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Immune System

Top Tips For Keeping Healthy This Year: Part 2

3. Diet (continued). Foods that can give you energy and help your circulation include fruit and vegetables, whole grains and goods oils such as olive oil, flax seed, fish oils and coconut oil. Incorporating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and lentils in your diet will also help you to lose some extra weight and benefit your immune system. Red meat and fats from fried and junk food also produce free radicals in our body. These free radicals have been linked with causing a number of diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Cutting down on fizzy drinks is also a must in your new health plan. These drinks are full of sugar and regular intake can be harmful to general health. The sugar free versions of these drinks are actually more harmful, as the artificial sweeteners have been linked with a host of illnesses such as osteoporosis and digestive problems. Water has many health benefits. You should aim for 8 glasses a day (1-1.5 litres). It is important to remember that water is also present in fruit juices, salads and certain fruits. Fluid intake is a must for a healthy body. A good way to start you day is to have hot water with lemon and ginger. This healthy drink has the benefit of boosting immunity and stimulating your liver to kick start the detox process. 4. Health Supplements. You can easily include some health supplements as part of your daily routine to improve your immunity and general health.  The number one supplement that I would recommend is a good quality probiotic. This will provide you with essential good bacteria, which is required for a healthy digestive system. Probiotics also help to support and boost the immune system. You can take the probiotics throughout the winter months to aide digestion as well as help fight the winter bugs. Essential fatty acids from either fish oils or flax seed oil is another food supplement that will help your general health. These essential oils are required for a healthy cardiovascular system, brain function and they are excellent at reducing inflammation in the body. These fatty acids also help to maintain healthy joints. Antioxidants are required to “mop up” the free radicals that...

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Top Tips For Keeping Healthy in 2014: Part 1

Top Tips For Keeping Healthy in 2014: Part 1

This year is a great opportunity to make some beneficial changes to your health and wellbeing. With all the general doom and gloom surrounding us today it is vital that we take control in our general mental and physical health. The way the NHS is heading, it is more important than ever to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This has many obvious benefits both individually and globally. A simple and very effective way of improving your health is by modifying your diet and not over eating. Studies have shown that people who generally consume fewer calories live longer. The way we eat also has an impact on our health. Eating in a hurry or “on the go” can lead to indigestion and heartburn. The following tips can be used as a good basic start for your health. 1. Regular Exercise: this has so many health benefits both physically and emotionally. People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing depression.  If you are new to exercise, then start by walking. Even a 20min daily walk will make you feel healthier. Exercising has the added benefits of keeping your heart muscles strong, helping you lose weight, keep your cholesterol level down and making you feel more energetic. Incorporating some sort of weight bearing exercise, such as weight training, will help you burn more calories and keep your bones and joints healthy. If you have not trained with weights before, please train under the supervision of qualified personal trainer. Taking up a new sport is an excellent way of staying fit without the mental block of going to the gym or going for a run. Team sports are also a good way of socialising and makes exercising more fun. Martial arts such as Wing Chun and Tai Chi have the added benefit of providing a “work-out” for the mind as well as body. 2. De-Stress: Stress is one of the main culprits of ill health in the western world. With all the talk of recessions and lack of job security, it’s no wonder that we are now more stressed than ever. Stress has been linked with numerous illnesses such as heart disease, insomnia, migraines, stomach ulcers and depression. Stress...

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Manuka Honey Prevents Infections

