Immune health is paramount to overall wellness. That’s a simple statement – but many factors can affect the immune system. Likewise, there is a multitude of natural approaches to help ensure a healthy immune system.

The immune system is made up of different organs, cells, and proteins. It protects the body from harmful environmental influences and is essential for survival. Aside from the nervous system, the immune system is the human body’s most complex system.

Within the immune system is all the microorganisms in both health and disease – and lifestyle, diet, pharmaceutical drugs, illness, and stress affect our microbiome.



How does the immune system work?

When a virus or other germs attack the body, the immune system defends you. It “sees” and kills the germs that might hurt you. This is called an immune response.

“Our immune system helps repair the damage that occurs during an attack or normal wear and tear,” says Dr. Sunil Pai, one of the first United States board-certified medical doctors in Holistic Integrative Medicine and author of An Inflammation Nation.

“Since approximately 80 percent of your immune system resides in the GI tract, it’s important to understand that certain foods cause inflammation in everyone – and other foods cause specific reactions that are unique to each of us.”

Here's how an immune response works:

  • The immune system sounds the alarm, so your body knows there’s an infection.
  • It begins releasing antibodies to fight the germ — think of antibodies as soldiers designed to fight off the specific germ you have. This process can take a few days.
  • The antibodies work to attack, weaken, and destroy the germ.
  • Afterward, your immune system remembers the germ. If the germ invades again, your body can recognize it and quickly send out the right antibodies, so you don’t get sick!
  • This protection against a certain disease is called immunity. In many cases, immunity lasts your whole life.

But when the system doesn’t work right, immune cells can mistake your body’s cells as invaders and attack. This is called autoimmunity. The part of the immune system that orchestrates all of this is the acquired immune system. It remembers foreign antigens so it can fight them if they come back.

Tasks of the immune system

Without an immune system, a human being would be just as exposed to the harmful influences of germs or other substances from the outside environment as to changes harmful to health happening inside of the body. The main tasks of the body’s immune system are:

  • Neutralizing bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi that have entered the body, and removing them from the body.
  • Recognizing and neutralizing harmful substances from the environment.
  • Fighting against the body’s own cells that have changed due to an illness, for example, cancerous cells.

The body also has an innate immune system that is more primitive. In autoinflammatory diseases, this natural immune system causes inflammation for unknown reasons. It reacts, even though it has not encountered autoantibodies or antigens. Autoinflammatory disorders are characterized by inflammation that results in fever, rash, or joint swelling. These diseases also carry the risk of amyloidosis, a potentially fatal buildup of a blood protein in vital organs.

As long as our body’s defense system is running smoothly, we do not notice the immune system; groups of cells work together and form alliances against germs. But illness can occur if the immune system is compromised if the germ is especially aggressive, or sometimes also if the body is confronted with a germ it has not come into contact before.

Difference between self- and non-self-substances

For protection to be effective, it is important, however, that the immune system can differentiate between “self” and “non-self” cells, organisms and substances. Usually, the body should not work against its own healthy cells.

The immune system can be activated by many “non-self” substances. These are called antigens. The proteins on the surfaces of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, for example, are all antigens. When the antigens bind to, for example, special receptors on the defense cells, a series of cell processes is started. Then the immune system can recall stored “memories” to be ready to defend against known germs more quickly.

The body’s own cells have surface proteins, too. But the immune system does not work against them, because it has already learned at an earlier stage to identify specifically these cell proteins as “self.” If the immune system identifies the cells of its own body as “non-self,” it is also called an autoimmune reaction.

Innate Immune System

There are two main parts of the immune system: the innate and the adaptive immune system.

The evolutionary older innate immune system provides a general defense against germs, so it is also called the nonspecific immune system. It works mostly at the level of immune cells like “scavenger cells” or “killer cells.” These cells mostly fight against bacterial infections.

Adaptive Immune System

In the adaptive immune system, particular agents like the so-called antibodies target particular germs that the body has already had contact with. That is why this is also called a learned defense or a specific immune response. By constantly adapting and learning the body can also fight against bacteria or viruses that change over time.

Yet these two immune systems do not work independently of each other. They complement each other in any reaction to a germ or harmful substance and are intimately connected with each other.

Dr. Pai notes: “A person with a depressed immune system under constant, low-grade attack tends to have more chronic degenerative diseases. Over long periods of time, that can lead to cancer.

“Even low-grade food sensitivities can cause major problems over time in people with weakened immune systems and other inflammatory conditions.”

DRINK UP!

Dehydration stresses the immune system

What Might Be Affecting Your Immune System

There is nothing as frustrating as trying everything to keep your immune system boosted – and it continues to struggle. You try superfoods, supplements, new exercise routines, and more … only to end up getting sick. This may have you wondering what it is affecting your immune system. Here are a few of the options you should consider:

Stress-Related Issues

One of the first things that could be affecting your immune system is stress. You may think you don’t have much stress in your life, that you have it all covered. What you may be overlooking are daily stresses that can build into one major stress-filled reaction causing your immune system to be less effective. This stress can come from working through a chaotic daily schedule that has you going non-stop, trying to maintain a large to-do list, or from dealing with the issues of other people in your home and family. Try journaling to help flush out stressors you may not realize are a problem to reduce the impact on your immune system.

Dehydration

One of the most important parts of digestion is hydration. In fact, without hydration, many systems in the body would cease to function entirely. Keeping hydrated means the efficient passage of vital information that keeps your heart pumping, your stomach working, and your brain operational.

Hydration usually is the key to what is causing issues with your body, especially the immune system. If your body does not have proper hydration, it cannot function properly. This puts stress on your organs, on your weight loss, and on your immune system. It is basically having to work without the key components it needs to function. You may think you’re getting enough hydration but remember: Your body needs filtered water to keep it going. Make sure that you are getting as much filtered water as you are other options, like juice.

Dr. Sunil Pai

Dr. Sunil Pai

Sleep-Related Issues

Sleep is one aspect of daily routines that people tend to overlook, especially when it comes to the connection between the body and the immune system. You may believe you’re getting at least 6 hours of sleep, but just because you are sleeping doesn’t mean you are sleeping well. Make sure that you are getting deep sleep. One way to do this is to use a sleep monitor system; most fitness-tracker apps include these. It can help determine if you are getting deep sleep and how much. If you are not getting deep solid sleep, this could be the reason your immunity system is not working properly.

