The immune system is our hero, equipped with a series of defensive mechanisms which provides us with constant surveillance against invaders. Its primary function is to protect the body from bacteria, viruses, infection and the subsequent development of illness and disease. Our immune system and other related systems of the body become depressed through nutrient deficiencies.
All Systems Work as a Team
A fact that may not be evident to the general public is how interlaced our immune responses are with the other major systems in our body. For instance, without this quietly working system, our cardiovascular system would cease working and in turn our immune system would become irrecoverable. Our defense system’s main interrelationship is with the circulatory system (cardiovascular and lymphatic) and indirectly with all the other systems of the body.
The blood provides route for circulation of immune elements to the different parts of the body. Although different but similar, our detoxification system has a direct correlation with our defense system whereby assisting the immune function in the excretion of toxins. This process enhances our overall health by reducing the burden on the immune system.
Our genes control the ability of the immune system to recognize foreign substances and yet the nervous system can play an important role in immune response through the sheer power of the mind which can affect the body as a whole. For example, scientists have confirmed that by a so called “witch doctor” telling a person they are going to die can actually cause death.
Conversely, the placebo method has proven particularly interesting. There are numerous documented cases, even those involving surgery when no surgery took place and the patients completely recovered and resumed a normal healthy lifestyle. On a similar note, the late publisher Norman Cousins maintained that by using humor as a therapeutic tool, the mind can sometimes cure what the doctor cannot. This highly complex interaction between the brain and immune responses leaves much room for exploration.
Supporting and enhancing the immune system is a vital step to maintain resistance to serious diseases and reducing one’s vulnerability to colds and flu. Fortunately planet earth has provided us with a huge array of substances to choose from to fortify, nourish and heal ourselves. There is an endless list of elements and compounds that assist and boost our immune and other related systems throughout the body. The following lists a few tried and true suggestions.
New Champion in the Mushroom Grove
Native to Brazil, Agaricus Blazei Murrill (ABM) is a medicinal mushroom which now ranks top of the list for its potent immune boosting and disease fighting properties. Studies conducted by Dr. Shoji Shibata at Tokyo University, where Reishi and Shiitake – other well known cancer fighting mushrooms were compared to Agaricus Blazei Murrill, demonstrating that the ABM mushroom to have the highest concentration of beta-glucan of any mushroom. Beta-glucans are the most potent immune enhancing substances yet discovered. The ABM mushroom contains Beta (1-3) D-glucan, Beta (1-4) D-glucan, and Beta-(1-6) D-glucan.
Major Advantages of Sulforaphane in Cruciferous Vegetables
A sulphur compound, sulforaphane is an all-star among antioxidants, generously available in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and related vegetables. It is a powerful anticarcinogen demonstrating strong potential in cancer prevention; delay and as a reversal agent of preneoplastic lesions (preceding the formation of tumors). Other credits include anti-diabetic, anti-microbial and can induce the release of Phase 11 detoxification enzymes such as glutathione. (Clarke JD et al. Cancer Letter 2008 Oct8; 269(2):291-304)
Sulforaphane and Heart Disease
According to a study from the Imperial College of London, sulforaphane boosts the activity of a natural protein that protects the arteries against inflammation which leads to heart disease and has the ability to lower cholesterol. (Zakkar M et al. Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2009 Sept;doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.109.193375)
Indole-3-carbinol found in Cruciferous Vegetables
Another well hailed phytochemical known for converting a breast cancer promoting estrogen into a more benign variety. Indole-3-carbinol helps regulate the rate at which cells develop and replicate.
Falcarinol, Protective to Plants and People
Falcarinol found in carrots is the plants natural pesticide and an antioxidant to consumers. Studies indicate that regular ingestion of falcarinol reduces one’s cancer risk by up to 40%. Dr. Kirsten Brandt head of the research department at Newcastle University explains, “Isolated cancer cells grow more slowly when exposed to falcarinol.” For the maximum amount of falcarinol to remain in carrots, preparation is key. Juicing is highly recommended and during the cooking process, do not slice carrots but cook them whole to retain their anti-cancer properties.
Fabulous Flavonoids in Berries
It is hard to beat the phytochemical and antioxidant power of berries. Along with their abundant antioxidant quality, they offer tens of thousands of phytochemicals that readily boost and defend our bodies. Berries are high in key nutrients that build a healthy immune system. These powerhouses of nutrition also scavenge free radicals from our tissues protecting us from aging and many chronic diseases such as cancer.
