Boosting Your Immunity For Dummies
Good nutrition is a key weapon against colds and the flu. The foods, supplements, and practices outlined in Boosting Your Immunity For Dummies can boost your body's natural defenses against disease when they're incorporated into your daily diet and lifestyle.
Boosting Your Immunity For Dummies provides hands-on techniques for supercharging your immune system to resist illness and prevent disease. Through diet, exercise, stress reduction, and nutritional supplements, the role of water, sunlight, and oxygen, you can harness the power of your immune system and help your body combat health issues that include: antibiotic-resistant bacteria, allergies, Hepatitis C, pre-menopause, menopause, cancer, Rheumatoid arthritis, dental, and autoimmune diseases.
In addition, Boosting Your Immunity For Dummies includes tasty recipes for every meal of the day along with shopping lists and tips for stretching grocery dollars while still eating healthy!
- Expert advice and tips on living and eating healthy
- Includes more than 40 healthy and tasty immunity boosting recipes
- Shows you how to supercharge your immune system
If you're looking for a resource that will help you improve your overall health by eating properly and exercising to drastically improve their immunity to disease, Boosting Your Immunity For Dummies has you covered.
Part I: Getting to Know Your Immune System 7
Chapter 1: Immunity: Your Ticket to a Stronger, Longer, and Healthier Life 9
Chapter 2: Understanding the Parts and Functions of Your Immune System 19
Part II: What Happens When Your Immune System Gets Off Track 37
Chapter 3: Strengthening Your Allergy Defense System 39
Chapter 4: Autoimmune Disorders: Dealing with an Overactive Immune System 53
Chapter 5: Cancer: When the Immune System Takes a Vacation 77
Chapter 6: Immunodeficiency Disorders: When the Immune System Slows Down 93
Chapter 7: Uncovering the Influence of Immunity in Other Conditions 105
Part III: Laying the Groundwork for Super Immunity: Nutrition, Lifestyle, and Detox 117
Chapter 8: Improving Your Immunity with Nutrition 119
Chapter 9: Tapping the Immune Properties of Superfoods 149
Chapter 10: Getting an Extra Kick from Supplements and Herbs 167
Chapter 11: Living an Immunity-Friendly Lifestyle 185
Chapter 12: Exploring Detoxification to Refresh Your Immunity 205
Part IV: Cooking Up Recipes for Immunity and Wellness 219
Chapter 13: Planning and Stocking an Immunity-Friendly Kitchen 221
Chapter 14: Breakfasts to Start Your Day in a Healthy Way 237
Chapter 15: Lunches for a Midday Energy Burst 245
Chapter 16: Dinners and Side Dishes to Strengthen Your System 251
Chapter 17: Soups, Salads, and Sauces for Deep Healing and Cleansing 267
Chapter 18: Desserts and Snacks to Keep You on Track 281
Chapter 19: Tonifying Teas and Sensational Smoothies 293
Part V: The Part of Tens 303
Chapter 20: Ten Tips to Avoid Colds and Flu 305
Chapter 21: Ten Breathing Exercises for a Better Immune System 311
Chapter 22: Ten Boosting Exercises You Can Do Anywhere 319
Chapter 23: Ten Ways to Get Your Family on the Immunity Bandwagon 329
Appendix: Metric Conversion Guide 337
Dr. Wendy Warner, a board certified holistic physician, is a nationally known lecturer and teacher of integrative holistic medicine. Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, who is a go-to expert in the nutritional field, helps patients build the strongest, healthiest bodies through her family-based workshops and consulting practice (www.drkellyann.com; Twitter @drkellyann).
Temperatures are rising, the days are getting longer, and flowers are blooming, all of which means one thing: cold and flu season is finally over! If you are fortunate enough to not suffer from allergies, you might be able to pack away your tissues and medicine for awhile. But regardless of whether or not pollen and pet dander make you sneeze, it’s a good idea to continue any immunity-boosting habits you already have…and perhaps add a few tactics to your arsenal.