Manuka Honey Prevents Infections

A new study published in the journal, Microbiology, has found that manuka honey could help to clear chronic wound infections. These findings even suggest that this natural remedy could prevent infections from developing. This study provides further evidence of the anti-bacterial properties of this powerful natural remedy. Research conducted at Cardiff Metropolitan University found that manuka honey can destroy Streptococcus pyrogenes (anormal skin bacteria that is associated with wounds). The research also foundthat manuka honey can also prevent infections from initially developing. Wounds that are infected with Streptococcus pyrogenes are generally difficult to treat with conventional treatment. This is partly due to the strength and resistance of the bacteria to antibiotic treatment. Overuse of antibiotics is another possibility why infections such as Streptococcus pyrogenes are resistant to treatment. This is why investment into the research ofnatural remedies such as manuka honey and herbs such as oregano and goldenseal is vital in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. This is especially important in the management of open wounds, which are prone to infections. Dr Sarah Maddocks, who led the research study, said that the honey reduced the spread of the bacteria and stopped the bacteria from clumping together. She continued, “This is a feasible mechanismby which manuka honey minimizes the initiation of acute wound infections andalso the establishment of chronic infections”. Dr Maddock’s team is continuing toinvestigate other bacteria such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA),which manuka honey has been shown to be effective against. Dr Maddocks said, “Thereis an urgent need to find innovative and effective ways of controlling wound infections that are unlikely to contribute to increased antimicrobial resistance. No instances of honey-resistant bacteria have been reported todate, or seem likely. “Applying antibacterial agentsdirectly to the skin to clear bacteria from wounds is cheaper than systemic antibiotics and may well complement antibiotic therapy in the future. This is significant as chronic wounds account for up to 4% of health care expenses inthe developed...

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Supplements for the Party Season

With Christmas and New Year’s celebrations just around the corner, most of us will be enjoying plenty of food and the odd drink. The down side of the festive fun is that our bodies generally take in more calories than normal, and our immunity and detoxification organs are put under extra pressure. The good news is that there are a few natural supplements that can help maintain a healthy immune system to help get through the party season. Milk thistle is commonly used as a liver tonic. This herb is found as an ingredient in many modern detox supplements. This is mainly due to its effect on the liver, as the liver is one of the main organs for natural detoxification. The liver is the main organ for processing food, nutrients and fats. It is also a vital organ for neutralising toxins, from pollution, food, alcohol, drugs and medication. Milk thistle helps the liver to neutralise these toxins. The liver is continuously detoxifying but excessive alcohol intake can slow down the process by depleting levels of glutathione. This herbal remedy works by preventing the breakdown of glutathione. Glutathione is a peptide that acts as an enzyme in the natural detoxification process of the liver. Milk thistle works by supporting the natural detoxifying action of the liver. Studies have shown that Milk thistle can increase glutathione levels by over 30%.   Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is the most widely known and used nutritional supplement. This vitamin is known for its immune boosting effects and is also required for healthy adrenal function, which helps the body cope with stress. Vitamin C sales are generally at their highest in the autumn and winter months. This is partly down to the immune boosting effects and the wide spread marketing by vitamin companies. There is no harm in taking extra vitamin C throughout the winter months and studies have shown that a dose of 1000mg vitamin C a day can shorten the duration of colds. Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants that we have at our disposal. This vitamin is our main water soluble antioxidant, and can help to fight damage caused by free radicals (e.g. from fried foods and alcohol)...

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Can turnips help prevent flu?

Can turnips help prevent flu?

There are lots of recent foods and remedies that claim to help prevent flu. Recently scientists in Japan have discovered that eating a traditional pickled turnip could prevent people catching the flu. This is potentially a major breakthrough and an addition to the number of natural remedies for supporting the immune system against the flu virus. Studies conducted in mice have found that suguki, a pickled turnip dish popular in Japan, reduced the incidence of the animals contracting the virus. The active component in the pickled turnip is Lactobacillus brevis, which is thought to boost immunity.  The animal studies found that the Lactobacillus brevis bacteria increased the production of disease fighting anti-bodies. Researchers found that the effects was strong enough to prevent the H1N1 (swine flu) strain. A new study is now underway to test this supplement. Researchers will give participants a probiotic drink containing the same KB290 strain of the bacterium found in suguki. Naoko Waki, author of the study in science journal Letters of Applied Microbiology said, “When a particular strain of Lactobacillus brevis is eaten by mice, it has protective effects against influenza.” The researcher continued, “Continual intake of (the drink) for 14 days prior to influenza virus infection alleviated symptoms such as loss of body weight and deterioration in observational physical conditions induced by the infection.” The Japanese researchers believe that a layer of sugars called exopolysaccharides that protect the bacteria against stomach acid juices could be responsible for action of the Lactobacillus brevis. Probiotic supplements containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum are regularly taken to support the immune system, so the initial findings of this study look very promising, although further research is required.  ...

