IMMUNE HEALTH: YOUR FIRM FOUNDATION

Hilbert  and Sandy built a beautiful home in Apopka, Florida.  The foundation  was not built on solid ground. The poor soil and shifting sand resulted  in drops in the foundation throughout the house. Over time the house  developed massive cracks in the brick work; the basement floor buckled  until it resembled the aftermath of an earthquake; interior steel wall  beams twisted and compressed, causing walls to bulge and pipes to break.  Their lovely house was eventually ruined because they did not build it  on a firm foundation.

Immune Foundations.  Your immune system is your foundation for good health. Its protective network wards  off harmful bacteria and viruses and dismantles harmful toxins.  It  also acts as a surveillance system against abnormal cells.  Its defenses  include physical barriers such as the skin; inflammatory responses to  injured areas; and specific immune responses to pathogens or infection.

Immune “Cross-Talk”. The  immune system and stress system (brain and nervous system) are  constantly engaged in chemical “cross-talk” that regulates immune,  hormonal, and stress system activity. Living organisms survive by  maintaining homeostasis, or balance. If homeostasis is constantly  “challenged” by disturbing forces, or “stressors,” temporary  physiological changes become chronic, promoting widespread immune  dysfunction, disease, and damage. Constant mental stress, poor diet,  lack of exercise or sleep, and smoking are just a few ways this  dysregulation can develop.

Like a crumbling house on a poor foundation, constant “insults” to  the immune or stress system work over time to deteriorate general  health, mental health, increase the risk for certain diseases, and even  shorten life.  Positive lifestyle choices boost, build, and balance  immune and stress system health. They work over time to bring the two  systems into balance with each other to promote healing and recovery.

Boost  with Antioxidants.  Antioxidants  are powerful immune-boosters.  They remove harmful oxidants or free  radicals from the blood stream. Oxidants are toxic by-products that  occur as a result of normal metabolism, exposure to smoke, or other  environmental toxins. Free radicals can  damage DNA and weaken the body’s immune system.  Antioxidants reduce  free radical damage and strengthen the immune system. You can increase  them and improve their effectiveness by:

1. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Citrus, cherries, and berries are especially high in antioxidant  nutrients. Green leafy vegetables such as kale and broccoli are rich in  vitamins A, C, and E.  Consuming a wide variety of green and yellow  vegetables increases blood levels of carotenoids which are linked with  lower levels of stress-related symptoms such as insomnia and irritation.[1]

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is  also essential to healthy immune function; if in doubt about your  levels, your doctor can order a simple blood test to check your levels.

2.  Getting more dietary fiber.  Plant foods deliver immune-boosting nutrients such as flavonoids[2]   plus other disease-fighting compounds that help regulate blood sugar,  balance insulin, and lower inflammation. Plant fiber helps control  appetite and manage weight.  Excess body fat triggers unwanted  inflammation, one reason why obesity increases the risk for many chronic  ailments. Drink plenty of water instead of calorie-rich sweet drinks to  improve circulation and cut immune-zapping sugar calories.

3.  Eliminating red meat, high-fat dairy and fried foods.   A diet high in animal fat, refined grains, sugar, and fried food  increases free radical damage that is linked to diabetes, heart disease,  dementia, and certain cancers. Substitute beans, whole grains,  vegetarian meat substitutes, multi-grain pastas and potatoes for meat  entrees. Use olive oil and lemon as a salad dressing, and focus on  omega-3 fats by including more walnuts and flax seed in your diet.

Build with Exercise.  Exercise  not only protects the immune system but also strengthens it.  A regular  exercise program of brisk walking can bolster many defenses of the  immune system, including the antibody response and the natural killer (T  cell) response.[3]

Twenty to thirty minutes of brisk  walking five days a week is a great way to maintain a healthy immune  response. Adding aerobic exercise helps relieve mild-to-moderate  depression and anxiety.  It also reduces feelings of loneliness and  anger and increases feelings of control.  The mind and body work  together. These positive mental states have the additional benefit of  boosting immune health.

Balance with Stress Management.  Chronic  stress is a hit to immune health. It can cause depression, anxiety,  forgetfulness, irritability, and even panic.  It also causes physical  symptoms such as a racing heart, fatigue, sweating, muscle aches and  pains, and sleep disorders.  What are some positive ways to handle  stress?  Try taking a walk, talking to a friend, relaxation exercises,  helping someone else, prayer, identify what is in your control and trust  the rest to God. Take time to identify, internalize, and act upon the  most important priorities in your life.  These are just a few ways to  tame stress and protect the immune system.  The old adage “pare down, or  you’ll wear down” is worth taking seriously.

The foundation of immune health is a positive lifestyle. For more information, see the book: Diet and Stress: Lifestyle Links at www.lifestylematters.com.

The Living Word

It’s possible to strengthen your immune system for a ‘firmer  foundation’ for your health. Even more important is to have a strong  spiritual foundation. There’s a story in the Bible about a wise man who  builds a strong foundation for his house.  When the rain, floods, and  winds of trouble came and “beat upon that house,” it remained standing  because it was founded on a Rock.[4] This solid rock represents God, the Master Builder. God wants you to  have a strong physical, mental, and spiritual foundation in Him.[5] He created you in a unique and wonderful way.”[6] He will “complete the good work” in you as you learn from Him, depend on Him, and build your life in Him. [7]


[1] NY Acad Sci1993;691:281-3.

[2] Adv Wxp Med Biol 1998;439:175-82.

[3] Cleveland Clinic Newsletter, Diet, Exercise, Stress, and the Immune System. 2009.

[4] Matt. 7:24-5.

[5] Prov. 22:20.

[6] Psalm 139.

[7] Phil. 1:6.


Visit us at LifestyleMatters.com or call 1-866-624-5433 for your resources to build a better brain, body, and lifestyle. Copyright © 2020 Lifestyle Matters. All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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