (fresh/cooked) diet being the most beneficial. 



Garlic and Onion


Besides being rich in antioxidants and selenium, garlic has powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties. Both garlic and onions are part of the Allium family, which is rich in sulfur-containing compounds responsible for many of health-promoting effects, most especially killing off pathogens. Both should be consumed raw and within 15 minutes of cutting, because that is when their oils are the strongest and will have the most powerful effect on your body. Keep both fresh and organic on hand and add chopped to your recipes. 


By focusing on these key areas you will create and strong and healthy immune system, reduce your number of sick days and fly through cold and flu season unscathed!

~Blessing of Vibrant Health

Candice Marley
HHP, NC, MH
Align Holistic Health & Well Being, LLC
Raw Vitality Cleanse





5 comments:

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