Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Mind-Body Connection

by guest contributor Barbara Swanson

"To me, good health is more than just exercise and diet. It's really a point of view and a mental attitude you have about yourself."  ~Albert Schweitzer

The Attitude Connection
For thousands of years, the state of your mind has been linked to the health of your body. In one way or another, all major religions and ancient health practices address the importance of this link. Today, a new branch of science called psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) studies this link. PNI describes ways in which our emotions and attitude, both positive and negative, can affect our health.

"Your outlook--having a sense of optimism and purpose--seems to be predictive of health outcomes."
~Dr. Laura Kubzansky, professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Science on the Mind-Body Link
The actual mechanisms involved with the connection between health and positivity remain unclear. What is clear is that there is definitely a strong link between "positivity" and health. Researchers suspect that people who are more positive may be better protected against the inflammatory damage of stress. Another possibility is that hope and positivity help people make better health and life decisions and focus more on long-term goals.

Specific Studies on the Mind-Body Link

Heart Health
Dr. Kubzansky (referenced in the above quote) has studied the health effects of several forms of psychological well-being. She has found that emotional vitality--characterized by enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement in life, and the ability to face life's stresses with emotional balance--is associated with a substantially reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.

At Johns Hopkin University, Lisa R. Yanek, M.P.H., and her team determined "positive" versus "negative" outlook using a survey tool that assesses a person's cheerfulness, energy level, anxiety levels and satisfaction with health and overall life. They discovered that people with a family history of heart disease who also had a positive outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event, than those with a more negative outlook.

Healthy Aging
The Women's Health and Aging Study involves more than 1,000 women, 65 or older, who have varying levels of disability but still live on their own. Using two tests designed to measure loss of function, women with greater emotional vitality performed significantly better than their less-positive counterparts who had similar levels of disability.

Breast Cancer
In a study of women with breast cancer. Dr. Sandra Levy at the University of Pittsburgh's Cancer Institute found that women who were more depressed had lower natural killer cell activity than those with a hopeful, positive outlook. It was also noted that the women who had experienced a great deal of joy and happiness in their lives also had a higher survival rate.

Miscellaneous Health Issues
Studies have found that a positive attitude improves outcomes and life satisfaction across a spectrum of conditions--including traumatic brain injury, stroke and brain tumors. Multiple studies find that negative emotions can weaken immune response.

The Health Benefits of Positive Thinking
Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

(Dr. T.V. Rao, MD)

Bottom Line
Feel Better Now

SMILE
A University of Kansas study found that smiling--even fake smiling--reduces heart rate and blood pressure during stressful situations.

Choose how you respond
Unpleasant situations and people are a part of being human. However, we can choose how we handle them. For example, during a traffic jam, accept that there is absolutely nothing you can do about the traffic. Then appreciate the fact that you can afford a car and get to spend a few extra minutes listening to music.

Be true to your heart
When in doubt, listen to your feelings. When we feel forced into actions that do not reflect our beliefs, we can become angry, resentful or depressed.

Commit to yourself
No one else is responsible for your choices. Therefore, commit yourself to remembering, then acting on, the best of who you are and want to be.

Forgive
In a landmark study, people who were asked to count their blessings felt happier, exercised more, had fewer physical complaints, and slept better than those who created lists of hassles.




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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Year, New You, New Body and Mind!

Do you make a new year resolution every year? Have you got a new year resolution ready for the coming year? If you are like most people, a resolution is made and then within a few months forgotten or given up on. Research shows that about 40% of us actually do make a new year resolution and according to a Harris Interactive poll, that 21% of those resolutions involve losing weight, 14% involve exercising and 7% resolve to eat a more healthy diet. The good news is that people are at least thinking about and making an attempt to improve their health. The bad news is that according to John C. Norcross, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Scranton and author of Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions, 60% of people who made resolutions in January have given up on them by July. Norcross cites a study from the Journal of Clinical Psychology as showing that people who make a new year resolution are 10 times more likely to be successful in making the change they desire than those who may want change but don't put it into a formal resolution. This is encouraging for those who do make resolutions, but there are still a lot of people wanting change and not getting results quickly enough to encourage them to keep at it. This is where some planning and gaining a new perspective on issues can help make your resolution more successful.

