Category Archives for Health & Wellness

The Most Effective Heart Health Supplements

 

By Theresa Harding

I never realized that heart supplements are available to help with cardiovascular health.  Surprisingly there are, and as a matter of fact, some supplements or natural vitamins for heart health are more effective than some prescribed heart medications.  Even better, Healthy supplements don’t have the side effects as do most heart medications on the market.  

Millions are at risk of developing and dying from the most pervasive killer, heart disease. While more than 750,000 Americans die each year from one of the many types of this often silent disease, the most common form, known as coronary artery disease frequently results in narrowed arteries which become blocked by clots moving about in the blood.

Heart disease is a disease caused by poor lifestyle and diet. Any valid attempt to prevent or treat this disease must include the elimination of wheat, refined carbohydrates, sugar, and artificially produced trans-fats. Regular exercise should be used to complement a program designed to stop this insidious disease.

Fortunately, there are a number of supplements for heart health that has been scientifically proven to fight against heart disease and the risk of sudden death.

There are certain nutrients that research shows have a favorable effect on cardio health. Take a look at the most effective heart health supplements and how they help to support heart functions:

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Coenzyme Q10 is present in most human cells. It is a vitamin-like substance which is produced by the human body. In the mitochondria of each human cell, food energy is converted into energy with the aid of CoQ10. It is interesting to note that 95% of all the human body’s energy requirement is converted with the aid of CoQ10.

While the body produces its own CoQ10, levels are reported to decrease with age and to be low in patients with heart disease. Levels of CoQ10 in the body can be increased by taking CoQ10 supplements or vitamins for heart health.  If you need vitamins for energy, this supplement is one good choice since you lose this important vitamin in your body while taking statins for high cholesterol.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Both the Food and Drug Administration and the American Heart Association have recognized the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids for supporting heart health by helping to maintain normal cholesterol levels. Omega 3s are taken by some as a heart supplement to provide cardiovascular health.

The two most important omega 3 fatty acids that help support a healthy heart are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Clinical studies show that Omega 3 is involved in the proper functioning of every cell, tissue, and organ in the human body. However, the bulk of the studies have focused on Omega 3s cardio-protective properties.

Garlic

Several studies have suggested that garlic and garlic extracts could lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides as well as slightly elevate “good” HDL cholesterol. A recent study also showed that supplementation with garlic extract (1.2 grams 3 times per day for 2 weeks) significantly reduced the oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol, which is known to contribute to vascular dysfunction.

Garlic has antioxidant properties, particularly aged garlic extract, which is rich in several organosulfur compounds that are powerful antioxidants.  Garlic extract is one of those natural vitamins that can also be taken as a vitamin for heart health.

L-Carnitine

Similar to CoQ10, carnitine levels are depleted in patients with various heart conditions and therefore supplementation may be beneficial. Carnitine assists in transporting fat into the mitochondria to be burned as fuel in the heart.

Carnitine supplementation may have positive effects on symptoms of heart failure and may improve exercise tolerance and oxygen consumption in moderate to severe heart failure. Effective doses are around 2 grams per day.  Those taking vitamins for heart health can consider taking L-Carnitine.

According to an article from lifeextension.com, Carnitine deficiency has been associated with congestive heart failure.  PLC supplementation has been reported to increase exercise capacity, optimize energy production, and reduce ventricular size in patients with congestive heart failure.

Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a supplement that gives fish their peachy pink color and research shows that it is effective in supporting cardiovascular health.  It also has anti-inflammatory benefits that helps suppot signs of aging, cognitive function, and may improve athletic performance.

Astaxanthin also contains more potent antioxidants and scavengers of free radicals than carotene carotenoids such as β-carotene.  For these reasons dietary supplementation with astaxanthin has the potential to provide antioxidant protection of cells and from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Niacin

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is naturally involved in carbohydrate and fat (lipid) metabolism. In supplemental doses, niacin is a potent vasodilator that causes blood vessels to increase in diameter.  Niacin also significantly and consistently lowers blood levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and increases “good” HDL cholesterol. Effective doses can be achieved with 50-200 mg per day.

