So, let’s weep up a smoothie that lowers cholesterol on this page.
Using a cholesterol lowering smoothie is a nice way to use diet as a fighting weapon for high cholesterol problems. You need to lower your LDL-cholesterol, the so-called ‘bad cholesterol’ to protect your heart.
If your LDL-cholesterol is raised, your Total cholesterol will be raised too. So, if you reduce your LDL-cholesterol level, you reduce your total cholesterol which is something we all want.
This cholesterol lowering smoothie recipe will be oat-based. One reason is; oats do contain a nice soluble fiber called beta-glucan. You need soluble fiber like beta glucan in foods to help you deal with cholesterol problems.
Soluble fiber in foods helps form a gel with the aid of water. This gel acts as a cholesterol mop. It binds to the cholesterol delivered to the bowel from the liver, mops it up and escorts the cholesterol out with our faeces.
For this oats smoothie for cholesterol reduction, we’ll be getting a whopping 13 gm of soluble fiber. Not bad!
So, what do we need for this cholesterol reducing smoothie recipe?
Rolled Oats x quarter cup Ground flaxseeds x 5 tbs (50 gm) Strawberries x 200 gm (8 good size strawberries) Mango x three-quarter of a big mango Oat milk x half a cup
How To Make the Oats Cholesterol Lowering Smoothie
This is as simple as it gets. Pour in the rolled oats, and the ground flaxseeds into the Nutribullet cup.
Add the strawberries into the cup. Then add the sliced mango pieces. Now pour in the oat milk and blitz the content in the Nutribullet container.
You can add more oat milk if the smoothie turns out to be too thick. Make it to the consistency you are happy with.
Now enjoy your cholesterol busting smoothie. Have it about 4 times a week along with good exercise and you will see your bad cholesterol begin to decline.
**Something else and very important too**
When you consume this smoothie, please ensure you drink enough water throughout the day. This smoothie requires good enough water consumption to have it well optimized.
Do let me know how you get on with the smoothie, if you can, through the comment section below
At the time, I was strictly vegan and I wasn’t using any vitamin B12 supplements. But my dalliance with spirulina came to an end when I found out a shocking truth regarding spirulina and vitamin B12.
Why did my relationship with spirulina end?
Keep reading to find out…
Plant sources of Vitamin B12 are rare. Quite rare.
Spirulina was one of those foods that was considered a viable plant source of Vitamin B12. That was old thinking.
The thing about science and nutrition is that the landscape keeps changing. And that’s a good thing.
What was true yesterday will not be considered true today. And that’s because research does uncover new grounds, new discoveries.
You have to be prepared to change your position as science evolves around you. Otherwise you’ll be left behind.
Sometimes with devastating consequences. And that’s the case with spirulina and vitamin B12.
New thinking about Spirulina and Vitamin B12
Spirulina is not a good source of vitamin B12. Period.
Yes, it is true that spirulina does contain vitamin B12. But recent research has shown that the vitamin B12 in spirulina is not the genuine vitamin B12.
The vitamin B12 in spirulina is a pseudovitamin. Pseudovitamin B12 is the B12 in spirulina. This is not the real vitamin B12. This is a vitamin B12 analogue.
Some people will describe the vitamin B12 in spirulina as a fake vitamin B12. “Fake” is a strong word to use but it sort of fits the descriptive purpose of spirulina vitamin B12.
What is wrong with the vitamin B12 in spirulina?
Here’s what’s wrong with the vitamin B12 in spirulina. The pseudovitamin B12 in spirulina is a competitor to the real vitamin B12.
It will compete for the receptor sites with the real vitamin B12. And that competition happens at the level of the small intestine meaning the real vitamin B12 will not get absorbed into the bloodstream.
Because the pesudovitamin B12 will take up the receptor sites responsible for transporting the real vitamin b12 from the small intestine into the bloodstream.
The reason for this competition is the pseudovitamin B12 in spirulina being an analogue means the structure of both the pesudovitamin B12 and the real vitamin B12 are similar.
The competition for receptor sites doesn’t end there. Even in target sites in tissues where vitamin B12 is needed, there will still be competition between the two vitamin B12 molecules.
What are the consequences of using spirulina for your vitamin B12 needs?
Competition between the pseudovitamin B12 in spirulina and the real vitamin B12 means you’ll end up with vitamin B12 deficiency.
What if I take vitamin B12 supplements along with my spirulina?
Taking vitamin B12 with your spirulina will be a complete waste of time and money.
Because the pseudo-vitamin B12 in spirulina will still compete with vitamin B12 in your supplement for receptor sites.
That will reduce the bioavailability of the vitamin B12 from your supplements.
