3 ways to boost your immune system to prevent allergies

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A HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM IS THE BEST DEFENSE AGAINST ALLERGIES

Do you experience symptoms of sinus or nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing headaches, fatigue, muscle or joint pain? You may be displaying typical or atypical allergy symptoms. Even depression or anxiety can be caused by allergies or intolerances. Allergy triggers come in many different forms such as substances that are eaten, inhaled or introduced through skin contact.

Regardless of the way you are exposed to these triggers, allergy symptoms are a result of the immune system’s inability to meet challenges with all defenses working one hundred percent.  Allergies are a result of immune system confusion and depletion. Allergy word cloud

So How Do We Get Our immune System…Our “Defenses” To Be The Best They Can Be?

Diet, Diet Diet

Although you have probably heard this many times, I am going to say it again. You are what you eat. Before you put anything in your mouth ask yourself, will this provide nutrition for my body and help me to be healthy or will this make my body work harder to counteract the damage it will cause? There are 3 simple rules that you can follow to gauge the nutritional value of your food:

  1. The more processed a food is the less nutrition it will provide. The fresher and less processed, the greater the nutritional value.
  2. The more colorful our food, the more nutritional value. White foods have far less vitamins and minerals than brightly colored foods. So. foods like red peppers, apples, and sweet potatoes are more nutritious than white potatoes or iceberg lettuce.
  3. Include super foods in your diet.  Super foods are foods that are packed with nutrients that help counteract the aging processes and decrease the inflammation that accompanies allergies and causes symptoms. Super foods include berries such as blueberries, goji, golden berries, or acai.
    (CLICK HERE to learn more about Super foods)

Avoid Toxic Exposures
We may not be able to control the amount of toxins we are exposed to in every environment we encounter, but we can control the the toxicity of our home by making reasonable decisions when buying cleaning products, personal care products and yes even the mattresses we sleep on. When you think about how much time you actually spend lying on your mattress, you will realize this makes up a significant amount of your life. Many household cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, under arm deodorants, and other personal care products are manufactured with chemicals that have a detrimental effect on the immune system. They may even linked to severe chronic diseases. Mattresses are also manufactured with highly toxic chemicals. Do your research! Substitutes are available that are just as comfortable, but are manufactured with nontoxic chemicals.
(CLICK HERE to learn more about toxic-free mattresses)

Become Aware of Helpful Products That Aid in Meeting Immune System Challenges
Sometimes our bodies do not have the resources to fight off infection or meet the challenges of allergy exposures. Our lives have become so complicated that many times we put our health on the back burner. Take advantage of resources available to stay healthy even when our life becomes chaotic. Medicinal mushrooms have proven to boost immune system function and modulate immune responses. Different varieties have different properties. There are mushrooms that help to strengthen the respiratory tract, fight infection and inflammation or aid in anti-aging.
(CLICK HERE to learn more about medicinal mushrooms)

Himalayan salt inhalers are another great tool for benefiting respiratory health. They help to decrease inflammation of the mucous membranes that can be caused by allergies. Salt inhalers can be used to reduce the symptoms of allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions.
(CLICK HERE to learn more about Himalayan Salt Inhalers)

We hope this article has been helpful for you, and we wish the best for your health!

 

Funny Friday

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Happy Friday! Did you know laughing relieves stress and can leave your muscles relaxed for up to 40 minutes? Did you know that laughter improves the function of blood vessels, which can help protect you against a heart attack?

Since your health is so important to us, we thought we would share a few chuckles with you on this Funny Friday.

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Are there any fun pictures you keep around for motivation that you would like to share? Post your comments and pictures below. Happy Friday!

Sneaky exercise tips even the busiest person can do

Mom and child doing yoga together

 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese.

Obese.

Now I’m not talking about those love handles or that baby weight you haven’t quite conquered yet.  By CDC standards, an adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. But to be obese, the adult must have BMI of 30 or higher.

Yes, obesity is a common occurrence, but it is a VERY controllable disease and is caused by lack of motivation. Although it occurs slowly and often does not concern people other than worrying about how they look, obesity-related health conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. It is a scary diagnosis.

To help combat the problem, we thought we would create a list of “exercises” you can do that won’t make you feel like you need to be wearing a tight sports bra and showing off your six pack abs at the gym. It’s a way of movement and motivation for those of us that live in the real world, with jobs and kids and limited time to make healthy meals!

