Coronavirus: Does 'boosting' your immune system really help fight off COVID-19?

Coronavirus: Does ‘boosting’ your immune system really help fight off COVID-19?

  • April 21, 2020

Does strong immunity help you fight off COVID-19?

COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Just like any foreign bug, the body will defend itself against the invader. Strong immunity is built on a healthy gut microbiome and an army of white blood cells. If someone is consuming a healthy diet based on an array of fruits, vegetables and wholefoods (foods in their whole and unprocessed form – e.g. a potato instead of fries), the immune system should be better-equipped to fight off the virus – or any illness, according to the Heart Foundation.

Hence, maintaining healthy immune function cannot be achieved by scoffing chips, biscuits and packaged dinners every day, “balanced” by a probiotic, Berocca and lemon water. It’s built through a healthy lifestyle. 

Vitamin C is widely touted for its immunity benefits, but if you’re consuming enough fruit and veg, a supplement is unnecessary. Scientists in China are currently looking into whether ultra-high doses of vitamin C can help COVID-19 patients fight infection, but results will not be available until later this year.

In the meantime, the daily recommended intake can be achieved through citrus fruits, capsicum and greens such as broccoli and spinach. Unlike a pure vitamin C supplement, these foods also contain other vitamins and minerals that play an important part in keeping your immune system strong. 

There are also three tried and trusted methods to supporting your immune system – reducing stress, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. 

What about all my supplements and never-ending supply of kombucha?

Kombucha tastes great, it’s trendy and there are a number of options on the market that are relatively inexpensive. However, it’s not a magic tonic – and drinking it by the litre is not going to ward off COVID-19. 

Like probiotics, kombucha contains live microorganisms. However, no studies have ever confirmed whether the drink has a high enough concentration to be considered a probiotic, and there is currently no evidence that kombucha can treat or prevent any illnesses

To strengthen one’s gut health and immunity, a far more pragmatic bet is opting for probiotic foods such as plain, unsweetened yoghurt, which is full of live cultures, and fermented products such as kefir and sauerkraut. 

“There is no evidence to suggest that supplements labelled as ‘immune-boosting’ such as green tea, zinc, elderberry or echinacea will provide any protection against COVID-19. It’s more important to have a healthy lifestyle overall,” Hursthouse wrote.

However, a vitamin D supplement can prove useful, particularly in parts of the world where sunshine is limited. Several studies have linked low vitamin D levels to a higher risk of respiratory infections. Vitamin D deficiencies are fairly common, and can be discovered through a blood test.

But again, if there isn’t a deficiency, a supplement is not entirely necessary. As BBC Future reported in 2016, vitamin supplements typically don’t provide any benefits in already healthy people.

And of course, prevention is always a good place to start. To minimise your chances of contracting COVID-19, follow the Ministry of Health’s guidelines:

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of it
  • avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs, desks, keyboards, mobiles and the kitchen and bathroom.
COVID-19 crisis accelerates mainstreaming of immune boosting beta glucans

COVID-19 crisis accelerates mainstreaming of immune boosting beta glucans

  • April 20, 2020

Beta glucans – an important component of dietary fibre – can be found in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens and plants like oats and barley.

There is growing evidence that supplementing with beta glucans can support the body’s natural defences.

A recent review, published in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research Journal​, highlights several clinically supported studies that point to the benefits of supplementing with beta glucans. It concluded beta glucans support overall immune health in a range of healthy populations, including children, athletes and people with mild allergies.

‘A hyper growth category’

Growing awareness of – and interest in – ingredients that boost immune health is propelling innovation in the space. Ingredients like beta glucans are moving out of the supplement sector and into mainstream grocery aisles.

“Food products fortified with ingredients that help strengthen the immune system are now more popular than ever,”​ Charles & Alice VP of Marketing Evan Eckman told FoodNavigator.

Charles & Alice is a French dairy group that manufactures kids yogurt brand Fruit Friends. Eckman explained that the fruity flavour and link to well-known cartoons are strong selling points for kids – but parents are hooked by the brand’s immune-boosting promise. The company fortifies its yogurts with Wellmune, a beta glucan ingredient produced by Kerry, and this is clearly communicated front of pack.

“Mums with young children love that Fruit Friends with Wellmune is clinically shown to help strengthen the immune system of children. Children love Fruit Friends’ delicious fruity taste, and they love the blockbuster movie characters featured on every pouch – such as Frozen-2 and The Avengers,”​ Eckman explained.

Immune system, health during COVID-19, stay at home orders

Immune system, health during COVID-19, stay at home orders

  • April 20, 2020

As we head into potentially the darkest days of the coronavirus outbreak, eating healthy, staying active and giving our minds a break could be just as important as washing our hands.

University of Washington researchers say they expect the number of COVID-19 cases to peak next week. More than 3,200 people were sick with the virus as of Tuesday morning and at least 48 people had died, according to state and local reports collected by the News & Observer. The researchers are now projecting at least 500 deaths.

The News & Observer wants to feature stories about NC people on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19. Tell us about your healthcare heroes here.

