Five easy ways to boost your immune system with food

Five easy ways to boost your immune system with food

  • April 7, 2021
eat lots of vitamin c rich berries to boost your immune system

Jacky Parker PhotographyGetty Images

Vitamin C

High levels of vitamin C have been associated with enhanced antibody response and neutrophil (a type of white blood cell) function. This vital vitamin has even been used in some intensive care units to help treat Covid-19. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, understood to protect the immune system against oxidative stress generated during infections. It will also help combat running-induced free-radical damage.

Eat it: Oranges, peppers, leafy greens, broccoli, berries and tomatoes are all good sources of vitamin C.

Supplement it:

Liposomal Vitamin C

531 Reviews
yourzooki.com

£39.99

Vitamin D

As well as playing important roles in bone and muscle health, vitamin D is needed
for a healthy immune system. It is understood to regulate inflammation and increase macrophage (a white blood cell) function. However, vitamin D deficiency is surprisingly common in the UK. Sunlight is our primary source of vitamin D, so while a regular run in daylight will help you, it may not be enough. Evidence suggests vitamin D supplementation may prevent upper respiratory infections, so it’s worth taking a daily dose.

Eat it: Vitamin D can also be found in eggs and salmon, as well as mushrooms grown in sunlight.

Supplement it:

BetterYou Dlux 3000 Vitamin D Oral Spray 15ml

hollandandbarrett.com

£8.49

Zinc

This essential mineral supports innate and adaptive immune system functions. Those who are zinc deficient have an increased risk of a variety of infections; supplementation has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of illness, to help heal wounds and to fight infection.

Eat it: Increase your intake with zinc-rich foods, including seafood (especially oysters), organic red meat, beans and nuts.

Supplement it:

Solgar Zinc Picolinate 22 Mg Tablets, Pack of 100

Solgar
amazon.co.uk

£9.99

Beneficial bacteria

An estimated 70-80 per cent of our body’s immune system is in the gut, in the form of beneficial ‘good’ bacteria. These probiotic bacteria line the gut wall and they have been shown to stimulate the production of immune cells, including IgA-producing cells, T lymphocytes and natural killer cells (really!). Studies have found that supplementation reduces the frequency and severity of respiratory infections.

Eat it: Probiotics occur naturally in fermented soya products such as miso and tempeh. Try adding Clearsprings Brown Rice Miso Paste (£4.79 for 300g, clearspring.co.uk) to soups, stews, bean dishes and sauces to boost flavour and give your gut a bacteria boost.

Supplement it:

Symprove Live & Active Bacteria

3362 Reviews
symprove.com

£79.00


Elderberry

Elderberry extract has been used as a natural anti-viral for centuries. Studies have found that supplementation works to increase inflammatory cytokine production, a healthy response from our immune systems when viruses are present. Their dark-purple colour is the result of beneficial compounds known as anthocyanins, powerful plant chemicals with antioxidant effects.

Eat it: Elderberries can be found in abundance in hedgerows, between July and October, depending on where you are in the UK.

Supplement it:

Viridian Elderberry Extract 100ml

viridian
planetorganic.com

£20.55

Kim Pearson is a nutritionist with over 10 years’ experience. kim-pearson.com

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7 Natural ways to strengthen your Immune System

7 Natural ways to strengthen your Immune System

  • April 7, 2021






Health
Health (Pic Credit- Bio Space)






Our immune system does a remarkable job of defending against the disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails and a germ invades successfully and makes you sick. The idea of boosting our immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so has proved elusive for several reasons. The immune system is precisely – a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. The first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways to strengthen our immune system naturally:













Tips to strengthen immune system:

1. Eat plant- based Foods and Healthy Fats: 

Plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you an upper hand against harmful pathogens. Eating a low-fat, plant-based diet may help give the immune system a boost. The immune system relies on white blood cells that produce antibodies to combat bacteria, viruses, and other invaders. Vegetarians have been shown to have more effective white blood cells when compared to non- vegetarians, due to a high intake of vitamins and low intake of fat. Eating a low-fat diet may also be protective. Studies have shown that limiting dietary fat helps strengthen immune defenses. Research also shows that oil may impair white blood cell function and that high-fat diets may alter the gut microbiota that aid in immunity.







Healthy Foods
Healthy Foods (Pic Credit- One Green Planet)






2. Get Enough Sleep: 

During sleep, the immune system releases certain cytokines which increase with infection or inflammation, or during periods of stress, to combat illness. If the body is deprived of sleep, it may actually decrease production of these protective cytokines and infection-fighting antibodies. On those days, the body takes control to combat sickness and people may experience sleep disturbance or overall poor sleep quality, and may feel stronger urges to nap or sleep in. The body uses a lot of energy to fight viruses and eliminate pathogens by kicking the immune system into high gear. That means there is often less energy for other activities. Getting more sleep when sick is paramount to healing the body and conserving energy to fight against diseases.













