5 Top Ways to Boost your Immune System

immunesystem

What is an immune system?

The immune system is the body’s natural defense system that helps fight infections. The immune system is made up of antibodies, white blood cells, and other chemicals and proteins that attack and destroy substances such as bacteria and viruses that they recognize as foreign and different from the body’s normal healthy tissues. In other words, it’s the kick ass system our bodies have in place to keep you healthy and without illness.

The foods you choose to eat can play a major role in how well your immune system functions.

Here are some foods to help boost your immunity.

sweet potato

  1. Sweet Potatoes

These delicious vegetables are very high in Vitamin A which is known to play a crucial role in skin health. You may not think of skin as part of your immune system. But this massive organ serves as a first-line fortress against bacteria, viruses, and other undesirables. One of the best ways to get vitamin A into your diet is from foods containing beta-carotene (like sweet potatoes), which your body turns into vitamin A.

 

In fact not consuming enough foods rich in vitamin A can lead to a deficiency, which studies link to a weaker immune system and a higher sensitivity to infections.

Besides sweet potatoes, other foods that are high in vitamin A include carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, dark-green leafy vegetables, squash, romaine lettuce, dried apricots, red peppers, fish and organ meats.

probiotic

 

  1. Probiotic-Rich Foods

Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy and can help strengthen your immune system. This may reduce the likelihood and severity of your symptoms and help you recover faster when you do fall ill.

Studies also show that when people do get sick, those who regularly consume probiotics less likely to need antibiotics. In certain cases, regularly consuming probiotics may also lead to a faster recovery from illness.

Great sources of probiotics include sauerkraut, naturally fermented pickles, kimchi, tempeh, miso, natto and kombucha.

garlic

  1. Garlic

Garlic contains an active compound, allicin, which may help reduce your risk of infection

It’s been show to improve your immune cells’ ability to fight off colds and has antimicrobial and antiviral properties that may help it fight bacterial and viral infections.

Consuming two to three cloves of fresh garlic per day may help boost your immune system. Garlic seems particularly effective at reducing the symptoms and duration of the common cold and flu.

berries

  1. Berries

Berries are a rich source of polyphenols, a group of beneficial plant compounds with antimicrobial properties.

These tasty treats and their polyphenols have the ability to protect against the influenza virus responsible for the flu and may even offer some defense against Staphylococcus, E. coli and Salmonella infections.

Berries also contain good amounts of vitamin C, which adds to their immune-boosting properties.

coconut oil

 

  1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains lauric acid a medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) known for its antimicrobial properties. Lauric acid, which is converted into a substance known as monolaurin during digestion both have the ability to kill harmful viruses, bacteria and fungi (43).

One study suggests that coconut fats may help fight off the types of bacteria that cause stomach ulcers, sinusitis, dental cavities, food poisoning and urinary tract infections.

You can easily add coconut oil to your diet by using it instead of butter or vegetable oils in cooking or baking.

On top of these 5 foods, making sure you get enough H2O, sleep and exercise will also play a major role in your immune system and its ability to fight off illnesses.

Live longer, healthier and happier

Sulforaphane – The Next Big Health Discovery in Anti-aging and Anti-cancer

 

sulforaphane

The science:

Early studies have shown that it has a major effect on brain aging (did you know that at 20 years old our brains start to show signs of cognitive decline!!) The same study showed that sulforaphane can active a group of genes called Nrf2, these genes are thought to be essential to anti-aging and it’s believed they were once activated in all humans through stress responses like harvesting the land and having to protect oneself from wild animals. Nowadays we don’t really do these things anymore and therefore these potent free radical scavenging and detoxifying enzymes lay dormant. Sulforaphane can activate these genes supplying an abundance of anti-aging.

The benefits of this compound are endless, it’s also been shown to have a very profound effect on cancer prevention, not only prevention but in one study actually decreased prostate cancer cells from doubling (which they’re well known to do) by 86%!

It has been found to be a very promising chemopreventive agent against not only a variety of cancers such as breast, prostate, colon, skin, lung, stomach, and bladder but also against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes.

So what is it?

Sulforaphane is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such a broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbages. There have been studies done on the extremely high amounts found in broccoli sprouts, I’m talking 100X the sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts as opposed to just broccoli.

 

Whats the best source for me to start adding sulforaphane to my diet?

sproutignjar

Well, I’ve started growing my own sprouts in mason jars or you can buy sprout kits at your local health food store. Sprouting is very simple and very cost effective. You can buy them already sprouted but will be paying a way higher price and the longer the sprouts sit on the shelf, the higher risk of contamination they have.

greensmoothie

I grow about 4-5 jars at a time and freeze the sprouts. They are great in smoothies or on salads.

