What with all this going on with the coronavirus and our country going into lockdown along with the fears associated with Covid-19, I thought now is the best time to blog about the immune system and what you can do to keep it in tip-top shape.
The immune system is made up of 6 main components:
-The Lymphatic system: Also known as the lymph system, which is made up of organs, tissues, nodes and vessels and is responsible for transporting lymph fluid throughout your body. This might be the first time you have heard of the lymphatic system, but it is very important because the lymph fluid contains the all-important infection-fighting white blood cells as well as the toxins, waste and other unwanted debris reside, these are filtered out by the organs and nodes. The reason this is so important in our times of self-isolation and lockdown is that the only way to get our lymph system going is to move our bodies; more importantly in specific ways, yes our lymph system is activated and flows with general movement and exercise but the fastest most effective way to get your lymph flowing is movement involving g-force.
The ‘whole body shaking technique’ is as old as Qigong and consists of having both feet planted on the floor then letting yourself bounce up and down on your heels whilst shaking your hands and arms for 5 minutes. Then just feel how energised you are afterwards! It is well worth 5 minutes of your time to give your immune system a boost
-The respiratory system: the system that takes in oxygen and expels carbon dioxide, from the nose/mouth to the lungs. The airways are covered in a mucus layer that is moved by little tiny hairs called cilia and this mucus traps pathogens and other particles before they reach the lungs. One thing you can do as an extra filter for the lungs is to nasal breathe, this actually naturally adds nitric oxide to the air that we breathe then when it circulates our bodies can open up blood cells and combat harmful bacteria and viruses. Nasal breathing is also so beneficial when it comes to lowering stress levels and hypertension due to it breathing through the nose giving fuller deeper breaths which stimulates the lower lungs which are full of parasympathetic nervous system receptors associated with calming our mind and body.
-The skin: this is our largest organ and a barrier to the external environment. It is interesting to know that the skin has its own immune system which communicates and educates our inner immune system. The skin has an estimated 20 billion white blood cells that control skin microbes. My two immune system tips for the skin are to firstly, not put anything on your skin that is synthetic and has ingredients that you would not put in your mouth as these chemicals would absorb directly into the blood and weaken your immune system. Secondly, dry skin brushing is a great way to remove old dead skin, increasing circulation whilst allowing your body to detoxify better.
-Lymphocytes: these are small white blood cells that seek out and destroy pathogens and orchestrate an immune response. A great diet strategy to boost the type of lymphocyte that is critical to the immune systems strength against viral infections is to include Curcumin (a component of turmeric) and Astralagus. Fortunately, both these ingredients, in the cleanest most potent forms are ingredients Qenda Ultimate Fibre.
-The spleen: this helps fight certain kinds of bacteria, recycles red blood cells, filters blood and stores white blood cells and platelets.
-The Gut: Experts say as much as 90% of our immune system is found in our gut, this is why your gut health is so important when considering your defense and strength against viral infections. The intestines are lined with immune cells that coordinate the immune system's and nervous systems' responses to toxins and infectious agents.
You may have heard about the microbiome which is made of many bacteria’s and organisms; this gut flora activates immune functions, regulates inflammation whilst the good bacteria help control colonies of bad bacteria, fight pathogens by producing antimicrobial substances, and affect the pH of the gut environment and create a protective barrier against harmful pathogens. Some of the most beneficial herbs for the gut are slippery elm bark, marshmallow root and licorice root. The combination of these herbs softens and soothes mucous membranes all the way from the throat, through the stomach and small intestines and into the large intestines, these herbs flush the lymph system and allow good bacteria to multiply while protecting the bacteria from stress and environmental irritants.
You must understand: these are small white blood cells that seek out and destroy pathogens and orchestrate an immune response. A great diet strategy to boost the type of lymphocyte that is critical to the strength of the immune system against viral infections is to include Curcumin (a component of is critical to a healthy immune system as it creates an environment that allows healthy microbes to proliferate while restoring the environment for the function and environment for the intestinal villi and gut mucosa so all nutrients can be digested and assimilated optimally.
Licorice has been used in Ayurvedic practices for many years used a lubricant for the intestinal and respiratory airways. The glycyrrhizin, found in licorice root, can inhibit the replication of the influenza virus while also reducing virus-related inflammation.
Slippery Elm bark has been used for a long time in Ayurvedic medicine due to its lubricating and gut-defending properties whilst it has also been shown to support healthy antioxidant activity in the intestinal tract. All of which is crucial at this time.
Whilst Marshmallow root has been approved in Europe for clinical use to improve the integrity of the oral, gastric nasal and throat mucosae, our critical defense mechanism against the coronavirus as proven by the recommendation to keep your throat lubricated by sipping warm water every 15 minutes. All the herbs that I have mentioned in bold above are in the Qenda Ultimate Fibre. Along with these immune-boosting natural ingredients; black walnut husk, hibiscus rosella, horsetail, Irish moss, yucca root, chlorella, ashwagandha, meadowsweet, barberry bark, aloe vera, wormwood, skullcap, fennel seed, paw paw leaf and witchhazel.
I hope this blog has helped you understand the immune system a little better, giving you more confidence going forward into these unknown times.
There are so many variables that are out of our control, so let’s just focus on what we can control, our immune systems, our mindset and what we choose to engage in and spend our time doing.
Stay safe and remember to body shake for 5 minutes a day to keep that lymph system flowing.