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there is excess zonulin these cells become dysregulated. This is called a leaky gut. A leaky gut allows proteins from your food into the bloodstream, which the immune system treats as a foreign invader. This can cause the body to attack itself, because 70% of the immune system is based in your gut. An extreme oversimpli- fi cation, but that is the basis for autoimmune diseases. Having an autoimmune disease is a major contributor to complications of any viral exposure. When you eat, you are not only feeding your- self, but you are building your immune system. If you build your immune system with high quality veggies, fats and proteins, you build a strong immune system. If you build it with processed foods and oils, gluten, dairy, and soy, it will likely become dysregulated.

4. Light to Moderate Exercise. There is a term called horme- For Holistic Studies Master of Arts Degrees and

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sis, which is a stressor that helps us build and grow. That is the main point of exercise. It is a small controlled stressor that makes us stronger. Other types of exercise actually boost the immune sys- tem. Taking a walk in the forest has been shown to increase natural killer cells (an important part of your immune system especially when it comes to killing viruses). Another important component of exercise is the ability to stimulate nitric oxide production, which plays a huge role in cardiovascular health. Studies show that exercise increases systemic nitric oxide in the body. In building the immune system, light to moderate exercise is the way to go. While the theory that prolonged intense exercise leads to infection has been proven faulty, the immune system does take longer to recover and strengthen. If you have trouble sleeping, stick to light exercise.

The lymph system is our body's “waste tract” where all the things we don’t need get moved through and out of the body. Walking is the most effective way to increase lymph fl ow and stimulate that system. Exercise helps increase circulation through- out the body (nitric oxide plays a role here). Our white blood cells (a part of the immune system that helps to fi ght infection) get circulated throughout the body and are able to neutralize infec- tions more effectively. Other types of gentle exercise to consider are Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and stretching.

With these four strategies, you can improve your immune health for no cost at all. Implementing one will help with the oth- ers. When you exercise, eat healthy, and meditate, you are likely to sleep better. If you focus on sleep, you may have more energy to exercise. All of the body systems are connected; improve one and you improve the others.

Stay safe, healthy, and strong!

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Jacob Appleton was a member of the varsity tennis team at Kingswood Oxford starting in 6th grade and captain of the team his sophomore, junior and senior years. He became ill the beginning of the fall season of his sophomore year at UConn. He will tell you that although his illness turned his world upside down, it

was a blessing because it allowed him to learn the power of food as medicine, the importance of self-care and how supporting his genetics enabled him to jump start his healing. Jacob is currently pursuing a certifi cation in genetics. www.naturalhealthandhealing. net. See ad on back cover.

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