You don’t go around licking Petri dishes with illnesses in them, you sleep decently, and you eat some nutritious foods, so why are you still getting sick? In spite of good nutrition, plenty of sleep, and limited exposure to illness, some other factors may be at play. Here are three surprising reasons why you keep getting sick:
Not Enough Sun
The sun is life. We take it for granted. But it’s always there, rising and setting consistently with life-giving properties for all on Earth.
Lack of sun decreases vitamin D, which can result in just about any symptom imaginable — low bone density, heart disease, some types of cancers, infertility, acne, and especially low immunity. There are tens of thousands of vitamin D receptors in the body that have an antimicrobial function. Without getting vitamin D, these powerful immune responses get muted to foreign invaders and are linked with more chronic inflammation and autoimmune responses.
Grab the sunscreen and get some rays. Even if it’s a 10-minute break from work, step out of your cubicle, office, or home and allow some vitamin D to land on your skin. This is especially harder in the winter months when clothing layers create barriers to both cold and sun. If you’re concerned that you’re not getting enough vitamin D, have your levels checked the next time you get blood work. There are ways of increasing your vitamin D through supplementation.
Too Many Antibiotics
Antibiotics don’t just kill the bad bacteria that invade our bodies. They can kill a dramatic amount of our healthy gut bacteria, which provide immune support for the body. Good bacteria actually help keep our digestion functioning properly, which allows us to absorb proper nutrients and recycle the electrolytes our bodies need while eliminating the toxins. When the bad bacteria outweigh the good, our bodies carry a higher toxic load. So, while our bodies are fighting all the toxins stored in our bodies, there are diminished antibodies remaining to fight illnesses and foreign invaders.
Constant antibiotic use also makes the very organisms we are trying to kill resistant to those very same antibiotics. The stronger bad bacterial strains, that burrow deep enough in the body to survive during antibiotic use, then replicate and create a colony of super-bad bacteria. This creates more illness in the long run.
Natural approaches, herbs, rest, and good nutrition are all a great way to boost immunity and become antibiotic free. Stress-reduction techniques such as acupuncture, meditation, movement, creative projects, hobbies, and talk therapies are all ways to help boost immunity as well. Get hugs or other forms of positive touch. Expose yourself to mineral-rich soils and probiotic-rich foods or supplements. Reduce intake of pesticides and toxins. All of these can help boost your immune system naturally.
Undiagnosed Food Allergies or Sensitivities
Food allergies and sensitivities are a hotly debated topic amongst different health professionals. Western medicine tends to look for immunoglobulin markers and use tests that score 3 standard deviations from the norm to classify as allergens. Skin tests and blood tests such as the RAST are common ways to test for allergens. But unless you have anaphylaxis, you’re passing out, or having severe diarrhea, your issue with a food falls into the sensitivities category, and these are harder to diagnose.
Sensitivities are usually diagnosed by elimination diets and seeing what symptoms come and go with the suspected foods. The most common food allergies or sensitivities tend to be gluten, soy, dairy, corn, peanut, tree nut, fish, and shellfish. And we can also be sensitive to foods that are overly processed, such as corn syrup. Often, when we have a sensitivity to a food, we can have a paradoxical reaction of being addicted to it and craving it, so we don’t always know that we are sensitive to it.
Symptoms of food sensitivities can include sinus congestion, breathing challenges, coughs, colds, and low immunity. This is because the body is responding to the food as a foreign invader, creating histamines that inflame the body in an attempt to protect the vulnerable organs such as the brain, heart, and lungs. The joints are also usually inflamed, which can lead to chronic pain and depression, both in mood and of the immune system.
If you think you might have food allergies or sensitivities, you can see a specialist that aligns with your own health philosophies, such as a medical doctor, naturopath, osteopath, Eating Psychology Coach, registered dietitian, etc. It’s not just about what we put into our body. We can eat so-called nutritious foods, but if our body can’t use them or our body reacts to them like foreign invaders, then that food is not nutritious for us at this time. As we teach here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, the more we can understand about what our body does with what we give it, the more empowered we become about our health!
So get some sun responsibly, ease up on the antibiotics and stock up on the probiotics, and test for undiagnosed food allergies or sensitivities. Develop good habits that incorporate these strategies into your life. The more harmoniously we work with our body, rather than just treating the immediate symptoms, the better our body will work for us.
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