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      News — Mind body green

      Your Foolproof Guide To Never Getting Sick Over The Holidays Again

      There's nothing worse than being sick over the holidays. Because although they're meant to be relaxing, no one can deny that they also come with a lot of obligations and long to-do lists. Spending time with family and traveling can leave you tired and lacking energy, and snacking on sugar and other inflammatory foods can leave your immune system in a vulnerable place. This time of year, you're much more likely to feel that little tickle in your throat that marks the start of a pesky cold.

      The good news is that there's a lot you can do to safeguard your immune system this month to give yourself the best chance of being healthy, vibrant, and filled with energy for the rest of 2017. Try one (or more!) of these health-editor-approved tips to supercharge your immune system naturally:

      Add garlic to all your meals.

      Garlic is famous for its strong antimicrobial properties, making it the perfect thing to add to your daily routine throughout the holidays. In fact, studies have shown that it's 100 times more effective at fighting common causes of intestinal illness than two commonly prescribed antibiotics. Chop up a raw garlic clove and add it to your hummus, salad dressing, or soup. Or if you're feeling extra brave just put some chopped garlic in a spoon, pour some olive oil on top, take it straight. Go crazy! It's super inexpensive.

      Keep up with your daily meditation routine.

      Stress, especially when it's chronic, can really pull the rug out from under your immune system. That's why the holidays are not the time to be skipping your daily meditation or whatever mindfulness practice helps you keep your head on straight. In fact, the holidays might just be the time to step it up a notch and add an extra session to your day. Your immune system will thank you!

      Check your vitamin D levels.

      Vitamin D interacts with the immune cells in our body in important ways and a deficiency in this important vitamin is actually linked to more infections and even autoimmune disease. Luckily, some sunlight every day can help boost your levels and there are a ton of foods that are also high in vitamin D. Start with salmon, cod liver oil, and organic eggs.

      Sweat it out in an infrared sauna.

      With the colder months upon us, it's likely we'll all be spending a lot more time indoors. Sadly, indoor air isn't exactly great for our health. To combat this, it's important to be moving our body and sweating regularly. If a nice run on the treadmill isn't an option, a few infrared sauna sessions might be the perfect solution. Research suggests seating it out in a sauna can improve the health of our protective white blood cells. Not to mention, the hotter temperatures make it harder for germs to hang around in our bodies.

      Make some bone broth.

      Bone broth is a staple in any great winter wellness regime. It's warm, delicious, and full of minerals and collagen—which is great for healing leaky gut and other digestive issues. Remember, your gut is where 70 percent of your immune system resides, so we can't be neglecting it this time of year!

      Sleep, sleep, and more sleep.

      Sleep is arguably the most crucial wellness practice of them all. (It might just be more important than nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness!) The bottom line is that if we aren't getting adequate hours of deep, high-quality sleep, we aren't functioning as well as we could be. Our mood, energy levels, and immune systems will face the consequences. Studies show that lack of sleep significantly increases your chance of getting a cold, so this is the time of year to shut down those electronic devices, drink a chamomile tea, and try these insomnia-busting p.m. yoga poses.

      Bone broth has a ton of health benefits. Here are the 10 this integrative medicine doctor wants you to know about.

      MBG Article - Written by: Gretchen Lidicker mbg Associate Health Editor

      Photo by: Michela Ravasio

      The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Safe & Chic, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

      Are You Living An Anti-Cancer Lifestyle? Here's What To Do

      Of all the diseases plaguing this world, cancer is one of the most potent. Generally, about 5 to 10 percent of cancer cases in the world are thought to be hereditary. So what is the leading cause of cancer? And what can we do to prevent it? One answer is lifestyle.

      It is important to understand that there are three kinds of people. Some are blessed and simply don't develop cancer, regardless of how much they drink or what they eat. Others, no matter how health-conscious they are, will fall prey to some form of cancer in their lifetime, despite their best efforts not to. However, for most of us, the risk of developing cancer is determined by the lifestyle we choose to adopt.

      That being said, here are the seven highly influential lifestyle factors that can help in fighting and preventing cancer:

      1. Eat the right food.

      Research shows that eating foods based on fruits, vegetables, whole grain pasta and bread, legumes, and nuts will protect against many types of cancers, including lung, mouth, bowel, colon, pancreatic, and more. These foods are rich in minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals (like beta-carotene, found in carrots), and fiber, which boosts the immune system and regulates the digestive system. For example, fiber is known to prevent constipation. Why is that important? Chronic constipation, if left unchecked, can lead to colon cancer. Among other benefits, these foods also have anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties and incredible antioxidation power that actively fights cancer cells. Incorporating these healthy foods into our lifestyle can help proactively reduce the risk of many types of cancer. Eating moderate helpings of fruits and vegetables in our diet is a good starting point.

