By Theresa Harding (updated 4/13/21)
Self-care is always a form of care considered for women, but it’s often overlooked when it comes to men. In this article, I share with you my top 6 self-care tips for men’s health and wellness. I believe it’s important that we don’t eliminate our men from this factor since many men are the head of their family and need to be in optimal shape to remain in their position long-term and in good health.
This post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission at no charge to you when you click them to purchase.
According to health.harvard.edu, The average man pays less attention to his health than the average woman. Compared to women, men are more likely to
Here is what abcnews.go.com learned when they asked physicians the definition of “health”: “We asked a dozen physicians to define exactly what it means to be in “excellent health,” and they gave us the checklist that you need to complete before boasting about your super fitness.
If you can check off at least eight of these 12 qualities, then you’re more than a good guy — you’re a physical specimen possessing rare genetic gifts. We may have you stuffed for posterity.”
As some studies have reported, the average life expectancy for women in the US is 80.1, while for American men this number is 73.4. Globally speaking, the numbers are also surprisingly lower when it comes to men. With some health awareness and a decent lifestyle, you can surely beat the numbers.
Becoming more informed about your health and learning some simple and effective ways to live a healthy lifestyle can be a game-changer for you and help you maintain your health. Here are some tips for you as a man to promote self-care:
I’ve always believed in getting your vitamins and minerals from food first. You get so much more from food than taking multi-vitamins pills to help meet the daily requirements and prevent mineral deficiencies. The only problem was that I thought multi-vitamins could substitute for my lack of eating healthy food.
Vitamins and mineral supplements should not be a substitute for your lack of eating quality, whole food. Your vitamins and minerals should come from food first, with the multi-vitamins added to supplement your diet only if necessary.
Our soil today is not as rich in nutrients as it was when our ancestors farmed, so this causes our fruits and vegetables to be mineral deficient. Today, it would take for you to eat as many nutrient-dense foods as you can to prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which most of us don’t do consistently.
If you don’t feel healthy in your body, or you feel like your body is deficient in the required daily vitamins and minerals, you may need to consider supplementing with quality, whole-food minerals like the seamoss capsules.
To best know, have a Hair Tissue Analysis to learn if you’re deficient in over 35 minerals and whether your body is excreting heavy metals levels naturally. This is a very effective way to learn your mineral levels.
This is one of the best ways to find out where you might be deficient. Then you could take it from there. Not getting enough of certain nutrients can negatively impact your health and even result in chronic diseases. Here are the necessary vitamins and minerals men need.
These may all be found in seamoss capsules, which also have bladderwrack and burdock root to deliver the body the 102 minerals that the body needs. These seamoss capsules support libido along with delivering those much-needed minerals.
A 12-month study found that supplementing with around 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day increased testosterone levels by around 25%. In the elderly, vitamin D and calcium also optimized testosterone levels, which led to a reduced risk of falling.
To boost testosterone and reap the other benefits of vitamin D, try to get regular exposure to sunlight or take around 3,000 IU of a vitamin D3 supplement daily during the winter months.
In one study, zinc and vitamin B supplements increased sperm quality by 74%. Zinc also boosts testosterone in athletes and those who are deficient in zinc.
One study in infertile humans found that ginger can boost testosterone levels by 17% and increase levels of other key sex hormones.
D-Aspartic acid- a natural amino acid that can boost low testosterone levels. Research suggests that the primary way it works is by increasing follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone.
Leucine– Studies show that leucine enhanced testosterone 20 percent within five weeks.
BCAA- A study from the NCBI shows that “endurance exercise along with modest supplementation of BCAAs, but not an overdose, may have some synergic effect on sperm function and testosterone production.”
Studies show that 77 percent of men don’t take in enough magnesium, that many of us are deficient in vitamin D, and that the vitamin B12 in our diets may be undermined by a common heartburn medication. We haven’t even mentioned our problems with potassium and iodine.
The best workout supplements for men are not many. There are many supplements on the market that men buy and really can get some benefits from food. When it comes to working out, men focus on building muscle and want to add supplements to help with muscle-building and recovery.
To help with muscle recovery and maintenance, here are the few supplements I found best for men. There’s a lot of research and science behind the following supplements, as most supplements many men take don’t really add value to their life.
There’s nothing that compares to getting proper sleep and nutrition and that should be your first focus before considering supplements. So, here they are:
Creatine– You can increase your body’s creatine stores by obtaining it from natural sources. Grass-fed beef and other meats are abundant in creatine, with a pound of grass-fed beef delivering 5 grams of creatine.
Grass-fed chicken and turkey breast, lamb, venison and ostrich also contain creatine, albeit in lesser amounts.
Whey protein–This low-lactose option is a complete protein containing the nine essential amino acids and is popular among athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness models, as well as people looking to improve physical performance at the gym.
Organic grass-fed whey protein comes from the milk of pasture-raised cows that were able to roam on pasture and consume a natural diet of grass, instead of being confined in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
Organic whey protein is different from other varieties because of its production process which doesn’t involve the addition of additives or chemicals. Instead, they use 100% natural ingredients.
As a result, you are able to get pure and healthy whey protein powder, which sets it apart from conventional whey protein powders which have had cheap ingredients as soy added, (in the form of soy lecithin).
