The fall winter season has so many good features, but colds and flus are not among them. Are you one of those people who catches everything that goes around? Or maybe you can’t seem to shake a cold and it lingers for weeks. Well, these might be signs that your immune system is not as robust as it could be.
Your immune system is made up of a ‘team’ of different types of cells that have different jobs. Some cells identify foreign invaders or your own cells that have been infected by a virus and tag them for removal. They are like the managers of the immune department. When a cell is tagged for removal, another type of cell may eat it or destroy it by shooting free radicals at it. Once a pathogen has been identified, another type of cell makes antibodies (sort of like taking a picture of it) so that if the pathogen shows up again, everyone already knows to get rid of them (like a most wanted poster). The key to a good immune system is to support all of the team so that it is a functional one!
The following healthy habits are important for keeping your immune system fit:
- Get enough sleep – Many of your immune cells are like soldiers. They get a workout and they need you to sleep so they can repair.
- Eat enough protein – Your immune system makes many important components from protein, and they are sacrificed when you don’t eat enough.
- Avoid refined sugar, rancid fats and over cooked foods – These unhealthy foods cause cellular damage which creates work for your immune system whose job it is to clean up. This makes your immune system less available to deal with viruses and other pathogens.
- Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get the powerful phytochemicals that support cellular function.
- Consider adding oats and or mushrooms to your diet in the winter. These foods contain complex polysaccharides that stimulate immune function. It’s similar to giving the immune team a practice drill.
If you consistently seem to get sick more often than the average person, this suggests that your immune system may be too busy fighting battles it shouldn’t be, such as food sensitivities. Food sensitivities may be one of the primary factors in subclinical inflammation. Food sensitivities are an example of immune system confusion that draws internal resources from where they are needed. If you wonder whether food sensitivities may be a factor for you, contact a healthcare practitioner who can help you identify them so that you can re-educate your immune system.
CATHY SEVCIK – Naturopathic Doctor ♦ Bowen Practitioner ♦ Pain Management ♦ Women’s Health ♦ Menopausal Issues ♦ Digestive Issues – Member of SBSA
“As a naturopathic doctor, I can help you understand the messages that your body is sending you and help you restore balance and vitality so that you can heal. I guide you back to health using natural, non-invasive therapies including lifestyle modifications, Bowen therapy, nutritional supplements, bio-identical hormone replacement and pharmaceuticals customized to your needs, preferences and goals.”