Your immune system is your suit of armor. And aren't you glad it's a lot more comfortable?
It's a barrier that protects you from harmful environmental contaminants like pollution and chemicals. It provides you with the freedom to walk outdoors, breathe the air, eat, and drink. All while combating dangerous bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that can cause infections, illness, and disease. And it allows you to gather with friends and loved ones.
What is the Immune System?
Your immune system is a network of organs. Your skin is your first line of defense that wraps around you like an envelope in multiple layers of cells. Your second line of immune defense is attached to your skin as a layer of mucus membranes located in your nose, ears, mouth, stomach, and intestine, which are all "outside" of your body and part of this protective envelope.
Your third line of defense comes to play if a pathogen gets through the above defenses via breathing, a cut, or a tear in your gut lining (intestinal permeability or Leaky Gut). Layers of mucus and your gut lining – which is only ONE CELL THICK – act as a wall to shield your delicate organs. About 70% of your immune system resides in a layer attached to the other side of this wall, called the Lamina Propria.
Lymphatic systemIf an invader breaks through these defensive layers and walls – depending on the location – it kickstarts other organs of the immune network into action. These may include the lymphatic system (nodes), spleen, tonsils, adenoids, thymus, and bone marrow. Additionally, white blood cells, antibodies, the liver, and numerous specialized immune markers rush into action, sparking inflammation and attacks the invader.
Inflammation is an essential part of our protection and healing. However, when it's constantly under attack from invaders, it can become overwhelmed and go haywire and start attacking your healthy cells and organs. That's when it can develop into aching joints (Rheumatoid arthritis), skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis, acne), digestive issues (Crohn's disease, Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)), type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, mental illness, and other autoimmune diseases.
Basically, this means your immune system is broken. So, what can you do to prevent this and even reverse some of these symptoms? Let's see…
The body is designed to self-repair and heal. So, you REMOVE the harmful triggers and NOURISH your body with the cellular building blocks it needs. Now your body can lower the threat level and concentrate on making repairs and rebalancing immune harmony, radically reducing your risk for diseases throughout your lifetime.
- Smoking weakens the aorta, increases blood pressure, clogs arteries, causes poor wound healing, fertility issues, increases cancer and cataract risk, and premature ages organs.
- Excess weight sparks system-wide inflammation.
- Chronic Stress can compromise your immune system.
- Alcohol slows your body's ability to fight germs for 24 hours.
- Sleep loss of less than 6 hours a night leaves you vulnerable to colds and germs.
- Lack of exercise promotes aging and compromised immune responses.
- Anxious thoughts can weaken your immune response in as little as 30 minutes.
- Grief can depress the immune system for 6 months or more.
- Poor hygiene germs on hands, gums, and teeth can enter your system.
- Nutrient deficiencies including vitamin D and more.
- Medications such as immunosuppressants.
- A poor-quality diet including high fats, sugars, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, sodas, and other junk food compromises gut flora and weakens your immunity.
- Gluten - Recent studies show that gluten found in rye, wheat, and barley damage the delicate lining of your gut. This damage allows undigested food particles and fecal matter to enter your bloodstream – in every human! Some are more sensitive than others, and regularly eating gluten could trigger an autoimmune spectrum of diseases.
Sun & Fresh air boosts immune marker T-cells. And spending time in Nature among phytoncides boosts immunity resiliency.
Aerobic Exercise helps flush bacteria from the lungs and airways, improve blood flow and nutrient delivery, strengthens antibodies to fight infections, reduces stress hormones, and more. Studies show that exercise improves white blood cell counts. And the physiological stress, known as hormesis, promotes immunosenescence, which is a fancy word for saying it makes your immune system younger!
Fruits, veggies, nuts, & seeds are vital for health. Each color represents various vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, amino acids, fiber, and more. These are the tools your body uses to run the show, repair DNA, flush wastes, and regenerate healthy cell replacement when old cells retire. This is Nature's REAL MAGIC in staying young and healthy. Specialty immune boosters include:
- Citrus fruits
- Red bell peppers
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Sunflower seeds
- Green tea
- Pasture-raised poultry
Sex (twice a week) raises immune marker immunoglobulin A (IgA) by 30%, according to research. It also has many other health benefits for the heart, blood pressure, pain, stress, brain, sleep, reduces cancer risk, and increases lifespan. And it gives your self-esteem a boost too!
Quality Sleep has a strong regulatory influence on the immune system. Researchers observe a peak of immune marker activity during the slow-wave sleep cycle. A minimum of 7 hours helps strengthen your immune system.
Specific Nutrients & Supplements can also enhance your immune system and help restore balance naturally, including:
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin E
- L- Lysine
- Citrus Bioflavonoids
- Olive Leaf Extract
Following these strategies can make a world of difference to your life and golden years. Yeah, it's not easy changing familiar habits. But it's easier than a life of doctors, drugs, and hospitals. Awareness helps you think twice when reaching for a snack or going for a walk instead of sitting and watching the boob tube. Swapping out poorer choices for a healthier lifestyle opens the door to infinite possibilities and a passion for living!