Change Your Way of Thinking
Heidi Reeder, PhD, author of Commit to Win: How to Harness the Four Elements of Commitment to Reach Your Goals, says most people think they need willpower and motivation to achieve their goals, but that actually what is needed is commitment to accomplish a long term goal. She suggests breaking long term goals down into smaller goals and rewarding yourself for each step along the way. When making your goal plan, look for the things that prevent you from achieving your goal and have a back-up plan for when those things come up. If your goal has to do with losing weight, David Grotto, RD, author of The Best Things You Can Eat, suggests that you make your resolution about eating healthier and not saying that you are going on a diet. Eating healthier is a lifelong commitment and lifestyle change whereas being on a diet implies that there is a start and a finish to it. When it comes to losing weight psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD has a good tip of rating how hungry you are from 1 to 10 and eat if you are in the middle of this range. This will prevent eating when bored or from habit when you aren't really hungry and help avoid overeating when you've gone too long and are really, really hungry.

It may just be that you need to change the way you look at your body and make sure you are setting realistic goals for your body type. This is an especially good concept to pass on to young girls and teens. People who have a positive body image are happier, more comfortable with themselves and more realistic about themselves. Those with a negative body image are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and even eating disorders. The main thing is that your body is healthy no matter what size you are. Sure, it doesn't pay off in health benefits to be over flabby and severely overweight, but this doesn't mean that we all have to be a size 3 either. Healthy bodies can be a variety of sizes and shapes. Rather than concentrating on the parts of your body that you don't like, begin looking for things you can appreciate about your body. This might be gaining appreciation for what an intricate and complex system the body is or the various functions and sensations it provides for us. Adequate rest, exercise and a healthy diet can also help raise self-esteem, energy levels, and give you a better body image perspective.

Boosting Self Image
Alice Domar, PhD, director of the Mind/Body Center for Women's Health at Boston IVF, suggests one way to change your body image is to start with making a list of alternative statements to the negative ones you usually make about your body or that others may throw at you. Become aware of the words you use when describing your own looks and others' looks. Also stay realistic about your body type and other factors. For example, it is not realistic to think that a 60 year old body can look the same as it did in its 20's. Studies show that practicing good posture can help improve body image and confidence so start being aware of sitting and standing up straight. There is also research that supports keeping track of your goal progress as you are more likely to be successful if there is a system of accountability or monitoring in place. Susan B. Roberts, PhD, professor of nutrition and of psychiatry at Tufts University suggests making substitutions for unhealthy snacks with a healthier option and that doing this 10 times consecutively will start your body craving the healthier snack. Managing stress is also an important part of boosting self image. Make it a priority this new year to find a way to deal with stress. Be sure to take vacation days that you have coming to you as we all need a break and the time to relax. For those with an active and stressful lifestyle there are whole food supplements that can help provide supportive nutrition to keep the body running at its peak. This supplement combines vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen and AFA bluegreen algae to help the body keep up with all you do. This supplement combines a proprietary blend of plant-based proteolytic enzymes--bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, and organic AFA bluegreen algae to provide the nutrition necessary for the body to reduce the risks of inflammation and recover from physical exertion.

Even if you don't have a resolution ready to start on New Year's Day, it's not too late. Make your resolution today to change your attitude about your body and work towards a healthier body and a healthier lifestyle. Learning to love yourself and your body could be the best gift you ever give yourself.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.



Sources: 
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/lose-weight-for-good?ecd=wnl_wlw_081314&ctr=wnl-wlw-081314_nsl-ld-stry&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3D
http://www.webmd.com/women/features/set-reach-goals?ecd=wnl_wlw_081314&ctr=wnl-wlw-081314_nsl-ld-stry_1&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3D
http://www.webmd.com/beauty/style/love_your_body_inside_and_out?ecd=wnl_day_073114&ctr=wnl-day-073114_nsl-ld-stry_2&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3D
http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Self-Esteem-Body-Image-and-Confidence-Lluminari
http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Quick-Confidence-How-to-Boost-Self-Esteem
http://www.oprah.com/health/Commonly-Broken-New-Years-Resolutions


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Holiday Feasting? Go For It!

