Natural healing, natural wellness

Archive for May, 2009

Boost Your Immune System!

Yet another virus has been dominating the news and causing fear worldwide as it spreads around the globe. Thousands of people have already been hit by the H1N1 virus – also know as swine flu – while more than a hundred have died from it. Yet, hundreds of thousands of people around these victims were unaffected by the sickness. Why?

When someone sneezes directly into the faces of two people, why is it that one person falls ill soon after, while the other person stays well? What compromises one’s immune system and, on the flip side of the coin, what is it that makes it strong and healthy?

Put into the simplest terms, the immune system is a complex network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against disease. This front-line defence mechanism identifies, hunts down, attacks, destroys and remembers disease-causing invaders or infected cells. If some of these invaders manage to get past the body’s first line of defense – the skin – the immune system’s “search and destroy” task force swings into action with an army of additional immune cell forces to hunt down the enemy and wipe them out.

What can you do to build up your immune system? It’s back to basics:

Eat Raw
Fortify your body with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. This will help protect your cells against damage while you nourish them. Indulge in plenty of raw vegetables and fruits. Juicing daily and making smoothies is a delicious way of getting more of these health-giving and detoxifying foods into your system. I like to blend my fruits and vegetables, as the fibre acts like a broom sweeping my gastrointestinal tract clean which, in turn, helps the absorption of nutrients.

If you’re fighting a serious illness like cancer, you should actually consume fresh juice at least three times a day, as much as two litres in total, if you can manage it. However, if you have difficulty managing this amount, good-quality health supplements can help provide the antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins and minerals you need to boost your immune system. Do whatever you can to get those disease-fighting and immune system building nutrients into you.

Eat Well
Be fussy. Always choose to eat foods rich in health-giving nutrients. Junk food is packed with empty calories and harmful elements which many studies have shown cause a host of health conditions. Remember the documentary “Super-size Me” about fast-food dangers? Why put poison into your body?

Don’t Let Stress Get To You
“There is overwhelming evidence that stress — and the substances secreted by the body during stress — negatively impacts your ability to remain healthy,” says neurophysiologist Carl J. Charnetski, PhD. When you’re stressed out, your heart beats faster and your immune system slows down. Find ways to deal with stress, such as by listening to soothing music, making time to rest, going for a walk and getting some fresh air, praying and spending time with people who uplift you.

Exercise
Just 30 minutes of continuous exercise – such as brisk walking – each day will improve your blood circulation, strengthen your body and help keep your immune system in good form. Exercise also reduces your risk of developing health problems like obesity, degenerative bone diseases and heart conditions.

Flush The Toxins Out Of Your Body
Drink lots of pure, clean water, freshly-made juices, and herbal teas. Avoid liquid poisons like carbonated drinks and beverages with caffeine, such as coffee and tea. And oh, resist the temptation to add sugar to your juices and herbal teas. If you must sweeten them, use a healthy, natural sweetener like raw honey.

Eliminate Sugar
Refined sugar compromises the immune system, and can cause a whole spectrum of health conditions. Just 10 teaspoons (approximately the amount found in one soft drink) will immobilize the immune system by as much as 33 percent! Try cutting sugar completely from your diet (including the ‘invisible’ sugars in processed foods). Chances are high that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the difference that will make to your health and even your energy levels.

Get Alkaline
No, I’m not referring to batteries. Dreaded diseases like cancer seem to thrive in more acidic bodies. Harmful bacteria and viruses also seem to flourish in acidic environments. An easy way to get a healthy acid-alkali balance in your body is to drink apple cider vinegar daily. It’s really refreshing and tasty with raw honey and cold water added. Lemon or lime also does the trick.

Quit Smoking
This is so obvious, isn’t it? Smoking damages your immune system as well as increases your risk of getting a host of sicknesses, such as cancer. You also endanger the health of those around you when you smoke.

Dump The Drugs
These are toxic and they mess up your system. Even patients who have been on medicinal drugs for prolonged periods run the risk of overloading their livers and kidneys. The body was never designed to be bombarded with chemicals of any kind. Take medicine only if you have too, and stop when it’s time to do so. Drug dependency will harm your immune system.

Sleep Like A Baby
When you sleep at the right time everyday, and when you get sufficient, quality sleep, your body repairs itself and builds up defences against infections. Melatonin, a hormone which is also a powerful antioxidant, is produced when you sleep at the right time every night and enjoy rejuvenating, quality sleep. What’s the right time? This varies from individual to individual, but melatonin production seems to work best with regular, early bedtimes. Don’t compromise on sleep. If sleeping or insomnia is a problem for you, a melatonin supplement like Neways’ Megatonin may help. You can get it from the Neways Product Page (just key in ‘Megatonin’ in the search box).

Even if you apply just a couple of these tips in your life, it will make a difference to the health of your immune system. Follow all these guidelines as closely as you can if you’re looking for a radical improvement in your health.

Tea For Wound Healing

Recently, a relative who’s an oncologist at a leading cancer centre told me about an interesting, natural wound healing remedy – tea bags. In his line of work, he sees many ulcerating wounds or sores, which exude smelly fluids as well as blood, causing much pain, discomfort and distress to patients.

teaKnowing my preference for treating ailments naturally, he shared that the humble tea bag has antiseptic properties. The tannins in tea have an astringent effect, producing a dry, tightening sensation, so they are useful for helping to stop bleeding. The tannins activate the thrombocytes for rapid blood clotting. The stronger the tea, the more the tannins. Tannins also have both anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects. Tea also stops infection from spreading by creating a protective layer over the exposed tissues, while helping the wound to heal.

