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15 IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS

06 Oct

Elderberry

An old folk remedy, extract from these dark berries appears to block flu viruses in test tube studies. And a few small studies done in people show it may help you recover more quickly from flu. But scientists caution that further study is needed. The fruit itself is rich in antioxidants and may also have the ability to fight inflammation.

Button Mushrooms

Don’t dismiss the lowly mushroom as nutrient poor: It has the mineral selenium and antioxidants. Low levels of selenium have been linked to increased risk of developing more severe flu. And the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, found in these mushrooms, play a role in a healthy immune system. Animal studies have also shown mushrooms to have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor effects.

Acai Berry

Hawked as a “super food” along with produce like blueberries, the little acai berry’s dark color signals that it is high in antioxidants called anthocyanins. While the acai is not scientifically linked to specific disease- or illness-fighting ability, antioxidants may help your body fight aging and disease. Acai berries can be found most often in juice or smoothie form, or dried and mixed with granola.

Oysters

Aphrodisiac? Immune boosters? Maybe both, thanks to the mineral zinc that’s found in oysters. Low zinc levels have been associated with male infertility.  And zinc appears to have some antiviral effect, although researchers can’t explain why. However, they do know it is important to several immune system tasks including healing wounds.

Watermelon

Hydrating and refreshing, ripe watermelon also has plenty of a powerful antioxidant, glutathione. Known to help strengthen the immune system so it can fight infection, glutathione is found in the red pulpy flesh near the rind.

Cabbage

This is another source of immune-strengthening glutathione. And cabbage is easy and inexpensive to find during the winter months when it’s in season. Try adding cabbages of any variety (white, red, Chinese) to soups and stews to sneak in extra antioxidants and boost your meal’s nutritional value.

Almonds

A handful of almonds may shore up your immune system from the effects of stress. A recommended 1/4 cup serving carries nearly 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E, which helps boost the immune system. And they have riboflavin and niacin, B vitamins that may help you bounce back from the effects of stress.

Grapefruit

Grapefruits have a good amount of vitamin C. But science has yet to prove that you can easily get enough vitamin C through foods alone, without supplementation, to help treat cold and flu. However, grapefruit is packed with flavonoids — natural chemical compounds that have been found to increase immune system activation.  Dislike grapefruits? Try oranges or tangerines.

Wheat Germ

Wheat germ is the part of a wheat seed that feeds a baby wheat plant, so it is full of nutrients. It has zinc, antioxidants, and B vitamins among other vital vitamins and minerals. Wheat germ also offers a good mix of fiber, protein, and some good fat. Substitute wheat germ for part of the regular flour called for in baked goods and other recipes.

Low-Fat Yogurt

A daily cup may reduce your chances of getting a cold.  Look for labels listing “live and active cultures.” Some researchers believe they may stimulate your immune system to fight disease. Also look for vitamin D. Recent studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of cold and flu.

Garlic

Garlic offers several antioxidants that battle immune system invaders. Among garlic’s targets are H. pylori, the bacteria associated with some ulcers and stomach cancer. Cooking tip: Peel, chop and let sit 15 to 20 minutes before cooking to activate immune-boosting enzymes.

Spinach

Known as a “super food,” spinach is nutrient-rich.  It has folate, which helps your body produce new cells and repair DNA. And it boasts fiber, antioxidants, such as vitamin C, and more. Eat spinach raw or lightly cooked to get the most benefit.

Tea

Green or black? Both are loaded with disease-fighting polyphenols and flavonoids. These antioxidants seek out cell-damaging free radicals and destroy them. Caffeinated and decaf work equally well.

Sweet Potato

Like carrots, sweet potatoes have the antioxidant beta-carotene, which mops up damaging free radicals. Sweet potatoes also boast vitamin A, which is linked to slowing the aging process and may reduce the risk of some cancers.

Broccoli

Easy to find at the grocery store and incorporate into meals, broccoli is an immune-boosting basic. One study reported a chemical in broccoli helped stimulate the immune systems of mice. Plus, it’s full of nutrients that protect your body from damage.  It has vitamins A, vitamin C, and glutathione.  Add some low-fat cheese to round out a side dish with immune-enhancing B vitamins and vitamin D.

 

What Is a Migraine?

25 Sep

A migraine is a headache with throbbing pain that is usually worse on one side of the head. The pain is often severe enough to hamper daily activities and may last from four hours to three days if untreated. More than one in 10 Americans, including one in 6 women, have migraines, but many have been told mistakenly that they have a sinus or tension headache. Foods, stress, and hormones can be migraine triggers.

Migraine Symptoms

Throbbing pain typically occurs on one side near the temples, forehead, and eyes. Migraines can make you very sensitive to light, sound, or mild exertion, such as climbing the stairs. Many people have nausea, vomiting, or vision problems. The pain can be disabling, forcing people to miss work or other activities.

