6 Secrets to Supercharge Your Immune System
Via | Ramesh Bjonnes | Nov 5, 2015
Have you ever tried to improve your immune system with high doses of vitamin C or by using an elder berry tincture but still suffered from a bad cold or flu? You are not alone. Fighting colds and flus in the winter season is not possible by using just one single, natural agent, even in a high dose. It is not that simple.
I know of a much better approach: a synergy of superfoods, stress reduction and exercise. You need to mix the most powerful and nutritious herbs and foods; you need to reduce stress by meditating and practicing yoga; and you need to exercise. In sum, the safest and most effective way to create super-immunity is not by taking high doses of vitamin C but by super-charging your entire lifestyle.
The reason is simple. The immune system is intimately linked to the digestive system. In fact, 70 percent of our immune system is in the gut. What we eat, how well we digest and eliminate what we eat, therefore determines how strong our immune system is. But how we feel also effects our level of immunity.
If we are stressed, our digestive capacity is compromised, often within minutes or hours of facing a stressful situation, and this also leads to reduced immune function. In our fast paced, fast food culture we are thus faced with two main challenges: to find the most immune boosting foods and to increase immunity by reducing our stress levels. Here are 6 ways to do just that.
Eat a diet rich in whole, plant-based macronutrients: fat, protein and carbohydrates. The most wholesome, disease fighting fats come from seeds, nuts, avocado, extra virgin coconut oil and olive oil. So eat a handful of nuts and seeds every day, including ground up, omga3-rich flax seeds. The best proteins come from beans and lentils. A cup of lentils contain a whopping 16 grams of immune building proteins and many other phytonutrients. The best immune boosting carbohydrates come from berries, fruits, whole grains and vegetables. Eat a basic diet of these foods every day.
Eat a diet rich in micronutrients, especially berries and fruits. Berries and fruits have the highest level of ORAC scores, or anti-oxidant scores. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman we need about 20,000 ORACs per day. A cup of wild blueberries has about 13,000 ORACs, so by adding these berries to our smoothies or sprinkle them over our steel cut oats, we are more than half way there. All berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, acai berries, goji berries, and elderberries have high levels of anti-cancer phytochemical compounds. They are the real superfoods and should be included in the diet on a regular basis.
Eat a diet rich in greens, especially cruciferous vegetables. Especially broccoli, which is a rich immune-boosters and have many cancer fighting phytochemicals. Research has shown that when the cell walls in broccoli are broken down in a blender, its cancer fighting ability is increased many times over. Leafy greens are the most micronutrient foods available. When we combine greens with fruits, berries and nuts, we create a synergistic revolution of nutrients in our body that will super-charge our immune system.
Use highly antioxidant herbs and condiments. These include black pepper, cloves, ginger, and coco, which are very high in antioxidants. Indeed, raw coco, which can be added to oat meal, smoothies, bakeries, and more, has nearly twice as many antioxidants as blueberries. And clove, ginger, cinnamon, fennel and black pepper, when added in a tea mixture, will not only boost the antioxidant quality of the tea, but also add heat to our digestive fire and boost our metabolic rate in the cold season. Since the digestive fire is reduced during fall and winter, a daily cup or three of this “chai” mixture will not only improve overall digestion, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, but also prevent against viruses. Science has proven, moreover, that black pepper increases the bioavailability of foods—thus adding black pepper to tea and foods further supercharges the absorption of antioxidants.
Drink fresh vegetable and veggie juices (every day if possible). This will add high doses of micronutrients directly into the blood stream. Juice requires little effort of digestion and is thus one of the best ways to create an alkaline body. Science and the wisdom of the ancients have proven that an acidic body is an imbalanced and diseased body, whereas an alkaline body is disease free. Acidity is caused by difficult to digest foods—such as meats, sugar, refined and deep fried foods—as well as by stress. In the cold season, always drink your juice at room temperature and add pepper and ginger to it in order to warm up and supercharge the body with nutrients even more.
Reduce stress by practicing yoga and meditation. Or take a walk in the woods, swim, dance, and, if necessary, see a counselor. Severe stress, says Dr. Andrew Weil represents 50% of our immune deficiency. Stress can severely compromise our digestion and thus the immune system within hours and days. To remain healthy, we need healthy ways to detach ourselves from and process the many challenges and stressful situations in life.
Ramesh Bjonnes is the co-founder of the Prama Institute and the Director of the Prama Wellness Center. He studied Ayurveda at California College of Ayurveda and has completed a 300 hour certification program in Yoga Detox at the A.M. Wellness Center in Cebu, Philippines. Ramesh has nearly 40 years of experience in yoga and meditation; he is the author of two books on yoga, Sacred Body, Sacred Spirit (Innerworld) andTantra: The Yoga of Love and Awakening (Hay House India), and he is a popular yoga blogger on Elephant Journal.
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