Immune Health

The immune system is our body’s ultimate defense mechanism against foreign pathogenic microbes. It is an incredibly important component of our body that is often taken for granted. If it wasn’t for a normal, functioning immune system, we would never recover from the common cold and that would have been the end of us. When we do get sick, it is because an infectant has overpowered our immune system through certain defense mechanisms of its own. For instance, a lot of microbes produce certain proteins that prevent them from hydrolytic degradation even after being engulfed by white blood cells.

Significance of a working immune system

We have examples of diseases like HIV AIDS that suppresses our immune system, leaving the victim totally vulnerable to die from common infections that a normal immune system might have fought off otherwise. Similarly, severe combined immune deficiency syndrome or bubble boy disease is a genetic disorder where the body produces faulty immune cells. The patient therefore, has to live in a sterile environment or a “bubble”. Children born with this disease don’t normally live long since they are extremely vulnerable to infectious diseases.

Can blood infusion improve immune function?

There are extensive ongoing researches being done on the effect of external factors such as exercise, age, stress and diet on the immune system. The immune system is not a single entity and functions through a harmony of the different types of white blood cells, namely macrophages, neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, basophils and eosinophils. The optimum ratio of all these cells with respect to their quantity for a healthy immune system has not yet been concluded and remains a subject of scrutiny in immunology. Therefore, boosting the immune system by pumping blood directly into our systemic circulation does not do much good since we don’t know what kind of cells the immune system can improve from and in what quantity are they required for maximum function.

Immune system boosting foods

  1. Probiotics: Consuming more probiotics is a step in the right direction if you want to improve your immune system. Probiotics are good bacteria that aid in the digestion of food and detoxify our intestines. They also balance out the immune system in our body. Kimchi, sourkrauts and other fermented vegetables and dairy products are great examples of probiotics.
  2. Vitamins: Vitamins serve as cofactors for enzymes used in the immune system. Vitamin C is a great supplement for your immune system and is not synthesized in our body which makes its inclusion in our diet more important. Vitamin C has been linked to lesser risk of getting an infectious disease. All citric fruits are good sources of vitamin C. Additionally, vitamin B6 also plays an important biochemical role in our immune system. Vitamin B6 can be found in chicken, green vegetables, chick peas, salmon and tuna. Lastly, vitamin E is known for its powerful antioxidant activity which can augment the immune action of the body against infectious agents.

Echinacea: Echinacea or coneflower has been one of the most exciting natural foods to boost the immune system. It has gone through scientific studies exploring its effects on the immune system and proved to be effective. According to a study from 2012 in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Echinacea is an effective immunostimulant and shows powerful effects against recurrent infections. Human trials have also inferred the potent activity of Echinacea against acute upper respiratory infections.

Digestive Health

A stomach ache can be extremely agitating and can distract us from important everyday activities. We generally don’t pay our digestive health much attention until we end up having an upset stomach. The causation of digestive problems is mostly under our control. Unknowingly, we tend to abuse our digestive system by filling it with unhealthy foods, in large quantities, at inappropriate times. There are plenty of other lifestyle factors that contribute to digestive difficulties most of us experience.

In order to prevent easily avoidable digestive problems, we must first identify our contemporary lifestyle choices that have a negative impact on our digestive health. Here are some common mistakes you might be making that are hindering your digestive system from functioning optimally.

Sleep deprivation

Sleeping difficulties have become widespread in the past decade. According to a study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three Americans does not get enough sleep on a daily basis. Aside from mental clarity, our physiology is largely dependent on adequate rest. Digestion needs its fair share of blood and energy. During day time, while we are performing physical activities, most of the blood is directed towards our skeletal muscles. At night, while our body is at rest, the digestive system gets an opportunity to recharge itself. The digestive enzymes are produced along with hormones that aid the digestive process which consequently result in your body effectively digesting food the next day. Your digestive system takes a toll every time you don’t get enough sleep.

Loading up on booze

Everything is okay in moderation. Weekends are usually the time when we choose to knock back a few drinks to blow off some steam. However, you must know that alcoholic beverages like beer for instance, are made from fermenting cereals containing gluten. This means beer has living Candida yeast that triggered the fermentation process. Consuming Candida as well as gluten has been linked to causing a leaky gut. This means toxins, undigested food particles and even microbes can enter your blood circulation causing diarrhea, nutritional deficiencies and poor immune system. Scientific studies have also inferred that alcohol damages the epithelial lining of the digestive tract and causes inflammation in the gut, both of these factors can augment the onset of a leaky gut.

