God forbid, but just think if you had to have emergency surgery tomorrow, are you strong enough to be under the knife? If you had to run for your life, how far could you go without passing out? Are you equipped for marathon love making, let alone a marathon? Can you watch over a room full of sick children and return home symptom-free?
How well is your immune system functioning this season?
So far I’ve managed to make it through this crazy New York winter without getting a cold or the flu (knock on wood). Some of my family members and dear friends haven’t been so lucky hence this blog post. For a couple of weeks now, I have been reading about the immune system and how to support it naturally. The primary function of the immune system is to keep foreign invaders e.g. viruses, infections, toxins and parasites from attacking our healthy tissues and cells. It’s a complex protection mechanism that works night and day to ensure that we stay well and alive.
When our immune system is low, we are much more susceptible to germs that cause viruses such as the common cold or flu. The top three immune weakeners are:
1) Chronic or long-term stress
2) Poor diet
3) Lack of sleep or rest
If you come in contact with one of the 200+ viruses that bring about cold symptoms and you’re dealing with the above, you are more likely to become ill and with more frequency. Below are some things I do to build immunity:
1) Drink a lot more water until you feel like you’re nearly drowning in the stuff
2) Get 8 hours of sleep or more each night – say “No” and stay home, do whatever it takes to rest and relax
3) Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables – consume less dairy and meat, keep your meals healthy and light
4) Add ginger to your juices or meals – ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and improves blood circulation
5) Go Vitamin C Crazy! – eat red and hot peppers, hand fulls of apples, pears, and berries, and lots of fresh-squeezed citrus juices
6) Try adding a raw pro-biotic to your daily routine – I have been taking Culturelle for 3 months and it’s working wonders
7) Eat more mushrooms – shitake, maitake, reishi – I have also been taking 2 organic resihi mushroom capsules daily
8) Add 1 TBSP of organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a TALL glass of water 1-2 times weekly
9) Lay off the antibiotics which kill germs that cause bacterial infections, not viruses.
The common cold and influenza (aka the flu) are viruses that attack the respiratory, lymphatic and digestive systems.
10) Include more healthy fats into your daily diet – e.g. fresh avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut, fish, borage, and flaxseed oils
11) Exercise regularly – walk, practice stretching or yoga, ride the bike, dance, run, jump for 20 minutes at least 3x per week
12) Wash your hands often – try not to touch your mouth or inside of your nostrils and carry a pen with you
13) Stay POSITIVE!! Trust in your body’s ability to heal itself. OPTIMISM is essential.
and most importantly, SMILE and LAUGH as often as humanly possible :)
Basically, the happier you are and the better you eat, the better your immune system will function overall.
Last summer my immune system was totally wacky; it could have been all of the traveling or extreme change of environment. I got a bad case of eczema –which was entirely new for me. With the support of a holistic dermatologist, I drank only fresh green juices and lemon water for five days and began taking the Culturelle pro-biotic for digestive health and the reishi mushroom capsules to cleanse the liver. Within a week my excema had vanished. Sometimes, the body just needs a break from certain foods such as wheat, meat, dairy, caffeine and sugar to re-calibrate. It was super challenging for me to cut down on those foods for 30 days but it made a huge difference.
TAKE NOTE: If you are pregnant or taking medication, please consult with your physician or a licensed immunologist before taking any supplements or participating in any strenuous exercise.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions.
With love and lightness of being,
p.s. in summary …
pps. the images are from one of my photo projects, the stranger project. i finally bought a new camera but haven’t made time to shoot!! soon come:)