Health – How to Catch it! It seems that every day we see more and more advertisements for a new drug to help with everything from the common cold to menstrual cramps. My question is “if each drug does what it says it will do, why do we need to keep inventing new ones”? I want to start by saying I am not against the use of drugs, I am against drug abuse. We as a society are taught that if something is wrong with our health, it must mean we have to take a pill to correct it. I submit a different approach to this universal problem. My proposal is to build up and maintain the immune system so we are less likely to get sick. And in many cases, if we do get sick, it may not be such a bad thing. The fact we do get sick is a sign that our immune system has been overloaded and is no longer able to deal with the problem in a subclinical manor. Subclinical means the problem is being worked on internally and there are no obvious symptoms. It is a much wiser approach to try to find out why we are unable to deal with the problem subclinically and correct the cause, not just treat the symptoms. There are many reasons why our immune systems may not be functioning at peak performance. The most prevalent cause of immune malfunction is the food we consume. Food is the one thing we are all exposed to, usually several times a day. It is a good idea to consume foods that will help enhance the immune system or at the very least, not weaken it. There are the “7 Deadly Sins” of food that will cause the most damage to the immune system. They are alcohol, meat, sugar, dairy, coffee, soda and artificial sweetener. One fun fact about sugar is that a normal white blood cell should destroy 14 bacteria (or germs) in it’s lifetime. White blood cells are the part of the immune system that will attack “bad’ invaders in the system. If you consume 24 teaspoons of sugar, about the equivalent of 2 cans of soda, that same white blood cell will only be able to destroy 1 white blood cell. This effect on the immune system can last for up to 5 hours. That is a significant decrease in the immune system’s ability to destroy bacteria! The typical American consumes 52 teaspoons of sugar a day. Alcohol digests down into sugar. It will not only weaken the immune system, but studies have shown that the consumption of alcohol will diminish the body’s ability to burn fat. This is the reason that, even if you drink “lite” beer, you are likely to develop a “beer belly” because you lose much of your ability to burn off fat. There are several “evil runner ups” to the “7 Deadly Sins”, such as white breads and pasta, refined foods, hydrogenated oils, most commercial canned soups, most chips, cereals with added sugars, chemical, steroids, hormones, antibiotics, many food additives, colorings and flavors. (Note: if you smoke, you can pretty much ignore all this advice….because smoking just destroys the immune system. Quitting smoking must be your top priority!) Another point that must be made is that even if you avoid all these foods and eat a vegetarian diet, if you cook your foods they will put a stress on the immune system. Once a food, even a health food, is heated above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, it begins to lose its nutrients and put a stress on the immune system. An example it that if you eat a raw carrot, or any raw fruit or veggie, there is almost no increase in your white blood cell count. White blood cells are the part of the immune system that will attack “bad’ invaders in the system. When you eat the same amount of carrots, only this time they are cooked, the white blood cells count increases dramatically, indicating that the immune system is attacking the cooked food. Many folks are not willing to go to an all raw diet, but the more cooked food we eat, the more stress on the immune system. Emotional stress will also put a strain on the immune system. It is impossible to not have stress in your life, so we must do what we can to deal with it. Ways to deal with stress are to learn deep breathing exercises. When we get stressed, we tend to hold our breath. Try taking a real deep breath, breathing in for 5 seconds, hold the breath for 15 seconds and exhale for 5 seconds. Be sure to exhale all your breath. Do this 10 times and watch how much better you feel. You may suffer from negative emotions toward a friend, family member or loved one. Purging yourself of anger and hatred is a must in order to boost the immune system. Believe in yourself, be good to yourself, see the beauty all around and seize the day will all help to keep the immune system in good health. This life is not dress rehearsal, we only get one chance on this earth, so don’t waste time with unimportant matters. Think if the stress that is bothering you is worth damaging your health. Will this situation be important a year from now, or even a week from now? If not, don’t stress over it. It may not only be mental stress that weakens the system , but physical stress. If you have a nervous system that is not functioning at 100%, this will cause an adverse effect on your immune ability. Nerves carry messages from the brain, down the spinal cord and out to every organ in your body. If a nerve is being pinched, it will not carry normal instructions to the part of the body it is in charge of controlling. That part of the body will not be able to function at 100%. If it is an immune organ that is malfunctioning, it will have a negative effect on the whole immune system. Even if it’s not an immune organ that is being effected, whenever a part of the body is not working to the best of it’s ability, it will have a direct or indirect adverse effect on the whole body. Traumas to the body can cause the spine or other bone to move out of normal alignment and pinch a nerve. Sometimes a pinched nerve will cause pain, however 80% of all the nerves in the body do not feel pain, so you can have a pinched nerve and not experience pain. Exercise is a very good way to enhance the immune system, however recent studies have shown that too much exercise can have a reverse effect on the immune system’s ability to help keep us disease free. Low to moderate exercise will help build and maintain the immune system. Walking is the best form of exercise It is low impact on the joints, can be done just about anywhere by just about anyone and not only helps the body but also creates endorphins in the brain, which are chemicals that make you feel good. Overexertion actually lowers the ability of the body to fight disease and leaves us susceptible to attack from bacteria and other microorganisms. Too much exercise will also create free radicals, which are molecules that attack the cells in the body and can cause the cells to weaken or even die. If free radicals attack the DNA of cells, it can cause them to mutate and can lead to cancer. Exercising 3 times a week for 20 minutes a day will do the body good. It is also better to exercise regularly, even if only for a short period of time, then it is to work our real hard, but only once in awhile. A few minutes a day or every other day is better than 1 hour once a week. A simple plan to keep the immune system working at it’s best is to avoid foods that weaken the immune system, get on a regular exercise plan, even if just a few minutes a day to start, and drink at least 8 glasses of pure filtered or distilled water every day. This will help flush out your body of impurities so the immune system can work more efficiently. Eat at least 70% of your diet from a wide variety of raw fruits and vegetables as well as raw seeds and nuts. Get regular spinal checkups to be sure your nervous system is working normally. If you have pain, get it checked, but even if you do not have pain it is a good idea to be sure there are no problems. Just like you get your eyes and teeth checked, you need to get your spine checked. Your nervous system controls everything, so always check to see if the nervous system is involved in any health issue you might have. Get plenty of rest. Your body heals when it sleeps. Sleep enough so that you wake up refreshed. If you have trouble getting up in the morning, go to bed earlier. Certain herbs, such as garlic and echinacea, will boost the immune system. It is especially a good idea to take these during the cold and flu season. Vitamins A, D, E, and B complex, as well as zinc and selenium, also help the immune system. The best place to get these nutrients is from raw fruits and vegetables. If you do take a supplement, it is best to get these nutrients from a supplement made from whole foods that are processed at a very low temperature, as to ensure that the nutrients are not destroyed during processing. By not poisoning yourself, eating right and keeping the nervous system working properly, you really can “catch health”. Please call my office at 770-427-7387 or you can send us a message in the live chat.