Mar 272013

immuneThe immune system is intricately connected to all other systems in the body. A weak immune system can present the body as a ripe environment ready to breed dis-ease. Psychoneuroimmunology or PNI, a term modern medicine has coined, is used to describe the connection between mind and body; how the brain passes messages via the nerves to decrease or increase immune responses, and how emotions and thoughts affect these immune responses.

In keeping the immune system healthy, an individual must keep their whole body healthy; physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. For many people this includes “unlearning the quick fix, pill-popping mentality” that Western medicine teaches us. There are no shortcuts to acquiring good health and happiness and no pills to “miraculously cure” a weakened immune system. The question to ask yourself when contemplating the health of your immune system is “How do I nourish myself?”

Since each individual’s body and lifestyle is unique, each persons nourishment and daily activities that will be beneficial will vary from person to person  There are many natural remedies and health modalities to choose from when considering a plan to maintain a healthy immune system.

Natures Herbs

Various herbs strengthen and rebuild the body’s immune system. Some are effective for eliminating colds, swollen glands, and bacterial infections and work on a more surface level. Others work more deeply and stimulate the production of various immune cells through the bone marrow. Still, other herbs, such as liver tonics, support the liver and are important because Kupffer cells, found in the liver, destroy bacteria and other foreign substances that have been absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. Some herbs help the various eliminative channels to function properly, while other herbs offer us hope and uplift our spirits.

In choosing the proper herbal remedy, it would be beneficial to seek guidance from a qualified holistic health practitioner, who can recommend the proper remedy to fit your particular needs and lifestyle.

Lifestyle Choices

The ongoing process of relearning how to love oneself and to value being alive is an important part of restoring strength to the immune system. Although this can be a simple process, many individuals are not willing to step out of their comfort zone and proceed with necessary changes that may help with accomplishing their goals towards better health. Various daily practices such as breathing deeply, exercising, praying, speaking kindly, treating oneself and others compassionately, and making other lifestyle changes help support a sustainable and nonviolent environment that can be taken as steps in the process.

When we resist and fight against the natural flow of nature and push ourselves as hard as we can, we become weak and more susceptible to dis-eases. Individuals need a time for inner reflection or meditation and to properly rest so that they can restore their reserves and prepare for what each day has in store for them. Many people are chronically exhausted because they do not allow themselves time to do this or are unable to because of socioeconomic factors. Replenishing ones reserves is essential for overall health and vitality.

Putting time aside to exercise is important as it helps to expel toxins, reduce stress and in doing so, helps support the immune system.

Avoiding environmental stressors such as loud noises, pollution and secondhand smoke are also important in maintaining a healthy immune system.

Dietary Support

We must accept the reality that “everything we put in our body is going to either help us stay healthy or work towards getting us sick”.

Follow a simple, nourishing whole foods diet that includes organic dark leafy green vegetables, whole grains, sea vegetables, some legumes, and seasonal fruits, cold-pressed oils, and raw seeds and nuts (caution should be taken with individuals who are allergic to certain nuts).

To optimize immunity, include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts in your diet. Including fresh onions and garlic to your diet can also be beneficial.

You can also benefit by adding 2–4 teaspoons of organic flax-seed oil, twice a day to vegetables, grains, or soup, as it is high in essential fatty acids.

Make sure to get enough lean protein. Seafood and tofu are good sources that don’t encourage mucus production.

Drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of clean quality water a day to thin mucus secretions.

The “good” bacteria in your digestive tract help fight infection, so maintain their presence by eating yogurt with live cultures, especially Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus. Non-dairy yogurt is recommended as it is less mucous forming. If you cannot tolerate yogurt, try probiotic capsules. This is especially important if you are taking antibiotics, which kill the good bacteria along with the bad.

Food to Avoid

Eliminating foods that cause mucus should be a priority. Mucus-forming foods include all dairy products, fried and processed foods, refined flours, chocolate, and eggs.

Eliminate processed grains, colas, sugar, and candy. These products suppress immune function.

Eliminate white sugar and flour, fatty foods, alcohol, nicotine, and recreational drugs.

The immune response stresses your digestive system, so place as few additional burdens on it as possible. Cut down on bad fats and oils (saturated, hydrogenated, or those containing trans-fatty acids) as well as the refined flour and the processed foods.

Where to Start

If you are ready to start your journey towards better health and don’t know where to begin, Craig’s new book “Dietary and Lifestyle Choices and their Effects on the Body” is filled with information on the basics and gives you a reality check on life. Find out more here