Bone Broth– If you have not experienced bone broth for pain and inflammation, you are missing out on the ultimate goodness! I started using it when I experienced knee pains when I’d do squats during my fitness routine. I learned about it from Dr. Mercola and I’ve used it ever since.
Some benefits you can experience from drinking bone broth are, support when you have pain in your joints from your workout routine, relaxation, it’s loaded with glucosamine and chondroitin for pain, amino acids, and a host of many other benefits.
You can now purchase bone broth online in powder form. Even better is you can make it yourself, but because it’s a slow simmer for 12 to 36 hours, some people prefer to purchase it. I’ve tried the powder ones, and I also make it myself by simmering the carcass bones from my leftover roasted chickens. I also purchase the beef bones and make the beef bone broth.
A great book you can read all about the many benefits of bone broth is, “
The best way to eat the foods below is to be creative and add one or two of the foods in your daily meal planning. Add them to smoothies, as snacks, and in your meals. This is not a full list, but this may help you get started in your collection.
Ginger– A 2012 study found that taking a daily ginger supplement for 3 months increased testosterone levels by 17.7 percent in a group of 75 adult male participants with fertility issues. The authors suggested that ginger may also improve sperm health in other ways.
Oysters-Males with severe zinc deficiency are prone to develop hypogonadism, which inhibits the body’s ability to produce adequate testosterone. They could also experience delayed sexual maturation or impotence according to an article in Medical News Today.
Pomegranate– There’s also a 2012 study that suggests that pomegranate may boost testosterone levels in men and women. During the study, sixty healthy participants drank pure pomegranate juice for 14 days, and researchers tested the levels of testosterone in their saliva three times a day.
Leafy Green Vegetables- Vegetables such as spinach, Swiss chard, and kale are rich in magnesium, a mineral that may increase the body’s level of testosterone.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil- Extra-virgin olive oil may also improve male reproductive health. A small study of the oil indicates that the oil may boost serum testosterone levels in a healthy male adult.
Testosterone is a hormone found in humans. Men’s testosterone levels are much higher than women. Men begin increasing testosterone during puberty, but then it starts to decrease after age 30 at a rate of 1% each year. This is a result of the aging process, also known as Andropause or male menopause.
Each year after age 30, men’s level of testosterone drops at a 1% rate each year. This is a result of the aging process. Also know as Andropause or male menopause.
Testosterone in men is responsible for:
As the testosterone decreases, so can the libido. This is one of the biggest concerns of many men. What man wants to lose their sexual desire and performance?
Decreases in testosterone can lead to physical changes including the following:
Even if you don’t have sleep apnea, low testosterone can still contribute to a decrease in the hours of sleep. Researchers aren’t yet sure why this happens.
There is a connection between low testosterone and mental health. Testosterone is a hormone that affects emotional regulation. Low testosterone is more than just decreased sexual health, it’s also connected to your mental health and how well your brain works. It’s been linked to mood swings, depression, and mood swings.
Some men experience feelings of sadness or depression and may notice their memory and concentration may be affected. Unfortunately, along with this comes your lowered self-confidence and motivation as before.
There are conventional ways of raising your testosterone levels such as testosterone therapy, but if you want the natural way without the health risks, read below to learn some natural ways that I share with you.
You will also find testosterone boosters on the market that people have tried, but many of them are not reliable. They’ve been found to only give very low amounts of increase in testosterone, like 20% to 50% if that!
A 2018 Study on testosterone boosters concluded that the administration of testosterone booster products, although obtained from trusted sources, may still present some health risks.
There are still further studies with a large sample size and for a long period that need to be done to confirm the current findings. While everyone is different, you may risk your health if you consider taking testosterone boosters, even if it is from a trusted source.
With patience, you can save your money and instead focus on the lifestyle changes as a natural way to keep your testosterone levels in check.
Although you can be tested for your testosterone levels, you should also consider how you feel and the changes going on in your body because the tests may not always be solely reliable.
So, now that we know what foods to eat that support your testosterone, you don’t want to continue eating foods that keep your levels depleted, right? Take note of the following foods.
Soy also contains a bad fatty-acid ratio which is another reason why men should avoid them. There is still research to be done since the cause is unknown why it decreases testosterone.
2. Vegetable Oils– some small studies have shown that canola, soybean, corn, and cottonseed oil, contain an abundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These oils have been linked to lowered testosterone levels. These oils are used in processed and fast foods, so it’s important to cut back on such foods.
3. Licorice Root– In recent years, several studies have found that licorice may also influence hormone levels, potentially leading to a decline in testosterone over time. The decrease has affected not only men but women too.
4. Nuts– Most nuts contain a mix of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. You want to stick to the ones with a higher concentration of omega-3s and fewer omega-6s. Omega-6 fats increase testosterone-lowering SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin, omega 3s lower it.
Nuts are known to have high amounts of protein and some have omega 3s, which may possibly reduce your natural production of testosterone.
Don’t get me wrong, not all nuts are bad for you, but some of the more popular kinds – like almonds and walnuts – are known to increase SHBG levels, which stands for sex hormone-binding globulin.
Peanuts– Peanuts are a poor choice because a serving contains 32 percent daily allowance of omega-6 fatty acid and no omega-3.