Sleep, social and mental health, and a stronger immune system can help protect at-risk people against the virus, medical experts said.

Who are the most at-risk people?

Older adults and people at any age with a serious illness or chronic health condition, such as diabetes, or heart, liver or lung disease, should be careful, medical experts warn.

Also at high risk are those with damaged or weakened immune systems, whether because of cancer, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, smoking, or an immunosuppressive medication.

Some autoimmune diseases also can mean additional risk, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system mistakes the body’s own healthy cells for foreign invaders and launches a prolonged attack. Patients commonly have more than one autoimmune disease, affecting multiple parts of the body, said Rob Keenan, a Duke Health rheumatologist.

There are over 100 autoimmune diseases, including fibromyalgia, lupus, celiac disease, juvenile diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. The risk is greatest for those patients with diseases that damage their lungs, Keenan said, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma and interstitial lung disease.

A stronger immune system

You can support the immune system that you have, Keenan and others said, but the overall strength of your immune system is determined largely by genetics, Keenan said.

“The biggest thing is try to eat healthy, and wash hands, wash hands, wash hands,” he said.

That means using soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time you wash your hands, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Some herbal and home remedies can be helpful, Keenan said, but all should be used with caution and moderation. Autoimmune patients should be especially careful, he said, because some home remedies could worsen their symptoms. And don’t stop using medications or corticosteroids that suppress your immune system, he added.

“People think that their treatment itself might make them more susceptible to worse disease and affects your risk — and that in part is true — but the caveat is having an autoimmune disease in general makes you more susceptible to infections, especially if it is actively flaring,” Keenan said.

Some of the more popular remedies include:

Elderberry syrup: May have a small ability to boost the immune system

Zinc: Some data shows that zinc lozenges can shorten the duration of a cold or virus, Keenan said, but it’s questionable whether zinc can help you avoid an infection.

Vitamin C: Too much is not a good thing, although anecdotal reports from Italy showed oranges might be helpful, Keenan said.

Vitamin D: Can boost your immune system, but too much can cause problems, including heart palpitations and neurological damage

Vitamin B12: Can be helpful if you have a deficiency, but too much can be toxic and cause neurological problems

Glutamine: An amino acid that helps repair and build immunity and the immune system

Fermented foods: Sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented foods can be good for you, but can cause gastrointestinal issues in large quantities, Keenan said.

What else can you do?

Sleep is vital, Keenan said, because the body needs at least six hours to maintain its “natural killer cells” — white blood cells that target infected cells — and to deal with stress.

Social and mental health also are critical, said John Gilmore, director of the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health.

Gilmore noted that stress creates cortisol, a hormone that helps when we are in a “fight or flight” situation, but also can cause serious health problems, such as anxiety and depression, weight gain, heart disease and trouble sleeping, when it builds up in the body.

“Just do things that give you pleasure and make you feel good as much as possible. We are social creatures and as much as possible try to stay in touch with your friends and family and get the support you need,” Gilmore said.

“The other thing is acknowledge that this is a tough time and you’re going to feel anxious and uncertain, and that’s OK. Everybody’s feeling that way right now.”

Other tips:

Stay active. Keenan recommended 30-60 minutes of exercise daily. More than can be detrimental to your health, he said.

Eat fruits, vegetables, lean meats and other healthy foods. Limit snacks and sweets. Don’t eat out of boredom.

Keep your meals, activities and sleep on a schedule

Reduce your stress and anxiety by limiting your intake of news, reducing your time online, socializing more with family and friends on social media or by phone, and practicing prayer, meditation or yoga

Avoid alcohol and substance abuse, which can destroy your immune system, shortchange your sleep, and cause stress

Stop smoking and vaping, Duke pulmonologist Momen Wahidi said. It weakens your body’s immune system and damages the lungs, he said, plus smokers touch their faces and cough more often, increasing the risk of transmitting COVID-19.

“This is a great time to start thinking about how we protect ourselves from COVID-19, and if we get it, to have it mostly mild and we recover from it easily,” Wahidi said.

Mental, emotional health

People already struggling with depression and mental illness may find it particularly hard to cope if the outbreak drags on, Gilmore said. Others at high risk of mental stress and post-traumatic stress disorder include hospital and healthcare workers, he said.

“Post-traumatic stress typically is something that everyone would say this is an extraordinary stressor for anybody, like in wartime or being in an accident or being abused,” Gilmore said. It also can affect “people in families who have lost a loved one and they’re not able to talk with them or see them as they’re passing.”

If you or someone you love is having a tough time, they can contact:

UNC Mental Health Center at tinyurl.com/u9722gs or by calling UNC mental health specialists at 919-445-0770.

Duke Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at tinyurl.com/ql9797f or 919-684-0100.

Freedom House in Orange, Durham, Person or Warren counties. Call 919-967-8844 or go online to freedomhouserecovery.org. Mental health counseling and treatment for alcohol and substance abuse is free for those who cannot afford the cost of care.

Tammy Grubb has written about Orange County’s politics, people and government since 2010. She is a UNC-Chapel Hill alumna and has lived and worked in the Triangle for over 25 years.