3. Add Probiotic in Your Diet:

Probiotics are live microorganisms. When taken in sufficient amounts, they can help restore the natural balance of gut bacteria. Probiotics may help improve symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, stress and memory, among others. Research suggests that a flourishing network of gut bacteria can help your immune cells differentiate between normal, healthy cells and harmful invader organisms. 













4. Drink More Water: 

Dehydration can cause headaches and hinder your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and heart and kidney function. These complications can increase your susceptibility to illness. Hydration is a key element to maintaining a healthy immune system. As most of us are out of our normal routines during this COVID-19 Pandemic, it is important to remember to properly hydrate. Our immune system is highly dependent on the nutrients in our blood stream, and our blood stream is made mostly of water







Water
Water






5. Exercise Regularly: 

Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease.













6. Limit added sugar: 

Emerging research suggests that added sugars and refined carbs may contribute disproportionately to overweight and obesity. Curbing your sugar intake can decrease inflammation and aid weight loss, thus reducing your risk of chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

7. Take supplement wisely: 

Though some supplements may fight viral infections, none have been proven to be effective against COVID-19. If you decide to supplement, make sure to purchase products that have been tested by a third party. Furthermore, supplements are prone to mislabeling because they aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thus, you should only purchase supplements that have been independently tested by third-party organizations like United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, and Consumer Lab.













Although it is necessary to keep the immune system at its best possible condition at all times, opting for natural immunity boosters is what feels most relevant in these unprecedented times. Apart from following the above-discussed ways of boosting immunity, you should simultaneously keep a track of your progress by undergoing regular health checkups. 

Prevention is better than cure.






Ways To Combat That High Blood Pressure In Amarillo

Ways To Combat That High Blood Pressure In Amarillo

  • April 6, 2021

I found out last year that my blood pressure is a bit on the high side. It was a scary day. I was seeing a doctor for something else when he looked over my numbers. He told me that we would reschedule our appointment and called to get me an appointment downstairs with another doctor.

My blood pressure numbers were near stroke level. So, yes it was scary. I have since been put on medicine but I have been looking for other ways to lower those numbers. I don’t like being on medicine for anything. I know the first thing is to stop stressing so much. It’s just what I do. I think I stress about stressing.

So I have learned a few tricks that will hopefully help me on my quest of getting off my blood pressure medicines. Walking is such a good start. So I grab the leash and take my dog, Chipper, for a walk around the Bivins area. I love looking at all the trees. I feel the view helps lower my blood pressure too. Hey every little bit helps.

I also learned that stretching can really help me too. Apparently the thought is that when you stretch your muscles you are doing much more. You are also stretching out all the blood vessels. You are also helping out your arteries.

So if you can walk and lose some belly fat and also stretch you will be doing so much for your health. Make a pledge to take those dogs for a walk, even making it a brisk walk. Make sure you stretch a good amount before you head out the door.

All of this can help you out and maybe get your blood pressure medicine to be a thing of your past.

KEEP READING: See 25 natural ways to boost your immune system

 

Ways You May Not Have Realized Stress Affects Your Body

Ways You May Not Have Realized Stress Affects Your Body

  • April 5, 2021

Whenever you start feeling “off” or not like your usual self, it can be maddening to figure out the root of the problem. Is it a viral infection? Is it a bug going around the community? Is it poor sleeping habits? Am I just getting old? These are some of the common issues that may ruminate in your mind.

Sometimes, none of those questions apply. Instead, stress is the culprit. Yes, the same stress you deal with when completing daily tasks can also affect your body in ways you never realized. We’ll highlight some common areas that stress can directly or indirectly impact, as well as how stress can affect your immune system.

Understanding stress

Stress happens every day, regardless of your state of mind. Without you even knowing it, your brain is constantly shuffling through thoughts, feelings and interactions. On average, those thoughts and feelings will lead to at least 45 daily negative stress reactions.

When you’re stressed, these emotions activate fight-or-flight reactions such as fear or worry. Your adrenal glands then release hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, as a protective mechanism to deal with whatever the perceived threat is. The result is a spike in heart rate, blood pressure and the production of glucose in your bloodstream.

These reactions aren’t always negative. It can help alert you of certain situations that need attention. For example, when you slam on the brakes to avoid an accident in front of you before you can even recognize it. That’s the fight-or-flight reaction coming into play.

Once your body processes the stressor or threat, the hormones return to normal levels.

Effects of stress on your body

The tell-tale signs of stress tend to be sweaty palms, a rapid increase in heart rate and a noticeable increase in alertness. Beyond that, stress also affects several other body parts and bodily functions.

Aches and pains

Have you ever been stressed out and heard someone tell you to loosen up? Well, in this case, the meaning is literal. Stress causes your muscles to tighten up to protect you from injury. You’ll often feel this tightness in your back, head and neck. This is why you may experience persistent headaches from stress.

