By Jane Barthelemy.
Our immune system is our most precious resource. In the past century, changes in the global micro-biome have challenged our delicate internal eco-systems, precipitating many of the major health issues we face today. Our environment is continually infused with new chemicals, viruses, additives, toxins, microbes, vaccines, and antibiotics never previously known on Earth. Autoimmune diseases are now in epidemic proportions, and they can all be traced back to weak immunity.
Strengthening your immune system is no longer a luxury or a voluntary elective – it’s an absolute necessity for modern life. Nowadays it is more critical than ever to develop strong habits for life-long health. Here are my top 10 tools for building your immune system.
- Eat ORGANIC – Locally grown organic vegetables and fruits contain more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes, with a lower toxin count than so-called “conventionally grown”, frozen, or canned produce. Reducing your intake of GMO foods and glyphosate (carcinogenic herbicide by Monsanto), is a major key in disease prevention. Other Top Superfoods for the immune system include:
- Garlic, Fermented veggies, and soups, stews, bone broth, and all kinds of vegetables.
- Nuts that have been soaked and toasted or dehydrated.
- Well-soaked beans, mushrooms, Reishi mushroom, seaweed, garlic, ginger, and probiotics.
- Eat healthy oils like coconuts and coconut oil.
- Blueberries and raspberries have a very high in antioxidant capacity compared to other fruits and vegetables.
Chlorella, a freshwater algae, binds to toxins, such as heavy metals, and flushes them out of your system.
- Propolis is a healthy bee resin considered one of the powerful anti-microbial compounds in the world.
- Green tea and Tulsi tea protect your body from microbial invaders.
- Herbs and spices such as turmeric and cinnamon have top ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scores, which means they protect your body from dangerous free radicals. Oregano Oil is extremely beneficial for immune support by defending against microbes.
- Not THAT! – Avoid these worst immune-damaging foods, such as sweet breakfast cereals and foods that suppress the immune system: sugar, wheat, GMO foods, boxed breakfast cereals, alcohol, smoking, packaged or processed foods, toxins.None of these breakfasts can nourish. Sweets and refined foods create mucus congestion and stagnation that invite illness: Avoid wheat, all sugars, fruit juices, processed foods, refined flours, cold foods, cold drinks, dairy, and deep fried foods. These foods cause premature aging and sluggish digestion. Eat very few raw foods, especially in the cooler months, as they’re harder to digest, and they tend to chill the body.
- De-Stress. Face and Express your emotions. Don’t stuff them down.How do you like to de-stress? Do you meditate? Do you go inside, find the calm, and nourish your harmonious qualities? Can you take a walk in Nature? Or do you prefer to create a calming bath ritual before bed? With aromatherapy oils? How about enjoying quiet times alone or with close friends? Or a good heart to heart talk with someone you trust.
- Get lots of sleep. Turn off Wi-Fi & electronics at night.Get plenty of sleep. Never cheat on your rest. Try to go to bed by 10pm and get up with the sun. One of the worst ways to deplete your immune system is to work late, especially on the computer at night. Stress, over-thinking, and worry, all ruin the immune system. Start winding down at sunset, turn off your Wi-Fi and cell phone so the so their electromagnetic fields don’t disturb your rest time. Don’t eat late or after sunset, which robs your sleep, because your body must focus on digestion.
- Cultivate Friendships!Do something fun or surprising, even silly every day to strengthen friendships. Friends are a huge immune-booster! Research shows that the fewer human connections we have at home, at work, and in the community, the likelier we are to get sick, inundating our brains with anxiety-causing chemicals, and we live shorter lives than our more sociable peers. In one study, researchers monitored 276 people between the ages of 18 and 55, and found that those who had 6 or more connections were 4 times better at fighting off viruses than those with fewer friends.
- Exercise every day. Move the lymph. It improves your brain function.Your lymph system is made of water. The lymph is dependent on you to drink lots of clean water, and to move your body to clear toxins. This in turn increases brain function. Stay active. Find a physical practice you live, such as Qigong or Yoga. Qigong shaking (see photo) is my favorite easy movement, as it gently cleanses the lymphoid tissues, vitalizing the joints, and body fluids. Too much sitting around makes your cleansing organs sluggish and ineffective. Take a 20-minute walk outside in the sun every day, to vitalize your organs and your biorhythms. When you’re drinking water, consider mixing it with raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar. This acts as a probiotic and helps to balance your body’s pH, transitioning to a more alkaline state
- Belly Laugh every day. REALLY laugh!Researchers Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California have been studying the effects of laughter on the immune system. Their published studies have shown that belly laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, and boosts immune function by stimulating infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon, and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being. In Berk’s study, the physiological response produced by belly laughter produced healthy, positive emotions, reducing stress.
- Wash Your Hands, but not with anti-bacterial soap.Wash your hands regularly, but never with anti-bacterial soaps or handi-wipes, which disrupt your hormones, contribute to antibiotic resistance and superbugs in the environment. They don’t affect viruses, and clean no better than soap and water. Avoid microbes by keeping hands away from the mouth, nose, eyes, and ears, most frequent entry points for microbes. Say good-bye to colds and sniffles with a daily nasal rinse in the shower. Clean your sinuses with a NeilMed Sinus Rinse Kit, available in any pharmacy, way easier than a neti pot.
- Have sex once or twice a week (Um, if you’re a consenting adult).
Psychological researchers in Pennsylvania have shown that people who have sex once or twice a week have stronger immune systems. Scientists evaluated how robust the subjects’ immune systems were by measuring levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antigen found in saliva and mucosal linings. “IgA is the first line of defense against colds and flu,” says Carl Charnetski of Wilkes University. “IgA binds to pathogens at all the points of entry to the body, then calls on the immune system to destroy them.”
- Do a detox cleanse once or twice a year.One of the most powerful ways to boost the immune system and brain function is a periodic cleanse with vegetables and fruits. This is a delicious way to give your cells the most concentrated, vital, bio-available nutrients and antioxidants possible. Make sure low fructose ingredients and leafy green vegetables are a foundation in each recipe. These are a great source of vitamin C, antioxidants and superfood nutrients that support immune health. In addition to juices, regular intestinal cleansing with a colon system such as HealthForce Nutritionals cleansing systems, will support your immune system, providing a balanced, clean environment for probiotic bacteria to thrive.