Broad spectrum antibiotics

We have been reckless with antibiotic use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that about half of all prescribed antibiotics are unnecessary. This overuse is not only speeding up the evolution of superbugs but is also compromising our digestive system. Bacteria can be good and bad. The good kind resides in various sites of our body in a mutually symbiotic relationship. E.Coli in our gut produces B complex vitamins and vitamin K for us. Billions of these helpers reside inside our gut. Using a broad spectrum, antibiotic can kill the infectious bacteria as well as the ones inside our gut that’s digesting food for us. This may lead to nutrient deficiencies, leaky gut, diarrhea and improper immune function since our gut bacteria also play a role in improving immune response. It’s best to use narrow spectrum antibiotics that are specific for the pathogen we need to target instead of launching a rampage with broad spectrum antibiotics.

 

Sources*

http://bellalindemann.com/5-steps-save-gut-antibiotics/

http://blog.naturessunshine.com/en/7-everyday-mistakes-wreak-havoc-digestive-system/

https://bodyecology.com/articles/top-5-foods-that-damage-your-digestion

https://www.rodalewellness.com/health/5-gut-mistakes-you-dont-know-youre-making/slide/1

Apple Crumble-Gastrointestinal Friendly Recipe

Recipe for Apple Crumble

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 apples
2 cups almond flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon ,plus more for topping
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil melted
1/4 cup raw honey OR maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a 10 1/2 inch x 7 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  • Fill a mixing bowl with water and add the lemon juice.
  • Core peel and cut the apples into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.
  • Add the apples to the lemon juice water as you slice them. Set aside in a medium sized mixing bowl sift in the almond flower. Add in the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and sea salt. Mix well.
  • In another mixing bowl add in the coconut oil, raw honey OR maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix. Mix the coconut oil mixture into the almond flour mixture.
  • Drain the apples, rinse and pat dry. Place sliced apples on the bottom of the baking dish. Using your hands sprinkle the the crumble over the top of the apples.
  • Add the sliced almonds on top.
  • Cover the top of the baking dish with foil, then place in the middle rack of the oven to bake for 50 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes until the top browns and crisps. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with some more cinnamon.
Serve warm & enjoy!

Gastrointestinal Health

Gastrointestinal illnesses have become incredibly common today. In fact, 1 in every four individuals in the US suffers from gastrointestinal problems that adversely influence their quality of life to a sizable degree. Sufferers quietly persevere through their difficulty because gastrointestinal upsets does not quite seem like a polite subject for conversation.

The gastrointestinal tract starts with our buccal cavity or the mouth and ends at the anus. All the food that we consume goes through the tract and undergoes mechanical and chemical degradation until it passes through the intestines where essential nutrients are absorbed. Improper function of the gastrointestinal tract can lead to disorders. Additionally, physical damages and inflammation anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract can also lead to gastrointestinal diseases.

Our overall health relies heavily on the efficient working of our digestive system, and with a few tweaks, we can significantly cut down the gradual damage we might be inflicting on our continuously working digestive system. Let’s go through some of them:

1.     Eat lots of fiber

Fiber does a lot more than facilitating peristalsis in the intestines and keeps the food moving through the gastrointestinal tract. Aside from preventing constipation, fiber also plays an important role in preventing digestive issues such as hemorrhoids or irritable bowel syndrome. Furthermore, it also regulates the blood sugar level and promotes cardiovascular health. Fiber can also reduce cholesterol absorption in the intestines. It is recommended to eat about 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories eaten. Whole grain foods, peas, legumes, vegetables and fruits are great sources of fiber.

2.     Stay away from excessive fats

A healthy diet consists of an adequate amount of fats. There is no reason to eliminate fats from your diet completely. However, eating foods rich in fats retards digestion and also slows absorption. A healthy diet couples fat with sufficient fiber intake. Fiber can counter the slowed digestion from fats. Also, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids are a lot better for your digestive system than saturated fats. Studies have even inferred that a diet consisting of low fiber and high fats can increase the risk of developing some cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and obesity.

3.     Don’t forget to drink water

A high fiber diet alone is not going to cut it. Fiber works in conjunction with water to ensure the food keeps moving seamlessly. Fiber absorbs water to create bulkier stool that can move through the digestive tract a lot better. How much water you should drink typically depends on the age, weather, weight and other similar factors, but it is important to drink a glass or two with every meal. You can get your water from fluid rich foods too. As a general rule of thumb, you should drink 8 glasses of water every day.

4.     Don’t live a sedentary lifestyle

Incorporating exercise into your everyday routine brings about improvement in digestion. Gastroenterologists recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Exercising strengthens your digestive system. When you don’t get enough exercise or burn enough energy, your body slows digestion because you don’t need that energy.