By running through a checklist of things that may be affecting your immune system, you can be better equipped to take on most of the illnesses. You also can help boost areas of your immune system or make lifestyle changes.

Dr. Pai contends these are important aspects that affect the immune system. “Stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, and metabolic conditions [diabetes] can wear down our immune system.

“Once someone’s immune system is down, that person is more likely to experience inflammatory conditions and illnesses, since the body cannot fight, fix, and repair as it should.”

He adds that severe illnesses or chronic stress lead to inflammation with often devastating results.

Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Colds and flu are just the tip of the iceberg for many of the illness that go around. You become even more exposed to different bacteria and viruses when you work out at a gym, have children that attend school, or you become part of a community social-based organization. Basically, any kind of exposure can lead to illness. Even just going outside. If you want to keep living an active lifestyle, however, you likely don’t want to avoid any of these situations just to stay healthy. So, building your immune system becomes key. Here are some natural ways you can do just that:

Increased Superfoods

If you have a healthy diet plan, consider adding superfoods. Make sure that you have at least a few meals a week, or even one a day, that include immune-boosting superfoods. The easiest way to do this is with a superfoods juice or smoothie to rev your immune system and your hydration or diet plan.

Immune-Boosting Essential Oils

You may not consider essential oils when thinking about the immune system, but our bodies to react to quality essential oils. The smell of these oils stimulates the mind and senses which stimulate reactions in the body that directly affect the immune system. Some of the essential oils that can help boost the immune system are lemon, peppermint, and thieves oil.

Colon Cleansing

If your digestive system is not optimum, the immune system could suffer. The more sluggish the digestive system, colon, and liver is then the more likely it is that your body is holding on to toxins. These toxins can lead to minor issues, such as fatigue, or major issues, such as leaky gut or other gut-related problems. To avoid this, and to boost your immune system, consider a natural colon cleanse at least once a month. Superfood-based juices can help flush your system and deliver vitamins and nutrients in the process.

Chiropractic Care

Total body alignment is vital for the immune system. If you are in pain, experiencing body aches, and suffering joint cramps then you could be overworking the immune system. It may be trying to counteract the issue – and this can lead to further issues in your body. Seeing a chiropractor can help align your body, reduce inflammation, and reduce joint issues.

By keeping these methods in mind and putting them into action, you can build the immune system for almost any issue you may encounter. You can also combine these natural methods as well. Keep in mind, you should be eating a healthy diet as well and maintaining a hygiene routine to help these natural ways work.

LEAKY GUT

“Probiotics are helpful inhabitants”

The Microbiome

You’ve heard of probiotics; you may even take probiotics … but do you understand the crucial role they play in the digestive system (and by extension, the immune system)?

“Probiotics are the helpful inhabitants of our microbiome,” Pai says. “They are the healthy bacteria that live in our GI tract, and probiotics play a specific and communal role.”

(More than 500 probiotic species have been identified, and there are more to be discovered.)

“Even though there are different types and numbers of probiotics in the gut, they all play important roles and have different jobs,” he says. “Without specific species doing their designated jobs, the entire GI system could not run efficiently, either.”

The probiotics also utilize certain foods to keep healthy themselves called prebiotics (i.e., fiber, inulin).

Pai adds: “GI problems develop over time, along with macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies.

“Over 80 percent of your immune system resides in your GI tract, [so] decreasing inflammation through diet naturally increases immune-system function.”

Common disruptors of the probiotics in your GI tract include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungals
  • Infections
  • Stress
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Pro-inflammatory foods

Since the vast majority of the immune system is associated with the functioning of the GI tract, antibiotics temporarily weaken or suppress, the immune system.

“Most people don’t understand the risks associated with taking antibiotics,” Pai says. “These include reducing the number of probiotics in the GI tract, increasing GI permeability [“leaky-gut”], lowering the immune system and increasing overall inflammatory sensitivity to foods.

“These risks are especially severe when people do not replenish their gut with probiotics for extended periods of time after taking a course of antibiotics.”

However, Pai does recognize the benefits of antibiotics.

“It’s important to acknowledge that [antibiotics] do play an important role in medicine,” he says. “Without antibiotics’ life-saving benefits, most of us who have had serious bacterial infections or wounds, or who have needed surgery, would not have survived.

“The problem with antibiotics is their overuse and the fact that they have been prescribed unnecessarily or for conditions that should have been treated at the source of the disease.”

In fact, antibiotics are so powerful that one single dose can cause GI dysfunction up to 18 months after the exposure.

The good news is that the antibiotics kill the harmful bacteria that are causing the infection.

The bad news is that they kill the good probiotic bacteria as well.

Antiviral and Immune-Stimulating Herbs

Signs You Need to Improve Your Digestion

When you ate breakfast or lunch today, how did your stomach feel afterward? Would you consider yourself to be someone with a strong stomach? Are you prone to stomach aches and heartburn?  If any of these questions seem familiar to you, or you’ve experienced them on some level, then you probably have some digestion issues. If you’ve been wondering if you need to speak to a professional about your digestive health, then you might want to see if you come across any signs that you need to improve your digestion in the following article.

Your Breath Smells

When most people notice that someone has bad breath, their first reaction might be to pull back and avoid the subject but telling someone that they have bad breath could be life changing for them because bad breath is often a sign of more important issues. Many people who have bad breath have digestive problems that they haven’t become aware of yet. Paying close attention to when your breath smells can also give you an indication of what’s triggering it specifically.

You’re Tired After Meals

Do you feel energized and lively after meals, or tired and lethargic? How you feel after dinner can say a lot about the state of your digestive health. Sometimes it can be as simple a needing to have more fiber in your diet, but one major issue that people have is a clogged and plaque-filled large intestine. These buildups of waste can prevent your body from absorbing the vital nutrients that it needs to stay healthy and alive. This could also become more serious when the weight of trapped material begins to cause internal injury to your intestinal lining.