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Can homeopathy help with flu prevention?

Homeopathy may be able to play a role in preventing seasonal flu by helping to support the immune system. There are a number of remedies that can be taken to support the immune system at this time of the year, although the most effective form of treatment is to consult a professional homeopath and have constitutional treatment. This is given in the form of a homeopathic remedy that is specific to the individual’s personality and general health. The homeopathic remedy Anas Barb 200c  and Aconite 200c should be taken at the first sign of a cold, as it can act as a preventative. It is important to take this remedy at the earliest possible stage for maximum benefit so therefore it is important to have this remedy on stand-by. This natural remedy is extremely safe and can be taken by the whole family. Several homeopathic pharmacies also make specific remedies to help prevent colds and flu’s. These are normally based on the current strains of flu that are in circulation over the season. For more information on these remedies, please contact the specialist homeopathic pharmacies. Influenzinum is a homeopathic remedy that is added to many flu prevention combinations. This remedy has also recently been included as part the flu prevention vaccination programme in Canada. If you found our article “can homeopathy help with flu prevention” useful, please rate it above.   Homeopathic remedies have not undergone stringent clinical trials, so we cannot make any claims for their effectiveness against flu prevention. The information in this article is only recommended as a guide to various homeopathic remedies that are available. Please consult your GP or pharmacist to discuss further treatment...

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Natural supplements for immune boosting

There are many immune boosting herbs and supplements available, but which ones are the most effective and safe to take? Which ones are a waste of money? Alongside taking natural immune boosting supplements you can also make some simple life-style changes that will have dramatic results. A healthy diet, good quality rest, minimal alcohol and caffiene consumption, regular exercise and cutting out smoking are simple measures that will result in a better functioning immune system. Here are some good quality natural supplements that can be taken to boost the immune system. Echinacea is one of the most commonly used herbs to treat the immune system. It provides a boost to the immune system and seems to have a beneficial action on all infectious conditions. Studies have shown that echinacea reduces the severity of cold symptoms and increases the speed of recovery. Echinacea is best taken at the onset of a respiriatory tract infection such as a cold or cough, and should only be taken for periods of no more than three weeks at a time. If you are taking any prescription medication or have a long standing illness, please consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking echinacea. Probiotics such as acidophillus provide good bacteria which protect the digestive system from infections. Research has shown that probiotics may boost the immune system by stimulating the immune cells that line the gastro-intestinal tract. Probiotcs should also be taken following a course anti-biotics, as they will replace the good bacteria that has also been destroyed by the anti-biotics. Acidophillus is also very good at treating candida infections such as thrush. Garlic and Ginger both have immune boosting, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Garlic is also known to have anti-funal action, and can be taken to treat thrush. Vitamin C is a strong immune boosting nutrient. It has been shown to reduce the severity and speed up the recovery of a cold. The herb Astragalus is an adaptogen and works very well in stimulating the immune system. This herb can be taken for long periods as well as in speeding up the recovery during a cold or a respiratory tract infection. If you are taking any prescribed medication, or you have a long standing illness, please consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking...

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What is Gluten Allergy & Intolerance?

