Cynthia's Health Hut

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COLOR YOURSELF WELL WITH A RAINBOW OF #FOODS


COLOR YOURSELF WELL WITH A RAINBOW OF FOODS

It’s flu season again. Rather than getting caught up in mass hysteria, arm yourself against viral attack with practical ways to boost your immune system.

Prevention

eat-a-rainbow-imageEat a rainbow of foods. When your immune system detects an enemy, it must rapidly draw vitamins and minerals from the blood to make white blood cell ninja fighters. If those vitamins aren’t there, you are vulnerable to a long, drawn-out battle. Make sure you are eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. If your are doing this, you can be sure you are getting tons of immune boosting nutrients like vitamin A, E, C, B-6 and zinc. A healthy immune system is your best defense against infection.

You’re gonna need a breath mint – Garlic is a fantastic way to boost the immune system. It is a super anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antibiotic food. Plus it makes food taste and smell delicious.

Getting enough sleep is crucial in optimizing immune response. So is decreasing stress. There it is again. Just get more sleep and don’t sweat the small stuff. Look for an upcoming blog on decreasing stress and increasing joy. 

Getting adequate exercise has also been linked to lower incidence of infection. Just 20 minutes a day of brisk exercise can make a huge difference.

Avoid refined grains, sugary and starchy foods. Sugar suppresses the immune system. It seems that flu season, besides falling in the winter months, also occurs in the months when many of us are indulging in sweet treats a little more often.

Adequate levels of Vitamin D are essential to an immune system’s ability to quickly and effectively fight off infection. It’s also important for preventing osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, depression, and dementia. Harvard Medical School asserts that as many as one third of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced in our bodies using sunlight that comes in contact with our largest organ: our skin.  We can also get vitamin D through diet. Salmon is a good source, most milk is fortified with vitamin D and a good vitamin D3 supplement is great too (5,000 IU per day for adults). My favorite dietary source with a slew of other healthy benefits is fermented cod liver oil. The flu usually runs rampant in the winter months when direct sunlight is diminished in many areas of the world and people are bundled up and keeping indoors. This is why flu cases go down the farther south you track and disappear in summer months.  Increasing your sun exposure (sans sunscreen) by 10 minutes a day is adequate for most people. If you live north of San Francisco, don’t bother doing this between November and March since the UV rays aren’t direct enough to make vitamin D. I would suggest a blood test to discover if you are deficient and supplementing through diet.

Getting Over the Flu Fast

So what if you get the flu? Well first you should make sure it is in fact influenza. Here’s Dr. Darla’s blog on how to correctly identify the symptoms of influenza. So if you have the flu, how can you get recover as quickly and as painless as possible?

Cut the sweets. Eating sugar will suppress your immune system from fighting off nasty bugs. I know it’s comforting to eat, but sweets will only make it worse.

I’m going to suggest vitamin D again. Taking several thousand IU per day of a good D3 supplement can shorten the duration of infection. It’s pretty hard to overdose on D, and when I’m sick I take a medicinal dose of about 20,000 IU per day. Also, vitamin C in large amounts can greatly speed up your recovery. It’s pretty much impossible to overdose on C, so take at least 5,000 mg per day or more. Zinc prevents a virus from replicating.

When I feel the “ick”, I like to take a detox bath. It really lessens my symptoms and shortens the duration of my illness. Here’s a link to the recipe. Detox Bath 

If you are pregnant, make sure to consult your physician before taking a detox bath.

Get lots of sleep. Your workplace will get the job done without you. They don’t need you spreading around the flu either. Stay home and sleep, sleep, sleep.

Cinnamon is anti-viral and anti-bacterial too. Mix 1 tablespoon cinnamon with one teaspoon of honey and mix it into an herbal tea.

Since the flu is usually accompanied by fever, it will often lead to dehydration. Make sure you stay hydrated with lots of broth or chicken soup. Broth isn’t just comforting flu food, it has lots of immune boosting nutrients. Herbal teas and hot lemon water help too. Nettle leaf tea has a huge amount of vitamins and minerals and detoxifies the body. Other herbs that help fight flu are elderberry, yarrow, ginger, chamomile, and peppermint. Consult your local herbalist for the correct ways to use these herbs. Fever is the body’s natural defense for killing a virus, so using drugs to stop a fever can actually prolong an illness. To keep a fever out of the dangerous zone, without killing it completely, I use peppermint essential oil on the bottom of my feet. Make sure you do plenty of research into the safe use of essential oils before trying this one.

Whatever natural remedy or prevention method you choose, make sure it will not interfere with any medications you are taking and try them one at a time. Stay healthy and disease free this season. And most importantly, your thoughts are more effective than any vaccine or remedy. If you think you’re immune to the flu with absolute, fearless certainty, I’m willing to bet it’ll pass you by.

Important Notes: I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be a doctor. I cannot treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any illness. If you have concerns about any illness, talk to your doctor. Do you own research on natural remedies to ensure that you think they are safe. 