Pantethine

Pantethine, the active form of pantothenic acid, is the most important component of CoQ10, and some research supports its use for lowering high cholesterol levels.  Other notable supplements or vitamins for heart health are:

Healthy Lifestyle Habits to Improve Your Heart Health

  1. Improve your diet and gut health by eating a large variety of fresh vegetables, fermented foods, bitter foods, and raw foods
  2. Exercise gratitude daily by starting with walking
  3. Engage in self-care
  4. Get quality sleep every night
  5. Reduce or eliminate stress factors in your life
  6. Increase your water intake
  7. Learn to forgive
  8. Speak daily affirmations
  9. Surround yourself with positive people daily
  10. Drop toxic relationships

 

Which heart health supplements do you find the most effective for you?

Sources

https://top10supplements.com/best-supplements-for-heart-support/

https://liftmode.com/blog/supplements-for-heart-health/

http://authorityfoodnutrition.com/health/best-supplements-for-heart-health-blood-pressure/

https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/6-supplements-to-support-a-healthy-heart.html

https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2013/8/rebuttal-to-attack-against-carnitine/page-01?p=1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3083660/#b48-marinedrugs-09-00447

 

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Inflammation and Sugar, the Connection

%Health and Wellness Tips%Terry Talks

Inflammation and Sugar

 

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.


How Sugar Causes Inflammation

Are you currently taking supplements for inflammationInflammation 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.

Foods That Cause Inflammation

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.

Artificial Sweeteners That Cause Inflammation

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Artificial Sweeteners & Inflammation

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:

  • saccharin
  • acesulfame
  • aspartame
  • neotame
  • sucralose

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;

  • Aspartame
  • Sucralose
  • Saccharin
  • Neotame
  • Advantame
  • Acesulfame potassium-k

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.

Sweeteners that Don’t Cause Inflammation

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.

  • Monk fruit Lo Han Extract is also called monk fruit. o Han has a very low glycemic index and low sugar content.  This is a wonderful sweetener but it can be hard to find and expensive.

 

  • Yacon syrupYacon syrup is extracted from the roots of the Yacon plant which grows throughout the Andes mountains in South America. Yacon syrup is rich in prebiotic fibers (roughly 40-50%) called inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) which are undigestible by the body but feed healthy gut bacteria.  Using Yacon syrup has been shown to reduce obesity and insulin resistance.

 

  • Coconut sugarThis is a very low glycemic liquid sweetener derived from the liquid sap of the coconut the glycemic index is 35 making it one of the lowest of natural sweeteners.  The fructose levels are very low at 10% and it contains a wide variety of antioxidants, minerals, and other nutrients that enhance blood sugar stability.  Coconut sugar is my second choice in sweeteners.

 

  • Raw honey, organic- is superfood does have an effect on blood sugar and contains approximately 53% fructose so one should only consume this in moderation.  This is my personal favorite and first choice in sweeteners, as it takes less to sweeten foods.

 

  • Molasses is a byproduct of the processing of sugar.  It does have an effect on the glycemic index and must only be consumed in moderation.

 

  • Maple syrup– contains sucrose, glucose & fructose and therefore has an effect on blood sugar and insulin levels.

How Sugar Affects Your Body

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Inflammation and Sugar

  • Sugar triggers AGEs (advanced glycation end products).
    Other foods high on the glycemic index do, as well, by promoting high insulin release. AGEs stimulate inflammation and have been linked with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and such age-related diseases as Alzheimer’s and stroke.

 

  • Suppresses white blood cell activity. White blood cell activity is a natural part of the healing process. When the process is suppressed, healing may be incomplete. Chronic inflammation can result.

 

  • Triggers the release of inflammatory prostaglandins.  Prostaglandins are short-lived, hormone-like chemicals, produced by the body’s cells.  Instead of moving through the bloodstream, these hormones move from cell to cell and regulate all kinds of cellular activities.

 

  • Consuming too many added sugars and refined carbohydrates can lead to an excess amount of advanced glycation end products (AGEs).  AGEs are formed as a normal part of metabolism; however, with a surplus of glucose (from added sugars and refined carbs in our diet), excessive AGE formation occurs.

 

  • Having too many AGEs contributes to oxidative stress and inflammation by binding with our cells and integral proteins, changing their structure and interfering with their normal function. This alteration can eventually lead to a buildup of plaque in our arteries (atherosclerosis) and decreased kidney function, among other effects.