If you just can't say "No" to all the holiday feasting that's going on this season, don't bother. Just go for it. Eat, drink, and be merry ... just be sure to pack some extra probiotics and enzymes in your pocket. Having some extra acidophilus, bifidus, and a full spectrum probiotic  and enzymes on board will ensure that you don't suffer too many "Pepto Bismol" moments during the next few weeks.

Probiotics (this literally means "for life") are the good bacteria that live in your gut. These "good bugs" do a lot for you, including:

1. keeping your digestion going
2. producing B-12 vitamins to keep you calm and happy during the holidays
3. acting as a first line of defense against illness

Whenever you stress your body (like overeating at the buffet) or drink too much coffee or chlorinated water, you kill off the probiotics in your gut. Lack of probiotics means that your body won't get the benefit of all those actions listed above. You'll have indigestion, you won't feel calm and collected, and you're more likely to get sick. So yes, you definitely need to keep those probiotics healthy and lively in your gut. Taking extra probiotics during the holidays will keep the population of beneficial bacteria in your gut at healthy levels.

Enzymes are also key in keeping your holidays happier. Before you dive headlong into that holiday buffet, take the time to swallow 2 to 4 enzymes ... then eat. The enzymes will ensure that all the extra food and rich desserts you eat will be properly digested, preventing digestive side effects like bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation.

One simple regimen to follow during the holidays is as follows:

  • 2 to 4 acidophilus in the morning before breakfast
  • 2 to 4 bifidus in the evening before bed
  •  2 to 4 enzymes before each meal
  • 2 to 4 of the full spectrum probiotic in the evening when all else fails!

Most of all, enjoy the holidays ... eat, drink, and be merry, and rest assured that the probiotics and enzymes will help you have a merry and healthy holiday season.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.




Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Healthy Happy Digestion During the Holidays

Holiday time is great isn't it? With all the colorful decorations, extra time off work, gift giving, family and friends around, and of course all the great food. But holiday time can also mean a lot of extra work and stress preparing for them, traveling in stressful weather conditions, and that great food isn't always in the healthy food category which can mean digestion problems like gas, bloating, diarrhea, heartburn and constipation. Between the types of food we indulge in and the amount of overeating we do, our digestive systems can't always keep up. As you are getting ready for your holiday fun, add taking probiotics and digestive enzymes to your list to help you get extra digestive support.

Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes work in your digestive system in conjunction with hydrochloric acid and bile salts to break down the foods you eat in order for the body to use the nutrients from them. Without enzymes doing the job of breaking foods down, the food would sit in the digestive tract which would negatively affect the immune system, create toxicity in the body, and cause digestion issues. There are particular enzymes that work to break down fats, proteins, sugar, starch, and other carbohydrates. Raw foods contain their own digestive enzymes, but these enzymes are destroyed by cooking foods at over 108 degrees. Your pancreas produces many of the enzymes the digestive system uses to break down foods, but we often overtax this organ and don't give it the nourishment it needs to keep up. When we eat a lot more than usual and especially eating foods that are cooked or that are not particularly healthy, we can give our digestive system some help by taking digestive enzyme supplements.

When selecting a digestive enzyme supplement you want to make sure it is plant based and will work under a variety of pH levels since the acidity and alkalinity differs so radically between the stomach and intestines. The primary enzymes to look for on the label when choosing a supplement include:

Amylase – used to break down starch and carbohydrates for energy and to relieve mental fatigue.

Protease – used to break down proteins into amino acid peptides needed for healthy cells, muscle tissue, skin, hair and energy.

Lipase – used to break down fat in the small intestine to retrieve vitamins from foods, support cellular structure, and for healthy skin and hair. A shortage of lipase can compromise the circulation and contribute to high blood pressure and high cholesterol and degrade the immune system.

Lactase – used to break down lactose and milk sugars to get nutrients from dairy for energy.