10 Adaptogens that Boost the Immune System

10 Adaptogens that Boost the Immune System

  • April 20, 2020

Adaptogens are a group of plant-based herbs and mushrooms that are naturally designed by Mother Earth herself to help us manage stress.

Adaptogens generally grow in harsh regions where they are imbued with plant-based compounds that naturally protect them from the elements. It’s these wonderful protective compounds that in turn create an alliance within the human body to help calm our central nervous system, decrease anxiety, reduce symptoms of depression, and imbue many more health benefits!

One such health benefit that we could all use in our lives right now is an immunity boost!

Adaptogens calm our stress response and naturally boost overall health, which inadvertently leads to a healthy and robust immune system.

Let’s take a little time to learn about these immune-boosting adaptogens!

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are plants that have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese healing traditions known for their ability to help the “body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological.”

Per the Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, adaptogens are “herbs that have an ability to help people to adapt, either by supporting the nervous system and easing nervous emotional tension or by working directly with the body’s own physiological processes to maintain health.” These herbs are incredibly unique in that they “help to modulate the body’s reactions to stress; restore health, vitality, immunity, resilience, and stamina; and can be called upon when a relaxing effect is required.”

Adaptogens have been found, via scientific studies, to have neuroprotective elements, anti-fatigue properties, anti-depressive effects, and act as a stimulant for the central nervous system.

Basically, adaptogens are believed to promote overall well being from the brain to the toes.

How Adaptogens Boost the Immune System

When it comes to boosting your immune system, adaptogens “work at a molecular level by regulating a stable balance in the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands.”

What do these all have in common? Your stress response system.

The human body has three stages of stress — alarm phase, phase of resistance, and phase of exhaustion — which are meant to help energize the body, provide clarity of mind, and provide a “boost to fight the stressor,” then dump us out into exhaustion once the stressor or “threat” has passed. Adaptogens are able to hack into these stress responses and “stretch out that ‘sweet spot’ in the middle — the phase of resistance — allowing us to hand out in the powerful part longer.”

Stress is one of the most virulent deterrents for a healthy immune system, making adaptogens one of the best agents to bolster your immunity. Per David Winston — founding member of the American Herbalists Guild — “adaptogenic herbs increase your body’s resistance to physical, biological, emotional, and environmental stressors.”

Best Tips for Consuming Adaptogens

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I wish it was as easy as picking up an adaptogen blend, consuming, and watching the magic, but when it comes to getting the most out of these herbs, you’ve got to take measures to not only protect yourself but also boost the effects of the adaptogens.

1. Choose Your Adaptogen(s)

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First and foremost, decide which adaptogen(s) you’d like to incorporate into your diet. This involves determining a goal or reason for taking adaptogens, — boosting immunity, fighting fatigue, reducing inflammation, dealing with anxiety, kicking stress to the curb, or all of the above — and then researching the specific adaptogen(s) that offer these qualities.

Next, it’s time to consult with a professional!

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a medical professional. You can consult your naturopathic physician, herbalist, or dietitian/nutritionist. With that said, if you suffer from a medical condition of any kind, it may be best to consult multiple health professionals to help devise a plan for moving forward with adaptogens.

Keep in mind that many adaptogens are potent and can affect a variety of bodily systems including blood pressure, blood sugar, the gastrointestinal system, and even your heart. Therefore, consulting with a medical professional is essential for the best experience possible!

2. Choose Your Method(s)

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Once you’ve chosen your adaptogen(s) and you’ve got a well laid out plan with your health care professional, it’s time to choose the method!

Many adaptogens are available in a variety of forms to meet the needs of the public. For instance, adaptogens are ground into powders, which can be added to your morning coffee, protein shakes, or even mixed in with your favorite chia seed pudding recipe. You can also find adaptogens in super easy supplement form, — make sure to look for organic, non-GMO, and chemical-free brands — as well as in liquid dropper form, — same rules apply — and even as a tea to sip on every morning or evening.

If you’re comfortable with your ability to dosage correctly, then you can go with raw forms of some adaptogens — such as maca.

3. Rotating and Timing

If you want to get the most out of your adaptogen(s), then try rotating the type of adaptogen about every six weeks. In doing so, your “body can benefit from the subtle differences among [the] herbs.”

On top of that, it’s important to time when you take your adaptogens appropriately as well.

For instance, “taking stimulating adaptogens, like Rhodiola, earlier in the day, before 3 pm,” will help to “align with the body’s natural rhythms” and avoid sleep issues. On the other hand, “calming adaptogens, like holy basil, can be taken both in the daytime and before bed.”

Top 10 Immune Boosting Adaptogens

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Looking for specific adaptogens to boost your immunity? Luckily, you can’t really go wrong with any adaptogen, as they are all well-known immune boosters. With that said, there are a few that are just a bit better at the immunity part. Plus, each of these offers a variety of other health benefits that will help you narrow down your list!

