Dr. Starkey: Hi, this is Dr. Starkey. Welcome back to Trace Your Day.
This week I’ll be talking on a topic that is extremely popular especially right now and at this time in the season, and that is our immune system. I understand the immune system is so complex. How do we discuss it in 15 or 20 minutes? Yet at the same time, what I want to do is simplify.
You know, when it comes to our immune system, I’m amazed at how complex it is, but how simple it is to help it if we do our part. You know, oftentimes, we talk about the innate or the adaptive immune system. The one that we were born with and the one that of course grows with us over age and experience.
But you know, we start talking about white blood cells that have some pretty unique names such as granulocytes and lymphocytes and monocytes and they all play a vital role in helping protect our cells and also protecting us from foreign material that might enter into us or foreign matter, whether that be a virus or a bacteria or a fungus.
Yet, one of the things I want to do today is I want to focus on just the basic steps that we need to be taking to make sure that our immune systems are ready. And that is, first and foremost, and we’ve talked about this before, and I probably sound again like a broken record, but it is so important that we hydrate the body.
Again, when experts estimate that 75% of our society are chronically dehydrated, it is so important that we put that hydration back in the body because hydration supports our immune system in so many different ways, but one of those ways is help with our ability to cleanse the cells. Keep them fresh, keep them healthy, and that’s through the lymph system.
But the water, our proper hydration, plays a key role into that. Even if we don’t like water. I think we face more dehydration issues during the wintertime than we ever do during the summertime.
There’s some type of button in our heads that when it gets cold, we just quit drinking. We bundle up, we put more on, we turn up the thermostats in our homes and our vehicles and in our offices and we just don’t drink like we should because for whatever reason, we have it in our minds when we’re hot, we reach for something cold.
But I would say to you that one of the most important key pieces to our overall wellbeing and especially to our immune system is making sure that we’re constantly hydrating the body.
Now, again, I love the equation of half your body weight in ounces of water daily. So take your body weight, divide it in half, and put that into ounces, and that should be a minimum daily. Now again, it doesn’t have to be cold water during the winter. We can warm it up. In fact, I think that drinking lukewarm water is healthier for us.
But as we’re adding hot water in our beverages, such as herbal teas or protein shakes, smoothies, again, preferably water, but making sure that we’re getting the proper amounts of ounces daily is so important. So that would be one of the key pieces to our overall immune system, is just proper hydration.
The second piece of our immune system is proper nutrition. I think that poor choices in food, again, you’ve heard me say that, I think it’s a crime against our intelligence as a society as to what we consider food in our society today. So, when it comes to a proper immune system, we need to be properly supplying those nutrients.
Again, when you start looking at percentages, we sometimes have to put a percentage on what should be raw in our diet and trying to stayaway from high-processed or sugary foods, but I would say that 75% of our diet should be closer to raw. That could be fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes to feed the body, to keep that immune system stable and healthy.
If we’re not feeding the body properly and we’re not hydrating the body properly, what do we expect? What do we expect from our bodies, and especially our immune system?
The third piece of this puzzle is movement. I can’t say “exercise”. Sure, this time of the year, we’re making our New Year’s Resolutions. We want to get healthier, we set some goals to go to the gym, but how long does it last? Where’s consistency in that?
I would say that: just movement. If I say exercise, I lose90% of my listeners I believe. But if I say movement, I don’t care if it’s just bouncing our toes - just keeping this body in motion. I think that bouncing our toes, just finding ways to keep our bodies in motion. I think it was Isaac Newton’s concept of a body in motion stays in motion - Newton’s law of physics. I think it’s important here to remember that a part of keeping our immune system healthy and strong is movement.
I know that during these times that we have faced over the last almost two years now, I think that we can find ourselves becoming very sedentary. I think that again, as we keep the body in motion, as we keep the body moving, I think that there’s a lot of neat things that happen when we do keep the body in motion.
And a lot of that can come from an emotional support as well as a physical support. But at the same time if we can just bounce our toes, keep that lymph system moving, again, each one of these white blood cells found within our immune system are specialized to do specific jobs, and as we do our part, they can do their part. So just keeping the body moving.
And I think that again, going with movement, there’s two parts to that movement. Not only just our physical body in motion, but also keeping our bowels in motion. I think it’s so important to understand that proper bowel function as a part of that movement is critical when it comes to our immune system.
Think about this: 80% of our immune system starts in our gut function. So if our gut isn’t functioning properly what do you expect for the rest of the body’s health? So, for me, a wonderful barometer when it comes to our immune system is found in our gut. If a meal goes in, a meal should come out. If we’re eating 3 meals a day, we should be having 2-3 bowel movements a day.
And I know some of you are saying, “Well, my body’s never worked like that my entire life.” I think this is an important step to understand that we can have control over proper hydration, proper nutrition, and a part of that proper nutrition, by the way, is proper mineralization. Putting those minerals back into place where they should be as a foundational piece to our health.
And by increasing or decreasing those minerals as I mentioned earlier and in last week’s conversation, that we can literally keep that bowel properly functioning as to the way that we eat. So when a meal goes in, a meal should be coming out. And we can control that literally by the drops.
And then of course, the last one is something that is being absolutely taken for granted. I shouldn’t say that we’re taking it for granted, but I think that we understand how important sleep is to our overall wellbeing. Sleep is another key factor to our immune system.
One of the things that we’re constantly talking about is “what are we doing to prepare our bodies to rest?” And I think that one of the things that we can be doing and should be doing (and I know that this is a very sensitive topic with all ages) is turning off our devices, whether that be the TV or our iPads or our computers or our cellphones. I think giving adequate time to be able to prepare for sleep. Let’s give the brain a chance to slowdown and calm down.
I’ve noticed that with a lot of our younger adolescents that it’s getting harder and harder to turn them off before bedtime. And we’re seeing the results in their sleep. And yet, if we’re not getting that proper rest, I think that there’s a key piece to not only our physical health, but our emotional health too. We’re starting to see more and more cases of anxiety disorders and depression. I think that there’s a lot to be said.
In fact, if you turn to some of these nonprofit foundations, especially in sleep, you’re going to start reading about and seeing some of the results of our choices just before bedtime. And with the worries that are on our minds right now dealing with our health challenges because of what we’re facing, I think that sleep can be one of those tools, not only from an emotional and physical standpoint, but also from an immune standpoint.
So as we start preparing our bodies to get that proper rest, I think that what we’ll also notice is that as we turn off devices, as we prepare ourselves, as we put ourselves on a time basis - let’s start setting guidelines for ourselves to be able to prepare – I think that in the end, ultimately, these four key pieces, once in place, we’ll see a huge result in our overall wellbeing but more importantly, also from an immune standpoint.
So, again, proper hydration, proper nutrition, getting movement back into our lifestyles, and if we’re not moving, finding little steps along the way to help us do so, and then proper sleep. Those are the four key pieces that we can find ourselves prepared to battle our reality right now with a healthy immune system.
So I hope that these four pieces will help us as we continue down this path. And hopefully we can see the results not only in our physical health and our emotional health, but also in supporting us and protecting us against these invaders that we’re facing today.
This is Dr. Starkey – best of health!
Thanks for listening in. If you have any topics you want covered, let us know on our Instagram page @tracemineralsreasearch. We’ll see you back here next week on Trace Your Day.