The ability of an organism to resist a specific infection or toxin by the action of antibodies or sensitized white blood cells is what creates our ‘immunity.’ our immune systems take a beating trying to fight against natural and industrial waste, as well as poor-quality food and water that causes illness. t-cells, made by the immune system, are the foremost soldiers of our immune system, and our gut flora is like the headquarters sending out ‘troops’ to keep the home front protected.
Fortunately, there are simple but surefire ways to have ‘super’ immunity:
1. Eat Healthily
You can practically double your immune system’s ability to fight disease with the way you eat. Try eating more leafy greens, and organic fruits, which are chock-full of important immune-boosting antioxidants. You can maintain long-term health just by changing your nutrition. Without carotenoids and leafy greens that help boost gut flora, your immune system becomes exhausted. The quality of a diet can be judged based on three simple criteria:
- Levels of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals) per calorie,
- Amounts of macronutrients (fat, carbohydrate, protein) to meet individual needs, without excessive calories that may lead to weight gain or health compromise,
- Avoidance of potentially toxic substances (such as trans fats) and limited amounts of other potentially harmful substances (such as sodium).
2. Eat Foods High on the ORAC
(Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity)
These are foods that fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are an uncharged molecule that can wreak havoc on the body, one of the main reasons disease develops and the body turns acid instead of maintaining its alkaline balance. They congest our cells and cause us to age faster and be more prone to disease.
3. Stop Eating Fast Food
Slow-absorbing food is better for your immune system. When you eat ‘fast’ food devoid of nutrients, it makes your digestive system work extra hard to digest something that gives your body no benefit. Many slow-absorbing foods have both fiber and protein, or one or the other, along with important nutrients which also keep your glucose levels from spiking.
4. Support Healthy Gut Flora
Eating refined sugar erodes gut flora, while eating fermented foods like Kefir or drinking Kombucha can help create healthy gut flora. Dark chocolate has also been shown to provide ‘food’ for healthy gut bacteria. Leafy greens help to create healthy gut flora, too. Obviously, taking a probiotic supplement can help as well, since this replaces ‘bad’ bacteria with ‘good’ bacteria, making it harder for the ‘bad guys’ to hang around in your intestinal tract.
5. Get More Sleep
Your body can’t fight free radicals and restore itself if it barely has enough energy to carry out functions like pumping your heart or making sure you breathe. Dr. Fikrig and his colleagues at the Yale School of Medicine has found that our circadian rhythms (sleep and wake cycles) actually govern our immunity. Disturbed sleep patterns means compromised immunity. Make sure when you sleep, you stay asleep soundly for 7-9 hours nightly. Sleeping even removes toxic waste form the brain!
6. Eat Breakfast
Start the day with breakfast. Studies show that missing breakfast can be linked to susceptibility to illnesses. People who eat breakfast in the morning are less likely to catch colds and other respiratory illnesses than those who skip breakfast, according to studies done at Cardiff University in Wales. One study of 100 students who kept nutrition and health diaries showed that subjects who caught more than one infection during the 10-week study were less likely to have eaten breakfast. For a healthy start, include 100% whole grains, fruit, and a lean protein like beans and legumes, in your breakfast.
7. Take a Daily Walk
Exercise is one of the most important ways to promote a good immune response in the body. You don’t need to overdo it. Intense workouts can actually cause more stress on the body and depress the immune system. Especially if you are already under the weather, keep it light.
8. With your healthcare providers approval, use herbs and supplements to support immunity
There are literally hundreds of herbs that help boost the immune system and fight off disease. These include things like moringa, olive leaf, astragalus, cloves, oregano, and more. Conversely, improper use of antibiotics can dampen your natural immune response, and kill healthy gut flora that are your ‘second brain’ when it comes to fighting diseases. Taking probiotic supplements after an antibiotic therapy may help restore them back to normal.
Sources: naturalsociety.com, clevelandclinicwellness.com