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The Healthy Benefits of Zinc

the healthy benefits of zinc complex

Minerals and trace minerals are nutritional elements that our bodies use for a host of functions including building bone tissue, converting food into energy, brain and heart health. Zinc is one of the more important nutrients, and is considered essential because the body does not produce it. Because of this, zinc must be consumed through diet, and when diet fall short, many turn to supplements to help keep the body balanced.

What is Zinc and Why do We Need it?

Zinc is an essential trace element that is required for healthy enzyme function and metabolism, among other things. Even though it is found in every cell of the body, it is not stored by your body, which means you must get a steady supply through diet to ensure healthy levels. But how much is healthy?

It is recommended that men consume 11 mg of zinc per day, women consume 8 mg, pregnant women consume 11 mg and breastfeeding women consume 12 mg each day. Even children need up to 8 mg per day, with teenagers requiring up to 11 mg each day.

The continuous supply of zinc is important for daily living and necessary body functions that keep us alive. Zinc is required for enzyme activities, which are the chemical reactions that support digestion, metabolism and even muscle repair. Some of the main functions that are supported by zinc include the following:

  • Support enzyme activity
  • Metabolism of nutrients
  • Skin health
  • Immune health
  • Protein and DNA synthesis
  • Wound healing
  • Growth and/or tissue repair
  • Healthy sense of taste and smell
  • Support vision
  • Protect cells from stress

Zinc works best when used with other trace minerals to help maintain a healthy balance. Some of these minerals are magnesium and copper, both of which support muscle and nerve health. When used together, these three important minerals can also support health of the immune system, nervous system and even promote healthy aging.

Trace minerals are nutrients that are crucial for good health, but we only need a very small amount each day, usually between .2 and 15 milligrams. And while many foods contain them, some people may find it difficult to get all the minerals through diet, since some minerals may be destroyed by food processing or cooking. Some of the trace minerals include:

  • Chromium for healthy blood sugar levels
  • Iron for oxygen-rich blood
  • Manganese for enzyme health
  • Selenium as a powerful antioxidant to protect the cells

The above is not an exhaustive list, but provides insight into the importance of trace minerals in the daily diet. Ensuring you get a well-rounded balance of these nutrients can ensure your health is also balanced.

Zinc and Your Immune System

A healthy immune system relies on a variety of nutrients to stay strong. Because the immune system has many parts that work together, nutritional balance is important so that our immune response is ready when needed. But nutritional balance may not come as easily as it seems.

A balanced diet includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. And while you may think you are getting nutrition through your diet you might be in for a surprise.

The food supply today is rife with highly processed foods and produce that may be grown in less than desirable soil. Unfortunately, processing foods can destroy important vitamins and minerals, lowering the nutritional count to below dietary recommendations. At the same time, vegetables and fruits rely on nutrients from soil that is often depleted, due to overuse of fertilizers, increasing salinity, soil runoff and other environmental factors.

Luckily, you have the power to take control of your health and be proactive when it comes to supporting a strong immune system. Exercise is a known immune system modulator that can support natural antibodies. Regular exercise helps the lungs flush pathogens while keeping stress hormones like cortisol in check.

Diet is another way to support good health, and focusing on whole foods with plenty of vegetables, fruits and lean proteins can help you stay strong and healthy. Avoid foods high in sugar and trans fats, fried foods and other harmful foods, as they all interfere with immune health. And if you know that your diet could use support, add a zinc and trace mineral supplement to your daily health regimen.

Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiencies are not common, but some people are more susceptible including mature adults, pregnant women and those who are nursing. Digestive issues like ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome can also cause problems with zinc levels as the body may not be able to absorb all the minerals from the foods that are eaten. When added to a deficient diet, the case for supplementation strengthens.

Some vegetarians and vegans also seem to have lower levels of zinc. (1) This may be because fruits and vegetables are not a primary source of zinc, while foods like seafood and cheese that are higher in zinc might be avoided. Other conditions that may increase risk for a zinc deficiency include:

  • Alcohol addiction
  • Chrohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Low zinc levels can lead to some health concerns such as a loss of appetite and thus, unwanted weight loss. Other signs of a zinc deficiency include:

  • Hair loss
  • Skin sores that heal slowly
  • Brain fog
  • Diarrhea
  • Lowered immune response

Zinc and mineral supplementation can help maintain a healthy nutritional balance, which may improve overall health.

Zinc Rich Foods         

Some foods are a naturally rich source of zinc and can help boost your zinc levels. Some of these foods include oysters, beef and crab. Other sources that are rich in zinc include whole grains, legumes and cereals, but these also present a problem when it comes to bioavailability of certain minerals.

Whole grains, legumes, beans, seeds, nuts and fortified breakfast cereals also contain phytates, or phytic acid, which are compounds that can bind minerals like zinc, iron and manganese. This means that when you eat these foods, your body will have a difficult time absorbing them, potentially leaving you nutritionally deficient. And while cooking the foods can reduce the phytic acid, it can also destroy some minerals.

Luckily, phytic acid can be lessened, which can remove the barriers to nutrient absorption. Most of these foods can be soaked in a solution of water and vinegar or water and salt to lessen the phytates. Soaking nuts and beans also make them more digestible, leaving less problems like gas and bloating.

A zinc supplement can also fill in some nutritional gaps. Because zinc is found in every cell of your body, it is the second most abundant trace element behind iron, which shows how important this versatile nutrient is. Supplementing with zinc can help ensure you take advantage of the benefits like immune and blood sugar support, healthy skin and cardiovascular support.

