Building & Maintaining a Healthy Immune System

Building & Maintaining a Healthy Immune System

 

So many families have been struggling with viruses or other infections this winter.  I am a firm believer that we are what we eat.  Eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong foods is the best place to start if we want to build a body that can stand up against invaders.  Next, lifestyle plays a big role in our ability to fight disease.  A low-stress lifestyle goes a long way toward our overall good health. 

 

I recently spent the evening with a group of fantastic single moms who wanted to learn more about how to keep their kids from getting sick all the time.  I did some research and put together the following lists for them:

 

Things that keep our immune system from functioning properly:

Sugar

Caffeine

Dehydration

Vitamin/Mineral Deficiency

Stress

Over-exercising

Insufficient Sleep/Rest

Eating foods to which one is allergic

Being Overweight

Eating too much or too little

Pollution and other Toxins

Immunizations

Smoking and Second-Hand Smoke

Eating too much fat, especially animal fats

Alcohol

Cow’s milk and cheese

 

Things that help our immune system function properly:

Adequate Hydration

A Variety of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, especially raw (supplies essential nutrients)

Adequate Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids in the diet

A Good Night’s Sleep

Low-stress Lifestyle

Enjoyable Moderate Exercise and other Stress-relievers

Losing Excess Weight

Avoidance of Toxins

Avoidance of Allergens

Low-stress, Pleasurable Activities- such as vacations, picnics, beach outings, hikes, jogging, reading a book, getting a massage, singing, playing an instrument, enjoying leisure time

 

Immune-Boosting Foods:

Mushrooms – particularly Reichi, Maitake, and Shitake                
Broccoli

Blueberries                                                                               
Green Tea

Goji Berries                                                                              
Garlic

Citrus Fruits                                                                             
Bell Peppers

Strawberries                                                                             
Pineapple

Nuts (not peanuts)                                                                    
Pumpkin Seeds

Sesame Seeds                                                                         
Sweet Potatoes

Carrots (& All Orange Vegetables)                                              
Kale

Spinach                                                                                   
Winter Squash

Collard Greens                                                                          
Cilantro

Fresh Thyme                                                                            
Lentils

Garbanzo Beans                                                                       
Breastmilk

 

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