Monday, November 06, 2006

Boosting Your Immune System Through Diet

One of the most important things to know about your immune system, and quite possibly the first line of defense in protecting your immune system, is that it is much quicker to diminish your ability to fight off disease than it is to boost your immune system. The reason this is so important, is that everything that you take into your body creates a reaction within your system. If you were to drink 24 ounces of soda, your body's ability to fight infection decreases by 50% due to just the sugar content alone. This means that for every sugary snack you ingest over the course of a day, your immune system could be suppressed for several hours. For most people who eat the average American diet, this could mean a constant state of diminished immunities.

Determining which foods are potentially damaging to a healthy immune system can help you not only boost your immune system, but can help keep it strong. Drinking a lot of water can not only help to reduce sweet cravings, but it can also help to flush the system of toxins. Sugar is one of the single most important substances that should be removed from the diet, since it competes with vitamin C to enter into the white blood cells (the cells responsible for fighting germs in your bloodstream.) While sugar is not the only substance that decreases the immune system's abilities, it is one of the most harmful and commonly ingested. Concentrating on your overall diet is first and foremost when boosting your immune system. Since food can alter the body's ability to battle bacteria and infection, your goal should be to eliminate the your overall diet, and if there are things that you could exchange for a healthy replacement, do so. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamins and minerals, and the easiest to assimilate once in the body. If milk is a major part of the diet, replace it with healthy servings of broccoli or collard greens for calcium. The harmful effects of milk far outweigh the benefits that you think you are receiving. Also, reduce the intake of any foods high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and avoid (if possible) processed foods.

Cleansing out the digestive system can be extremely beneficial to the immune system, since food and toxins can build up in the creases of the intestines, lowering the body's ability to resist illness. Cleaning out your digestive system can greatly improve your health, and can be done easily with a colon cleansing drink. Generally, they are a bulking fiber mixed into water and ingested. Once in the body, it begins to bulk up and expand as it absorbs the water. This "growing" fiber must then pass through the entire digestive system, pushing toxins and food out of the body with it. This is best done on a day off - when you have full access to the bathroom when the need arises! However, this is an essential step to clearing your body of toxins that could cause illness or suppress the immune system's ability to keep you healthy.

Once you have decreased the levels of harmful foods and toxins in your body, start taking immune boosting herbs, such as echinacea, either in tea or capsule form. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage on the package, or talk to your doctor about your plans. Be sure to get plenty of vitamin C - preferably in the form of unpasteurized orange juice. Oranges are a great source of vitamin C, but typically the orange juice available in stores has been pasteurized, or cooked, which turns it into a sugar form. This will again send your immune system into an unhealthy state. Foods that are high in vitamin C are: Guava, red and green sweet peppers, oranges, kiwi, cantaloupe, strawberries, broccoli, tomato juice, kale, papaya, and mango. You could even just drink a V-8! But if at all possible, get your vitamins from foods, and not from a bottle of pills. Naturally occurring vitamins and minerals are generally easier for the body to assimilate, and usually combined with other nutrients necessary for proper absorption.

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