A common question that is brought up in our monthly visits to the doctor is “How to support our immune system in being more effective?”
And this is a legitimately great question, especially now with so much concern over communicable diseases.
The immune system is a system, and because of that, we indeed have to be very careful how we treat and nurture it.
Not that it doesn’t do a great job on its own, but there are quite a few intricacies that can definitely help it in being more effective, as well as support. Let’s explore one that I partake in every day by exploring the benefits of apple a day.
Science hasn’t yet determined whether the benefits of an apple a day can help you enhance your immune system…
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know a couple of tips on how to improve it through proper lifestyle choices. As we know and have learned our immune system is primarily housed in our digestive tract. This means that what we eat, and how we digest, and assimilate nutrients will be key to our overall health and wellbeing, especially with our immune system.
Researchers are exploring the effects of diet, age, exercise, and psychological stress on the immune system of both men and animals. And although the benefits of eating an apple a day are not widely explored, we do know that eating fruits, vegetables, and a high fiber diet is key to keeping our bodies well.
So let’s see what they have to say about boosting your first line of defense against germs and viruses, starting with the most important first, shall we?
Your Lifestyle Choices
We all know what a healthy lifestyle looks like, but we often forget to follow the simple rules that could help us preserve our immunity.
Every part and system of the body| functions better when we protect it from outside factors, especially those that are a part of our lifestyle choices.
Things like drinking alcohol, smoking, and getting stressed out are often the gateway to different turbulence in the body. Without a healthy lifestyle, we often will not be able to maintain a healthy body.
Many of these habits, unlike the benefits of apple a day, can affect your way of life, eating habits, exercise regimens, and others.
The results of an unhealthy lifestyle especially for a long period of time most commonly being becoming overweight, lowered brain activity, heart, and lung complications, not getting enough sleep, and many others.
Many drug store products such as supplements offer a supposed boost in strengthening immunity, but that may not always be good. Remember a supplement is designed to supplement a healthy diet and not replace one.
There are just too many cells with a concrete job to respond to so many microbes and viruses in so many ways.
So ultimately, it would probably be best to stick to a healthy lifestyle first, before you think about using any proclaimed “magical” supplements for your immune system. Remember there is no magic, only what you do consistently deliberately over a long period of time.
This brings up another question here.
Does Age Matter?
Age matters a lot when it comes to your body and its immune system, yes! Not sure if the benefits of eating an apple a day help over the years as you age, but surely the additional fiber cannot hurt you. Many scientists agree that with age comes a decrease in cell production and that is mainly because with time (and habits) a certain set of degenerative processes set in. This is called oxidative stress, which is why eating lots of antioxidants such as berries is so helpful.
For example, the decrease in T cells (a type of white blood cell) is most probably caused by thymus atrophy.
Other scientists suggest that the less efficient bone marrow is a significant cause because it decreases the production of stem cells.
Another age-related threat is malnutrition, which is why understanding proper nutrition is key. It is important to eat adequate macronutrients of proteins, fats, as well as carbohydrates. Proteins are especially important.
The so-called “micronutrient malnutrition” is what happens when our bodies can’t possibly receive the needed amount of nutrients to function correctly.
This is usually the case with people in their late 60 but can happen at any age, especially with the advent of crash dieting. Eating a consistent lifestyle diet is key to ensuring adequate nutrients.
Nevertheless, there is chronological age (years that pass) and biological age (how those years pass).
That is to say, a healthy lifestyle is a must in the context of looking and being younger than you actually are! I would suggest the benefits of apple a day may not be an anti-aging tool, but it most certainly can help with the antioxidant, antiproliferative, and cell signaling effects.
Diets, Vitamins, And What Not
Many people have it in their heads that skipping on your vegetables and substituting them with multivitamins is a good idea.
Well… It’s not.
The immune system is tightly dependent on food intake: the right foods, the right amount, and diversity to ensure getting adequate nutrition.
Taking a handful of vitamins to boost your iodine, zinc, or Vitamins A to E is just shoving down supplements that your body cannot process the way it can from food, given that the food is of good quality. Especially since the world of supplementation is like the wild wild west. You never know what you are getting, and if the nutrients listed on the bottle are healthy for you.
Not only pills but herbs too aren’t a sure success story for the strength of our immunity. Herbs are medicine, so it is important to take only what you need when otherwise you could be doing more harm than good.
Yes, they can help a bit, but not in the magical way we rely on when drinking our herbal teas. I still stand by the benefits of eating an apple a day as the body will not be offended when you take in food into the system.
At this point, we all know that eating an apple a day won’t keep the doctor away, although it is your way of doing YOUR part in your healthcare. If you do not heal your lifestyle, there is little a doctor can do for you. A doctor is just a guide or a teacher for you.
Nowadays, it seems like there are too many other factors to account for to maintain good health and prevent disease. Every person is an individual and unique. There is never a size fit approach for someone’s healthcare. It is deeply individualized, which is why we take over 350 data points on each individual case. This is so we can identify the root cause of the person’s health complaint efficiently as well as guide them through the process of healing. Our job as a doctor is to educate and teach people what they need to do to get well.
However, if you take some time each morning or evening to enjoy the benefits of eating an apple a day with breakfast or dinner, you can be sure that your body is getting at least one of its daily requirements.
Rest assured, though, the word “apple” here is just a metaphor – It goes to show that what you eat MATTERS! Eat trash and you will get the trash. Eat healthy foods and indeed that is what you will gain.
Be mindful of what foods you put (and don’t) in your body and keep in mind that this is what will, to a big extent, determine your overall health. There is scientific evidence that a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables can help aid health as well as protect against chronic diseases. Apples are among the most frequently consumed fruit, are available all year round in most climates, and are a rich source of polyphenols and fiber.
Fuel your body right, and it will thank you!
7 Ways to Support Your Immune System
10 Tips for Picky Eaters To Sneak Some Extra Fruits And Vegetables
Healthy Eating Tips From Dr. Erica Steele