Health A-Z Archives: Immune System

By Mary-Ann Shearer

Building your Immune System

I believe that one of the best ways to build your Immune system is through a natural diet. We seem to understand that to have healthy plants in our gardens like rose bushes and vegetables, we need to feed the soil with compost, manure, bone meal etc. A healthy plant resists bugs and diseases. In the same way, regardless of the disease and the strength of a bacteria or virus, nothing can beat a STRONG immune system.

A healthy Immune system depends on a healthy Endocrine system; so focusing on hormonal health will help your immune system work more efficiently

Let’s take a look at what some researchers say about diet and the Immune System.

Dr’s Chandra and Chowdhury found the following in their research;
“The same symptoms that are evident in malnourished people closely resemble symptoms of Immunodeficiency. This means that malnourished people and those with Immunodeficiency should be approached the same way.”

On a global scale, malnutrition is the most frequent cause of Immunodeficiency:
Malnutrition results in an abnormally small thymus. Autopsies on AIDS patients show the same results, indicating that Aids clearly occurs in people whose immune system is run down. This could be from their diet and or lifestyle (including medicinal and recreational drug use).
Malnutrition results in a lowered T-cell count and a poor allergy response – just as for Aids.

Immune system dysfunction can occur as a result of deficiency or excess of a single nutrient (reason enough not to take supplements):
Immunology effects are seen when the anti-oxidants are deficient, namelyVitamins A, C, E and Selenium. (All found freely in fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds and very high in dark green leafy vegetables, especially those sprouted from grains like barley grass and wheat grass. I take drink barley grass juice in the form of BarleyLlife, because of high nutritional profile due to the advanced farming and processing methods).

Cholesterol in the diet (these are found in animal products only, including marine shortening found in chocolates and baked goods) lower the immune response:
Malnutrition in pregnancy results in immuno-suppression for a prolonged period from a couple of months from birth to beyond the baby’s offspring.
T-cells (fighter cells which form part of the immune system which destroy viruses and bacteria) can increase within 5 – 15 days of changing your diet.”
This is great news as there is a lot you can do to change your diet, so you too could see results in a week or two.

Malnutrition isn’t caused just by not eating enough:
“Malnutrition is usually taken to mean not eating enough food…. Malnutrition, however, is the result of not eating the foods and nutrients adequate and necessary for healthy cell & tissue development and of loading the body’s metabolism with items it is not equipped to process. We can be feasting on an abundance of food and yet suffer from malnutrition if our diet lacks the nutrients required for healthy cell development or contains artificial ingredients which cannot be processed by ourselves”
(‘A Beginners Introduction to NUTRITION’ By Albrecht A. Heyer )

Foods that harm your Immune System

Most nutritional research indicates that the following foods & beverages are harmful to a healthy Immune system:

