Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Living’

By Katherine Foreman on November 11, 2015

With cold and flu season starting to rear its ugly head, it’s more important than ever to keep healthy and germ-free, beginning with the basics—your immune system. Since all sickness starts with a little (or a lot) immunity deficit, providing your body with the TLC it needs to remain in top shape is essential to keep from coughing and sneezing all over your holiday season. As with anything, it’s the little lifestyle adjustments that make the biggest difference, so we’ve rounded up seven simple, yet powerful, everyday immunity boosters to keep you happy, healthy and prepared to ward off those pesky winter germs.

immunity boosters

1. Don’t ignore your gut feelings

It may feel like your nose and throat are the immune system headquarters (headquarters, see what we did there?), but the majority of it (70 percent!) actually has its home in your gut, where probiotics flourish to help prevent infection. This “good bacteria” is important to keep strong and plentiful, and that can be accomplished through a well-balanced, clean diet, and even eating fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi to build resistance strength.

2. Add a little spice to your diet

Many herbs and spices like garlic, ginger and turmeric have been used for years as anti-inflammatory agents with boosting antioxidant properties and a healthy list of other added benefits. It doesn’t hurt that they make for the perfect dish garnishes, so start implementing more into your daily food intake to maximize the benefits.

immunity boosters

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3. Zinc is the answer

While it is ultimately very important to consume a lot of vitamin C when times are tough healthwise, zinc has also been proven to reduce the duration of colds by a few days. The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich, antibiotic agent can be digested in foods like spinach, pumpkin seeds, nuts, beans and oysters. Doctors say adding 25 mg of zinc to your diet for a couple of days if you start feeling under the weather is a sure-fire way to ensure you aren’t down and out too long.

4. Antibiotics are not necessarily your friend

For as long as you can, taking the natural route and finding organic ways to fend off germs is actually the most effective way to remain well. Antibiotics often help do the trick, but have also been shown to suppress the normal immune functioning and attack the good bacteria your body needs to stay well. Drinking lots of water—particularly infused with the health-boosting properties of things like lemon, honey and ginger—is an easy and effective way to get the benefits you want without detracting from your body’s natural manufacturing process.

5. Get those endorphins flowing with plenty of exercise

Even exercising as little as a couple of times a week helps to keep stress at bay, improve the quality of your sleep, and strengthen your body. Making the time to get that workout in, especially if it’s outside and can expose you to all that good vitamin D, will be well worth it when you don’t bring the flu home with you.

immunity boosters

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6. Sleep, sleep, sleep

We know—the thought of getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night seems like a big laugh in today’s hectic world, but doctors emphasize that budgeting for at least that amount of sleep each night is one of the most integral ways to support a thriving immune system. Along with a host of other benefits, it’s an excellent method of regulating stress levels, which, if too high, seriously impair the immune system’s ability to function properly. If you can’t swing spending that amount of time sleeping each night, try supplementing with 20-minute power naps during the day. You’ll definitely be glad you did.

immunity boosters

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7. Lay off the processed foods

Avoiding a large sugar, gluten and processed food intake is essential in keeping healthy and strong throughout the year. Doctors and nutritionists advise making your diet as colorful as possible to boost immunity. Leafy greens, an abundance of berries, sweet potatoes and the like are key elements of the infallible health regimen.

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rsLogoAnthony Darmiento
Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach
United States Olympic Committee

As the National Strength and Conditioning Association states in their position statement on youth resistance training, “Strength training youth athletes needs to be safe, effective and enjoyable. In order for strength training to be safe it’s more than the method of strength training, but rather how it is being implemented.”

For example, important factors such as proper form when lifting and moving are overlooked when a coach simply follows a plan on a written document or tries to implement a training program they once performed.  For this reason, Responsible Coaches seek help and guidance from qualified strength coaches to assist in the development of athletes of any level to ensure that strength training is performed in a proper and appropriate manner.  The risks of strength training are similar between youth and adults and strength training is only effective when it is done in a safe environment with proper supervision.

In order for strength training to be effective Responsible Coaches realize that strength training must complement sport training. For example, eliminating practice time to introduce or implement an effective strength program and developing basic movement skills are safe investments. The off-season and preseason are ideal times to implement a strength program. Responsible Coaches recognize athletes need to have the appropriate motor control to perform basic exercises such as a squat, lunge and pushup before progressing to loaded exercises. Although these movements and others may seem rudimentary and common most young athletes lack the ability to execute them with proper form.  Another reason for stressing the importance of such training is that these skills and movements transfer to many different sports and across all levels of sport.