Walnuts– containing a 4:1 ratio with 10.6 grams of omega-6 fats and just 2.5 grams of omegas-3s.
Almonds and pistachios contain similar unhealthy ratios known to increase SHBG levels.
Macadamia nuts– contain high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats.
Brazil nuts- These are high in testosterone-boosting micronutrients such as zinc, selenium, boron, and magnesium. Its ratio level is just slightly higher in omega-6s than omega-3s, but this can be overlooked considering it’s full of other nutrients essential for Testosterone production.
Horse Chestnuts- This nut contains escin. This compound has been shown to improve blood flow to the testicles. This helps deliver the nutrients required for making testosterone.
5. Mint- Studies show that the menthol in spearmint and peppermint may cause a significant drop in Testosterone levels.
6. Flax Seeds-This one was a shock to learn. Some research shows that it may cause a decrease in testosterone levels. This is because flaxseed is high in lignans, which are plant compounds that bind to testosterone and force it to be excreted from your body. What’s more, flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may be linked to a decrease in testosterone as well. More large-scale studies are needed to further evaluate the effects of flaxseed on testosterone levels.
7. Bread, Pastries, and Desserts- The Journal Nutrients has concluded in a study that consuming high amounts of desserts, bread, and pastries may cause a drop in testosterone levels in men. They also found that consuming lots of dairy, fast food and a low amount of dark green vegetables also affects healthy testosterone levels.
Canned or plastic-packaged foods- These foods are known to produce estrogen mimickers, also known as Zenoestrogen, which are commonly found in the lining of canned foods, plastic, the lining of microwave popcorn, cosmetics, pesticides, dry cleaning products, furniture, dairy products, and many others.
For example, this may happen when people consume chemicals, such as bisphenol A BPA or bisphenol S, from water in plastic bottles or reheated food in plastic containers.
Results of a study from 2013 suggest that men who work in environments with high levels of BPA have reduced levels of free testosterone and androstenedione, a hormone that can convert into testosterone or estrogen.
Those with BPA in their urine also had lower levels of testosterone and thyroid-stimulating hormone. When levels of this hormone are low, it can indicate hypothyroidism, a condition that can reduce testosterone in some men.
Luckily, this list isn’t very long, but it can make a big difference if one of your favorite foods is included in the list. If you’ve been frequently eating any of the above foods, fret not, just make alternate choices. Soon, you’ll find a new favorite!
Alcohol Consumption– Research shows that men have a greater tendency toward binge drinking than women do and, as a result, a much greater risk of drinking-related problems.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking typically means having four to five drinks in a two-hour span, a practice that is almost certain to bring your blood alcohol level to the legal limit of .08. It is noted that men have a habit of doing this much more frequently than women.
Drinking too much alcohol can seriously affect your health over the years. Besides increasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease, it can be dangerous for fertility. So now we get into men’s sexual health when it comes to learning the ways alcohol consumption can affect the body.
It can reduce testosterone levels, influence sperm mobility and, eventually, cause impotence. And you don’t want to disappoint your lady, right men?
Among other notable problems alcohol can cause cirrhosis, several types of cancer, and mental issues, it’s important to drink Responsibly! You can read more about ways to naturally increase your testosterone in an article written by Testosterone Nerd here.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300 million people suffer from depression, a number that has risen by 18 percent from 2005 to 2015. In addition, nearly half of these people don’t get treatment. This is largely due to the stigma surrounding mental illnesses, as noted in Men’s Health magazine.
More than 5 million men in the U.S. experience depression each year. According to Josh Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health, men are more likely than women to report fatigue and other physical symptoms of depression as their chief complaints.
Contrary to the popular misconception, depression is not a female problem only, but not many men will ask for help. That can lead to profound consequences for your mental and physical health, as depression can trigger a number of other conditions.
If you are fatigued for no apparent reason, if you have troubles sleeping, if your weight oscillates heavily, if you experience headaches, irritability or inexplicable anger, don’t be ashamed to see a therapist. It’s for your own good and getting back your fun personality full of energy!
Here is a good read by David D. Burns, MD, for someone suffering from symptoms of depression. If you know someone who needs further help with depression, refer them to this self-help book. I’ve found self-help books to be very effective in my own life experiences. Hopefully, this book can help someone.
By following the steps above, you can ensure that you can live a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle.
What Self-Care Steps Do You Take to Ensure Your Well-Being? Please share some of your favorite self-care tips that are working for you.
Sources & References
A healthy diet is one key component that can affect the state of our mind. We must nourish our minds by eating nutrient-dense foods daily. If you need to improve your current diet from a nutrient deficient one to a nutrient-dense one, I have a free Diet Makeover course that teaches you step-by-step how to do this.
This is what I did to change the health of my family and I know it will help you too. Click below to get started.
By Theresa Harding
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you when you click a link to make a purchase.
Are you currently taking supplements for inflammation? Inflammation and sugar is one topic searched by many who are struggling to find the root cause of their pain. Do you find that no matter what you take for body aches and pains and inflammation, you still experience some level of pain in your body? The reason may lie in your diet and sugar consumption. Sugar contributes to inflammation!