You’ll still end up with all the consequences of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Don’t forget vitamin B12 from really good sources is poorly absorbed anyway.
Only a small percentage of the vitamin B12 that we consume is absorbed. Taking a food that provides a competitor for the genuine vitamin B12 will simply make the already precarious situation worse.
Why won’t the vitamin B12 in spirulina do the work of the real vitamin B12?
Well despite the similarity of the structures of the pseudovitamin B12 in spirulina and the real vitamin B12, the pseudovitamin B12 in spirulina is not effective in humans.
Hence, it does not perform the same functions in the human body as the real vitamin B12 from animal sources or supplements.
Bottom line is: You should stop using spirulina as a food product forthwith unless of course you’d like to have the consequences of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Consequences like megaloblastic anaemia, significant neurological effects like degeneration of your spinal cord (which may be irreversible), psychiatric effects, cardiovascular effects like heart attacks and strokes etc.
As for spirulina, it is best left on the shelf, folks. Don’t bother with it.
Get your vitamin B12 either from animal sources or from vitamin B12 supplements.
Those sources are your best bet as far as fulfilling your Vitamin B12 needs.
Enjoyed this article? Say something below in the comments section
Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in the US and it’s the 4th most common in the UK.
So, being so high up in the cancer leader board means taking steps to reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer can only be a good thing.
In this article you are going to get 7 ways to lower your colon cancer risk.
Is colon cancer preventable?
The answer to that question is; yes it is. Colon cancer is preventable. In fact, of all the cancers that afflict the human race, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers out there.
The reason colon cancer is quite preventable is because of the nature of its beginnings.
Most colon cancers usually start of as little growths (what we call polyps) on the inner lining of the large bowel (colon).
And that’s a good thing because if you catch the growth early enough, you can prevent the polyp from becoming cancerous.
So, how can I prevent colon cancer or colorectal cancer?
I will give you 7 steps you can employ to reduce your risk of developing colon cancer. And the good news is that the steps are not that hard.
The measures to reduce colorectal cancer risks are simple strategies. It just takes a little effort and dedication on your part.
Colon cancer prevention strategy #1
Screening – By far the best thing you can do to prevent colorectal cancer is screening.
You need to submit yourself to the screening available in your locality.
Screening for colorectal cancer comes in 2 forms:
By invasiveness we mean the degree to which a test intrudes your biological being.
How a test invades your physical body. Any test that requires medical instruments being inserted inside your body in one form or another is an invasive test.
On the other hand any test where the diagnostic instrument does not involve insertion of a medical instrument is a non-invasive test.
So, submitting urine for testing, for instance, is non-invasive because you simply pee into a pot and you hand it over to the Nurse and your test is processed.
But if you have to undergo say, laparoscopy (key hole investigative operation), that is an invasive test because an instrument is being inserted into your body cavity.
Anyway back to the screening tests for colon cancer.
Non-invasive colon cancer screening tests:
1. Stool test – simply submit your stool for lab testing. If it is negative for occult blood, you are fine. If it is positive, further testing will be required.
2. Virtual Colonography – also called CT Colonoscopy. This is a simple test where you have a CT scan of your colon and any polyps seen will require further investigation. It is very important that your bowel is well prepared for this test to avoid false positives. This means your bowel must be thoroughly cleansed prior to the procedure being undertaken.
Invasive colon cancer screening tests:
When any of the non-invasive tests are performed and are positive, this will usually lead to invasive testing.
I refer to the non-invasive tests as testing for further testing. A positive non-invasive test should trigger further testing by invasive test.
What are the invasive screening tests for colon cancer?
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy – a flexible instrument called sigmoidoscope is inserted into your lower bowel through the anus and that area up to the upper part of the lower colon is thoroughly inspected.
If any polyps are seen, they are resected.
Colonoscopy – this is similar to the flexible sigmoidoscopy but in colonoscopy, the entire colon is inspected from the anus to the earlier part of the large bowel (colon).
See video below on this page for description.
As usual, any polyps seen during the inspection are resected. Any resected polyp is sent to the lab for testing to exclude cancer in the lesion.
Why do I say screening is the best thing you can do to prevent colon cancer?
It is because cancers of the colon start off as small polyps and they are usually benign at the beginning. They gradually turn cancerous over time.
However, the progression from benign to cancer is not immediate. There is a progression scale. And this is from benign to precancerous before becoming cancerous.
So, to prevent colon cancer is to catch them at the stage before they become cancerous. Because once you resect the polyps at that stage, they stand no chance of becoming cancerous.
You have resected a potentially cancerous polyp. End of story.
Catching them early is key to survival.
And the only way to catch them early is to screen early. Opinion is divided as to what age screening should start.