1. Take your baby (4 legged or 2!) out for a stroll

2. Do yoga, core strengthening workouts, mat Pilates, weights at home. You can get great DVD’s almost anywhere that you can do at your own pace. If it’s too much, turn it off! Maybe you will be able to go further tomorrow.

3. Join a sports team or club. This is not only great for your body, but great for your mind. Take a minute for yourself in a sport that you enjoy. Make friends and show your children the importance of team work and perseverance.

4. Stand up at work. Maybe not all day, but what about for an hour? It works more of your body than you would think. Experts estimate that standing burn 50 percent more calories than sitting, so a 155-pound person could burn an extra 50 calories an hour just by getting on their feet.

5. If standing doesn’t work at your desk, do it on your break. Take your phone calls or breaks outside. The sun will help the day go by faster, anyway.

6. Clean your house. I know you don’t want to, but it has to be done! Another trick, put the kids’ toys away one at a time, or bring the groceries in one bag at a time. You will be amazed at how much walking you do that way.

7. Exercise while you watch TV. You’re in the living room anyway. Instead of sitting for an hour during your favorite program, get down on the floor and stretch.

8. Get creative about going out with friends. Try one month of not meeting for dinner or drinks. Instead, go to the park and play tennis or to a Zumba class. Feel the need to sit and talk? Then go out for tea rather than a full meal.

Mom and child doing yoga togetherNo matter your size, you should be moving and paying attention to your nutrition. Most importantly, remember that you don’t need to jump right into a vigorous workout. Start slow and do what you can manage. I’ll bet your body will start feeling better and you will start feeling the power that comes with achieving something you couldn’t yesterday. Set a REASONABLE goal and then get a friend or partner to make you stick with it!

Let us know in the comment section below what baby steps you took and how it paid off!

 

Cool (and healthy) treats for kids on a hot summer day

Banana cone healthy treat

 

With the intense heat we have had this summer, it’s important to keep your kids hydrated.  But you also need to make sure they are getting enough vitamins and minerals to keep their bodies going. Ideally, Children between the ages of 2 and 3 should have one cup of fruit and one cup of vegetables PER DAY. Older children should be up to about 1 and 1/2 cups.  And of course this does not mean processed fruit that comes with a happy meal or the fruit that comes on top of their ice cream! This means raw, naturally grown fruit.

Since it is not always easy to get a toddler (or even older child) to enjoy their fruits and vegetables, here are some ideas to make eating them fun… (click any image to enlarge)

Banana cone healthy treat

Ladybug crackers made with tomatoes and olives

Healthy food sections for a toddler

Rainbow made with fruit

Hopefully, making healthy food fun will lead to a child who actually enjoys the taste of fruits and veggies over processed foods!

What ideas have you used to get your children to love (or at least eat) their fruits and vegetables that you would like to share with others looking to help their children have a more balanced diet?

Is Your Food Really Natural?

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It’s great that people are migrating toward organic and natural foods, but sometimes they come with a false sense of security. The term “organic” is monitored by the FDA and requires certification, but “natural” and “all natural” aren’t regulated at all.

According to the USDA, 88% of corn and 94% of soybeans that are grown in America are genetically modified. In fact, Frito-Lay was recently sued for putting the “all natural” label on products that contain genetically modified corn. At that point, it’s hard to tell whether the company was deliberately lying, or whether they honestly thought that genetically modified corn could still be considered “natural.” Regardless, neither excuse is a good one, and it shows that someone needs to make sure these companies are sticking to their word.

Roughly forty other countries already require labels on genetically modified food. It’s impossible to say when America will be one of them, so it’s important to shop with caution in the meantime.

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Picking the Right Sweetener

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There’s been a lot of controversy about sweeteners lately. People are starting to realize the dangers of high-fructose corn syrup, but aren’t always learning more about the alternatives.

Agave, in particular, has been getting a lot of attention. This Mexican plant is best known for its nectar, which is a popular sweetener, and also for being the chief ingredient in tequila. As Dr. Joseph Mercola wrote, not all agave nectar is the same– it often has a much higher fructose content than high-fructose corn syrup. The thing that makes this kind of agave so dangerous is that it’s marketed as being healthier. This deception lures people into thinking it’s a healthy option when they don’t investigate further.