 

  • Also, as many of us know, a diet rich in added sugar and refined carbohydrates can often lead to weight gain and obesity. Excess body fat, especially in the abdominal area, causes continuous, chronic levels of inflammation that can alter the action of insulin.

 

  • Insulin is a regulatory hormone that plays an important role in transporting the glucose in your bloodstream into your cells, where it is used as energy. However, with chronically high levels of blood glucose, the production and regulation of insulin are altered, and insulin resistance can result. Consequently, the excessive amount of blood glucose can lead to an accumulation of AGEs.

How to Reduce Inflammation 

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.

  • Limit unnecessary sources of added sugar and refined carbohydrates in your diet.  Minimize your consumption of foods with low sugar intake.  (These foods are listed on the food label as sucrose, low inflammatory foods, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, dextrose).  Also foods with refined carbohydrates (this includes many processed foods such as pasta, white bread, and white rice).
  • Eat more whole grains. Choose whole grains such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and barley.  Due to the high fiber content, whole grains can help slow down absorption.  They do this by decreasing the speed at which sugars enter the bloodstream.

 

  • Increase your daily intake of vegetables and fruit. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain complex carbohydrates and naturally occurring sugars.  These foods also contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which conversely help to reduce AGE formation.

 

  • Additionally, fruits and vegetables are high in fiber which can help decrease the rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream. Try to get at least 10 servings a day.

 

  • Include a variety of antioxidant-rich foods and heart-healthy fats in your diet. Other sources of antioxidants include flax, chia and hemp seeds, avocado, nuts, wild salmon, omega-3 rich eggs, olive and canola oil, and small cold water fish such as mackerel, herring, and sardines. Eating these foods on a regular basis will help to counter inflammation and reduce oxidative stress.

 

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Factors such as exercising regularly, managing stress, and not smoking can help to reduce inflammation.  Maintaining a healthy weight is also important in promoting proper insulin function. 

Conclusion

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?

References

https://www.weightandwellness.com/resources/articles-and-videos/sugar-aches/

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-carbs.htm/

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/food-additives-promote-inflammation-colon-cancer-mice

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2842521/

https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/gluten-free-diet.php

https://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/foods-cause-inflammation

https://iquitsugar.com/sugar-inflammation-osteopath/

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/09/glucose-inflammation/

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/05/02/serious-aspartame-safety-questions-remain.aspx

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sugar-and-inflammation#section1

https://healthfully.com/373970-artificial-sweetener-joint-pain.html

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/truth-artificial-sweeteners#1

 

Take my free Course “Diet Makeover” to revamp your current diet.

You’ll receive weekly lessons right to your inbox so you can move from nutrient-deficient to nutrient-dense.  This is the same makeover I used to lower my husband’s cholesterol, eliminate high blood pressure for my 12-year-old son, and wipe out severe eczema.  If I can do it, so can you!

 

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INFLAMMATION AND DISEASE

 

By Theresa Harding

Did you know that many diseases start with inflammation?

Inflammation is a vital part of the body’s immune response. It is the body’s attempt to heal itself after an injury; defend itself against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria; and repair damaged tissue.

This kind of inflammation is good, but the modern epidemic of chronic, low-grade inflammation destroys the balance in your body. When your body’s systems experience a constant inflammatory response, you become more susceptible to aging and disease.

Types of Inflammation

There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic (sometimes called systemic) inflammation. Acute inflammation arises after a cut or scrape in the skin, an infected ingrown nail, a sprained ankle, acute bronchitis, a sore throat, tonsillitis or appendicitis. It is short-term and the effects subside after a few days.

Chronic inflammation is long-term and occurs in “wear and tear” conditions, including osteoarthritis, and autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease. Habitual or environmental factors, such as excess weight, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, smoking, pollution, poor oral health and excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to chronic inflammation.  Adopting a low inflammatory diet while focusing on low inflammatory foods is one way to avoid the onset of chronic inflammation.

Often, acute inflammation is perceived as “good,” because it is the body’s attempt to heal itself after an injury, and chronic inflammation is perceived as “bad”.

Symptoms of inflammation

Symptoms of inflammation vary depending on whether the reaction is acute or chronic.

