When it comes to maintaining good health, the immune system is your body’s most precious asset!

By helping the body to resist infection, our immune system offers protection against the world’s most widespread and deadliest diseases. Yet, despite modern scientific understanding and major advances in medical treatments, infection is still the most common cause of illness and death worldwide today. The U.S. Center for Disease Control estimates that up to 20% of adults will get the flu this year. And catching a cold is very common, with US adults generally coping with 2 to 3 a year and children about twice as many.

So what’s going wrong? Why hasn’t our knowledge of our immune system enabled us to enhance our body’s defense mechanisms?

It’s been proven that over the last 40 years, in the process of developing even more powerful means of attacking and destroying micro-organisms and cancer cells, we’ve lost sight of the need to strengthen our own innate protective systems and nurture our own inner environments.

In the 1950’s, antibiotic therapies, general vaccination programs, radical cancer surgeries, radiotherapy and chemotherapy moved into the medical forefront. At that time, it seemed clear to most people that scientific know-how was going to provide more effective solutions to disease than old-fashioned natural methods that were designed to encourage the self-healing process.

Now, some 60 years later, we are faced with the specter of malaria and tuberculosis on the rise once again, new strains of drug-resistant super bugs outwitting our most powerful technologies, vaccinations that sometimes harm as well as protect, a rising incidence of cancer and immunodeficiency syndromes such as AIDS and the rising tide of influenza epidemics. So much for the bad news!

But the good news is, there are plenty of options for us to utilize in order to build our immune system in a more natural way, like they did for thousands of years. I’m very happy to say that I’ve seen firsthand that there has been a rise in people searching out functional nutritionists, naturopathic doctors, homeopaths and other alternative healers in an attempt to put aside prescription meds and instead, work with nature and do whatever we can to enhance our own natural powers of healing and self-defense.

Medical science now knows that the greatest part of our immune system resides in the gut. We need those trillions of bacteria that live in the digestive tract. The immune system lines the large and small intestines. And the microbes in our gut lining speak to our immune system. Anything that alters the microbes in negative ways like antibiotics or viral illnesses, among others, can also negatively alter the immune system.

We sometimes can’t avoid the toxic exposure that underlies much of the immune dysfunction we are experiencing today. But, experts agree that immune challenges can be neutralized and overcome with the right diet and lifestyle, stress management, and appropriate supplements to restore and maintain the whole system balance.

When it comes to food, I believe in eating real. Eliminating wheat and dairy can end half of the current immune system dysfunction through helping to repair the microbiome and healing the immune system. An anti-inflammatory diet can speed gut healing and strengthen the immune system. We should also be eliminating anything white (sugar and all products made with flour); eating high quality fats (extra-virgin oils, nuts and seeds); protein (grass-fed beef, organic, free range poultry and wild caught fish): organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible and fermented foods daily. I also highly recommend reading labels, banishing additives, chemicals and processed foods.

And even more importantly, we need to learn to fill in the nutritional gaps with supplementation. High-quality vitamin and mineral supplements are foundational to immune health. The only company I trust for purity and potency is the Shaklee Corporation.  Vitamins C, E, and B are especially important. And digestive enzymes are the key to restoring gut health and thereby healing the immune system. Raw foods, especially pineapple and papaya, are also a good sources of digestive enzymes.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t speak about probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that help restore balance in the microbiome, effectively feeding and strengthening the immune system. Prebiotics are the plant fibers that ferment in the colon to help increase desirable bacteria in the gut. It is a known fact the declining levels of friendly bacteria in the gut may actually mark the onset of chronic degenerative disease.

And two more forms of preventative care, which will keep or immune system in tip top shape include an effervescent formula of Vitamin C called Vitalized Immunity. Just drop it in a glass of cold or hot water, let it fizz and you get the equivalent Vitamin C as if you ate 16 oranges! And my go-to favorite – Defend and Resist. The minute you feel that first tickle in your throat, this is the product to take. It contains echinacea and elderberry and helps your body respond to environmental challenges by giving your immune system what it needs to stay strong.

When it comes to boosting, as well as protecting your immune system, please try to stay natural, allowing the body to do its job. I would love to hear some of your all-natural solutions.

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