Hello again. It’s coach Garey and we’re talking about immunity.
I promised you we were going to get to the part of this series where we talked about strengthening the immune system.
But before I do that, I do want to mention that balance is a very important concept with immunity. So why do I say that?
The immune system has this function of attacking and destroying pathogens, things that are not good for us. However, the immune system can be fooled and can be tricked into destroying you, that we call those autoimmune diseases.
Arthritis, for example, is an autoimmune disease where the immune system becomes inflamed and is trying to stamp out something that is part of who you are, namely your joints, your fingers, and your knees and your ankles and your shoulders. So that is an autoimmunity system. And in order to an autoimmune disease that we want to prevent that from happening by balancing the immune system.
When there’s something very deadly coming at you, you want all the information you can get in order to defeat that terrible virus or bacteria or whatever it is in order to survive that, right?
However, once the attack is over, it’s time to call those troops back. You don’t leave those. You don’t leave the army in the field after the battle’s won. They need to go home, go back to the barracks, take a break, take some rest and enjoy life again. And that’s what you want to do.
And we’ve learned this through COVID that the immune system can be strong and against this virulent virus, but at the point that the immune system kills the virus, and there’s a lot of debris lying around, the immune system may continue this what’s called a cytokine storm in which the body becomes subject to the inflammation in the lungs especially. And that’s where we want to really learn about balance and when’s the time to bolster the immune system and when is the time to call the troops off and bring them home and settle things down again.
Back to strengthening the immune system, when you’re not sick, you want to strengthen your immune system.
How do you do that?
We talked about mental state, exercise, diet, and sleep. Let’s talk about your diet. We want to talk about our gut and eating healthy food is obviously the way to go, getting adequate sleep, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Now, if you’re not exercising at all, of course, you take it slow. You check with your medical team, make sure that you have a proper routine designed for you. And it can be a 10-minute walk a day to get started, which will turn into a 20-minute walk.
Then, when the birds are singing and the sky is blue, you might even walk for 30 minutes. So those are all really important step-by-step getting up to a level of exercise where you’re actually burning the calories that are in excess in your supply in your body.
Then, if you exercise properly, you’re going to sleep better, right?
You’re going to sleep better. So that’s the first place where we want to strengthen the immune system. And of course, we want to eat a balanced diet.
What does that mean?
Leave the junk food aside. If you’re going to partake in some junk food just because we’re human and that stuff tastes pretty good, let’s say 90% whole foods, 10% snacks or whatever that you may want to enjoy as so-called comfort food. But a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes. What are legumes? Legumes are beans, garbanzo beans, baked beans. Those types of legumes are really, really good for you, and I’ll tell you why in a minute. And nuts. We want to probably not eat so much red meat and instead eat fish a couple of times a week. Stay away from the refined carbohydrates, that’s the white flour, the white sugar. Anything that’s white is going to be detrimental to you because it’s very starchy. It burns very quickly. It increases and excites the glycemic load in your body, and that is where the trouble begins.
They say that disease begins in the gut and it’s basically self-inflicted. What we put in our mouths is what happens to us, right? We become the result of the decisions that we make. Everything I just described to you can be summarized in a phrase called the Mediterranean diet. That’s the way people my age should be eating. At least, to begin with, you can go in different directions with that. Some people do keto, some people do vegan. You can go in different directions and get all the things that you need.