Migraine With Aura

About 20% of people who suffer from migraines will have an aura about 20 minutes to an hour before the pain. They may see flashing lights, wavy lines, or dots, or they may have blurry vision or blind spots. These are called “classic migraines

Migraine Warning Signs

Some people may have a change in mood before a migraine begins. They may become more excitable or irritable or depressed. Others may detect a sensation, such as a funny smell or taste. They may feel more fatigued, yawn frequently, or experience muscle tension. About 1 in 4 people experience this prodrome phase, which can occur as early as 24 hours before any head pain.

What Causes a Migraine?

The exact cause of migraines is still not well understood, but the problem is considered to be neurological (related to the nervous system). It is believed that brain chemicals, blood vessels, and nerves of the brain are involved.

Trigger: Flashing Lights

Migraines may be set off by some specific cause, such as flickering lights. This could be a reflection from snow or water or from fluorescent bulbs or television or movie screens. Wearing polarizing sunglasses outside and using daylight spectrum fluorescent bulbs inside may help.

Trigger: Anxiety and Stress

Emotional stress is a common trigger of migraines. While it’s impossible to completely avoid stress, relaxation exercises can help you cope. Inhale and exhale slowly, letting the air fill you and then deflate like a balloon. Some people find that thinking of a peaceful scene or listening to favorite music can help.

Trigger: Lack of Food or Sleep

It’s important for people prone to migraines to have a regular pattern of meals and sleep. Low blood sugar from skipping meals can trigger a migraine. Eating too much sugar also can cause a spike, then a “crash” in blood sugar. Drink water throughout the day to avoid dehydration and sleep at least 6 to 8 hours a night.

Trigger: Hormonal Changes

For many women, migraines are tied to their menstrual cycle, occurring either a few days before or during their period, when estrogen levels drop. Some women may benefit from anti-inflammatory medication before their headaches begin, or hormonal birth control such as pills, patches, or rings. Others may have no benefit or worse migraines with hormonal birth control.

Trigger: Headache Foods

Migraine sufferers often report that certain foods trigger their headaches. Common culprits include MSG, red wine, cheese, chocolate, soy sauce, and processed meats. However, scientific studies haven’t confirmed any particular food as a migraine trigger.

Trigger: Tyramine

Aged, fermented, and stored foods have higher levels of tyramine, a substance created from the breakdown of the amino acid tyrosine. Tyramine may cause blood vessels to constrict then expand, and it may be a trigger for some migraines. Some headache experts advise limiting fermented or aged foods, such as cheese, soy sauce, pickles, and pepperoni.

Caffeine: Help or Hindrance?

When combined with some pain medications, caffeine can help provide relief. Most migraine sufferers can drink a cup or two a day of coffee without any problems. However, too much caffeine can lead to headaches when the stimulant effect wears off.

Tracking Personal Triggers

Find out what triggers your migraines by keeping a headache diary. Each time you suffer from a migraine, make a note about the warning signs (the “prodrome”), triggers, and severity. If you can discover some of your personal triggers, you may be able to avoid future headaches.

Who Gets Migraines?

Women are three times more likely to have migraines than men. If you have a close relative with migraines, you are much more likely to have migraines, too. Experts believe migraines may be related to mutations in genes that affect certain areas of the brain. Migraine is also more common among people who have epilepsy, depression, asthma, anxiety, stroke, and some other neurologic and hereditary disorders.

Migraines in Children

About 5% of the children with headache problems suffer from migraines. Both boys and girls can get migraines, but after puberty they are more common among girls. Children may have symptoms other than headache, including stomach pain (abdominal migraine) or forceful and frequent vomiting (cyclic vomiting). If young children become wobbly on their feet, pale, and fussy, or have involuntary eye movements or vomiting, they may have a form of migraine called benign paroxysmal vertigo.

Diagnosing Migraine

Migraines are diagnosed primarily from symptoms, but your doctor may want to do a brain scan to rule out other causes of your headache, such as a brain tumor or bleeding in the brain. A CT scan uses special X-rays to create cross-sectional images of the brain. An MRI uses radio frequency pulses and a magnetic field to create images of the brain.

Treatment: Preventive Medicines

If your migraines are frequent or very severe, you may need to take a medicine every day to prevent attacks.

Alternative Therapy: Biofeedback

Biofeedback and relaxation training can give you relief that is similar to the help you get from medications. Biofeedback uses a monitor to train you to recognize the onset of muscle tension and changes in body temperature that are signals of stress.

Alternative Therapy: Homeopathy

 

What high blood pressure does to your body ?

