Friday, January 24, 2014

The prodigal blogger returns...

 (I swear I'm not doing this!)
I suppose I should explain my prolonged absence. I did not win the lottery, purchase and move to a secluded island. I am not hanging out with the aliens. It's a pretty mundane reason: I'm swamped by schoolwork; and when you've got papers at every turn, you loose your groove. Your pots and baking dishes develop a thin film of dust, and those berries you wanted for a cheesecake, are frozen for smoothies. 

I've also been moving; e-moving anyway.  You'll notice that there's a lot of blank pages with titles only. Ah, the wonders of cluelessly moving from one blogging platform to another. These will gradually be integrated into this new home, time permitting. 

Lastly, to mark the start of this new year, I thought it might be fun to add in the occasional health/lifestyle related tidbit every now and again, just to make things interesting (no, this is not my attempt to keep a single online record of interesting health items I find. Really!)

Let's get the ball rolling, shall we?

Seeing as we're still in the middle of cold and flu season, I though it proper to suggest a few tips to keep your immune system strong and keep the sniffles at bay. 

1. Your mom wasn't just being a nag when she told you to eat your veggies!
Diet is an important component of a strong immune system and colourful veggies are the best weapons to have in your arsenal against illness this winter. Look for oranges and yellows (peppers, carrots, yam), an excellent source of beta-carotene, a potential immune enhancer. The leafy greens (kale chips, anyone?) are jam packed with antioxidants, which scavenge out those nasty free radicals that damage body systems and affect immune functioning. Lastly, grab a tic-tac and include veggies from the allium family in your diet (leeks, garlic, onions). Like the leafies, these are also rich in antioxidants, which benefit the body as a whole.

2.  I'm sure you've seen the Activia commercials, and there's a lot of commercial hype surrounding probiotics, but it's not just hype. These babies not only improve your digestion and enhance nutrient absorption, they might also play a role in immune functions by increasing the production of some kinds of T-cells (these are your front line defenders against infection!). Probiotic enriched yogurt, and kefir are good sources, as are kimchi and sauerkraut. 

3. This might seem like overkill, but, take your vitamins! A multivitamin to be precise. We've all heard about vitamin C's amazing powers, but did you know that the B vitamins (B2, B5, B6, B9. B12) also play a role in boosting immunity? Vitamin D is also a major player; there is a potential link between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of cold/flu. Want some extra protection? Scientists have found that echinacea may serve as an immunity booster and reduce the duration of colds.

Source: Glow Magazine, 2011.

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