Natural Way To Boost The Immune System
Your immune system is a vast and complex thing that is designed to detoxify, protect and support your body from illnesses and foreigner pathogens.
In todays world our bodies are under attack from all directions such as viruses, bacteria, micro-organisms, air pollution, pesticides, toxins in foods etc. So its no wonder our immune systems struggle to keep up sometimes.
So what can we do to support our body’s elimination of these different invaders?
All cells need water to function and the body needs sufficient water to assist in the elimination of waste and toxins. Chronic dehydration suppresses immune function.
So make sure you are drinking at least 2 litres of clean water a day. The water will also work to flush out toxins from your system therefore lightening the load to your immune system
2. Antioxidants – Rainbow Support for our Immune System
Antioxidants are one of the most important components in a healthy immune system. They are found in the colour pigments in food, so in a sense the end of the food rainbow leads to good health. Antioxidants have a range of beneficial functions:
* Reduce and repair damage caused by oxidation of the cells.
* Remove free radical damage
* Bolster the immune system by increasing the effectiveness and production of white blood cells,
* Remove toxins
* Control the immune response (turning it on and off and adjusting its levels)
Here are a few great immune boosters you can add into your rainbow of foods.
Apples – An apple a day does keep the doctor away! Apples are considered a food of love in many cultures, and in England using different varieties we can eat them nearly all-year round. High in vitamins (C and B17 in the pips) its fibre cleanses the colon and the pectin helps rebuild the gut lining, filters out heavy metals and supports the respiratory tract. Levels of malic cleanse the liver.
Blackberries - have been used for over 2000 years as a medicine. Used to boost the immune system due to the high levels of vitamin C and other anti oxidants. It was also used by the Romans and Greeks to treat Gout.
Elderberries - Elderberry are high in vitamin C and are used for their antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral
infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not.
Leafy Greens – these foods are high in chlorophyll (the green pigment), which aids the body in detoxifying and contains high levels of vitamin C, A, Magnesium, Fibre and Folic Acid. University of Leicester did a study that showed eating 1 portion of greens a day reduced your risk of diabetes by 14% and University of Cambridge did a study that showed leafy green increase the immune systems ability to communicate – in the study they removed all leafy greens from the test subjects and found a 70% drop in immune function.
3. Reduce or Eliminate Refined Sugar and Replace With Healthy Alternatives
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming 100g of refined sugar reduced the ability of white blood cells for up to 5 hours. White sugar strips the body of nutrients in order for it to be processed leading to a reduction in white blood cell production.
There are plenty of wonderful alternatives to sugar available such as coconut sugar, raw local honey, stevia, maple syrup.
4. Eat Plenty of Raw Foods
When we eat lots of cooked food, they are deficient in enzymes, this can stimulate the body into an immune response at the body can’t recognise what is being consumed. Eating a proportion of each meal comprised with enzyme rich food (either raw food or digestive enzymes) allows the body to identify the signature of the food and consume it without affecting the immune system. We can see the effect that constant cooked food would have on someone – the immune system would constantly be at work, eventually leading to burn out and illness.
5. Get Exercising
Exercise strengthens the immune system; it improves circulation and lymphatic drainage, increases oxygenation and generates production of white blood cells. The key to good exercise is finding a type that suits your constitution and one you enjoy. Try to do some form of exercise at least three times per week. Exercising outside with some exposure to sun-light is also great for immune health, vitamin D helps modulate immune responses.
If you would like to take it even further here are a list of Herbs for Immune Health
Garlic, Echinacea, Medicinal Mushrooms, Noni, Goldenseal, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Cats Claw, Cacao, Mangosteen, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary, Elderberries, Rosehips, Grapefruit seed Extract, White pine bark, Camu Camu, Amla, Ginseng, Apricots
The Keys To Vitality
We all want to have abundant energy yet this is something that can be a problem, especially as we get older. When we are children our energy reserves seem never-ending, except maybe on long walks. So how can we harness some of that youthful energy as we age?
In many different traditions there are foods that are revered for increasing energy levels, vitality and our life force. In researching my book, Superfoods & How To Use Them, I experimented with many of them and have made some delicious recipes using them.
When looking to increase our energy levels some people turn to caffeine or sugar for a quick fix but these actually add to the problem of low energy in the long term, and the reason for this is how they affect our endocrine glands, and in particular our adrenal glands.
A key to having good levels of energy is the health of the adrenal glands. These are two little glands that sit on top of the kidneys and produce adrenaline (fight or flight hormone) and cortisol (the stress hormone).
The more stress in our lives the harder our adrenals have to work, which can lead to us feeling exhausted and unable to cope. As well as stress our diet affects the performance of the adrenals. If we are overweight by just a few stone this can put extra stress on the body and our organs, which the adrenals have to deal with. Also eating a diet filled with empty calories produces more insulin and cortisol, yet another strain on the adrenals. Sugar increases adrenaline and cortisol and caffeine increases cortisol so both of these will put more stress on our adrenals.
