Tune Up Your Immune System With Healthy Nutrition

Fruits and veggies promote a strong immune system.

When my kids were little, I always braced myself for the ‘back-to-school cold’ that swept through the house during their first week back in the classroom. With the new school year upon us, kids are going to be bringing home more than just homework and new friends.
They’re sure to bring home plenty of germs, too. Even if you don’t have kids at home, you’re still more likely to get sick as the weather turns colder. So, now is a good time to look at all you can do nutritionally to help keep your immune system running in tip-top shape.

Despite what your parents or grandparents might have told you, you don’t catch cold from being out in the cold air (or, as my mother always insisted, from going outdoors with wet hair). But when the weather turns chilly, we spend more time indoors. That means we’re in closer contact with more people and there’s less air circulating, so we’ve got more exposure to the germs that can make us sick. 

Your body has a built-in defense, of course—your immune system. It’s your own personal army of ‘soldiers’ that protects your body by identifying anything foreign—from a virus to a bacteria to a parasite—and then seeking it out and destroying it. Your body does rely on good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to keep your defenses up. For one thing, if you eat a healthy diet and take care of yourself, you’re more likely to maintain your good health.

Fruits and vegetables are key players because they provide an abundance of phytonutrients—natural compounds found in all plant foods that help to promote health by serving as antioxidants. You need antioxidants to balance out the processes in your body that cause oxidation. Oxidative processes are a normal part of metabolism, but oxidation can run rampant in cells if it’s not kept in check. And that can weaken the body’s ability to fight illness. So, your body relies on a steady source of antioxidants from fruits and veggies to reduce this oxidant stress and, in turn, help to support immune function.

Your immune system also has some ‘special forces’ in the form of white blood cells. These cells produce specialized proteins called antibodies that seek out and destroy invading viruses and bacteria. Since antibodies are proteins, you need adequate protein in the diet to ensure you’ll be able to manufacture the antibodies your body needs. Healthy protein foods—like fish, poultry, lean meats, soy foods and low-fat dairy products—provide the building blocks that your body needs to make these specialized proteins.

Keeping your digestive system healthy is also important in supporting immune function. Your digestive tract is home to trillions of bacteria that have numerous functions in promoting health. Some strains of bacteria help you digest the fiber in your foods, others consume intestinal gas, while others produce vitamins, like vitamin K and vitamin B12. When your system is populated with these ‘good’ bacteria, they also serve to ‘crowd out’ the potentially harmful bacteria that might enter your digestive tract. Some of the best sources of these friendly bacteria are cultured dairy products, like yogurt and kefir.

Eating well really does pave the road to good health. To help your body in the fight against foreign invaders, your internal ‘army’ needs the best nutrition possible. So, call in the troops—and dry your hair.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

The Difference between Probiotics and Prebiotics

The gut “microbiome” is a world within you.

You might think that your digestive system serves only to help you process and extract the nutrients in your foods. It does that, of course, but it does much, much more.

In fact, your gastrointestinal tract has been called the “second brain” – a complex system that sends and receives all kinds of information to and from your “first” brain. The “brain” in your gut has a variety of receptors that gather information about conditions in your digestive tract. It then sends signals to your “first’ brain, which uses that information to control digestive function.

The Gut Microbiome

An important player in all of this is something called the gut “microbiome” – which is really a world within you. Your microbiome is an entire ecosystem composed of trillions of diverse organisms (including bacteria, fungi and viruses) – weighing between two and six pounds- which has profound effects on your health.

One of the primary functions of the microbiome is to break down dietary fiber, since the human body lacks the machinery to get the job done. The microbiome also supports the health of your immune system (much of which resides in your gut), helps keep out foreign invaders that could make you sick, and manufactures several essential vitamins.

With so many important roles that it has in protecting your health, there is increasing attention to the role that diet plays in maintaining the health of your microbiome.

While we don’t know exactly what the ideal composition of the microbiome should be, we do know that the more diverse the population of inhabitants in your gut, the better. The foods you put into your system have a big influence on maintaining a healthy balance of the microbes in your gut which, in turn, helps your two “brains” to optimally work together.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are the compounds in many of the high fiber foods that you eat. While humans lack the ability to break down the fiber that we consume in foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, the microbes in your gut are more than happy to do the job for you, in a process referred to as “fermentation”.

As the microbes ferment the dietary fiber that you eat, they produce certain compounds that serve as fuel for the cells that line your intestinal tract, thus helping to keep it healthy.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

North Beach Nutrition - San Clemente Nutrition Bar - Offering Healthy Smoothies - Hot & Cold Tea - and Health Coaching To Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals. 1502 N El Camino Real San Clemente CA 92672