Magnesium and Copper

Magnesium is a mineral that helps convert food into energy and supports the health of the nervous system, muscles and numerous chemical actions of the body. Some people use magnesium supplements to get better sleep, while others use it to help them relax after a stressful day. Getting enough magnesium into your daily diet is essential for good health, especially for those with digestive issues and mature individuals.

Copper is an essential nutrient that the body uses for numerous functions like immune support, and it plays a role in the generation of ATP, your body’s main source of energy. (2) Copper deficiencies may lead to issues such as weakness and digestive issues. And while the body only requires a small amount of copper to maintain health, it is important to get enough into your diet, since your body cannot produce it.

Ensuring you get a healthy supply of all nutrients is essential, as benefits are recognized when they are used together. For example, research shows the combination of zinc, copper, magnesium and calcium supports bone health, especially in mature adults. In fact, at least one study has shown that postmenopausal women who supplemented with this combination of minerals experienced less bone loss than those who took a placebo.

It is possible to get both magnesium and copper through dietary sources. Foods that contain copper are similar to those that contain zinc, including oysters, nuts and seeds. Other foods that are a source of copper include:

  • Liver
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Lobster
  • Leafy greens
  • Dark chocolate
  • Spirulina

Foods that contain magnesium include:

  • Legumes
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews

Some of these foods share the phytic acid issue, but soaking them will allow you to take advantage of the nutrients while avoiding digestive issues.

Trace Minerals

Many people are familiar with vitamins and minerals that are part of a healthy diet, but micro or trace minerals are less commonly discussed. Minerals, or macro-minerals, include calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium, to name a few. Minerals should be consumed in amounts of at least 100 milligrams, depending upon the mineral, to maintain good health. But trace minerals are just as important, even though they are lesser known that the rest.

Trace minerals are the microminerals that are required by the body. They are labeled as trace minerals because only small amounts are needed for good health, but they work “behind the scenes” to ensure your body functions at an optimum level.

Trace minerals play many roles including the synthesis of DNA, metabolism, ensure enzymes are active and helps keep hormones balanced. They provide support for your immune system, digestion, growth and repair of the body. Here are some ways the body uses these micronutrients:

  • Protect cells from oxidative stress
  • Support immune function
  • Support brain function
  • Support nervous system
  • Healthy digestion
  • Strong enzymes
  • Metabolize macronutrients
  • Help body rejuvenate itself
  • Support tissue repair

Because of the many roles and functions of trace minerals, it is important to maintain a healthy balance by consuming mineral rich foods that contribute to health. If you have digestive issues, take medications or are vegan, you might benefit with a trace mineral supplement.

Consuming foods that are rich in minerals can support your body’s levels of trace minerals, especially if you  consume the recommended 7 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eating a variety and including foods that are lightly cooked while soaking those with phytic acid can keep your digestion strong, so you absorb enough to keep you healthy. Organic produce is another way to ensure you get the most nutrition from the foods you eat. And ensuring your diet includes a variety of healthy foods also ensures you get a variety of nutrients, too.

Trace ionic mineral supplements are becoming more popular among health enthusiasts as synthesized fertilizers and overuse of farmland depletes the soil. The result is that minerals essential to our wellbeing do not get replenished in the food supply, but supplements can help fill any nutritional gaps.

Zinc Complex

Fortunately for our health, Balanced Health has created Zinc Complex with zinc, magnesium, copper and trace minerals. This is the perfect combination to support the immune system as well as ensure healthy and balanced levels of minerals for every part of the body including muscles, bones and skin.

The right combination of minerals in the right balance means the nutrients are digestible and bioavailable for the body. They are easy to assimilate, which means your body can use them as required. And because they are highly digestible, they are the perfect supplement for those who have digestive issues and for those who simply need to fill in their diet.

Feel the Difference

While zinc deficiency may be rare, zinc inadequacy may not be. Some indications of low zinc include acne, hair loss, poor vision and slow healing from wounds. Many people supplement with zinc to overcome acne and provide immune support, especially during cold and flu season.

Balanced Health’s Zinc Complex is easy to digest and highly absorbable. Regular supplementation can support balanced nutrition, a healthy immune system and healthy aging. And you can feel safe knowing it is free of wheat, yeast and dairy, and manufactured in the United State. Zinc Complex makes it easy to be proactive, so you can live healthy.

References

1 Freeland-Graves JH, Bodzy PW, Eppright MA. Zinc status of vegetarians. J Am Diet Assoc. 1980 Dec;77(6):655-61. PMID: 7440860.

2 Medeiros DM, Jennings D. Role of copper in mitochondrial biogenesis via interaction with ATP synthase and cytochrome c oxidase. J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2002 Oct;34(5):389-95. doi: 10.1023/a:1021206220851. PMID: 12539966.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Echinacea Purpurea

Echinacea purpurea is a species of flowering plant that has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries. It is commonly used today in herbal remedies for seasonal challenges, and possibly for good reason. The echinacea plant contains an array of active compounds like phenolic acids, polyacetylenes and caffeic acid, many of which are linked to health benefits including reduced internal inflammation response and immunity support. 

Echinacea, as it is commonly called, is high in antioxidants like rosmarinic acid and flavonoids. Antioxidants have numerous roles in our bodies and protect your cells from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that may come from external sources or internal metabolic processes. Antioxidants are needed to help neutralize or eliminate these, which supports the overall immune system. 

In addition to antioxidants, echinacea also contains alkamides that support the existing antioxidant network. They can help renew spent antioxidants, transport antioxidants to where they are needed and enhance their activity. 

The nutritional properties of echinacea may be why Native Americans used it for everything from health issues and even insect bites. Today, some pharmaceutical companies use it to mobilize certain white blood cells among other things. (1) No wonder this versatile plant seems to find its way into many modern herbal remedies. 