For agave, it must be organic and raw, otherwise it falls in the same category as other high-glycemic sweeteners. Here are some alternative sweeteners I recommend:

Raw, organic honey — This is the natural sweetener of choice. Look for wild honey: it’s lower in fructose and higher in trace mineral content, especially the richer, dark varieties. It also has many other medicinal benefits.

Maple syrup — It’s a little known fact, but maple syrup is the only sustainably harvested, large-scale forest sweetener in the world. It has one of the richest sources of minerals found in any sweetener. Look for organic maple syrup, and maple crystals as an ingredient.

Unsulfured, organic, sugarcane molasses — This one is fairly rich in vitamins and minerals and has been purported (like fresh sugarcane) to have “anti-stiffness factors” that break down detrimental calcification.

Coconut palm sugar — Don’t let the name fool you– coconut palm sugar tastes more like brown sugar than coconut. Try to find raw coconut palm sugar and avoid the heated version.

Lo Han Guo — This is a non-glycemic sweetener made from a type of wild cucumber. It’s been used for many years in china to treat coughs and laryngitis.

For more health and nutrition updates, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

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Is Fast Food Real Food?

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Anymore, it’s not enough to say that fast food is unhealthy– it’s more accurate to say it isn’t even food.

Of all the ingredients that make up a McDonald’sChicken McNugget, for example, only 50% is actually chicken. The rest is a combination of preservatives, sugars, corn derivatives, and other chemicals that cause a variety of health problems, ranging from nausea to tinnitus. In one particular case, the chemicals found in a McDonald’s burger allowed it to look the same for 14 years.

Think of it this way: For every two Chicken McNuggets you eat, one is pure chicken, and the other is an equal amount of corn-based additives and synthetic ingredients.

These are foods that you could try to cut back on, but it’s better for you and just as easy to stop eating them entirely. There’s never a good reason anybody should have to eat fast food– so don’t!

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How to Eat a Pomegranate

Over the past few years, pomegranates have grown quite lot in popularity, and for good reason. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also a terrific source of antioxidants and have many overall health benefits.

Still, a lot of people don’t know how to properly prepare a pomegranate, or what part of the fruit you’re supposed to eat. This instructional video answers all these questions so you can start enjoying this wonderful fruit today!

The Dangers of Soda

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The negative effects soda can have on your body are extremely underestimated. This infographic does a great job of reminding us just how bad soft drinks really are. (source)

7 Not So “Healthy” Foods

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When it comes to food, “healthy” is relative. A food that gives you just the right amount of one nutrient may give you too much of another. Our bodies require a balance and react according to the ratios between each nutrient– not just how “much” or how “little” we may have of one in particular.

For that reason, a lot of foods that are marketed as “healthy” actually have several negative effects that outweigh the few good ones. Here are seven such foods, chosen by Today Health, that it’s better to avoid:

1. Pretzels – It’s true that pretzels are low in fat, but they don’t offer much else. Other than that, they’re basically processed carbs that are high in sodium.

Alternative: Popcorn

2. Splenda (and other artificial sweeteners) – While sugar substitutes have less calories than real sugar, they actually make you crave sweets even more. Your body thinks it’s getting calories, but it’s not, so it makes you want to compensate for it. In most cases, this actually leads to weight gain.

Alternative: Honey.

3. High-fiber cereals with sugar – High-fiber cereals can help prevent heart disease, but the sugar content counteracts that benefit by raising your blood sugar considerably.

Alternative: Shredded Wheat, no sugar

4. Diet soda – This one acts similarly to artificial sweeteners, because that’s what diet soda is loaded with. It also can raise your risk of vascular problems.

Alternative: Good old water!

5. Frozen yogurt – A big part of what makes yogurt so healthy is the bacteria that help the digestive and immune systems. However, many frozen yogurts don’t have these. From there, when you compare the fat, calorie, and sugar content, frozen yogurt isn’t much better than ice cream.

Alternative: You might as well go with ice cream, at that point.

6. Veggie chips – After all the processing that goes into most veggie chips, the vegetables’ original vitamin content is lost. Many of them actually have the same amount of sodium as potato chips!

Alternative: Make your own veggie chips!

7. Turkey burgers – Many of the turkey burgers made in restaurants are comprised of the fatty dark meat and skin, not making it much better than a regular hamburger.

Alternative: Make your own turkey burger out of lean turkey.

Remember: some of these options are slightly better than the options they are supposed to substitute, but that isn’t saying much. Is it really worth choosing between the lesser of two evils when there are much better options?

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