Adult Skin Issues

So, a pimple suddenly rises on your cheek. Then a few days later another, and another. Is this just adult acne? Well, it’s possible, but it’s a fairly common thing for people with digestive problems to have skin issues. Many skin issues begin in the gut because the bacteria that often cause acne only comes about due to a heavy presence of the good bacteria that fights to keep your body healthy and your skin free of bacterial colonies. If you are sure to get enough good bacteria to fight the bad, then your skin should naturally clear up a bit.

What is Leaky Gut?

If you have had an ongoing stomach and intestinal issues, you may have heard your doctor or someone online mention leaky gut. This may sound like something that you think you don’t have or you may have a misconception of what leaky gut actually is. Before you move on from this as a possible issue, you are having, that could explain other related issues you are having, consider the basics of what leaky gut is and what it means for your body.

Pores are the Issue

The clear-cut answer to what leaky gut is can be defined in the pores of your intestinal lining. Over time, with strain and other issues like diet, your intestinal tract can become more porous. This means that the tiny pores throughout the lining are now becoming more open allowing waste and toxins to leak. This is referred to medically as Hyperpermeable Intestines or leaky gut.

Leaky Gut: What is it and Do You Have it?

Immune System Issues

One of the first things that may clue you into leaky gut issues is actually your immune system. You may find yourself getting sick more often, having bowel issues, or having ongoing issues with digestion. The reason for this is due to how your intestines work. The lining actually provides a barrier to keep your immune system safe from toxins as they exit the body. If the toxins are leaking out of the now porous areas of the lining, then you are leaching that fluid into your system. It is coming in contact with your immune system and causing you to be ill more often with reduced chances of getting better or moving on from the illness itself.

Foods Are Not the Cause

You may be under the misconception that it is the foods you are eating that are causing all the intestinal problems and leakage. The truth is that isn’t the case at all. The foods are simply leaking out. If you are thinking about diet change, then know that the diet changes you can make to improve the issues are simply to maintain what is leaking in your system from being more harmful and to give a gentler food to your intestinal tract. Food can help, but it wasn’t too many fatty or acid-based foods that caused leaky gut.

These are only three of the major key points regarding what leaky gut is and how it can affect your overall health. If this sounds like what you are going through, consider contacting your physician to find out more and to see what can be done about your overall situation.

Easy Ways to Improve Gut Health

Having gut health issues can be contributed to many different things. Your gut health can also contribute to several problems in your overall health as well. If you have been having gut issues, as well as related health issues, then you may be wondering how you can easily improve your overall gut health. Here are a few of the easiest ways you can improve your gut and help with your overall daily body health.

Change Your Diet

You don’t have to make drastic changes to your diet. There is a misconception that the diet is what caused the issues. The truth is, your diet didn’t cause these issues. Your diet can, however, help the issues. Try to add more fiber to your diet and try to reduce heavy oil foods that can cause blockages in your system. Think of your intestinal and gut area like pipes in your home. Oils can block your pipes and cause the path to be lined with oil and blocked. This makes digestion slower, and it can increase the number of toxins leaking out into your system. So, consider that when you make changes to your diet overall.

Drink More Water

The truth is, simply drinking more water can help. It won’t cure gut-health issues, but water offers several benefits. It can help with the breakdown of the food you are eating which makes it easier to digest and easier to move out of your system. It makes absorption of minerals and supplements easier by allowing your system to be hydrated and ready to absorb nutrients. It also helps you keep hydrated which can help with overall health. That being said, remember this is pure water. This is not water that has been added to a drink like coffee or tea.

Add Probiotics

Sometimes your system needs a little boost to help things along. Though you can do this with foods and water, you may need more than that. Even supplements may not do what you need. One thing that will help your digestion and gut health, especially with leaky gut, is adding probiotics. You can find these in tasteless powder blends that can be added to everything from water to coffee. You can also find them in a daily chewable or even yogurt.

Probiotics like yogurt and kefir promote healthy colonies of good bacteria that help to digest foods and send signals to the body and make sure that everything is working correctly. If colonies of harmful bacteria become too strong, then they can take over part of your body resulting in an infection. Probiotics contain live bacteria that also counteract the growth of harmful bacteria.

There are other ways to improve your gut health, but these are the most common and easiest to add to your lifestyle. By putting these three ways into action, you can see a quick improvement in your gut health and an ongoing improvement in your overall wellness.

Consider Intermittent Fasting

Another lifestyle change to help restore gut health is intermittent fasting, which changes when you eat during the day. Typically, you will reduce the daily eating period to a certain number of hours. The remainder of the day will be in a fasted state. Many people start by fasting for 16 hours, including overnight, then eat for 8 hours during the day. Over time, you can extend the fasted period and eat during a shorter time.

Why intermittent fasting? Studies have shown that when you reduce how often you eat, you are able to reduce inflammation and increase the good gut bacteria in your body.

Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Digestive System

While many people know how they live their lives can affect their health, there are still a good number of people on the planet that are somewhat unconcerned with, or unaware of the consequences to their daily habits. People who are around these types of attitude are likely to adopt similar beliefs about health, and while it’s everyone’s right to free will, the reality would probably leave them speechless. The following article will be a quick exploration of how you can make lifestyle changes to improve your digestive system.

Don’t Eat Late

Many people are guilty of this habit, but it’s an important habit to evaluate. Eating late can be very bad for your digestive tract because if you eat late, your body will think that it’s time to be awake for longer. Your body begins to get ready for rest when you don’t eat because rest periods should only really be for rest and healing of the body. If you also have to digest food, it will put undue stress on the body to be performing extra tasks that it’s not really designed to perform simultaneously.

Stick to a Meal Schedule

Now that you know how important it is to avoid eating late, it would be a good idea to get on a solid schedule that works for your body. Most people should avoid eating at least 3- 4 hours before bed, so you want to find a breakfast lunch and dinner that you the appropriate amount of time to be settled. Once you have a routine, your body will begin to expect certain events to take place at similar times each day, making your metabolism run more smoothly.

A SEDENTARY LIFE

Metabolism is a key to health

What Might Cause Your Metabolism to Slow Down

Weight management and your metabolism are fiercely intertwined. Metabolism is defined as the process through which people break down food to nourish and repair themselves. It regulates your absorption of nutrients and how they are stored in the body. When you want to achieve health goals and reach a lower weight, variances or changes in your metabolism could be a real obstacle, but the question is, how does this happen? This article will be exploring what might cause your metabolism to slow down.