More and more research indicates that most disease – including all chronic disease – begins with some kind of inflammation. If you could control inflammation and improve your health, you’d want to, right?
Inflammation is vital as part of the healing process. It defends the body against foreign invaders (including bacteria and viruses), repairs damaged tissue, restricts damaging motion through swelling, and a lot more. Some foods, like sugar, can also cause inflammation in the body, which is normal.
However, eating too many inflammatory foods may cause chronic low-grade inflammation. This can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and allergies. Eating low inflammatory foods can prevent this.
One trigger is the food we eat – and sugar tops the list for several reasons. Sugar triggers pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Cytokines are small proteins that work as signal molecules. They summon cells to infection sites, trauma, and inflammation. Sugar may promote pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduce anti-inflammatory cytokines.
While many foods cause inflammation in only certain individuals some foods are known to be pro-inflammatory (promote inflammation) in many. It’s very important to be aware of these foods, as they either contain added sugar or they are simply inflammatory. These foods are:
Sugar– A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that processed sugars may cause the release of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.
Refined carbohydrates- Refined or simple carbohydrates include sugars and refined grains with the bran, fiber, and nutrients removed. These foods are white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, and many breakfast cereals.
Saturated fats- like cheese, full-fat dairy, fatty red meat and highly processed fats (hydrogenated and trans-fats) used in processed foods, such as baked goods, stick margarine, and chips. Deep fried foods (which used to be my favorite!), and the food from many fast food restaurants are high in these unhealthy fats.
Food additives-NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) reported that dietary emulsifiers, which are chemically similar to detergents, are added to many processed foods to improve texture and extend shelf life. The scientists investigated whether dietary emulsifiers might affect the risk of colorectal cancer by altering the gut microbiota.
processed meat and red meat- Processed meats include meat prepared through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation. Those meats are hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausages, corned beef, and beef jerky, along with canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces.
Alcohol– The World Journal of Gastroenterology reported that chronic inflammation is commonly associated with alcohol-related medical conditions.
Gluten- Certain foods are pro-inflammatory and that includes gluten-containing grains and the thousands of foods made from them as reported in an article from the Arthritis Foundation.
The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) approved the use of artificial sweeteners in place of sugar to combat obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, as these are considered all risk factors for heart disease. (You may read the full statement here.)
The FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners:
It has also approved stevia, a natural low-calorie sweetener
There is a concern that people who use artificial sweeteners may replace the lost calories through other sources, possibly offsetting weight loss or health benefits, says Dr. Ludwig. This can happen because we like to fool ourselves: “I’m drinking diet soda, so it’s okay to have cake.” This recommendation was also added by the AHA and ADA.
Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes,” explains Dr. Ludwig. That means people who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find less intensely sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and unsweet foods, such as vegetables, downright unpalatable.
Artificial sweeteners are also known to cause more sugar cravings, causing us to choose sweet food over nutritious food, and weight gain.
Your body cannot process artificial ingredients well, so artificial sweeteners like aspartame may trigger an immune response, according to research. Aspartame is a neurotoxin that the body frequently “attacks” therefore causing inflammation.
Artificial sweeteners may increase your risk of type 2 Diabetes by inducing “metabolic derangements,” according to a report published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism.
As reported by Business Insider, the research team concluded that all of these sweeteners “had a toxic, stressing effect, making it difficult for gut microbes to grow and reproduce.
These artificial sweeteners are;
Drinking sugary drinks can spike inflammation levels. Moreover, this effect can last for a considerable amount of time.
For those with arthritis, artificial sweeteners may be a culprit that should be avoided. Experts have recommended that people with this condition to reduce their sugar intake so as not to aggravate arthritis.
If you’re sensitive to these substances, your immune system may react, triggering an inflammatory response, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
This inflammatory response can cause arthritis symptoms like joint pain and swelling. The resulting inflammatory response may aggravate arthritis symptoms like joint pain and swelling.
Today, we have many choices of sugary foods and beverages available to us. Natural sweeteners are available for us to use effectively. they provide the sweetness that most people crave. Here’s a list of natural sweeteners in order based on a low glycemic index and additional health benefits.
I’ve always learned that taking supplements for inflammation was the only answer. I never looked at my diet and sugar intake as the contributing factor to my pains, but once I eliminated refined sugar from my diet, and added low inflammatory foods, I experienced new results!
No pain! I first started with low sugar intake, then eventually I eliminated refined sugars from my diet altogether, then I started to see results of the decreased pain, and today, no knee pains.
Chronic inflammation is often a result of diet and lifestyle, so you can take important steps to minimize inflammation and its harmful effects on the body.
If you find that after doing all these things, even a low sugar intake, you still experience the same level of pain, then supplements for inflammation may be needed. Always remember, speak with your doctor before trying any new diet or supplements. If you need another form of sugar to use in your foods, try coconut palm sugar or raw honey.
I used raw honey most of the time. Occasionally, I use coconut palm sugar in my baked recipes instead of sugar. Try these and see how you like them.
What remedies do you use to reduce inflammation?
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By Theresa Harding (updated 11/3/19)
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission at no cost to you if you click a link to make a purchase.
Did it ever occur to you that your diet is the culprit to your body aches and pains? If you knew that some of the reasons we experience pain and inflammation are because of our food choices, you might want to reconsider your diet plan.