Immune Support 

Echinacea is most commonly used as an herbal remedy to support the immune system. It is said to boost immunity naturally. A review of studies did indeed find that it helped reduce the risk of seasonal challenges.  So there may be something to this home remedy. 

Support for Healthy Skin 

Echinacea has been found to be antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Because of this, some beauty products add it to the ingredients as it was found to reduce wrinkles and improve skin hydration in one small study. (2) It was noted that it has a short shelf-life, which may be why some health experts advocate oral consumption instead. 

Echinacea as an Anti-inflammatory 

Chronic internal inflammation response is a risk factor for many diseases, but may also be a condition caused by possible chronic disease. A pilot study looking to ease inflammation and pain due to bone and joint issues showed that patients who did not respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs did respond to echinacea. In this study, it was found that when used with highly standardized ginger, echinacea did show improvement in pain and swelling. 

Conclusion 

When other methods fail, herbal remedies offer great promise. And by standing the test of time, echinacea purpurea is definitely one of the herbs to add to your home remedy rescue kit. 

References: 

1 Manayi A, Vazirian M, Saeidnia S. Echinacea purpurea: Pharmacology, phytochemistry and analysis methods. Pharmacogn Rev. 2015;9(17):63-72. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.156353 

2 Yotsawimonwat S, Rattanadechsakul J, Rattanadechsakul P, Okonogi S. Skin improvement and stability of Echinacea purpurea dermatological formulations. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2010 Oct;32(5):340-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2009.00559.x. PMID: 20384903.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Vitamin C Supports More Than Immunity

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin and a powerful antioxidant. Essential vitamins are those the body cannot make on its own, so to take advantage of the potent benefits, we have to get it through our diet.  

While many foods like citrus fruits, sweet potatoes and tomatoes contain vitamin C, it may not always be available in the foods we eat. This is a water-soluble vitamin, so is sensitive to heat and light and may be destroyed during food preparation.  

This nutrient is stored in only small amounts in our body and excreted through urine, so continuous intake is important. On the bright side, these same traits also make it very difficult to have too much in your system, and supplementation can help fill the nutritional gap if you don’t eat enough vitamin C rich foods. 

Benefits of Vitamin C 

Antioxidant Protection – As mentioned, vitamin C is not only an essential nutrient, but also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are molecules that support the body’s natural defenses, as it boosts antioxidant levels in the blood. In fact, at least one study showed that supplementation with vitamin C significantly increased blood antioxidant levels.  

Immune Support – Vitamin C has long been a staple nutrient and dietary supplement to the diet of those who want to ward off colds and flus. Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C is known to increase the strength and protection of an organism, which supports immunity. (1) 

Iron Absorption – Lack of iron leads to fatigue and weakness, and possibly anemia, which is low blood iron. Vitamin C happens to be an important nutrient that enhances iron absorption. (2) Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, and hemoglobin helps carry oxygen to your muscles, making it an important nutrient for your overall energy. Therefore, ensuring you get enough vitamin C may be an important factor in preventing iron deficiencies.  

Collagen Synthesis – Collagen is a protein that is part of the structure of our skin, bones, and even ligaments. It gives our joints flexibility and makes our skin plump and youthful. More important, collagen helps reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, keeping metabolism intact. And it turns out that your body needs vitamin C to make collagen. In fact, a recent study showed that vitamin C enriched gelatin was important for tissue repair and injury prevention when added to an exercise program. In addition, vitamin C is a favorite in the aesthetic industry for beautiful skin and hair. 

Protect Your Heart – Heart disease has many risk factors including high blood pressure and an imbalance of good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). At least one study confirmed that vitamin C supplementation of at least 500 mg/d significantly decreased LDL.  Another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that high blood concentrations of vitamin C through diet may reduce heart health issues.  

Conclusion 

Vitamin C is an important nutrient that impacts our health, how we age and how we feel. Luckily, it is an easy nutrient to fit into our diet through both food and supplementation. Be sure to get your daily intake so you can reap the benefits this super nutrient has to offer. 

References: 

1 Sorice A, Guerriero E, Capone F, Colonna G, Castello G, Costantini S. Ascorbic acid: its role in immune system and chronic inflammation diseases. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2014 May;14(5):444-52. doi: 10.2174/1389557514666140428112602. PMID: 24766384. 

2 Hallberg L, Brune M, Rossander L. The role of vitamin C in iron absorption. Int J Vitam Nutr Res Suppl. 1989;30:103-8. PMID: 2507689. 

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract is a tincture made from the leaves of the olive tree. While it is the same tree that provides the health-giving olive oil, olive leaf extract is distinct in that it has its own set of health benefits and qualities. 

Olive leaves have been used in traditional remedies for centuries to help with season immune challenges and digestive issues. The hype may be due to the benefits of the known polyphenols, or plant compounds, that are abundant in the leaves, including oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. 

What Are Polyphenols? 

Polyphenols are plant compounds that are believed to offer health benefits. One of the main polyphenols found in olive leaves is oleuropein, which is thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants are important compounds our bodies use to ward off the damaging effects that free radicals have on our cells. And when a compound is anti-inflammatory, it may help reduce internal chronic inflammation that is a result of free radical activity, among other things. 

The other main polyphenol in olive leaves, hydroxytyrosol, which has a unique set of health benefits. Recent studies show it might offer protection from heart health issues and immunity issues. It is thought these health effects may be due to it’s potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects as well as protection from LDL, or “bad” cholesterol buildup. 