Glucoamylase – a different type of amylase that works on breaking down starches and carbohydrates.

Cellulase – used to break down the indigestible fiber, cellulose, in fruits and vegetables.

Taking enzyme supplements can help remove toxins, increase energy, aid in weight loss, decrease the possibility of allergy reactions, and help your body extract the nutrients it can use from foods. When you know you are going to be eating rich holiday foods, taking a high quality enzyme supplement just before meals and in between meals can help you avoid digestive discomforts and is a much better alternative than using antacids. Antacids neutralize stomach acid which the digestive system needs to break down food. Taking enzyme supplements in between meals gives you the added bonus of letting any not needed for digestion directly to help clean up any undigested food in your gut and to enter the bloodstream to clean up residual food particles that might be identified as foreign invaders by the immune system.

Probiotics
Having a good supply of healthy probiotics, the friendly bacteria that live in your intestines, in your system is another way to get the most out of the food you eat, keep your digestive system in good working order, and help out with the extra eating during holiday meals. They also help produce the B vitamins that we use up in times of extra stress and we know the holidays are full of that. Lactobacillus probiotics also help in the body's production of digestive enzymes. There has additionally been research indicating that probiotics can lower the risk of coronary disease by absorbing cholesterol. They also help combat those unfriendly bacteria that can make us sick including those that act on the nitrates found in some of our food sources converting them to nitroso-compounds that can lead to cancers. Overeating, especially of meat, together with too many bad bacteria in the intestines can produce an excess in ammonia gas that stresses the liver. Using a bifidobacteria supplement can help take some of that stress off. There are fermented foods that can help you build up your supply of probiotics, but high quality probiotic supplements can insure that you are getting the strains of bacteria you need without the extra calories or extra eating in the holidays. Acidophilus and bifidus are the most common probiotics to make sure you are adding to your system, but a full spectrum probiotic may also be needed especially if you have ongoing digestive problems.

Don't let your holidays be ruined by digestive problems. Go ahead and enjoy some of your favorite holiday foods, in moderation of course. Just take along your enzyme and probiotic supplements to give your digestive system a holiday too by not letting it get overworked.


If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products at wholesale prices on our website.


Sources:
http://www.needs.com/product/NDNL-0812-01/a_Digestive_Enzymes
http://althealthworks.com/288/how-to-support-your-digestion-with-plant-based-enzymes-this-holiday-season/
http://treelite.com/articles/nf/digestive-enzymes-rapid-relief-for-indigestion-from-holiday-feasting.html
Abrams, Karl J., Algae to the Rescue!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Truth About Diets

by guest contributor Barb Swanson

Trying to figure out what a healthy diet consists of is hard. This article gives you a snap-shot on the Functional Nutrition viewpoint of truth vs. fiction in diets and supplements.

There are a dozen celebrities touting a dozen different "best" diets and weight loss programs. We have internet health gurus and social media influencers. Many have tens--or even hundreds--of thousands of followers. Each touts their philosophy (with matching product lines), always with claims of the best science, best ingredients, best results. Education on nutrition is equally complex! There are hundreds of studies, many of which seem to contradict the others. Finding your way to any single "truth" is nearly impossible.

False: Any diet advising you to eat mostly one or two macronutrient groups, or to completely stop eating any of them, has already missed the point of what your body needs for long-term good health.
Examples: The Keto diet, no-fat diets, high-protein diets.
Fact: We need all the forms of macronutrients--fats, proteins and carbs. Each type of food offers specific micronutrients, found mostly or even exclusively in that food group, upon which our bodies depend for good health. What matters most is that you choose healthy, whole foods instead of processed, nutrient-empty foods.

False: As long as you use the recommended multivitamin pills or drink, the diet you use will be fine.
Examples: Vitamin/mineral or vitamin/antioxidant tablets or drinks. Often, these are sold by the promoters of the diet you are doing.
Fact: It is micronutrients--elements we need in very small amounts--that determine whether the fats are good fats, if proteins are complete, and whether carbs build health or destroy health. We need approximately 50 essential micronutrients on a daily basis. No multi-vitamin or drink can begin to replace the healthy balances found in whole foods.

