When it comes to staying away from the common cold or recurring flu, it may seem like you are more susceptible during the coldest and busiest time of the year. Extreme temperature changes, holiday shopping, house guests and endless festive foods may be reasons your body starts to feel tired and prone to illness, but overall your immune system should be able to keep up with your busy schedule, right? At least that is always the hope.
An estimated 1 billion Americans experience the common cold each year, while approximately 5 to 20 percent of Americans develop the flu. We can be hard on our bodies, as modern-day demands can push us to ultimate fatigue and break down immunity. Poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyles, environmental toxins, and stress can all affect immunity. Stress is a primary cause of illness, as it influences hormone levels to negatively impact several body functions. It raises the heart rate and blood pressure, activates the adrenal glands, and depletes the body’s store of vitamins and minerals. Replenishing the body with nutrient-rich foods and supplements can offset the effects of stress.
Optimal hormone levels, immune-stimulating vitamins and supplements, nutrition, and exercise can help your body stay strong through the inevitable cold and flu season. These
topics are addressed to help you thwart off the foreign intruders and viruses that come your way.
Winter and the Holiday Season
Winter and the holiday season has arrived. Cold and flu season will soon be in full swing! Be sure to read this article for important information about immune-stimulating vitamins and supplements, proper nutrition, and exercises to keep your immune system strong throughout the winter months and the importance of optimal hormone levels.
In this article:
- Learn about how food affects your immune health.
- Understand how hormones affect your immune system.
- Read about the benefits of Vitamin C, Echinacea, Elderberry, Green Tea, Grapefruit Seed Extract and other immune-stimulating nutrients
- Recognize the importance of physical exercise in improving and maintaining your health
Does Food Influence Immunity?
Is your diet affecting your health? If you consistently consume a quarter-pounder with cheese, large fries, and a soft drink, you may be eating the recipe for an immune-breaking disaster. Your body needs whole foods and nutrient-rich meals to remain strong. A diet high in saturated fats, simple carbohydrates, and refined sugars can lead to weakened immunity. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans eat highly processed, refined foods making their bodies more susceptible to illness and disease.
When the body’s nutritional status declines, it is unable to cope with the daily assault of toxins and germs being thrown in its direction. Nutrient-rich foods need to be consumed on a daily basis to keep your immune system functioning optimally.
Choose Whole Foods: The majority of food should be easy to digest, including fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Foods that are processed, canned, or frozen are harder to digest and often contain preservatives and chemicals that are harmful to the body.
Add Spice: Good tasting food does not require a large amount of salt or sugar, but herbs and spices can enhance flavor and offer more nutrients to your meal. Spices, including cayenne, chili peppers, garlic, radishes, and hot mustard, contain substances called “mucolytics” that can help reduce congestion in your sinuses and breathing passages.
Avoid Sugar: Immunity is weakened in less than 30 minutes after sugar is consumed. Furthermore, consuming one teaspoon of white sugar suppresses immunity for up to six hours. A sugar overload decreases your white blood cell count, making it difficult to fight infections. ALSO: THINK “SUGAR FEEDS CANCER!”
Avoid Overeating: Extremely high calorie intake has been linked to suppressed immunity. An animal study found that consuming fifty percent fewer calories per day enhanced the immune response, improved T-cell function, and maintained thymus size. Weight management is also important, as being more than 20 pounds overweight can suppress immune function. EATING LARGE QUANTITIES OF FOOD MAKES THE BODY TIRED DEPRIVING IT OF ENERGY.
By Mike Clark, Director of Education & Research – NBH Lifetime Health Medical Weight Loss Clinic & Austin Bioidentical Hormone Clinics