The symptoms of acute inflammation include:

  • Pain: The inflamed area is likely to be painful, especially during and after touching. Chemicals that stimulate nerve endings are released, making the area more sensitive.
  • Redness: This occurs because the capillaries in the area are filled with more blood than usual.
  • Immobility: There may be some loss of function in the region of the inflammation.
  • Swelling: This is caused by a buildup of fluid.
  • Heat: More blood flows to the affected area, and this makes it feel warm to the touch.

Symptoms of chronic inflammation present in a different way. These can include:

  • Fatigue
  • mouth sores
  • chest pain
  • abdominal pain
  • fever
  • rash
  • joint pain

Causes of Inflammation

Inflammation is caused by a number of physical reactions triggered by the immune system in response to a physical injury or an infection.

One of the main causes of inflammation is low-grade bacterial, viral, and fungal infections in the bloodstream and organs like the stomach and gastro-intestinal tract.

Other causes of inflammation include:

  • Chronic low-grade food allergies or food sensitivities that may cause few symptoms.
  • An imbalance of bacteria and fungi in your gastrointestinal tract, also known as dysbiosis. This causes your immune system to overreact to bacteria in your gut and can be without notable symptoms.
  • Stress. Constant psychological, emotional or physical stress raises the level of cortisol, creating inflammation.
  • Environmental toxicity from our air, water, food pollutants and toxic metals like mercury and lead all contribute to inflammation and have been linked to diseases as varied as endometriosis and cancer.
  • Diet and lifestyle: too much fat, sugar, and protein in your diet, constant dehydration, consumption of too many sodas or caffeine, inactivity, and lack of sleep can all increase inflammation in your body.  It is important to include low inflammatory foods in your diet consistently to inflammation from taking root in your body.   This means eating low inflammatory foods like fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats like coconut oil and taking Omega3 fatty acids.

Diseases Associated with Inflammation

Although inflammation has long been known to play a role in allergic diseases like asthma, arthritis and Crohn’s disease, still Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and Parkinson’s disease may all be related to chronic inflammation in the body.

Examples of diseases, conditions, and situations that can result in acute inflammation include:

  • acute bronchitis
  • infected ingrown toenail
  • a sore throat from a cold or flu
  • a scratch or cut on the skin
  • high-intensity exercise
  • acute appendicitis
  • dermatitis
  • tonsillitis
  • infective meningitis
  • sinusitis
  • a physical trauma

Examples of diseases and conditions that include chronic inflammation:

  • asthma
  • chronic peptic ulcer
  • tuberculosis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • periodontitis
  • ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • sinusitis
  • active hepatitis

How to Reduce Inflammation

  1. Eliminate all sources of inflammation from your diet. This includes rancid oils, sugars, conventional meats, pasteurized dairy, trans fats and sugars.
  2. Begin incorporating one new anti-inflammatory food to your diet each day. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
  3. Focus on a low inflammatory diet with low inflammatory foods since they won’t contribute to your body aches and pains.
  4. If needed, supplement a healthy diet with 1 Tbsp. of cod liver oil.
  5. Consider taking supplements for inflammation if you feel like diet alone isn’t giving you added relief from body aches and pains. Speak with your doctor first before changing your diet or trying any new supplements.

Have you experienced any form of inflammation?  What have you tried to reduce the pain?

References

http://vetsci.co.uk/2009/12/04/types-of-inflammation/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflammation

https://www.livescience.com/52344-inflammation.html

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The Top 10 Winter Foods for Your Immunity

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 foods that build a healthy immune system, we create a natural defense against unwanted illness, headaches, digestive issues, a weak immune system, and dry skin that can plague us in the winter months. Cold and flu season becomes less of a worry when our immune systems are strong.

If you want to avoid succumbing to countless sniffles and colds during the colder months, there are many steps you can take.   Keeping wrapped up when outside and making sure your home is warm is a must, but you should also consider the types of foods you eat that will boost your immune system.

Here are some foods you should try to fit into your diet, either daily or at least a few times a week to help boost your immunity.

Garlic

Garlic can be considered Mother Nature’s antibiotic. 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 – which are key players in your body’s immune response.

