Our bodies are equipped with the miraculous ability to heal themselves. Unfortunately for some of us, this intricate system can become depleted, making us more susceptible to both common illnesses and life-threatening diseases. As I mentioned in my last blog – sometimes when we are too sensitive to others or always engaged in taking care of others (as so many healers are), we can be more “permeable” to the outside world – which weakens our immune system. In this article, I’ll examine signs of a weak immune system, and suggest remedies for bolstering your immunity, just in time for flu season.
The Immune System’s Job
The immune system is the body’s first line of defense. When confronted with bacteria, parasites, and viruses, this incredible system steps up, utilizing multiple parts of your body to defeat the invader. These include white blood cells and other specialized cells, and the lymphatic system runs throughout your body, which contains lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils, appendix, and thymus. Each of these works together to attack and filter dangerous invaders that could otherwise harm the body.
When the System Fails
A weakened immune system can no longer fight off each threat to the body’s overall health. Though parts of the system may still be at the ready, if even one part is overly-taxed, an invader can take over. This causes sickness or disease in the body. One of the first signs of a weak immune system is coming down with several colds per year or catching the flu as its season rolls around. Seasonal allergies are a sign of an upset/overly active immune system which is also a type of weakness. Other signs include swollen lymph nodes, frequent infections, autoimmune disease, chronic digestive problems, and a history or current diagnosis of cancer.
One of the main causes of low immune function is inadequate or poor nutrition. Follow these tips to help restore ideal immune system function.
Aim for 6-8 glasses of pure water each day, and avoid drinking at meal time, as this can interfere with digestion. In Chinese Medicine, learning to listen to when your body is thirsty is important. Once you’ve learned to really hydrate, you can pay attention to when you’re thirsty and drink accordingly.
Nourish Your Body
Achieve optimum nutrition by consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, quality protein, and healthy fats. I love the saying “eat a rainbow every day” because all the natural colorful fruits and vegetables have immune supporting nutrients called bioflavonoids. Eat plenty of them to boost your immunity. Be sure to avoid processed, refined, and high-sugar foods. Processed and refined foods break one of the most important barriers in your body – your intestinal lining – which allows all sorts of things to happen when it’s broken.
Choose a high-quality, immune supporting supplement such as Dr. Shiroko’s Daily D, which provides the essential Vitamin D your body needs each day. Invest in a quality probiotic, which will help build up beneficial bacteria. The following herbs and supplements are also helpful:
- Vitamin C
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- A medicinal mushroom formula such as MyCommunity Host Defense.
- Andrographis – a Chinese herb for immunity
Live an Immune-Supporting Life
Do you start and end your day with stress, worry, and anxiety? Negative emotions have a significant effect on our health. Learning to manage these feelings in a positive way is the first step toward healing. Practice stress-relieving habits like gentle exercise, mindfulness, and positive self-talk. Take action today to build your immune system while you’re healthy.
Prioritize sleep, and learn to rest when your body starts to feel run down. Often, you will feel overly taxed when your immune system is on the attack. Support your body by being extra patient with yourself and resting well.