A health freak mom's thoughts on health and all things healthy

Month: October 2017

Papaya Health Benefits

Papaya Health Benefits

Whenever someone in the family has constipation, papaya will be the first thing that pops out in my mind to help them counter constipation. Papayas are very affordable and easily available in our country. Chilled papaya with a squeeze of kafir lime juice tastes incredibly […]

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Purple Sweet Potato Health Benefits

Purple Sweet Potato Health Benefits

Of  the different colors of sweet potatoes, my absolute favorite is the purple variety. Everyone in our family loves it. We often have them for lunch.   The lavender colored cousin of the familiar orange and yellow variety of sweet potato has a very flavorful and pleasant […]

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Stay Healthy With A Stronger Immune System

Stay Healthy With A Stronger Immune System

When I was exclusively breastfeeding my third and youngest daughter 9 years ago, falling sick every other month was a norm. I reckon that my baby sucked away all my nutrients, plus with the lack of sleep and stress of caring for a baby, my immune system weakened.  On top of breastfeeding, I was stressed out with my baby’s health issue, which only resolved after her surgery 13 months later.  I also had 2 older pre-school kids then who kept bringing the bad bugs back from school, which only made matter worse.

To stay healthy, energetic and sick-day-free, we have to strengthen our immune systems.

Here’s how the immune system works:

Our body’s battle for immunity begins in the mouth. Bet you didn’t know that your saliva contains powerful antimicrobials like lysozyme, alpha-amylase and lactoferrin.

Any germs that sneak past those will confront our stomach’s hydrochloric acid.

Then, should they survive, they’ll go up against the proteins and chemical compounds in our digestive system that break down bad bacteria.

Finally, our own personal good bacterial population goes to work. They prevent bad bacteria from entering our bloodstream or taking root in our small intestine and colon. Those good bacteria are called probiotics. Think of them as an army against illness.

Your immune system is an incredible thing. The bacteria in your gut is actually a powerful army willing to fight on your behalf, but only if you feed them properly. And if you do get sick, certain foods can help you recover quicker. What you eat today can determine whether or not you get sick tomorrow.

Should you really feed a cold and starve a fever?

Feed your bacteria army
The GI tract comprises over 70 percent of the immune system. That’s home to our good gut bacteria, which fight off a whole lot of yucky stuff.

If you want those bacteria to work for you, you’ve got to feed them well. They love to chow down on nutrient-dense, fiber-rich whole foods. Steer clear of processed foods, fats and sugars. That’s why a balanced whole-foods diet is your best insurance against all kinds of viruses and infections.

If you’re healthy, aim for one to two servings of probiotic-rich foods each day (more if you are trying to prevent or alleviate a medical problem).

Some of the best whole-food sources of probiotics are:

* Dairy: yogurt and kefir with live and active cultures
* Fermented vegetables: pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi
* Fermented soy: miso, tempeh

Other superfoods to superpower your immune system:

Chicken soup
Chicken soup isn’t just good for the soul. It’s good if you’re feeling under the weather, too. Research has found that chicken soup helps to prevent inflammatory white cells from moving to other parts of your body, which can decrease your cold symptoms.
The bone broth in chicken soup contains collagen, which can help boost your immune system, in addition to amino acids and nutrients that help prevent inflammation. Chicken soup’s illness-fighting ability is thought to be related to cysteine, an amino acid released from chicken during cooking

Simple Chicken Soup

Fatty Fish
Your heart isn’t the only thing that can benefit from a dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help control inflammation in your body. It’s important to consume inflammation-fighting foods on a regular basis, but especially when you’re feeling under the weather. That’s because chronic inflammation can weaken and disrupt the function of your immune system.

Garlic
Garlic contains allicin, a compound that can help fight infection and bacteria. One study showed that people who ate garlic daily were less likely to catch a cold.  Eat raw garlic if you’re feeling really daring, or add it to soups and other cooked meals to reap the benefits without the vampire-slaying breath.

Foods Rich In Zinc
Zinc isn’t a mineral you want to do away with. Some studies show that zinc may help reduce the duration of a cold if taken right away.  Zinc helps regulate the immune system, build and maintain lean body mass and heal wounds. Foods high in zinc include oysters, red meat, eggs, fortified cereal, beans and pumpkin seeds.

Turmeric
This flavorful spice is considered a superfood for a good reason. It’s rich in antioxidants and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests these qualities make turmeric a strong defense against colds, coughs, and congestion. Try it in a turmeric latte, aka golden milk, or use it to season lean meats, grains and other healthy foods.

