This is the time of year when everyone is rushing out to get the Flu shot. Doctor offices are filled with people who are scared of getting sick. Getting a needle is much easier then changing your diet and making healthier choices…right?
Your immune system works hard for your 24/7, 365 days per year. It doesn’t get a break or a chance to take a vacation. Are you doing what you can to support your hard working immune system?
Ever wondered how your immune system actually works and what specific foods or nutrients can strengthen it. I can tell you one thing for sure…all the Vitamin C and Echinacea in the world won’t do it alone!
Grab a cup of Green Tea and read the story of your good ol’ immune system.
The immune centers of your body are located in the tonsils, thymus, spleen, and bone marrow. These are like the army command stations housing the first line of defense soldiers ready to fight against enemy invaders (bacteria).
From these command centers the soldiers (immune cells) cruise around your body, looking for the enemy invaders. The evil enemies are foreign bodies or antigens commonly disguised as viruses, bacteria and even pollen.
When the enemy (disease) is found by your army of immune cells, the method of attack depends both on the disease and on the particular immune cell.
Phagocytes, a type of white blood cell, are the front line killers and are sent to engulf, absorb, or eat the enemy invaders. Phagocytes make the enemy disappear by consuming the dead cells and play an important roll in allowing the war wounds to heal.
Lymphocytes, second in command, attack and destroy the disease enemy by creating antibodies and tag the cell with an antigen to be attacked later should there be another enemy invasion.
After defeating a particular disease, lymphocytes will keep a profile of the enemy and remember the disease throughout your life. Should it appear again, they will quickly eliminate it.
The memory effect of immune cells is the premise behind vaccines. A vaccine injects weakened antigens into the body so your immune system can practice remembering and attacking this weakened form of defense.
Vaccines are effective because whenever the same type of enemy disease enter your body; your immune system draws upon its memory to send out second in command lymphocyte soldiers to quickly defeat it. At some point though the soldiers are replaced and the profile isn’t passed down. It’s like your immune system gets a bit of dementia and forgets about the antigen. Vaccines are not life long!
In addition to quality sleep, reducing stress levels and exercising, there are certain micronutrients that can help your army of immune fighters. Unfortunately there is not one single vitamin or mineral that will strengthen your immune system, you need to get them all, so drowning yourself in only Vitamin C this winter won’t work.
Vitamin A plays a key role in production of white blood cells, vital for fighting off infection. Vitamin A foods include carrots, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin C can help boost the immune system, particularly in endurance athletes and those undergoing physical stress. Vitamin C foods include chilies, guavas, bell peppers, broccoli, papayas, and strawberries.
Zinc, among other immune functions, is necessary for the creation and activation of lymphocytes. Zinc has also been shown to help alleviate symptoms of the common cold, and may even accelerate the time to recovery. High zinc foods include Oysters, wheat germ, sesame seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, peanuts, and dark chocolate.
Vitamin D. Vitamin D, which is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight, signals an antimicrobial response to bacteria. Foods high in vitamin D are white mushrooms, cod liver oil, fish, Oysters and eggs. Vitamin D is fat-soluble which means you need fat to absorb it.
Here is an immune boosting Salmon Recipe for you to try out. Click the link below.
Grilled Salmon with Tomatoes & Basil
Have a great week and stay healthy.
In good health,
Cheryl Wahl, RHN
MoVember – Prostate Cancer Awareness
In this day and age everyone knows someone affected by cancer. With our modern diets full of foods high in unhealthy fats, refined simple sugars, high levels of sodium and toxic additives resulting in higher then normal levels of body fat we put ourselves at greater risk for developing life threatening but preventable diseases including cancer.
During the month of November hundreds of thousands Mo bro’s grow mustaches to raise awareness for prostate cancer and men’s health. Movember has become a movement raising over 125 million dollars towards various prostate cancer charities and men’s health initiatives.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among Canadian men. One in 7 men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime and one in 28 will die of it1. Research has proven that nutrition choices and exercise can reduce the development of inflammation, one of the most known causes of prostate cancer. Reducing your levels of inflammation will greatly decrease your risk of developing prostate cancer and other serious diseases. Inflammatory cells have been found in virtually all prostate cancer tissue that has been removed surgically.
Let’s try to understand the harmful effects of inflammation a bit better. Your body is like an army ready to wage war on anything that invades the system, specifically inflammation. Think of your immune system as the soldiers of the army, ready to fight on a moments notice. When there is an incoming threat from an enemy like bacteria or higher then normal levels of hormones, the soldiers mobilize and attack the harmful invader. The soldiers are actually your white blood cells and instead of bullets they release oxygen and nitrogen radicals to help kill the invaders.
The war zone occurs when you have a constant threat, excess body fat, poor nutrition choices, chronically high levels of stress, poor sleep and are taking in an overload of toxins from your environment. In order to protect the system, soldiers are left behind, and remain unchecked while the same beneficial oxygen radicals that are designed to kill the invaders can break down normal tissue and promote cancer cell growth.
Another war gone terribly wrong.