Other research points to the effects of both polyphenols as having antiviral and antibacterial properties. This may be why it is associated with helping to lessen the duration of symptoms of respiratory illness among high school athletes. Because of this, supplementing with olive leaf extract is believed to have helped athletes return to play sooner than without it. (1) 

Olive Leaf Extract Benefits 

Because olive leaf extract contains the above-mentioned polyphenols, it may offer the same health benefits, such as protection from other health issues and quicker healing time from upper respiratory illness. But there are some other benefits, too, which may be why it has historically been used as a traditional medicine. 

Olive leaf extract may help protect those with high blood pressure. In one 8-week study, participants with stage 1 hypertension were administered either 500 mg of olive leaf extract or 12.5 to 25 mg of a blood pressure medication called captopril. Blood pressure was lowered in both groups, indicating that olive leaf extract was just as effective at lowering blood pressure as the medication, captopril. (2) 

In another study, a study of 46 overweight, middle-aged men were given either a placebo or olive leaf extract. After 12 weeks, the olive leaf extract group showed improvements in pancreatic responsiveness as well as improvements in insulin sensitivity, as compared the to placebo group. This indicates that it is effective at helping to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

Conclusion 

Olive leaf extract seems to have protective properties that can contribute to health. This dietary supplement can be a healthy addition for anyone who wants to improve their health. As with any supplement, talking with your doctor is recommended, especially if you take medications. 

References: 

1 Somerville V, Moore R, Braakhuis A. The Effect of Olive Leaf Extract on Upper Respiratory Illness in High School Athletes: A Randomised Control Trial. Nutrients. 2019;11(2):358. Published 2019 Feb 9. doi:10.3390/nu11020358 

2 Susalit E, Agus N, Effendi I, Tjandrawinata RR, Nofiarny D, Perrinjaquet-Moccetti T, Verbruggen M. Olive (Olea europaea) leaf extract effective in patients with stage-1 hypertension: comparison with Captopril. Phytomedicine. 2011 Feb 15;18(4):251-8. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2010.08.016. Epub 2010 Oct 30. PMID: 21036583. 

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Zinc and Your Health

Trace minerals are essential for good health, and zinc is one of the most abundant of these minerals. It is found throughout all systems of the human body and is required for healthy immunity, cell division and healing and even for the breakdown of carbohydrates. And more recently, zinc is a standard in supplements for immunity, while some use for seasonal immune challenges. 

Zinc is an essential nutrient, which means your body doesn’t make it. Because of this we must obtain it through diet, including foods like seafood, beans, nuts, dairy products and enriched cereals or grains. For those who have digestive issues or absorption problems, zinc supplements can help fill the void. 

Benefits of Zinc 

Zinc has been shown to be necessary for wound healing, protein and DNA synthesis and even for immune support. When zinc levels are low, one might experience a lowered or weak immune response, and many studies show that zinc levels decline with age. Because of this, ensuring we get enough through diet or supplementation may help people avoid this. Check out these zinc benefits. 

Immune Response – A declining immune system is a normal part of aging, and even a small zinc deficiency can exacerbate the problem. Fortunately, it seems the supplementing with zinc can improve immune response in the elderly. (1) In addition, a review of studies shows that supplementing with zinc lozenges reduced the duration of the common cold by an average of 33%. (2) 

Lastly, the Cochrane Group, often considered the gold standard in medical research, concluded that if zinc was taken within 24 hours of the onset of seasonal challenges, one might experience milder symptoms for a shorter time. 

Accelerated Wound Healing – Our immune system fights of harmful pathogens like bacteria and viruses, but it is also responsible for helping our bodies heal from injury. This may be why it is used by those in the medical community as a treatment for burns and other skin injuries. In one study, zinc increased wound healing in patients with diabetic foot ulcers. 

Lower Internal Inflammation – Chronic internal inflammation leads to damage of healthy cells and is linked to chronic diseases like arthritis, heart disease and even cancer. Fortunately, lifestyle factors like diet and exercise play a role in this condition, meaning we can have an impact on this risk factor with healthier choices. Zinc seems to have an anti-inflammatory action, and six months of supplementation suggested that zinc may support blood flow. (3) 

Conclusion 

Since zinc is important in numerous body systems and involved in functions like cell repair and growth, it is important to ensure you get enough in your diet. The recommended RDA is 8mg for women and 11mg for men, with the Tolerable Upper Level (or maximum amount) is 40mg for all. If you don’t get enough through your diet, supplements can help make up the deficit.  

References

1 Haase H, Rink L. The immune system and the impact of zinc during aging. Immun Ageing. 2009;6:9. Published 2009 Jun 12. doi:10.1186/1742-4933-6-9 

2 Hemilä H. Zinc lozenges and the common cold: a meta-analysis comparing zinc acetate and zinc gluconate, and the role of zinc dosage. JRSM Open. 2017 May 2;8(5):2054270417694291. doi: 10.1177/2054270417694291. PMID: 28515951; PMCID: PMC5418896. 

3 Bao B, Prasad AS, Beck FW, et al. Zinc decreases C-reactive protein, lipid peroxidation, and inflammatory cytokines in elderly subjects: a potential implication of zinc as an atheroprotective agent. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(6):1634-1641. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28836 

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Elderberry Extract for Health and Support

The elderberry plant has been used in traditional medicines for centuries. It has long been used to treat infections, heal skin problems and to support immunity. Leaves, flowers and cooked berries have all been used in various remedies, while there are many varieties of elderberry plants, such as black elderberry or European elderberry.  

Nutritional Benefits 

Elderberries are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that support the immune system by fighting free radicals and other harmful molecules. Fruits and vegetables are our main source of antioxidants, and it turns out that elderberries are rich in anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that support the immune system. 

