Keeping Healthy This Winter

It may have been a warmish October in places, but November?

We’re feeling the chill in the air and the cold, wet weather seems to have finally come upon us.

For many people this change is not a big deal.

This is particularly true for those that are young, fit and healthy.

However, for those with weakened immune systems and older adults (especially those over the age of 65), this change in the weather can lead to serious health conditions and health deterioration.

Yet there are some things that you can do to help prevent this!

[1] If you are older, make sure that you keep yourself warm. This can include wearing an extra layer, or even turning up the heating.

Heating your home can be expensive, but please, if you can, do, and if you can’t afford to, please ask for help.

It’s understandable that you might not want to, but not doing so can worsen conditions such as arthritis and isn’t very good for your circulation either.

[2] Make sure that you’re getting enough water! It’s really easy to let this one slip by in the winter, particularly when it’s cold outside and you keep the water in the fridge! However, it’s still important.

Drinking water will not only help keep your skin from getting dry, but it will also help keep your body healthy.

Your body cannot do anything without water, so give it a helping hand.

[3] Try to pioneer a healthy lifestyle. It’s even more important in the winter to fuel yourself on healthy foods and to partake in regular exercise.

Both of these things help to boost your immunity and will help you when it comes to fighting off those nasty bugs, colds and flu’s that travel around.

Most importantly, don’t forget to look after those close to you.

If you know an elderly person that lives on there own, please check on them and make sure that they are ok.

The Importance of Dental Hygiene

beta glucanWhen you think of dental hygiene, your mind probably takes you to a place filled with dentist’s chairs and fillings.

You don’t however think of the impact that your dental health has on your immune system and the implications that bad dental hygiene can have, (that is besides the extra fillings and tooth removals!)

Think of it this way; Your mouth contains more than 500 different types of bacteria species in it at any one time.

These bacteria easily get in between your teeth and form a film over your gums every time that you open your mouth, eat or breath.

The only thing that is stopping them from entering your body entirely is your saliva.

The saliva in your mouth contains lots of antibodies.

This is what stops you from getting sick all of the time (the mouth being a super easy entrance for unwanted infections and virus’!).

However, when you are feeling run down, or have a pre-diagnosed condition such as diabetes or an autoimmune deficiency, the number of antibodies in the saliva becomes reduced.

For this reason, it is important to stop the bacteria and build up of plaque in the mouth with good dental hygiene so that not only will you not have to deal with the painful dental treatments, but also so that you will reduce your chances of getting sick.

In addition to the affect that dental hygiene has on the immune system, the mouth is also a huge window into telling us about the human body and your health in general.

Most people may not realize that their saliva alone can tell doctors about stress responses, hormonal imbalances, antibodies and even tell if a person has HIV or not.

So, next time that your dragging your feet and postponing going to the dentist, think twice.

Flu Vaccination

beta glucanIt’s that time of year again, when all those pesky flus and colds jump back on the scene and threaten to make you feel ill.

However, a lot is being done to prevent the spread of flu and colds, particularly to those who are most vulnerable to infectious illnesses and the complications that can sometimes occur.

Namely, this is done via the flu jab.

Presently the flu jab is available to those over 65, pregnant women, adults with prior health conditions and those with weakened immune systems.

Despite there being no guarantee that the vaccine is 100% effective at preventing flu and it’s various symptoms, it has been incredibly effective at reducing the chance of someone that had been vaccinated against flu catching it in the future.

It’s high success rate is due to the fact that it contains an inactive version of the flu.

As the vaccine contains an inactive version of the virus, it is thereby it impossible to catch even a weakened version of the flu from the vaccine.

Instead your immune system is exposed to a safe version I of the virus, enabling it to produce the correct antibodies straight away, and preventing the vaccinated individual from contracting it in the future.

Although you will not contract the flu from the vaccine, it is possible that having the vaccination will cause some side affects.

These side affects range from a heightened temperature to muscle aches and pains.

It is still however recommended that those in the at risk categories do have the injection.

This way, it will prevent any future complications.

Dealing With Seasonal Change

beta glucanYou may not have spent the summer lounging around in the sun, drinking pina colada’s and listening to the sea as the sun sets a deep red over the ocean, but the sudden darkness and chill that October brings with it can come as a bit of a shock to anyone.

Not only this, but a lot of people actually blame this sudden change in weather on their health complaints.

More often than not, people will complain that they are feeling run down and not themselves this time of year, but is their any truth to it being because of the weather change, or is it something else?

Well, although cold temperature in itself cannot make you sick, the change in weather can put extra strain on your body.

If you spent the summer eating fruit and exercising, then you are probably less at risk when the weather changes of succumbing to this extra strain.

However, if you spent it lounging by the pool, drinking alcohol and eating junk food, then you may.

The main reason for this difference? Your immune system.

When your body undergoes a lot of stress, the immune system gets weakened.

