How to Maintain a Well-Balanced Immune System

As we continue to navigate a pandemic, one thing has become very clear:  keeping a balanced immune system is undeniably one of our best defenses against acquiring and surviving any disease.

Your immune system is a complex system that protects you from both external and internal threats. External threats are foreign microbes that can make us ill, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Internal threats include the development of cancer. Your immune system keeps on scanning and monitoring the body for any of these threats and fights to protect you. Your immune system is essential for your growth and longevity.

When your immune system is weak, it fails to protect your bodies from infections ranging anywhere from life-threatening infections to the common cold or flu. 

On the other side of the spectrum is when your immune system is hyperactive or dysregulated. This condition leads to the development of autoimmune disorders, meaning, the immune system does not differentiate the self from the non-self: It attacks its own. Diseases like Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis are autoimmune disorders.

We have learned that one of the biggest complications of Covid-19 is when the immune system overacts…like all gas and no brakes, which leads to an inflammatory immune response that is out of control!

So our goal is to have a functioning, well-balanced immune system: not weak AND not hyperactive. We can achieve this by the following ways:

Avoid things that weaken the immune system.

Steer clear of smoking. Nicotine makes your body produce more cortisol and reduces the formation of B cell antibodies and T cells’ response to antigens. Even e-cigarettes are not good for you because the vapor contains free radicals that cause the airways to be inflamed and thus more prone to infection.

Be active but avoid excessive exercise. Too much of anything is not good for you. Being inactive weakens your immune system, meaning it is more likely for you to acquire ANY infection because your defense system is low according to the study of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2012. However, doing too much strenuous exercise is also not good for you, and will lead to immune system suppression, So make sure you exercise and move your body (30-60 minute moderate physical activity, stretching, strength training) without overtraining.
 
Avoid excessive drinking of alcohol.
 The metabolite of alcohol, which is acetaldehyde, impairs the ciliary function in the airways. The cilia or hair-like projections are part of the immune defense that sweep the microbes and foreign bodies up to the airways away from the lungs. If they are impaired, the lungs are more prone to bacterial and viral infection.

Get UV rays…but not too much. Getting 15-30 mins of sun on most days is super important for a regulated immune system and gives your body essential vitamin D. However, like everything, too much is not good for you. Too much sun and UV rays weakens the immune system.

Manage stress, loneliness, and grief.

Stress, loneliness, and grief are associated with increased cortisol levels and impaired or suppressed immune system. It is understandable that people today might be feeling more stressed, lonely, and sad because of this pandemic. But we also have to bear in mind that we need to process these feelings in a healthy way, or else they will take a toll on our well-being.

Get support from friends, family, support groups, counselors, therapists, coaches as needed. Practice relaxation techniques. Set your priorities to take care of your mental health.

Eat well-balanced meals.

According to a June 2014 review published in Nutrition Journal, a diet high in sugar, salt, gluten, omega-6 fats (corn, canola, soy, and other “vegetable” oils), and saturated fat and low in omega-3 fats, impairs the immune system. If you want a reliable immune system, start with good nutrition.
 
Get a good amount of sleep.


Did you know that, according to research, people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get ill after their exposure to a virus or bacteria and that lack of sleep slows down your recovery?

Having a good night’s sleep of about 7-9 hours must be non-negotiable. After all, it is a necessity to keep your immune system up and running.

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca

Busting 5 Common Weight Loss Myths

The foundation of maintaining a healthy weight is having the right mindset and information, so today, let’s bust these 5 common weight loss myths.

Myth #1. A low-fat diet is the key to losing weight.

A low-fat diet is not sustainable or healthy for many people. Fat gives taste to food, leads provides essential fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, and E and is necessary for healthy hormones. Eating low-fat or fat-free foods are usually tasteless, thus less satisfying and tend to get overeaten (your body is smart, it knows something is missing!).

Foods labeled low in fat or fat-free are not even even necessarily low in calories. Why? Because food manufacturers have put in additives, salt, and of course, lots of sugar to make up for the lack of taste that fats can give. 

So if your goal is to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, don’t think choosing foods with the low-fat or fat-free label are the magic bullet.

Instead, include healthy fats in your diet.  These include olives and olive oils, avocados, nuts and seeds, fatty fish, CLA from pastured animal products (ghee, butter, pastured eggs and meats), and coconut oil.
 
Myth #2. Counting calories is a priority.


