Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sniffle, Snort, Snort: Be and Stay Healthy!

This weekend, we (the BeansTalk ME) were visited by (among many others) our faux grandchildren, ages 3, 18 months and four months – all of whom were sniffle-ly, cough-y and warm-y. Yes, our internal alarm rang loudly. We love a good cuddle so we risked illness. Our day-job co-workers have also been coughing and sick. We were worried we were destined to get sick.

This got us thinking about preventing colds. We had a very good run once and went about five years without getting sick. Then we started working at People Magazine and it went south. It was the start of – at least – an annual illness. When we get sick it’s usually in the late fall/winter and we get a cough that lasts weeks.

Anyway, we immediately fell into a family-wide regime: after we made sure we had foot in our stomachs, we took zinc. That’s pretty much been our reliable fail safe. It’s staved off many potential ailments (colds/coughs), especially coupled with extra sleep and water.

But what do the experts say? From what we can tell, taking action as soon as you’ve been exposed or show first signs. Whether you take an aggressive dose of Vitamin C (in the form of pills or powder-in-water) or ingest echinea or rely on Airborne, taking it early is key.

From the Mayo Clinic:

Mayo Clinic infectious disease specialist James Steckelberg, M.D., and colleagues answer select questions from readers:

Answer: Some people swear by Airborne, a popular herbal cold remedy that's sold over-the-counter in many drugstores. But there's no conclusive evidence that this product or any of its ingredients prevent colds or shorten their duration.

Airborne cold remedy claims to boost your immune system — which supposedly helps you fight off cold germs — with a blend of herbs and vitamins, including magnesium, zinc, selenium, forsythia, echinacea, manganese and vitamins A, C and E. Only three of these ingredients have been studied as possible cold treatments with mixed results:

* Echinacea. A National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine study released in 2005 found that echinacea did little to prevent or shorten colds. But testing herbs is difficult, and scientists say more research is necessary.
* Vitamin C. Although vitamin C doesn't appear to prevent colds in most people, taking large doses — up to 5,000 milligrams — at the beginning of a cold may reduce the severity of symptoms. Lower doses — 200 to 300 milligrams — may shorten a cold's duration. Just what constitutes an optimum dose isn't clear, but amounts in excess of 2,000 milligrams a day may cause nausea and diarrhea.
* Zinc. Most studies indicate that zinc reduces the duration of cold symptoms but doesn't prevent colds. However many of the zinc studies — both those that find the mineral beneficial and those that do not — have been flawed.

As is often the case with many nutritional supplements, there is just not enough quality research available to make a decision regarding any actual benefits of Airborne. Also, since Airborne is considered a nutritional supplement, it is subject to relatively limited oversight from the Food and Drug Administration. Talk to your doctor before starting any new nutritional supplement.

From MD Junction
The winter months are coming and colds and sniffles are threatening again. Each year, at the time of season change more people become sick and the ailments become harder and it takes longer to get over them. Medicine today looks at this issue as a general problem that is not just the result of more bacterial and viruses in the air, but the result of a bad lifestyle.

These viral or bacterial attacks are a sign of body weakness and an unbalanced immune system. They attack us when we are at our lowest and in winter we all tend to be a bit weaker due to the cold. People who have an unbalanced immune system lack the tools to identify viruses and their body cannot fight them off. People with healthy life styles tend to contract less disease. Changing your lifestyle may be difficult, but improving it by following a few useful tips will help you get through the winter a healthier person.

Eating and sleeping well, reducing stress and workload will help strengthen out bodies and help them fight of viruses and bacteria that cause illness. Nutrition that is supplemented with natural food additives and vitamins can help us strengthen out immune system by giving it the materials it needs to balance itself. There are many multi-vitamin formulas found in the market today. One must make sure to take these tablets always with food, since our body needs certain materials to help absorb the vitamins. Food helps supply these materials. Always read the instructions on the package carefully before consuming any additives or vitamins.
Multi vitamins are good for healthy maintenance, but when the first winter sniffles occur, we might need a more specific treatment.
Here is a short list of the best knows additives and "home medicines" known that can help.

Vitamin C is a great cleanser and also fights anti aging. It is a powerful additive that fights germs and viruses and helps prevent contracting colds. Vitamin C is not only found in Oranges. Kiwi and Guava entail 3 times more vitamin C than in Oranges.
In Lemons the vitamin C is supplemented by high acidic environment and lemon juice serves as a great sterilizer.

Another natural sterilizer and germ killer is Garlic. A garlic clove swallowed whole is one of the best forms of "natural tablets" that can be found.
Swallowing the cloves whole helps reduce the bad smell usually associated with eating garlic. Garlic can also be found in tablets that insure it is only released when in the stomach, thus preventing the smell entirely.

Gurgling Warm water that contains salt or baking powder (Sodium bicarbonate) can help against a sore throat, because the ions released from these materials in the water create a basic atmosphere that kills germs and viruses.

Shitkar is a fungus that has been proven to assist our body in building our immune system. One can give it even to little children (kids tend to contract illnesses often all your round) and it can be found in natural product markets and pharmacies. A research conducted by Dr. Yamamora from the University of South Carolina proves that Shitkar can help reduce illness symptoms within 36 hours and it prevents the reoccurrence of breathing problems, sinusitis and other respiratory problems related to cold, flue and other winter illnesses. The Shitkar fungus contains a unique combination of Amino Acids and Polysachrids that are the building blocks of the human immune system. Regular use of Shitkar is like a natural vaccine.
When winter illness symptoms like headaches, tiredness, leaky nose and sore throat occur, it is advised to increase Shitkar intake to two tablets per day. One tablet per day is maintenance.

Taking tablets of natural flora such as Bio acidophilus and eating bacteria found in bio- yogurt are highly recommended when one needs to take antibiotics to fight off an illness. Since the antibiotic kills everything, it also kills out antibodies and the good germs that live in the body. These natural "good germs" help our immune system fight off viruses and fungal infections. When we take antibiotics we eliminate them, so they need to be re-supplied to the body for better health.

Tablets and additives are not the only things to be considered when we create out winter health routine. One must be aware that our winter eating habits and activity is different form the summer months. The cold makes us feel hungry and we tend to stay more at home and eat. Winter dishes are also fattier and digesting warm food takes less energy. Thus we tend to store fat in winter and the extra weight is an unpleasant surprise in the spring months, when we try on out old swimming suit. Eating breakfast is very important to help balance insulin levels that were lowered during the nights sleep and cause the feeling of hunger. Eating warm food that contains more vegetables (soups) and less fat will help regulate our calorie take in. Eating at regular intervals and small meals will help prevent the feeling of hunger during the day. Eating only when one is hungry reduces the amount we eat but required a lot of attention to ones bodily signals and discipline. Start each meal with a glass of water, it fills you up and you eat less. Do not nauch!

Keeping a healthy lifestyle and a strong body also includes sport. Do not be prevented from being active because of the cold or the rain. There are many indoor facilities available and one must find the suitable activity for each season. Staying active will also help us prevent gaining weight, as we tend to eat more and move less in the cold months. The best tip is to find an activity that can also be performed while we watch TV - the most common winter pastime - like Aerobics or a treadmill. A balanced lifestyle leads to a balanced immune system that is equipped to get us through the winter with as little trouble as possible.