10 Foods and Herbs for Enhanced Immunity

So, you’ve made the lifestyle suggestions I mentioned in the last post ,The Immune System:Your Inner Army, yet you still feel it’s not enough. You are right.
Let me get specific.
Before looking to your friendly pharmacist to help you prepare for the winter sniffles, visit your local supermarket or fruit and vegetable market. Stock up on these powerful immune boosters and make them part of your diet.

1. Citrus Fruit

Lemon fruit
Vitamin C has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect the immune cells from damage by infections. Research studies also found that Vitamin C speeds up healing and recovery.It is no coincidence that citrus fruits are abundant in winter.

Rather than taking a vitamin C supplement, reach for a variety of citrus fruits.
Other foods rich in Vitamin C include dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, red peppers, snap peas, berries, paw-paw, kiwi fruit and tomatoes.

2. Probiotic Rich Foods

It is now a well-known fact that 1/3 of our immune system lies in the gut. Therefore a healthy gut is one of our best defenses against infections.
Probiotics promote growth of good bacteria in our gut and help to stimulate the immune system,making your body less friendly to pathogens.

Probiotic rich foods include yoghurt, maas, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir and other naturally fermented foods and drinks.

3. Garlic

Garlic has strong antibacterial compounds because it is particularly rich in allicin, a compound thought to improve immune cell power to reduce infection.
Garlic reportedly has antibacterial and antiviral properties which makes it a champion in fighting bacterial and viral infections.
Eating 2-3 cloves of garlic per day may help boost the immune system helping you avoid infections or heal faster.

4. Ginger

Garlic and ginger are often used together in cooking for their taste yet they both possess powerful infection fighting compounds.
Ginger has a powerful compound called gingerol which is thought to lower the risk of infection. It has powerful anti-microbial properties which stops growth of certain bacteria.
To get both antibacterial and antiviral properties during a respiratory infection, ginger is at its most potent consumed raw.
I love cooking with ginger and it features quite prominently in my smoothies and juices.

5. Berries

Mixed berries on white backgroundDo you remember early in summer I encouraged you to freeze berries so you always have them handy? That’s because berries have very potent compounds called phylenols which fight viral and bacterial infections. Berries are also powerful antioxidants helping to fight free radicals.

6. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are rich in protein, fibre, Vitamins D, C and B, calcium and zinc. They also contain powerful immune boosting compounds which may help kick a nasty cold to the kerb.
Medicinal mushrooms (especially Shiitake, Maitake and Reishi) are known as immune modulator which means they balance and strengthen immune system function.They are useful  in preventing illness,balancing autoimmune and allergic conditions.

Mushrooms are best enjoyed cooked, in salads and they can even be made into teas and soups.

7. Coconut oil

Did you know that coconut oil has the same immune strengthening compound as the one found in breast milk?
Choose organic, unrefined, unbleached and non-GMO coconut oil to get the best benefits of lauric acid which is converted to powerful monolaurin, the immune boosting compound.

7. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal -all qualities you need from an infection fighter.
A generous sprinkling on the morning cereal or warm winter drink will not only warm your soul but will also improve circulation and boost your immunity.

8. Almonds

Almonds are rich in vitamin E which is key to a healthy immune system. Other nuts also provide good fats which can be powerful in fighting winter infections.
Consume about 20-40 a day to get the daily allowance of Vitamin E. Other foods rich in Vitamin E are avocados, sunflower seeds, and dark leafy greens.

9. Echinacea

This antiviral and antibacterial herb is the most researched herb, and most used,immune booster in Western medicine. Echinacea contains elements that increase the production of white blood cells,which we now know are the main defenses in our body.This herb is best taken at the onset of infection until it subsides. It is not suitable for long term use nor is it recommended if you have an autoimmune condition.

It is available in tablet,syrup and extract form.

10. Elderberry

Quercetin in elderberries is what makes them powerful infection fighters. It provides antioxidant,and anti-inflammatory effects which help with sinus pain and chronic fatigue that comes with a compromised immune system.
You can find elderberry tea, syrup or tablets.

Immune supporting foods and herbs can help the body fight off infection and relieve symptoms of colds and flu. Make these herbs and foods pat of your diet and experience improved immunity.