1. Astragalus Root

WikimediaImages/Pixabay

Astragalus root is a rather impressive adaptogen! It’s native to Asia and commonly goes byhuang qi, meaning ‘yellow leader’” in the Chinese language, due to its yellow colored root. Traditionally, astragalus root has been used to treat night sweats, diarrhea, fatigue, stamina, and, due to its “diuretic effect”, is used to boost heart health. Yet, one of the most impressive powers of astragalus root is its ability to “improve immune function.” Astragalus root has been found to increase “the production of immune cells” and it may have “mild antiviral activity.”

Get your daily fix of astragalus root in supplement form such as this Nature’s Way Astragalus Root Capsules for $17.91 or this Gaia Herbs Astragalus Supreme Vegan Liquid Capsules for $23.99.

2. Licorice Root

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We’re not exactly talking about the candy, here, even though licorice has been “used mostly as a sweetener in candies and beverages.”

On the other hand, the licorice rootreferring “to the root of a plant called Glycyrrhiza glabra” native to Europe and Asia — has been used “for centuries for its medicinal benefits.” The Egyptians were said to have “used it in a tea as a cure-all concoction” and later the root was “imported to China where it became an important herb in Chinese medicinal tradition.” Along with boosting the immune system, licorice root is also used to soothe the stomach, cleanse the respiratory system, reduce stress, protect your skin and teeth, and has even been used in some cancer treatments.

Instead of downing the crystalized, sugar-filled form of licorice candy, try a few of these healthy supplements such as this NaturesPlus Herbal Actives Licorice (DGL) Capsules for $10.00 or this Gaia Herbs Licorice Root Liquid Extract for $26.45.

3. Holy Basil

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Holy basil is one of the most popular adaptogens in the Western world, yet you may see it marketed as tulsi or it may go by its scientific name Ocimum tenuiflorum. Native to Southeast Asia, holy basil has been widely used in Indian medicine, in part due to its antimicrobial properties. This incredibly versatile plant not only helps boost the immune system but its also known for a wide range of other treatments. Holy basil protects “against chemical stress from exposure to environmental toxins,” as well as “helps normalize levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood fats, and improves memory and mental function.”

The best way to get some holy basil in your daily regimen is via supplements — such as this NutriONN Holy Basil Leaf Extract for $19.95 or this Pure Mountain Botanicals Holy Basil Capsules for $18.67. With that said, if you wanted to give a tincture a try start out with this super easy Tulsi Chai Concentrate recipe by Courtney West.

4. Ginseng

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Ginseng is one of the best immune stimulators in the adaptogen arsenal! With that said, there is lots to learn about this wonderful plant before integrating it into your routine.

First off, there are actually different varieties of ginseng: Asian ginseng and American ginseng. You may also hear reference to “Siberian-ginseng” or eleuthero, “which isn’t, botanically speaking, the same herb,” yet is oftentimes mixed together with the Asian or American varieties. Ginseng is widely popular due to its myriad of health benefits especially its ability to enhance strength and stamina, “[improve] blood sugar and insulin function in type 2 diabetes, [protect] against cancer, and [enhance] immunity.”

Individually, American ginseng has “been shown to improve memory in healthy people and in those suffering from schizophrenia” and Asian ginseng “has reduced menopausal symptoms and improved postmenopausal heart health, relieved cold hands and feet in women, and helped alleviate chronic fatigue syndrome.”

Much like holy basil, it’s easiest to get this adaptogen from supplements — such as this Herbtonics High Strength Korean Red Panax Ginseng Capsules for $21.99 or this Nature’s Answer Korean Ginseng Root Capsules for $13.70. Yet, if you want to try your hand in the kitchen, start out with this  Healing Turmeric Smoothie recipe by Marquis Matson.

5. Schisandra

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Possibly one of the lesser-known adaptogens, Schisandra — also called the “five flavor fruit” or Schisandra chinensis — produces “purple-red berries … described as having five tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, pungent, and sour.” Schisandra berries are harvested and the seeds are used for medicinal purposes — primarily in Asia and Russia — as they contain lignans, which are “substances [that] may have beneficial effects on health.”  With that said, Chinese traditional medicine also sourced Schisandra as it is “considered beneficial to qi, the life force or energy inherent in all living things.” While Schisandra helps boost the immune system by helping to manage stress, it’s also been found to be mildly medicinal for Alzheimer’s and liver disease, treating menopause symptoms, and reducing stress.

Get your daily dose of Schisandra via a powder such as this Micro Ingredients Organic Schisandra Extract Powder for $23.95.

6. Maca

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While Schisandra may be one of the lesser-known adaptogens, maca has experienced a huge resurgence in the Western world. This is mostly due to its similarities to wildly popular ginseng — in fact, it’s called the “Peruvian ginseng” — but it’s popularity also stems from the plants’ affordability and health benefits. Native to Peru, maca has been used in both Peruvian and Chinese medicines to enhance “sexual function and fertility, in both men and women,” as well as in the treatment of “menopausal symptoms,” depression, and to stabilize blood pressure.  Maca is known to help boost immunity by improving your overall health, especially its power to fight free radicals.

