Getting sick is the worst! Here are some ways to have an awesome immune system and avoid the awful that is illness!
Germs, bacteria, and viruses are everywhere—planes, trains, and automobiles; escalators; babies; hotel room phones; remote controls—you name it. One thing’s for sure: you’re always eligible for a license to ill in the modern world. From flesh-eating viruses to nuclear fallout to the common cold, the world is full of malicious maladies that can potentially annihilate you, if not render you snot-nosed and fully horizontal for days on end. Okay, so maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. But really, how do you combat these potential threats to your vitality on a daily basis?
The good news is that you have a powerful defense system inside of you that’s perfectly designed to protect you and keep your body in a balanced state of homeostasis. Yes, your immune system is like nature’s NORAD missile defense system, launching rockets of white blood cells to annihilate marauding toxins, viruses, and pathogens. Here’s the key, though: your immune system needs your help to function at the peak of its powers.
Now, I know what it’s like to get the faintest hint of a sniffle and run out to snag some Sudafed at the drugstore. But, if medications and pharmaceuticals were the answer, how is it possible that people spend billions of dollars on drugs and still get sick? People aren’t finding solutions—they’re just waiting around for the next time they get sick. Check it out:
- Seasonal cough and cold medications generate $8 billion annually
- U.S. adults get an average of two to four colds every year
- Young children suffer from an average of six to eight colds per year
Be honest—how many times a year do YOU get sick? I don’t mean seasonal allergies—I mean a full-on cold, flu, or other common debilitating sicknesses, like food poisoning. If you’re getting sick multiple times a year, then it’s time to get the full download about your immune system and how you can supercharge its performance. Because taking a week off from work or school, slurping down a bowl of canned chicken noodle soup, and dosing yourself on a bottle of NyQuil ain’t doing the job anymore. But, honestly, did it ever?
Your Immune System Is Pretty Badass
Your immune system is just like any other bodily system. In order for it to function at full capacity all the time, it needs the right kind of fuel to boost its superpowers. One of the keys to supporting your healthy immune function is to know which foods and nutrients to consume. For example, if you’re looking to ward off viruses, something like olive leaf extract is great. If you want to manhandle marauding microbes, then raw coconut oil is your frontline warlord. For general immune boosting throughout the year, high doses of vitamins C and D will rock out and knock out a common cold. Much like the entire theme of this book, it’s critically important to select the right ingredients to accomplish the goal of keeping your immune system humming along. In simple terms, we can look at this approach in two distinct ways: learning what to eat to keep your immunity consistently strong to ward off potential sickness and the correct protocol to follow when you’re already feeling like a pu pu platter and want to feel better fast.
Most people find that the wintertime is when most maladies strike. But it is possible to shield yourself to some degree with strong immunity. Keeping your immune system running efficiently is a matter of consistently good lifestyle choices and eating a balanced intake of the proper nutrients that ensure that your body gets rid of toxins.
Get Your Lymphatic System Back in the Flow
Your lymphatic system can be compared to the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles. When it’s congested, nothing moves. The same thing can happen in your body. Your lymphatic system affects every organ and cell in your body. This highly important but little-known circulatory system is the body’s primary waste elimination system. Your lymph system helps to eliminate toxins and keep things flowing in your body via lymphatic drainage. It contains more than 600 collection sites called the lymph nodes and has a network of collecting vessels more extensive than the venous system.
When the lymph fails to function properly and the collecting terminals become blocked, it’s like a bottleneck. The lymph starts backing up, creating a toxic, oxygen-deprived environment conducive to degeneration and disease. The clear lymph fluid becomes sluggish or even stagnant, changing from a water-like consistency to one more like milk, then yogurt, then cottage cheese. Sounds gross, right? Unfortunately, toxic lymph fluid can be stored for a long time in your system. This is not a healthy condition. Thickened, gel-like, stagnant lymph fluid overloaded with toxins is the ideal environment for the onset of numerous illnesses.
Moving this stagnant lymph flow is a major key to rejuvenation. Improving the flow, which is an essential component of the immune system, enhances your body’s natural healing ability to clear up illness. A healthy lymphatic system can absorb and discharge unwanted body fat, carry away excess body fluids and toxic wastes, and aid in healing challenges associated with the muscular, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, and nervous systems. Again, your lymphatic system affects every organ and cell in your body. It is the transportation highway of your immune system, and keeping it clear is like getting a free pass in the carpool lane!
Many factors can contribute to blockages of the lymph system, including chronic constipation, physical and emotional life stresses, environmental toxins, heavy metals and chemicals, inflammation, infections, injuries and surgery (scar tissue and adhesions), bruises and traumas, food allergies, highly acidic diets, tight clothing, lack of exercise, hormonal imbalances, structural misalignment, normal aging processes, and genetic predispositions. Yes, even unexpressed emotions such as anger, fear, or resentment can become toxic to the lymph system. Artificial and restrictive clothing (such as polyester blouses and tight bras and jeans), air-conditioning, and even antiperspirant deodorants prevent excretion and natural cleansing of toxins. Your skin is the largest eliminative organ, and about one-third of your system’s toxins are excreted through it, coming to about a pound a day. Blocking the flow of this natural design with antiperspirants works against both the lymphatic and immune systems.
There are many conditions that sluggish lymph circulation can lead to that may be improved by lymphatic treatment. These include but are not limited to: colds, sinus problems, allergies, menstrual cramps, cellulite, chronic pain, arthritis, digestive disorders, ulcers, wrinkles, acne, mental confusion, and emotional disorders. Most physical and emotional challenges can be aggravated by blockage of the lymph flow.
It’s clear how poor lymphatic function can contribute to a wide range of dysfunction and lack of vitality. But what can you do to remedy the situation? To keep your lymph glands grand, techniques like daily dry skin brushing, jumping on a rebounder (small trampoline), and eating a super-hydrating, alkaline, plant-based diet are perfect daily activities to keep your lymphatic system healthy. A regular yoga practice has also been shown to promote long-term lymphatic health. If more severe lymphatic blockages happen, you may need to seek the help of a trained professional who is skilled in lymphatic drainage massage.
Hallelujah for Hydration
The benefits for the immune system of drinking a ton of clean, filtered, mineral-rich water cannot be understated. When I say “a ton,” what I really mean is at least one 16-ounce glass of water per hour of waking activity. Generally speaking, that should be enough to keep yourself well hydrated without overwhelming you. Some doctors and wellness experts recommend more (especially during a cleansing or detoxification protocol), but I want to keep it realistic and well within the range of consistent execution. Drinking a lot of water will keep your digestive tract clean and your bowels regular. Chronic dehydration is one of the most underdiagnosed conditions and can result in fatigue, muscle pain, cramping, migraine headaches, and constipation.
Regarding strong immunity, keeping yourself hydrated helps to flush out daily toxins and keep your colon healthy. A point about drinking filtered water: many home or under-sink filtration systems (like those that use multistage reverse osmosis) will remove toxins such as chlorine, pesticides, organochlorines, and heavy metal residues from your water. However, they also strip your water of essential trace minerals that your body needs. You can remineralize and alkalize your water by adding a few drops of ocean trace minerals and a capful of organic apple cider vinegar to each glass that you drink.