  • Foods high in processed & heated fats such fast foods, margarine etc This is because these fats block the body’s ability to use essential fatty acids and these are essential to Immune function, with the best sources found in raw unprocessed, unheated plant fats such as avocado, raw nuts and seeds, sweet corn on the cob, dark green leafy vegetables and cold pressed vegetables oils, with flax oil considered one of the best to take therapeutically.
  • Refined sugar & carbohydrates and the foods that contain them such as sweets, chocolates cold drinks cakes etc. Refined sugar upsets the blood sugar levels and this in turn upsets the immune system which needs balanced blood sugar levels to be able to destroy viruses & bacteria efficiently.
  • Table salt (too much) and foods that contain it, try to use an herb or vegetable salt that contains less salt and nutrients from herbs and vegetables. Our Mary-Ann’s range of salts are lower in salt.
  • Processed foods – These foods are not only deficient in basic nutrients but can actually rob your body of vitamins &minerals. 60-70 years ago only 10 % of our food was processed. Today 80 % of the foods most people eat are processed.
  • Caffeine- containing foods & beverages, such as colas, tea, coffee & chocolates. Caffeine causes a loss of water-soluble vitamins (C & B) Caffeine upsets the Endocrine system, which works together with the Immune system. Caffeine stresses the brain and central nervous system by causing nerve cells to fire too rapidly and is acid forming which contributes to low immune function. Drink 100% pure fruit juices with boiling (Ceres Mango juice is spectacular or their grape juice combined with a little prune juice with cinnamon and ginger) water, herb teas (best for Immune function is Forever’s Aloe Blossom Tea – which contains gymnema sylvestre, which is known to help the pancreas regulate blood sugar efficiently. or our Malted Carob for a caffeine free hot drink.
  • Alcohol – destroys vitamins & minerals, and upsets the Endocrine system & in turn the Immune system. Drink natural juices like Ceres juices and add sparkling water or get hold of their sparkling apple and grape range it is the best sparkling fruit juice on the market!
  • Gluten – Gluten is the protein portion, found in the grains of wheat, oats, rye and barley. New research from the Lancet and other well known nutritional and medical journals indicates that gluten can interfere with the function of the endocrine and Immune systems, contributing to any flu and auto immune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus. Replace with brown rice cakes, brown rice tortillas, brown rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, polenta, millet, quinoa etc
  • Lack of essential Fatty Acids. A deficiency in prostaglandins can lead to a breakdown in the immune system, resulting in asthma, hay fever, sinusitis, candida albicans, and eczema. Prostaglandins are made from essential fatty acids found in natural plant fats. It is ideal to include some of these on a daily basis. These are best found in raw nuts and seeds, avocado, olives, dark green leafy vegetables (Barleylife is best) and cold pressed oils (Aimega from Aim are an ideal blend). Chia seed also contain a good source of essential fats and er best finley ground. I take Chia seed in combination with Ginseng in Forever’s Ginchia.

Non Food sources that harm your Immune System

  • Fluoride research from both Britain and America show that fluoride confuses the immune system, causing it to attack the body’s own tissues resulting in one of many symptoms, such as skin rashes, gastro-intestinal disorders, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Use a fluoride free toothpaste; we use Forever’s Aloe and Bee Propolis Tooth Gel
  • Amalgam: The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) in Canada states that mercury vapour is released into the body from amalgam fillings results in numerous health problems related to the central nervous system, the Immune system and endocrine system. Chlorophyll is one of the best ways to neutralize mercury from fillings and I have personally found that the juice of barley leaves is the best for this. Aim’s BarleyLife or Leafy Greens contains more chlorophyll than almost all other foods; take 2-4 heaped tsp a day of BarleyLife or 1-2 tsp daily of Leaf Greens.

Diet help for your Immune System

Alkaline forming diet

A diet that is at least 75% alkaline forming is one of the most powerful things you can do to boost immune function, as the more alkaline the diet the easier it is for the body to destroy viruses and bacteria. I suggest that rather than focusing on giving up, you focus on what you can do.

Try to follow the following 3 steps; this will naturally increase the amount of free radicals and natural oxygen bearing plant food to your cells and at the same time increase your diet to at least 75% alkaline forming.
1. Eat at least 1 entire fruit meal a day
2. Snack on raw fruit and vegetables
3. Start all meals with a side plate (at least) of raw fruit or vegetables.

Raw Food diet

If you need to give your immune system a rev and get some repair work done in a hurry, follow the guidelines in option 3 of chapter 4 in Perfect Health – The Natural Way and within 5-15 days if not less you will see some dramatic results.

Jennifer Meak (an Immunologist & Nutritionist) says that the best way to avoid the common cold to cancer & Aids is to boost your Immune system through nutrition. To quote,

“Raw whole foods provide many other factors (some of which are probably unknown) like natural antibiotics, essential oils, pigments and enzymes, which are of benefit to health. Raw, whole foods increase the oxygen content of our cells especially important for the prevention of cancer, where cells have switched to live without oxygen. Fresh fruit and vegetables are high in potassium, which is essential for maintaining a healthy Immune System and for avoiding cancer.”