False: You get better health benefits using "proven" isolated nutrients.
Examples: Lab-created antioxidants like glutathione and NAD, or MCT, a type of highly-processed triglycerides.
Fact: Your body doesn't use isolated nutrients. We use whole suites of nutrients together, each building a part of our complex cells and systems. No lab-created formula or isolated nutrient can begin to mimic the hundreds of co-factors, intrinsic factors and nutrient interactions found in whole foods. No study on a single nutrient can answer to the myriad other health interactions whole foods support.

False: Foods that have studies proving their benefits are better than other foods.
Examples: Soybeans, corn oil, milk.
Fact: It is estimated that science has only discovered and examined 5% of the total number of nutrients found in whole foods.

Indeed, the very nature of a scientific test, with built-in narrow parameters, encourages single nutrient studies. This means not that whole foods are less effective than the nutrients isolated out and studied; but rather, that scientific studies, as they are practiced today, can't easily quantify the benefits of a whole food or whole food formula, which will contain dozens or even hundreds of nutrients, nutrient interactions and nutrient benefits.

These four facts point to one conclusion: The best way to support your entire body--cells, systems and all--is by eating the whole foods, or whole-food supplements, that are loaded with micronutrients.

It isn't that all diets are wrong. Certainly, learning the reasons a diet is effective may teach you better diet options. It isn't that you should never use a supplement. What is important is to understand that whole-food based supplements are going to offer dramatically more potential benefits than any lab-created or isolated nutrient. It isn't that all studies are wrong or bad. In fact, they offer important information for us all. However, remember that any isolated nutrient benefit is likely to be only enhanced by eating the whole food that has that nutrient (such as using coconut oil instead of buying MCT), or a whole food that helps your body to create that nutrient (like glutathione and NAD).

Bottom Line: Find foods that are fresh, local & organic. Look to history for foods that have a rich history of human usage. Current scientific proof or not, foods that have been eaten for hundreds, or even thousands, of years, are the most likely to give you dietary support for good health.


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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Simple Ways to Eat Healthy During the Holiday Rush

To many people the holidays mean food and to eat healthy is often a challenge. It's estimated that on the average most of us gain a pound over the holidays. I'm pretty sure in my case that is a low estimate. While that pound may not sound too bad, if you eat that way regularly those pounds add up. According to Dr. Oz, instead of paying attention to your waist size over the holidays it's better to concentrate on building muscle so that losing that weight afterwards is not as hard. Here are some holiday tips on eating to build up muscle, eat healthy and incorporate some fat burning foods into your diet.

