BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

immune system

Your immune system is the body’s first line of defence when it comes up against harmful pathogens.  A low immune system means that your body is more susceptible to germs such as bacteria, air-borne viruses and to coming into contact with other infected people.

HEALTHY WAYS TO STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Your immune system can be affected by such factors as your physical health, mental stress, and smoking.  If your diet lacks healthy nutrition, your mental health will also suffer and put more stress on your immune system.

If you have a compromised immune system or a low immune system, your health is at high risk. This is because an immune deficiency allows pathogens to take a strong hold… to invade and attack different organs of the body.

BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM…

by EATING HEALTHY FOOD

Not eating healthy food plays havoc on a weak immune system, whereby disease can greatly affect, not only your physical health, but your mental health as well.

A healthy well-balanced diet each day will not only strengthen a low immune system but keep the immune system strong and healthy. It has the potential to fight off any impending disease or pathogens as it creates a strong barrier.  

A HEALTHY DIET WITH NUTRIENT-RICH FOOD…

PROTECTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Three quarters of your immune system resides within the gut. This is why it’s important that you eat healthy nutrient-rich foods, along with probiotics for immune system boosting.

Eating healthy food, full of nutrition, helps the body’s first line of defence against the likelihood of chronic disease developing.  Eating a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables, as well as natural Greek yogurt containing probiotics for immune system building, allows the healthy gut flora to flourish. The digestive system absorbs the essential nutrients in food and transports them into the bloodstream, thereby strengthening the immune system and gives the body immunity to bacteria that maybe harmful.  

Quick fixes don’t happen overnight and eating an orange or two now and then won’t prevent a cold or the flu from developing. Most people are chronically lacking in many of the important vitamins and minerals the body requires for a healthy diet. However, you can boost a low immune system by paying close attention to your diet choices. Having nutrient-rich healthy meals builds a healthy immune system.

A healthy immune system requires a variety of nutrients

IMMUNE BOOSTER NUTRIENTS

Vitamin C

Found in citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges as well as tomatoes, red bell peppers, broccoli, and berries.

Vitamin E.

Vitamin E is found in broccoli and spinach, some seeds, and almonds.  Both Vitamin E and C help fight infection due to their powerful antioxidant benefits.

Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is found in eggs, and fatty, oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna.

Vitamin A.

Found in colourful carotenoids such as sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, and cantaloupe. These foods containing Vitamin A have antioxidants with strengthening benefits to the immune system to helps fight against infections.

Folic acid.

Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables, beans, and peas.

Iron.

Iron is found in lean poultry, turkey, red meats, fish, and seafood.

Zinc.

Zinc is found in crab, lean poultry and meat, chickpeas, and yogurt.

Selenium

Selenium is an important antioxidant for maintaining a strong immune system.  Eating selenium-rich foods is one of the best ways to boost the immune system.

Selenium is an important mineral which plays an active role in turning on the immune system cells and protecting them from any damage, while helping eliminate infections and pathogens.  The amounts of selenium in different foods varies depending on how rich the soil is in selenium, where it is grown, the amounts of water availability, pH levels and whether pesticides are present.

Selenium is found in foods such as Brazil nuts, salmon, sardines, tuna, halibut, some grains, brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat breads, sunflower seeds. baked beans, some nuts, mushrooms, milk and yogurt and spinach, all with varying amounts.  Mushrooms and broccoli may also help slow cancer cell invasion.

PROBIOTICS FOR IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOSTING

Probiotics are active bacteria, often referred to as good gut flora. They create a barrier defence mechanism whereby they fight and protect against diseases that may harm the immune system.

Probiotics not only assist digestion but detoxify your system, allowing healthy absorption of essential nutrients to be far more efficient.  One of the main organs in the body is your liver and it relies heavily on healthy gut flora to enable it to detoxify and remove any toxins.  Filtering out pathogens enables the body to recover from illness or stress more quickly.

Replenishing the body’s gut with probiotics each day helps the liver to function properly by removing any toxins, as it relies on healthy gut flora. Probiotics also promote active energy levels that are essential for maintaining a strong immune system.

Probiotics not only promote a healthy immune system but have a direct effect on your mood and general wellbeing.  When you have an imbalance of good gut flora in your system, bad gut bacteria can take over, causing major gut bacteria problems to exacerbate.

