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Boosting the Immune System

I seem to have entered that oh so fun cycle of the never ending sickness, and no I have not gotten my flu shot, because I haven’t been able to.  Apparently you’re supposed to be healthy when you get the flu shot, and so far this cold and flu season I have yet to be healthy enough to get the shot.  I have actually been turned away.  For a while it was just one thing after another, but as evidenced by the stomach flu hitting two days into an antibiotics treatment, these illnesses aren’t even waiting for the old one to go away before attacking anymore.  So I have set upon a quest to find ways to boost the immune system, because quite frankly I am sick and tired of this – pun intended.

Since I can’t seem to focus my cloudy brain on anything else right now, you all get to hear about what I’ve learned.  First off, I’m going to throw out the obscure stuff – the odds of me taking my happy ass down to the health food store to find larch are slim to none, so out the window with ya!  Next I’m throwing out the ones that everybody already knows about – get more sleep, drink water, wash your hands, exercise, chicken soup, vitamin C, etc – because I’m already implementing those to the best of my ability (or ignoring because I tend to be even lazier than normal when sick).  Which leaves the things that made me go “huh!”

1. Keep your feet warm – my feet are ALWAYS cold.  It’s gotten to the point that I’m so used to it, I generally don’t even notice how cold they are until Bubba plops his warm puggle butt on them and I realize they my toes are practically icicles.  Well apparently there’s been a study that shows a correlation between cold feet and constricted blood vessels in your sinuses.  Constricted vessels means less blood flow, which means less white blood cells in the area, which means a lowered ability to fight off infection.  BOOM!  That song that they made us sing in grade school about everything in the body being connected was apparently correct!  I’m breaking out the fuzzy socks tonight!  Also, the next time I smack myself in the face and get a bloody nose, I’m sticking my feet in the freezer . . . or maybe just ice on my feet.  Yeah, that would be less awkward.

2. Eat better – I know that this is one of those common ones, but I have a couple of things that all fit under this heading.

a. Cut back on sugar – apparently sugar is completely superfluous for our bodies, we get absolutely no health benefits from sugar.  Bacteria on the other hand, love it and will feed off of it and get fat, happy and multiply all day long.  Same goes for cancer cells.  So sugar is basically food for nasty crap that we don’t want in our bodies.  Great!

b. Eat Japanese mushrooms – apparently they are chock-full of good stuff that isn’t found elsewhere in a typical American diet.

c. Black and Green tea – again with the unique good stuff.  I always thought that it was just green tea, but apparently black tea is good for you as well, just not as good for you.  Besides who doesn’t like a nice warm beverage when they’re sick!

d. Eat a big breakfast – as in close to half of your daily calories, big breakfast – but here’s the kicker, low in fat, or at least go with the good fats like in avocado.  Which means no bacon . . . yes, it is still Kat, I haven’t been abducted . . . yes, I did let out a solitary sob of anguish when I typed that.  Apparently the body needs a lot of fuel to get up and going properly after resting all night, but bad fats slow everything down including the immune system. Doing this means that your lunch and dinner are significantly smaller of course.  Unless you have some really awesome fat pants that you want to get back into.

Healthy Breakfast

3. Cut back on pain medications – one of the main goals of pain meds is generally to cut down inflammation, and one of the main ways that they do that is to reduce the white blood cells that are causing the inflammation.  Lowered number of white blood cells = more prone to illness.  This explains some things since I’ve been taking ibuprofen like it was candy for the past couple of weeks because of some dental work.

4. Journal and Do Crafts – Both are good stress relievers, and lowering stress helps to boost the immune system.  Who doesn’t want an excuse to break out the glue gun – “Leave me alone, I’m crafting for health damnit!”

5. Sex – yeah apparently having sex on a regular basis boosts your immune system.  Something about chemicals and hormones and the exercise and blah, blah, blah I stopped paying attention, because let’s face it, I was on board for this cure!  However, as a friend pointed out, going over to the corner bar and picking up random guys would probably have the opposite effect on my overall health . . . yeah, she’s got a point there.  Guess I’m going to have to stick to the other four.

So there you have it, be well my readers.

  • Christa E. Cannon

    Hmmm…#5 might be why I’ve suddenly been able to fight off colds again. 😉 And the first half of #4. And I drink a TON of tea: black & green. And Emergen-C almost daily. Plus my vitamins.

    Get better, Kat!!!!!!!!

    • Kat Michels

      Thanks Christa! Drinking some English Breakfast as I type. 🙂

      • Christa E. Cannon

        Smashing! And *I’m* drinking some Earl Grey! Enjoy your cuppa… 🙂

  • disqus_eBE5mQOPws

    #2a… PERFECT! And As you can tell…manufactured, added surgar (sucrose) ALSO is at the crux of a host of other health problems. #idontmissit !

    • Kat Michels

      I’ve been trying to cut back on sugar recently, which hasn’t been easy because I am such a sugar addict, but honestly I feel better without it. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to cut it out completely, but it’s turning into an infrequent thing instead of a staple!

  • :Donna Marie

    Sorry to hear you’ve been sick, Kat 🙁 So have I, first with flu and then bronchitis from it. Can’t shake the chest/cough thing completely. I’m doing all the stuff I need to, but it’s still lingering.

    I’m always conscious of my feet as far as the whole cold/hot thing. In fact, if I’m wearing leggings or pants and my socks aren’t over the bottom of the leg, if cold air hits my skin, I feel cold generally. I didn’t know it affected the sinuses though! Thanks for that info 🙂

    I can’t do mushrooms anymore ’cause I’ve become more reactive to any mold-related foods. And what is it about eating a big breakfast that helps you when you’re sick? I never heard that one!

    Feel better 😀

    • Kat Michels

      Ugh, the flu then bronchitis, that’s rough! Knock on wood I was able to clear up my chest congestion back in December and it hasn’t come back. What finally tipped the scales for me was some tea I bought called Breathe Easy by Traditional Medicinals. I’ve also heard that Yogi carries a good one, I think called Respiratory Health. Maybe one of those could help?

      The big breakfast theory comes from the saying, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a commoner and dinner like a pauper. The idea being that you start your day with plenty of fuel to give you energy through your daily activities. Then by tapering off the amount you eat as the day goes on, your body has already completed the majority of the digesting that it has to do by the time you go to bed. That way while your sleeping your body can focus on other things like fighting illness. This one is more of an overall lifestyle thing that boosts/strengthens your immunity as opposed to something that you only do while sick, but I found it interesting. I wish I could remember where I found that article so I could give you the link, but that’s the gist of it.

  • :Donna Marie

    No need for the article, Kat. That’s enough for me 🙂 I do know that I developed a hiatal hernia from eating and going to bed. One of the biggest hazards of being a night owl; you start snacking salty-sweet-salty-sweet and are never satisfied, then you finally go to bed.
    And thanks for mentioning the teas! I’m going to hunt them down! lol