 

*Disclaimer:IN BODY IN MIND and its consultants do not diagnose disease. You should consult a Medical Doctor before undergoing any dietary or food supplement changes. Any recommendations you follow for changes in diet, including but not limited to the use of food supplements are entirely your responsibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Immune System: Your Inner Army

As the seasons shift to cold weather we hear a lot about ‘boosting’ the immune system to ward off colds and flu. The immune system is one of the hardest working systems in our bodies that ensures we are healthy enough to enjoy life. It can be likened to an army that protects the body against infectious invaders.

But what really is the Immune system? What does it do? How can we support it to ensure if functions optimally?

Your Immune Army

The immune system is a network of special cells, tissues and organs that work together to provide our bodies with defense against infections and foreign invaders.

Tonsils and the thymus make antibodies that tackle invaders and stop infection.

Lymph Nodes store immune cells that fight infection .Lymph Vessels transports lymph fluids, nutrients and waste between the body tissues and the bloodstream.

Bone marrow produces red and white blood cells that fight infection

The spleen filters the blood and removes old blood and, because it is rich in white blood cells, it destroys bacteria and foreign substances.

And lastly, one of the most important cells of the immune system are white blood cells which can be found circulating all over the body keeping watch for germs or substances that might attack the body.

Needless to say, this is one system we need to ensure is in tip top condition if we are to remain healthy.

Germs: Friends or Foe?

The mere mention of ‘germs’ freak a lot of people out. In fact we have done such a splendid job killing germs to a point where the immune system is left idle so it starts looking elsewhere to practice fighting. This is not good.  Some germ exposure is good. It trains our immune system so we do not get sick at every turn. So it might help us to ease off those anti-bacterial soaps ,sprays and even antibiotics which may also kill the good bacteria.

Boosting your Immunity

Avoid the following Immune Depressors:

  1. Sugar
  2. Fatty Food
  3. Alcohol
  4. Smoking
  5. Negative Stress
  6. Late Nights

Take the following Immune Boosting steps to decrease chances of getting ill and speed up recovery

  1. Exercise
  2. Consume more healthy food
  3. Switch to more nourishing drinks
  4. Increase your water intake
  5. Spend time outdoors and get Vitamin D and fresh air.
  6. Remember to wash your hands regularly
  7. Make time to rest.

These simple actions will go a long way in boosting your immunity and upping your feel good factor.Next we will talk about how you can fight reduced immunity with herbs and nutrition. Stay tuned.

Nutrivore Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Hypertension Day 2017

World Hypertension Day was first held in May 2005 and has become an annual event ever since. The purpose of the day is to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer, the modern epidemic.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure is elevated in the arteries. This means the heart has to work too hard to pump the blood through the system.

It is the leading risk factor for disease burden worldwide. Approximately 4 in 10 adults have raised blood pressure which often goes undiagnosed, but healthy attitudes can help combat hypertension.

An estimated 18% of deaths (9.4 million) and 162 million years of life lost world-wide were attributed to increased blood pressure in 2010. One half of blood pressure related disease occurs in people with higher levels of blood pressure even within the normal range. Hypertension now disproportionately impacts low and middle-income countries.

Source:http://www.gov.za/speeches/world-hypertension-day-2017-16-nov-2016-0931

Do you know that hypertension can be prevented and managed by following these simple and practical suggestions? Follow them and see the changes in your body.

 

 

World Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome Day 2017

This day is used to make the public aware of Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is more than just fatigue. It is a serious, debilitating medical condition. Individuals with CDS experience various problems including pain in the muscles and joints, tender lymph nodes, headaches, prolonged, extreme exhaustion following physical or mental activity and many other symptoms.

CFS is a real medical condition. There is no known cause or cure for CFS, but scientists have identified numerous biological abnormalities in CFS patients. CFS is not psychological in origin. Medical studies have proven CFS is not “all in the head”, laziness or a mental disorder.

CFS can be treated. Physicians can help improve a patient’s quality of life by treating symptoms such as sleep disorders, pain and gastrointestinal difficulties.

Source :http://www.gov.za/speeches/world-chronic-fatigue-and-immune-dysfunction-syndrome-day-2017-16-nov-2016-0941

Move for health day 2017

10 May

World Move for Health logoThe Move for Health Day forms part of the development of global and national strategies on diet, physical activity and health. The initiative encourages all South Africans to take responsibility for their health, by engaging in cost effective physical activities such as walking, regular exercise and other extramural activities. In order to improve and maintain health, at least 30 minutes of physical activity should be performed daily.

