Hi There! I’m Jen Cincurak from Jen Cincurak.com and in today’s episode we’re gonna talk about your immune system and ONE of the things you can do to repel falling ill this cold and flu season. And really what you can do to just keep your immunity strong and robust at ANY time of the year.
Now if you’re an entrepreneur like me and you’re running the show for your business, or really, if you’re running the show in any part of your life whether that be bringing home the bacon, keeping the house running, keeping the kids alive and well and growing – or maybe you’re doing all three, you KNOW how everything seems to fall to pieces if you or your health have a break down.
So today we’re going to talk about a key step you can take to keeping yourself in top form and juggling all those bits of life that YOU and only you, juggle, like a pro!
So let’s dive in.
Now when your immune system is exposed to some microbe, it’s generally because you’ve breathed it in via these teeny tiny droplets from say, a sneeze or cough, or it was directly exposed to your immune system by going in your mouth with your food or your finger.
Luckily, our bodies have adapted to manage this and most of the immune cells in our bodies lie along the mucous membranes of our respiratory tract and especially our digestive tract. In fact, it’s estimated that about 60-80% of our immune system is made up of the immune cells and tissues surrounding your digestion.
So what’s one easy and inexpensive step we can take to help these immune cells and our body out?
Your digestive system needs water to make the fluid your stomach acid and enzymes float in. These not only digest food but help to kill off the bad bugs too.
And that sniffly nose or juicy cough? It’s full of water turned into the perfect icky sticky mucous, required to trap those pathogens and get rid of em.
Not to mention, after your amazing immune cells have taken down those pathogenic microbes, we need water to help flush them out of our body via our kidneys and large intestine. What’s the use of breaking down and packaging up all those toxic microbes if we don’t have the water to pee or poop em out?
And then there’s our lymph. Our lymph system LOVES water. In fact, this is what it does. It absorbs extra fluid it picks up from what veins and arteries aren’t carrying. Problem is, it picks up both good and not so good waste or even microbes along the way. So we need lots of water to give it a substance so it can float all the way to the nearest lymph node which will then alert the immune system to haul out the antibody troops.
Ok. So we need water to prevent sickness and to get over sickness more quickly. But the much debated question is,how much do we need???
There’s actually no one-amount-fits-all rule because you need to account for age, gender, health status, physical activity level, whether or not you’re living in a more temperate environment that makes you sweat more as well as what kinds of food and beverages you consume. Like I said earlier, if you’re someone who drinks several cups of coffee daily then you’re likely to be less hydrated and need more water.
We could use thirst as our main gauge but many people have become unaccustomed to their own thirst signals over years of misinterpreting them. For instance, the same part of our brain that signals thirst also signals hunger and satiety so often we think we’re hungry when we actually just need more water.
In fact, there are many signs of dehydration beyond dark coloured pee and thirst. Some are more obvious, like dry skin and constipation, but some are more subtle like fatigue, joint pain, asthma and allergies.
So, once again, how do we know how much to drink?
Well, here is a good place to start to increase your water intake:
- Start your day with water. Whether that be 1/2 cup or 2 full 8 oz cups, start your day by drinking water. Just drink until you’ve had enough, not until you feel sick or water-logged.
- Keep water with you at your desk or where ever you work to sip (or guzzle if that’s your style) throughout the day.
- If you feel hungry shortly after you’ve eaten, try drinking some water to see if your body is signalling thirst not hunger.
- Swap out your other beverages for water. Sugary drinks and caffeinated drinks don’t really offer much nourishment and caffeine just dehydrates us more. Just a note on cutting down on caffeine, because it’s addictive you may want to ease off it, a half cup every few days or so.
Now this whole drinking water thing can create a problem if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy drinking water. (I’m raising my hand here.) For most of my life, I’ve loathed drinking plain water, especially in the winter here in Canada. However, here are some things you can do to make it more palatable.
Warm it up! I had a patient once who would throw on her coffee maker at the end of the day and just perk the hot water through to drink. Pretty soon, she and her husband started craving it at the end of their long day.
Flavour it up! Adding a little flavour goes a loooooooong way. Wanna do it with flare? Make your own spa water. Throw in a lime wedge with mint leaves, some lemon and raspberries or go full swank with some vanilla bean in your favourite fruit combo.
In the winter, I love to combine these two and drink lemon water hot. Plus, when you drink water warm or hot, it doesn’t congeal the fat and oils in your food the way that ice water can, this makes it easier for your stomach to break your food down.
And finally, yes, herbal teas count… so long as they don’t have a diuretic in them. So, if you’re a big fan of parsley tea, I’m afraid it doesn’t count.
The answer is, one cup at a time. And by that I mean, don’t force yourself to start drinking 8 extra glasses of water tomorrow, just start with one or two more glasses per day. And once you’ve got that down and your body feels great, increase by another glass or two so that in a month or two, you’re at an ideal water intake without feeling swollen or waterlogged.
I do also want to mention the camp that says we don’t need to drink a lot of water, that we get enough from our food sources.
I’m not totally against this camp. For instance, if you’re a raw foodist and you’re getting tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables all day long everyday, you may be okay without all this extra water.
However, if you’re drinking caffeine, eating food that has been salted, eating anything processed, eating anything that has had sugar added, then your chances of being poorly hydrated are likely and you need some more H20.
Okay. So are you one of the small percent of people who actually take the road less travelled to make change happen?
If you are, then let’s turn this into a little challenge.
30 days to increase your water intake. Whether you’re taking my suggestions mentioned earlier or create your own schedule to become more hydrated let’s keep each other accountable.
And while we’re at it, got any friends you’d like to throw down this gauntlet to? Send em’ on over so we can ALL take part in the hydration hoopla.
Leonardo Da Vinci said “Water is the driving force of all nature.” Let water help drive you and your beautiful purpose forward.
Thanks for taking care of yourself. I know that you and your business are helping to heal the world.
Thanks for listening to another episode of Tapping for Income’s ‘healthful entrepreneur’. Stay well and work well so you can earn more and keep healing the planet.
Really great post! Keep up the great work. I’ll be back to read more!