Along with antioxidants, elderberries are a rich source of vitamin C, phenolic acids and flavonols. Vitamin C supports the immune system, while phenolic acids and flavonols include more antioxidants that can protect your body from oxidative stress

The nutritional content of elderberries is rounded out with an array of B vitamins, as well as vitamin A and tocopherols (vitamin E). The combination of nutrients might account for why traditional cultures considered it to be an important part of health and healing. 

Health Benefits 

Shorten the Duration Seasonal ChallengesOne study showed that participants who drank elderberry syrup cut the duration of symptoms by four days, compared to a placebo group. Some believe the high amounts of vitamins and other nutrients may help support the immune system. 

Immune Support – Anthocyanins are antioxidants that give the elderberry their pretty purple color. But aside from aesthetics, it is important to note that these molecules are linked to some important health benefits. One example is that the anthocyanins were found to have anticarcinogenic properties and may protect against oxidative stress. 

Vitamin C is abundant in elderberry fruit. Stress can rob us of energy, which has an impact on immunity, and vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help the body stay strong. It is an important part of the immune system, and is essential, meaning it is important to get a steady supply of this nutrient through the diet. 

Improve Skin Health – Elderberries are rich in vitamin C, which is an important nutrient that helps the body manufacture collagen. For this reason, many treatments in the beauty industry include vitamin C for healthy skin and hair. Elderberries also contain high levels of vitamin A, which is a nutrient that is important for skin nutrition, and along with C may help improve skin quality. 

Conclusion 

Elderberries should not be consumed raw, as they are toxic. This is why it has traditionally been cooked and prepared for human use, and one of the most popular forms is elderberry tincture. 

Elderberry tincture is a liquid concentrate of the elderberry fruit. It has a long shelf life and because it is in liquid form, it is more easily absorbed into the digestive system. Also called Sambucol, it may be mixed with other nutrients to boost the health benefits. While the tincture can be made at home, it is a tedious process that may not always result in a supplement that works. But tinctures are easy to purchase and use as an over the counter to protect and boost your health any time you need support. 

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Digestive Health is the Core of Wellness

Digestive Health is the Core of Wellness

 

When your digestion is out of whack, your whole body can suffer. This is because digestion is linked to the immune system, mental wellbeing and even heart health. But can we control the health of our digestive system?

The old saying that you are what you eat still holds true today. Our bodies use the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to build new cells for muscle tissue, heart tissue and skin. Nutrients are the building blocks used by every part of your body to replace damaged or worn out cells. This is called cell turnover and takes place everywhere including your organs and the lining of your digestive tract. If your diet is subpar, so too are the building blocks that are used in cell turnover.

Your Gut Microbiome

The gut is another term for the digestive system and includes the microbiome. The microbiome is the environment that hosts a wide array of bacteria, fungi and other microbes that exist mainly in the intestinal tract. Sometimes referred to by scientists as another organ, the gut microbiome is part of the gut-brain axis and must remain balanced to work properly.

The gut-brain axis is a new area of interest for scientists and doctors alike because it shows how intricately connected our digestive health is with our physical and mental health. The key to health is that good or healthy microbes keep the harmful ones in check. And while research is ongoing, one thing for sure is that to keep this area healthy, diet, probiotics and prebiotics are at the core of digestive health.

How to Improve Digestive Health

Many factors affect digestion including diet, exercise, medications and even our mental state. Overall a healthy lifestyle improves digestive health and is well within our control. But sometimes it seems like the bad pathogens are winning in spite of our best efforts. The following are some tips that can help keep your digestive health intact.

Focus on Fiber

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate found mainly in fresh, whole fruits, vegetables and grains while some people get an added boost with a fiber supplement. There are different types of fiber that serve different purposes, and each is important for healthy digestion.

Soluble fiber is found mainly in nuts, seeds, oats, lentils and some fruits and vegetables. It dissolves in the digestive tract and by doing so, help soften and remove waste. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve and adds bulk to stool, allowing it to pass through the digestive tract more efficiently. Consuming a variety of these healthy foods ensures you get both types of fiber.

Pay Attention to Prebiotics and Probiotics

Prebiotics are special types of plant fibers that feed and stimulate growth of healthy organisms in the gut microbiome, while probiotics contain live organisms that contribute to the healthy microbe population. Prebiotic foods include most fruits and vegetables and probiotics are found in specific foods like yogurt as well as fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut. Maintaining a consistent intake of both will contribute to and maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria while preventing an overgrowth harmful pathogens that disrupt health.

Avoid High Fat Diets

Diets that are high in unhealthy fats can contribute to not only poor digestion, but other health issues as well. Unhealthy fats are those found in most animal fats as well as most junk and highly processed foods. They are easy to identify, since they are found in foods that are commonly unhealthy like pizza, burgers and hot dogs.

Healthy fats like those found in salmon, avocados, nuts and seeds will contribute to health. They are known to support healthy skin, a well-functioning brain and weight control. But don’t overdo it on these either, because too much of any fat can slow or inhibit digestion.

Small and Frequent Meals

Smaller, frequent meals consisting of wholesome foods are easy on the digestion as they do not overtax the system. Researchers at Duke Health found that smaller meals are more optimal for digestion, as it allows better energy expenditure and blood sugar levels. (1) If your digestion needs help, try consuming six small meals a day, each with a protein or starch and vegetables. Eat fruit alone for quick digestion and assimilation. Many who follow this type of eating report surges in energy levels as well as better digestion and metabolism.

Supplemental Nutrition

If you are experiencing impaired digestion, it will be difficult for your body to digest and use the nutrients from your diet. If this is the case, liquid food supplements are easier for the body to assimilate, allowing you to take advantage of the full nutrient profile. For some people, increasing nutrients like vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients provide the building blocks for a stronger digestive system, which can lead to optimal health.