Your Age

As people get older, the body loses some of its ability to regenerate and repair cells. This is because as humans age, their metabolism will naturally slow down, causing them to store fat that they were at one time able to burn by simply being active. As people progress into their late 30s and early 40s, the metabolism slows down and becomes less efficient.

Sedentary Lifestyle

When was the last time you got to do something physical? A physically demanding lifestyle can help you to keep healthy and make sure that your metabolism keeps working at a more efficient level. Your metabolism will slow down as you grow older. Working out or having some kind of activity schedule can help to fight some of the effects of this. People with an already sedentary lifestyle will experience increased effects of this, because if the body records that it doesn’t need a lot of calories daily, then it will optimize the metabolism to burn what it needs. That means that if you eat more calories than you use, that food eaten will become fat in the body.

Skipping Meals

A lot of people have become used to eating very few meals in a day. Depending on your activity level, this could be very bad for your metabolism because your body will think that it is starving and convert the foods you eat too fat to make sure there is always energy available. It can also make you sleep strange hours to conserve energy resulting in lethargy. This can keep you from enjoying the quality of life that promotes other healthy behaviors and thus create a vicious cycle of lethargy and weight gain.

As you can see, minimal changes can have a drastic impact on your metabolism and how well you are able to lose weight.

Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby

Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby

‘You Are What You Eat’

Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby was a champion of the food allergy movement in the 1970s and ‘80s. Even though some doctors saw him as radical, Mumby knew it was the right thing to do; he knew the healthy food was paramount to achieving maximum health.

Today, the things Mumby was saying more than 40 years ago are regarded as common knowledge. But back then, mainstream doctors just did not understand what he was doing. … They still don’t.

Mumby advocates a real understanding of how food – not just calories, carbs, and fat – affects your life. Instead, his focus is on how nutrients affect how the body works on a fundamental level.

“Your whole life, you’ve probably heard about people with ‘good’ genes,” Mumby says. “You know, people who age gracefully and seem to glow with health – without even trying?

“Up until now, there was nothing you could do about it. You were born with what your mom and pop gave you. You inherited certain genes, and that was it. Right?”

Actually, no. Researchers are now exploring nutritional genomics. More than 3,000 studies have been published on nutrigenomics. Truly, you are what you eat.

“Scientists used to think your genes are what they are. And you couldn’t do a single thing about it,” Mumby says. “But through nutrigenomics, we now know your genes are like light switches.

“ ‘Bad’ genes are like switches in the ‘off’ position. These can contribute to things like low energy or difficulty losing weight. But eating certain foods can flip those switches from ‘off’ to explosively ‘on.’

“In other words,” he says, “your DNA is not your destiny. With the right nutrients, you can tell your DNA what to do.”

Mumby’s bottom line: Achieving your best health can be as simple as getting the right nutrients into your system.

Habits of Healthy and Fit People

When you see health and fit people, you may wonder how they manage to balance everything. Whether they have children, demanding jobs or piles of schoolwork, they still maintain their health. Understanding the habits that they have and the routines that they follow can show you how to achieve better health too.

Beginning the Day Earlier

If you constantly begin the day in a frenzy, waking up at an earlier time can help reduce stress. People who are healthy and fit often wake up early to eat a nutritious meal and to workout. Both of these steps can provide you with more energy as you head to work, school, or a day at home with the kids. Try integrating a soothing activity – writing in a journal or enjoying a cup of tea – into your morning routine so waking up earlier isn’t as jarring.

Balancing Their Lives

Spending 60 hours a week at the office or ignoring work to socialize every night can lead to a host of problems. People who are healthy and fit usually maintain a strong balance in their life. They need to integrate the proper foods and to get the right amounts of exercise. Sitting down to make a list of your priorities and to plan out a schedule can help you to achieve this important balance.

Visiting the Doctor

Trying to maintain a strong level of health without regular visits to the doctor can prove difficult. For example, you may suffer from a medical condition that makes it difficult for you to lose weight, but you may not even know that you have this condition. An appointment with the doctor can also help you to define what exactly you need to do to have the best health that you can. Your doctor may also recommend specialists who can provide further guidance.

However, Dr. Pai notes that most doctors have not been trained in nutrition and do not know much about food in general.

“How can physicians advise their patients on a proper diet if they have only been trained to treat disease,” he asks. “Once celiac or gluten intolerance is diagnosed through pathology, the treatment is very straightforward for most doctors: drugs and avoidance of gluten – end of story.”

Dr. Pai recommends Bosmeric-SR as a better alternative to the single-target approach of pharmaceuticals.

Learn more about Bosmeric-SR

Knowing When to Rest

As you begin a journey toward stronger health, you may feel as though you have to put your full effort into this goal every day. While you don’t want slacking-off to become a routine, you need to know when to give yourself a break. If you’re in pain for your workout or if you’ve gone months without a dessert and are craving one, breaking out of the routine for a small portion of time can be freeing.

You may admire people who are healthy and fit, but you may also feel as though you can never be like them. With some changes to your routine, you can find your own optimal state of health.

How Mental Health Affects Your Immune System

When you are focusing on your immune system, you may think they only factors are diet and exercise. Though these can be huge factors in how your immune system handles issues in the body, they are not the only things to change. You also need to focus on your mental and emotional health as well. If you do not see the connection between these two aspects must your immune system, consider the following ways that your mental health can affect you.

Anxiety Symptoms

One of the leading ways that mental health can affect your immune system is through anxiety symptoms. The symptoms of anxiety, such as fatigue, can lead your body to mimic the symptoms of a cold or flu. That sends your immune system into overdrive. This means that it is focusing on what it believes to be a cold or flu instead of other issues in the body. When a real issue occurs, the immune system is broken down from focusing on the false cold that your body is triggering due to anxiety.

Inflammation

When you have mental health issues from depression and anxiety, you may start to notice issues such as body fatigue. This body fatigue can lead to issues of inflammation and swelling in your muscles and joints. This is usually due to the body becoming tired and then reacting by not wanting to move as much or just feeling drained. The inflammation can lead directly to your immune system trying to counteract the inflammation and pain caused by that inflammation. This overload on your immune system as it tries to counteract the inflammation can cause the system to be fatigued and reduced in effectiveness.