 

 

 

Warning:

There are several supplements claiming to have sulforaphane but in order for it to be produced there must be presence of the pre cursor glucoraphanin and the enzyme myrosinase. Sulforaphane is only released when these two compounds mix and when the plant is damaged. (Aka chewing). Most of the supplements contain only one of the two necessary compounds and are generally very expensive so in my opinion it’s a better option to grow sprouts.

This amazing, health pioneering compound is only starting to pique the interest of the health and science world but I guarantee we will start to hear more and more about it.

For more information on Sulforaphane check out Dr. Rhonda Patricks Blog. She is one of the leading scientists in this domain and is one of my personal role models and has been a major inspiration to my life.

Live longer, healthier and happier

 

Vitamin D- Why It’s So Important.

sunshinevitamin
Through the summer months when we are outside in the sunlight your skin should be absorbing enough Vitamin D for you to be healthy. Now that summer is over and the days are getting shorter and shorter people will start to spend more time inside. As fall and winter set in, I think it’s very important to consider what Vitamin D does for your body and why it’s important to supplement during the months you’re unable to be outside with your skin exposed to the sun.

What does it do? 

Vitamin D manages calcium in your blood, bones and gut and helps cells all over your body to communicate properly. Once your body absorbs the vitamin D, it then goes through a number of chemical processes to change it so that your body can use it.
The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without enough vitamin D, one can’t form enough of the hormone calcitriol (known as the “active vitamin D”). This in turn leads to insufficient calcium absorption from the diet.
vitamin d

Vitamin D has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.

If your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D, you’re at risk of developing bone abnormalities such as soft bones (osteomalacia) or fragile bones (osteoporosis).

If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you should also supplement your baby with Vitamin D.

Research has also shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms.

What does a vitamin D deficiency in adults look like?

  • tiredness, aches and pains, and a general sense of not feeling well
  • severe bone or muscle pain or weakness that may cause difficulty climbing stairs or getting up from the floor or a low chair, or cause you to walk with a waddling gait
  • stress fractures, especially in your legs, pelvis, and hips

vitamind deficiency

Where can I get it, other than the sun?

Some foods that provide vitamin D include:
  • Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks

vitamin d foods

You can also buy Vitamin D3 Drops, this is what I use during the fall, winter and sometimes the spring months.

How much do I need?

The recommended IUs for vitamin D are:

Live longer, healthier and happier.
Alicia

What is Reiki and Why Everyone Needs It?

Reiki

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a universal life force healing energy that flows thorough all of us. The concept of a life force is found in most of the ancient cultures of the world. In India, it is called prana; in China, chi or Qi; in Japan, ki; for Native Americans, the Great Spirit. For all these cultures and others as well, the idea of life force is or was central to their forms of medicine and healing.

native smudge

Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include stress relief,  relaxation and feelings of peace, security and well-being. Many have reported miraculous results.

A Reiki practitioner is trained to channel the universal life force energy, through them into their hands and into the person they are treating. There is no way to get or give too much Reiki energy. Any additonal gets passed onto our planet and we all know that needs as much healing as possible.

Click here for a link to some studies showing the positive effects of Reiki.

hands energy

What to expect during a reiki treatment?

Generally you will be laying on your back on a massage table, fully clothed. I have seen it where the Reiki practitioner has you sit in a chair and rarely even stand. (All my treatments are laying on a massage table).

Your only job during a reiki treatment is to just breathe.

The Reiki practitioner will usually start at your head working their way down each side of your body hovering their hands over your body using specific hand positions.

What does Reiki feel like?

easy pose

Everyone will feel Reiki a little different but some of the things I’ve heard consistently over my years of practice have been

  • Warm water running over their entire body or parts of their body
  • a gentle beating drum
  • vibration
  • a warm hug
  • peace
  • calmness

    Its possible to not feel anything at all. Even if you do not feel anything you are still getting a treatment. 

Some people drift off to sleep, some people may see their spirit animal or have a calming vision or experience.

Everyone leaves a Reiki treatment feeling less stressed, relaxed and generally good all over (body and mind).

reik treatment

What can Reiki Treat? 

Reiki has been shown to have a positive affect on all forms of illness and negative conditions. This includes minor things like head or stomach aches, bee stings, colds, flu, tension and anxiety as well as serious illness like heart disease, cancer, leukemia, etc. The side effects of regular medical treatments have also been reduced or eliminated. This includes the negative effects of chemotherapy, post operative pain and depression as well as improving the healing rate and reducing the time needed to stay in the hospital. Reiki always helps and in some cases people have experienced complete healings which have been confirmed by medical tests before and after the Reiki treatments. However, while some have experienced miracles, they cannot be guaranteed. Stress reduction with some improvement in ones physical and psychological condition are what most experience.

Here are some of the results I’ve personally seen.

kcsd

  • Feelings of deep relaxation
  • Stress and tension released
  • Anxiety and fear gone
  • General sense of well-being
  • Negative emotions or negative feelings gone
  • Reduced feelings of anger
  • Pain free or reduced pain

Is Reiki a Religion? 

