Did my title get you panicking a bit?
Or at least saying ‘what is this woman on about!’.
I stand by it. Boosting isn’t the correct term.
The reality is no one should be wanting to boost their immune system, it’s a term used throughout the health industry to mean improve, prepare and support. If our immune system was to ‘boost’ in anyway it would actually do more harm to our body than good over time unless it is boosting for the right reasons.
Ask anyone who suffers an autoimmune disease. In these conditions, their own immune system is hyperactive or 'boosted' and rather than working on things that enter the body that are foreign and getting rid of them like a normal immune system, it doesn’t recognise parts of their own body and unleashes it’s body’s immune defence on it.
Take my husband for example, he has Crohns disease.
His body doesn’t recognise an area of his bowel between the small and large intestine. As a result, the immune system attacks this area causing inflammation, ulceration, pain, among many other symptoms. He is lucky that we work on supporting his gut health and encouraging the correct balance of gut microbiome. He is in remission and not taking any medication currently. But it’s a very fine balance and certain things can trigger an attack.
Improving, supporting and encouraging the right gut microbiome is important for him but it is also important to all the family. And it doesn’t have to be difficult to do.
But what exactly does that mean and why is it important to consider our immune systems health not just now……but continuously.
And what is the link between our gut and our immune system.
Our gut microbiome is the first line of defence against nasty bugs that enter the body. Most germs enter via out mouth, nasal passage or eyes. Alternatively, if you have an open wound this is another way. The germs hit our stomach acid and should be neutralised and killed here. However, some can make it through. And this is where it hits out gut microbiome. Making sure this microbiome fights hard is the key to supporting our immune system and ensuring it is functioning optimally is essential.
Research is also finding that our gut microbiome changes with certain disease states and can be a link to the formation of a number of mental health conditions, allergies, cancer and autoimmune diseases to name a few. It is really underestimated in the treatment of conditions and I believe should be the corner stone to all therapy.
So here are my tips to help get you there.
My first is to
Stress, stress, stress…………this is the biggest killer in society not just for our immune system. But I’ll leave that discussion for another time. Stress causes our immune system to depress. When we are stressed it decreases our immune system’s ability to fight off antigens (a word used for foreign particles, germs, pathogens that enter the body). This is why you become more susceptible to infections. When the body is stressed it produces a hormone that suppresses the immune system by reducing the amount of immune fighting cells we produce. Stress can also be a prelude to coping mechanisms such as drinking and poor eating habits. Which in turn, decreases the effectiveness of our immune system.
Why? During sleep our immune system releases special chemicals, some that help promote sleep, and others that increase when you have an infection or inflammation in your body. Sleep deprivation can decrease the production of these special chemicals. Long term sleep deprivation can lead to further complications that will decrease your immune systems function.
This variable has had the most significant impact on my husband’s health. And its because of its powerful ability to reduce stress levels, increase good hormones in your body and improve the circulation in your body. It helps promote our lymphatic drainage and removes toxins. It promotes good bowel habit and is recommended as a supportive means of treatment to digestive issues like constipation.
We know this but, do we really? I have explained this to my eldest so many times who still opts for the beige diet. No matter what, he is always asking for junky, nutrient deficient food and wonders why he is always hungry. Understanding the innate power of healthy ‘alive’ food and its ability to help us self-regulate our food intake based on our foods ability to satisfy our nutritional needs is important. That’s why if you sat and ate a bowl of apples over a bowl of chips, by the second apple you’ve had enough. But the moreish chips you keep reaching for and next thing you know the bowl is finished. This is the power of alive food, food that is grown by nature, is nutritionally rich and is easily recognised by the body. Fruits and vegetables also provide great nourishment to gut microbiome in the form of fibre which is vital to supporting the growth of good bacteria.
Increase pre-biotic foods.
Do this slowly, if you haven’t been big on them before. Last week the boys and I made Sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage dish that you use as a condiment on anything you eat. This fermentation process creates a dual action immune supporting food. The cabbage feeds the good bacteria in the bowel and the fermented liquid produced contains good bacteria to help colonise the bowl.
I started the line of Pure Home Body products because of my findings into gut heath and the importance of developing a diverse gut microbiome. The key emphasis on ‘diverse’, this is vital to a strong gut microbiome. We need 3 key elements to achieve this: nurture, nourishment and exposure. These 3 things need to occur to help develop our microbiome from its first colonisation as we pass through the birth canal and touch our mother’s skin. In fact, within 20 minutes of exposure, the bowel is beginning to colonise and bacterial growth occurs. I want to talk specifically about exposure here and how our phobia as a society of germs is what drives us to bring into our home toxic and unnecessary chemicals. These chemicals and our need to reduce our exposure to germs is the concern. We need to realise that 95% of the germs that surround us live harmoniously with us, its only 5% we should be concerned about. Using less toxic, plant-based alternatives will allow you to still remove germs and improve the health of your home without the toxic burden on body’s systems.
Drink plenty of clean water.
No brainer here. Our bodies are made up of 70% of water so it makes sense we need not only the lubrication but to help flush the bowel and keep our bowel lubricated. There is a general rule of 2 litres a day or 8 glasses of water. However, I myself drink less than this and that’s because the fruits and vegetables I consume delivers a substantial amount to me also.
As you embark on improving and protecting your immune system, I want to leave you with this:
‘Every human being is the author of his own health or disease’ Buddha
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