This does not only have to be mental stress either, it can also mean environmental.

So, when the weather changes and the environmental stress reaches it’s pinnacle, your bodies natural defence gets weakened.

When your immune system is in it’s weakened state, probably helped along by lifestyle choices and other factors, it is more susceptible to germs and illness.

So, yes the change in weather can actually make you feel run down and ill.

However, not all is lost! If you know that you get sick during seasonal changes make sure that you are doing everything that you can for your body.

Eat healthily, drink lots of fluids, exercise and if that’s not enough, try out our Beta Glucan 500.

Hopefully then Autumn will bring you changing colours and surroundings instead of a nasty cold!

Treating Eczema

beta glucanEczema can be a horrible affliction, especially when it continues well into adulthood.

Usually a skin condition that affects children, eczema affects patches of skin, usually behind the knees, on the elbows and around the eyes and ears.

As well as causing the skin to become inflamed and red, be very dry, and often cracked it can also be incredibly itchy.

When you take into consideration that this skin problem is around already sensitive areas such as the eyes and ears, you can only imagine the discomfort.

However, it can be treated, and statistics show that in 65% of all childhood cases of eczema clear up by the time the individual turns 16.

This is great news for any parents that are worried about their children with eczema.

We know that your immune system gets weaker when you are under a lot of stress, are eating badly and in an unfavorable environment, but it’s lesser known that eczema can be triggered by  hormonal changes and even genetics, although it hasn’t yet been discovered why it is genetic yet.

However, once you have undergone a consultation with your GP they should be able to give you some cream to help clear it up, and if it’s serious they may give you some oral medication too.

Yet, there are some natural things that you can try too. These include:

  • Eating more probiotic foods like yoghurt, ginger beer, and miso.
  • Using a thin layer of coconut oil to treat the affected area (if you are not sensitive to coconut oil that is!)
  • Take cod liver oil supplements at least once per day.
  • Try not to scratch the affected area, it will make it more inflamed and may break the skin.
  • Try to find out what is irritating your skin (if there is anything) and avoid it the best you can, sometimes the best cure is prevention!

A Problem Shared

beta glucanHave you ever felt like you could cry and scream and punch something all at the same time?

Like there is a fire burning inside of you that you can’t escape and almost it feels like your heart will pop out of your chest?

These are probably the times that you least want to talk to someone, where you least want to let someone else in.

However, they are also the times where this will probably help you the most.

When having a cup of tea and a chat with a close friend or family member can help you to look at the things that you are struggling with objectively, and sort through them in a productive way.

Sometimes, your friends don’t even have to say anything. More often than not, just speaking about what is bothering us and what we are struggling with helps us to find the solutions ourselves.

Yet, when we are unable to find the solutions, sometimes we do need another person there, who can guide us and help us to see things from a different perspective.

Talking about your problems not only helps you to sort through what is going on in your head but it also helps with stress.

Stress is one of the main things that causes your immune system to slow down, so avoiding and reducing high-stress situations is important not only for your mental well-being, but for your physical well-being too.

By sharing how you feel and sorting through the things on your mind you may not get rid of the problem altogether, in fact, a lot of the time the only thing that you will really do is find a different perspective to the problem which helps you to relieve it in your mind.

Not only is talking to an effective way to help you de-stress, but it is natural, free and helps build intimacy too.

Who said talking about things was bad?

Getting Outside

beta glucanAs the days begin to get shorter, and the air turns cooler, it can seem all too tempting to curl up inside and hide from the world.

However, getting outside can be a great way to boost your energy, as well as your mental and physical health. More than that though, it can also help boost your immunity.

In 2009 a study was completed and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, stating that the closer that people live to nature (streams, woodland, grass land), the more healthy you are and the less likely that you are to be depressed or have high levels of anxiety.

Primarily it is thought that this is because by exposing yourself to nature and being outside you are increasing your vitamin D levels, and because of the natural light, the more time that you spend outside, the more you are able to regulate your body clock.

By regulating your body clock, you are helping your body to fall asleep naturally, which in turn helps you to recharge and feel more healthy and awake. This is good news for your immunity too.

By taking time out of your busy schedule to go outside and take in the environment, you are also taking time for yourself.

This gives us a break from technology and the hectic nature of our every day lives and lets our minds breath.

It might not seem very important but it is in these brief moments when we are alone and are able to get in touch with what is around us, where we are able to reflect on what has happened in our lives as well as the future without getting caught up on worrying that we are able to become centered.

Being centered helps to focus the mind and the body, helping you to become more healthy and helping you to decide that is what you want to be.

The Health Benefits Of Tea

teaTea is often seen from the outside as the staple of British life, and in most instances, it probably is.

Regardless of if the tea is “English Breakfast Tea” or green tea, it can be found in most people’s cupboards – and this is fantastic news for our wellbeing, as tea is a fantastic antioxidant and contains lots of health boosting properties!

