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Increasing your resistance

Increasing your resistance

Ill-health is not inevitable, but we’re all prone to everyday ailments which can sap energy and make us feel low – especially in the colder seasons. Find out how to build your own resistance and enjoy better health generally.
Resistance is the term we use to sum up the way the body repels infection and ‘catching’ illnesses. Naturally, resistance develops because of the environment we live in and the people we share our lives with, but since we’re all out and about more, in contact with many people we don’t know, and likely to be in environments which sap body resources, we may need to put more effort into maintaining resistance.

Why do we need resistance?

During the colder months of the year, colds and illnesses prey more on those with weaker resistance. But throughout the year a good immune system is a prerequisite for good health.

Having a cold or minor illness is part of life. Occasional sickness can even help to increase natural resistance, which is why children often seem to go from one cold to another in their early years. Their body is building its own defences, step by step.

But in busy adult lives there is often no time to be ill. Most people who experience common ailments like colds, digestive upsets and headaches don’t take time ‘off sick’ to recover. The result is usually a cold that hangs around, or an illness that doesn’t seem to clear up, leaving you off-colour for much longer. Good natural resistance not only ensures that you get sick less often, but also that any bouts of ill-health are of short duration and less severe. A good resistance also helps faster recovery.

Resistance is useful

What is popularly called resistance refers to our immune system, a complex network of antibodies and organs, including the white blood cells, the lymph nodes and the spleen, which work together to keep up resistance levels throughout the body.

You could regard this system as a border guard that repels harmful elements such as viruses, bacteria and fungi. Because of this system, the body can develop antibodies, which match the potentially harmful pathogen and deactivate it. The immune system is a highly complex and efficient system, always developing new resistance mechanisms. Without it, you would constantly be sick.

What are the causes of low resistance?

Some people become sick more often than others, and they’re described as having ‘low resistance’. The main causes of a low resistance are:
  1. Stress
  2. Sleep deprivation
  3. Insufficiently recovering from an earlier illness
  4. Unbalanced diet
  5. Pregnancy or nursing a new baby
  6. Smoking and drinking excessive alcohol
  7. Lack of exercise
  8. Certain medications, such as chemotherapy
  9. Diseases affecting the immune system, such as AIDS
  10. Congenital disorders of the white blood cells or other elements of the immune system

You can build your own resistance

From the list above, you can see that, although there are some factors you can’t control, there is a strong link between your resistance and your lifestyle. The good news is that you can do a lot to help yourself – don’t wait until the next cold strikes but start today with these tips.

1. I feel good!

Blocked emotions don’t help your resistance. It sounds like a cliché, but laughter and feeling comfortable in your own skin will strengthen your immune system. That means you can do things you enjoy, and let yourself enjoy them!

2. Rest and regularity

Good daily rhythms really help your immune system. Get enough rest and make sure you have adequate sleep. Even in a very active body the immune system needs rest to function properly.

3. Scrap smoking and cut down drinking

Both smoking and excessive drinking will undermine your body and your immune system. An occasional glass of something can, of course, enhance your enjoyment of life, but still keep the quantities moderate. Some alcoholic drinks do actually help – for example, red wine contains natural phenols, which help to strengthen your immune system by stimulating the production of bactericidal proteins.

4. Eat well

Try to get as many healthy and fresh foodstuffs as possible into your diet. Fruit and vegetables provide nutrients such as zinc and vitamin C, ensuring the optimal functioning of the immune system.

5. Take up sport

Regular exercise, preferably outdoors, is good for blood circulation and will also strengthen your immune system. Plus it helps you to relax, socialise and sleep better – all good immune boosters.

6. Support your body

Try to get natural immune-supporters into your routine at key times of the year – as the seasons change, and especially going from autumn to winter. Weleda’s Sea Buckthorn Elixir is packed with immunostimulants from natural sources. The high vitamin C content also promotes the absorption of iron from the diet, necessary for the production of red blood cells.

Above all, be kind to yourself. You’ll almost certainly get ailments, and you should let your body fight them off with minimal chemical intervention, enough rest and some time off sick. It’s good for your body, builds you up and cuts down the time you’ll need away from the things you really enjoy.
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