March/April 2022 Article: The Mystery of Immunity
We have all seen those people who always seem to be able to avoid illness like a ninja. Those that seem to have garlic at their doorstep to ward off the disease vampires and are above it all. On the flip side, we have also seen those who get sick at every drop of a dime- from colds to flus and everything in between. We sit and wonder; is it genetics? Lifestyle potentially? In this article, we will explore factors that impact our immune system.
Things like diet and exercise are key in keeping our immune system intact. But what does a healthy diet look like?* It looks like variety and quality- a variety of foods meaning a diverse selection of fruits, vegetables, protein choices and grains (preferably whole grains). Something I always recommend to people is to make their plates as colorful as possible, that leads to a higher chance of a balanced diet. More homemade meals and less processed foods is an important component of a balanced diet. Basically the closest thing to a “perfect” diet would be a whole foods, plant-based diet. No, not a vegan diet but a plant based diet. We shall explore the differences and similarities between those two in another article.
Another important aspect of immunity is cognitive health. Some of us are probably thinking, “wait, what does the brain have to do with immunity?!” Well factors like stress and sleep deprivation will lead to impaired brain function. Because of our interconnected bodily systems, impaired brain function will result in impaired immune function. Ensuring that we get enough sleep as well as having stress management coping mechanisms* will mostly guarantee a high functioning immune system.
*Important supplements in immunity include omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin C and vitamin D.
*Stress management coping mechanisms include coloring, crafting, meditation, exercise routines intended to loosen muscles such as stretching and going out into nature.
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Drs. Kat (article editor), Monica and Helen Derbew (article author).
Dr. Love’s Integrative Nutritionist & Lifestyle Medicine Consultants