The best offence is a good defence. Dr Ilene Ruhoy, neurologist and integrative medicine practitioner, tells us how to fight back when illness threatens to strike.
WelleCo (W): What is one thing we need to know about immunity?
Dr Ruhoy (DR): That immunity is complex. There is innate and acquired immune responses and both can be affected by many factors including diet, exposures, sleep, and stress.
W: When are we most likely to need a little extra immune support?
DR: We are most susceptible in the early evening when cortisol levels are naturally dropping.
W: What are the vital nutrients that our immune systems love?
DR: Vitamin C, of course, is crucial. Most people know it’s in oranges - did you know that red peppers have more vitamin C than oranges? We need Vitamin C for immunity, but also other flavonoids. That means citrus fruits, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, cruciferous greens, and pineapple, which also has bromelain are very important for the immune system.
W: Can the immune system really bounce back?
DR: As long as we do not have an immune system-affecting disease or are on any medications that suppress our immune systems, we have the ability to restore our immune system function.
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W: What is your personal first line of defence when colds start to strike?
DR: If I feel a cold coming on, I’ll juice turmeric, ginger, kale, parsley, lemon, cucumber and add a dropperful of goldenseal, echinacea, and elderberry as well as green powder.
W: How do you look after your immune system when flying?
DR: If I’m travelling, I’ll bring a large jar of my juice and take vitamin supplements of berberine, lysine, N-acetylcysteine, and CoQ10 for mitochondrial support. I do not eat on planes, except for snacks I bring myself. I will often fast, as fasting allows energy to be used to support immunity instead of being diverted to the GI tract for digestion.
W: What do you personally do if a cold suddenly gets worst?
DR: A cold is usually viral so there is no need for antibiotics. I recover from a cold with my juice, extra hydration, infrared, lymphatic drainage massage, sleep, and a hot shower.
W: What is one of the perks of a having a strong immune system?
DR: My patients often think a cold is a sign of a weak immune system, but infectious symptoms are a sign your immune system is fighting a microbial assault. It is strong enough to mount a response and will only get stronger with the challenge!
ELLE MACPHERSON LOVES
“To detox, I have my own Therasage Personal Infra-Red Sauna at home that I use often for detoxing the body, strengthening the immune system and for glowing skin. It’s amazing! It communicates full-spectrum wavelengths, which are both deeply penetrating and highly therapeutic for improved blood circulation, natural detoxification and increased metabolic rate,” says Elle.