Immune System Strengthening
Common Sense Recommendations
Avoid drugs, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. These lower immune resistance.
Limit the intake of sweet foods and eliminate the use of refined white sugar altogether. Sugar impairs both lymphatic activity and the body's ability to engulf and destroy bacteria.
Drink plenty of water. Liquids keep the lymphatic fluid thin and circulating easily.
Eat fresh green and yellow vegetables, some raw, fresh raw fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds or nut and seed oils daily. These foods provide essential enzymes, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, the essential fatty acids and zinc. These nutrients keep the thymus gland, the lymphatic system and the white blood cells functioning effectively.
As far as possible, eat organically grown produce.
Eat Barley grass and wheatgrass. These foods are rich in chlorophyll, which aids in the healing. Leafy greens should be a staple in the daily diet.
Switch to an immune boosting diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and fruits. Avoid saturated fat.
Snack on raw, unroasted pumpkin seeds. These are a good source of zinc. Zinc is an important mineral for the immune system that is often deficient in the diet.
Use nutritional yeast regularly in soups, sauces, salads and sprinkled on cereal. This will give a boost to the immune system. It is also a good source of B vitamin.
Include in the diet chlorella, garlic, and pearl barley. These foods contain germanium, a trace element beneficial for the immune system. Also add kelp to the diet. Kelp contains iodine, calcium, iron, carotene, protein, riboflavin, and vitamin C, which are necessary for the immune system's functional integrity.
Take two small containers of yogurt (with live culture) daily.
Avoid over-eating. Obesity encourages immune system suppression. People who are overweight suffer from more infections than do people of normal weight.
Supply your immune system with adequate amounts of nutrients that promote proper immune function. Key nutrients include:
Vitamin A is very important in the body's defense system.
Vitamin C may be the single most important vitamin for the immune system. It is essential for the formation of adrenal hormones and the production of lymphocytes. Vitamin C should be taken with
Vitamin E interacts with vitamins A and C and the mineral selenium, acting as a primary antioxidant and scavenger of
free radicals. Vitamin E activity is an integral part of the body's defense system.
Zinc boosts the immune response and promotes the healing of wounds when used in appropriate doses. It also helps to protect the liver.
Caution: Excessive doses (over 100 milligrams per day) may actually depress immune function.
See:Nutrition: Vitamins and Supplements
for Immune System Strengthening.
Drink antioxidant ginger tea or "green drinks" daily.
See Holistic Living for
herbal tea recipes.
Use spirulina. It is a naturally digestible food that aids in protecting the immune system. It supplies many nutrients needed for cleansing and healing.
Alcohol reduces the activity of white blood cells and the body's antibody responses. Low or moderate alcohol consumption seems to stimulate immune functions in a positive way. However, excessive consumption depresses immunity. The more alcohol consumed, the greater the impairment of white blood cell mobility.
Drug abuse causes immune dysfunction. Heroin, morphine, and cocaine cause a variety of immune-system abnormalities. Some of the chemical components of marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol and cannibinoids, exert a powerful immunosuppressive effect, reducing the body's production of T cells, natural-killer cells, and interferon. The use of alcohol and drugs also increases the susceptibility to AIDS and, likely, other infections.
Excessive physical and emotional stress, including depression, can rob our body of immunity.
Studies have shown that reducing stress levels, increased socializing, and positive thinking can increase the activity of T cells and natural- killer cells and dramatically extend the
lives of cancer patients. Learn to relax by following the recommendations in our
stress management infocenter.
Moderate exercise stimulates and enhances all cellular activity. However, more is definitely not better. Overexercise stresses the immune system and can increase the risk of upper respiratory infections. Such strenuous exercises depress the activities of T cells and natural-killer cells.
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