The main objectives are to:

  • facilitate the development of sustained national and local physical activity initiatives, policies and programmes.
  • increase population-wide participation in physical activity.
  • increase participation in physcial activity through sport organisations, events and other socio-cultural forums.
  • promote healthy behaviour and lifestyles and address health related issues through sports and physical activity such as no tobacco use, healthy diet, reduction of violence, stress and social isolation.

Source: http://www.gov.za/world-move-health-day

How to practice self-care like a boss: Simple ideas to get started.

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In a society that views putting ones needs first as selfish and over-indulgent,the subject of self-care can be a sensitive one.More so when you are a woman who is supposed to put everyone above yourself. However, looking at the high number of women experiencing chronic fatigue and on the verge of a burning out, it is clear that this practice is flawed.

Ask me,I’ve been there.

About 10 years ago I found myself flat on my back unable to take care of myself and the people I thought I was sacrificing everything  for. I was exhausted,highly irritable and feeling disconnected with myself. After a stint in hospital,I made sure to pencil in self-care in my routine.

I wish I could say I’ve been religious in following my routine.

But no.

‘Life’ slowly crept back and the ‘busyness’ of being a woman,mother,wife and working woman took over and I found myself struggling again. I had to learn that self-care is not an event. To be successful,I have to make it part of my lifestyle. This is something I want other women to learn too.

What is self-care?

The word self-care seems self explanatory but our understanding may be limited. Self care is any activity that you voluntarily undertake which helps you maintain your physical,mental and emotional health ( so that time in hospital did not count as self-care). These activities must add to your life in a positive way and cause you no harm.So, no matter how happy it makes you feel, over indulging in alcohol or chocolates is not self care.Sorry.

Who needs to practice self care?

If you experience the following on an ongoing basis,it could be time you learn to practice self-care

  • constantly feeling tired
  • you are irritable
  • you are forgetful
  • you feel strange when not busy
  • feeling stressed out by the many responsibilities
  • ongoing feeling of overwhelm and unable to cope with daily activities

Why is self-care necessary?

I am sure the above reasons are enough for anyone to want to start practicing self care. Psychotherapist Jenine Steinberg, in her article 4 Reasons to Prioritize Self-Care , goes deeper into what I also think are important reasons to make self care priority.

Where routine self-care is lacking,stress may take over and lead to total burnout.Physical and mental health becomes at risk. Illness may result.You want to stop the wheels turning before you land in a deep dark place.

I have put together a very short list of ideas you can start practicing.Pick one or two and begin treating yourself like you would a dear friend.

 7 Self care ideas to start practicing today

1.Take time to connect with nature. Relax under the stars and breath in fresh air with mindfulness. Take a walk along the beach and taste the salt in the air.Walk in the park and smell the flowers.Awaken all your senses as you reconnect with yourself in nature.

2.Be Selfish.Do something for no reason other than that you want to and it makes you happy.Be like a child and put the spotlight on you and allow yourself to glow in positive light.

3. Unplug. Switch off all your devices and just be.Even if it’s for an hour.I promise the moon will not fall from the sky because you are unreachable but you will marvel at the freedom of being unavailable.

4.Practice saying YES to yourself.Most of us have no problem saying YES,but it’s usually to things that we should be saying NO to. Think about it;what is your knee-jerk response when a girlfriend asks you out for drinks or a spa day? Do you immediately say yes or your first thoughts rush to whether this outing will fit your children’s or partner’s schedule?Do you consider it wasting money to treat yourself yet say yes without hesitation when your children ask for random treats?

5.Speak kindly to yourself. Most of us will have no friends if we spoke to them the way we speak to ourselves.Think carefully about the language you use in your head.It can build you up or break you down. It’s your choice.

6.Date yourself. Yes,just you and yourself. Pick a day,time,activity and place to be with yourself.Fill this time with positive things that bring you pure joy and satisfaction. Block it out in your diary, send out an out of office message an hang out a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign at your door. Make no compromises.

7.Eat for nourishment. Change the way you think about food. Imagine what will happen if we started to view healthy food as treat. I imagine it would be something we look forward to,something we crave. Healthy eating is a big part of the self care practice. A healthy body is better equipped to handle stress than one that is poorly fed.