 Merianne1Merianne Drew is a holistic health coach specializing in integrative and energetic nutrition. She coaches individuals to better health by teaching practical ways to incorporate healthy eating and lifestyle choices. Find out if health coaching is a good fit for you by scheduling a health strategy session.  meriannedrew@gmail.com

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8 #Healthy Ways to Boost #Energy – #CNN.com #Breakfast #Almonds #Spinach #Protein #Omega3 #FlaxSeeds #HempSeeds #Magnesium #Water #CynthiasHealthHut


8 healthy ways to boost energy – CNN.com.

8 healthy ways to boost energy

By Tiffany Barrett, Special to CNN
updated 10:16 AM EST, Wed November 28, 2012
Your food and beverage choices can have a big effect on your energy levels throughout the day, an expert says.
Your food and beverage choices can have a big effect on your energy levels throughout the day, an expert says.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Energy drinks can contain excess sugar and high caffeine
  • Staying hydrated is important in avoiding fatigue, expert says
  • Eating breakfast and consuming protein can also help energy levels

Editor’s note: Tiffany Barrett is a registered dietician at Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute.

(CNN) — As our energy levels decrease because of our overstressed lifestyles, many people look for a quick fix to combat fatigue.

Energy drinks mask the symptoms of fatigue and dehydrate the body. The majority of energy drinks contain excess sugar, high levels of caffeine and other stimulants.

Recently, the 5-hour Energy shot and Monster Energy drink have come under fire.

The Food and Drug Administration said this month that 13 deaths have been reported after consumption of 5-hour Energy. Last month, the parents of a 14-year-old girl filed suit, alleging that she died after drinking two Monster Energy drinks in a 24-hour period. Anais Fournier’s underlying heart condition was complicated by caffeine toxicity, according to the death certificate.

FDA checks reports on energy shot

Relying on caffeine and energy drinks makes us feel worse in the long run by causing our system to crash.

Continued fatigue decreases the immune system, making us more susceptible to depression and illness.

So what to do? Exercise, sleep and reducing stress are important in fighting fatigue. But our eating habits also directly affect energy levels. And nutrition can affect energy levels throughout the day.

What you should know about caffeine

Here are some tips on healthy ways to boost your energy:

Drink water

The body needs water — multiple glasses a day.

Being hydrated is an easy and inexpensive way to increase energy levels. You don’t need vitamin water or sports drinks; they only add extra unneeded calories. Keep a fresh water source with you at all times and drink throughout the day. Add lemons, limes or oranges for taste variety.

Eat breakfast

This is the meal that sets the stage for the entire day. Studies show that breakfast helps keep you alert, starts your metabolism for the day and keeps you satisfied until lunch.

But a healthy breakfast is the key. Good options include whole-grain cereals, breads, fruit and lean protein instead of doughnuts, pastries and white breads. A hard-boiled egg sliced into a whole wheat pita, oatmeal with fruit, and whole-grain toast with natural peanut butter are all healthy choices.

Don’t forget protein

Not consuming enough protein during the day can be a primary reason for fatigue. Protein-based foods provide the body with fuel to repair and build tissues. Protein takes longer than carbohydrates to break down in the body, providing a longer-lasting energy source. You can find protein in poultry, fish, lean red meat, nuts, milk, yogurt, eggs, yogurt, cheese and tofu.

Keep your carbs smart

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel. Pick whole grains like cereal, brown rice and whole wheat bread, and avoid sweets, which cause energy to plummet. Many processed carbohydrates contain little to no fiber. Always read the nutrition label.

Snacks are important

If you let yourself get too hungry between meals, your blood sugar falls, and you get lethargic. Keep your blood sugar and energy level steady during the day by consuming snacks. Choosing the right snacks prevent peaks and valleys in energy.

Combine complex carbs with a protein and/or fat for lasting energy. The protein and fat slow the breakdown of sugar into the blood, preventing fatigue. Snacks also can prevent overeating at mealtimes. A few examples of smart snack choices are yogurt with fruit, mixed nuts, veggies with hummus, pears with almond butter, whey protein shake or blueberries with a cheese stick. Plan ahead!

Omega-3 fatty acids

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, combat depression and improve mood and memory. Try to focus on omega-3 fats from food rather than supplements. Excellent sources include salmon, tuna, walnuts, flax seeds, leafy greens and hemp seeds.

Magnesium

Almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts are rich in magnesium, a mineral important in converting carbohydrates into energy. Other good sources of magnesium include whole grains and dark green vegetables.

Don’t skimp on calories

Skimping on calories decreases your metabolism and causes you to feel lethargic. Keep your energy levels high and increase metabolism by meeting your caloric needs each day. Whole foods are preferred over supplements to obtain protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals instead of one or two single nutrients. Consume a variety of foods for overall health but also to keep your energy levels high.

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