The Immune System

What Is the Immune System?

The Immune System is made up of the lymph system, the thymus, and circulatory vessels (such as bone marrow) that work together vigorously to clear foreign invaders from the body. The lymph system’s main components include the tonsils and adenoids, lymph nodes, spleen, appendix, Peyer’s patches, and lymphatic vessels.


How Does the Immune System Work?

Immune cells first grow in the body’s bone marrow, and then are transported to the thymus. Once there, the immune cells undergo an educational process of learning to tolerate themselves so that they don’t attack each other. This is referred to as “thymic education.” Once the immune cells have learned to accept themselves as non-invaders, they leave the thymus and enter the bloodstream.1

The lymph organs act like filtering systems. Foreign invaders and immune cells collect in the lymph organs to essentially “duke it out.” The battle between immune cells and foreign invaders results in the production of antibodies that are released into the bloodstream to attack and destroy foreign invaders found throughout the body.


What Can Support a Healthy Immune System?

You may be wondering, “How can I support and maintain my immune system response?” Well, the fact of the matter is that good health does not just "happen." There can be a genetic component that predisposes someone to certain health challenges, but research shows there are other  significant factors—often within our control.

The immune system can be affected by any of the following:

  • Diet – Prolonged and excessive consumption of refined sugars, alcohol, and highly processed foods  can compromise the immune system. Conversely, a consistently healthy diet equips all parts of the body, including its immune system.
  • Overuse of antibiotics – Antibiotics can affect the balance of intestinal flora, which in turn, can affect immune response.
  • Stress Response – Constant stress can compromise the immune system.
  • Sleep Quality – A good, deep sleep allows the body to restore itself and produce growth hormones that help maintain the immune system. Without adequate sleep, the immune system doesn’t get a chance to rebuild, and it can be compromised.
  • Heavy metals – Mercury (as found in dental fillings and in some vaccines as a preservative) and other heavy metals can compromise immune response over time.
  • Stomach acid (hydrochloric acid or HCl) – Sufficient stomach acid balance naturally helps kill bacteria and fungi that are often present in foods.  It also helps prepare food for thorough digestion so the body gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.  Read more about stomach acid imbalance.
  • Age – The immune system response is naturally more effective when we are younger.

What Can You Do to Promote a Healthy Immune Response?

Healthy Diet

There are many things you can do to support the healthy functioning of your immune system:

  • Eat foods that are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, such as flax meal, wild Alaskan salmon, fish oils, and walnuts.
  • Eat nutrient-dense, raw, and unprocessed foods such as organic nuts and seeds.
  • Eat foods that have antimicrobial properties:
    • Organic extra virgin coconut oil is a good saturated fat that has antimicrobial properties.*
    • Coriander seeds (come from the cilantro herb) – Coriander has beneficial immune-supporting properties.*
    • Cilantro – A study in 2004 revealed that Cilantro promotes certain immune system activities.*
    • Cinnamon – Researchers from Kansas State University found that it supports immune response.*
    • Use crushed garlic, onion, allspice, and oregano liberally, since they are known to naturally inhibit the growth of unhelpful bacteria.*
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as guava, papaya, strawberries, kiwi, orange, and grapefruit (unless you need to limit fruits to limit Candida growth).
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin E, such as nuts and sprouted grain breads.
  • Increase your beta carotene intake—found in orange-colored foods such as raw carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin.
  • Get more zinc by eating beans and organic beef.
  • Increase bioflavonoids intake by eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Increase selenium by eating brown rice, organic egg yolks, and sunflower seeds.


Foods to AVOID to support your immune system:

  • All foods that cause you any digestive discomfort, such as:
    • Wheat and gluten (a wheat protein)
    • Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, and processed foods that contain casein (a milk protein)
    • Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers (orange, red, yellow, green, chili)
    • Peanuts – These are actually legumes that may contain harmful mycotoxins (mold) after being stored in warm, humid silos.
    • Corn, or processed foods containing corn. Be careful of corn-based ingredients such as malt, malt extract and syrup, sorbitol, food starch, dextrin, fructose and fructose corn syrup, baking powder, monosodium glutamate (MSG), maltodextrin, starch, and confectioner’s sugar.
  • All simple or refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, crackers, etc.)
  • All foods containing refined sugar or synthetic sugar-substitutes such as Aspartame, Splenda®, etc.
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Fermented foods such as cheese and wine
  • Excessive caffeine intake. While moderate amounts of caffeine may be beneficial, excessive consumption of caffeine can disrupt the body’s systems, causing insomnia and irregularity
  • Fungi such as mushrooms
  • Pickled foods that may contain molds
  • Limited fruits and fruit juices (especially if you wish to promote probiotic/Candida balance)
  • All carbonated drinks (which alter your blood pH level, making it more acidic)
  • Seafood, such as oysters, clams, and lobster that may contain mercury
  • Deep-sea fish such as tuna, mackerel, and swordfish that may contain mercury
  • Products made with yeast (breads, crackers, processed snacks, etc.)
  • Nitrites found in processed foods such as hot dogs, lunch meats, and bacon
  • Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) found in many processed foods.
  • Deep-fried food, fast food, and junk food


Other tips to boost your immune system:

Avoid nutritional deficiencies by complementing nutrient-dense foods with quality supplementation.
Increase your intake of probiotics to restore the balance of intestinal flora in your digestive system.
Effectively treat any chronic infections, such as Candida.
Maintain the correct amount of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in your stomach.* Read more about Stomach Acid Imbalance.

Drink plenty of purified water between meals.
Make sure that you have adequate sleep. Sleep quality can be affected by changes in Seasonal Sunlight Exposure. Light therapy can be an effective strategy for promoting a healthy sleep cycle, thereby supporting your immune system.* Take the self assessment now.



A long-term approach of dietary changes and an increase in daily activity is highly recommended to support the immune system. By actively exercising and working up a sweat, you help your body naturally detoxify itself. Although you may not feel up to it, a brisk outdoor walk can provide many healing benefits that support your immune system such as increased circulation, physical flexibility, and healthy mood.


The immune system can be negatively affected by an imbalanced stress response, fear, sadness, and other negative outlooks on life. Keeping a positive spiritual attitude optimizes the health of the immune system.