Tune-Up Your Immune System: Flu Season Coming!
Autumn is here, and winter is not far behind. Your immune system needs extra support to deal with the additional stress of colder, wetter weather, as well as the biological changes that come with shorter days and longer nights. If minor discomforts are not addressed, your immune function becomes compromised.
Did you know that all forms of stress compromise our health and disturb normal immune function? Stress suppresses the immune system. When you are stressed, the fight or flight response kicks in. The part of the autonomic nervous system called the sympathetic nervous system takes over. The body’s resources shift away from supporting immune function and its key players, the white blood cells. Learning how to manage stress is arguably the most important lifestyle factor in maintaining good health.
However, malnutrition or nutritional deficiency is likely the most significant factor in immune dysfunction. The high calorie-low nutrient density foods that characterize the standard American diet lead to malnutrition, even in the people who are obese. Your body requires a full range of nutrients – vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – to keep your immune system functioning properly. Without these critical micronutrients, your body loses its ability to fend off the circulating flus, viruses and bacteria.
So, now is the time - before illness strikes - to examine your daily diet and lifestyle habits and consider what you need to do to fortify your immune defenses. In other words, it is time for an immune system tune-up to re-charge your health.
Here are some suggestions for boosting your nutritional reserves to keep your immune system strong and functioning optimally:
Nutrient rich foods to enhance immunity:
1. Healthy sources of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as old water, deep sea, sustainable, fish like wild-caught Alaskan salmon, some varieties of tuna, sardines and cod. Vegetarian sources include flaxseeds and walnuts. Omega-3 fatty acids are needed to produce series 3 prostaglandins, which are anti-inflammatory compounds important in the immune system regulation.
2. Fresh, seasonal organic fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidant vitamins A (from carotenoids), C, and E in addition a wide range of phytonutrients all needed to maintain a healthy immune system. Cruciferous vegetables are well known for their cancer preventing nutrients and their support of liver function and healthy detoxification pathways. Fruits are rich in bioflavonoids that support the production of anti-tumor enzymes and support liver detoxification.
3. Onions are particularly beneficial to the immune system due to high levels of quercetin, a bioflavonoid and other compounds that have strong antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.
5. Immune supporting mushrooms include shiitake mushrooms which contain lentinan, which stimulates the immune system to prevent colds and flu; reishi mushrooms help people cope with stress; maitake mushrooms are used for cancer prevention.
6. Good quality nuts and seeds are rich in selenium and zinc, two minerals needed for immune health. They also contain healthy fats, fiber, and protein.
7. High quality sea vegetables from clean sources are rich in trace minerals, alkaline and high in fiber.
9. Herbs providing immune support include echinacea and astragalus.
Specific Nutrients Required to Keep Your Immune System Fully Charged
Optimal levels of the full range of vitamins are important in maintaining a healthy immune system:
- The fat soluble vitamins, A, D, and E are essential for activating the white blood cells for fighting tumors, viruses, and any foreign invaders.
- The vitamin B complex is critical for the production of new white blood cells and most all of the body’s metabolic processes.
- Vitamin C signals the white blood cells to attack invaders, like viruses. When you are under stress, your body uses up vitamin B and vitamin C. These vitamins need to be replenished to provide adequate immune response.
- Two minerals that are essential to immune function are zinc and selenium. When these minerals are adequately supplied, they serve many different functions boosting immunity.
- Phytonutrients, those plant nutrients that are found in bright colored fruits and vegetables, enhance many aspects of immune function.
Recommended Supplements for Your Immune System Tune-Up
Unfortunately, the standard American diet does not provide the nutrient support that is essential to a healthy immune system. It is important to take a high-potency multi-vitamin, multi-mineral, and antioxidant supplement. Some great suggestions include:
UltraNutrient® from Pure Encapsulations: An advanced performance, multi-nutrient supplement providing exceptional broad-spectrum nutritional support. Utilizing some of the most highly recognized antioxidants, nutrients, and botanicals. UltraNutrient has an enhanced multi-nutrient product that includes alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, and reduced glutathione, as well as standardized extracts of hawthorn, ginger, milk thistle and turmeric.
Daily Immune from Pure Encapsulations: If you are already taking a high-potency multi-nutrient supplement, you can give your body extra support with Daily Immune, another Pure Encapsulations formulation Daily Immune is an extensive blend of vitamin, mineral, polyphenol, polysaccharide and adaptogenic cofactors for healthy immune system function.
For a listing of Designs for Health Immune Support Products, Click Here...