Exotic Berries are Unique
Berries native to the Amazon and other far away regions of the world offer unique qualities unavailable to the Northern hemisphere. Berries like the Acai, Aronia, Wolfberry and Goji have a greater abundance of antioxidants along with a much more complete nutritional profile encompassing amino acids, essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamins, with a wider array of phytochemicals.
The Acai berry to date contains the highest levels of antioxidants of which contain the prized anthocyanins. Processing is crucial if these incredible benefits are to remain available to the consumers. Most processing involves heat which then drastically decreases the ORAC value of the food. Flash freeze dried methods are the best for retaining these valuable nutrients. Investigate before you buy these berries to ensure you are getting what you are expecting from the product as well getting what you are paying for.
Aronia also known as chokeberry is a small black berry grown in North America. Early European settlers and Native Americans used Aronia as a food source – it is closely related (botanically) to the bilberry and the cranberry. Aronia also contains high levels of anthocyanins and flavonoids – extremely potent antioxidants.
Beta-carotene is synonymous with carrots and other sources like pumpkin, sweet potato, apricot, sweet peppers and greens. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and a precursor used to make vitamin A. This potent compound is well recognized for enhancing many immune system processes and duly noted to help reduce a wide range of cancers.
Vitamin A is a Major Player – retinyl acetate
Vitamin A is a key player in the task of maintaining a healthy immune status in individuals as well as plays a major role in brain development, cellular growth, skin health, nervous system and digestive functioning, It is important to note that the body needs adequate protein, vitamin E and zinc in order to fully metabolize and utilize vitamin A in this form.
Zinc has Zeal
Zinc is the second most important element in our bodies performing a hundred or more functions. This crucial trace mineral is a necessary component of our immune response and healing processes.
Glutamine Guards the Body
The amino acid glutamine plays an essential role being the first line of defense in our intestines and the body as a whole. Deficiencies occur following a trauma, major illness, poor diet and even excessive exercise. When deficient, glutamine is implicated in immune dysfunction. Among other processes, glutamine serves as an energy source for rapidly dividing cells, such as immune cells following a bacteria invasion, the gastrointestinal tract or other immune threat. Glutamine is abundant in high protein foods such as meat and two high vegetable sources are uncooked cabbage and beets.
Commonly associated with tomatoes, lycopene is another antioxidant known for attacking free radicals and fighting several forms of cancer. Studies indicate that some form of oil accompanying lycopene may benefit its absorption.
Allium (dialyl sultides)
Garlic contains immune enhancing allium. This compound appears to increase the activity of immune cells that fight cancer and indirectly assist in the breakdown of cancer causing substances.
Vitamin C is Vigilant
Vitamin C reaches every cell of the body and plays a significant role in fighting infection by stimulating immune response (production of white blood cells) against the onslaught of disease causing invaders. Vitamin C is widely available in many fruits and vegetables.
Other Properties to Keep the Immune System Strong
Natural ingredients have demonstrated the ability to support our immune system and overall health. My short list above and below is not to impugn the benefit of other excellent substances capable of reducing the susceptibility to infection and disease therefore in no particular order the following have also gained notoriety for stimulating the corner stone of our health.
For example: Reishi, Maitake and Shiitake mushrooms, Herbs, multi minerals, vitamins such as E, B6, 12, D3, K, multi antioxidants, alpha lipoic acid, acidophilus, grape seed extract, quercetin, resveratrol, N-acetyl-cysteine, turmeric, folic acid, selenium, thiamine, riboflavin, ellagic acid, lutein, zeaxanthin, molybdenum, manganese and vanadium.
Copyright © 2017 – All Rights Reserved – Michelle Honda Ph.D.
Reverse Gut Diseases Naturally released Nov 25, 2015
Reverse Heart Disease Naturally released May 31, 2017
While close attention was given to the accuracy of information in this article, the author accepts neither responsibility nor liability to any person with respect to injury, damage, loss or any circumstances involving alleged causes directly or indirectly related to the information in this article. The sole purpose is to educate and broaden ones awareness. This information is not meant to replace medical advice or services provided by a health care professional.