By: Lori L. Shemek, PhD, CNC, CLC
Taking control of our health is imperative now that the flu is everywhere. Our immune system responds very well if we treat it right. By providing our bodies with the proper nutrients and the proper lifestyle, we can create a powerful immune system!
In addition to these immune boosters, it's important to create a healthy lifestyle. Staying out late, overusing alcohol, dehydration, eating too much processed foods, smoking, lack of exercise, all lead to a body that does not have the nutrients, water and stamina to protect itself. We need a foundation of strength to fight these nasty bugs.
Tip 1 - Vitamin D
Vitamin D is now thought to be responsible for the rise of colds and influenza during the winter months. We know that the flu is with us year-round but why is the flu so prevalent during the winter months? Could it be that our levels of Vitamin D drop during the winter? The answer is a resounding yes. In the summer, Vitamin D is at its highest because we are exposed to sunlight daily. Vitamin D is made on the skin from the direct exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is involved in immune response and low vitamin D levels appear to increase ones susceptibility to respiratory infections. Despite whether the flu is active during the summer or winter, adequate levels of vitamin D will help boost your immune system.
I have been asked: "Can't I get enough vitamin D from my food?" Food contains minimal vitamin D. For example, one serving of cooked salmon which is one of the foods highest in D has only 360 IUs of vitamin D.
A deficiency in Vitamin D over an extended period of time has been linked with 17 types of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis and much more.
The optimal dosage for protection is 2,000 - 4,000 IUs of Vitamin D per day. I always recommend you check your levels and review your dose of vitamin D with your personal physician.
Tip 2 - Sugar
Did you know that one soda contains 8-14 teaspoons of sugar? Imagine eating 8-14 teaspoons of sugar in one sitting. This is what is happening each day to children and adults and the sugar intake doesn't stop with the sodas. The impact of refined white sugar on our health is remarkable. Sugar inhibits phagocytosis, the process by which viruses and bacteria are engulfed and then literally chewed up by white blood cells. Maximum immune suppression occurs 30 minutes to two hours after ingestion and remains suppressed for up to five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system. If a person is consuming sugar throughout the day, their immune system is suppressed the majority of the time. Cancer is affected by sugar due to the cancer cell's main source of fuel: Glucose. By controlling blood glucose, the cancer cells are starved for fuel and the immune system is bolstered.
Sugar goes by many different names: corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, lactose, molasses, honey, maltose, fruit juice and many other forms. Make sure to read nutrition labels as these types of sugars are often hidden in many foods.
In order to boost your immune system, it is important to minimize or avoid sugar.
Tip 3 - Wash Your Hands!
Viruses spread when a person touches respiratory droplets that have been released from coughing or sneezing on an object or person, and then touches his or her own eyes, nose or mouth.
To rid your hands of bacteria and viruses, rub your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds be sure that you reach every surface of you hands and finger nails. That is the amount of time it takes to recite the alphabet - or to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer - a germicidal gel - if you cannot wash your hands.
Wash your hands frequently! Hand washing is a surprisingly effective way to prevent all sorts of diseases, including ordinary influenza and the new Swine Flu virus.
By performing these three actions alone: taking Vitamin D daily, avoiding sugar and washing your hands frequently, you will prevent the opportunity for viruses and bacteria to keep you from living your healthiest life possible.
Living a healthy life is easy once you have the knowledge. If you would like to learn more about how lowered immunity can silently steal your health or any other area of health and nutrition, please visit us here: dlsHealthWorks.com and while you are visiting, please sign-up for your FREE Health Tips. Here you will find everything you need to create optimum health in your life.
Lori L. Shemek, PhD, CNC, CLC, is Founder and President of DLS HealthWorks. Lori has devoted the past 20 years practicing and teaching others how to easily CREATE OPTIMUM HEALTH in their lives. Lori is the Co-Author of "A Practical Guide On Aging Parents And Nutrition."
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