Researchers are uncovering fascinating things about the ways the different systems in your body — particularly the immune system — work together. It appears that your immune system is far more influential and interconnected to the goings-on in the rest of your body — and mind — than ever realized… perhaps even your personality.
The rapidly developing field of neuroimmunology continues to reveal surprises about a special relationship between your immune system and your neurological health. And those findings are leading to advancements in treating Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, depression and many other conditions.
But one study from University of Virginia Medical School suggests that the immune system actually influences your social life. These findings have raised fundamental questions about human behavior and personality traits, and are leading to new discoveries in the treatment of autism and other disorders. In fact, researchers say that our individual immunological response to pathogens may be at the foundation of who we are.
Based on the findings of this study, it’s interesting to note that nutrition plays a major role in social bonding, as well as in building a strong immune system and nourishing neurological health.
There are numerous immune-boosting superfoods that have been shown to support the immune system and neurological health in a variety of different ways. Here are just a few…
Burdock root contains inulin, a prebiotic compound that supports healthy bacterial populations in the gut, promotes immunity and stabilizes blood sugar. These benefits are also important for a balanced nervous system. Burdock root is great for soups and salads.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale, contain vitamin C, beta-carotene, zinc and selenium. In addition to boosting immunity, they also contain a compound called DIM, which can help modulate hormone metabolism.
Chia seeds are high in protein and rich in antioxidants, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. They also support glucose metabolism and promote sustained energy.
Garlic contains a sulfur compound called allicin, which has been shown to fight off pathogens and also supports circulation and cardiovascular health.
Green tea contains two powerful compounds: EGCG and L-Theanine. ECGC protect cells against damage. L-Theanine helps the immune system fight foreign invaders and promotes a sense of balance between calm inner peace and mental alertness. Together these two compounds provide a potent one-two punch, as well as a tasty beverage.
Mushrooms, such as shiitake and maitake contain beta glucans, vitamin D and other important compounds that support immune cell function. Mushrooms also function as adaptogens to help support the body against stress.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, an important mineral for immune and neurological health.
Exercise and stress relief
The immune system loves activity. Study after study has shown that exercise, ranging from boot camp to a brisk walk through the neighborhood, offers powerful support for immunity, as well as cognitive health, emotional balance, and much more.
On the other hand, stress detracts from the immune response. Hormones like adrenaline and cortisol tend to refocus the body’s energy away from immunity, yet another example of the intricate connections between the immune system, neurological and hormonal health.
To counter the effects of daily stress and offer powerful support for immunity, cognitive and emotional health, and much more, I recommend adopting a daily mindfulness practice. Ten minutes of meditation can make a world of difference. Moving meditations, such as yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong bring nurturing physical activity into the practice and offer a powerful opportunity for mind-body healing.
There are a number of botanicals and supplements that boost immunity. Medicinal mushrooms have long been known for their immune-supportive qualities. I particularly recommend a formula which blends six medicinal mushrooms that are grown on a blend of immune-supporting herbs, which fortifies the mushrooms for powerful, fast-acting immune support during colds and flus or conditions that involve suppressed immunity or ongoing stress.
A good complement for medicinal mushrooms is modified citrus pectin (MCP), which also supports immunity, as well as providing gentle detoxification for heavy metals and other toxins. Modified citrus pectin is readily absorbed by the body, and is shown in numerous studies to keep cells healthy, support normal heart health, and maintain the health of many other organs and systems in your body. Plus, it helps maintain normal inflammatory response, and supports a healthy immune response.
The immune system is infinitely complex and touches nearly every aspect of our being. Researchers continue to expand what we know about its intricate workings, but this doesn’t mean things get more complicated for us. On the contrary, it empowers us so that we are more aware of the healthy choices we can make to support numerous areas of health all at once. These can give us body-wide benefits that don’t just maintain health, but give us optimal health.