As of late there has been a lot of talk in the media about boosting our immune systems. Today I will explain in laymen terms what the immune system is and provide some items we can use to boost our immunity.
What is the immune system?
The immune system is the most diverse and fascinating of all the body systems. It is extremely complex. The best way to describe the immune system is to liken or compare it to a fortress. It is our great defense system and helps to fend off the most dangerous of invaders. Our skin is the outer wall of the fortress. Our skin makes it difficult for invaders to penetrate. When attacked, our immune system produces a variety of substances that are harmful to invaders. It is meant to keep us healthy.
What to do to boost our immune system?
The first line of defense to strengthen your immune system is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. It is never too late! Doing so will provide a couple of added benefits, there will be a positive impact on your overall health and an increased ability to fight off any nasties that might come your way. Another analogy for the immune system that I found on the internet is that you could think of your immune system is as a bank account. Every day you have the option to make a deposit or a withdrawal from your account. Be sure to fill up your immune bank with the following making sure to keep it full and overflowing:
Eat a balanced diet. Be sure to include whole plant foods and healthy fats, limit added sugars and processed foods
Maintain a moderate exercise regimen; exercise most days of the week. Exercise definitely aids in the reduction of inflammation
Adequate and regular sleep, 7 or more hours a night (Sleep and immunity are closely tied)
Drink plenty water
Keep stress levels low; a positive attitude and spiritual health can help
In addition, the following supplements may help improve your immune system:
Garlic. Garlic has powerful anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties
B complex vitamins. B vitamins are important for a healthy immune response
Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps prevent respiratory infections
Omega 3 fish oil
Probiotics. These balance out the “good” bacteria in your gut
Vitamin C. This is essential and plays several roles in your body, one of which is to boost immunity
Zinc. Helps to fight infections.
Echinacea. This herb is best known as a remedy for common colds and flu
Elderberry. Contains antioxidants and is thought relieve colds, fight the flu and boost the immune
I’d like to close with the following quote by David Katz, M.D., M.P.H. director of the Yale Prevention Research Center…”There’s no question the immune system fundamentally is influenced by overall health and a balanced diet is key. Not only are essential nutrients critical for the production and maintenance of key germ fighting cells in the immune system, but a balanced diet also has a strong effect on vascular function and the immune system is dependent on blood flow.”
To prepare this article I read and pulled bits from various online resources, following are a couple:
As always, consult with your physician before embarking on these or any changes that might impact your health.
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