A healthy diet from infancy is the best preventative measure from weakened immune system. Poor quality foods do not give the body the nutrients it requires to repair itself. Daily exposure to a polluted environment, radiation, & free radicals are a sad part of our modern heritage. A poorly nourished body has no resources to fight back.
Whole living foods, such as raw fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, are all packaged by nature to have specific protein, carbohydrate and fat ratios as well as a perfected combination of essential nutrients. Whole foods are easily recognized by our bodies and are the healthiest choice to keep us healthy as well as aid in digestion as they also come equipped with their own digestive enzymes to help the process. We’ve all heard “a nice hot bowl of chicken soup will make you feel better”, and for those of us that have tried it, we know it does. Homemade soup, with lots of vegetables, supplies us with several vitamins and minerals, mainly in the broth, required by for optimal immune system function.
When our body becomes infected we use up essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, & E, and minerals such as zinc, potassium, chromium, iron, and copper. Unless the nutrients are replaced the stage is set for more serious disorders. Up to 100mg of zinc per day enhances immune function, but over 100mg may retard its function. It is a delicate balance keeping our immune system in top shape!
Please be aware that in cases of auto immune disorder you should not take immune system boosters! Builders only.
Immune Enhancing food
Garlic has been known since ancient biblical times, as a staple food that provides remarkable preventative & healing properties. Research indicates the trace minerals, germanium & selenium, both rich in garlic, are extremely important in the normal function of the immune system. The unusual form of sulfur found in garlic, sulfhydryl amino acid, is also known to enhance immunity. Research at Loma Linda University, California, found that a compound in garlic can protect against the most powerfully known natural carcinogen, aflatoxin B1.
Unfortunately our soil is badly depleted of vitamins & minerals; in turn we do not always get the nutrients we require through our diets alone. High quality, bio-available supplements, thankfully, are available to help us meet our personal requirements.
Vitamin A is needed for proper immune function. It contains powerful anti-oxidants, free radical scavengers and immune enhancers.
Vitamin C with bioflavnoids is the one we’ve all heard about… “You sound like you are catching a cold…better get some Vitamin C.” It is an important anti-oxidant that decreases susceptibility to infections.
Vitamin E is an integral part of the body’s defense system, use d-alpha- tocopherol form for easier assimilation. Zinc is an extremely essential mineral required for proper immune system function, best to use zinc chelate form.
Selenium is an important free radical destroyer.
Co-enzyme Q10 supports the immune system and is an oxygen enhancer to protect the cells and increase energy.
Colostrum comes from the mammary glands, just before milk is produced and is a wonderful immune system builder.
Oil of Oregano – Oil of Oregano is well known in the Mediterranean for its ability to stop infections (cold and flu), fighting yeast and fungi and knocking out allergies, hay fever and sinusitis. With its many therapeutic uses, Wild Oil of Oregano can be used internally and externally to fight numerous health conditions. Numerous university studies (Georgetown, Cornell, Tennessee, etc.) and independent research have shown Oregano Oil to be a potent antimicrobial.
The ever growing body of evidence is showing Oregano Oil to be useful as an antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal agent rivaling even pharmaceutical antibiotics such as streptomycin, penicillin, vacnomycin, nystatin, and amphotericin in its ability to eliminate microbes.
Remarkably it accomplishes this without promoting the development of drug resistant strains and other problems often attributed to the use of standard antibiotics. In addition to this already impressive list of abilities Oregano Oil is also a powerful parasitic expellant, is valuable as a food preservative, and has been used to decontaminate foods from potentially harmful pathogen’s.
Carvacrol has been identified as the chief constituent behind Oregano Oil’s extraordinary properties and is thought to work synergistically with the other components found in Wild Mediterranean Oregano Oil. These findings have been published in various scientific journals and presented at prestigious scientific functions.
Astragalus – In China, this herb is considered one of the best for the immune system. The roots are usually sliced diagonally, making them look like a tongue depressor. Generally, the older root is of better quality. The systems/organs that are affected by its use are the spleen, kidneys, blood and lungs. It is considered a tonic and an adaptogen (meaning it helps to normalize body functions).
It is used to increase energy, build resistance to illness, increase production of white blood cells, fight bacteria, promote T4 cell formation; stimulate appetite, fights fatigue, combat colds and lung problems. It may increase resistance to viral infections, aid in would healing, and reduce water retention in kidney complications, help to control blood sugar, and may reduce side effects of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
Echinacea – Echinacea can be used to help rid the body of both bacterial and viral infections, especially infections of the upper respiratory tract such as laryngitis, tonsillitis, and sinus infections. It is also used as a general blood purifier. Echinacea takes 3-5 days to start working in the body, whereas Oil of Oregano goes to work immediately.
Goldenseal – Goldenrod is an aquaretic agent (promotes the loss of water from the body) most frequently used to treat urinary tract inflammation and to prevent the development of kidney stones. Goldenrod’s aquaretic effects combined with both antimocrobila and anti-inflammatory properties allow this herb to be used in connection with a variety conditions which include the following:
• Bladder inflammation
• Colds and flu
• Kidney stones
• Laryngitis (as a gargle)
• Sore throats
Goldenseal may also be used as a topical application to aid in healing injuries and skin conditions such as eczema. Goldenrod has also been used for laryngitis or sore throats (as a gargle).
Bayberry, fenugreek, hawthorn, horehound, licorice root & red clover – all enhance immune response. If overused licorice root can elevate blood pressure. Do not use this herb on a daily basis for more than 7 days in a row. Avoid it completely if you have high blood pressure.
On a side note, I feel a person should not be on more than 3-4 supplements at a time, and should get as much nutrition through foods as possible. It is important to remember that we are all biochemically unique, what works for one of us may not work for another. It is wise to have a natural health care professional design a protocol specifically for you, in order to achieve optimal results.
Take care & be well,
Caroline L Cowan RHN, R.BIE