Some countries start screening at the age of 55. Some others 50.
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening from 50 up to age 75. Beyond 75, that would have to be a decision between your doctor and yourself.
In the UK, the screening age appears to be 55 according to the NHS website.
However I know one or two people who are 55 and over and are yet to be invited for colon cancer screening test in the UK. There’s probably some sort of Post Code lottery involved.
Will it be more beneficial to screen people for bowel cancer before their 50th birthday?
Yes, there’s certainly an argument for that. This study from Austria seems to suggest that bringing the screening age down to 40 is a good idea, at least for men anyway.
Because the ‘Number Needed to Screen’ and detect Advanced Adenomas (precancerous changes) among men aged 40 to 49 years was similar to that of women aged 50 to 59 years.
So, bringing down the screening age for men to 40 was beneficial. It remains for the Health Authorities to listen and pay attention to this important finding in the study involving 44,350 participants.
Are you beginning to see the importance of screening in whatever form as being the best colorectal cancer preventative strategy out there?
Colon cancer prevention strategy #2
Use of daily low-dose Aspirin.
Aspirin is a blood thinning agent. It is usually prescribed as a daily pill to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Some studies suggest that in individuals who are at risk of cardiovascular disease, using a low-dose aspirin daily reduces their risk of developing colorectal cancer.
However, not everyone qualifies for this. The age group 50 – 59 are best suited for the use of aspirin for prevention of colon cancer.
Users of daily dose aspirin for colon cancer must however commit to taking it daily and for 10 continuous years to see the benefits.
Some research like this one suggests that aspirin use prevents cancer more in the proximal colon (the earlier part of the colon) than the later part which is the rectal area.
The importance of aspirin use in colo-rectal cancer prevention goes beyond primary prevention.
Aspirin is also useful for secondary prevention of colorectal cancer. This research concludes that regular daily aspirin use is associated with lower risk of recurrence of the cancer and a lower risk of dying from the cancer.
Have a conversation with your doctor to see if you’ll be a suitable candidate for daily aspirin use.
Colon Cancer prevention strategy #3
Eat a high fiber diet
Fiber is generally good for your health and that includes prevention of colorectal cancer. Having a high fiber diet prevents constipation. Moving your bowel regularly is a cleansing action in itself.
Nitrosamines are carcinogenic. The longer toxins like nitrosamines hang around your large bowel in particular, the distal part of the large bowel (colon) the higher the likelihood of harm.
So, getting rid of toxins in your stool regularly will potentially prevent nitrosamines and other toxins from inducing cell changes that can lead to polyps and cancers later on.
One way to do achieve regular bowel movement is by eating a high fiber diet. This study supports the view that a high fiber diet reduces the incidence of colorectal cancer in the later part of the bowel.
Colon cancer prevention strategy #4
Avoiding processed meat and red meat
If you cannot avoid processed meat and red neat, you should at least reduce your consumption of both. Processed meat in particular is usually impregnated with nitrates to preserve the meat and to enhance their flavour.
In the presence of the heme factor in processed meats like salami, bacon, chorizos, sausages, hot dogs etc and red meat too, there’s an upregulation of the nitrosamines produced from these animal products.
The net result is an avalanche of nitrosamines in the colon. This is potentially carcinogenic.
Best avoided. If you can’t, you must reduce your consumption of processed or red meat to less than 50 gm per day or at worst 70 gm per day
Harm is more likely if you exceed that threshold.
Colon cancer prevention strategy #5
Is there any cancer that tobacco has not been implicated in? This is just sensible advice. Tobacco does you no good and using tobacco does not certainly do you any good in colon cancer prevention. Avoid!
Colon cancer prevention strategy #6
Limit consumption of alcohol
I know you love your drink. Excessive alcohol consumption is bad news all round. How about you limit your drinking to less than moderate levels.
Doing so will reduce or lower your colon cancer risk amongst other benefits. Going teetotal is even better.
Colon cancer prevention strategy #7
The concept of doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week is one way of reducing your colorectal cancer risk.
Or doing 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.
Either way you’ll be doing your health a whole bunch of good including reducing your risk of colon cancer.
If anything, regular exercise will keep your weight in check. Lean body mass will be preserved. Excess body fat is a cancer risk all round.
Hopefully you got some benefit from reading this piece.
Leave your comments below if you can. Remember to get yourself screened. The best thing you can do to help yourself prevent colorectal cancer.
Let’s talk about nitrates in vegetables versus meat. Are the nitrates in vegetables Vs meat bad for you? Or are these nitrates good for you?
Is there a difference to how our bodies treat and interact with the nitrates in vegetables Vs nitrates in meat? Which of these nitrates is safer to eat? is it better to eat vegetables because of the nitrates and should we avoid meat because of the nitrates in meat?
