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October 29, 2009

Therapeutic Nutrition

Immune Building 101

With the swine flu frequently making the front page of the paper, it has becoming evident that our immune systems are in need of reliable boost. As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This couldn’t be more true. It is important to prepare the immune system ahead of time so we are well-prepared, should we catch a bug.

The immune system helps protect our bodies from invaders and foreign materials. When it is working at full capacity, we usually won’t experience any symptoms. However, if we have a weakened immune system, we will most likely fall ill for a period of time.

There are many ways in which we can boost the immune system to give us the best odds at beating the little buggers (viruses and bacteria). Here are a few suggestions that will help prepare your body to “fight the battle.”


Foods with white flour and white sugar cause a decrease in immune function. A teaspoon of white sugar has been shown to suppress white blood cells (disease fighters) for up to 5 hours! Wow, imagine what a pop with 12 tsp. of sugar would do to your immune system.


Certain hormones are released while we are in deep sleep that are critical for both physical and mental recovery. Make sure it’s dark in the room. Try to kick the old night-light habit.


The best exercise, is the exercise you’ll actually do. Go for a run, a bike ride, do some yoga, lift weights or play squash. If you are an animal-lover, adopt a dog and go for a walk, if that’s what it takes. Whatever you do, do something. One benefit of exercise is that it increases our circulation, allowing the immune system to work much more efficiently. The best way to get started is to just get started! Having a friend join is helpful too.


Many people don’t realize how important vitamin D is to the running of the immune system. Study after study proves this. In places where the populations have less sun exposure, there is a higher incidence of many illnesses. Why? Many people are deficient in vitamin D and so have compromised immune function.

We get vitamin D when the UV from the sun reacts with the cholesterol in our skin. Ask your doctor to perform a vitamin D test.

Happy immune building!
– Josh