As maca is far more popular than most adaptogens, this plant-based food has made its way into a myriad of recipes! Try a few of these maca-based meals at home: Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Maca Smoothie, Hot Chocolate ‘Macaccino’, Maple Maca Amaranth Porridge, or these Apricot Maca-Roon Cookies.

7. Ashwagandha

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Ashwagandha is an ancient, well-loved, well-used, and incredibly potent adaptogen to consider adding to your natural medicine pantry. This herb has been and is still “used in Ayurveda, India’s ancient healing system” and it happens to be one of the most “scientifically investigated of these herbs.” In fact, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine noted: “that the herb reduced anxiety scores by 56 percent, whereas psychotherapy reduced scores by only 30 percent.”

With that said, it’s important to know a bit about the herb before purchasing as “there are two patented ashwagandha extracts found in many supplement brands” that offer varying benefits: KSM-66 — which aids in reducing stress-related food cravings, enhancing muscle strength and endurance, boosting after-exercise recovery, improving memory, and improving sexual function — and Sensoril — which helps with short-term memory, reduces anxiety, and reduces the risk of heart disease.

Yet, no matter which variety you go for, the two types of ashwagandha share their ability to “calm the central nervous system,” reduce “unhealthy levels of inflammation,” helps “relieve arthritis,” and helps to balance the immune system.

As ashwagandha is incredibly potent, it’s safest to consume this adaptogen in supplement form from a reputable brand that you can trust the dosage. Try out a few of these great ashwagandha supplements such as this Daily Nutra KSM-66 Ashwagandha Organic Root Extract for $28.49 or this True Veda Organic Ashwagandha Vegetarian Capsules for $18.97.

Of course, if you are more practiced with adaptogens and are aware of your particular body’s susceptibility, go ahead and give this super simple and tasty Adaptogenic Nut-Granola recipe by Katrine van Wyk a try!

8. Cordyceps

Sustainably US Grown Organic Cordyceps Mushroom/Amazon.com

Cordyceps are not only an incredibly popular medicinal mushroom, but they’re also classified as an adaptogen. Two in one with these beautiful fungi!

Yet, the less you know about the creation of these mushrooms may be better.

Cordyceps are native to the “Himalayan region of northern India, where it grows on caterpillar larvae that lie about [six] inches underground.” These fungi have quickly grown in Western popularity for its ability to improve energy, sexual function, protect again type 2 diabetes, reduce inflammation, improve kidney function, improve endurance, stabilize blood sugar, and, of course, boost immunity. Yet, one of the most stunning health benefits of this adaptogen is its anti-cancer properties. In fact, Cordyceps has been used to help “reduce damage from radiation treatment for cancer.”

It’s somewhat difficult to get your hands on high quality, raw Cordyceps, therefore your best bet is to incorporate this fungus into your daily regimen in either powder or supplement forms such as this Sustainably US Grown Organic Cordyceps Mushroom for $23.95 or this NOW Foods Cordyceps 200 Vegan Caps for $35.97.

9. Rhodiola

Palm Beach Medicinal Herbs Pure Rhodiola Tea/Amazon.com

Next to ashwagandha, Rhodiola is one of those potent, powerful, and presumptuous adaptogens that should be consumed with a bit of care.

Rhodiola — known as an “arctic root or golden root” — is native to the cold mountainous regions of Asia and Europe and has been a traditional natural medicine in these parts for thousands of years. This impressive herb contains “more than 140 active ingredients, the two most potent of which are rosavin and salidroside.” Rhodiola is most widely used to treat depression and anxiety, yet it’s also known to enhance energy, improve mental performance, increase endurance, and reduce a fatigued state. As with all adaptogens, Rhodiola is also able to calm the central nervous system, boosting overall wellness, which makes it easier for your immune system to function properly.

Rhodiola is an excellent herb to incorporate as a tea or powder — such as this Palm Beach Medicinal Herbs Pure Rhodiola Tea for $14.95 — yet you can also go for the simple supplement — such as this Gaia Herbs Rhodiola Rosea for $31.12.

10. Bacopa

Pure Mountain Botanicals Bacopa Monnieri Capsules/Amazon.com

Bacopa — also known as “brahmi, water hyssop, thyme-leaved gratiola, and herb of grace” — “grows in wet, tropical environments” and “is traditionally used to treat loss of mental function and memory in older people, and has gained popularity as a memory and learning enhancer.” This adaptogen is unique in that it possesses antiepileptic properties — meaning it may act as an anticonvulsant — and it also contains a “class of powerful compounds called bocasides … believed to be responsible for” its health benefits. Bacopa is a “staple plant in traditional Ayurvedic medicine” and has been around and in use for centuries. It’s most widely used to improve memory, reduce anxiety, and treat epilepsy, yet it’s also a great stress reducer, meaning its also great for your immune system.

Get a great Bacopa supplement such as this Doctor’s Best Bacopa with Synapsa for $15.76 or this Pure Mountain Botanicals Bacopa Monnieri Capsules for $18.87.

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer and has many side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!



