If you have already ready read the article “2012 Cold and flu season; part two, the immune system”, then you are aware of how important the health of the immune system is. To recap in one sentence, the immune system is the number one defense against disease of all kinds. During the cold and flu season, it is important that we ensure we are doing all we can to ensure a healthy and strong immune system.
In addition to sleep and proper exercise, our diet is one of the major contributors, not only to our general health and wellbeing, but is of utmost importance in ensuring we have and maintain a healthy and strong immune system. In this article we will introduce some of the does and don’ts of an appropriate diet for your immune system.
The foods, herbs and even weeds that nature supplies us and that are beneficial to the health and maintenance of your immune system are to vast for an article of this nature to cover and so we will concentrate on some of the more prevalent and known.
Immune System Concerns
The immune system quite simply, keeps us healthy both physically and mentally. There are two scenarios that occur, and that the immune system must respond to, the first being that the body becomes infected and the immune system must fight the infection. The second scenario is that the immune system is strong and flexible enough that it wards off the invasion of the infection. The immune system can be affected by a large number of things that we may encounter on a daily basis.
Some exposures are out of our immediate control, such as air pollutants, environmental pollutants, some of the foods and drinks we eat, other people we come in contact with and those common accidents and mishaps we encounter from time to time. This is why it is important to maintain a healthy and strong immune system. One simple task we can perform is to wash our hands before eating and preparing foods.
What we have control over is how we treat and maintain the health of our immune system. Along with proper sleep and rest, proper exercise, proper diet is one of the factors that we have control over to a large degree. What we eat and drink has a very direct affect on our immune systems. What we eat and drink is within our control.
It seems that no matter where you turn, there is someone offering diet and nutrition advice and or programs. You can find all kinds of advice from loosing weight, to gaining muscles and on and on. The most important dietary choice that you will make has little to do with any of the marketed advice and programs; the most important diet is a diet for your immune system.
In an earlier article I presented a number of herbs and spices that you might find in the average kitchen that have anti-aging and anti-disease properties. In addition to being anti-aging these herbs and spices are also good for your health as well as the health of your immune system.
Diet does not only mean the types of food you eat but also a balance and mixture of types of foods. It is very important that one has a well balanced diet that supplies the body with all the nutrients it requires. One such diet is a properly applied “Rainbow Diet” << rootshed.com/article/holistic-rainbow-diet >> which is an easy way to get a cross nutrient rich and balance diet.
To do and not to do
Some of the things to consider for a balanced diet include the following:
- Eat your fruits and vegetables. If you are ascribing to a Rainbow Diet, then you will most certainly be eating an abundant and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Diets high in fruits and vegetables promote immune health, because they’re rich in nutrients the immune system requires.
- Be a little Nutty. Nuts and seeds are great sources for healthy fats and protein that are required by the immune system to remain and become healthy.
- Medicinal mushrooms such as maitake, reishi and shiitake, are three sources of a substance called beta-glucans which can enhance the immune system activity against infections, cancer as well as reduce allergies.
- Eat your friendly bacteria. The stomach and immune system need friendly bacteria to remain strong and healthy. Beneficial microorganisms colonize our intestinal, lower urinary and upper respiratory tracts. The friendly or beneficial bacteria help to reduce and eliminate unhealthy bacterial in our bodies and thereby enhance immune function. You can consume such bacteria in the form of live-cultured products such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi. Probiotics supplements are also available at natural food stores.
- Expose Yourself. Don’t be afraid to expose your skin to the sun in moderation. Vitamin D3 is an extremely important vitamin to the immune system as it has a number of roles in promoting immune function and disease fighting capabilities. Vitamin D3 deficiency correlates with increased occurrences of colds and flu, asthma, allergies, several autoimmune diseases, and susceptibility to infection. Vitamin D3 has been linked to improve and reduce some cancers, flu, as well as increases the body’s ability to promote healing of damage.
Some of the things to consider eliminating for your diet include:
- Number One, remove all GMO. It is essential that you try to remove all GMO products from your diet; these are unnatural and are as some independent research is showing anti-immune producing, as well as unhealthy in a number of different ways.
- Avoid refined sugar. Actually avoid all sugar but especially refined sugars. Sugar and sugary foods and juices have been traced to impaired immune function, in addition to obesity and other serious health issues.
- Shun Tobacco Smoke. Not only do you not want to smoke cigarettes yourself, but you also want to avoid tobacco smoke as it is dangerously unhealthy in so many ways, but it also triggers inflammation, increases mucus, and damages the hair-like projections inside your nose called cilia’s from doing their job of filtering and clearing mucus. Exposure to tobacco smoke increases the risk for respiratory infections, including colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, sinusitis and middle ear infections, all of which put an undue stress on your immune system.
- Limit Pesticides and other poisons that are found in unhealthy levels on some conventionally grown foods. One way is to eat Organic foods as much as possible. Stay tuned for a coming article on organic and conventional grown foods that will help you decide on what foods to buy organic versus conventional.
- Don’t overdue the caffeine. Caffeine in moderation can have some health benefits, but in excess it can negatively affect the immune system.
- Once called the devils drink, alcohol has been shown to impede the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease. Excessive consumption of alcohol or long term abuse of it can lead to immune deficiency that produces nutritional deficiencies and reduce white blood cells which can lead to serious infections and damage to the body, while impeding the body’s ability to heal itself.
- Avoid or reduce Drugs, legal or not. It is important to follow a doctor’s advice in all cases of legal prescribed drug use. Never self prescribe or adjust your prescription without a doctors supervision and approval. All drugs affect your body, but, illegal drugs are illegal for a purpose and it’s not just to suppress your supposed fun, it to safeguard your health and wellbeing. It is important to know what a drug legal or other is doing to your body and how it can affect the immune system, so you can take natural and safe courses of action to assist your immune system. Be fully informed and keep yourself safe, two places on the internet that list the affects of prescription and legal drugs are; Drugs.com and RxList.
- Smoking marijuana, or any substance, can have a negative effect on the immune system. It has been found to cause damage to sensitive cells in the lungs and increase the risk of contracting diseases and bacterial infections. Marijuana is known to contain more carcinogenic chemicals than tobacco smoke and because of the way the drug is inhaled deeply and held for longer than cigarette smoke; these chemicals can cause severe respiratory damage.
The information provided in this article is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor or other health care provider, but is intended as information only to help you make better health care decisions and take greater responsibility for your own health. You should not use this information to diagnose or develop a treatment plan for a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified health care provider. By using this information, you expressly acknowledge and agree we are NOT responsible for the results of your decisions regarding use of this information, including, but not limited to, your choosing to seek or not to seek professional medical care, or your choosing or not choosing specific treatment based on this information.