Bettering Your Immune System

Treat your immune system well!

According to the National Institutes of Health:

“The overall function of the immune system is to prevent or limit infection. An example of this principle is found in immune-compromised people, including those with genetic immune disorders, immune-debilitating infections like HIV, and even pregnant women, who are susceptible to a range of microbes that typically do not cause infection in healthy individuals.”

“The immune system can distinguish between normal, healthy cells and unhealthy cells by recognizing a variety of ‘danger’ cues called danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). Cells may be unhealthy because of infection or because of cellular damage caused by non-infectious agents like sunburn or cancer. Infectious microbes such as viruses and bacteria release another set of signals recognized by the immune system called pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs).”

“When the immune system first recognizes these signals, it responds to address the problem. If an immune response cannot be activated when there is sufficient need, problems arise, like infection. On the other hand, when an immune response is activated without a real threat or is not turned off once the danger passes, different problems arise, such as allergic reactions and autoimmune disease.”

“The immune system is complex and pervasive. There are numerous cell types that either circulate throughout the body or reside in a particular tissue. Each cell type plays a unique role, with different ways of recognizing problems, communicating with other cells, and performing their functions. By understanding all the details behind this network, researchers may optimize immune responses to confront specific issues, ranging from infections to cancer.”

The Mayo Clinic notes the following:

“Primary immunodeficiency disorders — also called primary immune disorders or primary immunodeficiency — weaken the immune system, allowing infections and other health problems to occur more easily. Many people with primary immunodeficiency are born missing some of the body’s immune defenses or with the immune system not working properly, which leaves them more susceptible to germs that can cause infections. Some forms of primary immunodeficiency are so mild they can go unnoticed for years. Other types are severe enough that they’re discovered soon after an affected baby is born. Treatments can boost the immune system in many types of primary immunodeficiency disorders. Research is ongoing, leading to improved treatments and enhanced quality of life for people with the condition.”

Symptoms

“One of the most common signs of primary immunodeficiency is having infections that are more frequent, longer lasting, or harder to treat than are the infections of someone with a normal immune system. You may also get infections that a person with a healthy immune system likely wouldn’t get (opportunistic infections). Signs and symptoms differ depending on the type of primary immunodeficiency disorder, and they vary from person to person.”

“Signs and symptoms of primary immunodeficiency can include: Frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections. Inflammation and infection of internal organs. Blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia. Digestive problems, such as cramping, loss of appetite, nausea ,and diarrhea. Delayed growth and development. Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes.”

Prevention

“Because primary immune disorders are caused by genetic defects, there’s no way to prevent them. But when you or your child has a weakened immune system, you can take steps to prevent infections:

        • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with mild soap after using the toilet and before eating.
        • Take care of your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
        • Eat right. A healthy, balanced diet can help prevent infections.
        • Be physically active. Staying fit is important to your overall health. Ask your doctor what activities are appropriate for you.
        • Get enough sleep. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time daily, and get the same number of hours of sleep every night.
        • Manage stress. Some studies suggest that stress can hamper your immune system. Keep stress in check with massage, meditation, yoga, biofeedback or hobbies. Find what works for you.
        • Avoid exposure. Stay away from people with colds or other infections and avoid crowds.
        • Ask your doctor about vaccinations. Find out which ones you should have.”

Other Immunity System Resources from the New York Times

To access the immunity system resources below, either click the image OR click the link of an individual resource.

Bettering Your Immune System
ILLUSTRATION BY SUPER FREAK

 

Eating Better During Chemotherapy

Eight tips to help you.

For many of us who have undergone chemo, as well as those now undergoing chemo, eating may be quite challenging. The side effects can be sometimes be overwhelming. So, what can we do to eat better during chemotherapy?

Rose Hayes, via Sharecare, presents some good advice and a slideshow of 8 tips:

“During chemotherapy, meals should be your time-out from everything medical—a chance to rest, build your strength and enjoy the company of loved ones. Eating healthy, satisfying foods every day also can help you:

        • Stay strong, both mentally and physically
        • Tolerate your treatments
        • Protect your good cells against damage from chemo
        • Fight cancer by boosting your immune system and building your energy stores
        • However, side effects like mouth sores and nausea can create stress and pain, and keep you from getting the nutrients you need.
        • Here are eight expert-approved tips to help you beat the discomfort and enjoy your food once again.”

Click the image to access the slideshow and eight tips.

Eating Better During Chemotherapy
Cancer treatment can make mealtime tough, but these expert-approved tips can help.