Move Your Body

Exercise increases blood flow, and helps your digestive system remain active. This is because when blood flow is stimulated, it includes the blood flow throughout the digestive tract. This means more digestive fluids and more movement without the sluggishness that a sedentary lifestyle can bring. And the best part is that research shows that exercise improves gastric emptying for those who suffer from nausea or bloating after eating. (2)

Stress Management

Stress creates physical reactions in the body that may interfere with digestion. For example, the stress reaction can cause a decrease of blood flow and oxygen to the stomach, which may create an imbalance in the gut microbiome. In addition, chronic stress promotes digestive problems and has similar effects of diets that are high in unhealthy fats. (3) Incorporating stress management practices into your daily routine such as meditation or journaling can go a long way in helping your body manage stress better.

Conclusion

Improve your body and mind with practices that support healthy digestion. Remember that health begins in the kitchen, and an overall healthy lifestyle is the best way to maintain good health, so you can enjoy life more fully.

References:

1 Sheena Faherty December 16, & Faherty, S. (2014, December 16). Small, Frequent Meals are Better for Your Metabolism. Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://www.dukehealth.org/blog/small-frequent-meals-are-better-your-metabolism

2 Evans, G., Watson, P., Shirreffs, S., & Maughan, R. (2015). The Effect of Exercise Intensity on Subsequent Gastric Emptying Rate in Humans. IJSNEM International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

3 Foster JA, Rinaman L, Cryan JF. Stress & the gut-brain axis: Regulation by the microbiome. Neurobiol Stress. 2017;7:124-136. Published 2017 Mar 19. doi:10.1016/j.ynstr.2017.03.001

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Zinc and Why it is Important for Health

Why zinc? Our bodies have a line of defense against bacteria, virus and other pathogens known as the immune system. Having immunity against microorganisms that can harm us depends upon whether our lifestyles support health or work against us. When in a weakened state, we become more susceptible to microorganisms that can make us sick.

But, just like any other bodily system, the immune system can be supported with a healthy lifestyle and superior nutrition, allowing it to function at its best. And when we fall short, zinc may be one way to help support the immune system.

What is Zinc?

Zinc is a nutrient that the body needs to function properly and is classified as an essential mineral or essential trace element. This means it is essential we get this particular mineral from our diet, through nutritious food sources. And while many foods are touted for their nutritional content, it pays to be choosey because highly processed, fried foods and foods cooked at high temperatures may naturally lose their mineral content.

Zinc in Your Diet

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of zinc is 8 mg for adult females and 11 mg for adult males, with certain groups such as pregnant women, requiring slightly more. Luckily you can get zinc from a variety of food sources including:

  • Oysters
  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Shellfish
  • Beans
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Fortified bread

Oysters come in at the highest amount of zinc with 74 mg per serving. The next highest is beef chuck roast at 7 mg per serving, with all the other foods being significantly less. The trick to zinc intake is to get a steady amount into your daily diet; a task that proves to be more difficult than it seems.

Most people do not consume oysters on a daily basis, while others may be vegetarians or vegans, making it a little more challenging to get the RDA of this all-important mineral. At the same time, foods such as fortified cereals or breads contain synthetic zinc, yet not all of these are digestible. For example, zinc oxide comes back with mixed study results, while other forms like zinc gluconate are merely a chemical substitute for the true mineral. But plant-based forms of zinc may be the most absorbable as it is in a more natural state.

Zinc and Your Body

Zinc plays many roles in our health and is found in every cell of the body. It is required for healthy digestion and metabolism, nerve function, skin health and even protein production. It plays a role in cell growth and division and most importantly for many people today, it supports immune function.

The role that zinc plays in immunity is one reason why many throat lozenges and over-the-counter cold remedies contain this important element. While many studies have been done, a 1998 review of these suggested that zinc was indeed helpful for reducing the severity and duration of cold symptoms.

Chronic internal inflammation is a problem for many people with busy lifestyles, and results from risk factors like stress, poor diet, certain medications and sedentary lifestyles. Surprisingly, older adults who used zinc supplements were able to reduce inflammatory markers, one of the only ways to measure the risk of chronic inflammation. (1) This may be why zinc also seems to be an effective mineral to support immune health since inflammation has an effect on immunity.

Zinc Deficiency

Some people are deficient in zinc because either their diet does not include zinc rich foods or digestive issues inhibit absorption of the mineral. Pregnant women, older adults and women who are breastfeeding are at the highest risk of zinc deficiency. And for those who breastfeed, a zinc deficiency may pass to the nursing infant.

Some researchers find that zinc deficiency is prevalent in populations of low animal protein consumption and increased cereal consumption. (2) Vegans and vegetarians have lower levels of zinc because their diets lack meat and fish. But adding to the problem is that while they may eat more mineral-rich beans than non-vegetarians, phytates in beans, legumes, nuts and seeds can impair digestion and make it difficult to absorb the small amounts of zinc that they do consume. Soaking these foods before consuming them may help lessen this problem.

Others who may be at risk for zinc deficiency include those with Chrohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and alcohol addiction because they may not sufficiently absorb zinc from their diet. Also, at risk are those with pancreatic disease, celiac disease, diabetes or chronic liver disease. Signs of zinc deficiency includes the following:

  • Hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Poor immunity
  • Eye and skin lesions
  • Slow wound healing

Zinc Supplements

Many people use zinc supplements to enhance their diets, especially if they have one of the above risk factors such as digestive problems. Supplementation is also popular during cold and flu season as a natural way to support the immune system. But be wary of zinc in many over-the-counter throat lozenges or syrups as it may be a form that is difficult for the body to use.

