What is our best defense against highly contagious viruses? Most people agree that being vaccinated is a responsible action. We can also wear masks, stay away from crowds and wash our hands frequently. All of these actions are recommended by health authorities.
I think these actions are good and I recommend them, but what are we overlooking in this situation? Our bodies are designed to protect and defend themselves at the cellular level. What else can we do to help ourselves stay healthy? Lots of things!
We can start by understanding how our immune systems work and providing the necessary building blocks through nutrition. We need high quality, easily digested protein to make cell defenders. We need antioxidants to neutralize free radicals caused by inflammation, stress, infection and aging.
Let’s start with just that combination of nutrients.
If you have a good balance of amino acids (proteins), your body can more effectively regulate the production of T cells (lymphocytes), B lymphocytes, NK cells (natural killer), and macrophages (act like pacmen to eat foreign invaders). Protein is also essential to the production of antibodies.
Other important contributors to a healthy immune system are antioxidants. Antioxidants destroy free radicals and help protect the structural integrity of the cell. In other words, they keep the protective coating of the cell intact so invaders can’t get in.
The immune system is a highly complex system that is not so simply explained, but we can start with these two important aspects. We can ensure that we get high quality, easily digested protein. I supplement with a soy or plant-based protein every morning to kick start my day. Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants and are abundant any time of year. It’s best to buy local in season produce, but let your senses guide you. Look for bright colors, red, yellow, orange, purple and of course green.
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