  • Getting enough sleep helps curb craving for comfort foods and snacks and supports building muscle. 
  • Use spices, herbs, fruits and nuts to flavor dishes instead of butter and other fats. Garlic mashed potatoes are a great example and replace fatty sour cream dips with hummus. 
  • Eat a healthy protein or healthy fat snack before going to holiday parties so you are not as likely to overeat, especially if the party includes a buffet table. 
  • Substitute healthier snack choices that meet your food cravings. For example, if you crave a creamy sweet like ice cream have a cup of yogurt with fruit instead or at least go for a smaller amount of slow churned ice cream that doesn't have as much fat and can be half the amount of calories. If your food craving leans more towards the chips category because of the salt and crunch you get, you can easily rack up 1230 calories by eating an eight ounce bag. Carrots, celery, or baked whole grain crackers with a hummus dip can give you the crunch in a more healthy way without sacrificing flavor. 
  • Protein foods satisfy hunger longer and burn up more calories in digesting them than other types of foods. Quinoa makes a great side dish with a cup having 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber and fish is a good protein that is also low fat and gives you omega-3 fatty acids. Most adults need 45 – 56 grams of protein daily and more if they get regular exercise so food sources are usually adequate to provide the protein needed. If you have a really strenuous or active lifestyle or just don't take the time to eat right, protein drinks can help. To lose fat the best are the ones with not many carbs and mostly protein with only a touch of fat. Jose Antonio, chief executive officer and co-founder of the International Society of Sports Nutrition advises having a drink that is over 50% protein to lose body fat. 
  • Traditional holiday fare is always a temptation. We all have family favorites that maybe we've had since childhood bringing up fond memories. Instead of depriving yourself of these type goodies, limit the amount you'll eat. One bite of that chocolate fudge savored slowly can satisfy the craving so that you don't have to gobble up several pieces.  
  • Nuts are a food often served at parties and just sitting around as a snack food during the holidays. While nuts are a healthy snack, they also are a fatty snack so too much can put on the weight. A single cup of mixed nuts can be over 800 calories. Get nuts with shells that have to be cracked. That will take longer to eat than already shelled nuts that you can wolf down by the handful. 
  • Many people get a blood sugar drop in the middle of the afternoon and reach for a carb filled or sugary snack to regain energy. That adds on calories and the body burns those types of calories quicker. A snack with protein and complex carb will stabilize blood sugar and last longer. Healthy snacks to have around are ones that have less than 200 calories like yogurt with fruit, boiled eggs, and veggies with bean dip or hummus.  
  • Stress is abundant during the holidays so be careful of emotional or stress eating. Try going for a walk, meditation or a relaxing soak in the tub before turning to food to relieve stress.
  • A study in Appetite reported workers taking a 15 minute walk were 50% less likely to eat chocolate back at their desks than those that rested for those 15 minutes. So getting some exercise not only burns off some of those extra calories, but also can curb your craving for sweets.
  • When snacking on yogurt, pick Greek yogurt as it has double the protein of regular yogurts to help build muscle and keep you full longer. Your body also burns more calories digesting protein than it does digesting carbohydrates. 
  • Foods that have a high water content are great for curbing appetite as they make you feel fuller, are full of nutrients and are low calorie. Raw veggies and fruits fit in this category and also provide you with antioxidants and fiber. Oatmeal not only has a high water content, but is also rich in fiber, filling, and hot. Hot foods take a longer time to eat. Filling up on salad before a meal can also help you avoid overeating more fatty foods with the main meal. 


Here's to healthier eating over the holidays this year! Just being aware of ways to cut down your calorie intake can help you avoid overeating and make it easier to burn off those extra calories after the holidays.




If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products at wholesale prices on our website.


Sources: 
http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/food-cravings-diet-wreckers?ecd=wnl_lbt_091014&ctr=wnl-lbt-091014_nsl-ld-stry&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3D
http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-fat-fighting-foods?ecd=wnl_wmhA_082614&ctr=wnl-wmh-082614_nsl-ld-stry&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3D
http://www.webmd.com/diet/protein-shakes?ecd=wnl_day_072814&ctr=wnl-day-072814_nsl-ld-stry_2&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3D
http://www.oprah.com/health/Dr-Ozs-Holiday-Secrets_1
http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/foods-weight-loss-and-prevent-cold-and-flu


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Your Immune System: 7 Ways to Avoid Putting it at Risk with the Flu

Flu season is upon us again and the best way to avoid getting sick with the flu is to strengthen your immune system. If you already eat healthy, take probiotics, get enough sleep and exercise, then chances are your immune system is in pretty good shape. The trick now is to keep it strong especially during flu season. Let's look at a few things you can do to avoid putting your immune system at risk and keep it strong to help you fight off flu.

What is the Flu?
The flu is caused by a virus just as a cold is. But flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms. You generally start seeing relief from cold symptoms within a week whereas flu symptoms can last a bit longer and you don't bounce back as fast. The worst flu symptoms may show relief after a week, but you can still be lacking energy and have milder symptoms for weeks. Symptoms of flu can include a high grade fever, achy muscles, headache, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue and possibly vomiting or diarrhea.

Keeping Your Immune System Strong
1. Get Rest
Not getting enough sleep reduces immune cell function and impairs the ability of your immune system to protect you from illness such as the flu. If you are feeling sick, then getting more sleep helps increase your immune system's fever response to fight off invaders. Getting extra rest also helps immune cells regenerate. Adults need to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night. This is especially important to make a priority during flu season to keep your immune system healthy.

