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Optimal Function of the Immune System  

How do you keep the immune system operating at an optimal level?

A strong immune system requires more than good nutrition and supplements. A strong immune system requires a balanced lifestyle, including adequate rest, stress management, exercise, and an effort to minimize exposure to environmental toxins, heavy metals, and other chemicals.

The following steps will help keep your immune system to operate optimally:

  • Good Nutrition. Eating a well-balanced diet is essential to maintain strong immunity. Minimize meat and dairy products. Make sure that the meat and chicken that you do consume are free-range and hormone- and antibiotic-free. Limit your consumption of fish with high mercury levels, like tuna, shark, snapper, and swordfish. Opt instead for farm-raised salmon, striped bass or brook and rainbow trout. U.S.-farmed shrimp, catfish, tilapia, and crawfish also are safe options. Be sure to eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Opt for organic produce to limit your exposure to herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals. Cut way back on alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and highly processed carbohydrates (i.e.: cookies, cakes, white bread, and pasta).


  • Supplements. Vitamins C and E and beta-carotenes all help fortify the immune system.


  • Plenty of Rest. Your body needs plenty of time each night to recharge. During deep sleep, our bodies release potent immune-enhancing substances that strengthen immune function. Women tend to neglect rest as an important aspect of their health, because of all the demands placed on them both at home and at work. But part of committing to a well lifestyle means recognizing your need to re-charge, even if it means that some tasks at home donít get finished.

    Adequate rest becomes even more important when our body is battling cancer and suffering the impacts of chemotherapy and radiation.


  • Manage Stress. Stress is a part of modern life. We cannot avoid stress, but we can learn to keep stress from negatively impacting our emotional and physical health. Even just taking a few moments each day to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths can have a profound impact on our overall sense of well-being. Make time for a weekly bubble bath. Light some candles, put on some soothing music, and tune out for twenty minutes. You can incorporate visualization and breathing techniques into your daily routine to help slow things down long enough for you to enjoy a sense of calm.


  • Exercise. A regular exercise program of low-to-high intensity workout for 25-30 minutes on most days of the week is another essential component of maintaining a strong immune system. Exercise keeps our body in shape, as well as making us feel invigorated and strong. Overall fitness creates reserve capacity that not only serves as a buffer against disease, but also helps us recover from disease more quickly.


  • Limiting Toxic Exposure. We live in a highly toxic world, but there are a number of steps we can take to try to limit our exposure to toxic chemicals. When it comes to our food and water, we can buy organic produce, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats and dairy items. We can eliminate foods with artificial colorings, preservatives, and other chemical additives. Drink distilled or bottled water. Regular detoxification is paramount to reducing our toxic load. Schedule time each season to give your system a chance to eliminate toxic buildup. In conjunction with your integrative medicine physician or a clinical nutritionist, you can select from a number of detoxifying activities ó fasting, a detox diet, massage, steam baths, and various herbal remedies to give your body a chance to rest and rejuvenate.



  • Questions Related to Optimal Function of the Immune System
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