Breathing issues

Stress can impact your breathing by speeding up respiratory function to cause shortness of breath or hyperventilation. If you have issues with asthma, stress may increase your risk of asthma attacks. This also explains why panic attacks often cause respiratory problems since the stress forces your lungs into overdrive. 

Cardiovascular health

When under stress, your brain produces chemical messengers that instruct your blood vessels to pump more blood to vital organs. Over time, physical stress on your blood vessels can catch up to you. Chronic stress can put you more at risk for hypertension, stroke or heart attack.

Pigment loss in hair

At some point growing up, you may have heard your parents say your behavior was stressful enough to make their hair turn gray. Turns out they were on to something. When stress hits, nerves in your hair follicles release hormones that force pigment cells from the hair. Eventually, your hair turns grays since there are no pigment cells left to give the hair its natural color.

Heightened senses

Going along with the idea that your entire body is on alert during stressful situations, it’s no surprise that your senses, such as smell and vision, tend to improve. Stress and anxiety can actually heighten your connection with your olfactory nerve, a cranial nerve that communicates to your brain what you’re smelling. 

Diet and appetite

That upset stomach you feel may not be from the lunch you ate. Stress can cause several stomach issues, such as nausea and bloating. In more severe cases, vomiting may occur. Stress can also disrupt your gut bacteria, which explains the butterfly feeling you get when you’re nervous. An upset stomach tends to cause disinterest in food, which affects your diet and appetite. Conversely, there’s a correlation between stress and mood, and a depressed mood could result in poor food choices in an attempt to make yourself feel better. 

Digestive system

It’s no coincidence that stress or anxiety can make you go to the bathroom more. During stressful situations, the speed at which your digestive tract processes food and waste can increase and lead to diarrhea. Stress hormones may also release inflammatory markers that cause your bowels to contract, leading to constipation. If you find yourself urinating more, that means the stress you encounter has your urinary tract on high alert.

Sexual desire and intimacy

In men, stress can disrupt testosterone production, thus lowering your sexual desire. Even if your desire is present, erectile dysfunction may become an issue. Blood flow to your penis causes an erection, and stress can disrupt that process. When stress becomes chronic, it may also impact reproductive health, including sperm in men. In women, stress can impact your ability to both conceive and develop a child. Stress during pregnancy can have negative impacts on offspring.

More prone to illnesses

The body is so intent on reacting to stress that it can leave your immune system prone to illness. In other words, it can get too depleted and struggle to defend against viral or bacterial infections. The cortisol produced during stress reactions can decrease your lymphocytes, important white blood cells your immune system uses to fend off foreign invaders.

Ways to manage stress

The easiest way to manage stress is to immerse yourself in activities that reduce anxiety-provoking thoughts and feelings.

For starters, incorporate regular exercise into your weekly routine. This can be as simple as taking a stroll around your neighborhood. Disconnecting from the world — and your smartphone — can do wonders for your state of mind.

Yoga or meditation are also an ideal way to both relax and work up a sweat. Yoga teaches you to control your breathing, which in turn can help you power through stressful situations when they arise.

Focus on activities and hobbies you enjoy. Read a book at night if you’re into novels. Listen to your favorite artist while you cook if you’re a fan of music. Play with your dog if animals help soothe your mood. Everyone has their own way of resetting their emotions. Find what works best for you.

You can also add positive affirmations, or positive self-talk, to your routine. Take a piece of paper and write down personal statements you can think about or say aloud several times a day. As an example, you may say “Today will be a good day. I will focus on the things I can control and won’t stress about the things I can’t control.”

Controlling what you can control applies most to these next few tips. Establish a regular sleep schedule to stay rested, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Fuel your body with fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins that contain beneficial vitamins and minerals. Your body acts much like a car. It requires maintenance and the right products to run efficiently. 

When to get help for stress

Stress is a normal part of dealing with what everyday life throws at you. But, stress can complicate things when it becomes chronic. As we outlined above, repeated stress can lead to many future health problems.

If you feel like you’re losing control or have issues getting through the day and typical tasks, contact your primary care physician to discuss ways to reduce your stress. Your doctor may refer you to a mental health provider to provide further assistance. The INTEGRIS Health Mental Health Clinic can help you navigate your troubles with treatment options, free anonymous online screenings and other resources.

 

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7 effective ways to boost your immune system [ARTICLE]

7 effective ways to boost your immune system [ARTICLE]

  • March 31, 2021

Before showing you how to boost your immune system, let’s begin by explaining what your immune system is.

The body’s immune system is the system that is our bodyguard and fights off diseases and infections to ensure optimal health.

From mental exhaustion to physical illness, the immune system takes on the responsibility of battling every factor that may pose a threat to the body. It not only takes on the role of fighting external disease-causing agents like bacteria, viruses, and pathogens but also helps in cell regeneration to complete the cell cycle and get rid of dead cells so that the new cells can replace them.

