The immune system is easily overlooked whenever we are healthy, but when the flu gets you, it is too late!
Don’t underestimate the power of body’s immunity to fight against colds and flu. Read on for some helpful tips!
How the immune system works
The main function of the immune system is to protect your body against disease.
Your immune system detects pathogens (or agents) from a wide variety of harmful bacteria, viruses, worms, etc. An active immune system means that it is a strong immune system.
Whenever your body detects an intruder or pathogen, a defense mechanism kicks in and enzymes (the good guys) start to attack and engulf these pathogens (the bad guys).
On a medical level, it’s much more complicated than that. Not to mention the different types of cells and immune systems in your body or all of the immune disorders.
However, I am going to keep this basic and make you get to the helpful tips sooner…
But first, let’s quickly look at what weakens your immune system – you need to know the cause of a problem before you can fix it, right?
What weakens your immune system?
Stress is the number one cause of getting ill due to a weak immune system. Your body automatically goes into “fight or flight” mode.
Rather de-stress by doing some activities you like, leaving work when you’re supposed to, not taking your work home, limiting family drama, and all those things.
A secondary important component of having a strong immune system is by eating correctly.
Poor nutrition and diet can lead to a weak immune system, because your body works twice as hard to fight off diseases. Getting all of the nutrition you need helps support the immune system.
Be sure to include more fresh food into your diet, such as fruit and vegetables, unprocessed meat and dairy products, full grain food… And limit your intake of processed, refined or canned food.
Also eat when you’re supposed to, because skipping meals may also lead to a weakened immune system.
Use a meal planner to work out meals for the week and make it easier for yourself if you’re a busy person.
A lot of chemicals such as preservatives, flavourants and colorants go into processed food.
Who knows what’s in that cheesegriller sausage that you are about to eat?
Food additives and preservatives
Large food companies and manufacturers include these chemicals in their food to make it more flavorful and to last longer on the shelf (so that they can produce more, quicker).
Additives have not only been linked to weakening the immune system, but also to cause tumors.
These chemicals are hidden in almost everything we eat, including dairy products and spices.
Rather stick to fresh food…
White floor, white rice and other refined grains also contain a lot of chemicals such a bleach and anti caking agents. These can also be harmful to your immune system.
Too much oily food
If you constantly eat oily food, such as animal fat, saturated oils, everything deep-fried and so on, then prepare yourself for getting the flu.
Fat cells in themselves are pathogens that are trying to be attacked by enzymes. If you keep those enzymes busy with that, then they have less time to react whenever a virus or an extreme pathogen attacks your body.
Eating food you’re allergic or intolerant to
Your immune system also tries to protect your against things you’re allergic to. If you eat something you’re allergic or intolerant to, your body reacts to this by releasing those enzymes to act.
But eating more of those food can cause a prolonged exposure to harmful pathogens and your body needs more energy and more enzymes to fight it off.
Too much alcohol
Alcohol is a commonly know factor for weakening the immune system.
Because it is essentially a poison. Need I say more?
Too much sugar
Excessive sugar intake has also been associated with weakening your immune system. Your body works harder and harder to produce more insulin, which is the killjoy of sugar in your body.
Also, sugar in the blood stream makes it sticky and enzymes find it more difficult to move through your veins and arteries to attack harmful pathogens.
Not enough sleep
Your body needs rest. Every. Single. Day.
Think of your body as a machine with lots of cogs that work full time. Eventually those cogs need maintenance and the only way to get that, is by resting.
Sleep also helps your body to heal faster, that is why someone with a cold or the flu should stay in bed.
Your body can go into a passive state if you don’t move around enough. If your body is so chill, how chill do you think it is on the inside?
Exercising has so many benefits, not just for strengthening the immune system. So get up and squat!
This goes back to where we mentioned “too much oily food”
Some medication such as antibiotics, can cause the immune system to completely collapse.
Vitamin D deficiency
Too much sun can be very harmful to you, but too little may also have negative effects, especially on your immunity. Vitamin D is released in your body when you spend some time outdoors in direct sunlight.
You will feel so much more energetic if you do that. Just 15 minutes are enough, though. Don’t overdo it.
Lack of hygiene
A lack of keeping yourself clean can breed more and more harmful pathogens that seep their way into your body. If there are too many of these bad guys, the enzymes in your body will have a harder time fighting off those pesky pathogens.
Too much hygiene
Believe it or not, you can be too clean.
Your immune system’s enzymes need to be able to identify various pathogens and flag them as intruders.
Exposure to harmful pathogens and then fighting them off means that the enzymes in your body can now identify this pathogen and prevent it from causing harm in your system again.
Think of it as your body’s Pathogen Database which the good guys can use to identify an intruder.