I will endeavour to answer all of these questions in this article.
There has always been this debate about nitrates in food. We are all too concerned about our health these days and for good reason too. I’d like to know if what I am eating, especially on a regular basis, is good for my health. Or is it possible I’m unwittingly damaging my health.
Time for “travelling in the dark” is far gone. The first thing to note is that; there are nitrates in both plant produce and animal products.
I should say this upfront. I eat a plant-based diet.
But that is not to say, I don’t eat meat. I eat meat, fish and plants but I limit how much meat I eat. So, this article is not written with a vegan bias or anything like that because I am a full-blown flexitarian.
What’s the deal with these Nitrates and Nitrites in our food?
Nitrates are naturally occurring in plant food produce but in animal foods, they are artificially added to preserve these foods.
Nitrates are relatively harmless on their own. It is when they get converted to their subunits that the potential to cause harm arises.
Nitrates have 3 oxygen molecules attached to the Nitrogen atom.
However, nitrates become bioactive when one of the oxygen atoms is removed leaving 2 oxygen atoms attached to the Nitrogen atom. A Nitrogen atom with 2 oxygen molecules instead of 3 becomes a Nitrite.
So, the bioactive form of Nitrate is the Nitrite.
This conversion from Nitrate to Nitrite is trigerred by bacteria, fermentation, acid in the gut and ensuing enzymatic activity. And that enzymatic activity begins in the mouth.
Why Nitrates are good for you?
This breakdown of Nitrate does not stop at the Nitrite step.
If you have ever pondered the question: are nitrates in vegetables bad for you? Well, you are going to love this analysis below because; it explains why nitrates in vegetables are not bad for you. It will encourage you to eat more vegetables, if anything.
Here it is: The Nitrite from the nitrate is further broken down to 2 other potential compounds – Nitric Oxide and Nitrosamines (N-Nitroso compounds also called NOCs).
The first piece of good news is; nitrates in vegetables tend to get converted to Nitric oxide more by default. Nitrates in meat on the other hand, have more potential to get converted to N-nitroso compounds for reasons I will explain later on.
You should celebrate Nitric Oxide because you want and need it. Plenty of it. Nitric Oxide optimizes our health in leaps and bounds.
Nitric oxide is beneficial to our health immensely. What’s weird is that, nitric oxide is actually a free radical but a nice free radical.
Usually free radicals are a ‘nasty piece of work’ as far as health is concerned, but Nitric oxide is one free radical that you don’t want to get rid of. You want it. Why?
…because Nitric oxide is a biological signalling molecule that enhances the function of the lining of our blood vessel walls. Not only that, Nitric oxide also protects the organelle in every cell of our body called the mitochondria.
Mitochondria is where energy production takes place. Every cell needs to make its own energy to function. That production factory is called mitochondria.
As it happens, Nitric oxide made from nitrates protects these tiny mitochondria organelles. This guarantees continuous efficient energy production.
The job of the Nitric oxide is to make the blood vessels walls pliable and more compliant. This enhances unhindered blood flow inside our blood vessels. Meaning oxygen and nutrients are carried to our tissues much more readily.
This allows for optimal health because this function of Nitric oxide lowers your global blood pressure – a recipe for control of high blood pressure.
Now you know why we advice you to eat beets, spinach, kale, celery, collard greens to lower high blood pressure or maintain a normal blood pressure. Nitric oxide supplied from the nitrates in these vegetables is the reason why.
Talking about optimal health, nitric oxide from nitrates in vegetables also prevents the stickiness of blood because it prevents what we call platelet aggregation. This activity thins your blood and helps prevents strokes and blood clots.
Why nitrates may be bad for you?
Nitrates can be a double-edged sword. They can swing either way.
As I said earlier, nitrates when broken down to nitrites could either become nitric oxide which we love and covet or become N-nitroso componds (NOCs) which you don’t want to touch with a barge pole.
These Nitrosamines (N-Nitroso compounds also called NOCs) are not really health-friendly. If you ever wondered about nitrates in food side effects, it is these N-nitroso compounds that are to blame. And I will talk about these nitrates in food side effects shortly.
Nitrosamines are bad news for your health.
The good news is that the nitrates in vegetables don’t appear to form the dreaded N-nitroso compounds. It is the nitrates from meat that tend to form these nasty N-nitroso compounds (NOCs).
Straightaway that’s the essential difference between nitrates in vegetables vs nitrates in meat. I shall explain later why the nitrates in vegetables behave differently to the nitrates in meat.
There’s plenty of evidence to support the notion that nitrates in meat are harmful.