All processed foods (and this even includes cooked whole foods here) require you immune army to defend your gut and many white blood cells are lost. Raw foods, however, do not cause destruction of the white defenders. It would appear that some raw food, taken before cooked food, reduces or even eliminates battle fatalities, so saving you the energy used in fighting, repair and replacement.”

Some Extra natural help for your Immune System

These are some of the other foods and products that I have seen benefit immune function.

Lycium – tests done on a group of elderly folk in a retirement facility, showed that within 3 weeks 67% of the test group, showed an increase of 70% in their white blood (T4) cell count.

Licorice – with the glycyrrhizic acid removed, is known to improve lung function and immune function and is considered an adaptogen, which helps reregulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. It can also be used for auto-immune conditions including lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and animal dander allergies. We take the Lycium and Licorice combination Lycium Plus from Forever. You can chew or such them as Lozengers for a sore throat.

Aloe Vera – Galactomannans are a class of long chain sugars derived from plants, which have been shown in laboratory and clinical studies to have a wide variety of immune stimulating and protective effects within the body. It has been discovered that the Aloe barbadensis plant contains the greatest concentration of acetylated mannan which is also the most active form of mannans. This “acemannan” has been shown to have many effects in the body, mostly impacting on the gastrointestinal and immune systems, which are intricately related.

At the intestinal level, acemannan acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent, neutralizing many of the enzymes responsible for damaging the mucosal wall; in effect, quenching the fire. This results in decreased leakiness of the intestinal wall and less absorption of allergic stimulating foreign protein. Acemannan has direct anti viral, anti bacterial, and anti fungicidal properties which can help control Candida overgrowth so that normal gastrointestinal bacterial flora can be restored. Acemannan also stimulates intestinal motility, helping to move allergenic proteins from the small intestine into the colon. All these processes help to normalize gastrointestinal wall structure and function and therefore stop the vicious cycle of immune system damage.

Acemannan also has direct effects on the cells of the immune system, activating and stimulating macrophages, monocytes, antibodies and T-cells. It has been shown in laboratory studies to act as a bridge between foreign proteins (such as virus particles) and macrophages, facilitating phagocytosis (ingestion of the protein by the macrophage).

This receptor site activation is a key component in boosting cell-mediated immunity which is deficient in HIV infection. It increases the number and intensity of action of macrophages, killer T-cells, and monocytes, as well as increasing the number of antibody forming B-cells in the spleen. Acemannan also protects the bone marrow from damage by toxic chemicals and drugs such as AZT.

Pomegranate and Mangosteen
These are two fruits that appear to contain more antioxidants than any known foods, these antioxidants destroy free radicals that cause premature ageing and disease. Mangosteen conatins polyphenols and xanthones and Pomegranate contains phytochemicals include polyphenolic catechins, gallocatechins, and anthocyanins, such as prodelphinidins, delphinidin, cyanidin, and pelargonidin. The ORAC (antioxidant capacity) of pomegranate juice was measured at 2,860 units per 100 grams. Polyphenols in pomegranate juice are the hydrolyzable tannins called ellagitannins formed when ellagic acid binds with a carbohydrate. Punicalagins are tannins with free-radical scavenging properties in laboratory experiments[29] and with pot (They are combined in Pomesteen a juice from the Forever company)

Fasting
Fasting on just water, is probably the quickest way to get over any cough or cold. If any of us develop a scratchy throat, we usually stop all food intake, drink only clean water and go to bed early and within 24 hours all symptoms are gone. We then start eating fresh fruit only until we feel strong and then continue with our high raw, plant based diet.

Mark’s & my regime for a healthy immune system is as follows;
Aloe Vera Gel or Aloe Berry Nectar 50ml first thing in the morning

50ml Pomesteen Power

2 tsp BarleyLife or 1 tsp LeafyGreens, with half to 1 tsp Just carrots and a quarter to a half tsp Redibeets.

We also take Lycium Plus 3 times a day with meals


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