Even if you try taking supplements for inflammation, like turmeric, diet first is always key to an anti-inflammatory diet plan. It’s important to eat low inflammatory foods to avoid chronic inflammation.
Your immune system becomes activated when your body recognizes anything that is foreign—such as an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. This often triggers a process called inflammation.
Inflammation is a totally normal bodily function. It is generally triggered by the immune system when it recognizes an invader or damage to tissue that must be kept under control. The immune system stimulates different cells and proteins—like white blood cells—to help eliminate the threat of an outside invader and repair any damaged tissue.
Inflammation is instigated by chemical mediators called cytokines that act as signals to recruit more parts of the immune system to help with healing.
Chronic (or ongoing) inflammation is said to occur when the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells leading to autoimmune diseases. Such diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, states of immune deficiency including Crohn’s disease or skin conditions including psoriasis. Underlying chronic inflammation also may play a role in heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Interestingly, the foods you eat can have a major effect on inflammation in your body. Low inflammatory foods are best. Some foods are notorious for promoting inflammation. Consider minimizing to a low inflammatory diet or cutting these out completely.
There are also foods that combat inflammation. These foods are often referred to as Anti-inflammatory Diets or a low inflammatory diet. These low inflammatory foods can help prevent you from reaching the point of chronic inflammation.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is not a diet in the popular since – it is not intended as a weight-loss program (although people can and do lose weight on it), nor is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet an eating plan to stay on for a limited period of time. Rather, it is the way of selecting and preparing anti-inflammatory foods based on scientific knowledge of how they can help your body maintain optimum health.
Along with influencing inflammation, this natural anti-inflammatory diet will provide steady energy and ample vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids dietary fiber, and protective phytonutrients. There are also supplements for inflammation if you feel you suffer from it.
There are ways to eat anti-inflammatory food in order to reduce any chance of chronic inflammation. As mentioned above, there are supplements for inflammation in one way. But food is always the first option I recommend.
Inflammation can occur in response to many triggers. Some of these you can’t do much about, such as pollution, injury or sickness. However, you have much more control over the foods and beverages you choose to eat and drink.
To stay as healthy as possible, keep inflammation down by minimizing your consumption of foods that trigger it. Though diet is important, it’s not the only factor. Quality and duration of sleep and other lifestyle factors can have a direct impact on inflammation.
Overall, to avoid issues with chronic inflammation, make it your mission to achieve a healthy, low inflammatory diet, maintain a healthy weight, get adequate sleep and engage in regular physical activity.
Have you experienced any symptoms of pain due to inflammation? What methods are you using to heal the pain?
By Theresa Harding
Winter is the time to slow down, nourish the soul, and focus on strengthening our immunity. Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables allows us to do this as they are effective at being natural immune boosters.
By focusing on these top winter foods for your immunity, you create a natural defense against unwanted illness. Some additional symptoms are headaches, digestive issues, a weak immune system, and dry skin that can plague you in the winter months. Cold and flu season becomes less of a worry when your immune system is strong.
If you want to avoid succumbing to countless sniffles and colds during the colder months then there are many steps you can take. Keeping wrapped up when outside and making sure your home is warm is a must. You should also consider the types of foods you eat that will boost your immune system.
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When it comes to a winter diet plan, the goal is to adjust your diet to the current season. There are many benefits to eating this way. One benefit, being that foods consumed in the current season are nutrient-dense, will help to boost your immunity. Another benefit of eating foods in-season is that your body will be more in-line with the current season. This provides your body with a high level of nutrition.
For example, during the winter season, there are specific fruits and vegetables that provide many health benefits to your body, such as root vegetables. Root vegetables are a heavier food and your body needs more dense, rich foods to keep warm in the winter.
Of course, eating in-season also has financial benefits to your food budget. The foods sold in-season cost less because they are more abundant. When you purchase watermelon in the winter months, the price is higher than it would be when sold in the summer months.
Why? Because watermelon and other melons are summer fruits that keep your body cool during the hot summer months. You don’t need to cool your body during the winter months. There’s no benefit in being cold in the winter, right? Not only that, but the nutritional content of the off-season watermelon is lower.
Let’s not forget that eating foods in-season helps support local farmers and it also promotes balance with the resources of the earth and its lifeforms. We definitely want to embrace the natural source and diversity of the changing seasons rather than negating them. So stay in-line and grounded and this will help boost your immunity.
Of course, you’ll need to eliminate foods that will suppress your immune system such as sugar and processed foods. These such foods are loaded with artificial preservatives, colors, and other chemicals. A suppressed immune system means that it can take your body longer to heal from a cold or flu bug, should you contract it.
Missed days from work due to a cold or flu is no fun for anyone, as this could affect the income of some workers. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Common colds are the main reason that children miss school and adults miss work” each year.
Here are some foods you can add to your diet, either daily or at least a few times a week to help boost your immunity:
Garlic can be considered Mother Nature’s antibiotic. It’s known for its medicinal properties since ancient times. In investigating its beneficial effects, garlic is one of the most extensively researched products. It has acquired a reputation as a formidable prophylactic and therapeutic medicinal agent in the folklore of many cultures, over the centuries.
