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The ABCs of Immunity

There is a lot of panic in the world right now around immune function and staying well. Preparation and prevention are key whenever there is an outbreak of any disease. Although individuals may be compelled to take drastic measures, we must not forget about the basics:


Action: Action=prevention. Take action by boosting your immune system in order to help your body stay healthy. Basic vitamins and minerals like A, C, D, and Zinc are helpful for the immune system. Incorporate as many fruits and vegetables in your diet to help fight free radicals. Avoid immune suppressive substances such as sugar, alcohol, and smoking. If you have any food allergies it is important to avoid these foods as they will preoccupy the immune system from fighting foreign invaders. In general, keeping the body in an alkaline state of 6.8-7.2 pH is helpful for keeping viruses and bacteria from thriving. This means avoiding the things listed above but also meat, coffee, grains, and pure juices (best to eat the entire fruit). Amla, Neem, Turmeric, Ginger, and Guduchi (which is a main ingredient in our encapsulated formula Imunade) are great herbs that prevent and fight infection.


Bodily fluids: this is how diseases spread, so take precautions by not exposing yourself to the bodily fluids of others. Yes, washing your hands is crucial but also be aware that respiratory droplets may be present on doorknobs, cell phones, furniture, and really, any surface. All that needs to happen for a disease to spread is by touching something that is infected and then transferring it to your nose, mouth, or any mucous membrane. So, avoid contact with others and surfaces as much as possible and if you can’t, immediately wash your hands. Another note on bodily fluids is to stay hydrated, so remember to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water everyday. Daily exercise will help move your lymph fluid and enhance immune surveillance.


Calm: stress reduction is the number one thing to keeping an immune system robust. If you are in panic-mode or stress is high, your body will produce the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses immune function. Keeping the stress response to a minimum and getting adequate sleep a night (7-9 hours) is the foundation to fighting any infection. Meditation and relaxation also help to keep the body in an alkaline state. Ashwagandha is my favorite herb for keeping cortisol levels down and helping patients deal with stress. So, use tools to find the eye of the storm in the current situation and do your best to remain calm.


Overall, the best thing you can do is to follow the basics: take action by focusing on prevention, avoid all the ways disease spreads, and make stress reduction a priority.


-Dr. Juliette Sweet, ND


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