Boosting the immune system

There was a recent news story about a 5’8″ man with a kitchen knife who boarded a bus and began stabbing the passengers on the bus. He stabbed and wounded at least 4 people. When the police arrived, they used pepper spray on the rampaging man to try to subdue him. The man was unfazed by the pepper spray. He shouted out: “I am not afraid of your pepper spray! I am from Sichuan!” Sichuanese are known to eat a lot of hot pepper as well as having a high tolerance for very spicy food.

Factors that compromise the immune system include obesity, lack of exercise, over exercise, lack of sleep, etc. according a recent report.

But what can be done to boost the immune system?

Exercise, of course!

Lose weight, of course!

Getting too tired after over exercising, not getting enough sleep and not getting a good night’s sleep, not eating a balanced meal, all will compromise the immune system.

However, more importantly, what one eats on a daily basis, sleeping well, and exercising and not being obese, and not being constantly tired, seem to me to be the most important factors in maintaining a healthy immune system as well as boosting the immune system.

(1) Eat at least 8 to 12 cloves of garlic every day.

(2) Eat at least half to one whole onion every day.

(3) Eat spicy hot peppers everyday with meals. One can also eat spicy hot peppers with some good beer. In northern China back in the 1930s and 1940s, soldiers who did not have much to eat would have a bowl of rice, some very spicy small green peppers and a bottle of cheap rice wine as their meal.

(4) Some Indian vegetarian dishes consist of potato, very hot and spicy curry, and a vegetable.

(3) Eat ginger as ginger tea without sugar or eat pickled ginger with meals everyday. Commercially available ginger tea contains sugar. Stay away from it. Instead, buy fresh ginger and boil it to make hot ginger tea. I use a coffee maker to make ginger tea. Pickled ginger is often served in Japanese and Korean restaurants. One can also grind up some raw ginger and sprinkle it on cooked meat, fish, tofu, pizza, and vegetables. A common Chinese fish dish is steamed ginger fish.

Chinese and Indians who have survived on such meager meals have a surprisingly strong and healthy immune system. Having too much meat, too much dairy foods, and too much fried foods seem to weaken the immune system.

In winter, the Chinese would eat more spicy dishes, mutton, hot soups, and dong quai chicken soup to boost physical resistance to the winter chill and the flu.

(4) Beets seem to do wonders to alleviate arthritic and gout pain. One recipe is beets and ox tail soup. Another is dong quai chicken soup. A third recipe is small and spicy hot red chili peppers with black beans.

In general, an alkaline diet seems to maintain a healthy immune system while an acidic diet seems to weaken the immune system.

A typical alkaline diet is fish, the standard Mediterranean meal, and the standard classical Mexican meal. Traditional Mexican meals do not have tomatoes or tomato sauce. They use a lot of guacamole sauce and bean paste.

A typical acidic meal consists of red meat and dairy foods like yogurt, sour cream, yellow cheese, tomato sauce and pasta, orange juice, foods containing a lot of sugar, ice water and iced drinks, and fried foods.

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About masterchensays

Victor Chen, herbalist, alternative healthcare lecturer, Chinese affairs analyst, retired journalist
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