Kissing Germs Goodbye

February is the month of LOVE, and it’s time to get intimate... with your Immune System.

When it comes to nutrition we often ignore our immune system until we get sick and physically feel horrible. Then we start supporting our immune system with all kinds of random remedies. When we are already feeling lousy and low. This oversight could be one of our greatest nutritional mistakes, and it affects us for the long haul.  

The immune system is complex, there are varied layers- but let’s look at the bigger picture here. Starting with inflammation! There’s that word again.

INFLAMMATION

It is a major player in our health and in our immune system function. We want to keep inflammation as controlled as possible so it is does not become CHRONIC and problematic. We can do that with nutrition; by eating a diet that is high in antioxidants. We want to ensure our dies is filled with fresh fruits, like a variety of berries, or by using veggies throughout our dies. Also, consuming lean proteins, oily fish like salmon and healthy fats- like olive oil, nuts and seeds! Make sure you keep processed foods and sugar to a minimum (maybe not removing it all, for your sanity but not as the main stay of your diet). 

If your diet isn’t cutting it (and many of us are a work in progress- nothing wrong with that); you might consider inflammation modulating supplements such as Curcumin (from the turmeric root), Fish Oil or Algae Oil, to combat those damaging inflammatory proteins in the body that can get out of control, leading to chronic inflammation. 

Remember excessive inflammation is where the problem is and that comes from poor diet, high stress, polluted environmental factors, and even being overweight leads to increased chronic inflammation in the body.

DO NOT ignore your stress. Chronic long-term stress can lead to excess inflammation and immune dysfunction. It can also lead to problems with your stress hormone Cortisol (this hormone can affect your weight, how you metabolize food, your energy levels and where you store fat) in addition to your immune health. Keep your stress levels in check… talk to your yoga teacher, consider a calming tea such as chamomile or supplementing with trademarked L-theanine (in the form of Suntheanine®). Theanine is an amino acid from tea that is studied in calmness and improved mood by supporting happy neurotransmitters in the brain (such as serotonin and or dopamine).

YOUR GUT.  

You are going to get tired of hearing me talk about your tummy but that won’t stop me. Whatever might help you, I am going to discuss it and gut health needs to be addressed.  

Don’t forget your probiotics, especially if you recently took antibiotics! Antibiotics are important to treat bacterial infections; and they are GOOD at their job. However, they not only kill the bad bacteria they also wipe out your healthy good bacteria. This leaves your system in a state of imbalance and potential for immune dysregulation. Supporting healthy bacterial balance in the gut can support a healthy immune response and a better gut barrier to protect you from foreign invaders.

OTHER IMMUNE VIP’S

Mushrooms have been used for years in many cultures for a variety of health promoting properties. Maitake, shitake and reishi mushrooms are studied for their polysaccharide constituent, which is studied in immune modulation.

Also, check your Vitamin D status and supplement accordingly! Vitamin D is studied in a multitude of areas of health. One of them being that Vitamin D is a regulator of many components involved in our immune system. Vitamin D is known to impact both our innate and adaptive immune system; therefore, supporting our immune system and its response to invaders. 

Most Americans have Vitamin D insufficiency and many are Vitamin D deficient. It is almost impossible to attain adequate amounts from food alone. Make sure to ask for the “Vitamin D 25-OH blood test” and then speak with your Doctor and Dietitian about supplementation to support your health.