Pumpkin Seeds

Zinc is a metal required for all kinds of biological processes in your body. The 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 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 mylk, even though the color is not the most attractive-looking, the mylk is very nutrient-dense.

Onions

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 flavonoids – plant compounds which have a whole range of antioxidants add benefits for your body and can boost the immune system. Though the evidence is somewhat mixed, some flavonoids 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

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.

Probiotics

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. 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 live in 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.

Turmeric

Like ginger, curcumin 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.  I 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 I like to make golden milk with it.

Green Tea

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

Honey has been known to have antibacterial properties for many years. As such, it is sometimes included in licensed wound care products.  Sens e 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.

 

Mushrooms

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 3 mushrooms can be found in supplement form from 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

Kiwifruit 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.

Water

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.  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 improve 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?

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You’ll receive weekly healthy living tips in your inbox from the latest research on how to live healthier.  Our free newsletter will encourage you and inform you on how to upgrade your health and wellness through diet and lifestyle change.

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References

http://www.cellnutrition.ie/5-winter-foods-to-boost-your-immune-system/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/healthy-winter-foods-that-keep-your-immune-system-humming/

http://www.goodhealth.co.nz/health-articles/article/winter-is-coming-tips-to-naturally-strengthen-your-immune-system

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The Top 9 Ways to Naturally Winterize Your Immune System

%Health and Wellness Tips%Terry Talks

9 ways to winterize your immune system

By Theresa Harding

As we move from the Autumn season and into the winter season, I start preparing for the winter by following the tips I’m sharing in this article.  I hope you find these to be effective for your health too.

The wintertime virus season makes us all vulnerable to infections. For some older adults, these infections are life-threatening because of immune decline (immune senescence) that occurs with age, and this leads to a weak immune system.

Flu and pneumonia are responsible for 55,000 deaths every year in the US. In the presence of immune senescence, flu vaccines may not be sufficient to fight off viral infections.

Winter is around the corner and brings along flu, cough, and cold. It is important to take preventive action and “winterize” your immune system naturally. Immune-boosting foods immune supplements, and nutritional supplements can help you stay strong & healthy and avoid infections.

Below are the top natural ways to winterize your Immunity.

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1. Adding Lemon to Your Water

 Adding lemon to your water is the ideal food for restoring acid-alkali balance.  Lemon helps maintain the body’s internal “climate” at a pH that will support healthy bacteria instead of harmful bacteria and viruses.

Additionally, for those coffee drinkers, decreasing caffeine is another way to boost your immunity.  Not only does caffeine promote dehydration, but it robs your body of vitamins and minerals and causing a weak immune system, so switching it for tea can make a significant difference.

2. Eliminate Your Intake of Refined White Sugar

 Between the holidays, it’s easy to add sugar to your diet – but you’re hindering your ability to fight infections, as sugar causes a weak immune system.  Cutting refined white sugar is likely one of the best things you can do for yourself.  For a sweet alternative, use honey as it has added immune boosting properties.

If you need more reasons why you should cut back on your sugar intake, read this article from Healthline.   Hopefully, this will give you more understanding of the effects sugar has on your body and overall health.  This was something I had to learn at the beginning of my transition to a healthier lifestyle.

3. Add Garlic to Your Daily Meals

Garlic is the most potent of all superfoods! It has great antioxidant properties. It boosts your immune system.

Garlic contains more than 100 biologically useful chemicals (including alliin, alliinase, allicin, S-allyl cysteine, diallyl sulfide, and allyl methyl trisulfide), which do everything from lowering cholesterol to fight off viruses.  

Try adding garlic daily to your diet.  It can also help strengthen a weak immune system.  If you don’t like the smell or taste of garlic, you can take garlic in capsule form found at many health food and vitamin shops, as they also sell immune supplements.

4. Make Time to Sleep

 This was a lesson I had to learn the hard way.  I was going to bed late and rising to get the kids off to school very early in the morning.  Fatigue was always present with me and I always found myself sleepy throughout the day. 

Then to top it all off, I started to look aged, and that’s when I decided to change this.  I now sleep 3 hours earlier than I used to, giving myself 7 hours to sleep. I feel better and my appearance is livelier.  Most of all I feel great! 

