Your immune system
Natural killer cells , or NK cells, are lymphocytes and a component of the innate immune system which does not directly attack invading microbes. A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that ginseng extract successfully induced antigenspecific antibody responses when it was administered orally. The powerful tools of prevention include breastfeeding, good nutrition, nutritional supplements, a healthy mental attitude and emotional well-being, a nontoxic environment, chiropractic care, avoiding unnecessary antibiotics and vaccines, low stress, and plenty of rest and exercise. Lymphocytes begin their life in bone marrow. The battle of Leipzig in caused an outbreak of typhus which Hahnemann treated. Adaptive or acquired immunity creates immunological memory after an initial response to a specific pathogen, leading to an enhanced response to subsequent encounters with that same pathogen. What's to know about high white blood cell count?
If your child is overly susceptible to illness, you may want to take steps to enhance his or her immune system and make it as strong as possible. Prevention is the way to avoid subjecting your child to continuing cycles of antibiotics or other medications. The powerful tools of prevention include breastfeeding, good nutrition, nutritional supplements, a healthy mental attitude and emotional well-being, a nontoxic environment, chiropractic care, avoiding unnecessary antibiotics and vaccines, low stress, and plenty of rest and exercise.
Breastfeeding for as long as possible is crucial to developing a strong immune system. Breastmilk supplies the factors necessary to protect your baby against disease, as well as all the nutrition he or she needs, including the essential fatty acids.
Breastfed babies experience fewer infections than babies that are bottle-fed. Feeding a baby artificial milk formula deprives him or her of receiving the crucial protection that breastmilk provides. Good nutrition is essential to developing and keeping the immune system healthy and strong. Nutritional deficiencies may be responsible for chronic immune problems as it is easier for bacteria or viruses to take hold when important nutrients are missing.
Critical nutrients that stimulate a strong immune system include vitamins A, C, E and essential fatty acids. The most important minerals include manganese, selenium, zinc, copper, iron, sulfur, magnesium and germanium. These nutrients can be obtained from an organic wholefoods diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains.
Unfortunately, most of our food supply is artificially manipulated and processed with many ingredients and additives that contribute to poor nutrition. Processed foods, sugar, and soda can weaken the immune system.
This can lead to a weak immune system. You may want to consult a qualified nutritionist or naturopathic physician to find out if your child has any deficiencies. Dietary fats can either enhance or impair immune function, depending on the type of fat. The wrong types of fats hydrogenated oils found in deep fried foods, margarine and baked goods can predispose a child to recurrent infections and inflammatory conditions. Essential fatty acids the good fats are essential to normal immune and nervous system function.
They are found in flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, hemp seed oil, borage seed oil, and fish oil. Cod liver oil is a great way for kids to receive essential fatty acids. Sugar has been shown to reduce white blood cell count, an indicator of immune strength. The function of white blood cells is to fight and destroy germs that can cause disease.
This is why many kids get sick after birthday parties or Halloween. Their resistance is lowered due to excess sugar. Giving your child extra vitamin C and the herb echinacea for a few days before and a few days after these events may help to prevent the onset of an infection.
You may want to consider probiotic supplementation if your child has a history of antibiotic use, ear infections, oral thrush, diarrhea, constipation, colic, food allergies, eczema, intestinal viral infections, candidiasis or is bottle-fed.
This bacterium is essential for healthy immunity. Acidolphilus is the probiotic supplement suggested for children over age seven and bifidus for children seven or under.
You can find these supplements at your local health food store. Herbs have been used safely all around the world since ancient times to prevent and treat disease. Certain herbs, including echinacea, astragalus, and garlic, have been found to have remarkable immunological effects.
More than 75, chemicals are permeating our environment. Chemical exposures can damage the immune system, decreasing the ability to fight off common infections and serious diseases such as cancer. Poor indoor and outdoor air quality, contaminated food and water, and constant, cumulative pesticide exposure all contribute to decreased immunity in children.
Environmental toxins are everywhere, but there is much you can do to avoid unnecessary exposures and reduce the overall amount of chemicals your children take in to their bodies. There are affordable, nontoxic alternatives to all lawn and garden pesticides, toxic household cleaners and personal care products. Antibiotics are excessively prescribed to children.
Antibiotic resistance and decreased immunity are some of the consequences of excessive, unnecessary antibiotic use. Increasing evidence suggests that injecting a child with nearly threedozen doses of 10 different viral and bacterial vaccines before the age of five, while the immune system is still developing, can cause chronic immune dysfunction.
The most that vaccines can do is lead to an increase in antibodies to a specific disease. They do not provide true immunity against disease; nor do they create healthier children. In fact, the risks of vaccinations can be very high and parents need to become informed before considering having their children injected with toxic vaccines. My own unvaccinated daughter is remarkably healthy. She has never needed an antibiotic. If she does get a serious infection, I am confident her strong immune system will respond quickly to treatment.
The nervous system affects the immune system and plays an important role in the immune response. Subtle misalignment of the bones, with tightened muscles and ligaments can lead to irritation of the nerve system and can alter the ability of the nerves to supply the tissues, organs and cells of the body with vital communication from the brain.
According to a review, ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties and is likely to offer health benefits. However, more research is necessary to confirm whether or not it can effectively prevent illness. One review looked at whether taking garlic supplements containing allicin reduced the risk of getting a cold. The group of participants taking a placebo had more than double the number of colds between them than those taking the garlic supplements.
However, the researchers concluded that more research is necessary to determine whether or not garlic can help to prevent colds.
Green tea contains only a small amount of caffeine, so people can enjoy it as an alternative to black tea or coffee. Drinking it may also strengthen the immune system. As with blueberries, green tea contains flavonoids, which may reduce the risk of a cold. Kefir is a fermented drink that contains live cultures of bacteria that are beneficial for health.
Initial research suggests that drinking kefir may boost the immune system. According to a review , various studies have shown that regular consumption of kefir can help with:. The majority of the research that supports this was carried out on animals or in a laboratory. Researchers need to perform additional studies to understand how kefir may prevent disease in humans.
Sunflower seeds can make a tasty addition to salads or breakfast bowls. They are a rich source of vitamin E , an antioxidant. In the same way as other antioxidants, vitamin E improves immune function. It does this by fighting off free radicals, which can damage cells.
Almonds are another excellent source of vitamin E. They also contain manganese, magnesium , and fiber. A small handful or a quarter of a cup of almonds is a healthful snack that may benefit the immune system. Oranges and kiwis are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is the vitamin that many people turn to when they feel a cold developing. While scientists are still not sure exactly how it helps, vitamin C may reduce the duration of common cold symptoms and improve the function of the human immune system.
For people trying to avoid the sugar in fruit, red bell peppers are an excellent alternative source of vitamin C. Stir-frying and roasting both preserve the nutrient content of red bell peppers better than steaming or boiling, according to a study on cooking methods.
Enjoying the 15 immune-boosting foods covered in this article may strengthen people's immune system and improve their ability to fight off infections. That said, it is important to remember that the immune system is complex. Eating a healthful, balanced diet is just one way to support immune health. It is also essential to be mindful of the other lifestyle factors that may affect immune system health, such as exercising and not smoking.
Anyone who gets frequent colds or other illnesses and is concerned about their immune system should speak to a doctor. Article last reviewed by Tue 10 July All references are available in the References tab. Prevention and treatment of the common cold: Making sense of the evidence. A nutrition and health perspective on almonds.
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