So you can see how over time we can get more run down and tired. Every unit of cortisol take a unit of vitamin C to process so before long we are not only tired but our immune system is struggling as well.
So what can we do about this?
Firstly reduce refined foods. These foods have calories without the nutrients to support our bodies, so eat a diet rich in whole foods, that are high in nutrients
Reduce or eliminate caffeine. There are some great caffeine free alternative out there that will support the adrenals and actually energise your body without putting a strain on you such as: macccachino, dandelion coffee, or my longevity coffee (a special blend of superherbs designed to support the adrenals, immune system and give general feelings of energy).
Take up yoga and meditation. Just spending a few minutes a day breathing deeply, stretching the body and relaxing can reduce the levels of cortisol in the body.
Increase your vitamin C intake. As mentioned before every unit of cortisol take a unit of vitamin C so in times of stress its important to support the body by upping your vitamin C intake.
Some Of The Top Every Day Adrenal Foods
Nuts, Seeds, Avocados, Beans, Bananas, Potatoes, Citrus Fruits, Berries, and Oats.
Top Adrenal Superherbs
Ashwaganda, Reishi Mushroom, Chaga, Gynostemma, Fo-Ti, Vanilla, Maca, Rhodiola, Ginseng and Licorice Root
1tsp maca powder
1 cup of hot plant based milk
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Add natural sweetener as required
Place all the ingredients in a blender and whizz for 10 seconds until there is a light froth. Pour into your favourite mug and enjoy.
Simple Ways To Maintain Positive Mental Health
In today’s society more and more people are struggling with mental health issues. We live in a world where we are bombarded with glossy images of the perfect life and this can often lead to feeling of inadequacy. It seems there is stress ready to bombard us at every corner as we try to navigate through life. The NHS is under great pressure with resources and time so instead of looking for a longer term solution, I feel people are prescribed anti depressants far to easily, when there might be other avenue that could be explored successfully first.
Evidence is coming to light that the longer we stay on anti depressants the more damage they do to our mental health. Professor Peter Gøtzsche, a specialises in clinical research at the University of Copenhagen stated in the Lancet that “prescription drugs are now the third leading cause of death and anti depressants do more harm than good.” In other recent studies they are showing that long term use of anti depressants can actually lead to more damage in the brain and chronic depression. The list of side effects for most anti depressants is very long and they have been shown to effect sexuality, apetite, metabolism, mood and concentration as well as links to more severe issues such as suicide. Other leading experts in the field like Dr David Healey are stating the same thing in peer reviewed journals such as The British Medical Journal.
Now I am not saying that these things don’t have their place short term to help someone but there are other solutions that need to be explored in the first instance before people are put on them.
So what are these possible solutions:
Nutrition – There are many studies coming to light that the gut plays a major role in our mental health. The gut is now commonly referred to as the second brain with over 80% of our serotonin actually being produced there. Evidence suggests that if we start to look after the health of our gut, our mental health can greatly improve. Part of the problem is the excess of bad bacteria in the gut and the lack of good bacteria. A great way to help balance this is with my Fire Cider recipe.
Tips: start taking good multi strain probiotics daily in the form of food or supplements- sauerkraut, water kefir kombucha. Remove bad bacteria by eating foods like basil, raw garlic and chilli, or taking a shot of fire cider every day.
Other areas to look at when it comes to nutrition is making sure that you are not nutritionally deficient as this can lead to mental health imbalances, get a blood test done with the doctor to check all your levels. Low levels of magnesium, Vit D, B12 and other B vitamins have all been shown to have dramatic effects on mental health and can be very easily rectified. Make sure you are eating a rainbow of food and not consuming too much refined, processed food as the chemical additives again have been shown to affect mental health. A great food to help boost serotonin production is raw cacao, as this is also the most bioavailable source of magnesium.
Meditation – Taking time out of your day to relax and disconnect is a very valuable thing. We live in a world where we are always plugged in to other
people, and external stimulation. It is becoming harder for people to just be with themselves. Taking 5 minutes a day to focus on your breathing on relaxing the body and just being is a key part to increased mental wellbeing
Exercise – The more we move the body the more with stimulate the lymphatic system which helps eliminate toxins from the body, also exercise is a great way to increase the endorphins (feel good hormones) circulation throughout the body. A natural high.
Counseling – When we get things off our chest and out of our mind some how the problems never seem so bad. Talking is an amazing healer, but so many of us bottle things up, not wanting to bother our friends and family or not wanting to be judged. If you can see someone who doesn’t know you its often much easier to express yourself and get expert guidance.
Community Support – So often when we are going through things we feel so alone, but we really aren’t. There are many amazing support groups out there to help us, why not look up your local ones. Being with people who are going through or have been through what you are can be really helpful. Knowing you are not going crazy and its totally normal to feel certain ways can really help us to get the strength to move through troubled times.