Here is one. This analysis done by the World Cancer Research Fund found that eating just 1.8 ounces of processed meat per day — about one sausage or two to three slices of bacon — raised your likelihood of bowel cancer by 20%.
Are environmental Nitrates harmful?
From the epidemiological standpoint, nitrates are seen as harmful to human health. That is the reason there are regulations as to how much nitrate can be allowed in our drinking water. The amount of nitrate allowed in drinking water should not exceed 50 mg/l.
Because there is a risk of blue baby syndrome or what in medical parlance is called Methemoglobinemia. Young babies especially under 6 months of age are not able to deal with a large nitrate load. That environmental nitrate regulation is therefore essential.
The amount of nitrates in the soil is also subject to regulation. Why is this?
Excess nitrate in the soil will lead to a huge concentration of nitrates in our fruits and vegetables. We want some nitrates in our vegetables but we do not want excess nitrates in our plant produce.
More evidence to support the difference in Nitrates in Vegetables Vs Meat?
Well, the truth of the matter is research seems to tell us that there is a difference between nitrates in vegetables Vs meat.
The most studied vegetable is beetroot. There’s plenty of research evidence to support the beneficial effects of beetroot. This study even went further to look at the dose-dependent response of athletes to beetroot juice. It looked at cardiovascular health enhancement of beetroot juice and exercise performance.
The evidence seems to support the view that nitrates from vegetables like beet, celery, spinach, kale etc are safe and actually good for you.
Gunter Kuhnle, a professor of food and nutritional sciences at the University of Reading in the UK says:
“The nitrates in vegetables may be beneficial. When you eat nitrates, they are converted to nitrites by bacteria in your mouth”
Nitrates from animal sources however are not really naturally occurring. Nitrates in meat are added as preservatives.
The most commonly used nitrate in animal products is Sodium Nitrate. This and other nitrites are added to the meat to stop the growth of deadly bacteria. That way, you can eat your meat safely without the risk of food poisoning.
The nitrates and nitrites in meat also enhance the flavour of the processed meat whilst conferring on it a red or pinkish colour. What kind of meat are we talking about?
We are talking about hot dogs, bacon, chorizo, pepperoni, ham, bacon, sausages, pastrami and salami. These processed meats contain artificial nitrates or nitrites in them. The nitrates in these processed meat are thought to be harmful to health.
This study examined the association of red meat, processed meat, and poultry consumption with the risk of early death in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
The study conclusion:
“The results of our analysis support a moderate positive association between processed meat consumption and mortality, in particular due to cardiovascular diseases, but also to cancer”
Why are the nitrates in vegetables like beet, celery, kale, spinach, arugula not harmful and the nitrates in meat harmful?
This question is not a very straightforward one but I shall do my best to clear the muddy waters.
For a start, it doesn’t matter the source of the nitrates. Whether you get your nitrates from vegetables or from meat, the increase in the amount of nitrates or nitrites absorbed into the circulation is essentially the same.
So, something else must be going on for this differential outcome between plant nitrates and meat nitrates.
Here’s what’s going on:
About 12 g of proteinacous material is offloaded into the large intestine every day. 50% of that is from dietary sources. This amount might vary a little bit depending on how much dietary protein is consumed and the physical form of the food consumed.
A careful breakdown of all of this consumed protein load takes place by bacterial action leading to deamination, decarboxylation and fermentation.
This process is dynamic, hence a higher concentration of amine byproducts are found in the tail end of the gut – the colorectal region compared to the earlier aspects of the intestines.
These amine substances react with nitrosating compounds leading to formation of N-nitroso compounds(NOCs) which are basically nitrosamines. These nitrosamines are not nice.
Nitrosamines (N-nitroso compounds) have been implicated in mutations and hence carcinogenicity.
This explains why the damage by these toxic substances is a lot more serious. For instance, cancers in the colorectal region. Mainly because the large intestines is a very fertile site for nitrosation and formation of nitrosamines, phenols and cresols.
But why does the nitrate in meat cause harm to health and nitrate in vegetables not lead to harm?
A scholarly explanation for nitrates in meat causing cancer has to do with the presence of heme-iron in meat as opposed to presence of non-heme iron in vegetables like celery, spinach, beet, kale, arugula.
Here’s what I mean.
We’ve already agreed that bacterial action in the large intestine acting on nitrates and nitrites leads to formation of toxic compounds like nitrosamines, phenols, cresols etc through fermentation.
Obviously this fermentation foisted by bacterial action applies to both meat and vegetable foods, right?
But the essential difference is the heme factor.
It would appear that the heme in the meat products up-regulates the formation of these potentially carcinogenic substances. You end up with more of these toxic mutagenic substances that are harmful to health when you consume meat.
