By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
Be Proactive About Your Immune System
It is the flu season and to complicate matters, we have a new virus to contend with - the coronavirus!
Many people are now more aware than ever about the importance of their immune systems because it plays such a very important role in protecting us from viruses.
According to the National Institutes of Health, (NIH), “[w]ithout an immune system, we would have no way to fight harmful things that enter our body from the outside or harmful changes that occur inside our body, “
Immune system makeup
Your immune system is made up of various organs, cells and proteins. For example, the liver, tonsils, adenoids, appendix, spleen, thymus, bone marrow and white blood cells are usually considered part of your immune system. And perhaps if we fully appreciated the fact that one of the functions of the immune system is to protect us from viruses like coronavirus, we might be more curious about how we can make this important system work better for us.
10 ways to be proactive about your immune system
Being proactive about your immune systems starts with a keen awareness of your body, shifting the way you think about it and giving it what it needs to be its strongest.
Signs your immune system needs a tune-up may be when you start getting frequent colds or have too many sick days. The reality is these may all be early warning signs that you should be proactive about your immune system. Remember, your immune system has to fight the load of everyday toxins, pollutants, bacteria and viruses, along with the adverse health effects that accompany them - from fatigue to cancer.
1. Pay attention to your vague symptoms. Most of above environmental onslaughts actually do not make you noticeably sick at first, but may do so over time. At first you might just experience general symptoms like fatigue, feeling low on energy, headaches, nausea, not feeling like getting up in the morning, less initiative to do things, moodiness, altered sleep, indigestion, weight gain, decreased ability to exercise and difficulty focusing. Effects tend to accumulate over time. These smaller nuisances may escalate to actual diseases.
2. Think about your body like a machine. Don’t wait till your body actually breaks down with an illness. Feed it with the right ingredients. Treat it like your most precious possession. Learn to be observant of any new or subtle changes. For most changes in your body there are reasons why they are happening and those reasons should not be ignored. Those changes may simply have to do with your recent food and physical activity habits, emotional and social health, work environment or imbalance between activity and recreation. And then there are those activities that may not be good for you such as alcohol, smoking, illicit drugs, slacking off on your exercise regimen, excessive calories, lack of healthy sleep/excessive sleep, wasting time on low-value activities or getting caught up in unhealthy relations.
3. Get the right nutrition. You want healthy cells that can protect your health and ward off illnesses. But your cells need the right balance of nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, water, protein, carbohydrates and fat. They also need enough oxygen, especially as you age to properly utilize these nutrients.
4. Test for nutritional deficiencies and antioxidant levels. Take the guesswork out of it and periodically test for nutritional deficiencies. Chances are, you will find areas where you are deficient. Supplement these deficiencies by identifying those foods which will provide the necessary nutrients or identify good supplements to fine tune your “machine.” This is the most definitive way to find out what your body needs.
5. Get out in the fresh air and get moving. Cardiovascular exercise will increase the oxygen delivery to your cells and improve your immune system. Even just 30 minutes of brisk walking may improve your immune system compared to otherwise sedentary time.
6. Support a healthy liver. The liver has multiple functions in breaking down many nutritional ingredients and metabolizing them into forms useful for individual cells. It helps to detoxify waste and toxins from the body. Simply put, your liver is a key organ for manufacturing the healthy stuff and eliminating the bad stuff. The liver produces many proteins and globulins, which have the ability to neutralize many harmful agents and pathogens. You can strengthen your liver with specific dietary plans, but also with herbs like milk thistle, burdock, turmeric and grape seed extract. Avoid any obvious liver toxins such as alcohol or illegal drugs.
7. Support a healthy lymphatic system. One study underscores the importance of the lymphatic system to support the immune system. Lymph drainage by certain exercises like “rebounding” as well as massages may be helpful.
8. Consider supplementing with probiotics. There is evidence that probiotics may help strengthen the immune system.
9. Be aware of medications which weaken your immune system. Some people with certain health conditions may take medications with side effects that may weaken the immune system. If you are one of those people, talk to your doctor about how to protect yourself from being susceptible to viruses and other diseases.
10.Manage stress. Constantly being in a state of stress can wreak havoc on your immune system by causing your body to produce too much cortisol (the stress hormone). Too much cortisol may cause excess inflammation in the body, and inflammation is believed to be the root cause of so many diseases and illnesses.
(Take this quiz and find out how healthy your immune system is).
Enjoy Your Healthy Life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.