For best absorption, zinc supplements are most effective when taken within two hours after a meal and in liquid form. And if you are using it to ward of a cold or flu, enhanced supplements that include a plant-based form of zinc along with vitamin C and herbs like elderberry may offer additional immune support.

Conclusion

In today’s world of uncertainty, stress becomes the norm, wreaking havoc on digestion and our immune systems, while superbugs seem to be more prominent. Doing all you can to support your body can help you stay strong and better protect you from harmful pathogens. Support your health with a wholesome diet, daily exercise, rest and supplementation when you need to ensure you stay healthy through any season.

References:

1 Bao B, Prasad AS, Beck FW, et al. Zinc decreases C-reactive protein, lipid peroxidation, and inflammatory cytokines in elderly subjects: a potential implication of zinc as an atheroprotective agent. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(6):1634–1641. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28836

2 Roohani N, Hurrell R, Kelishadi R, Schulin R. Zinc and its importance for human health: An integrative review. J Res Med Sci. 2013;18(2):144–157.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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What is Low Immunity and What Can I do About it?

Low immunity means your immune system, your protection against illness, is not working as well as it should. Also known as a weakened immune system, it may be a result of illness or unhealthy lifestyle factors. Some indications of low immunity include:

  • Frequent colds and flus
  • Frequent infections
  • Constant allergies
  • Bruise easily
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Slow wound healing

The causes of low immunity are often due to a number of factors. Aside from cancer treatments and medications that can lead to suppressed immunity, a weakened immune response may be attributed to unhealthy lifestyle factors, such as:

  • Poor diet that does not include enough fruits and vegetables
  • Frequent alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Too much sugar
  • Lack of stress management skills

How to Support or Enhance a Low Immune System

Luckily, it is possible to enhance a lowered immune system with some lifestyle adjustments, and we all have the power to make these changes to become proactive players in our health. Some easy changes include altering the diet to support immunity, using nutritional supplements, adopting a small amount of daily exercise and curbing bad habits like smoking and alcohol consumption.

Incorporating many smaller changes can add up to an overall improvement in overall health and immune response. The following are just a few health promoting lifestyle changes to incorporate if you feel you are experiencing low immunity.

What to do About Low Immunity

Diet is one area where we enjoy the most control. Diet changes may seem daunting at first, but you don’t have to make all the changes at once. While some people do better with a complete overhaul, many find that incorporating small changes is more manageable. Small changes may help you create good habits without too much effort.

For example, abstain from eating restaurant and fast food for a while. Instead, replace your favorite foods with a healthier, homemade version. This allows you to control the amount of sugar and other ingredients that can inhibit immunity. At the same time, making your own foods allows you to use fresh ingredients, which have a higher nutritional value to support a healthier immune response.

Center your meals and snacks around fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins and whole grains. Whole foods that are less processed will provide more nutrients, aid your digestive system and support overall health. And since many pathogens end up in the gut, a healthy digestive system is imperative for a healthy immune response.

Exercise can help boost immunity. It increases circulation, which transports more oxygen and nutrients to all areas of your body, increasing the ability of your immune system to work. Increased body temperature as a result of exercise can help the body fight infections, and exercise also reduces stress hormones that can suppress immunity. (1) And it also appears that regular exercise helps increase the activity of cells that keep bacteria and other pathogens at bay. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise, four to five days each week.

Nutritional Supplements are common home remedies for many who are proactively taking charge of their health. Many herbs have been used in traditional healing practices around the world for centuries and still hold true today, for good reason. They help many people feel healthier and more resilient during cold and flu season and, for some, even help shorten the amount of time they experience symptoms when they do get sick.

Some of the nutritional supplements that are used include elderberry, echinacea, goldenseal, zinc and vitamin C. They may be sold in a combination supplement or used individually. Most professional nutritional experts agree that a combination of these along with a healthy diet and plenty of rest are the best way to help boost a weakened immune system.

Hydrate your body for peak health, as our bodies are comprised of mainly water and fluids. Waste is carried out of the body through lymphatic fluid while nutrients are transported to all areas of the body through the circulatory system.

Lymph is the fluid that travels through your lymphatic system, which plays a major role in your immune system. Lymph transports oxygen through the body, helps remove waste materials, and transports white blood cells that neutralize or eliminate pathogens. It is mainly composed of water, and so relies on water intake to fully function. But improper hydration can result in a sluggish lymphatic system, which also means a sluggish immune response.

To ensure you are properly hydrated, aim to drink 25-50% of your body weight in ounces of fresh, pure water. Also eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as they contain their own water and help keep you hydrated while providing necessary electrolytes. For an added boost, try daily exercise as it helps hydrate your body while increasing circulation and improving electrolyte levels.

Stress Management is essential for overall health and proper immune function. Stress causes chemical changes in the body, affecting all facets of health including digestion and metabolism. Some stress is completely normal and natural as the body can readily bounce back into proper homeostasis. But prolonged stress can cause prolonged chemical changes that affect your health in a negative way.

Unchecked stress can alter gut bacteria leading to a lack of beneficial bacteria that is necessary for a healthy immune response. It also diverts blood away from your digestive tract and sends more to the brain and limbs for quick thinking and fleeing. But this further weakens digestion, metabolism and immune response. Lastly, stress puts strain on the circulatory system which can result in a greater risk for coronary heart disease.

To counter stress reactions, use active stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation or biofeedback. Yoga is used by many for stress relief and exercise. It is said the poses used during a session increases blood flow to certain organs while the practice of controlled breathing is a natural stress reliever. Meditation is widely used to reduce stress and even helps reduce anxiety and panic attacks. (2) Biofeedback is a way to become more aware of your physical responses to stress, possibly allowing you more control over them. (3)

Conclusion

Low immunity is a state that can be improved with healthy lifestyle choices. Fortunately, diet, exercise, proper hydration, nutritional supplements and stress management are all lifestyle factors within your control, and using them to your advantage can help you live and enjoy life while supporting a strong immune system.

