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3 Reasons Your Immune System May Not Help You This Flu Season

Nurses General Nursing Article   posted

Specializes in Leadership Development.

Do you get caught every flu season with a cold or sinus problem? Our immune system is designed to handle the pollens and bugs that cycle through the seasons provided it has your support. This article shares 3 reasons your immune system may be up to the challenge of cold and flu season.

3 Reasons Your Immune System May Not Help You This Flu Season
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With Ebola in the news and the flu season upon us, I wanted to share some information about the immune system. It is and always will be your best defense against disease.

The immune system is your defense against anything that seeks to attack the body. It is your defense against bacteria, viruses, fungus and even cancer. It will respond to environmental allergies as well as allergies from food.

This brings us to the first reason your immune system may not protect you this flu season and that is because of diet.

1. S.A.D.: Standard American Diet

The typical diet is 75% processed with an overdose of sugar in food and drinks. The intake of sugar is actually at pharmaceutical doses contributing to major disease. Did you know the United States is number 1 in the world for Chronic Degenerative Disease? The US spends more money than any other on Diets and Diet products. In fact, the amount spent nationally on diets has more than doubled from $30 billion in 1992 to over $70 billion today.

And Americans eat more sugar than anywhere else in the world with most people consuming over 200 pounds of sugar per year.

Food is the major "go to" for stress relief and portions have tripled in the last 10 years. As food and drink have supersized, it is a set up for weight gain and Diabesity. A Happy Meal, about 590 calories, used to be an adult size portion. Today you can supersize your way to fast food heaven and take in over 1500 calories in one meal.

With 70% of the population overweight, and eating a processed food diet, it isn't really surprising that Diabetes and Heart Disease are showing up in younger and younger people. It doesn't take 20 years for adult-onset diabetes anymore.

Fast food sets up its own cravings and vicious cycle. The most rushed you are and the more you give in to this diet, the more sugar and fat you crave. Your immune system needs minerals and water. Your gut needs fiber. The ideal diet should actually be 60% vegetables.

A simple solution to start cleaning up your diet is to add in an apple a day. Next, add in salads. One day a week eat only fruits and vegetables and drink water. This will begin to re-mineralize your body and provide the needed hydration. A fast food diet high in sugars has dramatically decreased the amount of water people take in leading to dehydration. Without water, your body cannot eliminate toxins, lubricate joints and support healthy mucus membranes.

Food today has become entertainment, comfort and even love and really doesn't provide the nutrients or fuel for the body to do what it needs to do to support optimal health.

The S.A.D., Standard American Diet is pretty sad lacking the very nutrients to support the primary function of the gut; the ability to digest and absorb nutrients out of food. This brings us to the number 2 reason your immune system may not protect you.

2. 80% of your immune function comes from your gut

With all that sugar consumed, most of which is in the form of high fructose corn syrup, you are at risk for leaky gut. Leaky gut results when the lining of the intestine becomes damaged, inflamed and permeable (porous) releasing undigested foods, bacteria, fungus, and other foreign invaders into the sterile environment of the bloodstream. As these toxins move through the bloodstream the immune system is triggered causing generalized inflammation that contributes to many chronic conditions. Depression, joint pain, Crohn's disease, food allergies, eczema, psoriasis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and more can result from leaky gut.

The heavily processed diet also includes trans fats, additives, excitotoxins, flavor enhancers along with modified gluten, all known to cause inflammation and damage to the gut lining. Add to this a lack of fiber and water and your gut builds up mucus in the digestive tract (which includes the sinuses) leading also to an imbalance in the ratio of healthy to unhealthy bacteria causing candida and yeast overgrowth.

As your gut becomes compromised so does your immune system putting you at risk for increased allergic reactions and ultimately autoimmune conditions.

The reason so many people are eating fast food is because stress has become chronic. This brings us to the 3rd reason your immune system may not protect you from the flu.

3. Chronic stress suppresses immune function

Making changes to your diet may first have to start with managing your stress. They both go hand in hand and a poor diet adds to the stress response as much as increased stress sets up the cravings for a fast food diet.

When your body goes into sympathetic overdrive, all blood is shunted away from your digestive system and your immune system and sent to your muscles so you can fight or flee. This primitive, survival instinct is triggered with real and imagined threats. The more you ruminate and worry, the greater you set up this chronic stress reaction.

There are other reasons the immune system is compromised today like overuse of antibiotics and germicidal hand gels, but these 3 reasons are the biggest. Start with a simple fix and drink more water, next add in an apple and then begin to eat more vegetables. Every meal is a choice and a chance to support overall health which includes an immune system that is designed to protect you from colds and flu.

