Your Immune System.
It's an important topic. One everybody seems to be talking about these days.
Is it strong? Is it weak? Are you one of those people that "gets everything that comes down the pike?"
Let me start off by saying that this will not be a post about the unproven HIV=AIDS dogma/theory/religion in relation to low immunity. I know many people who are "HIV negative" (and I use that term loosely) who have low immunity and seem to get sick all the time. Every year, at "flu season", I hear from them. They are usually the ones that are running to get their flu shots.
I also know many people that have been labeled as "HIV positive" (and I use THAT term even more loosely) who hardly ever get sick. Maybe the run of the mill head/sinus congestion once a year, and that's about it.
So........on we go.
There are many ways to tear down your immune system, see the previous post for just a few.
This will be a discussion on how to build it up. In this day and age of our very toxic, chemically-filled, environmentally polluted world, one needs all the help they can get in building immunity. An Immune System that will be strong, healthy, and last you a lifetime.
Love it? Hate it? Can I see a show of hands?
One of the major components to good, strong immune function is daily exercise/activity. Crucial to staying healthy is a great workout of your cardiovascular system. I'm talking about deep breathing, stretching, strengthening, moving, walking, jogging, yoga, tai chi, bootcamp, biking, dancing, gardening........whatever floats your boat.
Like sports? Excellent! Pick one. Do something. Anything. And do it regularly. Physical activity stimulates the flow of lymphatic fluid. The lymphatic system is a series of vessels and glands that transports immune cells and collects waste products throughout the body. Because the lymphatic system has no pump, it relies on muscular contractions to keep things flowing. Yoga, with its inversions that help lymph travel from the extremities, may be an especially effective immune-system booster.
A highly oxygenated body will contribute to being a healthy body.
Bottom line: GET MOVING
Love them? Hate them? Can I get a show of hands? Vegetables, fruits.
Add color to your plate. Because plants can't run away from invaders, they have had to develop their own rich immune systems, which are made up primarily of the phytochemicals that give fruits and vegetables their rich color. The more colors you eat, the more broad spectrum your immunity boost will be.
The REDS: tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit
The RED-PURPLES: grapes, pomegranates, and blueberries
The ORANGES: carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes
The ORANGE-YELLOWS: oranges, papaya, and nectarines
The YELLOW-GREENS: lettuces, peas, and avocados
The GREENS: kale, broccoli, and cabbage
The WHITE-GREENS: celery, pears, and endive
Not only will a wide variety of veggies and fruits in your diet boost immunity, it will also ward off obesity and combat a variety of chronic diseases and cancers.
Bottom line: Listen to your mother....EAT YOUR VEGGIES!
Love it? Love it? Who doesn't love sleep? Nothing beats a great nap in the middle of the day. I grabbed one earlier while snuggling by the fire. (Wow, 32 degrees in Florida today)
Prioritize your sleep. Sleeping is particularly important to immunity because during the nightly downtime, the body is devoted to detox, repair, and healing. It has been shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a night were nearly three times more likely to get sick after being exposed to pathogens than those who slept eight hours or more. Another important component to the immunity puzzle.
Bottom line: Make sure to get your proper rest.
Love it? Well, who doesn't love this mental/emotional state of mind and being. Good, strong immunity isn't just about organs and cells--it has a strong mental component, too. The ability of stress and depression to lower immunity is so well known that it has spawned a new medical field called "psychoneuroimmunology", to study the relationship between the mind and the immune system.
Practice devoting time to pursuits that bring you inner joy, make you feel calm, fulfilled, and at your best. Things such as a strong spiritual life, rewarding hobby, socializing with family and friends who love and accept you, or a contemplative practice that helps you to unwind and reflect.
Bottom line: Strive for peace and inner joy.
Love them? I know I do. I even make my own herbal tinctures.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, aromatic herbs--such as garlic, ginger, and scallions--are all warming and help stimulate the body's energy, or qi (pronounced "chee"). When these particular herbs are used, they will open up the sinuses and the chest, causing a light perspiration, which if you do "catch a cold", will help your body to "sweat it out". A great, natural form of detox.
You can also use remedies such as echinacea, elder flower, licorice root, astragalus, and many others to boost immunity or speed in healing.
Bottom line: Use natural products that have been long proven effective for many thousands of years before running to the doctor for an antibiotic.
Your immune system is only as strong as you are.