Google is full of advice. Helpful lists pop up, but do they work? Not really. Why? Because immune system is more complicated than a slice of ginger or a clove or garlic.
Honey and lemon trick may work for sore throat, but they don’t boost the immune system. This is where you have to distinguish between infections and weak immune system. They are not the same.
When infection isn’t a sign of a weak immune system
Foods that boost the immune system aren’t those that help with infection at hand, but those that help the body fight infections for many years to come. It’s not that lemon honey tea you’ve been sipping all day long, but foods that ward off recurring colds, autumn flu, and any time cancer. These are the foods that you are looking for, foods that boost the immune system in its entirety.
There isn’t one food formula for everyone. Apples and avocados may be a great help for Jane’s recurring colds, but John may go for foods that boost immune Yang forces, like cinnamon or beef. Or maybe the magic for Lola’s immune system lies in choosing foods high in antioxidants or foods high in immune-boosting cholesterol.
Fever isn’t a sign of a weak immune system
Don’t make this common mistake: just because you have a fever, does not mean you have a weak immune system! The opposite, a lack of infection should make you suspicious.
So do you have a weak immune system? If yes, what type of boost do you need? The immediate one to resolve your cold or flu right away, or the other one that makes your immune system resilient to any virus, autoimmunity, and cancer?
How to distinguish strong from weak immune system
There is one major difference between strong and weak immune system. Strong immune system excels in fighting. It can kill bugs, viruses, bacteria, and fungi. It can also remove toxins and prevent cancer spread.
Weak immune system cannot do that. It has difficulty getting rid of pathogens, unwanted microbes, and toxins floating around in the blood stream. Weak immune system has low fighting powers. It fights, but ineffectively. Recurring colds is just one of the signs of weak defenses.
Inflammation, not a bad thing after all
Inflammation isn’t a sign of weak immune system either. Consider this example. You work in a kitchen and suddenly cut yourself. What happens? Obviously, not nothing!
A gap in your finger is a great threat to your well being and the immune system knows that. Within a few seconds any nasty bacteria can creep up the cut and cause infection. Not good!
But the immune system does not sleep. It sends the signal to platelets. They thicken blood at the site. A clot forms and seals the entry. Great! But that’s not enough!
But just to make sure that the cut heals well, the immune system sends white and red blood cells to the finger, sometimes as a precaution, sometimes for a real fight. Your finger swells, gets red, hot, and painful. It’s inflamed. But that’s good. Inflammation is a sign your immune system is fighting. Nothing to worry about. The swollen stub will go away when the danger goes away.
Weak immune system lack inflammatory powers
Think what would happen to your finger without inflammation. There would be no clot, no white or red blood cells fighting for you. Your cut will remain open, bacteria would get in and take over your entire body!
Now lets swap bacteria for viruses. And a finger cut for a flu. What happens when a virus gets into your body? It’s better be inflammation! Hopefully the immune reaction will be specific, quick, and strong and remove the virus without much damage to the rest of the body.
Fevers boost the immune system
Don’f fall for the myth that fever is bad and fever means weak immune system. This cannot be further from the truth. Fever is nothing else but a sign of body defending itself.
Fever means the body is fighting. And the higher the fever the more intense the battle. People who “never get sick” (but don’t feel well) aren’t in their best health. Is their immune system even working?
Meanwhile getting an occasional flu (with fever) have benefits. Fevers are cancer-protective. It’s because cancer cells are heat sensitive and die in temperatures normal cells are able to survive.
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Inflammation and foods that boost immune system
You can see that strong immune system is the one that can produce strong inflammation. Thus, you may want to boost immune system by boosting its inflammatory powers.
That’s right. The foods that boost immune system belong to a pro-inflammatory variety. These foods, contrary to popular belief, do not cause inflammation. They only add inflammatory fire after the body decided on starting inflammation.
Foods like butter, eggs, and beef, have been proclaimed by most dietitians and doctors as pro-inflammatory. But pro-inflammatory nickname is a big mistake. These foods should be called inflammation-strengtheners to imply that they don’t cause, but contribute to inflammation when the body needs it. Chicken soup works just like that.
So, which are the best foods that boost the immune system and make inflammation more powerful? The ones that contain saturated fats.
Saturated fat doesn’t cause inflammation
Saturated fat is not junk food, yet somehow it ended up with a bad pro-inflammatory reputation. It’s because of our sloppy researchers that mixed up home-made steaks with processed sausages.
This mix-up causes big issues. Instead of avoiding junk food, we avoid immune strengthening foods. Consider this. If saturated fat is so pro-inflammatory then anybody who eats a burger would end up with high fever and swollen joints. Exactly! I see you laughing.
Saturated fat does not “cause” inflammation. It’s not malicious. It only provides specific nutrients that the body will use during inflammation to fight with bacteria or remove waste.
Inflammation has a pattern
Did you know that a strong immune system cycles daily between two phases: pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory? The pro-inflammatory phase happens at night. This is when fevers run high and pain is more pronounced. This phase ends in the morning as the body switches into an anti-inflammatory phase.
These two cycles and the diurnal rhythm is the hallmark of strong defenses. You want to preserve the cycling, because you want to have a strong immune system. The last thing you want is to stop the inflammatory phase, just because it annoys you.
Suppressing body defenses will only make the symptoms linger longer and increase the likelihood of developing chronic conditions. Research shows that suppressing fever during infection prolongs the illness, so does popping anti-inflammatories to avoid discomfort. Discomfort is a natural part of inflammation, so be prepared if you want to have a strong immune system.
Strong immune system cycles
A strong immune system constantly alternates between the ups and downs of the inflammatory cycle. A weak one is stuck in one of the phases.
Here is one way to tell whether your body cycles appropriately or got stuck in one of the phases.
- You are stuck in the inflammatory phase if you are in pain day and night. You need more foods that boost the immune system via antioxidant pathways.
- You are stuck in anti-inflammatory phase if you feel weak and get no fevers. You need more foods that boost the immune system via inflammation pathway.
To learn more about your own immune system design, and to learn which foods and supplements are best in your case, pick up a copy of Ousting Sniffles. It’s a great book that will take you through a step-by-step process of building powerful defenses. But now, let’s get back to foods that boost the immune system. When should you include saturated fats?
Include saturated fats if…
Include saturated fats if you suffer from recurrent colds, frequent chills, lack of fevers and lack of stamina. Add eggs and butter and other foods that boost immune system in your diet. Every weak immune system needs foods that strengthen.
Under no circumstances be afraid of saturated fats if your cholesterol is normal or low, (but not due to meds), your blood pressure is normal or low, (but not due to meds) and you are not on anti-inflammatory medications.
Below are four examples of foods that boost the immune system. Use them. They will help strengthen your immune system and speed up detoxification process. With the help of those immune- and energy-boosting foods your body will able to break the vicious cycle of chill-cold-fatigue.
- Coconut oil
- Butter and ghee
- Lard and tallow
- Eggs and egg yolks
When eggs aren’t for you
Saturated fat is great for building the immune system, but obviously it is not for everyone.
If you are chronically inflamed with persistent aches and pains, high blood pressure and raging cholesterol you want to include fats that have the immuno-modulating, rather than “pro-inflammatory” effect.
If you are stuck in inflammatory phase, stick to coconut oil, and very important… find the underlying source of your inflammation.
Inflammation isn’t there, because something went wrong and your body is confused. Inflammation is there because there is something in your body that shouldn’t be. Inflammation is there to remove it. Help it. Don’t suppress it. If you do, your body will be suck in the pro-inflammatory mode until a complete exhaustion.
Do you want to get healthier? Start by testing your food smarts