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11 Foods that Will Boost Your Immune System and Make You Healthier

11 Foods that Will Boost Your Immune System and Make You Healthier

It is well known that what you eat determines how you feel. Our bodies need vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients in order to function properly so that you could be your best self. However, bacteria and viruses do attack and people do get sick once their immune system weakens. Whether your immune system is weak because of stress, or malnutrition or a chronic disease, the right food will help.

1. Garlic

Garlic is one of the most cited foods to fight bacteria and viruses and help you be and stay healthy. What separates garlic from other alliums is allicin, which can’t be found in the necessary amounts in other members of the onion family. Perhaps the smell will put you off, but you can easily put some in your salad, in a sauce or a home cooked meal, and still reap the benefits.

2. Chicken Soup

This is a well-known fact, and if you ever wondered why, here’s the answer: Cystein, which is an amino acid that gets released from chicken during cooking, bears a certain chemical resemblance to acetylcysteine—the bronchitis drug. This is how it works: Cystein stops the accumulation of inflammatory white cells in the bronchial tubes, and the broth keeps mucus thin. In order to further boost its immune power, add garlic and mushrooms.

3. Mushrooms

Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms are your answer as they contain the biggest amount of immunity boosters out of all mushrooms. They are efficient because they help your body produce more white blood cells and making them active and aggressive (in a good way).

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4. Beef

We are citing beef because of zinc. Zinc deficiency is one of the biggest nutritional shortfalls. With so many vegetarians and people cutting back on beef (or any red meat for that matter) it is no wonder that this is the main reason why some people get ill. This immunity boosting mineral can also be found (in nor so great amounts) in oysters, milk or yoghurt, poultry (see the pattern here) and pork.

5. Sweet Potatoes

When talking about the immune system, we are not just talking about the blood; we are also talking about the other organs, especially skin. As the largest human organ, skin is also the biggest barrier between you and bacteria/viruses. In order to keep her healthy, you need vitamin A, and our recommended source for it is sweet potato. It will deliver the right amount of beta carotene, that will then be transformed into vitamin A and used to produce connective tissue. You can also vary by eating cantaloupe, carrots, pumpkins etc.

6. Fish

We cannot accentuate the importance of this food. Fish, as well as oysters, lobsters, crabs, and clams, are effective and can help white blood cells produce cytokines (basically proteins that help eradicate flu viruses from your body. Additionally, don’t forget that they are a fantastic source of omega 3 acids.

7. Grapefruit

The benefits of citruses have been known for quite some time, and we don’t need to list in detail why vitamin C, present in grapefruit, lemon, oranges etc. is good for your health. We will, however, say, that red grapefruit is high in bioflavanoids, which produce positive reactions in your system and boost your immunity.

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8. Cauliflower

Broccoli, sprouts and cauliflower are high in antioxidants, especially gluthatione, which fends off viruses. Not only do they improve your overall health, they are a big source of choline. This nutrient keeps bacteria out of your system, keep your cells properly functioning and help in the gastrointestinal area

9. Honey

Buckwheat honey does not only cure your sore throat by coating it, it also has antioxidants and antimicrobial properties.

DRINK:

10. Tea

The key words here are “amino acids”. Green and black tea have an abundance of L-theanine; a substance that will give you enough virus-fighting interferon in your blood stream—even decaf versions.

11. Yogurt

The difference between a yoghurt that helps your digestion and a yoghurt that boosts your immune system is the bacteria involved. What you need is Lactobacillus reuteri—a specific probiotic that appears to stimulate white blood cells. If you don’t find it, rest assured that every yoghurt has it, but only in small quantities.

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DO NOT FORGET

Step 1: Identify what you need.

Let’s say that you love eating vegetables, yoghurt, and foods rich in vitamin C. It’s not the increased quantities of yoghurt you need. It’s a good old chicken soup.

Step 2. Don’t overdo it.

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Eating two liters of chicken soup will only make you sick. One plate with a salad and some beef will be more than enough.

Step 3: Opt for natural, rather than synthetic.

By synthetic we mean pills. All the useful elements can be extracted from the food and packed in a pill, but a lot of the good stuff is lost in the process. Sometimes it is more useful to eat a clove of garlic in a salad than to pop a pill or two.

Step 4. Combine

Above we have listed a perfect combination: Warm tea-containing L-theanine, honey to coat your sore throat, and lemon to add some vitamin C. Do not rely on only one food to help you be healthy.

These foods are not just good for your immune system—they keep you fit, keep your teeth healthy, keep you in a good mood… they are simply fabulous. So why wait?

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Last Updated on October 15, 2018

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

“Why am I so tired?” is a question that people ask themselves pretty frequently. Everyone gets tired at one point or another, particularly after something like an illness, a long night up with a sick child, or a busy week at work. When tiredness is persistent, however — when you feel tired as soon as you wake up in morning or when sleep doesn’t seem to help, no matter how much rest you get— it may often indicate a deeper, underlying problem.