In order for strength training to be enjoyable two very important factors must be considered: Athlete’s must understand and see benefits from the strength program while also training in a fun and enjoyable environment. Any athlete is more likely to continue training when they understand the benefits and see results. This highlights the importance of a sound and effective program. This is especially important considering it may take a few weeks of progressing before performance increases are seen or athletes begin to feel the positive effects of training. Until then it is important to keep training fun and enjoyable by mixing in games or challenges that keep athletes focused. For example, performing walking lunges on a row of printer paper without stepping off could be enjoyable and challenging for younger athletes.

On the other hand older athletes might enjoy keeping a log of their vertical jump height as each athlete attempts to beat their own personal records over time. Setting goals that are both attainable and challenging for the team or each individual is very important when trying to keep athletes motivated and driven. Thus coaches should be prepared with progressions and regressions for different exercises or activities based on ranging abilities of their athletes. If all this is kept in mind it shouldn’t be hard to keep things in enjoyable and fun while still performing strength training in a safe and controlled manner.

References:

Fagenbaum, A. D., Kraemer, W. J., Blimkie, C. J., Jeffreys, I., Micheli, L. J., Nitka, M., et al. (2009). Youth Resistance Training: Updated Position Statement Paper From the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 60-79.



Author, ‘How To Live 100 Years Without Growing Old’
Posted: 05/24/2012 10:15 am

No question, doctors and patients are now joining the vitamin D revolution in large numbers. More and more doctors are ordering tests to determine vitamin D blood levels and more patients are reading about the positive benefits of vitamin D in news reports. There have been more than 3,000 published studies and reports involving vitamin D listed at the National Library of Medicine in just the past 14 months.

Now, pediatricians at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore say all children need to be screened for vitamin D deficiency. This means vitamin D is going big time.

What’s the vitamin D revolution about and why should you join it? It’s about the rediscovery of a sun-made vitamin-hormone that was first recognized in 1922 to avert bone softening in children, what is called rickets.

Overlooked at that time was the fact that most vitamin D-deficient children with rickets had impaired immune systems. Only recently have researchers begun to investigate the role of vitamin D in maintaining an optimal immune response. In particular, vitamin D activates an army of white blood cells called neutrophils, which represent 50-70 percent of the total white blood cell volume and are the first responders to any infection in the body.

Vitamin D for colds and flu

Dr. John Cannell, founder of The Vitamin D Council, has noted that seasonal bouts of the flu and winter colds are not spread from person to person as commonly believed. Colds and the flu do not progress from town to town, and an individual in a family may come down with a viral infection while others remain healthy. Nor are colds “caught” by being out in chilly weather. In fact, medical literature points to the wintertime cold and flu season as simply a downturn in human immunity as vitamin D levels drop due to the diminished intensity of the sun combined with more time spent indoors as the outdoor temperature becomes chilly.

A relatively recent study found just 800-2,000 international units (IU) of supplemental vitamin D, by weight just 20-400 micrograms, reduced wintertime cold symptoms from 30 in 104 subjects given an inactive placebo tablet to just nine in 104 subjects given vitamin D. That is quite a striking difference.

Modern medicine is agonizingly slow in providing conclusive evidence as to whether vitamin D is the big antidote to the common cold and wintertime viral infections. But your family doesn’t have to wait; vitamin D is relatively inexpensive, and concerns about overdosing are poorly-founded.

The biggest concern among doctors is that mega-dose vitamin D will cause a condition called hyper-calcification. But it takes about a million units of vitamin D for this to occur in healthy adults. Intake of 40 1,000-unit vitamin D pills a day would be required to produce toxicity in an adult.

Our family isn’t waiting for more science. My wife and I began taking 5,000-8,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily, and we have found at the first sign of a runny-nose cold we take 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 and our cold symptoms usually subside within minutes. That much vitamin D may seem to be problematic, but physicians inject 300,000 IU among postmenopausal females for wintertime bone protection without side effect.

Putting vitamin D into practice

Recently, our 7-year-old son began to develop symptoms of a cold and an earache. We started with 5,000 IU of chewable vitamin D and then gave another 5,000 IU a few minutes later. Our son was also given some elderberry syrup, reported to be helpful for the flu, along with some vitamin C. We soaked Q-tips in hydrogen peroxide and placed them in his ear canals to kill off germs and then instilled an herbal ear drop that provided garlic oil. Within a short time the earache and other symptoms were gone.

