As recently as 75 years ago the majority of the world’s population were using mostly herbs to heal themselves. Even now the majority of people in third world countries depend on indigenous plants for medicine and many of this medicinal plants are very effective. Some times we forget food is also a healer and not just something that provides nutrition to our body. In many developing countries the practice of herbs and foods to boost the immune system and to heal is used widely.
Now a days we eat overly processed food full of chemicals that has lost its vital nutrient. We eat to much fast food that is full of unhealthy fat. Our fruits and vegetable are not usually fresh. No wonder chronic disease has risen to epidemic proportions and our children are obese and some even have type 2 diabetes already.
We need to return to a more natural and holistic way of life. The trend towards small local farms to grow our food is a step in the right direction. We can get fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables right off the farm. It is good to know where our food comes from and to connect to the land and nature.
We have also forgotten herbs can heal and keep us strong and healthy. they do not work as the modern pharmaceutical medicine which usually targets certain part of the body and has side effects. Herbs work in holistic manner and that is hard to prove scientifically because there are too many variables. But thousands of years of experience with them tell us they do work and we should use them. But we do need to be knowledgeable about them and know how and when to use them.
Twelve Immune system boosters
1. Get outdoors and into the sun. For twenty to thirty minutes daily, get direct and/or indirect sunlight.
The best times are before 9:00am and after 3:00pm in the winter, or after 6:00pm in the summer. Allow the full-spectrum sunlight to enter your eyes by not wearing sunglasses during this time. The sun is most powerful immune system builder.
2. Consume adequate oxygen. Put yourself in or neat oxygen-rich environments-oceans, forests, running streams, greenhouses-and learn to breathe deeply. Eat plenty of oxygen-rich green foods. If you are indoors for most of the day, purchase an oxygen – producing air purifier.
3. Drink pure water. The best water purification processes are distilled or molecule organized. Consume in ounces the amount equal to one – half your weight in pounds. Add safe, oxygen – enhancing products to your drinking water.
4. Eat a totally vegan diet that is comprised of 75 percent or more raw food by volume. Sprouts and green vegetables are the most balanced and nourishing choices.
5. Drink freshly made beverages form sprouted green vegetables twice a day.
6. Use “regular” blue-green algae. Super blue-green algae or Hawaiian spirulina, along with chlorella, are high-concentrated foods that enhance immunity.
Cellular Immune Response
7. Stop using immune – suppressing ingredients. These include salt, refined sugars and flowers, dairy products, vinegars, heated oils, and food preservatives, additives, stabilizers, and colorings.
8. Avoid microwaved and fried foods, which can suppress the immune system and lead to cancers and heart and circulatory disease.
9. Eliminate alcohol and drugs. Unless your prescriptions are absolutely essential to your survival, stop taking them. Alcohol and drugs do not mix, except to undermine our immune system.
10. Exercise moderately. Engage in stretching, aerobics, and resistance exercises at least five times a week for thirty to sixty minutes a day.
T-Cell B-Cell communication
11. Get adequate rest. Sleep and rest helps to recharge the immune system. As part of this strategy, rest the entire body once a week on a juice – and –water fast. This enables the immune system to do a weekly cleanup.
12. Keep a smile on your face. Maintaining a positive attitude is a key to having a belief system that supports immunity, read a book anatomy of an illness by Norman Cousins for a primer on how laughter and humor can enhance the human immune system. Nature, color, sound, and laughter can positively affect the immune system
Foods to Stregthen the Immune System
Feeding your body with immune system boosting foods helps its natural fighting and resisting powers. Immune boosting foods increase the number of white cells in the blood and immune system.
All foods high in Vitamin C, A, B1, B3, B6, B9 B12 and Vitamins D and E help to boost the body’s immune system, as well as foods high in zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, beta-carotene, Omega-3 fats and sulphur, carotenoids, bioflavenoids and selenium.
Anti-oxidants and the Immune System
Anti-oxidants are nutrients that minimize the damaging effects of free radicals, which are molecules that cause cellular damage. Anti-oxidants stabilize free radicals, protect the body from free radical damage, and boosts the immune system.
Vitamin A has excellent anti-oxidant properties, and foods high in Vitamin A helps to rebuild and strengthen the immune system. Foods high in Vitamin A content are: cabbages, broccoli, spinach and al dark green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant that empowers the immune system. Vitamin C rich foods increase the immune systems ability to combat bacterial and viral infections. The immune system uses Vitamin C to produce antibodies that are essential in order to fight infections effectively. Foods high in Vitamin C content are: cauliflowers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, capsicums (bell peppers), brussel sprouts, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins etc) kiwi fruit, strawberries, blueberries and guava.
Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B complex includes Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12. These vitamins are potent and powerful immune system boosters. Foods high in Vitamin B Complex are: tuna, avocadoes, brazil nuts, bananas, legumes and oats.
Foods containing Vitamin E have high antioxidant activity. High Vitamin E content foods are: sunflower oil, walnuts, popcorn and sweet potatoes.
Protein helps to support the immune system. Protein rich foods enhance and boost the immune system function and include: tuna, salmon, almonds, peanut butter, skinless chicken breast, eggs, dairy products such as milk and yoghurt.
