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.

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.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20311978,00.html?xid=healthforwomen12092013

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Good Digestion for Even the Worst Junk Food Junky

I know and I'm sure you do too what is involved in healthy eating, but sometimes situations come up that get us off this track and we end up eating some kind of junk food. It may be a really hectic day where we drive through a junk food or fast food restaurant or a special family event or a party with lots of sweets, unhealthy fats and simple carbs. Whatever the reason, we can still balance out those times when we splurge. Extra calories in means taking the time to get in a little extra exercise to burn them off. The bigger problem is what junk food does to the digestive tract and the friendly bacteria that supports good digestion, immune system functioning, and helps us handle stress.

Digestion
Our digestive system is responsible for taking the foods we eat and breaking them down into forms the body can absorb and use to fuel itself and stay healthy. It starts in the mouth with enzymes in saliva that start breaking foods down in the chewing process and lubricating it for swallowing. The esophagus then takes the food you swallow and passes it on to the stomach where more enzymes help break down foods over about an hour. At that time hydrochloric acid comes into play in the stomach for more break down. The small intestine comes next and the pancreas supplies alkaline to neutralize the acid and digestive enzymes protease, lipase and amylase. In the small intestine nutrients are extracted, absorbed and passed on through the blood stream to various parts of the body. The food has now been broken down with proteins becoming amino acids, fats becoming fatty acids and carbs becoming glucose. The large intestine then absorbs water from food and passes out any remaining waste products.

Junk Food and Digestion
Junk food not only interferes with this digestion process with its extra fat, salt and sugar, but also doesn't give you the necessary digestive enzymes to help breakdown foods. It also doesn't have the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy and according to the Mayo Clinic can leave you feeling bloated, slow the digestion process down and contribute to gaining too much weight which is definitely unhealthy. The extra salt in these types of food are damaging to kidneys and increase the risk of high blood pressure. One study reported by ABC News found participants developed liver damage eating fast food two times a day for a month. Junk food and fast foods are also damaging to the friendly bacteria that live in the intestines and fight off disease as well as supply B vitamins that help us with stress. In addition to the bad things that junk food does to the body, it also doesn't do much good. The vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients the body needs to perform well just aren't available from junk food.

Supporting Digestion Through a Junk Food Binge
Even if we eat healthy most of the time, there are always times when we are likely to slip. Eating out with friends or family, stress eating, parties or family get-togethers are all places where it's hard to avoid some type of junk foods that don't have the good nutrition of your normal meals. A good way to help counteract those times when you know you will be attending a function where you are likely to encounter less than healthy foods is to stock up on digestive enzymes. This means eating a lot of raw foods before and after the event and possibly taking a digestive enzyme supplement. You can also make sure that beforehand you are extra conscientious about the other types of foods you eat and stick with a wholefoods healthy diet with lots of fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats. Plan to continue this after the event too. According to San Francisco nutritionist, Michelle Davenport, junk food is addictive and once you start indulging it's hard to beat the cravings for more. To stick with your good nutrition diet, develop the mindset that junk food is merely a treat to indulge in occasionally sort of like Christmas. Most of us love Christmas but we can't have it all year round. We have to wait for it to come around again next year. To help ward off the junk food cravings you can also make sure you have lean protein and fiber with meals to slow digestion down in a healthy way and stabilize insulin, increase exercise to reduce stress hormones that increase cravings, and get enough good quality sleep which also reduces production of hormones that contribute to cravings. You can also support your body's nutritional needs during these times by taking these convenient packets of daily supplements that give you the all the necessary amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements from AFA bluegreen algae, probiotics for healthy digestive support and digestive enzyme.

Don't spend time beating yourself up when you slip off your healthy eating diet. Life is meant to be enjoyed and sometimes that means eating a little junk food with family or friends. Just don't make it an everyday habit and use some of these tips to help your body still get what it needs to function at its best.

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.livestrong.com/article/166549-fast-food-digestion/
http://kellythekitchenkop.com/counteracting-the-effects-of-junk-food/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/self/diet-and-nutrition_b_4683091.html

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Importance of Hydration

by guest contributor Barb Swanson

We Know We Need It...
For years, people have heard they need to get enough water. It is an accepted fact that 64 ounces, or 1/2 gallon, daily, is a good amount for most people. And people are now drinking bottled water in record-setting quantities. So why are 75 million of us still dehydrated?

Some say they simply can't handle drinking that much water a day. They simply had to urinate too much. And this can be true. Most work places frown on being in the restroom more than a couple of times a day or even at breaks only. And even when you do drink your 1/2 a gallon a day, you could still be dehydrated. Turns out, many dietary and lifestyle factors (examples include processed foods and heated homes) can interfere with water absorption.

I'd learned from my own experiments that using unsweetened green or white teas, or herbal teas, seemed to offer the benefit of less bathroom trips. I theorized that the minerals and nutrients in those teas would actually make the water better for your cells. Now, science is proving this is true. In fact, studies are showing that adding raw fruits and vegetables to your diet can be a superior way to get effective cellular hydration.

What is Gel Water?
Most water is H2O -- or so we thought.

Groundbreaking research from Harvard and Cornell has found that the water in our cells and in plant cells is actually H3O2. It's gel-like water that's been charged by electrolytes. This gel water acts as fuel "for every action of every cell," notes Gerald Pollack, PhD, head of the University of Washington's Pollack Water Lab.

The science is complicated, but it boils down to this: Minerals help to structure water so it is more bio-available for your cells. Water in our cells is crucial for metabolism and countless other functions. Gel water in particular, primes our cells to function optimally.

Eat Your Water!
European research shows that consuming plants rich in gel water -- including most raw fruit and ­veggies -- "is up to twice as hydrating as drinking water," says Dr. Dana Cohen. Gel water from plants passes more readily into our cells -- and it's denser and less likely to leak out of damaged or aging cells.

Tips to Get Your Gel On


  • Eat six servings of gel-water-rich foods--i.e., raw fruits and veggies--daily.
  • Add an extra serving for every dehydrating grain-based or meat-based food you eat.
  • Avoid processed foods, which siphon off fluid during digestion.
  • There's evidence that ghee and clarified butter are extremely high in gel water. 
  • Eat healthy fat. "Water enters cells through an oil-guarded membrane," Cohen says. "Good fats, especially omega-3s, keep membranes supple, increasing absorption."

Bottom Line...
Fresh fruits and vegetables offer us big benefits when eaten daily.

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.