Posts Tagged ‘carotenoids’

The fall months are cooler, the days are shorter and our health is presented with its share of challenges. The immune system must cope with bacteria and viruses throughout all 12 months of the year. However the greatest challenges to staying in good health present themselves in the fall months when temperatures begin to dip.

What can we do to take care of ourselves with all that the fall months have to throw our way to waylay our efforts to stay healthy? Here are some suggestions for you:

Bacteria and viruses surround us and are a part of our environment and our lives no matter what we do. Some of them are good for us but those are the ones we hardly take notice of. It is the bad ones that worry us and threaten our immune systems with the potential for illness. Once autumn arrives we start to spend more time indoors and this can leave us susceptible to germs and the possibility of falling ill.

One of your first lines of defense in the fall is to build up your immune system in a natural manner. You want to keep it as strong as possible throughout the fall and winter months. To do this you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle which is to say eating healthy and keeping physically active. It also helps to make immune strengthening herbs such as Black Elderberry and Astralagus a part of your daily routine.

You have probably heard this many times before and it may sound very cliché but you must pay close attention to what you eat. Your body requires five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Eating five servings will support your immune system in doing its best work. The primary sources of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals for the body are fruits and veggies. They contain nutrients that are the building blocks for the immune system. They also build strong cells and encourage cellular integrity throughout every cell of the body.

Antioxidants such as beta carotene, anthocyanidans and other types of carotenoids are what veggies and fruits are all about. Antioxidants have been proven through research studies to improve immune system function and health and also to protect the cells from free radical damage. Antioxidants are particularly prevalent in fruits and veggies with bright colors such as those that are blue, red, orange, purple and yellow.

It is best to consume these foods raw or steamed. Boiling them will destroy many of the nutrients so this method of eating them is not recommended.

Another simple way to keep your immune health where it should be is to make sure that you drink a plentiful supply of water. Keeping hydrated washes away toxins and it helps your red and white blood cells to function at their highest levels.

You also need to get your sleep and deal with the stress that comes your way. This is important all year long but is very critical during the fall months when your immune system is most likely to be assaulted with bad bacteria and viruses. Too much stress can trigger high levels of the hormone cortisol to skyrocket. This can affect your immune system and can render it not as fast to respond to issues as it would be otherwise.

To improve your immune system’s response time when it comes to stress you must find ways to cope with stress that are suitable for you.


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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a health condition that can affect your eyes. You can do your part to prevent this disease from affecting you by protecting your eyes.

One way to do that is to make salads a regular part of your daily eating habits.

What is AMD?

AMD is an eye disease that mainly affects those over the age of 60. It is a progressive disease that develops in the retina and over time damages and destroys the vision that was once clear and sharp. But all is not lost when it comes to the health of your eyes.  Recent research studies suggest that nutrients found in an assortment of vegetables can do what is necessary to prevent AMD from destroying the clear vision that you enjoy and want to continue to enjoy.

Age-related macular degeneration is found in two types. There is dry AMD and there is wet AMD.

The former has the tendency to develop over a longer span of time and very often individuals who suffer from it do not notice the changes in their vision because it takes place on a gradual basis. On the hand the latter progresses in a speedier manner and may lead to central vision being lost in not just one eye but both. The development of wet AMD is often noticed by the sufferer fairly quickly as vision changes are rapid in nature.

Recently published studies point to the fact that consuming enough vitamin D, beta carotene, omega-3 fats, lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc has the ability to reduce the risk that AMD will set in. In particular making sure your diet contains enough of these nutrients is essential for those individuals who have inherited a tendency to develop this disease of the eyes.

Keep Your Eye on Nutrition – Think Salads! 

To keep your eyes in the best shape possible you need to increase your dietary intake of carotenoids. This means that you should consume plenty of carrots on a regular basis as well as leafy green vegetables.

These foods contain high quantities of beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin which are all connected to a lessened likelihood of developing macular degeneration.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important as well when it comes to the health of your eyes. Add tuna to your meals whenever possible and toss some nuts on top of your salads. Diets that are high in nuts and fish oils have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of this serious eye problem. Other foods that can stop AMD in its tracks include coldwater fish such as salmon and sardines. These foods also contain adequate amounts of vitamin D3 which is also beneficial in this regard.

Zinc supplements have been demonstrated in studies to reduce the potential for this disease to occur. However you should speak with your physician before you start taking a zinc supplement. If you do decide to take a supplement of zinc then look for one that also contains the B vitamins including B6, B12 and folic acid. To get more zinc into your diet through the foods you eat consider including kidney beans and sunflower seeds to your green garden salads.


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