Happy Spring! This week we would like to talk about the Immune System. This system works tirelessly 24 hours a day– defending us, protecting us, and adapting to all the organisms we interact with daily. When you look into the mirror- you see your face, your body, your skin– but there’s this whole entire world going on inside that is not visible to the naked eye. When you begin to understand the internal world that keeps you alive, you are able to manage your own health in a more efficient manner.
A Brief Overview of the Immune System
Above is a picture that shows you the vast make-up of the body’s immune system. This system is incredibly intelligent. There are cells that travel around looking for any foreign invaders, i.e. bacteria, viruses, fungus, and/or in-organic material. These particular cells are similar to military intelligence– once they discover an invader they will inform another type of cells (the soldiers) that there is a specific invader and they will give them information on this specific invader so that this body of cells, the fighter cells, will equip themselves and attack this particular invader. Once these cells have disarmed the foreign invader, there are another body of cells that record the antigen to that invader and now there are a body of cells that can recognize this specific invader and will automatically be able to disarm them if they intrude again. Can you believe that you have an internal system that is able to basically create it’s own medicine to kill off bad things that try to harm us?
Now, you may be wondering how come I STILL get sick or how could cancer be possible if this system is suppose to prevent it? Well, there is a lot to that question, but broken down simply– our immune system takes time to get rid of ALL the bad things we interact with. And as it goes to fight for us, it has to be able to keep up with producing MORE fighter cells, more antigens, and so on. When our cells find an area of the body that needs attention it will go to work in that area– if another area is being effected at the same time this puts strain on the immune system and sometimes it can be hard for our bodies to produce enough of these fighter cells to keep up with the multiple areas effected or magnitude of intruders that may be present. And this is what may happen when we get sick or experience dis-ease. So a great question to ask is– ask not what your immune system can do for you, ask what you can do for your immune system!
Boosting the Immune System
There are so many ways you can boost, assist, or repair your immune system. This can be done through certain foods, supplements, and movement/lifestyle.
Immune Boosting Foods
- All Vegatables that are GREEN
- Kale, spinach, broccoli, green lettuce, brussels sprouts– all of these vegetables are high in minerals and vitamins especially vitamin K. Vitamin K helps keep the calcium in your bones. Keep the bones healthy and you’ll keep the bone marrow in tact– which is the primary location of your immune system/cell production.
- Peas, lentils, and/or nuts are great sources of protein that is needed for your immune system to respond and operate properly. These amino acids will play a HUGE role in proper immune function.
- Fermented Foods
- Fermented foods such as kombucha, yogurt, sauerkraut, or kimchi provide the body with probiotics. These good bacteria will help digest and assimilate food nutrients which will help provide all the key nutrients to your immune cells to work optimally.
- Berries like blueberries, raspberries, and black berries all contain HIGH levels of antioxidants which are necessary for proper immune system function. More on this below…
Immune Supporting Supplements
- This berry has lots of antioxidants. Antioxidants stop cells from being damaged by oxidants, waste from cells that accumulate in the body. Less waste in the body allows the system to work more cleanly– Think of how good you feel cleaning or tidying up your home, can’t you feel the air and flow feels better? This is similar to the action and feeling of antioxidants in the body.
- This plant is great for helping aid the immune system. It has the ability to protect the healthy cells in our body– as if it is an armor protecting the cells from bacteria and viruses. When your cells are protected the immune system will not have to work so hard to fight off invaders because the cells are being protected.
- This warming root helps break down toxins in the body and helps stimulate the lymphatic system. Try it in a TEA for a calming and warming experience.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant that also helps produce collagen. Collagen increases production of healthy tissue cells. Healthy tissue in the body helps resilience to pathogens or invaders from penetrating into the blood system, lymphatic system , bones, joints, etc. Read more about the many benefits of Vitamin C here.
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin D, which is more like a hormone than a vitamin, is CRUCIAL for a healthy immune system. Simply put, the immune cells require vitamin D to do all their HARD work in disarming the bad guys. Read more about Vitamin D3 here.
- Iron is an essential mineral that our body’s need to produce red blood cells. Red blood cells are made in our bone marrow, the same area immune cells are produced. The help transport and receive oxygen in our body. A healthy balance of red and white blood cells helps boost our defense from invaders.
- Folic Acid
- Folic Acid is a B vitamin that is also necessary to help produce red blood cells in the body.
- Plant based Protein
- As mentioned above in the food section protein plays a VITAL role for our immune system. If you don’t eat meat or eat a small amount of meat, consider a protein shake to help receive the amino acids your immune system and bodies need to function properly.
- Las Vegas Allergy Mix
- This unique homeopathic formula collects local pollen known to raise histamine levels in the body and dilutes them. You may be wondering what this has to do with the immune system. When you take this formula your immune cells will respond to them and begin to create antigens to recognize them as invaders and dis-arm them. This will help create immunity to the local pollen that tickle your nose, makes you sneeze, and can weaken the immune system in the long run.
Other Immune Boosting Tips (movement/lifestyle)
- The lymphatic system, another area where immune cells are produced, is like a river of fluid that runs throughout the entire body. This system is dependent on our movement to help keep it flowing so that it can get rid of residual toxins that accumulate. How to stimulate the lymphatic system:
- Light or vigorous exercise: if you don’t move your body your lymphatic system becomes stagnant– which is a bacteria or viruses breeding ground, similar to a puddle of water.
- Take a cold shower or end your showers with cold water– this helps stimulate and gets the lymphatic system pumping as well.
- Meditation has been proven to help boost the immune system. This can be due to the relaxing properties it has on the nervous system which can help with stress management. When the nervous system is heightened, hormone levels will go off balance and this can throw the immune system off.
- Proper sleep and proper rest is an important factor to help your immune system replenish or perform. The BEST thing you can do for your body when you are experiencing any dis-ease or sickness is to surrender to your active mind and allow your body to rest. Check out some sleep tips if you are having any troubles sleeping.
We hope you have a better understanding of how your immune system goes to fight for you every day. It is impossible to avoid bad bacteria, fungus, mold, toxins or foreign matter. But it is possible to support and equip your body to deal with all that chaos. A strong immune system paves the way to an incredibly healthy and responsive body. If you put attention to prevention you won’t have to spend the time, money, or stress on treatment.
As always, do what you feel is best for YOUR body– if you aren’t sure, ask your doctor. We are health ENTHUSIASTS not licensed practitioners.