Plus meat has saturated fat which may play a contributory role too.
Here’s what Professor Kuhnle had to say on the subject:
“What makes processed meats so ideal for forming N-nitroso compounds is that they have a combination of nitrite and proteins from the meat. And the meat’s heme seems to help convert them into N-nitroso compounds”
In contrast, plant foods like beet, celery, spinach, kale, collard greens (even though have nitrates) have non-heme iron and no saturated fats, so you have lower levels of these potentially harmful substances being formed. The levels do not reach a threshold that could induce colorectal cancer.
In addition to that; plants have hundreds of micro-nutrients that meats do not possess and these extra micronutrients in vegetables may offer our bodies a protective effect against cancer.
For instance, vegetables have Vitamin C and polyphenols that make it a harder task for nitrosamines to form. Meat hasn’t got Vitamin C nor does meat have polyphenols. This point should not be underestimated.
Hence, in the nitrates in vegetables vs meat debate, vegetable nitrates are safer for the human body to deal with. Meat nitrates on the other hand are potentially carcinogenic.
See video below. You can make your bacon safer by using that preparation technique in the video below for your bacon.
Frying your bacon, baking it, broiling it or cooking in a baconer produces the most nitrosamines. The method in that video according to research produced the least amount of nitrosamines, hence it is recommended.
You may also use nitrate-free bacon, nitrate-free sausages, nitrate-free ham, nitrate-free hot dog. Use any of those, if you are someone who cannot do without processed meat in your diet.
Well, it’s easy when you know how. Being a doctor and working in a hospital environment as a result, I am always in close contact with the flu virus, if you like.
Being in contact with something contagious and at the same time trying to avoid catching it can be a challenging sport.
A sport I have been playing for over 3 decades. Sometimes I succeed. Other times I fail miserably.
The usual advice we get offered as medical personnel is to get the flu vaccine. Even the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine as the “first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses“. The CDC also says:
“Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations”
Great advice. Except that using the flu vaccine to prevent a flu attack is a bit ‘hit or miss’.
What do I mean by that? Let me illustrate with a short story.
I have a female friend who used to work in a Call Center. Let’s call her Lisa. You know how Call Centers can be really busy with Incoming Calls. At least working in a Call Center dominated by Incoming Calls is way better than handling Outgoing Calls.
You know, the ones who always seem to interrupt you at home when you are right in the middle of something important. Like when you are having a nice hearty meal and the blinking phone rings because some folk somewehere wants to sell you Life Insurance that you don’t need.
Those are the unfortunate folks made to undertake Outgoing Calls. Not an attractive proposition. 99.8% rejection.
Anyway, because of the busy nature of the Call Center, anyone working in Lisa’s office needed permission to leave their desk…even if you needed to visit the bathroom. Because the phones have to be answered as they were very keen to cut down on Caller’s Waiting Time.
Decent strategy for great customer service. Not so great, if you are one of those manning the phones.
You pushed a button if you needed to exit your desk for any reason. Your boss received the signal and hopefully he gives you the green light to go.
Sadly, according to Lisa, if you needed to visit the bathroom, you have to cross your legs because this “kind boss” nearly always ignores your shout out. Yep, 9 out of 10 times, he simply ignored your request.
Makes you ask the question: what’s the point of such a policy if the boss just ignored your request. How bizarre!
Well, the flu vaccine is like that. The flu virus simply ignored my flu vaccine protection. Every year I had the flu vaccine, I still had a flu attack.
Makes you wonder: what’s the point of receiving the flu vaccine, if I still get sick every year.
That’s why I have not had the flu vaccine for the last 5 years and have not had the flu over that period. Now I am not saying you should not use the flu vaccine as a means to protect yourself.
You can still go get the vaccine route but there are other ways you can prevent the flu virus from attacking you with or without receiving the flu shot. Natural flu prevention.
This is what this piece is about. It’s about how you can actually prevent a flu attack naturally. Yes, there are natural means of keeping the flu virus away from you easily.
So, how can you prevent the flu naturally?
Tip #1 Wash Your Hands More Often or Use Hand Sanitisers
This is the most obvious advice regarding natural flu prevention. Yes, the flu virus may be an airborne one but most of the spread of the flu virus is by hand from one person to the next.
Simple as this advice is, this is one of the most skipped advice ever. People just don’t wash their hands often enough. I don’t know why, but it’s just the case.
Even hospital workers who are dealing with sick people don’t wash their hands between handling patients. One of the commonest causes of bacterial spread in hospitals believe it or not is staff not washing their hands.
If staff are spreading bacterial infections, how much more a viral one.
The good news is that; things are changing. Campaigns by Infection Control Departments of hospitals have paid off. Hospital staff now wash their hands more than they used to years ago.