If you’re not sure what to do besides take vitamins and perhaps some herbal supplements, the popular For Dummies® series is here to help your immune system do some serious training…and to explain why that’s so important.
“Your health is dependent on your immune system—when it’s strong, you avoid the pitfalls of disease, and your body expresses vitality and health,” says Kellyann Petrucci, coauthor along with Wendy Warner of Boosting Your Immunity For Dummies®(Wiley, March 2013, ISBN: 978-1-1184-0200-9, $22.99). “Having your immune system operate at its best should be central in your life and the focus of your nutritional and lifestyle patterns.”
Specifically, Petrucci says, your immune system acts as a shield that protects you from ailments ranging from the common cold and the flu to skin problems, digestive issues, asthma, allergies, and serious conditions like cancer. Obviously, such an important defense system is worth protecting and enhancing. (If you’re still not convinced, a healthy immune system can also improve your sleep!)
“The immune system is highly interconnected with the rest of your body,” Petrucci shares. “And exercise can help to strengthen it. In fact, a 2008 study found that the frequency of colds among people who exercised five or more days a week was 46 percent less than in people who were mostly sedentary. The people who exercised also got fewer viral infections. These results are remarkable and show that exercise is certainly worth the effort!”
Here, Petrucci shares ten gentle exercises that will help strengthen your immune system…and even burn some calories:
Thymus Reset. Your thymus gland is a soft, flat tissue located in the upper chest under the breastbone, and it plays a big part in your immune and hormonal systems. If you feel a cold coming on, have some congestion, or feel sluggish or anxious, give the thymus reset a try. Better yet, do this exercise every day as a preventative measure or to wake your thymus for a burst of energy.
“You can do this exercise anywhere and in any position,” shares Petrucci. “It should help you feel more energized, balanced, and calm. First, place your hand on the center of your breastbone, just below the notch on your collarbones. Then, make a fist and firmly pound on this spot for about 20 seconds while breathing in and out deeply. That’s it!”
K-27 Energy Buttons. K-27 stands for kidney meridian number 27 and relates to acupressure points along what Chinese medicine calls the kidney meridian. To understand what the meridians are, Petrucci says, think of them as a transportation system. You have 12 of these transportation systems throughout your body, and each one carries energy (called chi, or qi).
Follow these steps to stimulate the K-27 points:
- Place your index fingers on the U-shaped notch at the top of the breastbone, right where a man knots his tie.
- With your fingers, follow down over your collarbone out to each side about an inch into the soft tissue to the left and right of the breastbone. The depressions you find here are your K-27 points.
- Massage both K-27 points for 20 seconds, either simultaneously or separately, and take deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Spleen Thump. “The spleen is central to the immune system,” says Petrucci. “By thumping the spleen point, you can bolster your immune system, lift your energy, and even help balance your blood sugar. Even better, it takes only a minute.”
Follow these steps to perform the spleen thump:
- Move your fingers under the center of each breast (under where a woman’s bra would end).
- Go down a rib and out about an inch or so to each side.
- Find the depression between the seventh and eighth rib.
- Bunch your fingertips together and tap both sides 30 times while breathing deeply.
Chair Pose. “You may be familiar with the chair pose if you’ve ever done yoga,” Petrucci shares. “This pose massages your organs, stretches your spine, and opens up your chest to get your oxygen flowing. This basic yoga posture is also great for strengthening the immune system.”
- Stand up straight with feet hip-width apart.
- Turn your heels a little outward and let your weight rest on your toes.
- Hang your arms downward along your body, palms facing inward towards your body.
- Inhale and stretch your arms up over your head and lengthen your spine.
- Exhale, bend your knees, and move your upper body forward to 45 degrees. Keep your back straight, and let the weight of your upper body sink into your pelvis.
- Breathe deeply five times and slowly release the pose.
Bound Bridge. “If you feel exhausted all the time, your body may be experiencing fatigue from chronic stress,” shares Petrucci. “The bound bridge yoga pose combats the burnout from constant stress. This exercise is restorative and can bring balance and energy to your body.”
