Recharge your immunity
Updated: Jul 19, 2020
Despite rapid advancements in medical science, believe it or not our own immune system is still the main weapon against infections!
So boosting your immune system is important. VERY important!
There are many things we're exposed to in daily life that often we don't even give it a second thought as to where it may have originated, that is until we get sick! Our bodies stave off multiple possibilities of infections every day and we are generally none the wiser! Sometimes the infection is too much for the immune system to kick it- in the immediate sense, but most of us get through it in time. Unfortunately some people are immunocompromised, find it far more difficult to rid themselves of infections, and they experience much harsher or prolonged symptoms.
One thing is for sure, no matter where the contamination comes from or what category you are in, we all could use a "recharge" to our immune system.
Most of us know about the power of Vitamin C and Zinc. Sometimes we forget about the importance of magnesium and vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) All which are essential to numerous functions in the body, not to mention vital role in immune heath. So, absolutely keep these on hand. There's a few other proven methods to add to your arsenal as well, here's a few of my favorite recommendations.
Movement is crucial for immune function, most notably because it revs up circulation, which helps move around the cells and transport much needed oxygen to compromised tissues that require regeneration. Exercise also causes change in antibodies and white blood cells. WBCs are the body's immune system cells that fight disease.These antibodies or "WBCs" circulate more rapidly so they could detect illnesses earlier than they might have before! Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones, which helps to improve our mental heath, which then leaves us less susceptible to various inflammations in the body caused by stress. So not only does it make you feel good, exercise is absolutely necessary to supporting you're bodies natural functions. Most importantly...the immune system.
As much as we need exercise, we equally need rest. Our bodies require both sleep and wakeful rest. During deep sleep (or slow-wave sleep), your body releases Human Growth Hormone which is important for growth, cell regeneration, and cell reproduction. This hormone helps to maintain, build, and repair healthy tissue in the brain and other organs. ... This helps to build muscle mass, boost metabolism, and burn fat. During sleep, Chemicals that strengthen your immune system start to circulate in your blood, and also boosts the effectiveness of certain specialized immune cells called T cells (which are important for cell mediated immunity and the activation of immune cells to fight infection)
Sleep also helps the body suppress ghrelin, a hunger hormone, and stimulate leptin, which controls appetite. So, it aids in weight management which also eventually makes a full circle to avoiding compromised immunity.
Wakeful rest is generally defined as a period of 10 minutes or longer with minimal stimulation. The idea is to calm your mind, give at least some of your neurons a break. This too plays an important roll in mental health which affects the immune system. Not to mention the positive affects it has on the cardiovascular system, especially in women. Studies show wakeful rest has also been shown to facilitate memory performance and other cognitive functions too. What a bonus!
Reading a book, meditating, watching a sunset, maybe a nap in the park. Rest is vital for reset. Whatever way you chose to experience it, take a minimum of 10-15 minutes a day to rest your body and brain. Several times a day if possible.
Eat a Whole Food Diet:
"Whole foods" is defined as food that has been processed or refined as little as possible, and is free from additives or other artificial substances. "Nutrient dense" is defined as providing a high concentration of vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, protein and healthy fats. The most nutrient dense foods are most commonly organic, grass fed, and often labeled as "bio-nutrient". (More to come on that in a future episode!)
Nutrient dense food is one of your best defenses against dysfunction and disease. To put things into perspective we all understand; High performance engines use premium fuels. If not, it could cause damage to internal engine components. Suffice to say, our bodies work very much in the same way. The quality of foods we use to nourish our bodies should be a top priority, especially when boosting our immune system. All of our human "components" require a specific nutrient combination to operate at it's very best. If one system is lacking, our body is so smart it will take away from another "component" based on priority of need. However if we do not eventually replace the nutrients, the "components" will continue to steal from one another until we reach a deficit. That's when trouble starts to show itself in the form of a dysfunction. So, to put it simply. If you want to perform optimally, enrich your body with a variety of nutrient dense whole foods. Give your body and your immune system a fighting chance.
I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough. To no surprise of the natural health community, Recent studies found that the consumption of added sugars as well as alternative sweeteners, has been implicated in increased risk of a variety of chronic diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as well as cognitive decline, skin disorders and even some cancers! While naturally occurring sugars found in whole foods are essential to the body, Processed and refined sugars hold absolutely no nutritional value, and they compromise our immune system by hindering the body's immune functions. Consuming too much sugar can affect the cells in your immune system that target bacteria, it essentially puts your white blood cells into a temporary coma. Sugar triggers low-grade inflammation and hinders the absorption of essential minerals and nutrients. It has been known to cause disbiosis of the gut, lead to insulin resistance and attribute to addictive behavior patters. Children who consume foods high in refined sugar experience exacerbated hyperactivity and increased aggressive behaviors as well as unstable mood changes. While it may prove difficult to avoid sugar all together (it's in nearly all processed foods on the market, not to mention the many names it falls under -Sucrose, Dextrose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids, Cane Sugar, Cane Juice, Barley Malt, and Rice Syrup, are all code for SUGAR.) it's not impossible. Check your labels consistently and support the products that don't use added sugars or chemical sweeteners. Preparing your own foods is the best way to avoid added sugars all together.
Manuka Honey & Propolis:
What a delicious way to boost the immune system. All natural honey has some antibacterial effects, but scientists have discovered that Manuka's effects are much more potent! Manuka honey protects against damage caused by bacteria, it also boost production of special cells that can repair tissue damaged by infection. Manuka honey has an anti-inflammatory action that can quickly ease pain and inflammation. Not the same as regular honey, Manuka boasts Anti-bacterial & Anti-viral activity as well as antioxidants, which are very effective for the removal of free radicals from the body. What makes Manuka honey so different you ask? Well it contains a compound called methylglyoxal or (MGO). This compound apparently carries all the magic Manuka has to offer! There's a rating system to go by when buying this special honey, it's called called UMF, which stands for Unique Manuka Factor. This tells you the amount of MGO contained in your jar. When maintaining good health you will look for a the UMF to be between 5-10+ (30-100 MGO), however when using Manuka to recharge the immune response, I recommend a rating between 15-20+ (400-550 MGO) There are many company's and a wide range of UMF / MGO rating on the labels, not to mention Manuka can be pricey due to short harvest seasons. Whichever company you go with be sure it's; Raw, From New Zealand, and has a high UMF factor. Now's the time to slide in a shout out to Bee Propolis, also known as "Bee glue"! Propolis has a number of beneficial substances known as flavonoids and polyphenols, which have strong antioxidant and anti-cancer activities. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Propolis has been shown to heal while killing germs, in a one-two punch that quickly and effectively knocks out anything attacking your system. It's basically an all natural antibiotic that's been used for this purpose for thousands of years! There's no concerns of overdosing with Propolis, just be sure to be aware of your sourcing. The one thing that won't benefit you is using a product that contains pesticide residue. Taking Manuka and propolis together is sure to be a powerhouse addition to recharging your immune system.
Studies have linked echinacea and their compounds to many health benefits, such as reduced inflammation, improved immunity and lower blood sugar levels. Echinacea is loaded with compounds that function as antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that help defend your cells against oxidative stress (a state that has been linked to chronic diseases) Echinacea also contains flavonoids (they corral cell-damaging free radicals and metallic ions) as well as compounds called alkamides, which can further enhance antioxidant acti