Tips on How to Boost Your Immune System and Protect Yourself |

Tips on How to Boost Your Immune System and Protect Yourself |

  • April 19, 2020

The truth is, the best strategy to safeguard yourself against sickness is prevention

ABOVE VIDEO: With the public health crisis we’re all facing with COVID-19, many of us are wondering what we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

BREVARD COUNTY. FLORIDA – With the public health crisis we’re all facing with COVID-19, many of us are wondering what we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Beyond social distancing and staying at home, is it possible to boost our immune systems?

In the latest installment of Health First’s “Healthy at Home” video series, they’re offering some smart but simple tips on how to stay as healthy as possible during this pandemic.

The truth is, the best strategy to safeguard yourself against sickness is prevention.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Follow a healthy diet. This may consist of leafy greens, fruit and lean meats, such as chicken and fish.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day – and staying away from sugary, carbonated drinks – will help to flush your body of toxins.
  • Controlling chronic diseases. Staying in touch with your primary care provider is important to maintain any other diseases that may compromise your immune system.
  • Get plenty of sleep. On average, an adult should try to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and children should get 11 to 13.
  • Try to reduce your stress. An easy way to do this could be keeping a daily routine and trying to stay positive.

Health First hopes these tips help you and your family during this trying time. Remember, they’re here for you when you need them – during this public health crisis and beyond. Stay safe and be well.

CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY NEWS

5 Foods To Help Boost Your Immune System During Coronavirus

5 Foods To Help Boost Your Immune System During Coronavirus

  • April 18, 2020

During this Coronavirus pandemic it is more important than ever to eat healthy foods that contain Vitamins C and other vitamins. Everyone should use this time to improve their eating habits.  Start by adding the following food items to your diet.

  1. Red Bell Peppers – Very high in Vitamin C. According to US Dept of Agriculture, 1 cup of red bell pepper contains approximately 210% of your daily dose of Vitamin C. Doctors throughout the U.S. have been giving Coronavirus patients large doses of Vitamin C as part of their recovery. It makes sense to make sure you have high amounts of Vitamin C in your system to help prevent illness.
  2. Broccoli – Packed with Vitamin C. One half cup of broccoli provides you with nearly 45% of your daily dose of Vitamin C.  Broccoli also contains Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that can help fight viruses and bacteria.
  3. Strawberries – Another great source of Vitamin C. If you are not a strawberry eater you can add strawberries to yogurt as a snack or instead of  a sweet dessert.
  4. Garlic – Great immune booster with health benefits that have been known to reduce risk of heart attack and lowering blood pressure. Medical experts have been quoted as saying high blood pressure and diabetes patients have been hardest hit with the Coronavirus.  Based on this information, anything that can be done to keep your blood pressure low is extremely important.
  5. Spinach – Rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants. Also contains beta carotene which is a great source pf Vitamin A.

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Health Tahoe: 7 natural ways to boost your immune system

  • April 18, 2020
Dr. Wes Irwin
Provided

Right now you are probably wondering: will I get COVID-19? How do I make sure I don’t get it and spread it to my loved ones?

Not surprisingly, being healthy involves making sure your immune system stays resilient and strong. You probably won’t find much Emergen-C or Airborne on the shelf these days. However, there are plenty of natural ways to boost your immune system. Exercise daily! Studies show 3-5 days a week of moderate exercise will improve your immune system, boost your mood, and improve your overall health. Exercise can help flush out bacteria from your body and reduce your chance of contracting any type of virus.

Drink lemon or ginger tea. Ginger has been said to boost metabolism and satiate feelings of hunger. It also improves cognitive function and mood while boosting the immune system.

Lemons have plenty of vitamin C and flavonoids, which are a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants have been shown to remove damaging cells from the body.

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Take turmeric. Tumeric is an anti-inflammatory and can help with fighting diseases. Long-term inflammation can become a major problem when it attacks your body’s own tissues. Chronic inflammation is often seen in heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and many others.

Take elderberry. Elderberry has consistently proved itself in studies as an antiviral supplement. In group research, those who took elderberry saw a shortened duration in cold symptoms.

Eat whole, nutrient-dense foods. Whole, nutrient-dense foods give you the proper fuel and nutrients your body needs to fight bacteria and infections. Feed your body a moderate amount of vegetables, fruits, protein, and fats.

Reduce sugar intake. Consuming too much sugar can affect the cells in your immune system, as it can change the way your white blood cells attack bacteria.

While nutrient-dense foods can increase your ability to fight infections, sugar does the opposite. With zero nutritious quality, sugar usually causes inflammation in the body.IV hydration therapy. IV hydration therapy is an effective vitamin treatment that infuses nutrients directly into the bloodstream.

Vitamins, nutrients and minerals are received by your body immediately. IV hydration therapy provides the following benefits: increased energy levels, promoting healthier skin, boosting immune system, balancing hormones and even relieving stress.

IV drips can be customized based on the unique needs of the client — whatever your symptoms or health goals, an IV hydration infusion could help you reach them.

We have the following IV hydration vitamins and minerals available to help promote wellness and strengthen your immune system:

Vitamin A, Vitamin B Complex (B1-3, B5-6, B7, B9, B12), Vitamins C, D, E and K, magnesium;

Trace elements: chromium, selenium, manganese, copper and Zinc. If you want to boost your immune system with IV hydration therapy, schedule an appointment at Tahoe Ketamine.

