by Louise Skeen
Your immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defends your body against infection. The main parts of the immune system are: white blood cells, antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus, and the bone marrow. So it’s complex.
In fact, about 70 percent of your immune system is housed in your gut, so it’s super important to make sure your digestive system and microbiome is in tip-top shape, because a high functioning immune system increases your ability to fight off cell hijackers that multiply and create cold, flu, influenza, virus, and disease.
Your gut bacteria play an extremely important role in the development of white blood cells that help your body's immune system fight infection. The highest concentration and diversity of these species is found in your gastrointestinal tract, and your colon in particular.
If you are concerned that your gut system – your immune system may be toxic, then there’s good news!
You can take control of your health, boost your Immune system, and start to feel the positive effects – in just 5 to 10 days.
So Let’s get into The 5 Ways To Boost Your Immune System…..
A lot of my clients ask “why do I need to supplement my daily diet if I’m eating a lot of healthy food?” and I answer, because your soil is open to bacteria, infection, pollutants, and many toxins that can make you sick.”
And if you think I am referring to the soil their food is grown in, you’re on your way to being right, but I’m more-so talking about their soil being their gut microbiome, their lymphatic system, their complete system – the immune system that needs to be supported.
We are like plants. Alive and needing sunshine, food, water and nutrients to live. We fertilise our plants, and we need to fertilize our soil through supplements that we just cannot get enough of today.
We sit indoors more – so less sun
The foods conveniently available to us comes from the supermarket – how long has it been stored for, has it been mass produced, injected with chemicals and preservatives to keep fresher longer?
Water – too few people drink sufficient fresh water everyday – they’re drinking fluids, but these are caffeine based, sugar based, chemical based drinks.
We need supplements to balance our bodies with sufficient vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, phytochemicals, and to enrich your body's internal environment to fortify cellular protection, repair, and regeneration, and support your body’s renewal process.
VITAMIN C and ZINC
I’m going to talk about these two supplements together because both are equally amazing and should go hand in hand to boost your immunity.
Vitamin C is one supplement everyone should have – children, teenagers, adults and seniors. Vitamin C will improve your adrenals, your stress coping abilities, your joints, arthritis, skin and nails.
You see, Vitamin C helps your white blood cells wake up and pay attention to it’s role in your body, and it get’s on and does it.
ZINC is equally important in your body because it mirrors iron. Iron helps boost your general energy and focus, and it also improves your gastrointestinal processes, your immune system, and the regulation of your bodies temperature. Zinc does all that and more, like helping your immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells.
People low in iron are usually low in ZINC
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. ...
Your immune system defends your body from foreign, invading organisms, promoting protective immunity while maintaining tolerance to self.
People are particularly low in Vitamin D in places that experience cold weather, but sadly the rate of people with inefficient levels of Vitamin D is growing because top few people are spending enough time out doors.
Get your Vitamin D checked when you’re next visiting your doctor – for peace of mind.
Your body uses Turmeric to help bolster the immune system so by adding via supplement, extra turmeric into your diet during periods of stress or during flu season, your immune system will be boosted.
Used topically, turmeric is used as an anti-inflammatory treatment for treat skin conditions like ringworm, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, and infected wounds.
It is also used to treat pain in the body, inflammation of the oral mucosa, joint pain, and arthritis.
You need to eat a lot of it though to get a lot of the active ingredient – mainly cumin to take effect, so this is why supplementing is a great idea
GARLIC AND GINGER
Both garlic and ginger offer immune-boosting properties which have been recognised since early civilization because of their infection fighting qualities and cholesterol lowering qualities.
Garlic is reported to lower blood pressure, and ginger helps a sore throat, so I recommend you look for a supplement that offers the two foods together.
May help boost your body’s natural defence against germs, and it helps with the severity and length of sickness from a cold or flu.
Research shows it increases the number of white blood cells in your body, which fight infections.
Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus is a medical food used as a probiotic and they have been shown to positively affect your immune health. Look for a probiotic that has 30 billion colonies (total). Double this dose if you're coming down with a cold or if you have been told to take antibiotics. These are live organisms so it pays to spend a little more on a good-quality brand.
DAILY DIET - Eat as natural as possible. The fruit and veggies – you should follow a plant based diet to keep a healthy immune system.
Papaya – One papaya offers you 224% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. It’s a fruit a lot of people don’t think to have but the nutritional properties – B vitamins, potassium, and folate - are amazing.
Kiwi Fruit offers a ton of essential nutrients and vitamin C to boost your white blood cells and help fight infection.
Blueberries are a superfood rich in flavonoids – an antioxidant that repairs damaged cells because they are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, dietary fibre, manganese, and potassium. A recent study states that eating 150g of blueberries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 15 per cent – wow!!
Capsicum - did you know that capsicum (bell peppers) have twice the amount of vitamin C in it, than citrus fruit does?
Broccoli is packed with vitamin goodness - A, C, and E, as well as a load of other antioxidants and fibre. Broccoli is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients.
