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Superfoods for Building the Immune System -- #43
February 16, 2014
IN THIS ISSUE:
Maintaining a Healthy Immune SystemThe immune system is the internal defense system of the body and is a truly amazing design of complex and synchronized response mechanisms that ward off disease and pathogens. It is made up of a network of interferons, white blood cells, lymph cells and antibodies that seek to isolate foreign invaders and prevent them from causing acute illness, infection and chronic disease.
When immune health is compromised, however, by poor diet, lack of restful sleep, chronic stress and various unhealthy lifestyle habits it can respond in ways that, overtime, may result in a lowered immune response and/or related autoimmune malfunctions.
In addition, the long term use of antibiotics suppresses the immune system and weakens it's ability to naturally respond and protect the body. It is our strong opinion that the use of antibiotics should be reserved for life threatening situations, not to be used casually for minor or acute illnesses.
We believe general maintenance and enhanced immune function can be achieved, not only by consuming superfoods known to boost and build immune health, but also by maintaining a healthy lymph and liver through regular aerobic exercise and periodic detox cleansing. Getting enough sleep, consuming nourishing foods, providing adequate sun exposure and practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation can also be of great help to support immune health during the course of a lifetime.
Lowered Immune Response As We Age
It is now known that as we grow older there is a significant reduction in our immune response capabilities. This can, in turn, contribute to an increase in inflammatory-related diseases and a decline in our ability to cope with stress, causing a variety of autoimmune disorders.
The interrelationship between the immune system and the aging process was spearheaded by Dr. R. Walford, UCLA School of Medicine. While doing research on the autoimmune phenomenon, Dr. Walford realized that in later life, the immune system began to attack the body instead of defending it. He then speculated that the aging process itself could be stalled by maintaining the healthful function of the immune system.
Two Specific Immune System Categories
1) Surface (Secretory) Immune System - This is the protective shield and the body's first line of defense. It is composed of lymphatic tissue and immune "effector" cells. The secretory or surface immune system meets the potentially pathogenic organisms, such as viruses, bacteria and fungal yeasts, which are always present in our bodies, and destroys them before they get out of control. In a normal healthy person, this protective shield is constantly circulating and actively working to protect.
2) Deep Immune System and Bone Marrow Reserve - The bone marrow is the cell producing factory and deep immune reserve which, under healthy conditions, is constantly being renewed and replenished. The stem cells in the marrow form various cells including white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets and others which act as principal managers of the body's immune system. When there is long-term stress on the immune system and these deeper reserves become depleted, there are no backup resources for the secretory immune system. This leaves one open to infections of all kinds and the increased chances of chronic health problems.
Superfoods for Your Immune SystemRestoring immune health through diet begins with the following dietary protocol.
1) Cleansing Foods and Herbs - These are foods, herbs and drinks that provide cleansing actions. Raw fruits and vegetables, green juices, cleansing herbal teas or extracts, zeolite powder and other liver detoxifying supplements. Sometimes it is necessary to eliminate oils, proteins, and salts from the diet or fast for a period of time to promote the release of toxins and backup of waste material.
2) Foods or Supplements That Increase Healthy Digestive Function - This includes enzyme-rich raw foods, cultured foods like sauerkraut, digestive enzymes and probiotics.
3) Antioxidants - Foods high in antioxidants are very beneficial to help boost the immune protective response. We especially recommend super fruits and particularly "super berries", like maqui berry, acerola cherry, camu berry, acai and goji berries. Other more common berries like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are also good to include in the daily diet.
4) Super Herbs - These include herbs like echinacea, ginger, golden seal, garlic and turmeric. Many of the herbs in this category are good to take short-term but not really intended for everyday use. These herbs boost the secretory immune shields, but loose their effectiveness if taken on a regular basis.
5) Tonic Herbs - The Chinese and Ayurvedic Systems of Medicine are a ahead of the game when it comes to supporting deep immune health. It has been known for thousands of years that certain herbs can help to rebuild the bone marrow reserve. These immune supporting adaptogens work to nourish and restore the vitality of the deep immune system. In Chinese herbology these are classified as "Chi Tonics" and include superfood teas and extracts like astragalus, ginseng, schizandra and fo-ti.
6) Medicinal Mushrooms - Chaga and coriolus mushroom are two of the top two super mushrooms for the immune system, packed with beneficial immune restoring polysaccharides and adaptogenic attributes. Through a host-mediated (T cell) immune mechanism, they help the body regulate the development of lymphoid stem cells and other important defense responses.
Immune Boosting Superfood SupplementsAstragalus eeTee Granules - Dragon Herbs
Astragalus is rated as one of the world’s premier immune tonifying substances, and is considered in the Orient as a quintessential protective super tonic herb. As an adaptogen it works to nourish the "deep immune system" but is also said to have an effect on the “surface” of the body which tonifies the “Protective Chi”, known as Wei Chi in TCM.
Hundreds of studies seem to support the potent immune modulating activities of astragalus root. It is routinely used in Asia to promote a strong immune system with significant anti-inflammatory action. Astragalus eeTee by Dragon Herbs is a high quality super concentrated extract that can be added to hot water or tea. It has a pleasing taste and one canister contains enough for a one month's supply. Astragalus eeTee
Mushroom Science - Chaga Powder Extract - 90caps
Chaga mushroom has the highest ORAC rating out of all the medicinal mushroom varieties. Not only does is contain extremely high antioxidant levels, chaga is one of the most adaptogenic superfoods on the planet, exhibiting immune supporting complex polysaccharides that are up to 50 times more potent than any other medicinal mushroom variety.
The best and most medicinally effective way to use this mushroom is to consume high quality hot water extracts. Mushroom Science is an excellent brand that offers a tested potent extraction of chaga, by far one of the best on the market. Chaga Mushroom Extract
Acerola Cherry, Truly Natural Vitamin C Powder - Healthforce Nutritionals
Truly Natural Vitamin C by Healthforce is a whole food powdered extract of the acerola cherry containing high amounts of antioxidants including naturally occurring co-factors, bioflavonoids, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Vitamin C is one of the most popular immune boosting nutrients consumed, but it is important not to consume it in synthetic or isolated forms that have been known to cause nutrient deficiencies. We use the powder dissolved into water or added to smoothies or any blended drink. Acerola Cherry Powder
Digestion Enhancement Enzymes - Healthforce Nutritionals
The root of many health problems begins in the digestive tract. Most people suffer from the lack of sufficient metabolic enzymes to digest the foods they eat and break them down into useable nutrients. This can lead to an excess of waste accumulation that can hinder immune health.
Taking a digestive enzyme supplement can help to break down your foods into digestible, absorbable fuel and nutrition, promoting regular bowel movements and normalizing digestive functions. This is especially important for anyone with chronic autoimmune disease. Digestion Enhancement Enzymes
Thanks for joining me on my forty-third edition of Superfood Evolution! If you would like to subscribe or tell a friend click here.
Until next month...
Here's to your Superhealth!
All information in this ezine is the personal view of the author and is for educational purposes only and not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or prescription. This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to cure or prevent any disease.
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