Garlic is known for the role in its antimicrobial, anticancer, antioxidant, immune boosting, anti-diabetic, hepatoprotective, anti-fibrinolytic and anti-platelet aggregatory activity and its potential role in preventing cardiovascular diseases, according to an article published by Science Direct.
It contains a whole host of beneficial components, one of which is called allicin, a potent antibacterial agent. Additionally, allicin has immune-enhancing effects by stimulating lymphocytes – a type of white blood cell. These white blood cells are key players in your body’s immune response.
As stated in research by the Journal of Molecular Medicine, “Zinc possesses anti‑inflammatory activity by inhibiting NF‑κB signaling and modulation of regulatory T‑cell functions that may limit the cytokine storm in COVID‑19.
Therefore, Zn may possess protective effect as preventive and adjuvant therapy of COVID‑19 through reducing inflammation, improvement of mucociliary clearance, prevention of ventilator‑induced lung injury, modulation of antiviral and antibacterial immunity. However, further clinical and experimental studies are required.”
Zinc is a metal required for all kinds of biological processes in your body. This micronutrient is involved in tissue growth and proliferation, and it’s important for normal brain functioning. For example, zinc regulates neurotransmitter release, which is vital for mood regulation.
Especially at this time of year, zinc is involved as your body copes with the threat of infection. It has been shown that zinc deficiencies result in a reduced immune response, or weak immune system, to invading pathogens. Zinc is also known to shorten the duration of a cold and flu virus.
Zinc is naturally found in protein-rich foods such as lamb, pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, chickpeas, cocoa powder, cashews, kefir, mushrooms, and spinach. I love to make my own pumpkin seed milk. Even though the color is not the most attractive-looking, the milk is very nutrient-dense. My favorite source is raw pumpkin seeds.
The benefits of onions are endless. To begin with, onions are often neglected as a health food but are usually a common ingredient in many staple dishes. Onions, especially red onions, are a wonderful source of flavenoids – plant compounds that have a whole range of antioxidants add benefits for your body and can boost the immune system.
According to research from Emerald Insight, “the organosulphur compounds in these spices scavenge oxidizing agents, inhibit the oxidation of fatty acids, thereby preventing the formation of pro‐inflammatory messengers, and inhibit bacterial growth, via interaction with sulphur‐containing enzymes”.
Though the evidence is somewhat mixed, some flavenoids found in onions have been shown to have anti-viral effects. Just like garlic, onions are very easy to incorporate into your diet. Try having them raw in a salad. They can also be effective at helping strengthen a weak immune system.
Ginger has long been used as an herbal medicine to treat various symptoms including vomiting, pain, cold symptoms and it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, anti-tumor activities, anti-pyretic, anti-platelet, anti-tumorigenic, anti-hyperglycemic, antioxidant anti-diabetic, anti-clotting and analgesic properties, cardiotonic, and cytotoxic.
It has been widely used for arthritis, cramps, sprains, sore throats, rheumatism, muscular aches, pains, vomiting, constipation, indigestion, hypertension, dementia, fever, and infectious diseases.
Ginger is also great for relieving the feeling of nausea and vomiting if you are not well. Additionally, it can help prevent infection and boost your immune system. Ginger is incredibly warming on a cold winter’s day. That warming effect can act as a natural decongestant and it can also help to promote sweating, which is part of your body’s mechanism in fighting colds and flu.
Interestingly, sweat contains a potent anti-microbial peptide called dermcidin that may help fight off infections – which may be another reason why exercising regularly during the winter months to promote sweating can help to keep infections at bay.
Having a healthy digestive system is probably the number one thing you can do this winter to improve a weak immune system. It has been shown that exposure to beneficial bacteria as an infant improves health in later life, reducing infections, allergies and the risk of asthma or other autoimmune diseases.
Probiotics provide a unique solution for disease prevention and treatment. Modulation of the immune system is one of the most plausible mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of probiotics on human health.
Research shows that probiotics have been found to enhance the natural immunity and balance pathogen-induced inflammation through receptor-regulated signaling pathways.
For sure, our hunter-gatherer ancestors would not have been exposed to the sterile, overly clean environments in their early and later years, like those of us who inhabit the developed world.
Foods rich in natural healthy bacteria that your body can make use of include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha tea, and sauerkraut. If you want an extra probiotic boost, then probiotic supplements, particularly those that contain prebiotics to feed the bacteria, are great for this time of year.
Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, has been shown in the last two decades to be a potent immunomodulatory agent that can modulate the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells.
Like ginger, the curcumin in turmeric has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties; but it also has anti-microbial features too, combatting bacteria, viruses, and fungi. A great way to get turmeric into your diet is by adding it to your smoothies, cooked eggs, vegetables, or other favorite dishes.
This suggests that curcumin’s reported beneficial effects in arthritis, allergy, asthma, atherosclerosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer might be due in part to its ability to modulate the immune system.
I personally love to add ¼ tsp to my smoothies every morning and you can’t even taste it! Another way I add turmeric to my diet is to make golden milk with it.
Green tea is a beverage that has been consumed in Eastern cultures for centuries. It’s rich in phenols, with great antioxidant properties. Additionally, it’s useful to know that powdered green teas (matcha, for example) release their antioxidants much quicker than whole leaf teas.
