It’s winter, it’s flu season-and this year the flu virus has been finding so many of us. Because of this, I feel that it’s important to share some information and tips on keeping your immune system healthy and strong.
The job of your immune system is to “serve and protect”. It is in the form of cells, tissues and organs throughout the body. Your lymph system plays an important role in finding virus’ and bacteria in your body; it’s like the virus alert system that looks for foreign material through the lymph nodes. When the lymphatic system is healthy and strong it can usher unwanted bacteria and virus out of the body.
Knowing how the lymphatic system works let me share a few tips on how to keep it strong and healthy. There’s fluid in the lymph system and when that can flow freely and smoothly it can do its job properly.
Exercise plays an important role in keeping the flow going. The diaphragm is the most important muscle in your immune system. it’s located between the lungs and abdominal cavity. Vigorous deep breathing enhances the flow of lymph fluid. This can be accomplished by brisk walking, bicycling, running or any other aerobic type activity and through diaphragmatic or belly breathing.
Diet also plays an important role in keeping a strong immune system.
- Refined carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats, caffeine and alcohol can harm the immune system so these things should be limited or eliminated completely.
- Foods such as low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, garlic, onions, sprouts, honey and un-sulfured molasses are great immune system supporters.
- A good quality daily vitamin helps as well as stress reduction/management. Some stress reduction practices used are meditation, yoga, exercise, journal writing, and activities that are fun and help take your mind off the stressors.
Drinking enough water is always good for the immune system and all other systems of the body. We don’t tend to drink as much plain water in the colder months but it’s still as important as warmer weather months. We still get dehydrated due to artificial heat in our homes and other buildings.