Boosting Your Immune System
- by Christina Richardson, PhD
Do you eat too much sugar? A hundred grams (three cans of soda per day) is too much sugar. Sugar tastes so good but can be soooo bad. One hundred grams of sugar can hamper the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria for up to five hours.
Do you forget to drink fluids like water, coffee or tea during the day? Fluids flush out toxins.
Are you a little too fluffy for your height? Too much weight can create hormone imbalances.
Do you have a dry nose and sometimes a nosebleed? Wet on the inside of a nose traps viruses and clears them from your body.
Mind, Body, Spirit
These are questions I asked a number of my friends to answer. Those who said yes to more than a couple of the questions also told me that they have frequent colds, cold sores, pink eye, and sinus problems.
There is a connection. Our immune systems work 24/7 to fend off attacks. The immune system is the interaction of the body’s cells, tissues and organs to protect against infection. This means dealing with invading microbes, infected cells and tumors while leaving the healthy tissues alone.
When the immune system is not working correctly things happen. A case of flu can suppress the immune system. Allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction usually in response to environmental allergens like a food or pollen.
More critical attacks on the immune system such as inherited immune deficiency diseases can cause chronic susceptibility to infections by common microbes.
Immune system function varies greatly between people. What part of this variation is due to genetic differences which are inherited and what is due to environmental factors like microbes is an ongoing subject of research.
“The immune system has to think on its feet,” Davis says. “A healthy immune system continually adapts to its encounters with hostile pathogens, friendly gut microbes, nutritional components and more, overshadowing the influences of most heritable factors.”
The diagram below fromlivescience.com shows the places in the body that makes up the immune system.
- Make and keep good friendships. Lonely people have weaker immune responses and people who have friends take better care of themselves.
- Reduce your stress. Get counseling if a problem won’t leave you alone. Meditate, slow down and take time to reflect on what is most important to you.
- Get enough sleep. For an adult that means 6-7 hours per night. Your body needs the time to reboot.
- Exercise. Even a 30-minute walk can do the trick. Exercise increases the endorphins as well as helps body parts get good blood flow.
- Eat for your life. Too much sugar is bad. Fruits and vegetables are good. Moderation lets you eat what you like while keeping the pounds off. Mother’s hot chicken soup does help you get well faster if you do catch a cold.
- Laugh. A sense of humor is the best way to reduce stress hormones and boost white blood cells that fight infection.
- Follow suggestions 1-6. If you have to write the system booster recommendations on your bathroom wall – do it. I promise that if you get into the routine of having and keeping good friends, reduce your stress, exercise, get enough sleep, eat well, and laugh often you will have a strong immune system.
For good measure, check out the video below for a few laughs!