The antioxidant benefits of green tea provide a whole variety of potential advantages – from protecting against heart disease to reducing your risk of cancer.
That aside, the antioxidants in green tea are beneficial in offering general support and adding strength to your immune system. Antioxidants protect against damage from compounds known as free radicals, which can keep your immune system healthy.
Honey has been known to have antibacterial properties for many years. As such, it is sometimes included in licensed wound care products. Since honey is thick and sticky, it coats your throat and provides a natural way to soothe soreness.
Honey has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which help fight infections from viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The antimicrobial activity of honey appears to be due to its high sugar content, as well as hydrogen peroxide.
Studies show that honey is widely known for its antibacterial properties against H. pylori; however, the mechanisms of its antibacterial activity are not fully known.
Studies show that mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells. They become more aggressive when fighting bacteria. Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms pack the biggest immunity punch and are great natural immune boosters.
These three mushrooms can be found in supplement form at your local health food store or purchased online at vitacost.com or iherb.com. I like to take them during the winter months as a preventive measure for that added protection.
Kiwi fruit is a great source of vitamin E! It helps protect your body from viral and bacterial infections. While the jury is still out on whether vitamin C helps boost immunity, kiwi has more of it than most citrus fruits, including oranges – and that can’t be a bad thing.
Staying hydrated fuels the cellular processes that keep your body moving and grooving. Hydration is also key for proper function of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. I can’t say enough how so very important it is to drink your water daily.
“Water helps to carry oxygen to your body cells, which results in properly functioning systems. It also works in removing toxins from the body, so drinking more of it could help prevent toxins from building up and having a negative impact on your immune system”, as explained by Culligan Water.
Many of us don’t drink enough water and experience many symptoms of dehydration such as constipation, poor digestion, bloating, and gas. If you want to eliminate these conditions instantly, increase your water intake.
The winter foods listed above can definitely be seen as natural immune boosters, giving you greater results than over-the-counter drugs for healing colds and flu symptoms. We should always see food as medicine, as a way to treat the whole body, not just the symptoms.
What is your winter remedy for a healthy immunity?
By Theresa Harding (Updated 5/13/19)
One of the many challenges to my weight loss efforts was trying to figure out why I was always feeling bloated. It seemed like, the more careful I was at selecting my snacks, the more I was feeling bloated after snacking on my favorite treat.
I always noticed that I would feel bloated after eating my favorite blue corn tortilla chips, and this caused me to increase weight in return for my indulgence. This was my favorite snack. I figured it’s only a snack, so why would I feel bloated only after eating a simple snack?
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I did consider at one time, to see my doctor for food sensitivity testing, but I never did. Then I started taking digestive enzymes to help alleviate the bloating. For a while, I did get some relief, but I continued to eat the corn tortilla chips because I craved them all the time.
Well, after doing more research, I learned that I am now sensitive to this snack food. So, I no longer eat blue corn tortilla chips for a snack. I’m also happy to say that my midsection does not inflate anymore, lol!
Whether it’s low fat, low carb, low GI – most of us have tried, and failed, to lose weight at some point. Some of the weight gain problems could be much more deep-rooted – multiple food sensitivities. According to medical estimates, food sensitivities affect 75% of the population, having a profound impact on their health and weight.
Multiple food sensitivities can damage the gut lining. Damage to the gut can lead to a leaky gut, allowing food particles to be exposed to the gut’s immune system. This then triggers a system-wide immune response, leading to inflammation all over the body and producing obesity by increasing insulin resistance.
Inflammation from any cause — infections, food sensitivity, or a high-sugar, bad-fat diet — will produce insulin resistance, leading to higher insulin levels, and an increase in weight. Since insulin is the hormone that signals your body to store more fat — mostly around the belly.
In his article, “Wheat Disorders“, Dr. O’Bryan shares information about wheat and gluten sensitivity and how it can lead to intestinal symptoms and cardiovascular disease. You can read more about this on his website.
Food sensitivities, also referred to as food allergies or food reactions can result in digestive disturbances such as gas, belching or bloating after meals. They can also cause symptoms not related to the digestive system including headaches (including a migraine), joint pain, arthritis, hyperactivity, skin rashes, asthma, dry cough, wheezing, diarrhea, kidney damage, and elevated liver enzymes.
Food sensitivities can make you feel lethargic, sleepy, or low in energy, especially after eating. They can also be responsible for mood swings and cravings. No one ever thinks about getting tested for food intolerances to find out the underlying cause of their weight gain.
I always craved the blue corn tortilla chips all the time, even though I would feel bloated while eating them. They were my guilty pleasure. Unfortunately, the foods that most people crave are also the foods that they are likely to be sensitive to.
Some people feel that they are addicted to their problem foods, but it is not the food itself, it’s the endorphins—the body’s opium-like painkillers which are triggered by the problem foods—that they are addicted to. Because of the cravings associated with food sensitivities, there is a tendency to overeat and increase weight, which is likely to be a problem.
For underweight individual’s, some food intolerances may have the opposite effect, making it difficult for them to gain weight. Both overweight and underweight individuals often find it easier to reach and maintain their ideal weight. This is because their intolerances are properly addressed through nutrition and lifestyle changes.