Turmeric2

Fruits and Vegetables
Vitamin-rich foods are key to maintaining a strong immune system.  Vitamins A, C, and E are particularly useful in building immunity. Fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources of these nutrients. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, dark leafy greens and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin C can be found in high quantities in citrus fruits, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Dark leafy greens, butternut squash and avocado are excellent sources of vitamin E.  Pairing these and other fruits and vegetables with adequate protein intake will help supercharge your immunity.

Plenty of liquids
In addition to consuming healthy foods, it’s also critical to stay hydrated in order to help keep your throat and airways clear. But not all beverages help fight illness. Steer clear of sugary drinks and sodas as too much sugar in your body can cause inflammation… which further weakens your immune system.
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Lastly, the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” always applies. The best way to stave off the cold and flu is try to stay as healthy as possible by maintaining a healthy diet, being physically active and practicing good hygiene. There is no miracle food that can help prevent a cold, but lacking in certain nutrients can contribute to a compromised immune system.  So for the best cold prevention, focus on eating balanced healthy meals and exercise regularly all year-round.
 Lastly, try to banish stress from your life. Stress suppresses the immune system, which makes it easier for you to get sick and harder to fight off bugs. When people are constantly under stress, they get sick.  Meditation, regular exercise, online therapy and plenty of sleep can also help you de-stress and boost your immune system.
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Raising Healthy Children 101: Simple Techniques That Will Promote Wellness

Raising Healthy Children 101: Simple Techniques That Will Promote Wellness

Parents who want their children to lead lives of profound wellness should know that there are many steps they can take to make this happen. Below you’ll find several simple techniques you can implement to ensure that your child begins cultivating the type of mental […]

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Watermelon Seeds Health Benefits

Watermelon Seeds Health Benefits

Watermelon seeds are one of my favorite seeds to munch on as snacks to quell hunger pangs. They are delicious, gentler to my teeth than other hard nuts, easy to eat (yes I am that lazy!), easily accessible and cheaper than most nuts and seeds.  […]

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Health Is Wealth 101: Simple Ways To Make Yourself Rich In Wellness

Health Is Wealth 101: Simple Ways To Make Yourself Rich In Wellness

Although the old maxim “Health is wealth” may seem trite, it is certainly true. When an individual is healthy, she or he has a ton of energy, confidence, and the mood stability necessary to work productively and enjoy an active social life. Unfortunately, many people fail to implement the wellness strategies and standards necessary to facilitate optimal health. If this is your current dilemma, now is the time to implement the behavioral changes necessary to make great health yours. Here are two strategies that can help you make it happen:

1. Optimize Your Diet.

One of the best ways to get rich in wellness is by optimizing your diet. Unfortunately, many people put this important activity on the backburner and find themselves eating foods that detract from their appearance and vitality. Don’t conform to this cultural pattern. Instead, give your body the nutrients it needs to make you look and feel great every day. Although there’s no general consensus regarding which type of diet is ideal, most medical and wellness professionals agree that the majority of people could greatly benefit from incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their diet. Also note that recognizing which foods you’re sensitive to will play an integral role in helping you eat appropriately. If you feel that you may be in need of a food intolerance test Hillsborough NJ residents can rely on, note that the professionals of Allergy Asthma & Sinus Center can assist you.

natural and heatlhy food

2. Meditate Every Morning.

One of the reasons that people fail to attain and maintain health is because of their mentality. Whether it’s frenetic thinking or negative cognitive patterns that lower your self-esteem or give you a cynical outlook, correcting your mental habits is important if you’re serious about wellness. Luckily, there are a wide range of incredibly effective meditation modalities you can use to develop mental health. Some of them include:

• Zazen
• Vipassana, or mindfulness
• Transcendental Meditation
• Japa Mala Meditation
• Mettha Bhavana
• Guided visualizations
• Moving meditation

adult coloring

One specific meditation you might consider is referred to as the blue sky meditation. With this modality, you transfer your mental focus from your mind to your body and imagine that you are lying on your back looking up at the clear blue sky. When distracting thoughts materialize in the mind, image that they are puffy clouds blowing across the blue sky. Once the cloud has passed, resume visualizing the beauty and infinite nature of the clear blue sky.

Begin Implementing These Suggestions Immediately!

Feeling great and looking good are just two of many wonderful outcomes that result from maintaining great health. To ensure that you can attain these life-enhancing outcomes, start implementing the wellness suggestions outlined above!

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