March 17, 2020, Information
Prior to this recent outbreak of the coronavirus, most people have probably never thought about strengthening their immune system. Ultimately, this is the key to providing true and longlasting protection against COVID-19 and other strains of bacterial and viral infections. With a strong immune system you can safeguard yourself against attacks by most microorganisms and recover a lot quicker if you do come down with an infection. Boosting your immune system has the added bonus of protecting you from longterm chronic diseases, increasing your resilience to stress and providing you with more energy and vitality.
When in doubt, start with the gut.
Research to date indicates that around 70-80 percent of the immune system is located within or around the digestive system. This statistic tells us a lot about where to begin. Starting with the stomach, the correct levels of gastric acid or pH provides immediate protection by denaturing the outer covering of bacteria and viruses. If stomach acids and enzymes are not correct, pathogens can make their way into the system. Next, the cells that line the intestines act as a barrier, protecting the body from absorbing harmful substances. Your digestive function is crucially important for maintaining a healthy immune system because it hosts the microbiome, the internal colony of bacteria that not only act as an army but also synthesise nutrients such as B vitamins. Dysbiosis – the imbalance of good and bad bacteria can occur for many reasons, and having an overgrowth of the wrong bacteria, fungus or parasites can trigger inflammation causing digestive distress and compromising immune function. Click here to learn more about colonic irrigation and how colon cleansing can keep you healthy.
Diet and nutrition
It’s what you eat everyday that’s either feeding disease or fighting it. It really is that simple. Fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, some cooked and some raw should make up the majority of your diet. Moderate amounts of unheated oils, fats, nuts and seeds. Moderate amounts of animal products and grains. Sugar, wheat and dairy should be kept to a minimum as these foods create the most havoc with digestive function and absorption of nutrients. You may require a different balance of these food groups depending on your individual circumstances and preferences, however a plant based diet with plenty of phytonutrients is still the healthiest diet longterm.
A word about processed sugar: it’s poison to the immune system. High blood sugar results in lower activation of macrophages, the white blood cells that locate and engulf viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. This is why people with type 2 diabetes have compromised immune systems.
Even though food is your best medicine, I strongly believe in supplementing the diet with quality superfoods, herbs and whole food vitamins. Sometimes, if we are very depleted or sick we may require synthetic vitamins to bring the body back from severe deficiency into normal range. Here is a list of my top immune boosting supplements, which I take on a regular basis, so I know they’re good.
Infrared sauna – stimulating your natural immune response
The Greek physician Parmenides once said “Give me the power to create a fever, and I shall cure any disease”. This is the basis on which saunas work – by heating the body we can induce a fever-like state that kills harmful pathogens, stimulates circulation, increases metabolism and boosts immune function. Viruses and bacteria are very sensitive to heat, which is why the body produces a fever as an immune response when we are sick.
The heat from an infrared sauna penetrates the skin, radiating deeply into the tissues of the body and raising core temperature. The cells responds to this increase in temperature by initiating the immune response and mobilising the Th1 branch of the immune system, which fights viral and bacterial infections.
Infrared sauna for stress reduction
You’ve probably noticed that when you’re stressed you’re more susceptible to getting a cold or flu. Stress increases the level of cortisol in the body, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland, which if too high for too long can dampen immune function and prevent the body from fighting off infections.
In 2015 a study in Finland found that regular infrared saunas combined with regular exercise significantly reduced cortisol levels. Regular sauna sessions help the body and mind to calm down and relax. Infrared heat encourages the parasympathetic nervous system to return to a composed state, allowing the muscles to relax and the breath to slow down.
Click here for more sauna info.
Stay calm. Panic has no benefit in this or any situation. Fear always looks outside itself for answers and makes us feel helpless. Calm down, look inside, look after yourself and keep living a beautiful, healthy life.
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