Shari Duncan

Tag: Immune System

Strengthen your Immune System the Natural Way: With Food
Shari

by on Nov.21, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Weight Loss

The more informed you are about what breaks down the immune system and what keeps it strong, the easier it will be to stimulate and strengthen it.

Your whole body will love you for it.

The Immune System is a barrier, your defense mechanism against infection, viruses, fungi and bacteria and all other harmful organisms that can enter our body. The breakdown of the immune system begins when toxins from the foods we eat, the environment we live in, and a poor diet causes our systems to weaken and not function properly. When the immune system starts to weaken, our bodies are subject to fatigue and illness and it is very hard to ward off infections.

There are many ways to enhance immune system dysfunction.  It will probably not surprise you to learn that eating a well balanced diet tops the list to keeping the immune system functioning properly. Specifically, a diet high in fruits and vegetables has many of the phytonutrients critical to enhance immunity as well as many of the important vitamins and minerals.

Get some color on your plate!

Incorporate colorful foods to boost your Immunity

Incorporate colorful foods to boost your Immunity

Eat variety, and make sure when you are shopping, you get all kinds of fresh and exciting foods to cook with. A steady and balanced intake of essential vitamins and minerals helps to keep our immune systems working properly by providing us protection from infections and disease. Fish, poultry, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, cereals and legumes (peas, lentils, and beans) are all good sources of minerals. Foods such as cheese, eggs or liver, which supply vitamin A, and spinach, sweet potatoes or carrots, which are good sources of beta carotene, should also be eaten daily. Intact whole grains, not the flour products made from them are what really strengthen the digestive system. Fiber (as found in whole grains) helps cleanse the colon of toxins and helps prevent intestinal infections.

Additionally, generous amounts of high quality protein are important for maintaining rapid production of cells to support the immune system, preventing loss of lean muscle mass and boosting energy.

Water:

This is essential for regulating all of the body’s systems. It eases the job of the kidneys and liver to process and eliminate toxins from the blood. It helps keep mucous membranes moist enough to combat the viruses they encounter. And it is a little known tool for reducing sugar cravings. Try a big glass of water the next time you are craving sugar, then wait a few minutes and see if the need for the sugar is really still there.  Non-caffeinated hot teas with lemons (herbal, green, white, and ginger) are also great immune boosters that facilitate the reduction of inflammation and swelling within the body

The vitamins known as the antioxidants are C and E.  These particular vitamins stimulate immunity and protect the body against cancer by neutralizing the free radicals. It is no coincidence that just as the flu/cold season starts all the amazing citrus fruits come into season as they are packed with Vitamin C and will help keep your immune system in top shape.  Also Vitamin A strengthens the immune cells.  It plays an important role in supporting the cells of the skin, gastrointestinal tract and lungs – plus vitamin A promotes the formation of the protective mucous in your gastrointestinal tract.

Four Habits that weaken the immune system:

1)        Overdosing on sugar – There is strong evidence that sugar has a negative effect on the function of the immune system. Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of one 12-ounce can of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system

2)         Excessive Alcohol – Excessive alcohol intake can harm the body’s immune system in two ways. First, it produces an overall nutritional deficiency, depriving the body of

maintain a healthy weight for a healthy immune system

maintain a healthy weight for a healthy immune system

valuable immune- boosting nutrients. Second, alcohol, like sugar, consumed in excess can reduce the ability of white cells to kill germs.  One drink (the equivalent of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounces of hard liquor) does not appear to bother the immune system, but three or more drinks do.

3)        Food Allergens – Many people are sensitive to certain foods, which can result in symptoms including intestinal distress, fatigue, and even weight gain. Common foods that create such problems are dairy, eggs, gluten (the protein in wheat), soy, corn, and food additives.

4)        Too Much Fat –Obesity can lead to a depressed immune system. It affects the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies and rush to the site of an infection. Consuming too much food at one setting also puts extra stress on the digestive system. Increased digestion takes a lot of the body’s metabolic energy, leaving very little energy for the immune system.

A healthy diet is the foundation of long term health maintenance and a strong immune system. An optimal diet will reduce the risk of disease and strengthen the body’s defenses and natural healing power. It will help you to reduce the other daily stresses to your system, and even positively affect your moods and sense of wellbeing.

When you begin to eliminate or reduce the most harmful foods, and at the same time, add more of the beneficial ones notice how this begins to affect your digestion, your energy level, even your moods. As you start to feel better, you will be more motivated to keep making changes. As you integrate more healthful foods into your diet, you will discover the natural tastes and sweetness in simple foods.

So, what will you try today?

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