Your immune system is a vast and complex thing that is designed to detoxify, protect and support your body from illnesses and foreigner pathogens.
In todays world our bodies are under attack from all directions such as viruses, bacteria, micro-organisms, air pollution, pesticides, toxins in foods etc. So its no wonder our immune systems struggle to keep up sometimes.
So what can we do to support our body’s elimination of these different invaders?
All cells need water to function and the body needs sufficient water to assist in the elimination of waste and toxins. Chronic dehydration suppresses immune function.
So make sure you are drinking at least 2 litres of clean water a day. The water will also work to flush out toxins from your system therefore lightening the load to your immune system
- Antioxidants – Rainbow Support for our Immune System
Antioxidants are one of the most important components in a healthy immune system. They are found in the colour pigments in food, so in a sense the end of the food rainbow leads to good health. Antioxidants have a range of beneficial functions:
- Reduce and repair damage caused by oxidation of the cells.
- Remove free radical damage
- Bolster the immune system by increasing the effectiveness and production of white blood cells,
- Remove toxins
- Control the immune response (turning it on and off and adjusting its levels)
Here are a few great immune boosters you can add into your rainbow of foods.
Apples – An apple a day does keep the doctor away! Apples are considered a food of love in many cultures, and in England using different varieties we can eat them nearly all-year round. High in vitamins (C and B17 in the pips) its fibre cleanses the colon and the pectin helps rebuild the gut lining, filters out heavy metals and supports the respiratory tract. Levels of malic cleanse the liver.
Blackberries – have been used for over 2000 years as a medicine. Used to boost the immune system due to the high levels of vitamin C and other anti oxidants. It was also used by the Romans and Greeks to treat Gout.
Elderberries – Elderberry are high in vitamin C and are used for their antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not.
Leafy Greens – these foods are high in chlorophyll (the green pigment), which aids the body in detoxifying and contains high levels of vitamin C, A, Magnesium, Fibre and Folic Acid. University of Leicester did a study that showed eating 1 portion of greens a day reduced your risk of diabetes by 14% and University of Cambridge did a study that showed leafy green increase the immune systems ability to communicate – in the study they removed all leafy greens from the test subjects and found a 70% drop in immune function.
- Reduce or Eliminate Refined Sugar and Replace With Healthy Alternatives
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming 100g of refined sugar reduced the ability of white blood cells for up to 5 hours. White sugar strips the body of nutrients in order for it to be processed leading to a reduction in white blood cell production.
There are plenty of wonderful alternatives to sugar available such as coconut sugar, raw local honey, stevia, maple syrup.
- Eat Plenty of Raw Foods
When we eat lots of cooked food, they are deficient in enzymes, this can stimulate the body into an immune response at the body can’t recognise what is being consumed. Eating a proportion of each meal comprised with enzyme rich food (either raw food or digestive enzymes) allows the body to identify the signature of the food and consume it without affecting the immune system. We can see the effect that constant cooked food would have on someone – the immune system would constantly be at work, eventually leading to burn out and illness.
- Get Exercising
Exercise strengthens the immune system; it improves circulation and lymphatic drainage, increases oxygenation and generates production of white blood cells. The key to good exercise is finding a type that suits your constitution and one you enjoy. Try to do some form of exercise at least three times per week. Exercising outside with some exposure to sun-light is also great for immune health, vitamin D helps modulate immune responses.
If you would like to take it even further here are a list of Herbs for Immune Health
Garlic, Echinacea, Medicinal Mushrooms, Noni, Goldenseal, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Cats Claw, Cacao, Mangosteen, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary, Elderberries, Rosehips, Grapefruit seed Extract, White pine bark, Camu Camu, Amla, Ginseng, Apricots