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, oats, rye, barley and oats. You will find gluten in foods such as bread, rolls, cakes, flour, pasta, biscuits, pastries, noodles, pizza, muffins and couscous. These are just a few examples, but you can see that gluten is present in many foods that are consumed in a western diet. We are exposed to a lot of gluten on a daily basis, which may explain why gluten intolerance and allergies are being increasingly diagnosed in the western world. Most people who have gluten intolerance are actually not aware that they have this condition. Before we continue, it is worth noting the difference between an allergy and intolerance. A gluten allergy results in a condition called coeliac disease. If we were to eat a food that we are allergic to, the body immune system reacts in such a way as to protect itself. The immune system produces antibodies (IgE antibody), in response to the allergic food (the allergen). The IgE antibody triggers the release of histamine from mast cells, which are found in the nasal passages, throat, eyes, intestines and other body tissues. This results in the usual allergy symptoms of runny nose, swollen throat and gastrointestinal upset. People who are diagnosed with coeliac disease should avoid gluten. You should also consult a qualified nutritionist or naturopath to help you manage the condition. There are many gluten free foods available in most grocery stores. David Reavely, author of The Big Fat Mystery has a number of practical gluten free food recipes. Gluten damages the lining of the small intestine and can cause inflammation and swelling of the lining. The lining of the small intestine is covered with tiny villi that become damaged by the gluten. These villi are essential for the absorption of nutrients from our diet. This damage can also lead to more foods allergies and leaky gut syndrome. The symptoms of coeliac disease are general indigestion, diarrhoea, loss of weight, abdominal swelling, cramps, and depression. This disease, if left untreated can lead to various health problems such as osteoporosis, nerve damage, kidney disease and diabetes. Most people who have gluten intolerance are actually not aware that they have this condition....

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Foods to Boost Your Immune System

Foods to Boost Your Immune System

As we are approaching the “flu season” it is time to start eating the right foods for our immune systems.  During the autumn and winter months, there are new strains of viruses and bacteria mutating and this puts a great strain on our immune systems. We are surrounded by all sorts of viruses and bacteria from buses/trains/underground, places of work, coffee shops to our homes. So which are the best foods to boost your immune system naturally? As you can see we are exposed to germs everywhere. The good news is that by eating the correct foods, getting plenty of good quality rest, cutting down on alcohol and by doing regular exercise you can reduce your chances of illness. It is also worth noting that certain foods can put a strain on your immune system and should be avoided or reduced. It also goes without saying that smoking will lower your immune function is best avoided. You should eat plenty of fresh vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, green leafy vegetables, carrots and cauliflower. They will provide you with essential vitamins and minerals that will support and boost your immune system. These vegetables should not be overcooked, as the nutrients are destroyed by the cooking process. They can be steamed for a few minutes and then served. Pumpkin seeds, lentils, sunflower seeds, ginger root, pecans, and brazil nuts are all a good source of zinc and selenium. Several studies have found that daily doses of zinc caused dramatic improvements in the function of the immune system, especially the T-cells (they help to fight off infections). Eat more coloured fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, oranges, papaya, apricots and pomegranates. You should also aim to eat more coloured vegetables such as peppers, beetroot, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. These foods are high in vitamins A and C and they are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to neutralise free radicals which can damage our immune systems. Use more garlic in your cooking. Garlic contains nutrients that are beneficial to the immune system. Hot chillies are also effective at boosting the immune system, as they contain vitamins A and C. Ginger is another good ingredient to use as it has a warming effect on the...

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The Benefits of Vitamin B5

The Benefits of Vitamin B5

There are a whole range of B vitamins, each with lightly different functions and roles in the body, but what are the benefits of vitamin B5? This range of vitamins is generally recommended to nourish the nervous system and to boost energy levels. B vitamins are all water soluble, which means that the body does not store them. Vitamin B5, also known as Pantothenic acid is often neglected as a supplement but it plays a vital role in maintaining and achieving optimal health. Vitamin B12 deficiency is more commonly recongised, but B5 deficiency is probably just as common with modern stressful lifestyles. What is it? Pantothenic acid is involved in energy production, healthy brain and nervous function, fat metabolism, healthy skin and nails and in the production of ant-stress hormones. Periods of stress, lack of sleep and a reliance on stimulants such as coffee and caffeine can deplete this vitamin from the body. One of the roles of this vitamin is that it forms part of co-enzyme A. This co-enzyme is involved in the many essential metabolic processes. Vitamin B5 is required by all the cells in the body. It is involved in the production of neurotransmitters, adrenal hormones, energy production and also plays a role in the formation of antibodies (immune system).  Panthothenic acid is involved in the breakdown of fat, carbohydrate and protein for energy. Signs of deficiency are rare but include fatigue, headache, depression, irritability and insomnia. Although these symptoms are rare, many people will have less than optimum levels of the vitamin, causing mild signs of deficiency.   Benefits of supplementation There are claims, some of which have been backed with studies, which promote the use of pantothenic acid in various illnesses. Pantothenic acid has been promoted to reduce triglyceride levels, promote wound healing and in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Pantothenic acid has also been used to treat migraines, adrenal exhaustion, chronic fatigue syndrome and for allergies. More evidence is required to back these uses, but the information suggests that this vitamin will benefit general health.   Foods that contain Vit 5 Avocado, brewers yeast, eggs, poultry, fresh vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, wheat flour, legumes, corn, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, organ meats, sunflower seeds, soy beans and...