Sleep Issues

When you have mental health issues, you may find yourself sleeping a lot. This is likely due to depression and the effect that depression has on your body. Even though you are sleeping a lot, you may still feel tired. This tiredness is because the sleep you are getting is not deep sleep and is therefore not restful. Your body is not getting the rejuvenation it normally would from sleep. That means your digestive system, immune system, and other systems of your body are not resting either. When it does come time for your immune system, it will be too fatigued to do any good, thus leading to increased illness.

Constant Tension

Mental health issues such as anxiety and tension can lead to having your body tense all the time. This leads to migraines, tension headaches, lack of sleep, and the feeling of aches and pains throughout the day. As you start having multiple symptoms from the constant tension, your body will try to react. This reduces the effectiveness of your immune system and overall makes illness more likely.

These are only a few of the ways that your mental health can have a direct effect on your physical health and directly to your immune system. By taking on some daily habits focused on giving you better mental health, you can counteract the issues with your immune system and help it to function more stable.

GET MOVING!

Find the time to exercise

How to Reduce Stress and Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Stress is one of the biggest health issues that many people face today. Few people spend enough time sleeping each night due to work obligations. As a result, many people have to rely on caffeine to stay awake and energized.

Stress can play a negative role in a person’s health over a long period. Numerous studies show people with high levels of stress tend to live shorter lives than relaxed people. The good news is that there are many ways to reduce stress and live a healthy lifestyle.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of living a healthy lifestyle. There are a few people who feel like they get enough sleep each night. Some people like to stay awake to watch television or to surf the internet. This is the wrong approach to take to optimize sleep. Instead, going to bed at the same time each night will train the body to fall asleep faster.

Also, looking at electronic devices before bed causes numerous issues within the body. This is a signal to the body to stay awake for longer periods. This is one of the reasons why it is recommended to sleep in a completely dark room. People who prioritize sleep have more energy throughout the day.

Diet

There are millions of people who eat because they are stressed. In a state of high stress, it is much more tempting to eat food options that are high in fat and sugar. A healthy diet should consist of natural food options. The vast majority of people are so busy that they only eat processed food. This type of food does not have the nutrients that the body needs. By changing certain lifestyle habits, a person can drastically reduce stress levels and improve their health.

Research shows that sugar harms the immune system. Dr. Pai notes that “several studies confirm a strong link among high consumption of sugar, the suppression of the body’s immune system, and an increased incidence of inflammatory conditions.

“A Japanese study reported that sugar causes the increase of a protein that inhibits macrophage activity, which disrupts and weakens the immune system.”

Exercise

Another great way to reduce stress is to exercise each day. Finding time to exercise is hard for many people. Also, few people live close enough to a gym to go each day. It is a good idea to invest in some home equipment to exercise more frequently. Numerous people notice a massive change in their overall health after starting an exercise program. A proper exercise program should include both resistance and cardiovascular training.

Exercise will also help reduce body fat levels throughout the body. High levels of body fat have been associated with higher stress levels. By starting an exercise program, a person can drastically improve their overall health.

Essential Oils to Help Relax You

If you want to be more relaxed in your daily life, then using natural remedies like essential oils is a great place to start. Here are some of the oils that are best for rest, relaxation, and stress relief.

Lavender

When people think about essential oils for stress relief or relaxation, they usually turn to lavender first. That is because this oil is really great at releasing stress and tension, relieving anxiety, and making you feel more relaxed and peaceful. It is frequently used in aromatherapy baths because you can soak in the warm water and get the lavender scent at the same time. You can also use lavender oil in a diffuser placed in your bedroom for evenings when you are trying to relax and unwind after a stressful day.

Chamomile

Another popular essential oil to make use of when you need to relax is chamomile. You may have had chamomile tea before, which is known to help you relax your mind and body, particularly during your nighttime routine when you need to get ready for bed. Chamomile is naturally a very calming and soothing oil. It also has some medicinal properties, so it is beneficial either way. You can make chamomile tea or use the oils in your diffuser or bath.

Bergamot

If the reason you need a little help relaxing is anxiety or stress, then bergamot might be the solution. This can be used alone or with other oils. It has an earthier scent, so keep that in mind if you decide to mix your own blends in a diffuser. For relieving anxiety, bergamot is great in a diffuser for aromatherapy, or you can dilute it and apply it to your temples.

Rose

Rose essential oil is perfect for relieving stress and tension. You might see this in blends with other relaxing oils like lavender or geranium, but you can definitely use it alone as well. With rose oils, they are wonderful in a bath with some rose petals, or you can use a cream that contains the oil in it. Rub this on your skin at night or whenever you are feeling stressed. This helps to soothe you, while also improving your skin at the same time.

Remember if you apply any oils to your skin, they need to be diluted with another oil or water first.

How to Stay Motivated to Maintain Your Health

When you’re motivated to get fit and healthy, it’s easy to want to get to the gym and to change your diet completely. You’re all in, you’re ready for this, and you love every second of it. Once your motivation is gone, however, it’s easy to fall back into old habits such as skipping a workout or eating poorly. While it’s fine to take a day of rest or to indulge in those amazing donuts you love so much in moderation, you can’t let your lack of motivation change the way you feel about your health. If you feel your motivation isn’t there, try these tips to motivate you to maintain your good health.

Look at Photos of Your Goal Body

Do you want to work on an apple bottom or a flat stomach with abs that show without effort? Do you want curves or just some gorgeous muscle tone in your arms? Find a photo of the body parts you’re aiming to achieve and look at them. When you feel unmotivated, these photos will help you find a way to get your motivation back.

Set Small Goals

You have a big goal, but you must break that down into smaller goals you can achieve over time. When you have more than one goal to check off your list, you feel motivated. Here’s a good example. You want to get fit and healthy, lose weight, and look amazing on a tropical beach vacation in six months. That’s your main goal. You break that goal down into smaller goals. Perhaps you want to hit the gym four days a week for at least a half hour, and maybe you want to eat 80 percent healthy food and allow yourself 20 percent of indulgence food.

