Many folks, following random information they read on the web, often think about their immune system as an afterthought.
Meaning… the sickness occurs, whatever it is, and then they attempt to stimulate their immune system into action to fend off that particular ailment.
They’ll use some type of immune-enhancing food like garlic or an herb like Echinacea (which are both great choices), and then hope for the healing. Because, after all… food is medicine, right?
But, that’s not necessarily the smartest way to support your immunity.
A Harvard Medical School study says, “Walk into a store, and you will find bottles of pills and herbal preparations that claim to support immunity or otherwise boost the health of your immune system. Although some preparations have been found to alter some components of immune function, thus far there is no evidence that they actually bolster immunity to the point where you are better protected against infection and disease.”
It’s not the “immune boosting supplement” or “energy enhancer” that actually boosts your immunity and protects you against infection and disease.
For that, we need to look deeper.
First, let’s get to know the immune system, it’s relationship to the lymphatic system, and their relationship to the water element in the body.
The immune system is the body’s protection and creates B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes and NK cells (killer cells). The lymphatic system, loaded with lymphocytes, plus macrophages, filters out foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses and cancer cells. All of our bodily tissues are bathed in interstitial fluid that releases from the blood vessels. That fluid is collected, along with cellular waste, and cleaned in the lymph nodes and then recycled back to the blood.
The human body is a very well designed system.
The lymphatic and immune systems are intricately entwined and cannot function healthfully without each other.
But, before we think too long about these two inseparable systems, let’s dive a little deeper.
The lymph is comprised of mostly water (as is the whole human body), plus protein molecules, glucose, urea and the disease fighting white blood cells.
According to ancient medicine, our water element supports ALL physical processes in our body, and is ruled by the kidneys. Our kidneys are also responsible for the bones and the bone marrow. Interestingly, B lymphocytes come from the bone marrow.
The interstitial fluid that bathes and surrounds the tissues cells, travels through the lymph and is mostly water.
That being said, to support your immune system it is absolutely essential that we nourish the water element to ensure that everything flows smoothly.
I’ll give you an easy analogy…
Let’s say you have a trained army (immune system) that is ready to fight invaders. But, the only way for them to get to the battle zone is to travel by boat through a waterway (the lymphatic system). If that waterway is congested and filled with excess debris, your army is going to struggle to get where it needs to go. And, if the waterway is not at high tide, the boat carrying them will get stuck in the mud (so to speak).
Supporting immunity essentially depends on whether or not the water in your body can carry the immune cells where they need to go. Water is also needed to clean and clear waste from the system, and it carries nutrients to the cells.
I cannot emphasize enough how important water (and the water element) is to human health and immunity.
“Depending on the life history of an organism, osmotic state may have a greater influence on immune function than energy availability.”
Osmosis is the primary means by which water is transported into and out of the cells. This means you could have all the energy in the world, but if your not sufficiently hydrated your immune system could be in big trouble.
Now is the best time to support your immune system by nourishing your water element BEFORE an illness shows up. This way you are better prepared to put up a good fight with whatever sickness that sails into your harbor.
Here are 3 simple things you can do right now to nourish your water element and support both your lymphatic and immune systems:
- Drink water: This is a no brainer. Your body, and your lymphatic system, is comprised mostly of water. If you are dehydrated, you are going to experience compromised immunity.
- Eat high water content foods: this includes all fruits, many different types of vegetables, as well as the ultimate watery-food… seaweed. High water content food also includes soups (bean soup, chicken soup, broth/stock, etc.). And, let’s not forget about tea. A warm cup of brewed tea is a great delivery system for healing herbs that can boost your immunity (red clover, burdock root, astragalus, ginger, mushrooms, chamomile, ginseng, licorice).
- Move your water (body): Not weekly, not monthly, daily. The lymph doesn’t have an automatic pump like the heart. To clear debris from the lymph and help your immune system function better you have to move your body. Jumping, running, or vigorous walking: just do it! It’ll make the difference between a clear flowing mountain stream, or a stagnant puddle in the middle of a dirty sidewalk. Which type of water do you want on the inside of you?
These are simple and easy things you can do right now to support your immunity so you can live a happier and healthier life.
Now, get moving!
 Anatomica – The Complete Home Medical Reference, Ken Ashwell BMedSc, MBBS, Phd, Firefly Books, 2010, Pgs.79-85
Andrea Beaman is a internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching individuals and health practitioners how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.