The antioxidant properties that tea contains are important primarily because they remove the toxins from our blood stream.

These toxins can be anything from environmental pollution to alcohol, and when they are present in our blood stream they can damage cells, leading to illnesses such as cancer.

This is not to say that tea is a cure for cancer at all, but theoretically eating and drinking things with antioxidant properties reduce the amount of toxins in our blood stream therefore reducing the chance of illness, much like when Beta Glucan activates the immune system it enables it to work at a higher level.

Antioxidants are also important in keeping your skin looking healthy.

It’s hard to believe that many people spend lots of money on moisturisers and facial cleansers that claim to be able to reduce wrinkles and keep skin looking healthy, but are completely unaware that what they put into their bodies has a major effect too.

By flushing out all of the toxins from your skin, antioxidants can also make your skin look healthier and cleaner, preventing breakouts and leaving you with healthy looking skin.

Of course, tea also has other health benefits.

Green tea has been proven to help boost exercise endurance, can help fight free radicals (which can damage the bodies DNA), and can help to keep you hydrated.

There are also lots of different types of teas, particularly green teas that are mixed with other herbs that can help keep you awake, or even help you sleep.

It’s an easy and inexpensive habit to pick up, so why not grab a cup of tea, it’s good for you.

Where Do Allergies Come From?

allergiesOne minute you’re perfectly fine.

You’re able to eat nuts and gluten and milk, but the next?

You’re intolerant or you’ve developed an allergy.

Of course, it’s true that some people know from a young age that they are allergic or intolerant to a food or drink, but it doesn’t always work that way, and when it doesn’t it can be particularly dangerous, especially with severe reactions.

But how do allergies develop? Are they a sign of general ill health? And are their any steps that you can take to help prevent yourself from developing allergies, or from any existing allergies from getting worse?

The general consensus when it comes to allergies is that the problem exists within the immune system. The allergic reaction, usually physical such as a rash, swollen throat, itchy ears, sneezing and watery eyes is your bodies way of saying that something is wrong, that there is an intruder entering your body that shouldn’t be there.

As the body thinks that there is something bad entering it, it therefore violently tries to reject it, namely as a method of protecting you. However, nuts for example aren’t bacteria, and are not going to make you sick.

The bodies reaction is an overreaction, and this is because the immune system is overreacting to the stimuli (in this case nuts), regardless of if it is actually dangerous or not.

The reaction takes place because the macrophage cells can become activated by anything, and when these cells become sensitised to anything (including dust, pollen and food or drink) allergic reactions can occur.

The macrophage cells are also the reason that you can be perfectly fine eating something one day, and then the next day have a reaction. Once the macrophage cell recognises the substance that has triggered its sensitisation beforehand, it will react more to it the second or third time causing physical symptoms.

The only thing that you can really do to fix this is to help regulate your immune system.

Your immune system is heavily dependent on your lifestyle, so the more healthy you are, the better your general wellbeing and more active your immune system is at targeting threats without overreacting to external stimuli.

How Your Immune System Works

your_immune_systemWhen somebody says “immunity” or “Oh! Your immune system must be down” we can assume that they mean our body’s defences are low, and therefore we are more susceptible to illnesses and disease.

But how this system works often goes under the radar, with not many people really understanding how they can boost it up, or why boosting their immune system is important.

However, understanding the way that it works can lead you to make better choices regarding your diet and lifestyle, and make you feel a lot better too!

The immune system is a great defender of our health.

By this, I mean that it is the bodies’ mechanism for keeping diseases and illnesses at bay.

Of course, if everyone’s immune systems worked at their optimal level, we would never get sick.

Unfortunately, diet and lifestyle choices mean that a lot of the time, the mechanism that protects us is unable to work at its optimal level, and because of this it lets pathogens (the nasty bacteria, virus or organisms that make you sick) slip past it’s defences causing you to become ill.

When pathogens slip past it’s defences, the immune system is also the system responsible for making you feel well after being ill.

Again, if your immune system is weak, this process will take a lot longer, even for simple illnesses like colds.

But how does it work?

Well, when a pathogen enters your body, its main aim is to reproduce itself.

At this point the pathogen is a teeny tiny cell, and it needs to take over your body and make you sick to survive.

Fortunately for us however, there are cells that make up part of our immune systems’ called macrophages.

These macrophages pretty much patrol our bodies’ looking for anything out of the ordinary, or an “intruder”.

A majority of the time these “intruders” are pathogens, however, sometimes things such as pollen or anything that is an allergen can be identified as such.

When they find these pathogen cells, they immediately aim to destroy them.

If they are unable to destroy them, then the immune system goes into its secondary phase of producing extra T and B cells.

At this point you will probably feel the illness taking a hold, but they do work to fight it as soon as they can, and collect data so that the same bacteria will not be able to harm you again.

Pretty fantastic right?