Write those down and cross those smaller goals off every day. If you manage to work out for 30 minutes that day, check it off your list. If you eat all healthy food that day so you can save your indulgence for a movie date this weekend, check it off your list. Each time you achieve even the smallest goal, you feel so much more motivated and positive about your life.

Find Accountability

Find someone to make you accountable. This is a person you need to check in with each day. It’s embarrassing to admit to someone you failed because you felt lazy or didn’t want to. You’d much rather tell that person you did meet your goals for the day, and that keeps you motivated. Let their disappointment motivate you to stay accountable.

Your body is going to change if you can change your mind, and that’s why your motivation level is so important. What works for you might not work for others and vice versa. You should try a few of these to see if they work — and eliminate what does not make you feel motivated.

FEED YOUR BODY

Commit to healthy eating

The ‘No Diet’ Diet: An Easier Lifestyle Change

If you want to lose weight and feel better about yourself, don’t start any fad diets. It’s not easy to avoid looking at the amazing bodies you’re seeing all over social media thanks to those fad diets and those fad weight loss trends, but they’re not long lasting.

As much as you might want to lose 20 pounds in one week, remember you need to be able to keep that weight off for good just as you need to get it off, to begin with. Fad diets don’t work because they want you to do unrealistic things to your body.

You might be able to give up carbs altogether for a week or two, but can you avoid them the rest of your life? No, you cannot. You can change your life and your body by skipping the diets and simply changing your lifestyle. It’s not about depriving your body. It’s about giving your body what it needs, and it’s about occasionally giving your body what it wants. You will find your body begins to crave different items and feel different once you make healthy lifestyle changes.

Go the 80/20 Route

You don’t want to deprive yourself of things you love, so learn to love them in moderation. If you love pizza, why not have it? As long as 80 percent of your meals are as healthy as can be, there is no reason you can’t allow yourself a 20 percent indulgence each week. Eat the donut on Tuesday morning, and then eat well the rest of the day. You can still have what you want if you remember to have it in moderation.

Make Smaller Plates

If you want to eat better and make healthy lifestyle changes, find a smaller plate. Your body thinks you’re eating more when you put food on a smaller plate because it looks fuller. Your mind tells your body it’s full even if it’s less food than you normally eat. Moderation and smaller servings are life-changing when you want to make positive lifestyle changes.

Make Your Favorites a Bit Healthier

Do you love tacos? Why not skip the ground beef and stick some baked chicken shreds in your taco? Add some avocado, mango, a little cilantro, and some lime juice over the top for a healthy and delicious taco alternative. If you love cheeseburgers, eat them with ground turkey rather than ground beef and wrap them in romaine instead of buns. You just made a delicious meal much healthier and still as delicious.

The best way to lose weight is to skip diets and just eat better. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Stop buying junk food. Skip the chips and have a cucumber instead. Try this for one month and see if your body stops craving things like donuts and fast food. See how you feel when you do give in and have something unhealthy. Your body will probably leave you feeling sluggish and gross, and you might just find yourself craving something healthy.

Also, Dr. Pai says to power-up the immune system’s function by easily incorporating these into your daily regimen:

  • Vitamin D3
  • Beta Glucans
  • Physical Vascular Therapy

Diet and Nutrition to Keep Men Healthy

Being healthy should be your top priority, but don’t feel bad if you have neglected your health in recent years. The first step to becoming a healthier man is to focus on what you are eating. This not only helps you manage your weight but can increase your muscle-building potential and help with overall wellness. Here are some diet tips to keep in mind.

Fill Up on the Right Stuff

When you are choosing what to eat for your next meal or snack, focus on the highest nutrients possible. Sure, you could eat a donut for breakfast and burn it off without too many issues, but it won’t sustain you, and it provides practically zero vitamins and minerals. When you choose your meals, change your mindset to think about fueling your body and taking care of it. Fill up on healthy, whole, fresh foods, and you will feel so much better.

Get Adequate Iron and Protein

Speaking of nutrients, you do want a nice balance of various vitamins and minerals. Beyond that, men do need certain nutrients in larger quantities, including iron and protein. These nutrients can be found in many healthy foods, including milk, nuts and seeds, meat, and lots of veggies. As long as you eat a balanced diet, you should be getting enough of these nutrients, but you might want to track your food for a while just to be sure.

Don’t Forget the Healthy Fats

Fats are not bad for you! Certain fats are not ideal, like vegetable oil and margarine, but you should still have fat in your diet. Healthy fats will fill you up and keep up your energy for workouts and other daily responsibilities. Try healthy fats like coconut oil, eggs, cheese, and yes ñ butter! Always go for real, grass-fed butter before anything processed like margarine. When looking for fats, avoid anything that states low fat, light or reduced fat.

Eat Enough to Sustain You

A big problem with men who are looking to get cut, build muscle, or lose weight is that they don’t eat enough. This same problem occurs with women. You need to get past the diet mentality and really focus on nourishing your body. Don’t reduce how much you eat, but rather change what you eat. Fill up on quality food and stop eating when you are full. Stop depriving yourself, or you will also be depriving your muscles.

Healthy Habits for Women

Developing habits is a part of life and something everyone does, but you really should be focusing on healthy habits. These daily habits are things you do that are good for both your physical and mental health. Take a look at these healthy habits that are great for women.

Get More Exercise

If you don’t have a regular fitness routine, now is the perfect time to start. Exercise is wonderful for anyone, male or female, but it has some unique advantages for women. Exercising can help you lose weight and manage your weight, fight diseases like heart disease and diabetes and prevent conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis as you age. It is also great during any phase of your life, whether you are a teenager, in your childbearing years, or even as a senior adult. This is a great healthy habit to start developing now.

Focus on Your Nutrition

In addition to exercise, you should also develop a habit of eating better. Don’t try to find some fad diet just to lose weight but choose a new way of eating that becomes a part of your lifestyle. Think of longevity and choose foods that are good for you, provide adequate nutrition and are foods you can eat and cook easily. If your favorite food is bread, then low-carb is probably not for you. On the other hand, if you are a protein girl, you might do great on Keto or Paleo. Pick and choose based on what provides the most nutrition, but also what is manageable for your current lifestyle.

Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health

Now is also the perfect time to start developing habits that are good for your mental health as well. Far too many people, women especially, neglect their mental health. Your mental health can also have an impact on your physical wellbeing, so it is essential. Some things that can help your mental health include getting regular exercise and eating write, writing in a journal, de-stressing, when you can, and taking some time for yourself for a little self-care.

Spend Time with Loved Ones

It is easy to become a hermit and just work and sleep, but it is important for your health and wellbeing that you make a habit of visiting others. Make plans with friends, spend time with family, and reach out to people you don’t spend a lot of time with, such as co-workers or neighbors.

SUPERFOODS

Multiple ways to charge-up your diet

Superfoods 101: The Benefits, Uses, and Sources

Superfoods are something you see listed on powders, in drinks, and in most health articles across the Internet and through magazines. You may even hear about other people at your gym or in health circles talking about them. What you may not know is what superfoods are, how they can help your weight loss or health journey as well as where to find them easily. Here are a few things that you should know before you jump feet first into the world of superfoods.

Benefits of Superfoods

You may be wondering why you should even consider superfoods and what they can offer you outside of your normal eating routine. The major benefits of superfoods are the fact that they are loaded with more than one vitamin or mineral source. For example, a superfood would have benefits of anti-inflammatory components as well as being full of various vitamins. This means if you have a busy schedule, or you need as much nutrient benefit from food with as little calories, then superfoods are ideal. An example of this would be if you were eating five different fruits and vegetables as well as taking supplements to get everything you need in a day. A superfood, or a few superfoods, could replace all of these foods and supplements and give you a more concise diet plan with fewer calories.

Uses of Superfoods

Superfoods can be used for many issues. Some of these issues include health issues like memory issues in the late afternoon or weight loss. Other issues may be more detailed like inflammation from working out or physical illnesses. Superfoods are used to cover a wide variety of issues giving you a more concise and natural source of anti-inflammatories, vitamins, and other nutrients that you are likely getting from unhealthy sources or chemical sources. You can use them in protein shakes, bars, and snacks. You can also use them raw, in juicing, or in smoothies. The uses are numerous and only limited by your imagination and your specific supplemental needs.

Sources of Superfoods

One of the misconceptions that many people have about superfoods is that the only source is through overly expensive protein powders and shakes. This seems to be especially true for people who have a hard time finding certain fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year. The truth is, there are some sources for your superfoods that do not require raw sources or protein powders. Most superfoods can be found in capsule forms or powder forms that can be mixed into a capsule based on your needs. You can also find infused oils, essential food grade oils, and liquid drops containing superfoods. You are not limited to high-cost powders or to foods that are not in season and hard to find.

These are the basic things you need to know before starting the use of superfoods. These are only three of them. Before you follow a misconception, consider that superfoods are readily available in most forms and can be adapted to your needs with the right research and preparation.

Tips for Adding More Superfood to Your Diet

If you have been adding superfoods for a while, you may find yourself getting into a rut with how you take in the superfoods. You may be looking for a new way to add the superfoods to your diet and still get the benefits. This can lead you through many recipe books and down a lot of roads that may not work for you. Here are a few easy methods to add superfoods to your diet, that won’t break the bank and won’t add more to your to-do list and time management than you already have.

Proprietary Protein Mixes

You may be finding it difficult to add superfoods to your diet because some may not be easy to juice, or you only do one superfood smoothie or juice a day. One of the easiest ways to get a large number of superfoods is to find a proprietary protein mix that is labeled as a superfood blend. These powders mix protein whey powder with dehydrated and ground fruit and vegetables that are known for their superfood properties. These powders can be added easily to milk, nut milk, or juice base to ensure you are getting all that you need a day.

Super Capsules

Making your own superfood capsules is another ideal way to add more superfoods to your diet. Sometimes you may find yourself too busy to make a smoothie or juice during the day or eat a full salad or meal. Instead, consider buying several superfood powders and mixing them up. Take the mix and put it in capsules you can buy at the health food store. Take two to four of these per day to get the added superfoods' boost you need on the go.

Snack Bars

Snack bars are fairly easy to make and can be carried with you on the go. You can make them ahead during an off day of the week, refrigerate them, then cut and pack them for your weekly snack bag or your gym bag. Oats are usually the basis for these types of bars with superfood powders and protein powders added in.

These are only three of the methods you can use to help add more superfoods to your diet. One thing to remember is to keep your routine in mind. If you are on the go a lot, then something like capsules or snack bars may work best for you. Try to adapt the superfoods to your routine and workout routine as well and you’ll find it easier and easier to take in as many superfoods as you want with as little effort as possible.

The Basics of Clean Eating

Before looking at meal ideas and other tips for a clean eating lifestyle, you should hone in on what exactly this type of diet is going to do for you. The following information goes over clean eating, what is allowed and not allowed, and basically how it works.

The Simple Rules of Clean Eating

A good place to start with clean eating is to learn about the simple and basic rules involved with this lifestyle. In general, you are focusing more on healthy, whole, and fresh foods. Instead of counting calories or cutting your carbs, you are simply trying to cook more, using fresh ingredients, and avoiding highly processed foods. This means grating your own cheese, no longer using canned fruits and veggies, and only having eggs or dairy that is from free-range or grass-fed animals. With a clean eating lifestyle, you should be cooking most meals on your own and reducing your saturated fats and trans fats. You also want to reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake as much as possible.

Go for Fresh Produce

With clean eating, the produce is going to be a big part of your diet. You can also have some carbohydrates and plenty of protein, but fruits and veggies are a good portion of your meals, particularly with lunch and dinner. You want to have fresh produce as much as possible. This means even trying to reduce how often you turn to frozen veggies and get them in the produce section and slice them up yourself. To save money and have a larger selection, try finding local farmers markets.

Avoid Processed Foods

Processed foods are a major no-no on the clean eating diet. You want to use as many natural and fresh ingredients as you can. If it comes in a package, consider whether there is a more natural version of that ingredient. Shredded cheese comes in a block of cheese you grate yourself, for example. Plus, you should only have dairy when it is from a grass-fed cow. Chopped onions come in full onions you can buy and chop yourself. These are good examples to start with.