You can find out now, what foods to avoid by simply seeing your doctor for food sensitivity testing. This might be the solution to your weight gain.
These are the top foods to which people are sensitive. Some of the common food sensitivities are;
There are also common reasons why most people suffer from multiple food intolerances. The reasons are related to too much of one food, Leaky gut syndrome, Deficiency of Probiotics, over-worked immune system, and Genetics.
If you are overweight and can’t seem to lose that last ten pounds, multiple food sensitivities are likely part of the problem. They are the cause of inflammation, which is the underlying cause of weight gain. You can lose a significant amount of weight just by eliminating foods from your diet which you are sensitive.
It is also recommended to short-term, eliminate dairy and gluten because, both dairy (milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt) and gluten (found in wheat, barley, rye, some oats, spelled, triticale, and kamut) are linked to insulin resistance and, therefore, weight gain. Temporarily cutting them out of your diet, allows the inflamed gut to heal. This one move may be the single most important thing you can do to lose weight.
Have you tried the food elimination process to identify what foods you’re sensitive to? Please share.
By Theresa Harding
I never knew that something as simple as knowing that my “go-to” foods were causing me the extra weight gain over the past 3 years. I was doing every healthy thing I knew to do. All accept researching the possible reasons for my weight gain.
After doing some extra “digging”, I found some other possible reasons for my weight gain that I had not considered before, and I was able to prove that food sensitivities were the problem. I did experience inflammation with some body aches in my knees as well and had a hard time eliminating the pain.
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So I started taking an Omega 3 supplement for inflammation. The pain lessened but did not completely go away until I discovered I had issues with some food sensitivities.
Food allergies in children are rather intense and easy to detect. The case is different in adults because the presentation of food sensitivity symptoms comes in the form of mild allergies and sensitivities. Your body begins to reject such foods as corn, wheat, eggs or even milk.
In fact, it has been proven that once you cut the potentially problematic foods, you will deal with other challenges like low mood and headaches.
In your attempt to cut weight, you probably have tried low GI, low carb, low fats, etc. and failed. According to experts, the problem lies in food sensitivity. Sensitivities have been proven to contribute to weight gain, even added calories in your food, and failure to exercise.
The challenge with identifying food sensitivity symptoms is because one ends up with a headache or fatigue that is not associated with diet. It takes a specialist to pinpoint the problem.
The fact that many people are exposed to foods they are allergic to, may escape their attention because the reaction is mild. Some consume the food over breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. Over the years, vague food sensitivity symptoms of fatigue, constipation, unexplained weight gain and bloating continue undetected.
The problem escalates by taking a toll on your immune system. With an overworked system, the problem spills over to such conditions as arthritis, irritable bowel, and weight gain, among others.
As it has been noted, with multiple food sensitivities, most people are allergic to the prohibited foods. These foods are known to give you a ‘feel good’ effect. However, this effect does not last long, leading to an insatiable craving.
When serotonin is released, you become an eater who must eat for comfort. With allergic reactions that lead to inflammation, cytokines lead to a reduction in serotonin which ends up complicating weight gain and loss of balance.
The anti-inflammation hormone called cortisol is also responsible for the uncontrolled weight loss. It is produced by the body to control inflammation. Unfortunately, it works by raising your blood sugar levels.
With inflammation caused by allergies, your blood sugar goes up, leading to excess production of insulin. Eventually, diabetes spikes out of control. Cortisol is also blamed for causing accumulation of fat around your midsection. You end up with an apple-shaped body.
It has been proven that allergic reactions to foods cause nutrient deficiencies because of the inflamed guts alongside an immune system that is overworked. Beneficial bacteria may also be lacking in the gut, leading to nutritional complications.
To fight the allergy, your body may result in using a lot of nutrients. Sometimes those nutrients are not available to your body and therefore it does not operate efficiently.
The solution is to use the elimination of food method, to capture the delayed food allergies and multiple food sensitivities. This helps you identify the foods that have been affecting your body. Once you have eliminated the problematic foods, you can expect quick weight loss that may be visible within seven days.
You may need a specialist’s guidance to be certain that the identified foods are responsible for the unending weight gain problem. For me, I learned that by eliminating grains from my diet during a Diet Detox, I could actually pinpoint the foods I no longer needed in my diet.
I’d noticed that when I added those “bad” foods back into my diet, the weight gain returned. Those foods were causing me the weight gain and inflammation! This was a lesson learned.
If you want to lose weight and you find yourself in a cycle of gaining weight or bloating throughout the day, start paying close attention to what you’re eating throughout the day.
You might find that upon waking, you feel good and your mid-section will appear flat. Then, as you start eating your first meal of the day, you might notice the bloating start to take effect. This is when you should consider what you ate for your last meal.
If you really hone in what you eat throughout the day, you will find that certain foods are causing you the weight gain. These same foods are probably the foods your body is sensitive to and you should take a break from these such foods.
I would say eliminate certain foods for about 2 weeks then introduce them back into your diet and see how you feel again, after eating them. This is what I had to do when I discovered that my favorite snack-blue chips were causing me bloating. I had to change my favorite snack.
Have you Considered Food Sensitivities for Your Weight Loss Efforts?
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