Are You Infectious??

Infections and illness don’t discriminate, they don’t pick or choose sides. Everyone has the ability to get sick to some degree. It can all start with a small cut, cough in your direction, or a contaminated item/surface. From there the pathogen gains entry and has the first opportunity to launch its attack.

Our First Line Of Defense

The bodies first and primary line of defense versus infections is physical; our skin and mucous membranes are there to protect the inner sanctum of ourselves. More often than not when mucous or the related membranes are discussed it’s frowned upon. We don’t like to talk about sneezes, runny noses, coughing/phlegm or reproductive fluids; they have been dubbed as ‘discharge’ and viewed in a negative light. Which is a disservice for the critical role this fluid plays to protect our body. It may not be as flashy or pretty as some other areas, but it definitely has its role to play. This isn’t always obvious, yet in the same way that the fluid in the eye protects the integrity of the eye, this natural film creates a barrier from the outside world to our direct insides.

What other shield protects our valuable core; the skin. A fine layer that surrounds our body and keeps the intruders at bay. In the same way, a vault protects the gold and jewels inside. Our skin is not impenetrable though, it is still vulnerable, we’re not made of kevlar or metal. It can break. When we do happen to get cuts, scrapes, gashes and wounds we’re literally exposed to all those that pathogens that can do harm. (This includes intentional cuts as well; surgery is a fantastic tool, but not without its own inherent risks.)

Why do we get sick more in the winter months?

¨ less mucous (drier)

¨ undesirable diet (less fresh food rich in vitamin C, more ‘warming comfort foods’)

¨ stresses (school, seasonal holidays,)

¨ less sunlight – less fresh greens – skin dries out (cracks easier)

the cold doesn’t make you sick, GERMS make you sick

Warriors Within

The human body is a beautiful system, complete with backup programs to help protect it further if the first defense line of fails (which it always can). The second stage is exactly this, internal defence. Our bodies come equipped with multiple different cells inside designed specifically to patrol within. Keeping those germs at bay. You may have heard the names of some of them (Macrophages and Leukocytes or White Blood Cells).

A Perfect System, Imperfectly Maintained

Point being, our entire system is created to keep the majority of illness and germs at bay, but it’s not perfect. The key to the whole picture is to maintain the immune system so it functions at a high level, regularly.

Breakdown in the Bowels

It’s understandable that we will encounter those pesky viruses and bacteria (or other germs) that you don’t want to gain a foothold. How our body responds on the inside, as well as the actions that we do from the outside can help determine the efficiency of our immune system. In the same way when you’re body is struggling through poor bowel and digestive health this lowers the well-being of your entire system. Bowel toxemia and its toxic byproducts impact far more than how often you go to the bathroom, but can cripple your health from the inside out! Eliminating this waste and build up frees up your body to have more energy and efficiency in all areas, your immune system is no exception to this.

Sugar’s Sabotage Your Success

It may seem like we have little control, but there are things we can do to give ourselves the best chance prior to exposure. Many things will dampen our body’s own resiliency; one that stands out is diet, and the direct impact it can have. With sugar, for example, one teaspoon can limit your body’s immune response for several hours. This is critical if you’re planning on being surrounded by an unusual number of people (and germs). If you’re going to a school, wedding, mall, or other public event, this could bring your peak immunity down, thus leading to a greater chance of illness later. Knowing that the intake of sugar and sweets directly suppress our immune system and it’s too much to risk. If we’re planning though, it would be prudent to keep these super sweets a minimum before we mingle.

Sugar is just one example of what we could decrease or remove from our lifestyle in order to promote a greater immune response all around. Foods are just one aspect of what we can control; others would include lower stress, better sleep habits, water consumption, nutritional supplements and healthy levels of physical activity. It’s easy to look at what you shouldn’t do sometimes it’s harder to see what you can do. Like any facet of your health, when you eliminate or reduce the toxic aspects and enhance the positive, it all culminates together for a stronger state of health. Each part of our body is interrelated; when you support one area, you can boost all areas. The key is to focus on what you can do and the rest will follow.

Raw Foods For Increased Resistance

When you reduce the stress digestion puts on your entire body, you’re freeing up so much energy to be used for immune function (there is plenty of truth and reasoning behind why so many doctors and doctor mom’s always suggest rest and simple foods while you’re sick). The reason Avena so feverently recommends a high raw and fresh diet is for more than just the nutrition, these foods are highly bioavailable, so your body uses minimal effort. Leaving more ‘left in the tank’ for infections and other health concerns (there have been many high raw, or all raw food eaters with testimonies of fewer colds and flus – if any). When in the midst of a health crisis, it becomes even more important to reduce your digestive distress, so more effort can be put into your body’s healing activities.

Supercharge Your Defenses

The good news is we can add to our lifestyle to support our immune system as well. Nutrients such as Vitamin C, chlorophyll and Zinc have been shown for decades to boost our immune system just by being present. You can add these through foods and/or supplementation, (next time you need to go to a party instead of a teaspoon of sugar try an eyedropper of Avena’s Ionic Zinc). You can take this boost a step further; adding in just general nutrients, but also those active ingredients that will help you on a ‘front line’ basis. This would include Superfood, Enzymes and Probiotics.

The Ferocious Warriors

Probiotics are natural protectors of the body, especially proteolytic ones! They will help encourage and harmonize the gut and its microbes. Beyond our stomachs this good bacteria are there to maintain and create an additional security level! This has a double impact, by having healthy levels of good bacteria in your body you not only have better chances for success against viruses and harmful bacteria but they can help in the production of good things you need too (like some vitamins or protein digestion).

Enzymes Are For More Than Digestion

If we’re looking at digestion, enzymes are one of the first components that we recall but, they can also have a tremendous impact on your immune system! Some of the studies that have been done on enzymes reveal their influence on the body, most notably they increased the body’s own ‘defenses’, white blood cells. This can have an incredibly positive effect if you’re in the midst of a cold or flu, giving yourself an influx of macrophages and white blood cells is like a jolt of support for a weakened system.

Running Yourself Down, Without Realizing It.

If you’ve contracted a virus or bacteria it’s totally normal for your body to be tired and for things to be harder on your body. All the energy that’s traditionally zoned for daily activities is now being funnelled to your immune system; a major reason why rest and hydration are universally recommended for those with a cold or flu. This is a normal and expected response and the hard part is to push through and persevere. It also makes all too real the direct impact that bad food can have on your bodies, sluggishness and grossness we can feel after a bad meal, leaving us weak and tired. The good news is, we can control how well we treat our bodies and that directly impacts our defenses. ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound
of the cure’.

Take Charge

When given the opportunity to take charge of your health and promote it whenever and however you can, why wouldn’t you? Once you’re exposed to a pathogen, its okay to be concerned, you may get sick, the hard part is acceptance then action. Give yourself the best tools that you can in your everyday life so that when your body encounters a virus or bacteria you’re not out of commission for a week or more because your body is ready to attack and defend.