Mental Clarity: Why it matters and how you can achieve it?

More often than not, our realities tend to mess with the way we lead our lives in more than just one ways.

From skewing our perceptions to giving rise to endless conflicts, a mind that is not at ease can create a plethora of problems. So how do you get your mind to cooperate with you? How do you let your mind know that it is not as bad as it thinks it is?

In other words, how do you obtain mental clarity?

Before we tell you the simple ways you can work your way towards a decluttered mind, let’s have a quick look at what clutters it in the first place! To put a very long story short, when you have way too much going on in your life, it ends up being way too much for your brain to process and handle. Then as a result you end up with a mind that is unable to focus on anything. The fact that you are unable to focus on anything further builds up the stress which then makes it even harder for your brain to think clearly.

The good news is that there is a lot that you can do to mentally declutter, center yourself and become the best version of yourself. Here are some simple habits that you can incorporate into your routine to keep the mental stressors at bay:

1: Get Active:

Amongst the several hundred or so benefits that you reap from exercising, also include a boost to your concentration abilities. The next time you feel like you are getting overwhelmed with all that is going on in your life, go out for a run.

Trust us when we say you would feel so much better! For best results, you should include exercising in your regular routine.

2: Meditate:

If going out for a run is not exactly your cup of tea, you could meditate a little every day to improve mental clarity. In meditation your main focus is on breathing which ultimately improves a better supply of oxygen to the brain…which is why you are able to think through things much, much clearly.

Meditation really helps you wade through the pool of unwanted, distracted thoughts and focus on just being present in the moment.

3: Start Making Lists:

This may seem silly to you, but listing down all the things you have to do can really help keep the focus away from all the things you don’t have to do and therefore, shouldn’t be wasting time thinking about them either! For maximum effect, put those lists in places where you are likely to see them the maximum number of times. This way every time you cross that place, the list will be in your field of vision and your brain would instantly be reminded of the things you need to be focusing on.

3: Surround Yourself with Positivity:

The company that you choose to surround yourself with has more effect on you than you would like to think. Make sure that the people you hang out with are the kind of people you could trust and confide in.

When the people you associate with encourage optimism, it becomes easier to focus on the good things in life.

Why? Because attitudes are contagious!

The Road to Wellness

While many would argue that there is nothing better than a loaded bank account, we like to disagree. As clichéd as this sounds, when it comes to being wealthy, being healthy is where it is at!

Unfortunately, due to our poor diets and even more disappointing lifestyle habits our health in all its aspects is in the most deplorable state. People switching to junk food because there simply isn’t enough time to cook a proper meal, elevators and escalators that are there for our “convenience” somehow ending up making us even lazier—we could list a hundred or more examples of what we are doing to ourselves that inadvertently cost us our health.

While being a part of a super-demanding society may be part of the problem, this does not mean you cannot do anything about it.

At any given moment, you have the choice to take matters in your hand, make some highly necessary changes in your lifestyle as well as mentality and embrace a healthier version of yourself!

Here are our top 3 ways that you can follow that would have you on the Road to Wellness in no time!

1: Get more active:

This one is a no-brainer! Our bodies need a certain amount of exercise to keep functioning at their optimal level. You don’t have to hit the gym 7 days a week (if you want to that’s great!)  but you can always start small. Parking your car a few spaces farther down from your office or taking the stairs rather than the elevator whenever you can are just small examples of how you can get more physical activity in your routine.

2: Keep yourself hydrated:

Sometimes it is the simplest thing that has the biggest impact on things.

You would be surprised to learn how just by drinking more water you can do so much for your health. You would be even more surprised to learn how for something that is so simple to follow, there is a huge majority of people that do not drink enough water.

From flushing out toxins out of your body to keep bodily functions running smoothly and a truckload of things in between, water can do it all! So sip away.

3: Pay attention to what you eat:

If you are deciding to embark on the Road to Wellness whilst chomping down on junk food, you might as well abort the mission before even starting. What you put in your body is ultimately what you give your body to drive its fuel and energy from. Junk food is called junk for a reason.

It is bad for you it is bad for your system. If you start eating healthier you would begin to notice the positive differences in your life yourself, in just a matter of weeks. Take our word for it! Start piling up on fruits and vegetables that are full to the brim with vitamins and minerals that your body needs.

In addition to eating more fruits and vegetables, or even if you do not particularly enjoy eating them another option for you is to start a good multivitamin supplement! They give you all the vitamins and minerals your body needs without making you finish that serving of kale!

If it sounds like a good deal, then include a multivitamin supplement in your diet today and do something good for your health.