Anyway, keeping too clean will prevent the enzymes in your body to build up this “database”. Thus, it will take longer for them to reach, identify and fight off a harmful pathogen.
Like we said previously, too much sun is extremely, extremely harmful. Too much sun not only causes your immune system to weaken, but it can also cause skin cancer.
Air pollution, such as a lot of exposure to traffic, pollution from factories and manufacturing plants, planes… and… COWS?! (Read this)
This can all affect your immune system negatively because your body constantly needs to fight off harmful pathogens emitted into the air.
This falls under air pollution, but pesticides are also harmful to your body because it is a poison.
Nicotine can also weaken the immune system, because it is harmful to your body. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first hand smoker or second hand sufferer, it still is harmful.
Not having enough water in your system can cause the transporting of enzymes to slow down, making it slower to identify and attack an intruder.
When your body goes into shock, it affects all of your organs inside your body. Elevated stress levels are associated with trauma and that can cause your body to work overtime.
Trauma branches out to many other factors like not wanting to eat, can’t sleep (insomnia) and flashbacks in some cases (anxiety, fear).
Anxiety and fear
This falls in with trauma and traumatic experiences. Constantly worrying makes you stress and being anxious or having anxiety attacks makes your body go into the “fight or flight” mode again.
Being lonely can also contribute to a weakened immune system, believe it or not. All that emotions can drain all of your energy, which your body needs to function fully.
Loss of a loved one
Grief is a sore topic on it’s own, because most of us know what it feels like. And just like loneliness, the emotions and all of the crying are draining your energy levels to a point where you will possibly get a cold…
Quite a list, yes. But sticking to all of the healthy stuff, getting enough sleep, keeping hydrated, etc. will help you to overcome a weak immune system.
How to boost immune system
Natural ways to strengthen your immune system
There are so many natural ways in which you can boost your immune system, and here are the top ones…
Never underestimate a good herb. Herbs, especially anti-inflammatory ones, can help keep those harmful pathogens at bay.
The best part of homeopathy is that you can utilize it in so many different ways. You get sugar based capsules and alcohol based drops. This is to make it easier to take up into the blood stream.
Another way of taking these natural substances is by infusing them into water. Simple slice, grate or press these herbs and supplements into water and let it sit overnight in the fridge.
Great tip: Using infused water remedies will also help you to consume more water, thus staying hydrated.
The top Superfoods for boosting your immune system:
Spirulina (the king of immune boosting superfoods!)
Staying hydrated is so important to strengthen or boost your immune system. It allows the transport off all nutrients and enzymes through your system to utilize it fully.
Sleep is essential to boosting your immune system, because your body needs rest to regenerate cells and important disease-fighting enzymes.
Make de-stressing one of your daily habits, because it will help your immune system to become stronger. Relaxation also helps with promoting healthy cells and enzymes.
Top Tip: Make a giant list of things to do to relax. This can be activities you do outdoors, indoors, with family or friends, or even with your pet. Print it out and paste it somewhere where you can see it, like on the fridge.
What to do in Flu Season
How to protect yourself from the flu.
Here are some great tips!
- Stay away from someone who has the flu. Even if the symptoms are mild, prevention is better than cure.
- Stay warm. Your body needs to stay body temperature so that it can fight off infections, inflammation and disease more easily. If you’re cold, your body uses up more energy to try and regulate your body temperature, exhausting it so that it can’t do anything else.
- Take your daily supplements and nutrients. Eating the right food and taking some supplements can help support your immunity.
- Stay away from unhealthy food. We have previously discussed these… Sugars, processed food, fatty or oily food, refined grains, additives and preservatives, etc.
- Exercise. Being active keeps your blood flowing and more energy means more power for your immune system!
Kick the Flu’s butt with these 3 immune system boosters!
Drink before bedtime to fight inflammation
- 350 ml Almond or Coconut milk (heat up)
- 340 g Turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon Ground cardamom
- 1 ½ tablespoon Honey
- Black Pepper to taste
Stir and drink.
Makes approx. 10 shots – keep it in a bottle in the fridge and drink in a shooter glass everyday
- 200 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon honey
Blend and shoot. 😉
Flu Butt-kicker Smoothie
Drink this in the morning for some butt-kicking-immune-boosting power!
Depending on the size of your blender:
- 100% Freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice
- Freshly washed and peeled carrots (grated)
- A good dash of lemon juice
- Grated ginger
- Honey (optional)
- Mint leaves (optional)
Blend in a blender, strain (optional) and drink up!
Immune system diseases
In case you wanted to know a little more about immune related diseased, here is an interesting post.
Disclaimer: The author of all blog posts on CuriousFem, are in no way a qualified or professional healthcare practitioner. All of the health related statements which I have made above are entirely my own opinions and experiences, which I freely share with you. Following advice or opinions on this blog are entirely at your own risk.