Pure foods solution
Beat the bugs, including colds and flu’s, by eating pure, natural foods rich in immune boosting vitamin C and the antioxidants selenium, zinc and vitamin E.
What is the immune system?
Your wonderful immune system is your protection against anything that poses a threat to your body. The list ranges from bacteria and viruses through to chemical food additives. Surprised about the chemicals? Most people assume that the primary role of the immune system is to fight infection. General industrial pollution is as big a threat to your health as the virus that causes flu. The more toxic you are the greater the load on your immune system. An overworked immune system cannot offer you fail-safe protection against the hostile environment outside of your body. Some researchers even see ageing as less of a problem with passing time than as a direct result of compromised immunity.
Simply put, the immune system is able to identify those things that naturally belong to or in the body versus those that are foreign or pose a threat (antigens). The immune system has the amazing ability to identify a threat (antigen) and then to remember that threat and how to deal with it. That is how we acquire immunity against viruses and bacteria. The sharp, attacking end of the immune system are the white blood cells. They travel the bloodstream, searching out and destroying antigens.
This protective system only functions well if it gets all of the nutrients it needs to operate effectively, and if we reduce the factors that depress immune function, like stress, food allergies and the overuse of antibiotics.
|Modern medical thinking has put forward the concept that the immune system, the nervous system and the mind are interconnected and that in fact they might just be one super system as opposed to three separate body systems. This wonderful new understanding is called: psycho-neuro-immunology (PNI). This opens the door to a new understanding of how one part of the PNI system affects the other two. Stress damages the nervous system and according to the PNI model this than also damages the mind and the immune system. This makes sense as stress, for example, often leads to depression and compromised immune function.|
What are some of the causes of immune dysfunction?
- Food allergies have a depressive action on immune function.
- Stress severely compromises your defences
- Poor lymphatic function leaves you vulnerable to attack
- Pollution, free radicals and chemical toxins overload your immune system
- Poor nutrition hampers immune activity
Using pure foods to boost immunity
Food allergies – the goodies and the baddies!
The most common allergenic foods are wheat (bread, pasta, cereal), cow’s dairy (milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt), sugar and the yeasts found in foods like bread and vinegar. Allergies occur when the immune system incorrectly identifies food as an antigen, a threat, and initiates a defensive action, defending you against your muesli and milk! Your immune system sees a mugger in each spoonful of breakfast. Amusing until you experience the bloating and energy slumps brought on by your inappropriate immune reaction.
|Allergenic food||Pure food alternative|
|Grain alternatives§ Rye, oats
§ Millet, quinoa
§ Amaranth, buckwheat
|Cow’s dairy§ Milk
|Dairy alternatives§ Goat’s products
§ sheep’s products
§ Soya milk, cheese
§ Rice milk, cheese
||Use low GI fruits in moderation§ Strawberries
§ Dried apricot
|Yeast of all kinds
Vitamin C rich foods – the stress busters
Stress is the arch enemy of your immunity as it sets off a chain of reactions that ultimately results in your white blood cells not being as effective in protecting you as they should be. Foods rich in vitamin C boost immune function and help the body to cope with the negative effects of stress. Aim for two daily portions of some of the following Vitamin C rich pure foods: green leafy vegetables, kiwi, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, berries, green peas and tomatoes.
Lymph-friendly pure foods
Focusing on a pure foods diet rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc gives the lymph a fighting chance in it’s role as the primary focus of immune function!
Fresh red and green peppers are a great source of vitamin C in a natural and potent form. A daily green leafy salad, also rich in vitamin C, with some Zinc in the form of ground up pumpkin seeds should boost your immune system. A breakfast of wholemeal corn porridge and fresh, organic eggs provides the Vitamin A, essential for the proper functioning of the lymphatics and the immune system. Ginger is a fabulous warming herb that improves circulation in general and added to food, ensures a robust response to a viral or bacterial attach.
Garlic – the ultimate immune food
Garlic has a long history of use in immune stimulation and research has shown that it improves the activity of many of the components of the immune system. It also has antiviral and antifungal actions. Garlic is the perfect addition to any immune boosting diet. If you are worried about the smell of garlic on your breath or don’t particularly like the flavour here is a great tip.
A properly cured, healthy garlic bulb has no smell or taste. The reason for this is that the components of garlic that cause the powerful smell and taste are kept apart by the internal and external cellular walls. When garlic is crushed, damaging the clove, the alliin and allinase that are stored apart from each other in the clove mix together and form allicin, which is what causes garlic to smell and taste as it does. Allicin is a volatile substance that will break down on its own in a few hours and form several different sulphuric compounds. Heating allicin will cause it to break down much faster. The more allicin breaks down, the less of the smell and taste are present. The immune boosting action of garlic is not due to the allicin so the secret to healthy, non-smelly garlic is either to crush and leave for a while or heat the cloves prior to eating.
Reduce your chemical load. Make the switch from battery chickens, full of antibiotics and artificial hormones, to organic free range poultry. Wash your vegetables to get rid of any pesticide residues and drink only freshly squeezed organic fruit juices. Your immune system is an expert at neutralising viruses and bacteria, but it is not, on the other hand an expert at neutralising the vast and confusing array of new and toxic chemicals that enter your body each day through the food, air and water you drink. Returning to natural, cleaner, pure foods reduces the workload for your beleaguered immune system, allowing it to do what it does best – protect you.
Vitamin C, found in abundance in berries and oranges, and vitamin E, found in pure foods like avocado and almonds, are both essential for correct immune function. The reason for this is that pollution generates ‘oxidants’ in your blood and tissues. These nasty ‘oxidant’ atoms damage cells and tissues and need to eliminated quickly if you are to stay healthy. ‘Oxidants’ are mopped up and neutralised by the antioxidant vitamins C and E. Eat your pure foods fruits and vegetables please!
|A daily serving of ‘live’ culture yoghurt (goat, sheep or cow’s) can help restore the friendly, immune boosting bacteria to your gut (probiotics). The good bacteria oust any damaging bacteria, improving digestion and the absorption of immune boosting nutrients.|
Supplements to boost immune function
- The medicinal herb Echinacea purpurea is a powerful weapon in the fight against infection and lowered immunity. It is a licensed medicine in the UK and this means it has as much of a right to be taken seriously as any other drug on the market. Taken correctly it can and does help the body fight colds and flus. The way to take it is as follows: Use the liquid or herbal tincture version as the action then starts in the mouth, sinuses and tonsils. Place the recommended amount of drops in a little water and hold this in the mouth. Gargle for a few minutes and then swallow. Take the dose on an empty stomach, between meals. Take it for as long as you need to. You do not need to do a week on and a week off as some natural therapists claim. The weak and the elderly can take a daily maintenance dose if they are afraid of falling ill.
- Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin. I suggest using a non acid form like magnesium ascorbate. Doses below 1000mg will not have much of an effect on boosting immune function so aim higher.
- Acidophilus and bifidus are two healthy flora that restore bowel function and boost immunity.
General tips for a robust immune system
Central heating dries out the sinuses and reduces your ability to fight airborne infection. Place a cup of water on your radiators to humidify the air in your bedroom.
Gentle exercise stimulates lymphatic circulation and increases the effectiveness of the lymphatic system.
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