The tea to use for wound healing should be from the tea bush Camellia Sinensis, also known as black tea – NOT herbal tea. If you prefer to use loose tea leaves rather than tea bags, you can fill blank tea bags with the tea leaves when you need to treat a wound.

After cleaning the wound area, place cool, moistened tea bags directly over bleeding wounds, sores or ulcers, cuts and even burns. To be effective, you’ll need to keep the tea bag in place for at least an hour (use tape, gauze or plaster to secure). If the wound is very wet, change the dressing regularly. Another way is to make a strong tea solution (make a cup of tea in the usual way, only more concentrated). After the tea has cooled completely, pour some tea on clean gauze and place it over the sores or wounds. Leave it on for at least 20 minutes but remove within an hour, or the gauze may stick to the affected area. This tea solution is even better straight from the fridge, because of the cooling effect. The tea solution may also be used for wound cleaning.

As the wound heals and infection is controlled, any offensive odour will gradually go away. The exuding of fluids will also diminish. How long this will take depends on the severity of the wound and infection, and whether there is any disease – such as cancer – complicating recovery. Still, the tea will help to soothe and heal the wound, so add it to your arsenal of natural healing remedies.

Tea has many other uses. Some years ago, my dog had an eye infection which caused her eyes to become watery, red and itchy, and produce gummy, yellowish discharge. When I told my husband about it, I remember his nonchalant response: “Make a pot of tea”. I was annoyed, to say the least.

Said I: “What do you mean, make a pot of tea? We need to do something about poor Coco’s eye infection right now!”

Said he: “That’s exactly what we’re going to do. When I was growing up, my family used tea to wash out eye infections in our dogs. When the tea cools down, we’ll pour the tea over Coco’s eyes.”

It was a messy affair, but we tilted Coco’s head to one side, and poured the cooled tea over her eyes. We did this a few more times over the next couple of days. Worked like a charm! Her eyes were nice and clear in no time.

Fortunately, I always have tea handy at home. Make sure you do too.

Essential Building Blocks For Health

You’ve probably heard of Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids, but the building blocks for major body structures like cell membranes are essentially the first two fatty acids, n-3 and n-6. For this reason, they are considered essential for life and health, hence the term “essential fatty acids”. The body cannot produce them, so they must be obtained from food and essential fatty acid (EFA) supplements.

Our bodies are made up entirely of cells, each with its own membrane. Cell health and regeneration, normal growth and development, including healthy brain function, is dependent on Omega-3. A deficiency in this fatty acid threatens the health of our blood, bones, skin, organs, tissue and even hair. Health problems associated with this deficiency include:

• Inflammatory conditions like arthritis
• Mental and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, depression, dementia
• Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis
• Other ailments like stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, adult onset diabetes, and allergies

Researchers have found that infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include extreme tiredness (fatigue), poor circulation, mood swings or depression, poor memory, dry skin, and heart problems.

Omega-3 can be found in fish oils and plant oils from green leafy vegetables and certain seeds and nuts, while Omega 6 is from a wide variety of foods, especially plant oils from vegetables and grains.

In the 1980s, Danish researchers studied the diet and health of the Inuits, or Eskimos. Their diet was rich in coldwater fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna, halibut etc) and the fat of whales and seals. These foods contain large amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Despite their massive fat intake, the Inuits had very low levels of heart disease – and low levels of rheumatoid arthritis as well. Fish oil has been found to decrease certain blood fats called triglycerides, raise the good cholesterol HDL, and thin the blood. Studies suggest that Omega-3 fatty acids also prevent fatal cardiac arrhythmia or heart attacks.

The traditional Japanese and Mediterranean diets are also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Followers of these diets are generally very healthy and enjoy long life.

The most important dietary essential fatty acid is linoleic acid, which occurs in large quantities in plant oils. However, linoleic acid is biologically inactive and cannot be used by the organism in its natural form. The body must first change linoleic acid into gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Sources of GLA include mother’s milk, evening primrose, blackcurrant and the medicinal herb borage. Flaxseed oil, hemp oil, evening primrose oil and olive oil are examples of supplementary Omega-6.

GLA facilitates production of the beneficial prostaglandin PGE1. Beneficial effects include:
• Reduction of cholesterol production
• Improvement of the activity of the immune system (primarily via its influence on the T-Lymphocytes)
• Reduction of the risk of blood clots by reducing the tendency of blood platelets to aggregate
• Regulation of blood vessels
• Expansion of the respiratory passages, and prevention of mucous formation, infections and asthma attacks

The Mediterranean diet has a good balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Many studies have shown that people who follow this diet are less likely to develop heart disease. It also includes the Omega-9 fatty acid, which has been reported to help lower risks associated with cancer and heart disease. Omega-9 can be produced by your body as long as your diet is rich in the Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids. The Mediterranean diet does not include much meat but, instead, is rich in foods like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption.

Food processing tends to remove or even destroy essential fatty acids. Omega-3 from fish and plant oils, for instance, are destroyed by heating and other processing methods. As a rule of thumb, remember that fresh, unprocessed foods are always nutritionally superior to processed foods. If you are unable to eat enough of foods like oily fish – a rich source of Omega 3 – and seed oils like flaxseed – from which you get Omega 6 – a complete, balanced supplement like Neways EFA Recovery Plus will help provide the essential fatty acids you need to keep your cells healthy.