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REVITALIZING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

 

Normal functions of the immune system include defence against infections and detection and destruction of cancerous or autoreactive cells. As the immune system ages and these capabilities decline, there is increased susceptibility to infections and cancer and an increased incidence of autoimmune disorders.

Human history is replete with various strategies to increase longevity, although a more desirable goal would be increased longevity without infections, autoimmunity, or cancer. Your lifestyle can affect how well your immune system can protect you from germs, viruses, and chronic illness.

  • SLEEP IS KEY

Not getting enough sleep can lead to higher levels of a stress hormone. It may also lead to more inflammation in your body.

Although researchers aren’t exactly sure how sleep boosts the immune system, it’s clear that getting enough - usually 7 to 9 hours for an adult - is key for good health.

  • EXERCISE

Try to get regular, moderate exercise, like a daily 30-minute walk. It can help your immune system fight infection.

If you don't exercise regularly, you're more likely to get respiratory tract infections and cold colds, for example, than someone who does. Exercise can also boost your body's feel-good chemicals and help you sleep better. Both of those are good for your immune system.

  • EAT RIGHT

Adequate nutrition is essential for optimizing immune function.

Available data do indicate that vitamins (A, D, E, B6, B12, folate, and C) and trace elements (selenium, zinc, copper, and iron) are necessary for normal immune function

Eat more fruits and vegetables, which are rich in nutrients like vitamins C and E, plus beta-carotene and zinc. Go for a wide variety of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, including berries, citrus fruits like oranges, lemons , kiwi, apples, red grapes, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, strawberriesblueberries, tomatoes, broccoli, leafy greens like kale, spinach, callaloo, pak choi, bell/ sweet peppers and carrots. Jamaica is blessed with an abundance of many of these things as well as seasonal fruits such as banana, mangoes, pineapple, sorrel and so forth so we have no excuses to not include them in our diet.

Vitamin c help protect the body against oxidative stress, and that helps support immune function. Oxidative stress happens when there is an imbalance of healthy antioxidants and harmful substances called free radicals in the body, research shows. Oxidative stress is associated with an increased risk of various health conditions, including stroke, cancer, and diabetes, a study suggests. As a type of antioxidant, vitamin C is a free radical scavenger and enhances immunity by supporting cellular function, among other benefits, notes an article published in November 2017 in Nutrients.  To help retain vitamin C in your food, enjoy it raw when possible. Vitamin C is heat sensitive, so cooking can reduce the amount of this nutrient.

Other foods particularly good for your immune system include fresh garlic, which may help fight viruses and bacteria. Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks. So, avoid the unhealthy drinks and the sodas and energy drinks. INSTEAD DRINK LOTS OF WATER AND COCONUT WATER.

  • SUPPLEMENTATION

The herb echinacea may have some immune stimulating effects so add it if you need an immune boost as well as fish oils/ omega 3, Vitamin b, Co q 10 enzyme and pycnogenol.

  • STRESS MANAGEMENT

Everyone has some stress; it's part of life. If stress drags on for a long time, it makes you more vulnerable to illness, from colds to serious diseases. Chronic stress exposes your body to a steady stream of stress hormones that suppress the immune system.

You may not be able to get rid of your stress, but you can get better at managing it.

  • Learn to PRAY AND MEDITATE.
  • Slow down.
  • Connect with other people.
  • Work out to blow off steam.

Counselling is a big help, too. Easing stress lowers levels of a stress hormone. It also helps you sleep better, which improves immune function.

People who meditate regularly may have healthier immune system responses; some studies show. In one experiment, people who meditated over an 8-week period made more antibodies to a flu vaccine than people who didn’t meditate. And they still showed an increased immune system response 4 months later.

  • MANAGE ISOLATION

Having strong relationships and a good social network is good for you. People who feel connected to friends - whether it’s a few close friends or a large group - have stronger immunity than those who feel alone, studies show. Although there are many other things that affect your health, making meaningful connections with people is always a good idea.

 


About the Author

Dr. Chrisann Simpson Harley is a philanthropist, health expert and entrepreneur on a mission to impact the lives of millions. Born and raised in St Catherine, Jamaica, she graduated from the University of the West Indies with her PhD in Surgery (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) and now runs her own private practice (West Trade Medical) as well as, has her own line of feminine hygiene products under the brand Womans Touch. 

Dr. Simpson Harley enjoys life to the fullest with her husband Mark Harley of 12 years while raising their two children Jessie, eight (8) and Joshua, five (5). With over 14 years of experience in medicine and surgery, her positive and vibrant attitude towards life, infused with her dedication to her faith and family, Dr. Chrisann is always in motion to truly impact lives. When she is not on the clock, she enjoys teaching Sunday school in her family church, baking double layered chocolate cakes and spending quality time with her family.

Dr. Simpson Harley is a philanthropist, health expert and entrepreneur on a mission to impact the lives of millions. Born and raised in St Catherine, Jamaica, she graduated from the University of the West Indies with her PhD in Surgery (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) and now runs her own private practice (West Trade Medical) as well as, has her own line of feminine hygiene products under the brand Womans Touch. 
 
Dr. Simpson Harley  enjoys life to the fullest with her husband Mark Harley of 12 years while raising their two children Jessie, 8 and Joshua,5. With over 14 years of experience in medicine and surgery, her positive and vibrant attitude towards life, infused with her dedication to her faith and family, Dr. Chrisann is always in motion to truly impact lives. When she is not on the clock, she enjoys teaching Sunday school in her family church, baking double layered chocolate cakes and spending quality time with her family.
 

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