Last week I talked with a young local Asian-American business owner who shared with me that he was “a little fatigued and stressed out”. I suggested that if he took steps to getting his immune system in balance, that since our physical and emotional well-being is dependent on homeostasis, he would feel much better.
He basically replied that, “he spends half the year in Florida, has a lot of friends that are “into” nutrition, he exercises and that he didn’t need any more information, thank you”.
Nothing like a person with an open mind, but unfortunately too many people think in this narrow way. We all know individuals that eat nutritiously, exercise 5-7 days a week and watch their weight but they still do feel “off”. Their fingers, elbows or knees hurt, they can’t eat everything they would like, or they have other health issues despite their “great” life style.
The evidence is strong that due to the hundreds of phytonutrients, plant nutrients, in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains and olive oil, that plant-based foods are important for our health. A broad variety of these phytonutrients are suggested since they appear to affect a wide-spectrum of biological functions. The consumption of plant-based foods influences the health of cells, blood pressure, risk of certain cancers, immune, dental, urinary, liver and gut health.
An additional dietary recommendation is to consume fish or fish oil 2-3 times a week for their omega-3 fatty acids. This “good” fat has multiple uses in our body, but the body cannot produced these fats by itself; we need an outside source.
Studies involving hundreds of thousands of people suggest that omega-3s reduce the risk of fatal heart disease, improve the flexibility of blood vessels, lower blood pressure and reduce immune inflammation. [Note: It is controversial whether omega-3 supplements are as beneficial as eating fish; in fact, they may cause certain health issues.]
Role of the Immune System
When the body is threatened by pathogens or cancer cells, or has been injured, the body responds with short-term inflammatory responses, acute inflammation.
Immune cells flood the area to destroy invading foreign organisms or cancer cells, or to start the healing process after trauma. If the body cannot get rid itself of the infection, or if it over-responds with excessive levels of inflammation, the immune response may become chronic, or long-term.
Chronic inflammation is abnormal and damages previously healthy tissues and organs. This sort of unlimited inflammation results in autoimmune diseases, diseases in which the body’s immune system turns on the body. Conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, hepatitis and asthma can result from such run-away inflammatory responses.
Knowledgeable individuals know that nutrition plays only an initial role in staying healthy. Good nutrition is the foundation upon which to build health, but it is NOT ENOUGH; it is the immune system that governs one’s health and must be optimized.
The Importance of a Balanced Immune System
Immune balance, immune homeostasis, is tightly regulated by the body. It allows the organism to respond to infection, cancer cells and injury with the right amount of inflammation. Any imbalances, either too much stimulation, or too little, results in immune disorders and health issues.
The key to good health and healthy aging is keeping the immune system in balance.
Dr.Hellen’s major passion is helping people to enjoy life at its fullest. She may be contacted by using this form, at: firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to call: 302.265.3870 (ET, USA).