There is no ONE right way to reduce inflammation and oxidation in the body to bring down inflammation levels. Follow the do and don’t suggestions below to improve your nutrition choices and add in daily exercise so you can avoid your body having to wage an unnecessary war.
Do have 7 - 8 Servings Per Day of Antioxidant Rich Foods
Antioxidants are mostly found in colourful fruits and vegetables. You get the best bang for your buck when you eat them raw (except tomato products). A standard serving size is about 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked. Think of the size of a softball or your hand closed into a fist.
Organizing antioxidants by colour group is the easiest way to make sure you eat a variety of them.
Red - Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon
**Cooked tomatoes have more concentrated levels of lycopene
Red/Purple - Pomegranates, grapes, cranberries, plums, berries
**Inhibit inflammation and reduce bacteria in the urinary tract
Orange - Carrots, mangoes, apricots, cantaloupes, pumpkin, sweet potato
**Beneficial for eye sight
Orange/Yellow - Oranges, peaches, papaya, nectarines
**Avoid the juice (high in sugar), eat the fruit
Yellow/Green - Spinach, collard, yellow corn, green peas, avocado, honeydew melon
**Lowers risk of cataracts and macular degeneration
Green - Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, kale **Produces enzymes in liver that breaks down carcinogensWhite/Green - Garlic, onion, asparagus, shallots, leek, chives **Bacteria killing on a cellular level
There are a number of fruits and vegetables that don’t quite fit into the colour scheme that are health promotion and should still be eaten on a regular basis.
Celery: Contains salicylic acid which is the active ingredient in aspirin and has been used for centuries to reduce headaches.
Mushrooms: A group of plant foods with beneficial effects on the immune system at the level of the intestines.
Do Buy Your Fruits and Vegetables From The Local Farm.
The soil that the fruits and vegetables grow in matters. If the soil is sick, the vegetables and fruits will not provide you with the nutrients you need. You can tell if the produce had to take a trip to get to your supermarket by the colour of the fruit or vegetable. Out of season fruits and vegetables that are shipped into grocery stores have higher levels of pesticides and undergo a ripening process that changes the natural chemical structure of the fruit or vegetable.
Tomatoes for example, need to be firm to be shipped by truck. They are picked before they are ripe and undergo a ripening process where the helpless tomato is blasted with ethylene gas, a substance normally produced by the tomato as a signal to ripen. While artificially ripening, the lycopene compounds accumulate. When the artificial ripening process stops the formation of lycopene stops. The colour of store bought tomatoes is usually washed out compared to that of the farm tomato because of the shortened ripening process.
Do Build Strong Muscles
Resistance training for 30 - 60 minutes on most days of the week is the best way to reduce your levels of body fat, bring down inflammation and improve your body composition and metabolism. Lean muscle mass naturally decreases with age BUT by choose a combination of cardiovascular and resistance training exercises you can ensure that your body stays strong and healthy. Pick activities you like to do and schedule them into your daily routine. Part of building strong muscles is ensuring you get enough quality protein in your diet. It’s best to choose lean sources like white meat chicken or turkey, egg whites, ocean caught fish, beans/lentils and NON-GMO fermented soy.
Don’t overcook or charbroil your meat on high heat A carcinogen is a chemical that directly or indirectly causes or leads to a more aggressive form of cancer. Cooking any meat on a high heat produces a set of carcinogens called heterocyclic amines. Also, charbroiling any type of meat with the skin in tact produces a different set of carcinogens.
It is very difficult to avoid the literally thousands of toxic chemicals and carcinogens in our society but when you know better you do better!
Better Cooking Methods:
o Marinate meat and cook on medium heat turning frequently to avoid overcooking
o Baking, steaming or stir frying
Don’t Consume Excess Sugar
I’m sure this isn’t news and if it is what rock are you living under? Consuming excess simple, processed sugars isn’t just detrimental to your weight. Aside from Type II Diabetes, heart disease, lowered immune function and poor body composition sugar is a prime energy source for all cancers including prostate cancer.
The Prostate Cancer reports that most normal cells can adapt to an environment low in sugar and use other energy sources – a process developed through evolution when people would go through periods of starvation. However, cancer, which grows faster then normal cells, does not have the same ability to adapt to low sugar environments.
What does this mean? The more excess sugar is consumed, the more the tumor is stimulated and the faster is grows.
Cut the excess sugar intake. It doesn’t provide you with nutrition and it detracts from your health. If you are looking for a sweet fix have a piece of fruit instead.
Key Points to Remember
1. Oxidation and Inflammation play key roles in the development of prostate cancer
2. Have 7 – 8 servings of colourful and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables daily
3. Buy most of your produce from your local farmer
4. Bake, steam or stir fry lean protein choices
5. Avoid eating excess sugar
To learn more about Movember or to donate visit the official site http://ca.movember.com/
In good health,
Cheryl Wahl, RHN
1 : http://www.cancer.ca/Canada-wide/About%20cancer/Cancer%20statistics/Stats%20at%20a%20glance/Prostate%20cancer.aspx?sc_lang=en#ixzz2AMcMka80
Just Eat Real Food. It’s a movement that has been started by a guy named Sean Croxton who runs the underground wellness radio show. There are t-shirts you can buy. There are articles you can read about the benefits of eating locally raised, seasonal real food BUT even with all of the hoopla it doesn’t seem to matter.