Your body’s immune system comprises of white blood cells, also known as lymphocytes that circle the body via the bloodstream and filter out toxins and disease-causing elements.

However, just because your immune system fights off diseases and infections doesn’t mean it can’t get weak or tired too. Your immune system also demands care and attention. And in order for you to know how to give your immune system the care and attention it needs to be strong and effective, below are the top seven ways that can help you strengthen your immune system and ensure that your body is ready to fight off intruders (coronavirus, germs etc.) and ensure optimal health:

1. Sleep Well

Many people fail to realize this, but having a consistent sleep cycle is extremely important. Nightlife may seem cool and happening, but it is not at all healthy. This is because of the lack of sleep, or inadequate sleep can lead to the weakening of the immune system.

Some certain hormones and proteins play an integral role in battling diseases, and they are only synthesized when we are asleep. Compromising on sleep can compromise their production and release, thus leaving the body more prone to falling sick.

Ensure that you get 7-8 hours of sleep every day. To get better sleep, prioritize your sleep and follow a routine so your body can switch off and relax when it has to. But remember, moderation is key, oversleeping is also not recommended.

2. Add Garlic To Your Diet

Garlic is your immune system’s best friend. Garlic has always been an integral component of ancient medicines and ointments. This is because it can support your body’s immune system and fight off infectious diseases like flu, influenza, and also the common cold.

Although it can also be consumed in the form of pills, some studies suggest consuming it raw as that has maximum benefits. You can have a clove as it is or also add it to your diet by incorporating it into your cooking. Garlic powder is also an excellent way of consuming Garlic. It can be added to salads, topped on dishes and it can also be used as a condiment.

Discover five more ways to boost immune system here

*This is a featured post.

Ways to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments vary as eligibility expands

Ways to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments vary as eligibility expands

  • March 30, 2021

Best Life

These Are the Vitamins You Need Before Your COVID Vaccine, Doctor Says

As COVID vaccine eligibility is opening up for millions more Americans across the nation, many people are preparing for their long-awaited, life-saving shots. More than 95 million people in the U.S.—approximately 28 percent of the population—have already received at least one dose of their coronavirus vaccine, as of Mar. 28, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you’re in the remainder of the not-yet-vaccinated population, Andrew Myers, MD, a naturopathic physician who co-authored the soon-to-be released book Simplifying the COVID-19 Puzzle, has shared with our sister site, Eat This Not That Health, which vitamins could help you have a strong reaction to the COVID vaccine.”The stronger an individual’s immune system, the more responsive they are to a vaccine,” Myers told ETNT Health. The vaccines work by introducing the threat of the virus (either via an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna or a viral vector vaccine like Johnson&Johnson) to your body, prompting your immune system to recognize it and be prepared to fight it off in the future. And, in order to strengthen your immune system, Myers suggests turning to supplements and vitamins. “Supplemental nutrition is the most direct way to impact your immune health and function in the near term, and the following nutrients are essential as a part of your immune-boosting efforts,” he said. Read on to discover what vitamins the doctor recommends, and for more ways to prepare for your COVID vaccination, check out 2 Things You Need to Stop Eating Before Your COVID Vaccine, New Study Says. 1 Vitamin K2 According to Myers, vitamin K2 is one of the five essential nutrients to boost your body’s immunity, in addition to incorporating healthy food into your regular diet.Myers said research he collected with his co-author, Grace McComsey, MD, “indicates that insufficient levels of vitamin K2 … are directly related to our susceptibility to COVID-19 and the seriousness of the outcomes should you become hospitalized.”The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes vitamin K has a nutrient ideal for blood clotting and healthy bones. Myers explained that vitamin K2 is still “critical,” but, as Healthline explains, K2 is “mainly found in certain animal and fermented foods, which most people don’t eat much of,” so there are multivitamin/multimineral supplements that you can take instead. However, you should talk to your doctor before adding any supplements of K2, or any other vitamin on this list, to your routine.And for the vitamin to steer clear of, check out If You’re Overdoing This Supplement, Your Heart Is at Risk, Doctors Say. 2 Vitamin D3 Additionally, vitamin D3 is useful in helping your body get ready for a vaccine. “Vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 work synergistically to improve our body’s ability to mount a robust immune response and regulate healthy inflammation,” Myers explained.Healthline says that D3, a type of vitamin D, is only found in animal-sourced foods—oily fish and fish oil, liver, egg yolk, and butter—as well as dietary supplements.”If somebody has nutritional deficiencies, nutrient deficiencies, then their immune system is not going to be operating at optimum levels,” Katherine Basbaum, RD, of UVA Health System, told the Daily Press. In regards to taking supplements like D3, Basbaum said, “if you take somebody with known vitamin, mineral deficiencies, and they’re kind of going into getting the vaccine with this weaker immune system, could it be beneficial? Possibly.”And for more up-to-date COVID news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter. 3 Vitamin C Another potentially helpful nutrient for your COVID vaccine is vitamin C, Myers noted. Vitamin C helps form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen in bones, according to the Mayo Clinic. “Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect your cells against the effects of free radicals—which might play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases,” the experts at the Mayo Clinic explain.While Heather Koza, MD, a family medicine physician in Michigan, told Eating Well that “there is not enough research to support that anti-inflammatory foods or supplements such as vitamin C will make the COVID vaccine more effective … in general, eating highly nutritious food and taking vitamin C does help the immune system.”Louis Malinow, MD, an internal medicine physician in Maryland, also spoke with the website, and supported the intake of healthy food and dietary supplements to improve immunity. “A healthy diet that is maintained long-term can improve immune responsiveness and help us fight infections better and perhaps boost immune response to vaccination,” he said.And for more day-of prep advice, find out why Doctors Say Do These 2 Things the Morning of Your Vaccine Appointment. 4 Zinc Myers also suggests people take zinc to build up immunity prior to their COVID vaccine. According to health retailer Holland and Barrett, zinc “activates enzymes that break down proteins in viruses and bacteria so they are less able to spread.” Additionally, the nutrient “increases the activation of cells responsible for fighting infection.”Findings from an Apr. 2020 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine suggest that zinc supports anti-viral immunity and decreases inflammation in the body.The nutrient cannot be created by the human body, however, it can be taken in through beans, dairy, shellfish, and whole grains. 5 Omega-3 Myers also recommends people take omega-3, “from either concentrated fish oil or vegan sources like Ahi Flower,” as an immune-boosting measure. Omega-3 can also be found in krill oil, cod liver oil, and algal oil, another vegan source from algae. The NIH says that the most important omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—which is found in flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are found in various types of seafood.”Omega-3s are important components of the membranes that surround each cell in your body,” the NIH explains. “Omega-3s also provide calories to give your body energy and have many functions in your heart, blood vessels, lungs, immune system, and endocrine system (the network of hormone-producing glands).”And for more news on supplements, check out This Is the One Vitamin You Should Never Take, Doctors Say.

