Different ways to make sure your immune system stays strong

Your immune system is your body’s defence mechanism that protects you from diseases.  In order for the immune system to function optimally, it must detect a wide variety of pathogens, for example viruses, parasitic worms and bacteria.  This must be distinguished from the body’s own healthy tissue. When the body’s immune system is down, one not only gets ill quicker or catch a cold easier, but the body will struggle to “get over” the illness and your chances double to become ill, again, when the immune system is not functioning properly.

More and more people today suffer from chronic tiredness, anger, depression, stress and overall exhaustion.  Two things play a role:  the world we live in today is geared on consumerism; everything is “fast:” fast cars, fast food, fast trains, and so forth.  This is creating stress and strain for both adults and children alike, as they struggle to keep up with the pace.  The second thing that plays a role is our diet, general lack of nutrition and not getting rid of our stress.  Food stores and fast food-places have made life “easier” for us to grab a meal on the go.  However, these meals more often than not, lack the essential nutrients that we need.  Even the “healthier” options contain hidden ingredients like extra sugar and salt; not to mention the huge amounts of sugar that goes into your soda’s, ice teas, and energy drinks.

The debate is still on regarding fruit juices, as this also contains sugar.  However, when you dilute it with ice or water, or whether you drink it as is, moderation is the key.  I personally believe that fruit juice is a better option than soda; just make sure to read the labels first to make sure that there is not many / any synthetic things added, or extra sugars and/or preservatives. Now the question is; what can you do to keep your immune system strong?

Apart from eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, adding salads, nuts, oily fish and spices like garlic and turmeric to your diet, is a good way to start.  Drinking enough water, exercising, getting enough sleep, not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, and getting rid of stress, will also play a big role.  Getting out into the fresh air (even on a crisp, cold winter’s morning), can do wonders for your mood, skin and circulation. 

Vitamins B (B-complex), C and D, as well as Omega-oils, are important.  When we are ill or under stress, our bodies’ immune system uses vitamin B to help it to cope.  It is important to add this to your shopping bag if you don’t eat meat or don’t eat a lot of red meat, as vitamins B6 and B12 are more concentrated in red meats.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, so make sure to take it every morning, before breakfast.  If you have a sensitive digestive system, make sure to buy a buffered vitamin C.

Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), is important as it helps the body to make serotonin (the happy hormone).  For my readers that live in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as the elderly, adding a good vitamin D-tablet to your shopping trolley is a great way to get your dose of vitamin D in.

Omega oils not only play an important role in keeping the immune system strong and healthy, but is also important for your brain’s development and health.  If you are allergic to shellfish, look out for a brand that uses flaxseed and/or other seeds instead.

Maintaining a healthy gut is also a good idea, as is keeping the body in a more alkaline state.  Research is being done to prove that there is a link between your gut’s health and your body’s overall health and strong immune system.  An alkaline gut is better than an acidic gut, and in order to maintain the balance, you can take something like Dr. A. Vogel’s Multiforce Alkaline Powder once a week or once a month.

Very important for staying healthy and keeping bugs at bay, is to wash your hands regularly.  Whether you worked in the garden, come home from work, went to the bathroom, were our shopping, or want to prepare food, always make sure to wash your hands with soap and water.    

Lastly; when you are out and about and you sneeze, sneeze into your bent elbow-area, not your hands; as this will lessen your chance of catching a bug.  Never rub your eyes, mouth or even your nose, when your hands are not clean. 

Life today is not always easy, but if you can take a time-out, switch off and learn to relax and destress, you are hallway there.  When it happens and you do come down with a cold or flu, having a strong immune system will not only help you to get over it easier, but your chance of it getting worse, is far less, because your body’s defences are stronger and more prepared, as it were! Take care of your health and remember, a healthy body + a healthy mind = a happy life!

healthy body/mind

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