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Natural ways to strengthen immunity


Boost Your Immune System Naturally: An Essential Guide to Fighting Illness & Improving Natural Resistance by MacEoin, Beth begins with a strong statement: “Without our body’s immune system we can’t survive”. Indeed, when our immune system works in a balanced way, we gain a multitude of benefits.
We are not only free of infections but we also do not suffer from allergies, digestive problems, skin disorders, joint stiffness and pain. But how can we protect and boost the immune system? Beth MacEoin, a qualified homeopath and the author of 17 books, answers this question in this practical guide. “Boost Your Immune System Naturally” shows you how you can improve your overall health, build up a natural resistance and maximize the strength of your immune system.
The immune system is extremely complicated. It consists of a complex network of organs that include the thymus gland, spleen, bone marrow, tonsils and the lymphatic system. The immune system also depends on specialized cells known as lymphocytes (formed in the bone marrow and thymus gland), and on blood protein molecules called antibodies.
We are born with an innate immunity or first-line immunity which can be further boosted if a baby is breast-fed. But we also have a second-line immunity known as acquired immunity. Once the body has developed its immunity to specific organisms, it remains in the memory of the immune system. Finally, there is the vaccine-induced immunity which provides us with an effective defense against infectious diseases.
It has become clear that by taking conventional drugs we undermine the immune system:“Most conventional drugs work by tampering down the response that the body makes to get rid of infection. For instance, a moderately high temperature is a sign of the immune system working in a highly effective way. If this response is suppressed by taking painkillers, it is more likely that we will take longer to get over the infection.”
The same can be said about using medication to suppress a cough or dry up a mucous discharge from the nasal passages. The body produces a cough or a streaming nose in order to get as much toxic waste out as fast as possible. If we interfere with the body’s capacity for self-healing, we are going to feel unwell for a longer period.
When the immune system does not function well, a person will suffer from recurrent colds, chronic urinary tract infections and a general feeling of exhaustion and weariness. In a nutshell, the best way to boost your immune system lies in four simple steps that will completely change the way you feel mentally, emotionally and physically. 
These steps involve four important lifestyle factors related to positive thinking, good nutrition, basic body conditioning, and alternative medicine. 
The immune system can greatly benefit from a balanced nutrition. The basic principles are first to choose foods that are as close to their natural state as possible such as whole-wheat products, brown rice and as many fresh raw fruit and vegetables as possible. 
Citrus fruit are known for their high content of vitamin C. However, vitamin C is also found in kiwifruit, berries, tomatoes, peppers and dark green vegetables. It is also good to eat fruit containing lycopene, a fat-soluble nutrient that exerts a powerful action on the immune system which may protect against cancer. Tomatoes, watermelons, guavas and grapefruit are rich in lycopene. Grapes also appear to have an important role to play in protecting against cancer thanks to the presence of quercetin and a key phytochemical known as reservatol. 
For maximum benefits, eat red grapes rather than white grapes.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and watercress are also thought to protect against cancer of the colon and breast and intestinal polyps. Broccoli, in particular, contains a phytochemical which is able to switch off cancer cells and allow the body to eliminate them. 
The author also warns us against refining and preserving processes which remove much of a food’s nutritional potential. “
“Products made from refined white flour will be devoid of many nutritional benefits and also lack essential dietary fiber because the husk and wheat germ of the whole grain are removed during processing”
We should also avoid foods and drinks containing refined white sugar as much as possible. A diet that is high in refined sugar increases the risk of developing obesity, heart disease, diabetes and dental cavities. Moreover, sugar has been shown to have a significantly suppressive effect in the immune system. Too much sugar can also contribute to mood swings and stomach acidity.
It is interesting to know that drinking green tea instead of caffeinated beverages gives the body regular exposure to immune-boosting antioxidants and bioflavonoids which appear to play a significant role in helping the body fight bacteria and infections.
Garlic also shows an amazing beneficial effect on the immune system. It helps fight bacterial, fungal and viral infections, reducing inflammation, and benefiting the heart and the circulatory system. The sulfur compounds in garlic are considered to be the main source of its immune system-boosting effect. Taking garlic regularly is thought to enhance the immune system’s potential for eliminating cancer cells and bacterial and viral infections. 
The author also underlines the link between the lymphatic system and the immune system. When the immune system is working normally, toxins and dead cells are swept along by the lymphatic fluid in the lymphatic vessels to the lymph nodes, whose job is to eliminate any impurities before the fluid is directed back to the bloodstream.
A sedentary lifestyle in which the muscles in the legs and arms are not moving regularly can encourage stagnation of the circulation and contribute to poor elimination of the toxins from the body.
“On the other hand, if you get moving and enjoy exercise that contracts and expands the major muscles in your arms and legs, you are giving your lymphatic system the boost needed to work more efficiently. As a result, you should feel more energized, stronger and more resilient in fighting low grade infections.
There appears to be strong links between the amount of stress we are exposed to, the way we deal with this strain and our immune system. However, what is of even greater interest is the revelation that negative emotional experiences have a direct impact on the performance of the immune system. A study shows that the participants who recalled happy thoughts and memories had increased levels of immune antibodies on analysis of saliva samples, taken before and after the memories were evoked.
“Boost Your Immune System” shows us how to improve and maintain an efficient immune system. As a qualified homeopath, MacEoin stresses the importance of building a natural resistance by curing the causes and not medicating the symptoms. 

Lisa Kaaki AN

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