Getting enough sleep each night is vital to every system in your body working correctly.  Lack of sleep can also affect weight loss.  Whatever amount of sleep you need to feel refreshed in the morning, whether that’s 6 hours or 10—make sure you get it!

Insufficient sleep can suppress your immune system, opening the door to colds, upper-respiratory infections, and other nagging ills. During sleep, your body is repairing, rejuvenating, and rebuilding.

5. Exercise Your Body

%Health and Wellness Tips%Terry Talks

Fitness helps strengthen your immunity

My personal “bedside” routine gives me impressive results.  My preference is using my own body weight to strengthen my muscles, along with hand weights.  This includes doing 100 squats a day which helps strengthen my legs and gives my heart a little exercise. 

Getting through just 25 squats was difficult, as I’d be panting even before I reached 25, now it’s not so hard.  I can always add hand weights to challenge myself even more.  Exercise is good for you, but you should not overdo it.  People who already exercise should not exercise more just to increase their immunity.  

Heavy, long-term exercise (such as marathon running and intense gym training) could actually cause harm. Studies have shown that people, who follow a moderately energetic lifestyle, benefit most from starting (and sticking to) an exercise program.

Exercise makes you feel healthier and more energetic. It can help you feel better about yourself.  So, go ahead, take that aerobics class or go for that walk.

6. Swallow Some Sunshine with Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 consumption is a must in our family.  Living in Illinois where there is a long season of winter and no sun exposure, we need the supplementation.   More about vitamin D3 is mentioned in an article by Dr. Axe where he explains in detail some immune boosters.

One of the factors that help support your immune system better in summer, is that we get more exposure to sunlight in the hot summer months.  This means we get more Vitamin D3 because our skin manufactures this essential nutrient when it is exposed to sunlight.

Vitamin D3 is essential for many functions in the body, including building strong bones and teeth, but what we are primarily concerned about here is vitamin D’s effect on the immune system.  Native people living in cold, northern climates naturally supplemented both vitamins A and D, by eating animal livers raw during the winter. 

Vitamin D3 can also be found in your local health food store along with other immune supplements.  Scientists have assumed that fortifying milk with vitamin D2 would be adequate to keep modern people from developing deficiencies, but vitamin D2 is not as readily usable as vitamin D3, which is found naturally in animal foods like raw liver. 

7. Healthy Fats

%Health and Wellness Tips%Terry Talks

Best foods for immune strength

Adding coconut oil to your diet is a wonderful way to get a daily dose of lauric acid, which boosts your immune system. Try cooking with coconut oil, or add it to your morning smoothie, lunchtime soup or the cup of tea. Don’t be freaked out by the fat. The body quickly converts coconut oil’s medium-chain fatty acids into ready-to-burn energy.

8. Eliminate Processed Foods

For a long time, I thought I could never live without processed foods.  Until the doctor told me my 12-year-old son had high blood pressure.  I learned that it was due to the heavy amount of processed foods included in his diet.  Processed foods weaken the immune system! Most processed foods are nutritionally deficient and packed full of sugar that over-feeds the bad gut bacteria.

9. Add the Benefits of Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a rich source of vitamin C, which makes it an immune boosting essential. It is also packed with bioflavonoids, which are phytonutrients.  This can be eaten in many ways.  I like to eat grapefruit with a fruit salad of peaches and persimmons or pineapple for a nice balance. 

So, to keep healthy this winter with a strong immune system, try these tips and see if you can make it through the winter without a cold.  I’ve gotten through the past 2 winters with no cold, so I know these tips have been effective for me. 

 Now, I want to know from you; how do you keep your family healthy during the winter months?

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Sources

http://kwhomeopathicmedicine.com/2011/12/winterize-your-immune-system-fight-flu-naturally/

http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2017/2/Winterize-Your-Immune-Defenses/Page-01

http://www.bodybio.com/content.aspx?page=winterize-your-immune-system

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The Top 8 Natural Remedies for Autumn Skin Care

By Theresa Harding

Of all the seasons, perhaps the most romanticized and hotly anticipated is autumn. We expect orange-hued days spent snuggled under a blanket, and we look forward to wearing our favorite jumpers once again.
But what may look pretty in a picture often doesn’t bode well for our skin. With a sharp drop in temperature making us switch on the heating, the autumn weather can wreak havoc on any skin type. Here are top natural remedies for autumn skin care:

Exfoliation

I always knew when I needed to exfoliate my skin because I’d get the rolls of what looked like dead skin that would appear on my skin immediately after I’d step out of the shower and dry off. Post-summer skin looks dehydrated and shallow, and exfoliation is extremely important as it gets rid of the dead damaged cells. This step will prepare the skin to absorb more moisture and nutrition. You could go for professional exfoliation methods such as peeling. Sensitive acne-prone skin needs professional chemical peeling whereas normal to dry skin types do well with dermabrasion. You can have home treatments with products that contain light peeling properties such as those which include Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Glucosamine, Retinol or Retinoids. These products allow daily skin renewal, and fresh younger skin is seen.

Moisturizing

Hot summer causes dehydration, and thereby wrinkles and fine lines appear on the skin. So, it is important to really take a look at your skin care products when choosing natural remedies for autumn. The moisture lost needs to be properly replenished, before the onset of winter. Moisturize at least twice daily after cleansing. Dry, normal and combination skin types may use a light oil free liquid or gel moisturizer. For drier skin types, choose a thicker cream based moisturizer meant for dry skin. Along with your facial skin, you need to take care of your body also. Be sure to take short warm baths and apply moisturizer to your damp skin.

Intensive Skin Treatments

Intensive skin treatments come in the form of serums or concentrated emulsions and should be done on the damaged skin once or twice in a year. Your skin care products that contain Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Flavonoids, and Retinoid (Synthetic Vitamin A) are good treatments to reverse sun damage and improve skin tone. Some moisturizers also come with Vitamins. For a better effect use both – apply serum under the moisturizer either twice daily or as a night repair treatment. You can also go for at home treatments using masks and packs. Skin lightening treatments are very popular during Fall. In using masks, you need to exfoliate your skin (Do not exfoliate more than twice a week) and prepare it for treatment.

Sun Protection

Although the autumn sun is not as strong as it was in summer, it is still necessary for you to use your sunscreen regularly. You can find some skin care products that contain sunscreen. A sunscreen with SPF of at least 15 is required in autumn. Patch dryness, eczema and psoriasis, seborrhea and pityriasis rosacea can start to flare. Even oily skin needs a moisturizer to keep oil production at bay, so use oil-free liquid moisturizers. If you have “sun spots” on your skin because of sun exposure from the previous summer, you can try exfoliation and whitening treatments. However, do consult your dermatologist before undergoing any treatment.

Diet, Water Intake

Summer means dehydration and therefore more water intake for replenishing the moisture lost, but that should not change once the temperatures drop. In fact, you should continue to drink at least eight glasses of water a day throughout the year, irrespective of seasonal changes. This will help you to flush out the body toxins better thereby ensuring a problem-free skin. Fall is a season when fresh fruit and vegetables abound, so you can include Pears, Leeks, Pumpkins, Sweetcorn, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Blackberries, Grapes, Plums and Raspberries to provide Vitamins C, B, E and A, Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Potassium, Bioflavonoids, Omega-3 Fatty acids etc.

Wear light, loose and breathable clothing

I’ve noticed that most blue and black colored pants cause dark spots to appear on my legs. So, I try to wear more light-colored pants to prevent the dark spots from appearing. Wearing natural, tightly woven fabrics in light colors will keep you comfortable, protect your skin and reflect the light. Avoid synthetic, man-made fabrics like polyester and nylon as these materials don’t allow moisture to effectively evaporate, causing irritation and discomfort to your skin and allowing the bacteria that can lead to spots to breed freely.

Stay in the shade

Seek out shaded areas and stay out of direct sunlight to prevent harmful UVA and UVB rays from damaging your skin. Shaded areas will also be cooler, reducing the need for your body to cool itself by sweating.

Get plenty of sleep

Sleep is an essential component of natural skin care. A lack of sleep can have a significantly adverse effect on our general health increasing the risk of developing illnesses like diabetes or heart disease and also mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Sleep deprivation, even just for one night, can have a real impact on skin too, causing you to be more prone to the premature signs of aging and increase the likelihood of breakouts. No skin care products will give you the most benefits if you are sleep-deprived. So, sleep well!

What remedy works best for your skin during the Autumn season?

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