Your Immune System Is Your First Line of Defence

immune_system

Your immune system is the body’s first line of defence against any dangerous pathogens or bacteria that have entered your body. Without your immune system these pathogens would spread around your body quite rapidly making you ill. It is therefore, one of the most important parts of the body’s protective system, making it integral to keep it working at an optimal level.

There are however, many things that can affect your immune system and that stop it from working as well as it should, such as aging (your immune system naturally declines as you grow older), mental and physical stresses, and environmental factors. As well as this, your immune system can also be weakened by exposure to various types of radiation such as x-ray, UV, gamma and cosmic rays, especially when flying long distances, an unhealthy lifestyle, bad eating habits, existing illnesses and certain treatments for illnesses. By looking at these factors, it is apparent that some of them are unavoidable, however it is important to realise that they do play a big part in our wellbeing, so making healthy choices is imperative!

Sometimes however, it is not a weak immune system that is the problem, instead it can be an imbalance in the immune system that causes the body to overreact. This imbalance in the immune system is the source of allergic reactions. When an allergen enters the body, the immune system acts as if it was a dangerous pathogen, overreacting and trying to destroy it by producing lots of antibodies. The overproduction of antibodies thus leads to a tightening of muscles, sneezing and itching, all traits that we have come to recognise as an allergic reaction.

Thus, both a weakened and imbalanced immune system can cause the body to act in dramatic ways, leading to illness and physical reactions. However living a healthy life can help these effects on the immune system. Positive changes include eating healthily, exercising more and avoiding long distance flights. Beta Glucan also helps by activating the immune system helping it to work at an optimal level, avoiding imbalances and weaknesses that could result in you getting sick.

 

Mental Health Awareness

mental_health_awarenessWhen we say the word “health” many things spring to mind, such as exercise, healthy eating, and the avoidance of illness. However, last Monday, the 20th of January, was dubbed as 2014’s “Blue Monday”. “Blue Monday” is apparently the most “depressing” day of the year, and with the cold, dark weather outside it seems hardly surprising. However, despite this day not really carrying much weight psychologically (there is no proof that this day is any more depressing than any other day in January), and has been labelled a type of pseudoscience by academics, it can be argued that it does have a deeper significance in building awareness and breaking down barriers surrounding mental health.

Mental health is still something that is still largely ignored or stigmatised by society, making people feel uncomfortable or unable to speak out about their experiences and making it difficult for them to seek help. However, pushing it to the forefront of the public consciousness through “Blue Monday” is definitely a step in the right direction, although I would argue that it needs to be highlighted for more than one day a year, and in a way that takes mental health issues like depression seriously and doesn’t just label being ‘blue’ or mildly upset along with depressed.

According to the NHS website, around 1 in 4 people experience some type of mental health issue throughout their lives. The mental health foundation (mentalhealth.org.uk) have expanded upon this sharing that the most common mental health issue in Britain is a mixture of anxiety and depression, and, of these people, more women are more likely to have been treated for mental health problems relating to anxiety and depression than men.  This indicates that despite women being more able to speak out about issues that they have been having and being comfortable enough to seek the professional help they need (perhaps after talking to friends and family), men still aren’t.

One of the main reasons for this is perhaps the social expectation’s of what it is to be a man and not talking about emotional issues that they may be going through with support systems that may or may not be in place, but it is also due to the types of mental health issues that affect men and women and how they affect the genders differently. The National Institute for clinical excellence have even suggested that the number of men being diagnosed with depression is lower than women because when they do go to the doctor with concerns, the symptoms that they have of depression physiologically present different.

Regardless of gender or social expectations and pressures however, we have to talk about mental illnesses and take them seriously, for a healthy body is only good thing when accompanied by a healthy mind.

Why a Healthy Breakfast Equals a Healthy Life!

Next week is farmhouse breakfast week, an entire week dedicated to the importance of breakfast. Don’t roll your eyes either! healthy_breakfast

With this in mind, it is amazing that one in six adults skip breakfast on a regular basis, preferring instead to stock up on chocolate, sweets and midmorning coffee to boost their energy levels. Now this is not surprising. When we sleep we go for hours and hours without any food, and we don’t need it. By virtue of sleeping we are giving our brains and our bodies much needed rest. But when we wake up, we immediately start using our brains and our bodies to complete even the simplest of tasks. By the time we get to work, we feel drained and exhausted because we haven’t refueled properly and therefore reach for the instantaneous energy – chocolate and coffee.

But, by eating a proper breakfast we can actually make ourselves feel better. By rebalancing our sugar levels in the morning, we can change our mood from groggy to uplifted, ‘refuel’ our energy tanks for the days activities causing us to snack less and therefore cutting down on the chances of obesity and improve our memory and concentration.  Of course, some breakfast foods are better than others.

Pop Tarts and Lucky Charms probably aren’t the best things to reach for in the morning. They are filled with sugars and sweeteners, and even though they will provide the instantaneous energy and provide a better start to the day than eating nothing, there are so manybetter options. Oats for example are a fantastic breakfast food as they give out energy slowly, releasing it throughout the day. They also keep you fuller for longer, and can be topped with milk and fruit, perfect for topping up on your calcium and vitamin levels. Eggs, boiled, scrambled or poached are a great option too, as they provide you with lots of protein and vitamins as well as being low in fat. Even whizzing up some milk and fruit in a blender counts.