Mentor to Healthcare Leaders; from US Specialty: 36 year(s) of experience in Leadership Development

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Excellent article! I think it is like 63% of the body's seratonin is stored in the gut. If people took the time to sit down and read about food, vitamins, etc and how theybtravel through our body--how they affect our brains, they would start paying attention to what they eat, what they consume, etc. Also, the research on how stress affects our bodies is shocking! I used to get sick constantly amongst a host of other things (digestive issues, etc). I nerded out on molecular biology for like a month. Now that I eat better and learned stress management techniques, I maybe get a cold once per year, if that, and it only lasts for a few days.

Even a 10% drop in water levels causes all sorts of cognitive deficits (fatigue, lack of concentration, etc). Thanks for writing this!

Cynthiahowardrnphd

Specializes in Leadership Development.

valliloves sounds like you know your stuff! Let's both spread the word that food really is the best medicine!

Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health.

Does this mean you are against the flu shot? Should the victims of the 1918 flu pandemic have eaten organic food?

Does this mean you are against the flu shot? Should the victims of the 1918 flu pandemic have eaten organic food?

I didn't read that at all. However, it is saying exactly what the health science needs to wake up to. There is more to making people well and keeping them well, then just giving people meds.

Does this mean you are against the flu shot? Should the victims of the 1918 flu pandemic have eaten organic food?

I don't think that's what she's saying at all; you seem to have taken her suggestions way out of left field. There is no mention of diet as being a replacement of flu shots or other medical care. The article is pointing out ways that WE have control over improving our overall health and well being to reduce the chance of getting sick. It's important that this article was written and focuses on diet and stress because a lot of the time people don't engage in preventative measures and end up getting sick, when a lot of times it can be avoided.

I don't think that's what she's saying at all; you seem to have taken her suggestions way out of left field. There is no mention of diet as being a replacement of flu shots or other medical care. The article is pointing out ways that WE have control over improving our overall health and well being to reduce the chance of getting sick. It's important that this article was written and focuses on diet and stress because a lot of the time people don't engage in preventative measures and end up getting sick, when a lot of times it can be avoided.

Then they complain that the vac didn't work.

Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health.

Healthy eating is not the panacea it's often presented as. Lots of people eat healthy and still get sick.

Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health.

I don't think that's what she's saying at all; you seem to have taken her suggestions way out of left field. There is no mention of diet as being a replacement of flu shots or other medical care. The article is pointing out ways that WE have control over improving our overall health and well being to reduce the chance of getting sick. It's important that this article was written and focuses on diet and stress because a lot of the time people don't engage in preventative measures and end up getting sick, when a lot of times it can be avoided.

There's no mention of the flu shot all all, but there are claims that the immune system can protect against cancer. This reads like something from Natural News, which is not known for scientific fact.

There's no mention of the flu shot all all, but there are claims that the immune system can protect against cancer. This reads like something from Natural News, which is not known for scientific fact.

There is literally no mention of cancer in the article either so...

Healthy eating is not the panacea it's often presented as. Lots of people eat healthy and still get sick.

Why am I hearing bells and seeing pictures of scurvy and oranges??

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

Take the flu out of this article and it's just offers possible remedies for an improved healthy lifestyle. No harm in that.

Interesting article. And just for the record, I'm usually the first one in line for my flu vax!

Generic information. As far as # 2.. support your immune system with 25 billion CFU of probiotics daily.

Please provide answers, not more questions.

Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health.

There is literally no mention of cancer in the article either so...

The immune system is your defense against anything that seeks to attack the body. It is your defense against bacteria, viruses, fungusand even cancer. It will respond to environmental allergies as well as allergies from food.

This article rings alarm bells for me because Delta ran a series of in-flight videos 3 years ago about ways to fight the flu. They mentioned Vitamin C, stress reduction, exercise, and hand washing. The flu vaccine wasn't mentioned until the last third of the video, with lots of emphasis on side effects, mercury, and aluminum. The videos turned out to be the work of an antivaccine organization.

This article is not specifically about the flu. Go back and read the article description and article contents.

Great article! Healthy minds, healthy habits, and healthy foods are important for healthy bodies.

This article rings alarm bells for me because Delta ran a series of in-flight videos 3 years ago about ways to fight the flu. They mentioned Vitamin C, stress reduction, exercise, and hand washing. The flu vaccine wasn't mentioned until the last third of the video, with lots of emphasis on side effects, mercury, and aluminum. The videos turned out to be the work of an antivaccine organization.

I'm not getting that from this article. Maybe the title was a little misleading (to draw readers in?), but I'm not seeing this at all.

I vote this article of the year!

You are spot on! I love that you are spreading awareness, I wish the medical community would realize that diet plays an important role in health. I know some understand, but not enough!

I'm just going to leave this here...

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/leaky-gut-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx

While I am a firm believer in the lethal potential of leaky gut in septic/Ards/mods pts, I remain extremely skeptical of claims that gluten and sugar cause all of our ills.

I'm also saddened and dismayed by the fact that people want to package common sense lifestyle as a "cure all" for everything including cancer and autism.

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