Did you get a cold or the flu? Unless you live under a rock, chances are good that you or someone you know has gotten sick this season. With the common cold and the flu wreaking havoc in people’s lives all over the nation, how do you avoid getting sick when everyone around you is?
The answer to this puzzle is in your immune function. When your immune system is healthy, your body responds to events that could cause illness or injury, and restores you back to health as quickly as possible. But when your immune system is weakened or compromised, you will become vulnerable to bacteria and viruses like the flu.
As you go about your daily life, you come in contact with all sorts of things that could make you sick. Germs are everywhere, as are carcinogens and other toxins that could be detrimental to your health. Many of these enter your body through your intestines via the foods that you eat. Your intestines contain healthy bacteria or flora, which keeps these potentially harmful microbes at bay and protect you from illnesses. Up to 80% of the immune system battle against these microbes happens in your gut, and that beneficial bacteria plays a major role in this battle.
So keeping your gut healthy is key to maintaining your body’s overall immunity and your diet and lifestyle habits can help you maintain a strong, healthy gut.
Here are some ideas you can use to nourish, strengthen and keep your immunity strong, even when everyone else around you is sick.
Extract Your Nutrients
Learn how to juice fruits and vegetables using a vegetable juicer or blend fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds into liquid meals that are packed with immune-strengthening nutrients.
Combine Food Properly
Separate digestive enzymes break down proteins, carbs, and fats. When these enzymes are trying to work together at once in your stomach, they tend to cancel each other out, leaving you with improperly digested food and making you feel tired, sluggish, gassy, and uncomfortable.
In general, eat protein and starches with vegetables, and eat fruit on an empty stomach.
Eat Whole Foods
That means foods that nourish and replenish. Stay away from packaged, processed foods with artificial ingredients, preservatives, and trans fats, as they serve no nutritional purpose.
Instead, eat unprocessed, whole foods -- foods with ingredients found in nature, names you can pronounce, and ingredients your grandparents would recognize.
Eat Raw Foods At All Meals
Start with a small side salad and work your way up, perhaps allowing ¼ to ½ of your plate to include raw ingredients, which are filled with live enzymes, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Eat this way in each of the three meals of the day.
Indulge in healthy snacks that strengthen your immune function, like dairy-free dark chocolate with a large cacao percentage (60% to 80% cacao). Cacao and dark chocolate are full of antioxidants, helping protect your cells from free radical damage, among other things.
Keep Food Moving
If the food that you eat gets stuck in your intestines for too long, it starts to rot and ferment, causing a whole lot of issues and killing that important beneficial flora we have been talking about. Always eat heavier foods, which take longer to digest, later in the day. This allows the food to digest properly, and it helps you avoid back-up issues like bloating, constipation, and gas.
Take A Probiotics Supplement
Probiotics supplements will ensure that your body maintains adequate levels of that beneficial gut flora. I like taking my probiotics supplement before going to bed and on an empty stomach, to ensure that my gut gets ample time to replenish and my intestinal track is ready for the day ahead.