Proven Ways to Boost Your Immune System, Straight From a Doctor

Proven Ways to Boost Your Immune System, Straight From a Doctor

  • March 27, 2021

Given our current situation, you might be interested in taking immune boosters, and need to first understand that overall immunity is based on a variety of factors, explains Dr. Darren Mareiniss, MD, FACEP, Emergency Medicine Physician at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. “There are things we do that can increase our vulnerability to infections,” he says. A few examples include poor sleep and stress, which “increases cortisol secretion and may adversely impact immune defense” and smoking. In addition to getting your Zs, avoiding stress, eating a healthy diet, and exercising, taking immune boosters can also help build immunity.

Immune boosters are supplements you can take to promote your overall health and ward off disease. Most of them include vitamins that have been scientifically proven to ward off disease —omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc—are a few of the key names to look for. Here’s what taking immune boosters every day does to your body. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.

woman getting over a cold

woman getting over a cold

Just like the name implies, immune boosters will help boost immunity so you can fight off infection. “Vitamin C, D and Zinc are important for appropriate immune response,” Dr. Mareiniss explains. “If you are deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. “So I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself taking vitamin D supplements.”

Senior woman suffering from pain in hand at home.

Senior woman suffering from pain in hand at home.

According to Dr. Mareiniss, immune boosters with zinc may be beneficial in decreasing inflammation. “There is some evidence that Zinc may help regulate appropriate inflammatory response,” he says. “Zinc plays an intricate function during an immune response and its homeostasis is critical for sustaining proper immune function,” says a study in Nutrients. “Additionally, zinc deficiency plays a role in inflammation, mainly elevating inflammatory response as well as damage to host tissue. Zinc is involved in the modulation of the proinflammatory.”

Mature Woman With Plastered Leg Talking On Mobile Phone At Home

Mature Woman With Plastered Leg Talking On Mobile Phone At Home

Dr. Mareiniss reminds you that vitamin C, which is naturally present in many foods and not synthesized by the body, is crucial for the biosynthesis of collagen. “The healing of musculoskeletal tissues, such as bone, tendons, and ligaments, is dependent on the capacity of collagen synthesis and cross-linking,” says one study in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. “Basic science investigations on the biochemical pathways after a musculoskeletal injury have suggested that vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, may enhance collagen synthesis and soft tissue healing.”

A plaster cast with plaster.

A plaster cast with plaster.

Additionally, vitamin C “is an essential component of connective tissue and plays a role in wound healing,” he explains. “Preclinical studies demonstrated that vitamin C has the potential to accelerate bone healing after a fracture, increase type I collagen synthesis, and reduce oxidative stress parameters,” says the study in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

Female doctor analyzing mammography results on x-ray.

Female doctor analyzing mammography results on x-ray.

