Archive | March, 2010


11 Mar


Right now everyone is watching closely to see what the politicians in Washington are going to do about Health Care Reform.  As a Nurse Practitioner for 30 years, I am concerned that people do not understand the situation and the critical state of health we are facing in our nation.  For the first time in history, our children, teens and young adults have epidemic proportions of health problems seen only in the past in those who were at least old enough to join AARP.  We are faced with a nation of children who potentially will die before their parents!!.  That is not a good situation to be in, because if we are to continue to grow and prosper as a nation, our children have to be healthy and productive citizens.  The baby boomers are all growing old and won’t be able to produce the economic security of our country and if our youth are sick, who will take us into the future?  The overhauling of the Health Care System is important but what is more important is to ensure that people are working proactively to restore health and stay healthy.  HealthCare Reform is about people understanding Wellness and how to be reponsible for themselves.  In my last blog I discussed how stress and emotions affect our health.  Remember that over 95% of all physical and emotional illness is now considered to be manifestations of STRESS, which can be translated to OUT OF BALANCE.  We have POWER in controlling this process and rather than feeling like victims in relation to Health Care Reform, (when we feel like victims, it actually creates more stress/imbalance in our body and that contributes to poor health), I am asking you to take a stand right now, feel powerful and learn how to create your own Individual Health Care Reform.  Then, by the time the government gets it all worked out, you can be well on your way to having a renewed health system in your own body.

 Your most valuable asset is your Immune System.  This system provides a sophisticated, protective response to physical, mental and environmental stressors.  Its job is to defend by resisting invasion of infections, provide homeostasis by removal of worn out host cells and surveillance by finding and destroying mutant cells. Liken it to the DOD (Department of Defense) in our country.  Your magnificent body will work until its dying breath to create balance and this immune system is one of the major processes it employs.  Every cell in your body has some sort of immune response to try to defend itself from invaders or anything it perceives to be a threat to the state of balance. 

 So what are the steps to protecting and enhancing the Immune System

 1. Good Elimination.  One of the major processes of defense is the body’s ability to recognize “invaders” attack and break them down so it can “get them out of your body”. Removing them requires good elimination processes.  We eliminate; through the skin when we perspire, through the respiratory system when we exhale, cough and blow our noses, have tears and through the urine and stool.   If we can’t eliminate the toxins they build up inside and that can quickly burden even the healthiest immune system.  Optimum is having a bowel movement after every time you eat, but if you don’t go that often you should have at least one per day.  Eating foods rich in Fiber and drinking plenty of fluids are two very important things you can do to improve this system.   

 Now you might ask how these “invaders” actually get into the body in the first place.  Most come in through skin contact, ingestion, mucosal contact and respiratory contact.  Funny how they actually come in the same way they get out.  However, an amazing story must go on inside before this elimination process can happen and there are many things that we can do to make sure we are creating the best possible scenario.  Keeping these systems healthy helps to keep invaders out but when they do get in, make sure the path of elimination is clear enough to get them out. 

 2. Gut Health One of our largest defense lines internally is our blood cells, specifically our White Bloods cells.  These cells have responsibilities depending on their type and these cells have different places in the body where they grow and get their fighting strength.  One of the major places is the lining of the gut.  In fact about 80% of the fighting power comes from this area.   Remember, ingestion is one of the ways invaders get into our body…… so it is extremely important to keep the gut healthy. 

 Having good nutrition and elimination patterns are very important.   You can do that by eating healthy food…. Following the 5 A day for fruits and vegetables (making sure you wash them before eating is important).  The nutrition, vitamins and minerals are vitally important to give the cells the fuel they need to develop and have the energy to fight.  Spend a few minutes each day in the sun (15 minutes 3 times per week) to increase Vitamin D absorption which helps Calcium do its job of keeping bones and teeth healthy. 

 3.  Drink Water  Every cell needs plenty of fluid to develop and function.  Dehydration is a chronic problem that creates pain, inflammation and lots of other problems that can destroy the immune system.  Drinking plenty of water is crucial.  To know you are drinking the right amount…. Take your weight in pounds and divide by 2, which is the number of ounces of water you need per day.  Cut down on caffeine, sugar and dairy products.  Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it actually makes you eliminate water.  So cutting down on caffeinated drinks is important.  If you do drink caffeine, drink a big glass of water along with the caffeinated drink.  The great thing about water is that it also tastes better the more you drink of it.   Sugar creates a lot of inflammation in blood vessels and cells, the more time your immune system is spending on handling that inflammation, the less time it has to spend on the invaders and germs.  Dairy increases mucous production which requires increased effort in elimination but having plenty of water thins down the mucous and allows your body to break it down for better elimination.  .  

