Our immune system is designed to protect us from a whole host of potentially dangerous invaders; pathogenic agents that can wreak havoc on our wellbeing. When it’s functioning well we remain free of illness and disease but when it’s run-down, overburdened and not well supported we become susceptible to a whole host of illness, infection and disease.
There are things that we can all incorporate into our daily routine that will help ensure that our immune system is well supported to function optimally; that it is able to do what it’s designed to do to keep us as healthy and active as possible.
FOODS FOR OPTIMUM IMMUNITY
Active acidophilus cultures - found in many yogurts, promotes a strong digestive system. Avoid yogurt with sugar, as this cancels out the positive effects of the good bacterial culture.
Garlic - has antibiotic properties that can help prevent disease. Try to include at least one clove each day in your foods.
Sweet potato - one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. Just ¾ cup of baked sweet potato gives you 60% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C and more than 300% of your vitamin A. (Note: Yams contain no vitamin A)
Blueberries - full of antioxidants, they are chock full of vitamins A, C, and E, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fibre with zero fat.
Green tea - full of antioxidants. Although tea contains caffeine, green tea has considerably less than coffee and black tea. Be sure to choose organic, as tea and coffee are two of the most highly pesticide sprayed products available for human consumption. Drink 1 to 3 cups a day.
Broccoli - is chock-full of the phytochemical sulforaphane, which makes headlines because of its potent anti-cancer properties. It’s also a rich source of beta-carotene (good for the eyes and immune system, among other things), fibre and vitamin C.
Healthy fats in olive oil, fatty fish, avocados and nuts help the immune system work optimally.
Water – helps to flush out bad bugs, such as bacteria. To determine the amount your body needs. Take your weight in pounds, add a zero – and that’s how many millilitres your body needs. If you are active or sick you need more. (150lbs = 1500ml = 1.5 litres)
LIFESTYLE HABITS FOR OPTIMUM IMMUNITY
Get sufficient exercise – which creates immune enhancing chemicals and increases oxygen which helps fight antigens (invaders) more effectively.
Practice Relaxation and Stress Reduction – A positive mental attitude makes a big difference in how the body fights disease. When adrenals weaken from stress, the immune system is the next to go.
Get enough sleep – which is the foundation of immunity. Those who get less than eight hours of restful sleep will have reduced immunity against disease.
Incorporate Mind/Body/Spirit into Your Day. Meditation, prayer, yoga, positive thinking, or tai chi has a powerful role in promoting a positive outlook on life and overall wellness.
Avoid Sugar – One teaspoon weakens the immune system for several hours.
Wash Your Hands. Hand washing decreases your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. If your immune system is strong, it should be able to fight off the virus if it does enter your body, but washing your hands provides a bit of extra protection.
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