7 Steps to Building a Strong Immune System August 05 2014, 0 Comments
From short term viruses and infections to chronic illness our health has a dramatic effect on our daily life. A healthy immune system is the key to avoiding illness and disease. And guess what, with just a little effort on your part you can help your body build the healthy immune system it needs!
Our immune system is a complex network of structure and function. It is made up of our lymph system, spleen, bone marrow, thymus gland and digestive tract. When working properly it can be an extremely efficient barrier between you and invaders like disease, pathogens and overgrowth of cells.
As wonderful as our immune system is, it is important to realize a healthy immune systems doesn't just happen. Todays world is filled with ever changing viruses and bacteria. We are surrounded by toxins and pollution. Then there is stress, fast paced living and unhealthy eating habits. All of these weaken our immune system and can leave us vunerable to disease and illness.. The good news is you can help create an environment that strengthens and builds your immune system naturally.
1. You are what you eat ~ A healthy body begins with what we put into it. A diet high in vegetables, fruits and nuts is rich in nutrients your immune system needs. Proper amounts of protein (plant or animal) are also important. Antioxidants are very important. They protect the body from free radicals The three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. You’ll find them in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and chard all support the liver’s ability and immune function by boosting the liver’s capability to flush out toxins.
There are also things you need to avoid. Sugar and processed foods actually hinder the immune system. Sugar also increases the inflammatory markers in your blood. Real food is key to helping build up you immune system. Check out my blog on the Simple Steps to eating real food
2. Sleep ~ Your body needs adequate sleep. Sleep is an important part of daily function that helps the brain and other parts of the body to rest and regenerate. One of the results of a body that is not performing optimally is a depressed immune system, because a lack of sleep impairs your body's ability produce immune cells. Most experts agree that 7 to 8 hours a day is what most people need.
3. Manage Stress ~ Stress is one of the biggest drains on our body's and our immune system. Studies show that chronic stress actually ages the immune system. But there are steps you can take to reduce stress. Something as simple as a few minutes a day of deep breathing can reduce stress levels. Try simple stretching and breathing exercises, yoga and meditation to aid in stress reduction
4. Drink plenty of water ~ Our bodies need water to be healthy. Water helps oxygenates your blood ensuring your body systems get the oxygen they need to function properly. Water helps your kidney and liver flush toxins from the body . Another very important role of water in the body is that water helps in the production of lymph.
Your body's immune system uses lymph to circulate white blood cells and nutrients to all of the body's tissues. Lymph fulfills the following functions in your body:
- It carries water and nutrients to the blood, and through the blood, to the cells of the body.
- It carries white blood cells and other immune system cells from the thymus and the bone marrow, throughout the body.
- It removes toxins from the blood.
Your body needs water in order to produce lymph. Without lymph, your white blood cells and other immune cells would not be able to travel throughout the body to fight disease.
On average it is recommended you drink half your body weight a day in water. So if you weigh 140lbs you should drink 70 ounces a day of water.
5. Choose supplements wisely ~ Studies link deficiencies of zinc, selenium, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, D and E to reduced immune function. Through a healthy diet most of us should be getting the supplements our bodies need to be healthy. There are times when because of illness or other situations supplements may be needed. During those times I use Natural Vitality liquid vitamins. Liquid vitamins are more easily absorbed into our body, making them more readily available to for our body to use.
6. Probiotics ~ More and more scientific studies are showing the link between good bacteria in the gut and a healthy immune system. The best way to build good gut bacteria is through eating high quality fermented foods like Kefir, yogurt and kraut. We also use a high quality therapeutic-grade probiotics to help support and boost gut health.
7. Herbal Supplements ~ Most of our nutritional support comes in the form of herbal infusions and elixirs. On a daily basis we take Nettle and Oatstaw Infusions. Herbal infusions provide protein, minerals, phytoestrogens, and special fats our body's need. Drinking infusions, allows you to naturally increase the amount nutrients in your diet without consuming extra calories or adding supplements. Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions. You can find these under our bulk herbs section as well as instructions for making infusions.
Our HONEY, GARLIC & CIDER ELIXIR is another daily herbal we consume. Made with raw organic honey, organic garlic, turmeric and unpasteurized organic apple cider vinegar, this elixir contains four of the best well known immunity boosters and is a power house of health! We use this daily to help support our immune system. Our unique combination contains herbs and ingredients that are anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. This is a wonderful all around health elixir and can be found under our herbal extracts. Other herbs that top my list are Astragalus, Echinacea and organic green tea
Remember the best way to avoid illness is with a healthy immune system. The time to start is now!