      Conversely, some foods contain elements that can increase the risk of cancer. Limiting or eliminating these foods is a step toward a healthier diet:

      • Junk foods, including chips and sugar-rich ice-cream, sweets, and soft drinks. Soft drinks are rich in sugar, which can iinfluence cancer cell growth.
      • Diet soft drinks. These contain aspartame, which is linked to cancer (they may have Sucralose/Splenda or Acesulfame potassium Ace-K, which is also unhealthy).
      • Processed meat.
      • Red meat, such as beef, lamb, or pork.
      1. Exercise regularly.

      Along with eating properly, you need to include regular exercise in your routine. Exercise increases the removal of waste product from your body. This is a critical step in achieving the optimum health benefits of exercise, including the prevention of cancer.

      Although the recommendation is to stay active, putting in all of your effort at the gym is not necessary. Even a 30-minute brisk walk every day can increase the body's activity and strength. To spice up your exercise, try something out of the ordinary and fun like jumping on a trampoline. Jumping prompts "self-propelled immune cells" to become up to five times more active.

      1. Go to sleep.

      We spend almost a third of our life in bed. It's about time we make it count. An erratic sleep schedule can negatively affect your metabolism, which can lead to obesity and a propensity for diseases like diabetes and, yes, cancer. Lack of sleep may also adversely affect decision-making. When we become exhausted and overwhelmed, we think less clearly and often choose the easiest way out when it comes to eating. Try to fall sleep and wake up at the same time, getting six to eight hours of sleep each night. Avoid caffeinated products (like coffee and soda) at night, as they keep you awake.

      Sleep is when your body rests, relaxes, and regenerates. Old cells die off, and new ones take their place. Just as a phone's battery can wear out if charged insufficiently, our body can be left vulnerable and weak if we don't get enough sleep. No matter how much effort you put into eating right and exercising, it can all be a waste if you don't get enough sleep.

      1. Quit smoking.

      Smoking e-cigs or cigarettes exposes the body to carcinogens and narcotics (from tobacco) that never belonged in the body in the first place. This means that chemicals and narcotics (such as nicotine) can cause adverse reactions in the body, as well as cause an addiction. Smoking can lead to mutations and cause heart disease, which may develop into mouth, throat, lung, pancreatic, bladder, and/or kidney cancer. It is best to ask your doctor for preventive strategies or seek an expert's help through addiction hotlines to help you quit smoking.

      1. Drink, in moderation.

      While drinking alcoholic beverages in limited quantities can be beneficial, overconsumption can be bad for the liver and the rest of the body. Liver cells can mutate and reduce effective functionality, which can cause liver and heart diseases. Since the liver cannot purify the body of toxic materials, it can lead to cancerous growths throughout the body.

      Research indicates that drinking more than one drink per day (for women) and two drinks per day (for men) regularly over time can increase the risk of developing cancer. If you are drinking more than in moderation, seek the advice of professionals and rehabilitation centers, and consult with your own doctor for tips on cutting down on alcohol consumption.

      1. Maintain a healthy weight.

      Being overweight or obese, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) over 25, puts you at a higher risk of developing numerous cancers, including esophageal, pancreatic, colon and rectal, endometrial, kidney, breast, gallbladder, ovarian, liver, prostate, and/or stomach cancer. The fat stored in your body can produce estrogen (which can also lead to breast cancer) or proteins that cause inflammation and insulin resistance, resulting in tumor cell growth.

      One way to manage your weight and prevent these risks linked to obesity is to eat healthier foods, as suggested above. Establish a routine for eating, take smaller portions of food, and take breaks between meals so the body has time to digest the food properly and get on with breaking down fats. A combination of each of these steps will help you maintain a lean figure while decreasing your chances of developing cancer.

      1. See your doctor regularly.

      Regular cancer screenings can help identify precancerous growths and stop them before they develop and/or spread to the rest of the body. A routine colonoscopy screening can detect polyps (benign clump of intestinal cells) and remove them before they fully develop into cancer. Consult your doctor during your next regular checkup for which cancers screening tests you should go for.

      Contrary to popular belief, cancer is not just a matter of circumstances or chance. More often than not, it is very much within your control. A healthy lifestyle can definitely help prevent cancer. For the new year, it's time that we make a stand to protect ourselves against cancer.

      Written by: Thehang (Hannah) Luu, MD

      MBG -Mind Body Green article. Photo by stocksy.