While there are a lot of possible reasons for tiredness, here’re some of the most common causes of fatigue:

1. Dehydration

If you want to boost your energy levels, first check whether you are dehydrated. The human brain is 85% water, and needs to maintain this level in order to perform its essential functions.

If you fail to drink enough water, the brain extracts fluids from your blood to compensate for the deficit. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, reducing the amount of energising oxygen available to your organs and tissues. Fatigue and sleepiness set in rapidly, leaving you more vulnerable to the 2 pm post-lunch crash that many of us experience.

You cannot cure this crash with caffeine – the only long-term, effective solution is to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day.

2. Lack Of Exercise

A workout will surely leave you feeling even more tired, right? Wrong! As counterintuitive as it may sound, physical activities have an energizing effect. Moving your body releases endorphins, increases your heart rate, and boosts your concentration.

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Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. It’s easiest if you can make this part of our everyday routine, either as soon as you wake up or right after work.

3. A Poor Diet

The food you eat has a direct impact on sleep quality and the amount of rest you get every night. For maximum energy, stick to protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats. The majority of your food should be plant-based, high in fiber, and low in sugar. These choices will prevent blood sugar fluctuations, which can leave you feeling exhausted.

An easy way to make sure you stick to a good diet is through meal preparation. It’s easy to just get take-out when you’re tired after work, but if you have a meal ready for you in the fridge, you’ll be less tempted by pizza or cheese.

Find out more about healthy meal prep here: 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily

4. Skipping Breakfast

Physician Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan advises that eating breakfast is key to maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you are sending calming signals to the areas of the brain responsible for avoiding danger, along with those that instruct the body to conserve as much energy as possible.

Ingesting food signals to your brain that there is enough food available to ensure our survival. This encourages it to stay relaxed, which in turn, promotes restful sleep.

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Some great ideas for a healthy, filling, and make-ahead breakfasts include overnight oats, smoothies, and freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.

Or if meal-prepping isn’t your think, stock up on easy but healthy breakfast foods like multigrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit: 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

5. Poor Quality Of Sleep

We all know that it’s important to wind down a couple of hours before bed. But did you know that it’s what you do throughout the day that promotes good-quality sleep? It’s not just about the number of hours you sleep, but how restful and deep that sleep is.

TO feel rested, try to regulate your everyday routine to make your sleep deeper and better. Get up at a regular time in the morning to ensure that you get regular sunlight.

Eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts, and make sure you stay hydrated. Go to bed at the same time. And before bedtime, avoid screens that can give off harmful blue light and also keep you stimulated when you need to prepare for a restful night.

Read more about how to develop a routine that will get you better sleep: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

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6. Sleep Apnea (A Person’s Airways Get Blocked off While They Are Asleep)

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s airways get blocked off while they are asleep, causing their oxygen levels to drop while they are asleep. This often causes people to stop breathing at night and then to jerk themselves awake (this can happen over 30 times an hour).

Because of this, people with sleep apnea can feel short of breath and have low energy levels. Mouthpieces and other devices to aid in breathing as well as the use of a special breathing machine to keep oxygen levels in a safe zone.

If you feel tired all the time and think you might have sleep apnea, consulting with a doctor is important. Do a sleep study, as this can often reveal if there is an underlying problem causing your tiredness — and once a diagnosis is made, treatment to help you get your energy back begins.

7. Depression

Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States (and in many other countries of the world as well). It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness but has physical symptoms, too. Apart from fatigue, people may also experience changes in sleeping and eating habits and difficulty concentrating.

Treatment can often center on anti-depressants, counselling and lifestyle changes like stress management to help manage this condition. You can take a look at these 15 Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness.

Many people also benefit from activities like yoga and meditation, which help regulate both the body and mind.

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8. Hypothyroidism

If a person has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland does not produce adequate levels of these important hormones— and the result can be a persistent and unrelenting fatigue, even if someone is getting enough sleep. Other common symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, weight gain and feeling cold all the time.

Fortunately, simple blood work can reveal if there is a problem and it can be treated with artificial thyroid hormone pills like Synthroid. Check here for signs of having a thyroid problem. If you suspect that you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor.

9. Anemia

People with anemia are not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the their bodies. This is often due to a lack of nutrients like iron or B-12 and can be caused by problems such as heavy periods, bleeding in the digestive tract or pregnancy (due to the increased demands of the growing baby).

However, in most cases, this can be resolved with treatments like changes in diet, iron supplements or B-12 shots.

While here are some drinks you can try to relieve symptoms of Anemia, it’s best to do a blood test and consult your doctor in case of any hidden medical conditions.

10. Cancer

While you shouldn’t be freaking out about cancer just because you are tired, it is a fact that fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer. Other common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss and the presence of palpable lumps or growths. This disease is marked by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that can do damage to surround tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body.

Diagnosis is usually by biopsy and treatment often focusses on radiation, chemotherapy or surgery— and generally when a diagnosis is made early, the outcomes for the patient are better.

Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

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