31 Aug

Blood pressure is the force of blood that travels through your arteries. If pressure is too high, it can damage your blood vessels and organs in your body. The higher your blood pressure is, and the longer it stays untreated, the greater your risk for serious medical problems, including:

  • Heart failure. High blood pressure puts extra demand on the heart. Over time, the heart grows bigger to make up for the extra work and it eventually weakens. Heart failure occurs when the weakened heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.High blood pressure is the biggest predictor of heart failure. One study found that 90 percent of people with heart failure had high blood pressure.
  • Heart attack. High blood pressure can damage the arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. If these vessels become narrowed and damaged, a blood clot can form and lead to a heart attack.
  • Stroke. The biggest risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage arteries that supply blood to the brain. A clot can form and block the artery and prevent blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke. High blood pressure can also cause arteries in the brain to burst. This also results in another type of stroke called hemorrhagic or bleeding stroke.
  • Kidney damage. High blood pressure can damage the arteries that supply the kidneys. This leads to kidney damage and kidney failure. This is especially dangerous because kidney damage raises blood pressure even more.
  • Vision problems. High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels that supply the eye. The blood vessels can burst or bleed, causing blurry vision and blindness.
  • Memory loss. High blood pressure can restrict blood flow to the brain. If too little blood reaches the brain, the brain cannot work well. One study found that this may lead to memory loss.
 
 

What is swine flu (novel H1N1 influenza A swine flu)?

31 Aug

Swine flu (swine influenza) is a respiratory disease caused by viruses (influenza viruses) that infect the respiratory tract of pigs and result in nasal secretions, a barking-like cough, decreased appetite, and listless behavior.

Swine flu produces most of the same symptoms in pigs as human flu produces in people. Swine flu can last about one to two weeks in pigs that survive. Swine influenza virus was first isolated from pigs in 1930 in the U.S. and has been recognized by pork producers and veterinarians to cause infections in pigs worldwide. In a number of instances, people have developed the swine flu infection when they are closely associated with pigs (for example, farmers, pork processors), and likewise, pig populations have occasionally been infected with the human flu infection.

In most instances, the cross-species infections (swine virus to man; human flu virus to pigs) have remained in local areas and have not caused national or worldwide infections in either pigs or humans. Unfortunately, this cross-species situation with influenza viruses has had the potential to change. Investigators think the 2009 swine flu strain, first seen in Mexico, should be termed novel H1N1 flu since it is mainly found infecting people and exhibits two main surface antigens, H1 (hemagglutinin type 1) and N1 (neuraminidase type1). Recent investigations show the eight RNA strands from novel H1N1 flu have one strand derived from human flu strains, two from avian (bird) strains, and five from swine strains.

 

Less Stress Leads To A Better Rest

05 Jul

In the modern world of today we are constantly being bombarded with high levels of stress and anxiety. These stresses can be physical, mental or environmental. They place an enormous strain on our physical and mental health. Most of us are aware that excessive stress can affect our ability to think straight, our digestive system, adrenal glands and heart. Research has however shown that whenever a stressful situation arises, there is a knock on effect. Firstly stress limits the blood supply going to the stomach, this hampers the digestive system and a temporary shut down of our immune system may follow. If we are overwhelmed with stress for an extended period we are likely to experience fatigue and exhaustion. Although it may not be possible to avoid these stress factors in our lives there is help available. There are many natural herbal supplements, known for they’re relaxing properties which assist in combating the harmful effects of anxiety and stress. Several herbs are usually incorporated together to make a powerful formula. We will take a look at some of the individual herbs, which go to make up some of these potent anti- anxiety supplements: – * Jujube Seeds: – hypnotic and anti-anxiety effect used for hysteria, fatigue, sleeplessness, debility and restlessness. * Magnolia Bark: – has anti anxiety, anti stress properties, lowers the cortisol, promotes relaxation and improves the mood. * Potassium: -sustains the fluid and electrolyte balance, discharges energy from carbohydrate, protein and fat, assists in conveying nerve impulses. * Magnesium: -is a trace mineral and its chief role is manufacturing and transporting energy, relaxing and contracting the muscles, assisting some enzymes with their task in the body and mixing proteins. * Valerian Root: – It supports a feeling of calmness, improves sleep, reduces anxiety levels and facilitates relaxation of the central nervous system. Valerian root is non addictive and does not cause morning tiredness. It also is useful in slowing the heart in those who have the condition known as tachycardia. * Melatonin: -is one of the most dominant antioxidants in the brain. It restores metabolism, improves the quality of sleep and slows down degenerative diseases of the brain such as Parkinson’s. Melatonin can control extreme cortical production and is therefore effectual in reducing stress levels and regulating sleep cycles. * Vitamin B complex contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12 are all essential vitamins for the nervous system.

Consulting with physician is must before you proceed further.

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