Minerals contribute to boosting the immune system. The two most important minerals are selenium and zinc.
Selenium is found in crab meat and shellfish (crabs, lobsters, oysters) and is also present in whole wheat bread, brown rice, barley, cashew nuts and onions.
Zinc exhibits anti-oxidant properties which promotes proper immune function. Zinc is found in pecan nuts, sunflower seeds, wheat bran and raw peas.
Almonds contain Vitamin E which is a natural immune system booster.
The Camu Camu fruit has one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C in comparison to any other food. As Vitamin C assists with the formation of collagen it stimulates the body’s natural defences and the absorption of iron.
Broccoli is super-charged with Vitamins and Minerals. It is packed with Vitamins A, C and E and contains numerous anti-oxidants.
common weed you find growing everywhere is dandelion. Dandelion leaves can be eaten raw as a salad or cooked. It is very delicious as well as very nutritious with a high amount of potassium among other nutrients. Another common plant nettle is also great for our immune system. It is usually thought of as an herb but It can be eaten cooked as any green leafy vegetable or the dried version can be made into tea. Both nettle and dandelion have plenty of folate and the B vitamins which are needed to make neurotransmitters such as serotonin.This helps lift our mood and energize us when we are overtired and under stress. Our immune system becomes compromised when we are overtired or in a sad. Just by lifting our energy level and our mood, these foods strengthen our immunity to disease. Both plants contain plenty of vitamin A, C, and Iron. All these aid in antioxidant activity.
Green Tea is packed with flavonoids which is a type of anti-oxidant. Green Tea also contains another powerful anti-oxidant called epigallocatechin gallate.
Green Tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine which aids in the production of germ fighting compounds.
Honey is rejuvenating, revitalizing and invigorating and contains natural anti-biotic substances, and contains immune boosting compounds.
Honey contains a complex assortment of enzymes, anti-microbial compounds, organic acids, minerals such as iron, phosphorus, copper, sulphur, manganese, magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, silicon, iodine, zinc, chlorine, formic acid and hydrogen peroxide.
Honey contains Vitamin C, all the Vitamin B complexes, Vitamins D, E and K, pantothenic acid, niacin, folic acid, amino acids, hormones, alcohols and essential oils.
MUSHROOMS - SHITAKE and REISHI
Shitake and Reishi mushrooms are an immune system activating fungi. The body receives nourishment from fungi as the nutrients and medicinal properties of mushrooms penetrate deep into the bone marrow and throughout the entire body.
Shitake and Reishi mushrooms mobilize the immune system to fight off disease. An immuno- stimulant, Shtake mushrooms increase activity of the human immune system against any invading organisms. They have anti-viral and anti-tumour properties and have been used effectively to treat viral infections, parasites and cancer, and one of the most important constituents, ‘lintinan’ has been shown to stimulate immune competent cells, stimulates T-cell production and increases macrophage activity.
Oats in all its various forms are all medicinal as well as nutritive. It has plenty of fiber that helps in lowering cholesterol. It has anti oxidant properties and plays an important part in lowering the chances of getting certain kinds of cancers such as prostate and breast cancer. Oates is also a central nervous system relaxant and lowers nervous tension and stress.
RED CAPSICUM - RED BELL PEPPERS
Red Capsicums (or Red bell Peppers) contain high amounts of Vitamin C and beta-carotene, making them an ideal immune boosting food.
Royal Jelly is a natural food concentrate that stimulates the body and cellular activity. Royal Jelly is beneficial to the immune system due to the protein content of biological values in Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B8, B9, B12 and Vitamins A, C, D, E and M. it also contains a series of minerals such as Calcium, Copper, Sulfur, iron, Phosphorus, Potassium and Silicon.
Royal Jelly is a nutritious tonic that stimulates the functioning of the endocrine glands and the immune system. It contains anti-bacterial compouns the stimulate the production of anti-bodies which enhances collagen production and the repair of damaged tissues. Royal Jelly also increases the flow of blood to the tissues.
Spinach is rich in Vitamin C and is packed with numerous anti-oxidants and beta-carotene, which increases the infection-fighting cells of the body’s immune system.
Yoghurts with live and active cultures stimulate the immune system.
Common Kitchen Herbs and Spices
- Cinnamon is an antiviral. Use it extensively to cook and use it to spice up your tea
- Turmeric is antioxidant and an antibacterial. Use it in your soups and cooking.
- Holy basil relives stress, fever, bronchitis, asthma. Use it in your soup and smell the aroma.
- Rosemary is a tonic ,stimulant, astringent, and a nervine. Use its essential oil as aromatherapy during time of stress such as interviews and exams. It helps to relaxes nervous tension and improves memory. I dilute the essential oil with jojoba oil and rub a tiny amount under my nose to help me relax and improve my memory when I have an interview. As a culinary herb it is great for roasting meat and to make sauce for pasta dishes.
- Lemon has an antioxidant and anti bacterial properties. It reduces fever and has high amounts of Vitamin C and is an antibiotic and anti diabetic. Use it every day