What is Immunity?
Immunity is defined as having resistance to infection or a specific disease; and your immune system is the network within your body that recognizes and destroys invading or foreign bacteria, viruses, and germs.
The immune system is like no other bodily system, as it is not just one organ but an interaction between many organs , structures, and substances within the body. Your immune system has the task of patrolling
It's not difficult to tell when your immune system is being overly taxed; one of the first symptoms is fatigue. Other symptoms to look for include chronic infections, frequent colds and flu, frequent cold sores and sore or swollen lymph glands.
A poorly functioning immune system can be caused by many factors. These can include any of the following:
* Emotional state/stress * Surgical/medical treatments
* Abrubt lifestyle changes * Prescription medications
* Dietary habits/nutritional intake
When your immune system is not functioning at it's best, any exposure to germs, bacterial or viral infections can lead to a serious health risk.
There are choices you can make for your family to help them have strong and healthy immune systems. Then, as children bring home bugs from school, your whole family can fight them off successfully.
The first change should be dietary. Food provides energy for our bodies and there are several vitamins and minerals that are a fundamental part of a strong immunity, including the following:
- Vitamins A, C, E, Beta-Carotene and Selenium are antioxidants, which are part of our body's natural defense mechanism - consumed in fruits and vegetables
- The mineral Zinc is important because of the role it plays in increasing your child's resistance to infection - found in red meats, eggs and most dairy products
- Magnesium is another important mineral essential for boosting your child's immune system - available in legumes and milk
There are choices
you can make
for your family
to help them have
strong and healthy
- Eat three meals and two snacks a day - making sure that at least four out of five are rich in protein and dark green vegetables
- Purge the kitchen, eliminating all junk food and snacks - or - store them in a medium sized Rubbermaid container in the garage or master bedroom out of reach of children (make it an effort to get to these items so they won't be consumed as easily or as frequently)
- Reduce sugar intake as much as possible - studies have shown a high intake of processed sugar adversely affects the immune system as it impairs the ability of white blood cells to sweep up and kill bacteria
- Keep fruits, nuts and boxed raisins on the counter; celery with peanut butter or other "like" items in the fridge; go to your local health food store to find some other great tasting alternatives. (ie. European or whole grain breads, cheeses and fruits)
- Consider taking the time once every six weeks to write down what your family eats for a week and look for areas of improvement
6 Months 14-15 3-4
1-2 Yrs 13-14 1-3
4yrs 11-12 No longer naps
5-9yrs 10-11 No longer naps
10-15yrs 9-10 No longer naps
16+ yrs Approx. 8 hrs No longer naps
Some suggested routines to fight stimulation close to bedtime can include:
- No TV, VCR, DVD or computer/video games in the child's room
- No homework right before bed
- Avoid TV, computer games within an hour of bedtime
- Play soothing music or have "Story Time" with little ones an hour before bed
To help support your immune system and keep it operating at peak efficiency, consider the following healthy lifestyle choices for you and your family:
- Increase your water intake - you should be drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water per day to boost the immune system and flush out toxins
- Exercise regularly - daily physical activity for 30 minutes a day will improve your overall health and give your immune system the boost it needs
- De-stress - be sure to include regular relaxation and down-time into your weekly schedule as stress will quickly wear down your body's natural defense
- Astragalus Root is used to treat viral infections including the common cold, it helps to stimulate white blood cells and protects from invading organisms
- Bayberry has antibiotic effects for sore throat, coughs, colds and the flu
- Garlic is effective against many types of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi as well as has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties
- Aswagandha is a general stimulant of the immune system - this herb is known to counteract the effects of stress and promote general well-being
- Ginseng is popularly known to provide support to the immune system
- Goldenseal strengthens the immune system, cleanses and detoxifies the body and has antibacterial properties
- Echinacea is an herb that helps to stimulate a variety of immune cells
- Green tea can stimulate the immune system
- Gargling or steaming Apple Cider Vinegar and water has proven health benefits
The Chiropractic Factor
Your immune system is a bodily system and as such is controlled by your central nervous. When your spine is out of alignment or subluxated, your nervous system suffers and this will affect all of your body's natural systems, including your immune system.
Your Doctor of Chiropractic is the only healthcare professional dedicated to the understanding that a properly functioning central nervous system will improve you and your family's overall health. Many patients report back an improvement in their family's quality of life after beginning routine wellness Chiropractic care.