 

Veganism Coming to Hospitals

Better understanding veganism

For those with major illnesses, healthy eating is a must. And many of us watch our diets very carefully with regard to carbs, sodium, and other food ingredients.

A small — but growing — number of people are vegans. What is this lifestyle? And how is vegan food coming to hospitals?

What Is Veganism?

According to Jolinda Hackett for the Spruce Eats:

“Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products, and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines.

“Vegan refers to either a person who follows this way of eating or to the diet itself. That is, the word vegan can be an adjective used to describe a food item, as in, ‘This curry is vegan,’ or, it can be used as a noun, as in, ‘Vegans like cookies, too.'”

“Although there is some debate as to whether certain foods, such as honey, fit into a vegan diet, if you are cooking for other vegans, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid these foods. Most vegans extend the definition of veganism to go beyond just food and will also avoid the use of all personal and household products tested on animals, and avoid purchasing and using all animal-derived, non-food products, such as leather, fur, and wool.”

Click the image to read more.

Veganism Defined
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Veganism Coming to Hospitals

As TrendWatching reports, veganism is now coming to more hospitals. Here is one example:

“Public health-care group NYC Health + Hospitals debuted Meatless Monday at its 11 hospitals this month. The group, which is the largest municipal hospital and clinic network in the U.S., was praised by Brooklyn Borough president (and passionate vegan) Eric L. Adams. The vegan meals include pasta and garden bolognese, vegetables, and hummus and black bean soup. Whether your company and staff are decidedly herbivore, carnivore or omnivore, there are lessons to be taken away.

According to the Economist,  which recently declared 2019 the ‘year of the vegan’, a quarter of 25 to 34-year-olds in the U.S. now say they are vegetarian or vegan. So this move sees NYC Health + Hospitals tapping into a shift with real momentum. Are you constantly scanning the horizon for the shifts you should see coming?”

“Many consumers want to reduce their consumption of animal products. But change is hard! Introducing Meatless Monday sees NYC Health + Hospitals become a DEMANDING BRAND: making easier for consumers to make a positive change by giving them no choice. Yes, a bold move. But one that rising numbers of conscious consumers will be grateful for. So what constructive change could you DEMAND of your customers in 2019?”

Click the image to read more.

Veganism Coming to Hospitals

 

Do Not Make These Thanksgiving Mistakes

Getting ready for the biggest family gathering of the year next Thursday? To have a very Happy Thanksgiving, there are some things we should keep in mind.

Keep up your good spirits. And be healthful while celebrating.

As Hristina Byrnes reports for 24/7 Wall St.:

“A typical Thanksgiving dinner can amount to 3,000 calories. Appetizers and drinks before, during, and after the meal can add another 1,500. That brings the total to a whopping 4,500 calories in just a few hours. This is about twice the amount a person should consume in a day.”

“Yes, Thanksgiving is about family and food. But some people drink a lot, too. The combination of too many liquid and food calories can lead to drowsiness, upset stomachs, and headaches the next morning from both the alcohol and the high sugar foods, according to Alyson Pidich, medical director of the Ash Center, a longevity and anti-aging clinic in New York City.”

“To determine the biggest and most common health mistakes people make on Thanksgiving, 24/7 Wall St. asked several doctors, nutritionists, and dietitians to share their observations and tips.”

These are a few of the tips:

  • Sitting on the couch after dinner— Your posture affects how your body digests all the food you consume. Research shows that the best position to avoid discomfort is standing. Lying down significantly slows gastric emptying compared to other positions such as sitting, standing, or a combination of sitting and standing. A separate study found that food takes about 20 minutes longer to leave the stomach if you’re sitting.”
  • Being in a hurry to prepare the meal — Being in a hurry to prepare the meal and visit with family is a common mistake. It’s a mistake because it leaves no time for exercising. Working out should be part of your holiday ‘recovery.’ You have to keep the body in motion to keep the metabolism going.”
  • Skipping the vegetables — Consuming vegetables is crucial because they are low in calories and have a lot vitamins and minerals. The fiber and water in them fill you up more efficiently than processed carbs in bread and mashed potatoes. A spoonful of mashed potatoes may be between 50 and 100 calories, while a spoonful of Brussel sprouts is just five. If you want to eat but not gain weight, you need to consume low-energy-dense foods — a big volume of food with a low amount of calories. This way you feel fuller on just a few calories.”

Click the image for further tips.

Do Not Make These Thanksgiving Mistakes
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