Taking medications or foods containing preservatives or eating foods exposed to pesticides can destroy any good flora, which can further deplete a low immune system and result in a compromised immune system.

PROBIOTIC FOODS

A healthy immune system relies on a healthy gut flora.  Therefore, feeding your gut with active live bacterial cultures promotes immune support.

Immune system probiotic foods are one of the best ways to not only strengthen but maintain a strong immune system.  Natural Greek style yogurt augments your natural immune system and has greater propensity for improving your overall health and wellbeing.

When buying probiotic yogurt and foods, select your food carefully and pay close attention to the label. Select refrigerated foods, those containing “active live cultures” raw and unpasteurised.  Avoid others, as your immune system will not receive the necessary benefits.

FERMENTED FOODS

Raw, unpasteurised milk cheese develops its natural bacteria when placed in a special cool environment where live cultures can begin the fermentation process.  Fermentation takes varying times with differing cheeses, but all the probiotic goodness is preserved.

When you are eating these wonderfully aged, fermented cheeses, your immune system gets a huge boost of healthy probiotics. There are a wide variety of milk cheeses available these days in speciality stores and supermarkets.  There are many hard cheeses as well as soft delicate cheese to indulge yourself, such as delicious goat’s cheese that will not only tantalise your taste buds but enhance your immune system.

Fermented foods provide the greatest benefits to the immune system and it’s for this reason you should eat them every day.  Fermentation preserves food for longer and has long been used throughout the world.  It’s an excellent way of sealing in the goodness, whilst still enabling us to eat these foods out of season at a later date.  Some of these foods need to be kept in the fridge so that your immune system gets the greatest benefit.

Select probiotic foods carefully by always reading the labels… make it a habit.  Check for hidden extras, as your immune system will only get the greatest benefit from fully fermented probiotic foods.

There is a wide range of fermented probiotic foods available.  Here are a few you might like to try first.

+ Yogurt, sour cream, and buttermilk fermented, beets, carrots

+ Milk cheese as well as goat’s cheese

+ Fermented, beets, carrots, sauerkraut

+ Fermented relishes, pickles, ginger, jams, and chutney.

Sauerkraut, Cheese, Fermented Vinegar, Fermented Cucumber

Many of these popular foods can be easily added to an array of so many other healthy foods to make a delicious meal, full of immune system boosting, nutrient-rich foods.

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND MENTAL HEALTH

A healthy immune system creates a buffer for stress and quickly restores you back to health.  It allows stress levels to ease while it strengthens your mental health.

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND GENERAL HEALTH

The bottom line is that eating lots of good nutrition-based healthy foods with fermented probiotics improves your overall health and wellness.  If you have been taking antibiotics, probiotics will counteract any negative effects very quickly and restore and strengthen your immune system.

Read more about maintaining Good Health

Gut Health

Gut Health

How is your gut feeling?

Our inner microbiome (gut) affects our total wellbeing, from hunger pangs to chronic illnesses, stress and sadness.

It is now well known that gut health is crucial to our overall wellbeing. It is also connected to everything that happens in our bodies. The trillions of bacteria that live in our gut affect our health, our mood and our weight.  In a way these microbes work together to form what can be regarded as an extra internal organ and play a huge role in our health.

“Your gut is the centre of your being – it digests and assimilates nutrients from the food you eat”, says wellness expert Robyn Youkilis

healthy gut

Health and Happiness

Most of your immune system actually resides in your gut and the gut plays an important role in your mood. Robyn had discovered in her practice as a health coach, that healing the gut resolved many of her clients’ health issues, even the most stubborn.

Poor gut health can lead to digestive issues, such as abdominal pain, bloating, reflux and flatulence and other complaints. including fatigue, joint pain, headaches and even skin problems.  Robyn says depression, anxiety, mood swings, irritability and poor concentration are now also being linked to the gut’s microbiome.  Other more serious illnesses and chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and even cancer have been linked to an imbalanced microbiome .

Mental connection

The gut has also even been referred to as a “second brain” because it contains millions of neurones which are sensitive to emotion.  Our brain and our gut are, in fact, connected by an extensive network of neurones, chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback to and from the brain.  These signals carry information about how hungry we are, stress, sadness or even anger. Have you ever felt a sinking feeling in your gut when something happens that you were dreading? That’s the brain – gut connection in action. The emotion is triggering a reaction in your gut.