This regimen continued for about three days as symptoms began to reappear upon awakening in the morning — that is, until our son was given his vitamin D. He didn’t miss a day of school and no doctor’s office visits for antibiotics were required. Special note: If earache symptoms persist, don’t be so stubbornly committed to self-doctoring that you allow your child to suffer permanent hearing loss.

When our son was about 2.5 years of age he awoke in the middle of the night crying with a fever of 101.8 degrees Fahrenheit. We broke up vitamin D tablets, mixed them with water and instilled about 5,000 IU in a bulb syringe orally. Within minutes he began to shake with the chills, a sign his fever was breaking. Within 15 minutes he was sound asleep in his bed.

The vitamin D revolution is underway, and it has promise for addressing many maladies, including childhood food and peanut allergies, for pregnant women to reduce the risk of lower respiratory tract infections, wheezing and asthma in their offspring, and for tonsillitis, just to mention a few of its many applications. Learn to use vitamin D for your whole family and they will really call you Doctor Mom. To learn more, I’ve written a free family guide to vitamin D, available here.

For more by Bill Sardi, click here.

For more on natural health, click here.

I work out. I work out every day. Today I walked an hour and 20 minutes at a 15 minute per-hour pace. Yesterday I did 30 minutes of cardio at 180 strides per minute on the elliptical trainer and one hour of killer Pilates. So what? It doesn’t seem that strange. It doesn’t sound like I’m any different from anyone else who loves to workout, right? Well I didn’t to tell you one important fact. I turned 71 years old in May.

And that’s not all. I regularly take a spinning class. I lift weights twice a week and I practice yoga stretches at the end of my workouts. Needless to say I’m a workout junkie. And why not? It keeps me feeling young, it keeps me fit, it keeps me trim, it keeps my brain healthy, it relieves my stress level and it allows me a sense of control over my body.

Between the ages of four and 11 I was chubby and I was always ridiculed for it. My dad called me fatty. My brother called me fatso. And those words still sting. Luckily I grew out of my baby fat as I entered puberty, but even now I think of myself as that chubby person instead of a woman who wears a size two or four. So staying trim has always been a priority for me.

I began an exercise program early on. I started yoga during my first pregnancy; in the 80s I worked out with Jane Fonda on video; I played tennis almost every day for years; I ran my first 10K at age 40. Exercise became a habit, my way of life. It’s what I do. Even when I was working full time I’d get up at five in the morning so I could get in a workout before work; even when we’re traveling I find the time for a walk or a workout in a hotel gym. I don’t ever want to miss a day.

However, almost every year I go through the same self-questioning: Should I keep on with this routine? Isn’t it time to quit already? Aren’t I too old for this? Shouldn’t I take a day off once in a while? Maybe I should spend more time watching daytime television with my feet up. Wouldn’t I be more comfortable in a muumuu, rather than worrying about pouring my girlish figure into tight jeans? And every year, I say, “Nah.”

And why should I slow down? The benefits of my exercise program are enormous. I don’t need high blood pressure or cholesterol-lowering medications, I don’t have aches and pains, I have good balance, my weight is normal, my body fat index is ideal and I look good. I like that part. Though I may be old, I still like to look good. No big belly for me. That’s for those folks who don’t take care of themselves. Okay, I’ll admit it. I have a few flabby parts, but I don’t complain about them. I just wear long-sleeves.

I’m also realistic. I don’t run anymore — it makes my hip hurt, I don’t put a lot of tension on the elliptical and I don’t keep track of watts. When my spinning instructor tells me to watch the bounce, I want to say, “Who cares about the bounce? I’m just glad to be here.” That’s for the young folks. I don’t ever try to compete with them. But maybe I can be an example to them — an example of how exercising regularly can have positive effects. I’d like to say, “Look at me. Look at how I do it. And if you keep it up all your life, you’ll turn out like me too — or maybe even better.”

Keeping fit is for everyone. It’s not just for the youngsters. I’m a prime example of that.

Madeline Sharples is the author of “Leaving the Hall Light On, A Mother’s Memoir of Living with Her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide,” co-author of “Blue-Collar Women” and co-editor of “The Great American Poetry Show.” Read her blog on Red Room.

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