The Gist of It:
- Our modern lifestyles are killing our strong immunity, causing us to be prone to illness and chronic diseases.
- To boost your immune system, up your intake of essential fatty acids, probiotics, antioxidants and immune boosting herbs.
- Cut back on sugar and limit your exposure to toxins.
Modern Day Lifestyles Screwing Over Immune Systems
Our immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by foreign invaders such as bacteria, parasites and fungi that cause infections. These immune cells attack and destroy anything that invades the body or threatens it from within – everything from bacteria and viruses to cancers. Whether it is the tiniest scratch or the most complex virus, the immune system is the hero in the healing process. The good news for all of us is that we are born with a remarkable ability to heal ourselves. The bad news? Our modern day lifestyles are screwing up our well-functioning immune system.
What’s Killing Our Immunity?
- Environmental pollutants, chemicals in household cleaners, pesticide residues on fruits and veggies, food additives all deplete essential nutrients, causing poor immunity.
- Overuse of antibiotics weakens the immune system by altering the body’s natural balance of good and bad bacteria. Studies have shown that intestinal bacteria are essential for a healthy immune system.
- Smoking, drinking and sleep deprivation also act to depress the immune system.
- Stress – it trigger changes in biochemistry, resulting in the suppression of immune cell activity. It also depletes the body of nutrients, resulting in lowered defence against infection. This is why you tend to fall sick easier when you are stressed out.
- Bad diets filled with junk food, soft drinks and sugar-loaded snacks – which leads to depleted nutrients for the body. Without the proper nutrients, the immune system does not get the essential nutrients it needs to function well – leaving the immune system weakened.
The Formula to Powering Up Your Immunity
Make less visits to the doctor with these six easy steps:
1. Consume fatty acids
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) like Omega 6 and Omega 3 are the good fats that your body needs. They are ‘essential’ because we cannot make them in our body and hence, we have to get them through our diets.
Why your body needs this:
- EFAs help to manufacture and repair cell membranes When our cell membranes are in good condition, we are able to obtain optimum nutrition and expel harmful waste products more efficiently – resulting in a strong immune system.
- EFAs are also converted into prostaglandins, which is a hormone-like substance in our body One of the roles of prostaglandins is to regulate the activity of immune cells. Research has shown that when prostaglandin production goes awry, the activity of certain immune cells is depressed.
Where to get this: Fish oils, flaxseed oils, nuts, seeds, legumes and fatty fish
2. Get enough probiotics
Probiotics is food that contains live bacteria which is beneficial for us. Our digestive tract houses a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria. Maintaining this balance is critical in determining the strength of our immunity.
Why your body needs this:
- Eating probiotics will replenish the good bacteria and restore this microbial balance The microbial balance is often imbalanced by the overuse of antibiotics, chronic diarrhoea or constipation.
- Scientific research has shown that 80% of your immune system actually lives in your gut This is why your gut’s health is very important. It is no surprise then that probiotics is beneficial for any problems involving the immune system, whether it is overactive – in cases of autoimmune diseases – or underactive.
Where to get this: Yogurt, tempeh, miso soup
3. Amp up the antioxidants
Antioxidants protect the thymus gland, one of the crucial organs of the immune system.
Why you need this:
- The thymus gland is extremely susceptible to free radical and oxidative damage caused by stress, radiation, infection and chronic illness.
- Antioxidants are needed to prevent this damage and keep our immune system optimal. The antioxidant nutrients which are most specific for protecting the thymus are vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium and carotenes.
Where to get this: Fruits and veggies
4. Try out some immune boosting herbs
Besides food and nutritional supplements, herbs are great at helping the immune system defend against microbes.Some common herbs that have proven to strengthen the immune system and protect us from falling prey to illnesses are echinacea, astragalus, elderberry, cat’s claw, shiitake and reishi.
5. Cut down on refined sugar
Many people don’t realise this but refined white sugar consumption depresses the immune system. Why? Not only is sugar just empty calories, it also competes with vitamin C in the body. Sugar is broken down into glucose in the body and both glucose and vitamin C require the same hormone – insulin – for transport into many tissues. If the glucose has already occupied the insulin, vitamin C has no means of transport to get into the body’s tissues – depriving your body of the much-needed immune boosting vitamin C. So, skip your desserts and not only will you lose weight but you will become healthier in the process. See 10 easy ways to lower your sugar intake.
6. Minimise toxin exposure
We are exposed to toxins every single day. Unavoidable ones like car fumes and paint, to avoidable ones like the toxic chemicals in our skincare products and dishwashing liquid. Continuous exposure to these toxins lead to a build up in our system and can contribute to chronic diseases like cancer, asthma, infertility, and more.
Cut the toxins out:
- Buy non-toxic natural cleansers and environmental-friendly household cleaning products.
- Eat organic foods and reduce the ingestion of toxic chemicals from pesticides and food additives.
- Check your labels for toxic ingredients and avoid those.
Creating good health might not be easy, but incorporating these suggestions into your daily life will make a significant difference to your wellbeing. Say hello to a healthy you and goodbye to your doctor!
What’s your take on these fad diets? Have you tried any that worked in the long run? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!