Immune boosters with vitamin C, an antioxidant, may also keep certain cancers at bay, says Dr. Mareiniss. “Most case-control studies have found an inverse association between dietary vitamin C intake and cancers of the lung, breast, colon or rectum, stomach, oral cavity, larynx or pharynx, and esophagus,” explains the National Institutes of Health.

If oxidative stress plays a role, immune boosters with vitamin C may aid in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, he adds.

Middle aged woman suffering from abdominal pain while sitting on bed at home

Middle aged woman suffering from abdominal pain while sitting on bed at home

Don’t overdo your immune boosters. “Very, very large doses of Vitamin C can cause diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, headache and insomnia,” points out Dr. Mareiniss. Ask your doctor about which dosage is right for you.

RELATED: Doctors Say “DO NOT” Do This After Your COVID Vaccine.

fruits vegetables

fruits vegetables

Pretty much every health expert agrees that the best source of vitamins and minerals is from immune-boosting foods. “Typically, you can get adequate vitamin C from foods like citrus fruits, peppers, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cantaloupe, potatoes, strawberries, spinach etc,” reveals Dr. Mareiniss. And, “Vitamin D can be ingested but is naturally produced in the body. UV light (ie, sunlight) exposure aids its production.” Discuss these thoughts with your medical professionals, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Five ways we can boost our immune system before and after the Covid-19 vaccine

Five ways we can boost our immune system before and after the Covid-19 vaccine

  • March 24, 2021

While we count down the weeks or months to a coronavirus vaccine there are things we can do to boost our immune health and antibody responsiveness to vaccination. Brisk walks (ideally a 30-minute walk five times a week) and vitamin D supplements are some of the best ways to prepare for the vaccine. Studies show that up to 70% of adults in Ireland have insufficient levels of the so-called ‘sunshine vitamin’ in winter and they say people who develop severe Covid-19 have low vitamin D levels.

Dr Emer Ahern, Consultant Geriatrician at Cork University Hospital (CUH) says while it has been an extremely challenging twelve months for everyone the vaccination programme offers us all a ray of hope and a chance to regain our freedom.

While we wait for a vaccine she advises that we boost our immune health.

“We know from years of research that our lifestyle and health habits influence our levels of immunity so one of the things we can do to maximise our body’s immune response to the vaccine is to improve our fitness and do more exercise.” For optimum physical health older adults we should aim to be active daily.

Daily movement

“We know that 150 minutes per week of brisk walking can cause a 30% improvement in immunity levels”.

“No matter what your age or level of ability, regular movement or exercise throughout the day benefits our physical, mental and overall well-being”.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, says Dr Ahern. “It is important to find activities that suit your health needs, level of ability and confidence, are enjoyable and can be done easily at home”.

For elderly patients who may be quite frail, she recommends light activity, such as moving around your own home, getting up to make a cup of tea, walking up and down the hallway at a slow pace, chair exercises – “all of these will boost the immune system. We recommend any exercise as long as you are doing more of it. For those with moderate fitness a brisk walk or cycling a bike, dancing or water aerobics is excellent and gets the circulation going”.

Moderate activity is the main goal, according to Dr Ahern, as this level of exercise is where we get warmer, breath harder but still be able to carry on a conversation.

Vigorous activity is recommended for those who are already regularly active – 75 minutes of vigorous exercise spread throughout the week will reap added benefits as will running, cycling hills and hiking.

Dr Ahern explains, “as we age our balance reaction times and reflexes get slower and this can make it harder to regain balance, especially when we do something quickly. Motion is lotion, our joints and muscles need regular exercise to stay in shape”.

Eat well

Diet is important too and Dr Ahern recommends eating more fruit and vegetables, protein-rich foods for your muscles like poultry and fish, dairy products with calcium and vitamin D for good bones, healthy unsaturated fats such as olive oil, nuts, low salt and foods rich in fibre like porridge.

Sleep is very important to the functioning of the immune system and can have serious health ramifications so getting a steady dose of good shuteye every night is key. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged between 18 and 64 need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, while older adults need 7-8 hours and children and adolescents require even more. Dr Ahern advises that you try to be as consistent as possible – “turning in and waking up at roughly the same time every day is healthier than an all-over-the-place sleep schedule”.

Calm down

Stress impacts our immune system and reduces our ability to fight infection – “I would say make sure you take time for yourself – read a book, listen to music or whatever you like to do to relax.

“Unfortunately it has been a really stressful twelve months for everyone and in particular for those working in the healthcare system. Unfortunately, stress reduces your ability to fight infection and your immunity so it is important to destress and exercise is a great way to do that”.

Stay connected

Doctors are now seeing the negative impacts of ‘constant cocooning’ on older adults in particular so things like cognitive decline due to a lack of social engagement and a rise in sarcopenia or muscle wastage in pensioners. Quite a number of elderly patients have lost the confidence to negotiate footpaths, traffic and even going to the shops. Their muscle strength is reduced, their endurance is reduced, their confidence is reduced and their balance is reduced.