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, pointing straight up, and feet on the floor. Your feet should be parallel to each other and about 6 inches apart.
- Press down with your feet and lift your hips off the ground. Keep pressing your abdomen inward toward your spine for stabilization.
- Grab your ankles with your hands. Keep your feet, arms, shoulders, and head on the ground.
- Keep your knees from drifting inward. You may place a yoga block in between them to keep them in place.
Rebounding. Rebounding is one of the best movements you can do for your immune system. It helps keep your lymphatic system, which protects the body against germs, bacteria, and viruses,healthy and in order.
“Rebounding also nourishes and cleanses all your cells for that extra dose of healing,” adds Petrucci. “The increased oxygen through deeper breathing also helps you relax, so it’s great for stress management as well. To do this exercise, you need a rebounder. Rebounders look like mini trampolines and measure about 38 to 48 inches in diameter. Most of them fold up for easy storage and can be found in most sporting goods stores.”
Start by doing this exercise three times a week for five minutes, then increase the frequency. You can even do it while listening to music or watching TV!
- Simply bounce gently on the trampoline’s surface.
- As you get accustomed to jumping and build coordination, balance, and stability, progress to lifting both feet off of the surface at the same time and lifting your knees up high or kicking your feet toward your bottom for a more intense workout.
Walking. Walking may seem like an overly simple exercise, but the value it adds to your health is often surprising. Consider this: walking helps move fluid through your lymphatic system, so your body carries healthier cells. It helps your body release white blood cells at a faster speed, helping you to have more healing power quicker. You also get increased blood flow, all of which helps stimulate your immune system.
Shaking the Tree. This is a Qigong exercise. Qigong is a martial art that teaches practitioners to sense the qi (chi) moving in their bodies. Qigong exercises can help you to relax and feel a sense of balance and focus.
“The shaking tree movement helps to gently loosen your joints, muscles, and internal organs,” says Petrucci. “It’s a great way to release tension and awaken the body at the start of the day. Be sure to breathe through the nose, calm your mind, and sense your body, breath, and qi. Keep your shoulders soft, never fully exert yourself, and keep the crown of your head straight up.”
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides.
- Start the movement from the bottom of your feet.
- Shake in an up-and-down motion.
- You can shake your arms in motion with the rest of the body or let them hang loosely at your sides.
- Breathe fully and shake for about two minutes, making the motions smaller and smaller until you stand completely still.
- Feel the continued vibrations throughout your body as your body opens and increases its blood flow.
Ragdoll Twist. “The ragdoll twist is another Qigong exercise that will improve your physical, mental, and energetic focus,” explains Petrucci. “This gentle movement moves qi through your body to relax and loosen it, helping you strengthen your health and immunity.”
- Stand with your feet parallel, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Turn your torso to the right, and at the same time, swing your arms to the right, allowing them to stay relaxed so they “flop.”
- Let your right hand tap over your kidney (lower back) as your left hand taps over your liver and gallbladder (upper right side, just under your breast).
- As you twist to the right, pivot your left foot inward on the ball of your foot.
- Repeat the same on the left side, going from right to left for about two minutes.
Cross-Crawl Pattern. When you perform a walking cross-crawl pattern, you’re activating both hemispheres of the brain. Doing this exercise on a regular basis builds stronger nerve networks. The communication between both sides of the brain becomes sharper and faster, providing you with better reasoning (brain power) and helping your body’s systems to work together more effectively, thus helping to prevent health issues.”
- Start the exercise by stimulating the K-27 energy buttons (discussed earlier), just to give your immune system a little extra boost right out of the gate.
- Bend your right leg at the knee while swinging your left arm in front of you across the centerline of your body. Touch your left elbow to your right knee.
- Bend your left leg at the knee and touch your right elbow to your left knee.
- Repeat the exercise, switching back and forth, 20 times for each leg.
“Always remember that your immune system is your shield—your most powerful protector,” concludes Petrucci. “When you discover practical tools and strategies to strengthen your immune system and put them to use, they’ll keep you healthy, lean, strong, and feeling young.”