8.Move. Your body has built in happy juices called endorphins which are released when you exercise.  Find a form of exercise that fits your personality and lifestyle and enjoy it and you will experience joy.

This list is limited. The goal is to get you thinking and to help you start practicing self care like a boss in no time.Self-care is not an expensive,time consuming indulgence. It is a necessary expression of love for yourself.It helps decrease stress and increases productivity.It may help you avoid physical an mental illness.By loving yourself enough to prioritise yourself,you can approach your work,family and social relationships with a clear and happy mind.

The benefits of routinely practicing self care far outweigh the perceived expense in time and money. event poster final (3)It’s in that spirit that I am hosting a 1 day Guilt-Free Self-Care Retreat for busy women who can only give themselves a day to focus on just filling up their cups because they know,you can not pour from an empty cup. If you are in Durban or know a special woman in Durban who deserves a day off,please come through,it promises to be a soul enriching event. Bookings are now open.

How and how often do you practice self-care? I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detoxfication Simplified

No word gets tossed around at this time of the year more than ‘DETOX’.Everywhere you turn someone is on some kind of detox in the form of diets,teas,juices-there is even even a detox coffee!

But what really is the detoxification process? Is it necessary?How do yo know you need to detox?

Quick Biology Lesson

Most people know that the liver is the main detox organ but it’s not the only organ.In the mix is the gall bladder,kidneys,the lymphatic system,colon and skin.Yes,your skin is one of the detox organs,not the most efficient but it picks up where other organs can’t cope.Dull skin tone anyone?

The liver does the main filtering of toxins in the blood that enter the body through the GIT( gastrointestinal tract) BEFORE it enters the rest of the body

Th colon moves whatever detoxification waste the liver has dumped into the digestive tract for elimination because if it hangs around the colon too much due to constipation,there is a risk that it can be reabsorbed into your bloodstream. You don’t want that.

There is another system in the body that we don’t hear much about yet it is one the most important and intricate body systems;the Lymphatic system.It’s made up of tiny vessels and groups of nodes that carry the interstitial fluid in the body and dump it to the blood stream to be removed.It also carries vital immune cell.The special thing about this system is that (1)it has no pumps to move the lymph(2)it moves in one direction.It moves with the help of surrounding muscles that press on the lymph vessels.

And lastly, skin.Skin is our biggest organ but it is also the least efficient when it comes to detoxing.It does however take over from other detox organs when they are overburdened with toxins.

Although the kidneys‘main function is maintaining the fluid balance in the body,it also does detox duty.It filters specific toxins,especially in protein foods, and removes it via urine.The fluid balance is important for blood pressure,electrolytes and the acid -base balance.

Since we have all these organs and systems detoxing while we are busy scoffing our faces with sinful indulgences,why do we need to add detoxification on our health plan?

Because,my nutrivore friend,there are forces bigger than us giving our poor liver and other organs a run for their money.Okay I could be exaggerating but our number one  evil is the environment we now live in. Our world is filled with man made toxins,some of them the body does not even recognise. It stands to reason that it will need a bit help getting rid of them.

Another  reason is that our diets are deficient in nutrients that assist these organs to work efficiently. Take fibre for instance; time and time again it has been proven that we do not consume enough fibre. Fibre is necessary to move things along our colon. So if we do not have enough fibre to assist elimination,we risk keeping the toxins in the body or even worse,reabsorbing them.

So yes,for these two reasons,among other,we need to detox.

Detox Goals

When we embark on a detox program these 3 goals should be what we aim to achieve

1.To reduce the workload of the liver.

2. To stimulate the body organs to  move the toxins out of the body.

3.To encourage detox organs to work better.

We clearly indulge excessively during the festive.We eat with the abandon.We are careless with our livers,drinking too much alcohol  because,who drinks water during holidays?Really now.

 

So how do we achieve the above goals? That is the next topic in this detox series. Make sure you don’t miss it.

Nutrivore Love

 

Natural Energy boosters:Day 4

Go Bananas!

Today’s neb (natural energy booster) is babanas.

When you are running low on fuel and need something quick and easy,grab a banana.They keep you  fueled longer than most fruits and foods.They are packed with potassium,vitaminB6,magnesium and fibre-a real ideal snack.

They might be high in sugar but the fibre balances this and because of that you get no blood sugar spikes.Have you had a banana today?

#healthcoachtips#healthytips