So, if you didn’t think breakfast was important, think again. Eating breakfast can make you happier, more energetic and focused, helping you to achieve a healthier more productive lifestyle.

Take Our 2 Week Challenge To Boost Your Immune System

beat glucan 500What is the 2-week challenge? 

Here at Nature and Life we have formulated a challenge to help kick start a healthy lifestyle with the aid of our Beta Glucan.  Our Beta Glucan is the purist on the market so is suitable for everyone to take, even if you have allergies. In fact, if you have allergies, we even recommend that you take Beta Glucan to help remedy your symptoms.

How do I do it?

All you have to do is to take either 1 or 2 tablets a day on an empty stomach. By taking it on an empty stomach you will ensure that the Beta Glucan works effectively. This is because our Beta Glucan works by activating your immune system so that the cells responsible for immunity have enough energy to remove the harmful toxins from your body, placing you in a better position to protect yourself from infectious, viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic diseases.

What will the effects be?

Due to the fact that our Beta Glucan is completely natural, the effects will not take place immediately. Instead you will feel small things changing in your body. With each tablet that you take you will be building up your immune system, making it more and more active and you less susceptible to sickness.

Should I take the challenge?

Yes! Even if you are a healthy individual, boosting your immune system is a good thing. It is suitable for everyone regardless of allergies (with the exception of people who have recently had an organ transplant).  It will also help people who have been through long periods of stress, are unable to live a healthy lifestyle, have been exposed to beta, gamma and x-rays or have been exposed to a pathogen, giving you a much needed boost to get you back on track.

Healthy Eating – Walnuts

When studying healthy eating we’ve all heard about the supposed health benefits of nuts, and how some of them are healthier than others, but it wasn’t until recently that I started to really research into walnuts and understand what makes them so special. healthy_eating_walnutsIn fact, it wasn’t until I started this research that I found out that they date back to 10, 000 BC, making them the oldest known food that originates from trees, or that they contain no cholesterol despite being packed full of fat (and calories!).

Perhaps the most interesting thing that I found however was the fact that despite the huge number of calories per serving of walnuts, they are actually great for diets, and can help you to lose weight because of their high nutritional profile and filling nature.

However, with all the benefits of this super food, there are some questions as to how much a person should eat, and the safety of consuming lots of walnuts frequently. The main concern is that walnuts contain high levels of oxalates (naturally occurring organic acids), and oxalates can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in the body. Yet, spinach also contains a high level of oxalates, and there seems to be little debate about the goodness that spinach holds. Thus, I think it’s safe to say, that the time honoured saying of everything in moderation definitely applies here.

The most talked about health benefit of walnuts however, is the effect that they have on the brain. Walnuts have been thought of for generations as brain food and for good reason. Walnuts are rich in omega 3, which promotes brain health, cognitive brain function and memory. This is great news for anybody that is going to be taking exams soon, as walnuts can  help to retain the facts you have worked so hard to remember, especially as they contain lots of energy promoting nutrients too.

So there you have it. Walnuts.

Walnuts have lots of great health benefits, are an amazing snack, boost energy levels and are great for your heart.

What’s not to love?

Get 2014 Off to a Great Start With a Healthy Mindset

2014 is here! It seems like only yesterday it was summer and everyone’s skin had a healthy glow. Now we find ourselves in that strange winter period after Christmas, when we have stuffed ourselves with as many minced pies and turkey sandwiches as our stomachs would take, blocking it out with promises to ourselves to go to the gym and cut out the sugar. But there is always that doubt in the back of our minds. “Last year it didn’t work – why will this year be any different?”great_start_2014

Well, I shall tell you why. Before you go to the gym (or not), or embark on any fad diet we are going to talk about maintaining a healthy mindset. A healthy mindset is the key to a healthy body, and maintaining a healthy body leads to increased immunity. So, whilst the gym is a great way of looking after your body physically, you need to know how to look after your mind too.

1. The first step towards having a healthy mindset is accepting yourself, flaws and all. If you go to the gym with the mentality of losing weight instead of getting fit and healthy, you may achieve your goal, but you will not be able to accept yourself as readily as if you accept yourself beforehand.

2. The same goes for dieting. Don’t diet because you think you’ve put on too much weight over Christmas, and don’t succumb to any fad diets either. In fact, erase the word diet from your mind. Eat healthily instead. Eat lots of super-foods and cut down on the sugary treats.

3. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Lots of New Years resolutions are made when comparing our lives to those of people that we admire. Our friends, acquaintances, even the fabulous looking lady on the bus! Just remember, they probably have the same hang-ups as you do.

4. Make time for loved ones. Many of us just don’t make time for our friends and family, and even when we do, we’re so plugged into the digital world that we become preoccupied with our Facebook feed or latest Instagram likes! Turn off your Internet and spend time interacting with real humans instead, social interaction is a fantastic way to relieve stress.

5. Get enough sleep! Not getting enough sleep not only reduces your concentration levels, but it is also responsible for lowered immunity. Not only will you feel less energetic but you are more at risk of illness too, so make sure that you get enough sleep!

And, if you still want to join the gym after all of that, then there is nothing stopping you, just as long as your doing it for the right reasons! Getting gym fit is a great resolution- you just have to stick to it.