Today, in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, when there is no vaccine and doctors are only trying to develop a treatment protocol, it is especial to rely on your strengths and your own immune system.
How often do you think about the health your own immune system and the work it does every day?
Maybe you wait until you catch a cold before topping up on vitamin C or popping an Echinacea capsule or two. Or perhaps you’re more proactive about prevention.
Either way, being aware of how your lifestyle and eating habits can help or hinder your immunity is a vital part of protecting your overall health – as well as avoiding nasty colds and flu this season.
Pathogens are everywhere – in the air, on the surfaces you touch, in your food and water. They’re lurking on your skin, hair and under your nails. Everyday you inhale and swallow thousands of bacteria and viruses. Fortunately your immune system is there to help protect you from these pathogens. If it’s not functioning properly you get ill.
A strong immune system is necessary to protect you from the outside world but also for detecting and clearing away cells that are behaving abnormally – such as cancerous cells.
So it’s vital to support and enhance your immune system – not only to reduce your susceptibility to seasonal bugs, but also to increase your resistance to other diseases, including cancer.
Your immune system does a great job – most of the time. But sometimes it falters and you get sick. It often happens during the change of seasons (especially the arrival of autumn) or periods of intense activity, stress and fatigue.
Yet even among healthy people, there are many differences between those who are less susceptible or ‘never sick’ and others who seem to ‘catch whatever is going around”.
These are the most common causes of weakened immunity that I tend to see when working with clients:
• Lack of exercise – your muscle mass influences your immunity because muscle proteins provide the raw materials the immune system needs to produce lymphocytes, along with the ultra-important natural killer cells. Exercise also improves the circulation of oxygen to tissues (cancer cells hate oxygen) and helps the lymph system move lymph around the body.
• Low levels of vitamin D – you need plenty to trigger the immune system into action and to produce powerful antimicrobial substances. Inactive T cells rely on it to become natural killers cells – actively seeking out and destroying pathogens. A deficiency makes us more prone to heart disease, respiratory illness, autoimmune diseases and cancer. Many of people are woefully low – even in the sunny south of France.
• Thyroid issues. An imbalance in thyroid hormones is known to weaken the immune system. Many people have undiagnosed thyroid issues – often reflected in symptoms such as an inability to lose weight, constant fatigue and poor mood.
• Negative lifestyle factors – lack of sleep, the abuse of tobacco, drugs and alcohol. Certain medications.
• Poor eating habits – lack of variety, over-indulgence in sugary foods, lack of fibre, food additives and nutritional deficiencies.
• Chronic stress – even low-level stress produces hormones that break down body tissue and tax the immune system.
• Psychological and emotional state – depression and anxiety considerably weaken the immune system.
The immune system is complex, but fortunately there is much you can do to strengthen your natural defenses. Many remedies have already proved their effectiveness and all are easy to include in your daily diet.
• Garlic – contains the super antioxidant allicin – a powerful immune booster. Allicin is also a potent antibiotic, which fights infection and bacteria. A garlic-rich diet appears to protect us from various cancers.
• Turmeric – anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal – perfect when colds or the flu strike. Turmeric also has potent anti-inflammatory properties and helps destroy cancer cells.
• Lemon – high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids which are great for destroying harmful free radicals and fighting colds and infection.
• Wild mushrooms – naturally exposed to sunlight (and in season now), they generate vitamin D, vital for protecting your immune system. They are also an excellent source of selenium – a super antioxidant that further protects against cancer.
• Green tea – contains a particular type of polyphenols called catechins, potent plant antioxidants, which help fight off viruses, bacteria and even abnormal cells.
• And lastly – think positive! While your food makes your body, your thoughts make your mind and there is no question that your state of mind has a profound effect on your immunity. People who cultivate distressing, negative thoughts are more prone to illness. Research has proved that changes occur in your immune cell activity depending on your state of mine. So relax, take a deep breath and smile!
Are you feeling a little under the weather and in need of a boost? ‘Golden mylk’ is an immune-boosting remedy that ancient cultures have used traditionally to benefit digestion and health. Helps fight the winter blues too!
• 3 cups almond or soy milk
• 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 2 cardamom pods (crushed)
• 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
• 3 teaspoons maple syrup (or honey)
Method: Combine all ingredients together in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly. Serves 2.
Clever Tip: Turmeric is a super anti-inflammatory food and an amazing immune-booster. Add a pinch of black pepper to increase its absorption.
Want to know more about beating colds and flu naturally? Would you like to decrease your allergic reactions, protect yourself against degenerative diseases and generally increase your immunity? Begin boosting your immune system with the nutritionist Susan Tomassini by choosing one of the programs on her website: https://www.foodwise.life/program/immune-boost