References:

1 Exercise and immunity: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (2020, February 4). Retrieved February 15, 2020, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm

2 Carmody, James & Baer, Ruth. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of behavioral medicine. 31. 23-33. 10.1007/s10865-007-9130-7.

3 Ratanasiripong P, Kaewboonchoo O, Ratanasiripong N, Hanklang S, Chumchai P. Biofeedback Intervention for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression among Graduate Students in Public Health Nursing. Nurs Res Pract. 2015;2015:160746. doi:10.1155/2015/160746

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Immune System Alerts: What Low Immunity Looks Like

Your immune system is your protection from pathogens that can lead to illness and disease. It is comprised of a vast network of organs, glands and vessels that work together to keep you well and healthy. With a myriad of different types of white blood cells, it can neutralize, kill or remove substances like bacteria, pathogens and even cancer-causing carcinogens.

The immune system helps removes toxins that invade from the environment as well as waste created by your own metabolic processes. But sometimes things go wrong.

Many factors, both internal and external, may contribute to low immunity, which may also be referred to as an impaired or weak immune system. An impaired immune system may be a result of a number of factors such as medications, poor diet or medical treatments like chemotherapy.

Immune System Alerts

When your immune system is not working well you will get sick more often. But there are different types of immune problems including the following:

  • Low or weak immune system in which one gets sick more often than what is considered normal
  • Suppressed or compromised immunity due to a known reason, such as the use of steroids or chemotherapy drugs
  • Immune deficiency happens to those with a severely weakened immune system due heredity or genetics, or may be acquired during a severe illness like AIDS

Suppressed immunity or immune deficiency conditions can be pinpointed to a particular illness, heredity or external factors like medications. But weak or low immunity can arise from a number of factors and can often be remedied with healthy lifestyle changes.

What Low Immunity Looks Like

Experiencing low immunity means that one has a poor or sluggish immune response. This can put you at risk to develop illnesses like flus and colds more often than others. But worse, it can make you susceptible to other health issues like parasitic infections and even cancer. Some symptoms that may be indicative of low immunity include the following:

  1. Frequent colds and flus occur in those with low immunity. When you get sick, your body must make antibodies to fight the bugs that cause the illness. But a weak immune system either has difficulty making enough antibodies or making them as quickly as needed. This results in you getting sick more often or never quite recovering from the previous illness.
  2. Four or more ear infections in a one-year period is a sign that your body cannot fully fight the infection that is causing the problem. Ear infections are caused by both virus and bacteria and often stem from an upper respiratory invader that is behind the bacterial or viral infection.
  3. The need for two rounds of antibiotics in a one-year period is a sign the body is not able to fight a bacterial infection without help. This may be due to a number of factors that could include lifestyle choices like a poor diet or smoking.
  4. Gastrointestinal problems often occur in those with weakened immunity. Your immune system relies on the health of your gut, including your stomach, intestines and colon. If this environment is unhealthy or compromised, your immune system will have a difficult time functioning. This is just one reason why diet and other lifestyle choices have such a profound effect on your health.
  5. Poor response to treatments for infections could be a sign of low immunity. Some treatments assist the body to fight infection so the patient can get well sooner. But if your body is not responding, it could be that the immune system is too weak to help fight the infection.
  6. Chronic sinus infections may stem from airborne substances that create allergies. But if you feel that you are susceptible to more than your fair share of allergy problems you might be experiencing low immunity.
  7. Partial or extended recovery from illness means your body takes longer to heal than the average person. When the immune system is functioning properly, the body can often fight illness and recover within two weeks or less. Taking longer may mean your body is struggling to keep up as it takes longer to create the necessary antibodies to heal.
  8. Infections where they are not commonly found may indicate low immunity. For example, a yeast infection is more common to the genital area, but may be found in the mouth (known as thrush). This happens as the infection overwhelms the area where it originates, while the weakened immune system is too sluggish to contain it. The infection is then allowed to spread and inhabit other parts of the body.
  9. Constant fatigue is common with those who have lowered immunity. That’s because your body is attempting to divert energy into the recovery process, which is why rest is an important factor of healing. At the same time, if your lifestyle is overly filled with work, stress and too much physical activity with not enough time for rest, your immune system will suffer from exhaustion.
  10. Slow wound recovery is common for those who have a weakened immune system. When we think of the immune system, we often think of colds and flus. But, when you injure your skin with a burn, cut or other wound, your body relies on healthy immune cells to fight any infection. Fresh blood is sent to the wound to carry immune cells to the wound along with nutrient-rich blood for healing and regeneration. A sluggish immune system will have a difficult time with this process so the wound may take longer to heal.

Infections, colds, flus and other types of common illness may be contracted by anyone. However, one with a lowered immunity may experience these more frequently as the immune system does not respond as it should, allowing bacteria and virus to continue to multiply or thrive. Lowered immunity can leave you open to a host of other illnesses, too, that can compromise your health even more over time.

How to Deal with Lowered Immunity

There are some things you can do to help boost your immunity such as:

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep
  • Exercise daily
  • Consume a nutritious diet with less sugar and junk food
  • Use nutritional supplements during times of stress or during cold and flu season
  • Don’t smoke
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Use stress reduction techniques

Your immune system is your protection from disease and key for good health. Incorporating more healthy lifestyle choices will help keep your immune system strong, allowing you to enjoy better health well into your golden years.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/