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Meditate to Boost your Immune System

A recent study has found that meditation can improve mental health and boost your immune system. The research was conducted at Harvard and Justuc Liebig University. The researchers discovered that the ancient religious tradition of meditation has various health benefits and can be used as an effective clinical treatment The new study which found that meditation can improve mental health. The research was conducted at Harvard and Justuc Liebig University. The researchers discovered that the ancient religious tradition of meditation has various health benefits and can be used as an effective clinical treatment. The practice of meditation is a fundamental part of Buddhist and Indian Yoga traditions, and has become very popular in the western world, as a form of de-stressing and maintaining positive health. The study which was published in Perspectives on Psychological Science revealed that meditation can result in an improvement in immune function, a reduction in blood pressure and improved cognitive function. The research concluded that there are four key components of meditation that could be responsible for the beneficial effects.These include: attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation and sense of self. Dr Britta Hazel who led the research said, “Understanding the relationships between these components, and the brain mechanisms that underlie them, will allow clinicians to better tailor mindfulness interventions for their patients”. The research team would now like further work to be undertaken to evaluate the role of meditation as a health tool to psychotherapy. Dr Hazel hopes that further research can enable a broader range of people to use mindful meditation as a versatile tool to make positive changes in both psychotherapy and in everyday...

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Can Vitamin D Reduce Asthma Symptoms?

Can Vitamin D Reduce Asthma Symptoms?

Researchers at King’s College London have claimed that vitamin D has the potential to treat asthma symptoms. Their initial research has found that vitamin D can reduce the production of a chemical that makes asthma symptoms worse. The study was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Asthma affects more than 5 million people a year, although a few of these cases may be incorrectly diagnosed. This condition costs the NHS around £1 billion per year, and treatment usually involves steroid tables, inhalers and nebulisers. Severe asthma is normally treated with high dose steroids, such as prednisolone or dexamethasone, but this brings a host of side effects. Patients may also be admitted to hospital if their symptoms are difficult to treat. Our bodies release the chemical IL-17A to defend itself in response to allergen such as dust or pollution. This chemical is thought to be associated with the immune response in asthma. The small study at King’ College London was led by Professor Catherine Hawrylowicz, from the Medical Research Council and Asthma UK Centre at the university. The researchers looked at production of IL-17A in cells from 10 health participants and 28 patients with moderate to severe asthma. Out of the 28 asthma patients, 18 were resistant to steroid treatment, and 10 patients responded well to steroids. The people with asthma had much higher levels of IL-17A than the control group, with the steroid resistant group having the highest levels. The researchers found that treating the white blood cells with vitamin D resulted in a reduction of IL-71A. This reduction was found in cells from people both the asthma groups. These findings suggest that vitamin D could be used as a potential additional treatment for asthma and it has the possibility to reduce steroid use. Study leader Professor Catherine Hawrylowicz said, “They show Vitamin D could one day be used not only to treat people with steroid-resistant asthma, but also to reduce steroid doses in others, reducing the risk of side effects. “The results are so positive that we are testing this in a clinical trial to research further the possibilities of Vitamin D as a potential treatment.” “We know that a lot of people are vitamin...

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