Well, this simple rule does not apply to hospital staff alone. The general public need to take this life-saving measure seriously too.
Just wash your hands more often please, especially during the flu season.
And do use soap as well please. Not just plain running water.
To make life even easier for folks, now you can buy hand sanitisers off your supermarket shelf. Small plastic containers of hand sanitisers are now readily available for individuals who would rather rather use this option.
Hand sanitisers usually contain active ingredients (like alcohol and other germicides) that are capable of killing bacteria and viruses. You simply squeeze a little out and rub on your hands as you see in the video below. No hand washing is required.
Hand sanitisers are a nice substitute to hand washing. Particularly ideal in scenarios where there’s no running water available or hand-washing is not practical to carry out.
Have a bottle of these innocuous liquids in your pocket, your handbag, your purse, your car’s glove box, at home, on your desk in the office etc.
Just rub on and go…
Tip #2 Slow Down On The Booze
Well, you may love your alcohol and alcohol may be a good past time for you. But alcohol is not a good mix for an impending cold nor does it offer any protection against the flu virus.
Alcohol, for a start, actually dehydrates you. I’m sure you know that already. When you drink and you happen not to be drunk (in which case you will have fallen asleep), you will agree that you tend to feel thirsty just that little bit more.
That’s because alcohol is a diuretic sending your kidneys into overdrive to make more urine.
Peeing more will leave you dehydrated. Your body cells need to be well hydrated to function optimally.
That’s not all, alcohol is not good for your immune system. Alcohol has a habit of dampening your immune system. Here’s what Dr Stephen Pruett, from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University in the US has to say about alcohol being bad for our immune system:
“Drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short time inhibits the production of signalling molecules that are vital to the immune system. The proteins, known as pro-inflammatory cytokines, have a host of functions that are supposed to kick in when the body is under attack. They include maturing, activating and increasing numbers of immune cells which target invaders such as bacteria and viruses”
How else does alcohol affect our immune system badly? Well, let’s hear it via the next tip below…
Tip #3 Get Adequate Sleep
I was talking about how alcohol negatively affects our immune system in the last natural flu prevention tip. Well, the way alcohol does that is the negative impact booze has on our sleep.
Yes, the relationship between alcohol and sleep is sort of complex but the long and short of it all is that alcohol is not good for sleep. Not at all.
Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes, alcohol will make you fall asleep pretty quickly. You know that already, don’t you?
And that’s where the misconception comes from. Because alcohol makes us fall asleep when we consume it, the belief is that alcohol is good for sleep.
No, it isn’t. Alcohol is bad for sleep. The quality of the sleep is badly affected.
Anyway the point here is; you need adequate sleep to keep your immune system ticking nicely. Poor sleep will wreak havoc to your immune system.
How much sleep are we talking about? How much sleep do we need to prevent a flu attack?
If you can help it, get a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night. I know it’s hard with so much distraction around us but 8 hours sleep a night is protective of your immune system. This is not some conjecture. It has been proven by science that sleep is good for our immune system.
I am living proof of that because every time I have had a flu attack, there’s always been a link to lack of sleep. Not because of alcohol, I should add, but because of working night shifts as a doctor.
Research has shown that sleep and circardian rythm do impact our immune system without doubt. When you get a good amount of sleep, the T-Cells in the body are made much more readily available and these T-cells are also widely redistributed to lymph nodes.
This simple action is similar to sending these protective soldiers to sentinel posts and positions ready to fight any oncoming flu virus or any other virus for that matter.
See your T- cells as your soldiers…because that’s what they are, really.
You need a good supply of Vitamin C to keep your T-cells and other germ fighting cells in top form. Not surprising therefore that lots of people take Vitamin C supplements.
The problem is that a lot of the regular Vitamin C supplements in circulation are simply not effective. This is mainly because of absorption issues. Most regular Vitamin C supplements are poorly absorbed.
Enter Liposomal Vitamin C.
Liposomal Vitamin C are superior to regular Vitamin C because liposomal VItamin C are more readily absorbed from the gut and are therefore more bioavailable for your body cells to use.
My advice is: if you want to give yourself the Vitamin C cellular protection against the flu naturally, then use liposomal Vitamin C. Liposomal Vitamin C is better absorbed and you get the natural protection against the flu virus that your body deserves.
Well, ideally I should say; a nice way to prevent flu naturally is to get adequate Vitamin D. However, not all of us are lucky enough to be living in places where there’s adequate sunshine all year round.
Because the best way to get your supply of Vitamin D is to get it for free. Through the sun’s ultraviolet B band rays. All you need is 20 minutes exposure to those ultraviolet rays 3 times a week and you are done. I should be so lucky.
