Prevention

Saturday, 24 December 2016 14:59

6 Ways to Avoid the Winter Flu

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Avoid Sugar
Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness, including the flu. It is especially imperative to avoid sugar if you feel you are coming down with something, but keeping sugar out of your diet for the long haul will do wonders for your health and make your body stronger, which will make it harder for the flu to bother you.
 
Get Enough Rest
Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. 
 
Eat Garlic Regularly
Garlic is a triple-whammy: it’s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal. Garlic is one food that you should be eating every day. 
 
Don’t Let Stress Become Overwhelming
We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. It has been estimated that up to 90 percent of illness and disease is stress-related.
 
Exercise
When you exercise you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of fighting an illness before it has a chance to spread. In a sense, exercising helps your immune system to be more efficient in weeding out and acting upon viruses and diseases. 
 
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. If your immune system is strong, it should be able to fight off the virus if it does enter your body, but washing your hands provides a bit of extra protection.
Monday, 23 November 2015 18:54

Echinacea and Vitamin C- Do they work?

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This is the time of year when everyone is rushing out to get the Flu shot. Doctor's offices are filled with people who are scared of getting sick. Getting a needle is much easier than changing your diet and making healthier choices…right?

Your immune system works hard for your 24/7, 365 days per year. It doesn’t get a break or a chance to take a vacation. Are you doing what you can to support your hard working immune system?

Ever wondered how your immune system actually works and what specific foods or nutrients can strengthen it. I can tell you one thing for sure…all the Vitamin C and Echinacea in the world won’t do it!

Grab a cup of Green Tea and read the story of your good ol’ immune system.

The immune centres of your body are located in the tonsils, thymus, spleen, and bone marrow. These are like the army command stations housing the first line of defense soldiers ready to fight against the enemy invaders (bacteria).

From these command centres the soldiers (immune cells) cruise around your body, looking for the enemy invaders. The evil enemies are foreign bodies or antigens commonly disguised as viruses, bacteria and even pollen. 

When the enemy (disease) is found by your army of immune cells, the method of attack depends both on the disease and on the particular immune cell.

Phagocytes, a type of white blood cell, are the front line killers and are sent to engulf, absorb, or eat the enemy invaders. Phagocytes make the enemy disappear by consuming the dead cells and play an important role in allowing the war wounds to heal.

Lymphocytes, second in command, attack and destroy the disease enemy by creating antibodies and tag the cell with an antigen to be attacked later should there be another enemy invasion.

After defeating a particular disease, the lymphocytes will keep a profile of the enemy and remember the disease throughout your life. Should it appear again, they will quickly eliminate it.

The memory effect of immune cells is the premise behind vaccines. A vaccine injects weakened antigens into the body so your immune system can practice remembering and attacking this weakened form of defense.

Vaccines are effective because whenever the same type of enemy disease enter your body; your immune system draws upon its memory to send out second in command lymphocyte soldiers to quickly defeat it. At some point, though, the soldiers are replaced and the profile isn’t passed down. It’s like your immune system gets a bit of dementia and forgets about the antigen. Vaccines are not life long!

In addition to quality sleep, reducing stress levels and exercising, there are certain micronutrients that can help your army of immune fighters. Unfortunately, there is not one single vitamin or mineral; contrary to popular belief that will strengthen your immune system so drowning yourself in Vitamin C this winter won’t work.

Vitamin A plays a key role in production of white blood cells, vital for fighting off infection. Vitamin A foods include carrots, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin C can help boost the immune system, particularly in endurance athletes and those undergoing physical stress. Vitamin C foods include chilies, guavas, bell peppers, broccoli, papayas, and strawberries.

Zinc, among other immune functions, is necessary for the creation and activation of lymphocytes. Zinc has also been shown to help alleviate symptoms of the common cold, and may even accelerate the time to recover. High zinc foods include Oysters, wheat germ, sesame , pumpkin seeds and squash seeds, peanuts, and dark chocolate.

Vitamin D. Vitamin D, which is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight, signals an antimicrobial response to bacteria. Foods high in vitamin D are white mushrooms, cod liver oil, fish, Oysters and eggs. Vitamin D is fat-soluble which means you need fat to absorb it.

Probiotics Beneficial bacteria have a lifelong, powerful effect on your gut's immune system and your systemic immune system as well.  The bacteria play a crucial role in the development and operation of the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract.  They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.