No, actually. While counting calories can be helpful, you have to consider where these calories come from. Eating 100 calories from junk food is not the same as eating 100 calories from a healthy, well-balanced diet. Foods are not the same, and they go through different metabolic pathways.

So instead of focusing on counting your calories, be conscious of the quality of food that you eat. And yes, eating too much of anything will lead to weight imbalance, so there is truth to calories matter…but focusing on a healthy diet first will help you more easily achieve healthy caloric intake, especially if you are getting plenty of protein in your diet to satisfy you.

Myth #3. Healthy food is more expensive.

While it’s partly true that junk foods are cheap and whole foods are quite expensive, your health is worth the investment. Imagine this: you save on buying processed foods and fast foods but you’ll probably be spending more trying to get your health back when all the chemicals and junk from these foods take a toll on you.

The decisions you might make out of convenience add up over time. They become the new normal. If your mindset is “food has to be quick and easy” versus “my food can be healthy AND pretty quick and easy”, think of what it will ultimately cost you. Your mindset will make or break your big picture health outcome. Stack the odds in your favor with a “can do” attitude when it comes to food choice, planning and prepping. 

Myth #4. It’s okay not to exercise as long as you’re limiting your calories.

Exercise is VERY important for overall health. When it comes to weight loss/maintenance, if you just limit your calories, you’ll end up losing more muscle mass resulting in a slower metabolic rate, which makes you prone to regain the weight you’ve lost. Plus, that approach is NOT good for your bones. So make sure to keep your lean muscle mass and bone density healthy through exercise (strength training and cardio!) and reap the reward of weight loss and maintenance.

Myth #5. Losing weight is just about willpower.

Not true! People may say that losing weight is all about willpower. A certain diet plan that may work for others may NOT work for you…because losing weight is not a one-size-fits-all approach! Your body is unique and different from others.

Plus, though it may seem like it, losing weight is not the ultimate goal. Sustaining a healthy weight is.

So dieting hard for a certain period of time is only a temporary solution. What you need is a permanent lifestyle change that includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, proper sleep, stress management, and embracing the habits and mindset that create vibrant health.

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca

The Link Between Weight Loss and White Kidney Bean Extract

Starch is a carbohydrate that is made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms and is naturally found in lots of grains and vegetables–wheat, rice, potatoes, cassava–you name it. Many people depend on carbohydrates and starch to function because it can be a primary source of our energy. (You’ve likely seen other articles I’ve written on how the body can use ketones from fat as the main energy source as well, in the absence of starch, and depending on the person, either can be a healthy approach).

But since I get a lot of questions about starch and weight loss, I thought it’d be helpful to dedicate today’s newsletter to looking at starch and a growing area of study in the field of weight loss involving blocking starch absorption.

Our body uses starch by digesting it and converting it into sugar or glucose which our cells use to produce energy. Others are stored as fats. So it seems reasonable that the quickest way to gain weight–and perhaps be overweight–is to consistently have an oversupply of carbohydrates (aka consistently eating too much of it) without burning them or converting them into energy.

This is why many people try to go on a low-carb diet. For some, this is a great approach–they feel wonderful when they eat this way! Others, for various reasons, either struggle to make this way of eating a habit or actually notice health declines when they go too low-carb. The research on starch blockers has evolved to support weight loss in people who struggle to reduce dietary carb/starch intake. 

Let me give you an example: 
Phase 2 Carb Controller, a supplemental extract of white kidney beans that has been well studied, has been found to reduce the absorption of carbohydrates. It does so by acting on amylase, the enzyme found in the digestive tract that converts starch and glycogen into sugars. According to clinical studies, Phase 2 reduces the digestion and absorption of starches up to 66% (does not appear to effect fiber absorption). 

A review of 10 clinical studies concluded that taking the supplement resulted in more weight loss than the placebo group when taken concurrently with meals containing carbohydrates. Weight loss over 3 months was an average of 6.5 lbs. vs. 2 lbs., respectively.

Some people do experience digestive symptoms such as increased gas and bloating when taking these supplements.

Now, eating some starch is part of a balanced diet. Starch and fiber both contribute to the food supply of your healthy gut bugs. I don’t think it is healthy to eat tons of starch and miss out on protein or healthy fats and I also don’t think it’s healthy to eat no carbs (think veggies, fruits). It’s really important to listen to your body and eat in alignment with how you feel best!  

I find the research on blocking starch absorption and weight loss to be most helpful to those of you who really struggle to sustain a healthy weight while maintaining consistent diet and lifestyle practices rather than to be thought of as a quick fix or magic pill.  

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca