The first day of spring has come and gone, and I still can’t seem to get away from my winter coat. Everywhere I go, layers and boots still follow me, and I just can’t seem to shake this cold weather off.
Thankfully though, I have not had a single battle with the dreaded Cold virus all year and I have spent all winter happy and healthy. I strongly believe that your body gives you signals of weakness well before viruses and illnesses have a chance to take over and in this post I would like to discuss how nutrition and exercise help to increase your immunity.
One of the signals that my body sends me to notify me of something being off is heartburn. As soon as I have heartburn I know that my body is inflamed and that it is rising in acidity or toxicity. For others, an increase in body acidity can show itself through fatigue, itchy scalp or skin, sinusitis, stomach/intestinal gas or migraines.
Acidity in the body can drastically reduce your immunity and has even been linked to the formation of cancer cells within the body. To reduce your body’s acidity levels, you must return your body to a balanced state of alkalinity. Most disease states can’t exist when the body’s pH is alkaline. Bacteria, viruses and fungi can’t reproduce. So what’s a body full of fast foods, drugs, GMOs, and non-organic food to do?
- Choose only organic foods that are GMO-free to avoid pesticides, chemicals and other contaminants.
- Eat alkaline foods like leafy greens, vegetables and some fruit. They sustain the body’s pH on a daily basis.
- Reduce all kinds of processed foods, refined sugars and flours for a few days. Remember, even Whey protein and other exercise supplements are processed, so until you feel your body going back to a non-acidic state, lay off of them for a while.
- Consume foods high in potassium like lemons, bananas and honey. Most people think that Lemons are an acidic fruit, but once ingested, lemons alkaline the body.
- Cut caffeine consumption for a few days until the body returns to a normal state. Carbonated drinks should also be avoided. Herbal tea is my best friend when I am feeling unbalanced.
- Lemonade or lemon water helps to clear the body of excess acids and create an alkaline-forming state. Mix the juice of half an organic lemon with two teaspoons of raw honey and eight ounces of warm water. Drink a glass first thing in the morning and more through out the day to flush the system. Be sure to warm the water in a kettle and not in the microwave.
- Drink lots of water daily to flush the system of waste. Remember, about 8 cups a day is a good start.
I have a simple philosophy;Foods that come from trees or come from the ground, or meats that look like the actual animal they came from and foods that have not been altered by chemical processes should make up 90% of the food we eat to rev up the immune system and keep us healthy and strong. Add a healthy diet to exercise and you have the ultimate winning combo.
Exercise not only helps your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections, it decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. Scientists don’t know exactly how exercise increases your immunity to certain illnesses, but there are several theories:
- Exercising may help by flushing bacteria out from the lungs (therefore decreasing the chance of a colds and airborne illness) and may flush out cancer-causing cells by increasing output of wastes, such as urine and sweat.
- Exercise sends antibodies and white blood cells (the body’s defense cells) through the body at a faster rate. As they circulate more rapidly, they could detect illnesses earlier than they might normally. The increased rate of circulating blood may also trigger the release of hormones that “warn” immune cells of intruding bacteria or viruses (Strength training or HIIT are great exercises for doing this).
- The temporary rise in body temperature may prevent bacterial growth, allowing the body to fight the infection more effectively. (This is similar to what happens when the body has a fever.)
- Exercise slows down the release of stress-related hormones. Stress can increase the chance of illness.
So there you have it, more reasons to listen to your body, eat well and exercise. Did you need any more? Take notice of all the signs your body gives you, it is such a powerful machine with all kinds of signals and buttons warning you of coming troubles. Take better care of your body and you will be sure to enjoy these extended winters we seem to be having year after year.
To Being Positively Strong,