Our office is following all safety protocols in sanitizing treatment rooms between patient visits and scheduling appointments so that patient interaction is minimized.

We want to keep you healthy during this critical time.

CONTACT TAHOE KETAMINE

Our Lake Tahoe ketamine center offers ketamine infusions for depression and chronic pain, as well as IV hydration to alleviate a wide range of symptoms ranging from low energy levels to a weak immune system. Contact us to find out if you are a candidate for ketamine or IV hydration infusions.

TahoeDailyTribune.com Logo

7 natural ways to boost your immune system

  • April 18, 2020

Right now you are probably wondering: will I get COVID-19? How do I make sure I don’t get it and spread it to my loved ones?

Not surprisingly, being healthy involves making sure your immune system stays resilient and strong. You probably won’t find much Emergen-C or Airborne on the shelf these days. However, there are plenty of natural ways to boost your immune system. Exercise daily! Studies show 3-5 days a week of moderate exercise will improve your immune system, boost your mood, and improve your overall health. Exercise can help flush out bacteria from your body and reduce your chance of contracting any type of virus.

Drink lemon or ginger tea. Ginger has been said to boost metabolism and satiate feelings of hunger. It also improves cognitive function and mood while boosting the immune system.

Lemons have plenty of vitamin C and flavonoids, which are a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants have been shown to remove damaging cells from the body.

Support Local Journalism

Take turmeric. Tumeric is an anti-inflammatory and can help with fighting diseases. Long-term inflammation can become a major problem when it attacks your body’s own tissues. Chronic inflammation is often seen in heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and many others. Take elderberry. Elderberry has consistently proved itself in studies as an antiviral supplement. In group research, those who took elderberry saw a shortened duration in cold symptoms. Eat whole, nutrient-dense foods. Whole, nutrient-dense foods give you the proper fuel and nutrients your body needs to fight bacteria and infections. Feed your body a moderate amount of vegetables, fruits, protein, and fats.

Reduce sugar intake. Consuming too much sugar can affect the cells in your immune system, as it can change the way your white blood cells attack bacteria. While nutrient-dense foods can increase your ability to fight infections, sugar does the opposite. With zero nutritious quality, sugar usually causes inflammation in the body.IV hydration therapy. IV hydration therapy is an effective vitamin treatment that infuses nutrients directly into the bloodstream. Vitamins, nutrients and minerals are received by your body immediately. IV hydration therapy provides the following benefits: increased energy levels, promoting healthier skin, boosting immune system, balancing hormones and even relieving stress. IV drips can be customized based on the unique needs of the client—whatever your symptoms or health goals, an IV hydration infusion could help you reach them! We have the following IV hydration vitamins and minerals available to help promote wellness and strengthen your immune system:

Vitamin A, Vitamin B Complex (B1-3, B5-6, B7, B9, B12), Vitamins C, D, E and K, magnesium;

Trace elements: chromium, selenium, manganese, copper and Zinc. If you want to boost your immune system with IV hydration therapy, schedule an appointment at Tahoe Ketamine.

Our office is following all safety protocols in sanitizing treatment rooms between patient visits and scheduling appointments so that patient interaction is minimized.

We want to keep you healthy during this critical time.

CONTACT TAHOE KETAMINE

Our Lake Tahoe ketamine center offers ketamine infusions for depression and chronic pain, as well as IV hydration to alleviate a wide range of symptoms ranging from low energy levels to a weak immune system. Contact us to find out if you are a candidate for ketamine or IV hydration infusions.

Can you eat your way to a better immune system?

Can you eat your way to a better immune system?

  • April 18, 2020

While there are no magic bullets to turbo-charge your immune system during the coronavirus pandemic, there are actions you can take — that when combined together — have been shown to support and sustain a healthy immune system.

Watch out for the many scams out there advertising foods, supplements and other products claiming to instantly boost your immune system to fight off COVID-19. If it sounds too good to be true, it is and can be health damaging.

Here are some sure-fire ways to boost your immune system!

Eat smart

While there is no convincing evidence that a particular food or diet can boost your immune response, there are multiple nutrients that DO play a role in supporting a healthy immune system. These include vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, and E as well as folic acid, iron, selenium and zinc. The best way to meet those needs is through foods, by consuming a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Fresh or frozen, the nutrients are the same.

Take a look at some key nutrient to support immune function, and where to find them in foods:

-Vitamin A: yellow/orange foods (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, and oranges)

-Vitamin C: strawberries, citrus fruits

-Vitamin D: fatty fish (salmon, tuna) and fortified dairy products

-Vitamin E: almonds, avocado, broccoli, spinach

-Iron: lean beef, poultry, fish; tofu, beans spinach

-Zinc – lean meat and shellfish, chickpeas

RELATED: 5 sure-fire ways to avoid stress eating during this uncertain time

Remember that supplements only support – but do not replace – what you’re eating. If you don’t have a lot of variety in your diet, you might consider a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement, with 100 percent of the daily requirements. But when it comes to supplements, more doesn’t mean better; too much of certain nutrients (like Vitamin D or zinc) can make you sick.

