Keeping Your Immune System Healthy
By West Perth Osteopathy’s own Naturopath, Renae Trivic
The immune system is a remarkable and complex system that is constantly surveying to protect us from pathological attack from various viruses, bacteria, fungus and parasites.
A well-balanced immune system is important for health and vitality. However, factors in our internal and external environment can upset this fine balance and predispose us to illness.
A healthy functioning immune system should be able to recover from a common cold within a week; longer than this indicates a level of immune weakness.
Well-known lifestyle factors that can weaken your immune system include poor sleep quality, stress, lack of regular exercise, poor dietary choices and lack of enough rest and relaxation.
In natural medicine, we emphasise the importance of keeping your immune defences strong, so that your body is able to respond appropriately when you are exposed to viruses or bacteria.
What’s the story with Zinc & Immunity?
Firstly, let me quote Professor Derek Bryce-Smith, from the University of Reading, on the importance of zinc-
“If a new drug had been found with this broad range of properties it would have been hailed as the discovery of the century.”
Zinc is essential for proper immune system function through a wide range of actions, including anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral effects. Zinc activates immune cells, including Natural Killer cells, which are a first line defence in identifying microbial infected cells in the body.
Zinc is also involved in over 300 enzyme systems within the human body, so therefore a deficiency can affect a wide range of bodily processes and systems. It has been found that between 65% and 85% of Australians are not receiving enough zinc through their diets, contributing to a widespread deficiency.
If you suspect that your zinc levels are not optimal or you are experiencing signs of a weakened immune system, see your natural health practitioner to restore balance within your body, to check your nutritional status and to assist with your dietary planning.
In the meantime, here are some simple tips to keep your immune defences strong:
- Eat a well-balanced diet including fresh vegetables, salads, herbs, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish, eggs, legumes and lean red meat
- Minimise your intake of mucous-forming foods such as dairy, white flour products, sugar and sugar containing foods (i.e. soft drinks, cakes, biscuits, pastries, sweets, chocolates)
- Drink at least 2L of filtered water every day
- Exercise regularly
- Get a good night’s sleep and make time to rest and relax