Start Cooking More

As you can see, cooking is a major component of eating clean. It would be challenging to do if you were not cooking regularly. You don’t need to be a natural chef, but you should be able to follow a simple recipe. If you don’t have a lot of time to prep and cook, invest in some appliances that help the process go faster, such as a food processor for chopping, and a slow cooker to cook your meals during the day while you are at work or school.

GET STARTED

Fitness + Food = Results

What is the 21-Day Fix?

Weight loss is a hot topic in today’s world. People everywhere are searching for new and fun ways to combat weight gain, but there are so many options to choose from, and so many questions to ask. Could there be a balanced new approach to weight loss that considers nutrition and exercise? Is there a system that makes it easy to choose healthy meals? What kind of workout routine is right for you? Would you like to have amazing results in 21 days? Then you might want to hear about the 21-Day Fix.

Simple Fitness

Fitness and exercise are essential for any successful weight loss program, and the 21-Day Fix program breaks workouts into straightforward, simple plans that you can follow. The workouts follow a 7-day schedule that targets different muscle areas and gives you a different workout routine each day to keep things fun and exciting. Each workout is only 30 minutes long, which makes it possible for even the busiest people to fit that vital yoga, Pilates, leg, upper body, and cardio workouts into their busy schedule. The diverse 7-day schedule keeps things from becoming boring, but the biggest bonus is that it keeps your body guessing and optimizes weight loss by preventing weight loss plateauing.

Simple Eating

In the realm of weight loss and nutrition, there are so many options, ideas, and opinions that anyone can get overwhelmed or intimidated easily. It is dangerously possible to work out for hours a day and undo your results in one meal if you’re overeating, but the 21-Day Fix makes choosing what to eat at mealtimes super quick and easy. The 21-Day Fix utilizes portion control in color-coded containers to take the stress and guesswork out of eating.

  • Red – Proteins
  • Green – Veggies
  • Purple – Fruits
  • 2 Orange – Seeds and dressings
  • Yellow – Carbs
  • Blue – Healthy Fats

This easy system ensures success, and if the whole thing doesn’t fit in the container, save it for tomorrow.

Fast Results

Some people work on diets and plans for months never seeing a result, but the best thing about the 21-Day Fix – besides its easy workout schedule and simple meal planning – is its fast results. You could lose up to 15 pounds in just 21 days by eating healthy food and doing 30-minute workouts, and that’s something anyone can appreciate.

The 21-Day Fix Diet

When you’re trying to lose weight, the numerous and never-ending amount of diets and programs can seem to be impossible to sort through. Many of these programs encourage you to engage in complex mathematics to reach your nutritional milestones, but does that really lead you to success? Simplicity and concise instruction are huge pluses when it comes to putting together a plan that will work for you.

Portion Control

Overeating is a leading cause of failed diets all over the world. To combat this, one of the most central parts of the 21-Day Fix Diet philosophy is portion control. This is accomplished by using the 21-Day Fix portion control containers. The containers are also sized and color-coded for easily identifying the types and quantity of foods that you will be using for meals. When such a major part of your day is simplified, it helps ensure your success on your journey to healthy living. If you simply don’t eat more than the container allows for the day, you’ll lose weight.

What You Can Eat

There are a wide variety of foods that you can enjoy on the 21-Day Fix Diet, including:

  • Proteins (Red): Lean proteins are allowed, primarily with poultry and tuna.
  • Vegetables (Green Container): Feel free to have lots of vegetables, such as carrots, red and yellow bell peppers, onions, broccoli, and cucumber.
  • Fruit (Purple Container): Berries and apples are included in the fruit section.
  • Dressing and Seeds (Orange): This section is for your light dressing, which the cookbook will show you how to prepare. You can also have different types of seeds.
  • Carbs (Yellow): Carbs are also included, but they are limited with what you can have. You can enjoy your complex carbohydrates like oatmeal and some other grains.
  • Healthy Fats (Blue): These small blue containers are for your healthy fats like nuts and avocado.

Plan Your Grocery List

The best way to put yourself on the road to success is to make a plan and follow a schedule. Get to know how many 21-Day Fix portion control containers of which food you are supposed to have for each day and tailor your shopping list each week to those needs. Be sure to choose foods that you can use in a variety of meals that you love so that you can stay motivated to stick with it. Having a great attitude goes a long way to getting you closer to your goals.

Why You Should Try the 21-Day Fix

There are a massive number of books, diets, and exercise plans on the market for the consideration of anyone looking to improve their health or lose weight. An alarming number of these plans involve counting calories, complex points systems, and trying to memorize difficult workout routines, but just how beneficial are they? If you were to find out that there is a program that combines nutrition and exercise in a way that boosts the effectiveness of your efforts to improve health and weight loss, would you try it? There is, and it’s called the 21-Day Fix. Here are some top reasons to try out the 21-Day Fix.

Easy Exercise Plans

In the 21-Day Fix, exercise plans are on a weekly schedule with short workouts for each one. That means that itís fast and simple, which is great for even the busiest people, from working professionals, to stay at home moms.  Each daily workout is different, and that means no more boring repetitive workouts that yield weak results. Targeting different areas maximizes your potential and keeps the body from hitting that dreaded weight loss plateau while you have a fun workout. These combine a rich mixture of Pilates, Yoga, upper body, lower body, and cardio to put you on the path to healthy living that you’ve been working towards.

Easy Meal Plans

One of the most complex and challenging portions of any weight loss program is nutrition. The 21-Day Fix takes all of that guesswork and stress out of the meal-making process. The primary aim is portion control, and this is accomplished using the super easy, color-coded food container system. One good policy to have is: If it doesn’t fit in the container, save that part for tomorrow!

  • Red Container – Lean Protein
  • Green Container – Vegetables
  • Purple Container – Fruits
  • Orange Containers – Dressing, Sauce, and Seeds
  • Yellow Container – Carbs
  • Blue Container – Healthy Fats

The simplicity of the 21-Day Fix helps you to be a successful meal planner for yourself, without counting any calories or points.

Results You Can See

Psychologists have noted that it’s difficult for almost anyone to continue a program when they see very little change after months of hard work, but the 21-Day Fix answers this by giving you the results you crave. After less than a month and working with the 21-Day Fix, you could lose up to 15 lbs.



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