Immune System Boosters
Atkins is the most successful weight lossand weight maintenanceprogram of the last quarter of the twentieth century The
The Atkins Nutritional Approach can positively impact the lives of people facing the risk factors associated with diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. It can also alleviate gastrointestinal problems, and certain allergies, chronic pain and immune system weaknesses.
Diets high in fat also may have a negative effect on breast cancer survival rates. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, one reason is that foods affect the action of hormones in the body, as well as the strength of the immune system. For instance, several of the more common types of cancer, such as cancer of the breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate, are linked to sex hormones. In large part, the amount of hormones in our bodies and their actions are determined by the foods we eat.
There are many more allergies and food sensitivities around nowadays and almost as many explanations why. Those who regard them as a disease of modern society cite factors such as environmental chemicals and pollution. Perversely, better diagnosis has also increased the numbers reported. Some specialists adhere to the theory that improvements in hygiene and medical science have helped to weaken our immune systems. A further explanation is that we've evolved at a different and slower rate than our diets and that we are eating so many new foods that our bodies can no longer cope.
All allergies, including food allergies, are the result of the body's immune system over-reacting to a substance that is normally harmless. The immune system is a complex and sophisticated defence system that protects us from bacteria, viruses, parasites, some chemicals, and sometimes even cancer by identifying harmful proteins (known as antigens) and creating specific defences known as antibodies. Killer cells are produced to destroy invaders and protect the body. Problems occur when the immune system wrongly interprets an otherwise harmless substance, such as a food, as an allergen, and the body's defences kick in. Histamine is released causing effects that range from troubling to life-threatening.
Vegetables and fruits contain vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (unique plant substances) that help the body fight cancer. These substances have names like beta-carotene, lycopene and sulforaphane. They strengthen the body's immune system. Some eliminate free radicals that damage DNA. Others help to get rid of carcinogens.
At present the only cure for an allergy is to avoid the food you are allergic to, but doctors are investigating ways of preventing allergies in the next generation using, for example, probiotics (the friendly bacteria that live in a healthy gut) during pregnancy. Other developments for the future include immunotherapy using allergy vaccines . Forms of immunotherapy exist for pollen-induced hay fever and bee stings and some non-food allergies but as yet there are no proven, tested desensitization techniques available.
Age and physical condition place some persons at higher risk than others, no matter what type of bacteria is implicated. Infants and young children, pregnant women, and older adults are at greatest risk for foodborne illness, as are all people with weakened immune systems caused by cancer treatment, AIDS, diabetes, kidney disease, and organ transplants. Some persons may become ill after ingesting only a few harmful bacteria others may remain symptom free after ingesting thousands.
Vitamin A deficiency is a major cause of blindness in many less-developed nations, and the vitamin is important for healthy immune system function. Unfortunately oxygen and heat destroy vitamin A and related carotenoids. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that is a vitamin A precursor. Beta-carotene is added to foods to make them more orange in color, but it is unstable when heated.
All plant sprouts that are eaten raw may pose a health risk. The reason, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is that they could be contaminated with food-borne pathogens such as the Salmonella bacterium or another harmful bacterium, Escherichia (E.) coli. Pregnant women, children, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems (such as people with cancer) may be harmed by ingesting sprouts.
It is important to remember that yeast overgrowth stresses the immune system, undermining your total health. When it comes to weight loss, a yeast overgrowth, in combination with mold sensitivity, may lead to a suppressed metabolism. This may deplete your body of the energy it takes to burn fat. Of course, there may well be other causes that we haven't yet identified. I think that the complete explanation of what Candida overgrowth does to the human body is still well in the future. (For a few common annoyances, see Did You Know These Conditions Are Yeast Related on page 337.) But I do know from my medical practice that this is a problem that can cripple weight loss efforts.
No one knows for sure, but I believe many food intolerances are related to the weakening of the immune system, which may be a secondary result of such problems as yeast overgrowth. When this weakness becomes chronic, you may develop an allergy. Allergies, in turn, challenge the immune system, which can in turn suppress the metabolism, slowing down weight loss.
Often self-diagnosed, food intolerance is a more general and diffuse term. It is used by the medical profession when a person's history and tests show that a particular food or several foods are causing problems but the immune system is not involved or is unlikely to be the major factor that is producing symptoms.
Alpha-linolenic acid is a member of the group of omega-3 fatty acids. The body can change alpha-linolenic acid into other omega-3 fatty acids called DHA and EPA. These are all important nutrients that play vital roles in growth, in the immune system, in proper eyesight, and in cell structure. Alpha-linolenic acid is found in certain vegetable oils. DHA and EPA, in addition to being made by the body, are also found in some fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. Unlike omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3 acids are not usually abundant in North American diets, so it is important to be aware of foods that supply them.
Astragalus is one of the most important energy tonics in traditional Chinese medicine. It is used to help increase the vitality of patients who are debilitated, and is specifically indicated for cases of fatigue accompanied by poor appetite. Astragalus is particularly useful if you are constantly feeling run-down as well as tired, since it also supports the immune system, helping the body to fight off infections, such as colds and flu.
My final bit of advice is that you take yeast seriously. Like any allergy or infectious overload, it puts a great strain on the immune system. If it undercuts your weight loss program, it will also impair your relationship with Atkins, and that is certainly one relationship I hope to see you maintain for a lifetime.
Sesame oil is a preferred vehicle for fat-soluble substances because of its high stability. It is employed in the preparation of liniments, ointments and plasters. In India, it is extensively used for conditioning the skin (Weiss, 1983). Sesame oil is considered anti-cholesterol and highly beneficial for heart ailments. The oil also reduces stress hormones and strengthens the immune system. It reduces anxiety, depression and pain. It also helps control sugar levels and therefore, its use is beneficial for people with diabetes. In olden days, sesame seed oil was administered for snake bites. Sesame oil is used in the preparation of iodinol and brominol, which are employed for external, internal or subcutaneous use.
Echinaceas are nol only strikingly beautiful, butterfly-attracting plants, they are also among the most significant medicinal herbs, widely used as an immune-system stimulant, with antiviral, fungicidal, bactericidal, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. Consequently, individuals who have weakened immune systems due to prolonged ill health or drug therapy may also benefit from using echinacea.
How To Bolster Your Immune System
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