2. Avoid Alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption can negatively affect your immune system function. Drinking too much alcohol can reduce white blood cells and prevent your body's absorption of nutrients. One study performed with mice reported those given large amounts of alcohol showed signs of the immune system being weaker. Flu season is an especially good time to hit the sack early instead of staying up late at parties or out drinking with friends.

3. Hand Washing
One of your best lines of defense against getting the flu is to wash your hands. Use soap and warm water to wash throughout the day and particularly after being out in public places where you have been touching things that could have picked up germs from others, after coughing or sneezing into your hand, after using the restroom, or touching your face. When you wash, make sure you wash thoroughly and for at least 20 seconds, then be sure to dry your hands completely. Using paper towels is also better for cutting down on germ exposure than using a cloth towel, especially if multiple people are using the cloth towel.

4. Immune Support Supplement
One way I have found to support the immune system is this supplement containing reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms with astragalus, beta glucan and bluegreen algae. Pure, whole particle beta glucan helps with inflammation by mobilizing white blood cells to areas of injury or inflammation. These white blood cells (macrophages) remove damaged tissue quickly before it has time to trigger more inflammation. Beta glucan from yeast has been known to help fight off bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics, release chemicals that support immune cells, reduce cold symptoms, and help regulate the immune system. Beta glucans are not something the body produces naturally so we have to get them from food or supplement sources. Adding a single capsule of this immune support supplement each day to your diet can help give your body the nutritional elements shown to actively defend against invading germs, viruses and antigens by stimulating the macrophages into action, which in turn triggers an entire chain reaction of defense mechanisms in the body. Shiitake and reishi mushrooms have been found to have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties as well as being rich in beta glucans. Maitake, cordyceps and Turkey Tail mushrooms have also been found to contain a variety of substances that benefit your immune system.

5. Precautions Around Other People
Since the flu is contagious, there are certain precautions to take when around other people that will help reduce your risk of getting it. Even if you are around people that don't appear sick, they can have the virus and begin spreading it. Washing your hands after coming into physical contact with another (ie. – shaking hands with them) is one way you can cut down on your chances of getting the virus. If you can't immediately wash your hands then at least be sure to not touch your mouth, nose or eyes until you can wash. I know mom told us to cover our mouths when we cough and most people cover their noses when they sneeze, but sneezing or coughing into your sleeve instead of your hand can help cut down on the spreading of flu germs. Encourage those around you to do the same. During the peak of flu season, the safest course is to avoid crowded public places since the virus can be spread over quite a distance through the air. If that is not possible, some people wear filtering masks to reduce their risk of being affected. Others just stick with being contentious about washing their hands extra and avoid anyone that is showing symptoms of the flu.

6. Drink Water
Keeping your body hydrated helps keep all the systems including your immune system functioning at their peak capacity. Not drinking enough water also distracts your immune system as it deals with toxins in the body that are not being released from the body through urination. Drinking the right amount of water for you will leave your urine a pale yellow color. If your urine is darker yellow, then you are probably not drinking enough water daily. Drinking lots of water is also important if you get the flu as it helps flush the flu out of your system.

7. Don't Worry
Anxiety and stress can also reduce the function of your immune system. Stress reduces your levels of IgA, a protein that is part of the immune system and helps fight off infections by preventing invaders from getting into the body, leaving the immune system more vulnerable. Reducing stress or learning methods of coping with stress can go a long way towards strengthening your immune system. On a spiritual or energetic level, according to the Law of Attraction, worrying about getting the flu can actually cause you to manifest it or draw it into your reality. Take the precautions listed in this article and go on about your everyday life without worrying that you might get the flu. If you do get the flu, then you'll deal with it, but worrying about getting it will definitely not keep it away. Cut down on other life stressors or find ways to cope with them during the flu season too so that your immune system has the best chance of helping you avoid the flu.

The flu is nothing to fool around with. In some cases it can lead to hospitalization and even death. At best, it means time missed from work or school, family and feeling miserable. Give some or all these tips a try and get your immune system in top working order to help you fight off illness this flu season.

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Sources:
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20311978,00.html?xid=healthforwomen12092013