Dr Evelyn Hannon, Specialist Registrar with the Geriatric Department at CUH says that elderly people boost and maintain their immune system by getting out in the community and incorporating exercise into their daily life – “walking with a family member, walking to the shop, to the post office, start gardening again – all the things that allow them to live independently”.

Covid-19 requires us to stay apart to protect ourselves and this can cause people to feel stressed, isolated, and lonely and over time Dr Hannon says this stress can affect our brains in a negative way, causing depression.

“It is important to stay connected to family members, to neighbours or local groups. Schedule daily phone calls with family and friends to talk and keep up to date with news and events. If you do not have a family, friend or neighbour to talk to call services such as Friendly Call Service Ireland who offer calls to older adults from trained volunteers. There are many online and virtual cafés or groups that can be accessed to meet up and talk with people over the internet to keep you feeling connected. Organisations such as ALONE have begun the BConnect initiative which provides support and training in the use of technology for older adults to help maintain contact during Covid-19.

“Remembering to take lots of little walks during the day and staying hydrated all helps improve our mood and immunity levels”.

Dose up on vitamin D

For those of us who are fit and well Dr Hannon suggests trying to do more exercise than you normally would in the weeks leading up to your vaccine and if you don’t have Vitamin D supplements buy them and for your elderly relatives at your local pharmacy.

“As we age we lose our immunity naturally so we need to try to do everything we can to build it up. I would say increase your exercise by 10% or 20% and this will make a huge improvement – getting outside in the fresh air even if it is just for 30 minutes a day will make a difference. The goal is to minimise the amount of time you are sedentary so break up periods of sitting down, get up and walk around every 30 minutes if you are watching TV and take regular walking breaks around the garden. And remember to eat three healthy meals a day with lots of vegetables, fruit and whole grains poultry, fish, and dairy products”.

We are coming into a good time of year for fresh produce and this diet is recommended. It is estimated that one in four of all patients admitted to Irish hospitals are at risk of malnutrition.

“Hopefully restrictions will ease as we go forward and people can once again think about joining a club, a class or a social group”.

Dr Hannon says this has a dual benefit of being an enjoyable activity and an opportunity to meet new people. A good idea she says might be to volunteer to help others or share skills and talents via local schools or youth organisations or she suggests you could consider a pet – “caring for a dog or cat can help give structure and purpose to the day and be a catalyst to social interaction.

“There is a long road ahead of us, but these vaccines are the first step in protecting us from serious covid illness and in regaining our freedom and returning to a life filled with everything and everyone we love”.

Ginger for sore throat: How does it help and easy ways to consume it

Ginger for sore throat: How does it help and easy ways to consume it

  • March 15, 2021
Ginger, the pungent herb forms an intrinsic part of Indian cuisine. Not just for the taste, ginger is widely used for its various medicinal benefits. One of the most common and scientifically proven health benefits of ginger is that it can treat sore throat.

Ginger helps in soothing a sore throat in two ways – one by relieving the pain and second by fighting the infections. Here is exactly how ginger helps in relieving sore throat and easy ways you can consume it.

Medicinal properties


Ginger is rich in bioactive compounds, which are the phytonutrients found in certain foods, beneficial for your health. The most beneficial bioactive compounds in ginger are shogaols and gingerols.

These bioactive compounds have anti-inflammatory properties that can help manage and reduce the risk of sore throat.

Ginger also has antimicrobial properties that can help fight viral and bacterial infections.

As per one test-tube study, a solution of 10 per cent ginger extract can inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans, Candida Albicans and Enterococcus faecalls, the microorganisms responsible for oral infections. however, more research is needed to find out how ginger can inhibit the growth of viruses and bacteria that cause sore throat.

Ginger also has antioxidant properties, which have protective and healing benefits against various diseases. One study also found that fresh ginger has more antioxidative benefits as compared to dried ginger.

Anti-inflammatory effects


The pain that you experience when suffering from a sore throat happens due to inflammation and itchiness in the throat. The inflammation is the result of your body’s immune system responding to the infection.

Ginger helps block the pro-inflammatory proteins in the body. These proteins lead to inflammatory pain and itchiness.

Two different studies show that ginger helps in tonsillitis and pharyngitis pain. In a study, 7 out of 10 participants with chronic tonsillitis found relief in symptoms of acute tonsillitis after consuming ginger.

Boosts immune system


The compounds in ginger help in boosting immunity and thus decrease the recovery time.

Sore throat is caused by viruses and while medications for cold might not kill the virus, ginger might just do the trick.

A laboratory study has shown that ginger can stimulate the immune system to kill viruses. This makes ginger a quick pain reliever. Though study on humans is needed to confirm these results.

Ginger protects against microbes


Ginger can help soothe a sore throat by protecting against bacteria, pathogens and toxins, which are also called microbes. Some of these microbes can lead to a sore throat.

