Coughs and colds, sniffles and infections – some people seem to be fighting something off most of the time.
I hear the bewilderment in their voices as they wonder why they’re always the one who catches the bug that’s going around and their resignation that ‘it’s just the way I am’.
The strength of your immune system is the key. If your immune system is fighting fit then chances are you will be too.
Your immune system is made up of an army of fighters whose sole job in life is to protect you from harm.
So why is it that some people seem to shake off infections and others go down with everything and anything?
If that’s you then setting aside any blame on your genes, there could be a lot of other factors at work that you CAN do something about.
See how many of the following you identify with to get an idea of the pressure our immune systems can be under:
As a child you were never allowed to really explore your environment, such as getting mucky in the garden, due to fears that you might pick up bacteria. Your home was kept scrupulously clean for the same reason.
This can prevent your immune system from developing and strengthening which it is designed to do as you grow. Rather like an army who’ve never been trained – it’s not so good once the fighting starts.
You may not instantly see the connection here but 70% of your immune system is centred in your gut, and totally relies on a healthy gut to stay healthy itself.
This isn’t much of a surprise when you realise that it’s basically a long tube with an opening at both ends which all the bacteria and viruses known to man like to view as an open invitation.
Antibiotics wipe out all the friendly bacteria in your gut along with the baddies and this is very bad news for your immune system.
You were brought up on a diet that majored on white bread, pasta, rice, crisps, sweets, cakes, biscuits…you get the picture, and that’s how you still eat.
Why does this matter? Your little army of fighters (immune system) need their rations and they need them in a steady supply. The foods described don’t contain their rations; it’s like sending those fighters an empty supply truck.
The trucks need to be full of antioxidants - vitamins and minerals that are essential for the fight. Where do you find them? Fruit and vegetables and whole grains like brown rice.
“But I had an apple last Wednesday” you say, “and I still caught a cold”. Some of these antioxidants don’t wait around in the body (there’s no store room for them) and so have to be eaten every day. That’s why the ‘powers that be’ keep on about getting your ‘5 a day’.
Antioxidant foods are easy to find, they’re brightly coloured – oranges, yellows, reds, purples, dark greens and at least 5 portions need to be eaten every day. In fact, for a robust immune system I recommend eating nearer to 10 portions a day.
You live on a busy road, use lots of sprays and lotions both on yourself and on your home, you have many amalgam fillings, you live a very stressful life and smoke cigarettes.
What we’re looking at here is toxic overload. You can keep heaping these things onto your immune system and it will keep struggling to cope, but at some point it may say ‘enough is enough, I can’t keep up!’
It’s like keeping your immune fighters busy with red tape so they’re not free to fight off invading viruses.
Movement stimulates all your body systems including your lymph system which is important for detoxifying.
Moderate exercise and general movement help to strengthen your body, lower the stress levels that are so damaging to your immune system while releasing endorphins that boost the immune system.
SO HERE'S THE SUMMARY:
Keep your children clean but not spotless! Let them explore their environment.
Avoid antibiotics unless they’re absolutely essential. If you really need to take a course then follow it with a course of friendly bacteria to help redress the balance again. Look for a quality supplement with at least 10 billion live bacteria in every capsule.
Eat 8-10 portions of colourful fruit and vegetables and switch to whole grains.
Avoid traffic fumes where possible, reduce the chemicals used in the home by switching to natural alternatives and give up smoking.
Take stress seriously. Learn to manage it effectively using a variety of different approaches ranging from laughter, relaxation, meditation/prayer through to developing assertiveness and the ability to say no!
Move your body regularly throughout the day. If you have a desk-based job, make sure you get up and move around for a few minutes every hour or so. Exercise for 20-30 minutes at least three times a week - anything that you enjoy - gym, dancing, gardening, cycling, walking - anything that raises your heart rate and breathing.
If this has resonated with you, let me know in the comments box your favourite way to support your immune system or let me know which one you intend to take action on. I'd love to hear from you.