New Wave Nightingale

Boosting your ­immune system for good health

New Wave Nightingale(Jan. 21, 2024) — I hope everyone is having a happy, healthy new year thus far, embracing only realistic resolutions and enjoying great success.

A resolution worth adopting is pursuing the most powerfully effective immune system one is capable of building. Having studied Western and Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM), I can assure you there is no divide: The immune system is key to wellbeing.

A staggering number of microorganisms are gunning for us, just on the other side of our skin. If we could see them, we would be tempted to build a bubble and never leave it.

COVID continues to morph, flu is a forever factor and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) has made a momentous comeback. And mind you, these are just the ones that get a lot of press.

It is vital to have a protective mechanism in place. The human immune system is many splendored, but the most important component is our largest organ – the skin.

Maintaining skin integrity is generally easy for healthy, active people, but it is important to maintain good hygiene practices and moisturize daily. Breaks in the skin can introduce microbes and bring damage quickly. This is especially true of wounds caused by animals or certain plants.

Sneezing and coughing, which have become nearly socially unacceptable in the past few years, are natural defenses against airborne attacks. According to researcher Jaouad Bouayed: “Sneezing and coughing are important defensive reflex responses to expel infectious agents or irritants.”

Bouayed has written extensively about the Behavioral Immune System (BIS), which is the tendency to proactively avoid a perceived threat of infection. This defense mechanism, while useful, is prone to error and can lead to “stigma-related behaviors such as social rejection and discrimination.”

Intermittent sneezing and coughing are not necessarily indicative of infection and should not carry a social price. Aside from tolerating microbe expulsion in us and others, it is important to cultivate good habits. Eating well, getting enough sleep and staying hydrated are pivotal to maintaining health.

Consuming foods rich in Vitamin B, including peanuts, fruits and green vegetables, is excellent as is consumption of Vitamin A-rich foods such as carrots, kale, mangoes, spinach, apricots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash and cantaloupe. Vitamin C, found in citrus, is another important building block of immune protection.

There is also some evidence that adding fresh garlic, ginger, oregano, basil, sage, black cumin, fennel and lemon balm to the diet may contribute to development of a strong immune system.

So let us start the year off strong, healthy and well-protected.

Please send your comments and question to Nathalie by email to

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Nathalie Montijo
Nathalie Montijo

Nathalie Raven Archangel-Montijo holds a rather interesting array of degrees and certifications, including master’s in nursing and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). She has post-master certification as an adult geriatric primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP) and a license to practice acupuncture in California (L.Ac). To round all that out, she is certified in infection prevention and control (CIC) and as an advanced certified Hospice and palliative care nurse (ACHPN).

She also performs in the outlaw country band, Nineteen Hand Horse.