A study compared the effectiveness of ginger extract and antibiotics on strep-causing bacteria. For the study, ginger was extracted in different amounts from the root and leaves of the plant and diluted with ethanol and water.

The solution made from leaves and antibiotics were equally effective at inhibiting the bacteria as the antibiotics. Though the ethanol-based solvents were more effective than water-based solvents. The research was a test tube one and more research is needed to understand the antimicrobial effects of ginger in humans.

Ways to consume ginger to soothe a sore throat


Raw ginger


Raw ginger is easily available at the vegetable vendor and grocery shops. You can use it by removing the exterior, bark-like surface. Then slice off a one-inch piece and chew on it. You can swallow the root when it turns to a pulp after chewing.

Ginger lozenge


You can get ginger lozenge from a pharmacy or even a local grocery shop. Read the instructions carefully before consuming. Make sure the product you are buying has real ginger.

Ginger tea


Sipping on hot ginger tea is a popular and an effective way to soothe a sore throat. The warm tea is soothing for an inflamed throat.

You can make ginger tea at home by boiling 2 teaspoons of dry ginger in one cup of water or by grating a 2-inch raw root in one cup of water.

Let the tea steep for five minutes, then strain and consume it. You can drink this two to three times a day. You can also add a teaspoon of honey to enhance the taste and medicinal properties of the tea.

Who should not consume ginger


Ginger root is safe for most people but it can cause allergy in some. Also, remember ginger is not a replacement for doctor prescribed medicine. You can have it along with the medicine.

If you are pregnant, too much ginger consumption can cause gastric discomfort.

Avoiding infections as seasons change: 10 effective ways to boost your immunity

Avoiding infections as seasons change: 10 effective ways to boost your immunity

  • March 11, 2021

Avoiding infections as seasons change: 10 effective ways to boost your immunity


Avoiding infections as seasons change: 10 effective ways to boost your immunity| Photo Credits: Pixabay&nbsp

Key Highlights

  • The immune system of the body provides resistance against diseases and infections

  • It defends your body against foreign substances and keeps you healthy

  • Here are a few quick ways in which you can protect your immunity

New Delhi: Our immune system is composed of special cells that defend the body against infection. It does not let any foreign substance invade the body and cause any sort of harm. Our immune system is responsible for the proper functioning of our body. You must take care of your immunity to avoid any serious risk or damage to your health. Our immune system is very essential for our survival. If our immune system is weak, our body gets prone to infections and viruses. The immune system is spread through our body and consists of various cells, tissues, organs and protein. Our immunity is an entire system and to function well it needs a lot of balance and hard work. Our dietary habits and lifestyle affect the immune system directly. Factors like your age and mental health also have an impact on your immune system.

A healthy immune system can defeat pathogens. To keep yourself fit and healthy you must ensure that your immunity is strong enough to fight whatever comes in the way. Considering the current pandemic situation, we are in, it has become even more important to take care of ourselves. We must follow a healthy routine and lead a good life to avoid any unnecessary damage.

Tips to boost your immune system:

  1. To protect your immunity, you must make sure that you maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can invite lots of problems for your body and its organs and in turn, make your immune system weak. Weight management is very important for a healthy immune system.
  2. You must get an adequate amount of sleep. Rest is very important for your body to reboot and start functioning smoothly again. If you don’t get enough rest, it makes your body lethargic and has a direct negative effect on your immunity.
  3. Do not smoke at all. Smoking is injurious to your health and makes your organs weak. Weak organs result in a weak immune system. Hence, you must make sure that you do not consume any harmful material such as nicotine in terms of smoking.
  4. Avoid the consumption of alcohol. If you drink alcohol, you must drink only in moderation. Alcohol is harmful to your brain health and also other important organs such as liver and kidney. The consumption of alcohol can cause your immune system to break down and make you weak internally.
  5. Do not take stress as stress can lead to a lot of health issues. Stress has a direct effect on your immunity. It makes you weak both mentally and physically.
  6. Make sure you exercise regularly. Physical activity is very important for your body. It keeps you fit and active. It also keeps all your organs healthy and functioning. A fit body has a fit immune system.
  7. Eat seasonal fruits. Fruits make you healthy and are a perfect snack for whenever you feel hungry. Fruits have high nutritional value. The nutrients present in fruits contribute to a good immune system.
  8. Drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Consume as many liquids as you can. Fluids ensure smooth functioning of your body and immune system.
  9. Eat green leafy vegetables. Green vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals. The body needs its own dose of vitamins and minerals to build a healthy fighting mechanism. Your immunity gets stronger if you consume green veggies.
  10. Hygiene is very important. Stay hygienic both inside and out. Make sure you wash your hands before eating so that germs do not enter your body and weaken your immune system. Take bath daily. A hygienic body is a correct place for good immunity.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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