 

Although Reiki energy is spiritual in nature, Reiki is not a religion. Practitioners and client are not asked to change any religious or spiritual beliefs they may have. They are free to continue believing anything they choose and are encouraged to make their own decisions concerning the nature of their religious practices.

Reiki in my opinion is life changing. I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum; people start on their Reiki journey and blossom immensely spiritually and also I have clients who come weekly simply for the healing energy because it works for them but do not participate in the spiritual aspects of it.

se

Reiki is for everyone and anyone regardless of age, condition, beliefs, etc.

For more information on Reiki treatments or trainings in your area click here.

Have a great day!!

 

 

 

Live longer, healthier and happier

Alicia xoxo

Top 3 Foods to give up NOW to live longer, healthier and happier.

health

We all want to be healthy and live as long as possible but sometimes (most times) it can be very confusing to know what is actually healthy, one day it’s good for you and the next day it’s bad. One nutritionist says “do this” while another one says “never do that”. Part of the reason why is because research is ever evolving and because we are all so genetically unique.  What works fantastic for one person, may have the complete opposite effect on another.  My challenge for you is to give up one (or all) of the following items, even if you set a goal to do it just for a month.

In my opinion by avoiding the following three foods it could help you live longer, healthier and happier. I’ll include a few tips and tricks along the way.

Tip #1: Avoid Trendy fad diets, even if they work it’s will only be temporary and most are not set up to be done for a long period of time.

  1. Number one food to avoid is: Margarine

x margarine

First of all yuck! I’m conflicted on the title of this blog because items like Margarine are not even food, however they are being consumed in enormous amounts all over the world.

I’ve already written an article on how bad margarine is for you, but i’ll list a few of the highlights or click here to read the whole article.

There is nothing natural about it, It is loaded with artificial ingredients, and is usually made with industrial vegetable oils that have been hydrogenated to make them more solid. This increases their trans fat content significantly. Keep in mind that manufacturers are permitted to label their products with “no trans fat” as long as it contains less than 0.5 grams per serving, which is still a significant amount.

Soo….. eat butter instead. Butter contains many beneficial nutrients that actually protect us from heart disease. It contains Vitamin A, lecithin, it has a number of antioxidants, it’s rich in selenium. The saturated fats in butter have anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. Butter also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which provides excellent protection against cancer. Bottom line, butter is natural, wholesome and one of the healthiest fats in the world.

Tip # 2: Drink plenty of water daily

water

2. Up next to avoid: Sugary Drinks

It is possible that Pop aka soft drinks might stimulate the appetite for other sweet, high-carbohydrate foods especially if you are choosing the diet options. Doesn’t make sense does it!!! Studies have shown that aspartame has been linked to increased appetite and weight gain. In fact, a study from 2015 demonstrated that animals exposed to aspartame during the prenatal period presented a higher consumption of sweet foods during adulthood and a greater susceptibility to alterations in metabolic parameters.  Sugar or sugar free-  these sweet treats should be avoided and are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic (1).

Tip #3- Take time to just be. Meditate or do yoga. Even just sit for 5 minutes with no distractions (phone, tv, music) and breathe.

3. Last but not least- Fried Foods

fried food

Many cancer causing ingredients can be found in foods that are highly processed and heated with extremely high temperatures AKA deep fried foods.

One of those toxins is called acrylamide. Some of the leading international agencies that study toxins have named acrylamide a carcinogen. Cigarettes would be a widely known carcinogen just for reference.

Not only do deep fried foods fill your body with toxins, wasted calories and bad fats but they also displace the good fats that our bodies require called EFA’s (essential fatty acids). EFA’s are responsible for many, many important functions in your body and mind but i’ll list a few:

  • Formation of healthy cell membranes
  • Proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system
  • Proper thyroid and adrenal activity
  • Hormone production
  • Regulation of blood pressure, liver function, immune and inflammatory responses
  • Regulation of blood clotting: Omega-6 FAs encourage blood clot formation, whereas Omega-3 oil reduces clotting. The ideal is to achieve a balance between omega-6 and omega-3 FAs
  • Crucial for the transport and breakdown of cholesterol
  • Support healthy skin and hair
  • Weight loss

efas

So at the same time as you are filling up on garbage, your are also stripping your body of important nutrients that are clearly necessary to you health.

I could list and go into huge details about the many names of toxic ingredients found in deep fried food, we all know they aren’t good for us but none of them will mean anything until you hear those terrifying words come out of your doctors mouth “You have cancer”.
My goal is to help you avoid hearing this or at least reduce your chances of this happening. This is why I write these blogs, this is why I decided to go to school for nutrition. I’ve lost my father, cousin who was like a sister and most recently a very good friend of mine to cancer and although I know I can’t save everyone, even if my information helps one person, well I’m ok with that.
Have a happy and healthy day!
Xoxo
Alicia