Not long after your last breath, your immune system shuts down.
Soon your body comes alive again, but this time with bacteria, parasites and microbes.
However, when you’re still alive and if your immune system is working as it should, the invaders are blocked from entering.
Within a matter of weeks after death, bacteria, parasites and microbes completely disassemble your body, until the only thing left are bones.
The fact that this does not happen to a living person is enough proof of the effective work of the immune system.
What is the immune system?
Internal fighter = the immune system
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explains it as:
“A network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body from infection. The human body provides an ideal environment for many microbes, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, and the immune system prevents and limits their entry and growth to maintain optimal health.”
Now, the first line of defense towards pathogens (pathogens are what cause disease) is your skin which is a barrier to keep them from entering your body.
If an invader manages to push through the first line of defense, it still has to get through the next barrier, which is predominantly the blood and specialist lymph tissue.
Tasks of the immune system
The primary tasks of the immune system are:
- To overcome and expel pathogens that have managed to worm (excuse the pun) their way into the body.
- To overcome harmful substances from outside the body (e.g. from the environment).
- To fight against the body’s own cells that have evolved, e.g. cancerous cells.
Signs that your immune system may be battling
- You take longer than the average person to recover from a common cold.
- Your tongue is heavily coated with a white substance.
- You get infections and inflammation often.
- You get common colds or the flu frequently.
- You suffer from blood disorders.
- You often experience digestive problems.
- You have an autoimmune disorder.
To take it further, let’s check out the actual conditions from a struggling immune system:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Type 1 diabetes mellitus
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Graves’ disease
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Myasthenia gravis
- West Nile Virus
- Skin infections
- Ear infections
- Sinus infections
- Viral infections
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Skin, hair and nails
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Small intestine cancer
What harms the immune system?
- Cigarette smoking.
- Chemotherapy (the very thing needed to fight cancer is under attack when chemotherapy is used).
- Not getting enough sleep.
- Athletic over-training.
- Occupational chemical exposure.
- Food allergies (eating food that causes allergies on an ongoing basis).
- Common viral or bacterial infections.
- Most medication.
- Blood transfusions.
In addition, a nutritionally deficient diet is a huge immune system stressor. A poor diet looks like this:
- Highly processed and heated fats (fast foods, mass produced oils, margarine, etc.)
- Refined sugar and carbohydrates (sweets, chocolates, cakes, etc.)
- Not getting enough vitamins/minerals from your food.
- Not drinking enough water.
- Ageing, especially after 40.
- Too much table salt.
- Processed foods.
- Caffeine and caffeine-containing foods and beverages.
- Lack of essential fatty acids.
What does the immune system need to stay strong?
Most people know that if you want a healthy plant, you have to plant it in healthy soil, and gardeners feed soil with special “foods” that help plants grow strong and healthy.
Gardeners understand that a healthy plant keeps bugs and diseases at bay. In the same way, if your immune system is strong, nothing will get past the barriers, and if it does, the immune system will easily fight it off.
What’s particularly interesting is that a strong immune system depends on a healthy endocrine system. And because of that, it’s logical to concentrate on hormonal health in order to boost your immune system.
In his book, “A Beginner’s Introduction to Nutrition” Albrecht A. Heyer says:
“We can be feasting on an abundance of food and yet suffer from malnutrition if our diet lacks the nutrients required for healthy cell development or contains artificial ingredients which cannot be processed by ourselves”.
What you put into your body is what you’re going to get out of your body. If you treat your body with respect, it will in turn fight to keep you strong and healthy.
How to help your immune system stay strong
- Deal with stress. Decide how to deal with the things that cause stress in your life.
- Exercise. Exercise stimulates at least 18 of your hormones, and the hormones manage your immune system. In addition, exercise eliminates toxins.
- Get sunlight. The endocrine system needs sunlight to work effectively. Make sure you get about 15 minutes each day, on your skin and through your eyes.
- Sleep. While you sleep, your body rejuvenates.
- Drink enough clean water. Water helps flush out toxins too.
- Give your body the fuel it needs. Immunologist and Nutritionist Jennifer Meak, says that the best way to avoid illness and disease, from the common cold to cancer or even AIDS, is to boost your Immune system through nutrition.
What should you eat to boost your immune system?
Jennifer Meak says further, and I quote:
“Raw whole foods provide many other factors (some of which are probably unknown) like natural antibiotics, essential oils, pigments and enzymes, which are of benefit to health. Raw, whole foods increase the oxygen content of our cells especially important for the prevention of cancer, where cells have switched to live without oxygen. Fresh fruit and vegetables are high in potassium, which is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and for avoiding cancer.”
So, focus on eating alkaline forming foods.
In fact, aim to eat a minimum of 75% alkaline forming foods each day. A high alkaline forming diet is one of the best actions you can take to boost your immune system because the more alkaline your diet, the easier it is for your body to kick viruses and bacteria.
If you want a quick immune boost, try eating a raw plant food diet for at least 5 – 15 days. (Check out my vegan recipes for ideas).
The more raw plant food you eat, the more you help your immune system, because raw veggies are very high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and are completely alkaline in your blood. Raw fruit is high in vitamins, so you need both fruit and veggies, and as much of them both as possible.
The case for raw? When you eat, white blood cells rush in to defend your system against invaders. Now, when you eat cooked or processed food, many of these white blood cells are obliterated when they enter the stomach.
Eating raw before all cooked meals prevents the murder of your white defenders.
What foods are the best for immune system boosting?
All raw plant food helps, but the foods that give the biggest boost are:
- Licorice (the type that’s good for you has no sugar, sorry!) with the glycyrrhizic acid removed, is known to improve lung function and immune function.
- Aloe Vera.
- Mangosteen and pomegranate are two fruits that seem to contain more antioxidants than any other known foods. Antioxidants kill the free radicals that cause premature ageing, and also disease.