This is the seasons of overindulgence, the season of excuses and the “I will start again on Monday”; the season of putting off your health and weight loss goals until January 1. This is also the season where the majority of people put on an extra 10 pounds in an 8-week period.
That equals an excess of 35,000 calories. Read that again. Gaining 10 pounds means that you are eating on average an additional 625 calories per day throughout November and December. So if you normally eat 1300 calories then you consume 1925 calories per day over the holidays.
Regardless of your goal be it weight loss, weight gain, improved energy, better sleep, balanced hormones or to strengthen your immune system we can all benefit from JERF. What exactly is real food?
Throughout the next 2 months it is vital to your waistline and your health to continue to just eat real food regardless of the social gatherings or temptations at the office. Candy canes are not real food. Turtles and After Eights are not real food. Eggnog is not a real food nor is fruitcake.
This is the time of year when your everyday choices matter more because the opportunity to ‘cheat’ is everywhere. This is NOT the time of year to crash diet and reduce calories which leads to binging and overeating all of the wrong kinds of foods, usually later at night when they are most likely to get stored as fat.
If you are someone who usually puts on weight over the holidays then do something different this year. Get an accountability coach. Research shows that when you are accountable to someone else you are more likely to follow through on your goals.
So what do you eat? Good question and one that I get all time. Below I have outlined what a 1400-calorie day looks like for you. As you can see from the foods below, you will not starve and in fact it will probably be more food then you normally consume. When you eat this way, you balance your blood sugar, balance your hormones that regulate hunger and cravings, your energy levels increase and rev up your metabolism.
If this is not how you are accustomed to eating then we have some work to do. Take a look below. Give me call so I can hold you accountable to your goals this holiday season and to help you avoid your 10 pound holiday weight gain this year.
FYI if you wanted to add a glass of wine to your dinner…go ahead, just dump the hamburger bun.
Breakfast: 298 calories + 12.5g fiber
1 cup unsweetened almond milk – 40 calories 3g fat, 2g carb 1g fiber, 1g protein
1 cup frozen mixed berries – 70 calories, 0.5g fat, 17g carb, 5g fiber, 1g protein
1 scoop vanilla protein powder – 120 calories, 2g fat, 3g carb, 1g fiber, 23g protein
1 tbsp chia seeds – 68 calories, 4.5g fat, 6g carb, 5.5 fiber, 2g protein
Morning Snack: 105 calories + 9.5g fiber
½ cup plain yoghurt – 65 calories, 10g carb, 7.5g protein
1/3 cup fiber 1 cereal – 40 calories, 0g fat, 16.5g carb, 9.5g fiber, 1g protein
Lunch: 389 calories + 17g fiber
1 La Tortilla Factory Wrap – 100 calories, 1.5g fat, 24g carb, 8g fiber, 5g protein
2 tbsp of avocado (use as spread) – 60 calories, 5g fat, 3g carb, 2g fiber, 1g protein
3oz of chicken breast cooked, cut into slices – 90 calories, 0.5g fat, 0g carb, 20g protein
alfalfa sprouts – 7 calories 0g fat, 0g carb, 1g protein
tomato (3 slices) – 12 calories, 0g fat, 3g carb, 1g fiber, 0g protein
cucumber (1/2 cup sliced) – 8 calories, 0g fat, 2g carb, 0g protein
1 cup of low sodium pea soup – 112 calories, 3g fat, 12g carb, 4g fiber, 9g protein
Afternoon snack: 125 calories + 8g fiber
2 Ryvita crackers – 60 calories, 0g fat, 17g carb, 4g fiber, 2g protein
2 tbsp of low fat hummus – 35 calories, 0.5g fat, 5g carb, 1g fiber, 2g protein
1 cup raw vegetables – approx 30 calories and 3g fiber
Dinner: 385 calories + 8g fiber
4oz extra lean turkey burger – 130 calories, 1.5g fat, 0g carb, 27g protein
1 small whole grain bun (Weight Watchers) (topped with mustard and veggies) – 110 calories, 1g fat, 21g carb, 4g fiber, 5g protein
Small salad with 1 tbsp of low fat ranch dressing – 40 calories for the salad, 2g fiber + 45 calories, 3.5g fat, 4g carb, 0g protein
½ cup of baked sweet potato – 60 calories, 0g fat, 13g carb, 2g fiber, 1g protein
After dinner snack: 127 calories + 4g fiber
1 small apple – 77 calories, 0g fat, 20g carb, 4g fiber, 0.5g protein
1 ½ tsp of almond butter – 50 calories, 4.5g fat, 1.5g carb, 1.5g protein
Total calories for the day: 1438
Total fiber grams for the day: 67 grams
In good health,
Cheryl Wahl, RHN
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