The connection can be a two-way street as tummy troubles will impact on our mood and happiness. Serotonin is responsible for good mood and it is estimated that 90% of your serotonin is made in your digestive track and production of this important chemical is reliant on health gut bacteria.

Weight Control

Research suggest that gut bacteria can alter the way that our bodies store fat as well as our response to hormones, making us feel hungry or full. Contrary to popular option, it’s not what your eat, or the number of calories you consume, that’s important, but how your body is using what you eat. You might be eating nutritious whole foods most of the time but still feel foggy, uninspired and generally less than your sparkling best. This is probably because your gut is not in good shape… not properly absorbing all the vitamins and nutrients from your food. This means that your cells don’t have the fuel they need to carry out their role in absorbing and assimilating nutrients from your food.

Sources of gut-friendly nutrients

Sauerkraut (fermented food)

Spinach

Lettuce

Silver beet

Collards

Mustard greens

Kimchi

By Liz McGrath

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MAINTAINING A HEALTHY BRAIN

Boost brain function

The secret to boosting your brain power

As we age, many of us may think that our mental ability must necessarily decline. But new evidence shows that this is not neccesarily the case.

Many older people think that by regularly completing crosswords or sudoku, they will enhance their brain power. However, this is probably not true.  At best, it will do no more than improve their ability to do crosswords and sudoku.  Unfortunately, there is very little evidence that these activities, along with the myriad of phone apps available to improve brain function, achieve anything at all.

Improving Brain Function

According to Melbourne neuroscientist Dr Jared Cooney Horvath, the secret to keeping your brain fresh is continuing to do something unpredictable.  Recent research has shown that keeping your brain functioning well is not about repeating the same activities over and over, rather it is about undertaking new thinking patterns.  Dr Horvath maintains that there are twelve scientific principles controlling the way that we learn and remember. He says that the idea that we can use tools to boost brain function is not supported by current evidence. In actual fact, there is very little that is known about ways that we can help our brains to function better.

If we understand the way that our brain works, we will have a better chance of adopting habits and behaviours that will benefit us to the extent that we can develop a “super-efficient” brain.  As we learn, the brain starts to develop an automatic prediction mechanism. The secret is “you have to keep doing something unpredictable”.  

Learn Something New

Many people, after they retire, will start doing cross-words and playing golf and and may become very good at these activities, simply by virtue of repetition and practice.  However, if they were to take up something new, such as learning an instrument or another language or playing a new sport or even doing something outlandish, the brain will respond and new thought patterns will develop, thus improving brain function.

The conclusion is that any decline in normal brain function is not inevitable as we age.  In fact, if any decline occurs, it is most likely not due to any biological process, but rather sociological effects.

So, the bottom line, according to Dr Horvath, is… “force yourself to engage in something new and once you get good at it, do something new again”.  If you have never done a crossword, it will help your brain by starting to do them.  But once you get good at it, learn to do something else, such as a cryptic crossword or solitaire.  Keep on stretching your brain to function outside of its comfort zone.

In essence, the secret to keeping the brain fresh is continual learning.  If you want a well-functioning brain, you need to feed it new skills all the time.

THREE WAYS TO BOOST BRAIN POWER

1 Follow the Mediterranean Diet

We have long known that exercise, sleep and stress management are all essential for our brain to function at its optimum. But in addition to these three things, we can improve our brain health when we eat a Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean diet helps improve our short term or working memory.

In essence, the Mediterranean diet consists of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, along with fish, nuts and salads topped off with olive oils.  Diets based on these foods have been shown to greatly improve vascular and brain health. These foods can make up a very healthy lunch or dinner with olives, spinach, goat’s cheese, tomatoes, fish, nuts and extra virgin olive oil.

2 Learn Something New

Learning an instrument or learning a new language can help improve our intellectual skills. As well as this, new sensory and motor skills can greatly boost the brain function. Reading about new things also increases our vocabulary and working memory

3 Go out and connect with Nature

Time spent exploring the countryside is time well spent. Go for drives and explore nature. Meditate in nature, relax and have a picnic.  Appreciate nature… the sea, the countryside or bush land.  Being outdoors gets you out and walking, breathing fresh air.  This all broadens your perspective of the world at large around you and your appreciation of nature… bird life and animals.  So slow down, get off the computer or phone and take a picnic and explore nature. Not only will you improve your brain function, you will feel more connected with the outdoors, the people you meet and you will feel more relaxed and calm.

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