And while it’s natural – and tempting – to throw healthy eating out the window at times of stress, make a commitment to your own health by focusing on healthy eating, with regularly scheduled treats.

Maintain your sleep schedule

A good night’s sleep is an important part of sustaining a healthy immune system. But restorative sleep can be more challenging during stressful times. It’s most important to schedule a regular bedtime and wake-up time. While it might be skewed a little later or earlier than usual, aim for seven to eight hours of sleep. And your eating and activity patterns matter when it comes to sleep. Regular exercise can help (allowing at least three hours between exercise and bedtime) as well as cutting out caffeine after 3 p.m. (noon if you are caffeine sensitive).

Your sleep environment, can make a big difference too. Be sure to:

-Keep your room cool and dark (or use eye shades)

-Keep it quiet (or use white noise)

-Avoid TV, video, or phone use at least an hour before bedtime.

Keep moving

Physical activity of all kinds support your immune system. With the gyms closed, and most of us mainly homebound, there are still many ways to be physically active, whether you’re a beginner or already committed. Remember:

-Daily activity at home goes a long way towards keeping you fit. Household chores – like cleaning, vacuuming, disinfecting, and laundry –all keep you moving.

RELATED: Social distancing can’t hold you back: 11 top-notch fitness companies offering FREE workouts

-Get outside when you can. Take a daily walk –with social distancing and a face cover – and look for greenery when you can. Do some yard work, or have outdoor “recess” by yourself or with your kids.

-Get extra movement in your day. Stand on one foot while brushing your teeth, put on some music and dance while your cook, or do some jumping jacks or stretches during commercials.

– Make a daily schedule for a home workout, whether it’s cardio, strength training, or flexibility activities. Create your own routine, or go on-line and look for your favorites. Some national chains and many smaller gyms are offering personalized classes to members.

Change your response to stress

While you can’t change the stress of coronavirus, you can change your response. Stress is a physical hardship on the body, with the release of stress hormones. By adjusting your response, you can block this cascade, and support a healthier immune system. When stress starts to creep up (and it will come and go), pick an activity that helps distract and relax you, so the physical response never comes. Here are some idea to get you started:

RELATED: Celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser: 5 ways to stay active during this unprecedented time

-Take a break, and go for a walk, call a friend, clean out a closet, or practice deep breathing.

-Keep yourself “present” and block out thoughts of “what was” or “what will be.” Here’s an activity that can help, called the 5-4-3-2-1. Pick five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

-Focus on the factors you CAN control, like taking recommended health precautions and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A focus on healthy cooking and eating, daily activity, and a good night’s sleep serve “double duty” to both reduce stress and support a healthy immune system.

Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D. is NBC News’ health editor. Follow her on Twitter @drfernstrom.

Top foods that will help boost immune system in coronavirus outbreak

Top foods that will help boost immune system in coronavirus outbreak

  • April 17, 2020

Eating a “diverse and varied” diet provides the best chance of boosting the immune system to fight Covid-19, according to a scientist.

Philip Calder, a professor of nutritional immunology at the University of Southampton, has produced a report advising the public to ensure they eat a mixed diet to help combat the virus.

His research also shows that supplements are a “safe, effective and low cost way to support an optimal immune system”.

A university spokesman said: “A diet with a diverse and varied mixture of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and pulses, along with some meat, fish and dairy products provides the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients the immune system needs for optimal function.”

Prof Calder said: “The strength of somebody’s immune systems will not influence whether they get coronavirus; handwashing and social distancing are the best ways to avoid that.



Fruit and vegetables help keep your immune system healthy

“However, the immune system helps the body deal with the virus if they are infected and what we want is a system that functions properly when it’s challenged with bacteria and viruses.”

The university spokesman added: “Among the foods Professor Calder recommends are a variety of fruits and vegetables which are a good source of vitamins and minerals that are important for supporting the immune system.

“Foods that are high in fibre are also important as some of the undigested fibre in the gut can promote the growth of good bacteria which interact with the immune system to make it work better.



Foods that are high in fibre promote a healthy gut

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“The third recommendation is oily fish which is a source of omega 3 fatty acids that help to regulate and control the immune system.

“Finally, meat is important as a good source of nutrients such as iron and vitamin B12, so people who do not eat meat should consider supplements.

“Whilst consuming commercial probiotic products can have a role to play – by seeding good bacteria in the gut – Professor Calder recommends plant-based food and fibre as an alternative as these provide an environment to grow the good bacteria that are already in the large intestine.”



People who don’t eat meat should enjoy other foods high in B12

Professor Calder added: “The present situation with Covid-19 shows that we cannot just rely on vaccinations to limit the impact of respiratory infections.

“Improving our nutrition is a very straightforward step that we can all take to help our bodies deal with infections and limit the emergence of new, more virulent strains of viruses.

“We therefore strongly encourage public health officials to make sure nutritional strategies are included in all their messaging about coping with viral infections.”

capsimmunesystem.org