Spinach is also packed with vitamin C, numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of your immune system. There’s a reason why spinach has been promoted as a superfood by Popeye!!
Mushrooms represent a unique branch of botanical medicine and are classified as Fungi.
Three power mushrooms to look for are:
Shiitake: a powerful mushroom that contains beta-glucans, which stimulate the immune system and strengthen your white blood cells.
Hen Of The Woods (also known as Maitake): proven to increase your immune cells' ability to engulf bacteria.
Reishi: These mushrooms cannot be eaten so it is best you buy these in a dried capsule form – from your local health food shop. They have powerful antiviral and anti-cancer properties.
Almonds - Just half a cup of almonds (approx. 46 whole shelled almonds) provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E, and vitamin E is extremely beneficial for a healthy immune system.
Bone Broth Base. There are great benefits to drinking and cooking with organic bone broth which have far-reaching effects on the immune system. The natural gelatine, collagen, and amino acids in bone broth attend to your gut, improve wound healing, and helps support the health of individual immune cells such as lymphocytes. The best meals to boost immunity, is chicken soup or meals based on quality bone broth
Protein is important too. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 85 grams (3 ounces) of light turkey or lean chicken meat contains 40 to 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of B-6.
Shellfish is often overlooked as a source to boost your immune system but because some varieties contain high levels of zinc, they paly a large role in balancing your cell function.
Varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:
It’s so very Important you manage your stress levels and practice common sense health practices.
It’s a fact that chronic stress actually suppresses your immune response by releasing the hormone cortisol. Cortisol itself interferes with the ability of specific white blood cells - called T-cells to proliferate and receive and send signals with your body. Further, cortisol lowers an important antibody called secretory IgA, which lines your respiratory tract and gut, being your first line of defense against invading pathogens.
To relieve stress, inhale and exhale 10 x long, slow deep breaths when you feel pressures, try yoga, work ½ days instead of full days (if financially possible) read a book for half an hour a day, have a relaxing full body massage or a facial every month, go for a long walk in natural surrounds – like the ocean, the bay or in a rainforest.
There are so many incredible benefits to be received if you exercise your body regularly. The key is to understand that there are different intensities of physical activity, and different choices around activity to improve your health, so finding the right activity at the right intensity will set you up for a self-boosting wellbeing ritual.
A lot of people think exercise will be strenuous, or tiring, or it will be painful, and these beliefs create enough reason within themselves to not exercise, but physical activity needs to be enjoyable and at least elevate your heart rate above resting for between 6 minutes and 45 minutes.
Now, I hear you saying…. “there’s a big difference between 6 minutes and 45 minutes”, and you’re right! This is where intensity come in.
There’s different types of training High Intensity interval Training (HIIT) which is short bursts of intense cardiovascular activity, with a longer recovery, and then a repeat short burst of activity, followed by a longer recovery. This type of training is said to increase your fat burning capacity by elevating your resting heart rate for up to 24 hours. A good level of fitness is required to get the most from HITT training.
Cardiovascular training elevates your heart rate above resting and is beneficial for strengthening your heart and improve your lung capacity. The choice of activities that can do this for you are many – swimming, skiing, brisk walking, hill climbing, trekking, jogging, canoeing, cycling, dancing… and much more. The key is to elevate your heart rate into a zone that is either fat burning or cardio strengthening – or both.
I recommend when you choose activity that you enjoy, that you participate in that activity so you begin to find it difficult to hold a conversation. This means that your heart and lungs are working to improve your health. NOTE: Avoid elevating your heart rate to a point where you are struggling to draw sufficient oxygen, or if you feel unwell.
Studies have proven that moderate physical activity can improve your antibody response to infections but strenuous exercise, particularly without recovery days, may actually increase your susceptibility to infections.
Yoga. A healthy lifestyle has the potential to profoundly benefit our gut health and act as a preventative measure to many illnesses. Personally, I feel yoga is a great way to heal your microbiome because it reduces inflammation and helps lower stress hormones that compromise your immune system. Further, it conditions your lungs and respiratory tract, which stimulates your lymphatic system and helps eliminate toxins.
SLEEP. Lack of sleep is making you retain excess weight, making you more susceptible to becoming sick more often and increasing body inflammation.
You probably already know that you should be aiming for a solid 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day, but for many experiencing sleep-wake patterns each night, chronic sleep deprivation is very real… and it’s very harmful.
You see, you have circulating natural killer cells within you that are a big part of your initial immune response when it comes to containing viral infections, and because your adaptive immune response is generating antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells that can clear an infection, it’s so very important your body is rested and your cells are able to do their job.
Just getting 6 hours of sleep every day, halves your natural killer cells capabilities!!!!
It’s a fact that sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep increases your body’s inflammation markers and worsens immune markers within you.
Lifestyle change is needed if you are serious about improving your immunity to environmental toxins. Adjust or change just one habit every week, and feel your health improve.