 4.  Good Oral Hygiene  As you can see the mucous membranes is an entry site for invaders and the mouth is actually the portal for the digestive system.  Keeping teeth brushed, flossed, brushing or scraping the tongue and keeping the lips soft and supple are good deterrents to entry of germs.  Gargling with salt water or mouth wash may help.  Seeing your dentist regularly for check up’s and cleanings will add years to your dental health.  We know that gum disease can be directly related to heart health so make sure you have good dental care. 

 5.  The Respiratory system is important because we breathe in airborne germs.  Staying away from people that are already sick, having exposure to fresh air and airing out our homes and cars can help to dilute the strength of germs.  Wiping off phones prior to using them with alcohol wipes or even instant hand sanitizer on a tissue.  If you use a shared phone in the workplace or you use or allow others to use your cell phone, clean it between use to cut down on transmission of germs.   Throw away your tissues after you use them, don’t expect someone else to pick up after you.  Contain sneezes and coughs by doing it into your arm, placing your hand over your mouth or using a tissue to cover.   Just make sure to wash hands afterwards.  Everyone knows the dangers of smoking and how it increases the chances of lung cancer so if you smoke, STOP, if you don’t smoke, don’t start.  Stay away from smoke as much as you can.  If you have a respiratory disease like Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis, COPD make sure you follow your healthcare provider’s directions in using your medications and routinely attend educational sessions with a health educator so you know how to use your medications and promote good lung health.

 6. Hand Washing is the best preventative measure you can use.  Most invaders come in through the mucosal lining of the body, with the mouth being the first portal of entry.    Clean hands before eating.  Clean hands before going to the bathroom and after, clean hands before touching anything around the face, nose or mouth. Clean fruits and vegetables prior to eating and clean food preparation and eating surfaces before and after preparing foods. 

 7. Rest; the best way for your body to restore and heal is to have a good nights sleep.  Sleep for 8 hours per night.  Sleep cannot be restorative if lights are on in the room (except for dim night light), radio playing or TV going all night.  This does not allow deep REM sleep stages and interferes with many brain chemicals including Growth Hormone, needed to heal the daily ravages of fighting off invaders.  Giving the gut a rest at night is important too, so don’t eat big meals before going to bed.  

 8. Exercise is an important aspect of the immune system function because it enhances the elimination process.  By increasing our heart rate we can pump toxins out faster through our breath and perspiration.  But please make sure to stay well hydrated while exercising so these processes can move toxins out, not compound their storage in the body. 

 9. Managing Emotional Stress is as important as all of the other things combined.  Most people don’t realize that every stressful event you experience creates a process known as fight or flight response in the body.  The process actually creates a cascade response of over 1400 chemicals and hormones.  All of which affect the entire immune system response.  One stressful event can diminish the effect of the white blood cells, specifically T-cells, for up to 6 hours.  The body doesn’t care if it is the actual event or just replaying it in your mind, it responds the same way.  Emotions of fear, worry, anxiety, anger, pain, depression and grief all have the same effect.  This makes it extremely important to find positive ways to cope with these emotions.  Spending quality time doing things that create joy, love and appreciation everyday has such a positive effect on the immune system that it can actually elevate the function of the immune system for a 24 hour period. 

 10.  Avoid Chemicals   each and every day the body is bombarded by thousands of “invaders” transported through all of the portals of entry.  Pesticides, Chemicals and additives in our food supply, medications, and microorganisms all enter through our gut and ignite the immune response.  Exhaust, fumes, debris, air fresheners, perfumes, smoke all enter through our respiratory system and ignite our immune response.  Chemicals, germs, lotions, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, all enter through our skin and ignite our immune response.  Negative thoughts and emotions bombard us constantly and many times become our “operating system”, this comes from within but is an invader none the less and it ignites our immune response.

 If you begin to examine each of these ideas and try to find one thing you can do in each of the 10 categories, you will be well on your way to establishing Health Care Reform and in the process creating a whole new Bill of Health for you and your family.   I will continue to discuss each of these topics in more detail with lots of ideas for creating a more solid platform for HealthCare Reform in my next blog here at the Healthy Dish.

By Jeane Cole

 Jeane Cole, RN, ARNP, CHT, LHMP is the Founder/CEO of Me: Inside & Out.  She is an expert on the effects of stress on body and how it creates disease.  Jeane uses many different modalities of integrative medicine along with health coaching to help people get healthy, get off of medications and live a more balanced life physically, emotionally and spiritually.  She invites you to send questions for her blog to  or visit her website at