Our immune systems are remarkable. They work tirelessly to keep us well but we must consciously give our bodies what they need for this function to ensure maximum protection from invading organisms.
Before I move on to this, I will just say a word or two about avoiding infection in the first place. We cannot live without micro-organisms. Remember this. We have to build up a resistance to those that could make us ill so there is no point in trying to avoid ALL germs. If you had somehow been protected from all organisms from birth, you would quickly die on exposure to the outside environment. We gain immunity all our lives. (An illustration of this is swine flu – older people have met this virus before and have resistance to it, so they don’t suffer from it as severely or as often.)
That said, we don’t want to invite infection. We must take some precautions and these are usually simple measures of either barriers or washing.
Here are some examples:
- Barriers: use tissues if you sneeze or cough, use condoms to prevent the sexually transmitted diseases, use gloves if you have contact with excrement – obvious I know! (Or if you are nappy changing your own child, wash thoroughly afterwards.
- Dressings to keep infections out of wounds.
- Washing: Wash hands frequently (definitely after using the loo) – bugs live on door handles and Jo Public does not wash his hands! Wash wounds before covering them.
- Wash food preparation areas often, but anti-bacterial sprays are unnecessary. Wash salads and fruit. Basically, if it looks dirty, it probably is. If you have just chopped raw meat you must clean it immediately so that you don’t forget.
- Toilets should be cleaned frequently.
So now to the dietary factors:
In order to keep your friendly probiotic microbes in tip-top form – eat homemade or bought fresh sauerkraut , natural organic full-fat yogurt or kefir.
Most of the vitamins and minerals needed for life are also needed for healthy immune systems and I suspect that this means immunity and life are inextricably linked.
The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are important for correct immune function. Get short spells of sun exposure (for vitamin D) frequently without sunscreen. Do NOT burn – use sunscreen when your skin is just pink.The water soluble vitamins C and some of the B group are vital as are the minerals zinc, iron and selenium. They all have their own jobs to do as well as reacting with other chemicals to keep us in peak, infection-fighting condition.
Before you go rushing out to buy supplements, you can get all of these in an easily-
assimilated form from the following organic foods:
Eggs, liver & kidneys (from grazing animals) and/or shellfish. Golden butter and grass-fed animal fats are the best sources of the fat-soluble vitamins.