If you are like me who lives in a part of the world with very little sunshine, then the easiest option to get your Vitamin D flu protection is via supplements.
Not only do olive leaf extract provide you with natural protection against flu attack all year round, these supplements also offer a cardioprotection and anti-oxidant properties. Not a bad investment for your health, if you ask me.
Can you eat your way out of Alzheimer’s disease? Turns out, we can. In a preventative way, that is.
What you will be receiving in exchange for your time spent on this page is a nice overview of Alzheimer disease prevention diet and some other Alzheimer preventative strategies that you can employ starting today.
The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is on the increase especially in the Western world. Alzheimer’s disease is probably more prevalent now because we are living longer.
By the time we hit age 85, the number affected be in the region of 1 in 2 in that age group, if current predictions come true. It is thought that by 2050, 13.8 million Americans will be affected. Those are some scary stats.
The point here is you don’t have to run away from fats in general. You only have to eat the right fats. Eat lots of them at that. Because that study says a high intake of unsaturated fats and unhydrogenated fats helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
In fact, a more recent study published in Neurology journal, it was demonstrated that eating a Mediterranean-style diet was associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Study participants were aged between 30 – 60 years and were followed up for 3 years with MRI Scan imaging.
The idea was to see how adherence to the Mediterranean diet influenced development of Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers. Needless to say, the study participants were Alzheimer’s disease-free at the start of the study.
The participants were classified as having either low adherence to the Mediterranean diet or high adherence to the diet.
This recent study showed that lower Mediterranean diet adherence was associated with progressive Alzheimer’s disease biomarker abnormalities in these middle-aged adults.
In effect a Mediterranean-style diet was actually protective of Alzheimer’s disease and is one of the things you can do to avoid Alzheimer’s disease.
Eat a Plant-based diet I know carnivores would be screaming, what the… expletives, at their computer screens or smart phones whilst reading this.
Well, there is no need to scream at your device, because as you just saw from that recent study, the Mediterranean-style diet does lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
What constitutes a Mediterranean diet?
It’s fruits, legumes, and vegetables plus healthy plant-derived fats.
When I say Legumes, people always ask what I mean. Well, for avoidance of doubt, legumes refer to beans, peas and lentils. Some of the loveliest, most nutritious foods on the planet.
If the results from that study are anything to go by, then it is clear that animal products don’t do much to stave off Alzheimer’s disease.
You can eat as much animal products as you like, so long as you understand the risks.
Okay, on a practical note, I am not saying you have to go Vegan. Nope.
What you can do is reduce your consumption of animal products inclusive of dairy.
You don’t have to cut them out altogether. Just reduce your consumption of them. You are more likely to find joy with that than a total ban. Makes sense?
Eat more plants!
Do Physical and Mental Exercise This goes without saying. I am not the first to mention this. You would have heard it elsewhere and everywhere. Exercise is good for you.
I know this piece was supposed to be about Alzheimer’s disease diet which means the focus should be about diet.
But it will be remiss of me of not to talk about exercise, if we are talking about Alzheimer’s disease prevention.
Exercise has many ramifications. You get immediate benefits from getting yourself cardiovascularly fit, fat burn and muscle toning. But you also get long term benefits.
Long term benefits of exercise include Alzheimer’s disease prevention. It is recommended that you get about 150 minutes of exercise a week as a means to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
And it doesn’t matter whether, it is cardio exercise or resistance training. Any exercise will do.
Here’s a summary of what you can do to prevent or avoid Alzheimer’s disease:
1. Keep your intake of saturated fats low, really low.
2. Eat more unsaturated fats. You can get these from nuts, seeds, avocados and oils sympathetically extracted from these.
3. Avoid trans-fats foods. These foods will include commercially available fried foods and pastries. Something to mention though. If you see on the food label “partially hydrogenated oils”, that should qualify as trans-fat. Avoid.
4. Reduce your consumption of dairy
5. Eat more plants – fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains
6. Reduce your meat consumption, in particular red meat
7. Meet your daily requirements for Vitamin E. I am not suggesting taking Vitamin E supplement. That has been found to be disappointing. Get your vitamin E from your food – nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, whole grains. You need to eat about 15 mg of Vitamin E daily.
8. Avoid Vitamin supplements with Iron and Copper. You should be looking to get your iron and copper from your food. If you are iron deficient, do not self-treat. The instructions to take iron should come from your doctor, not you or anyone else. Excess iron is just as bad as lack of it.
9. Reduce exposure to aluminium. I know it’s all around us, aluminium. There’s some link between aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease, so it will be prudent at this point to reduce your exposure to it. Choose your cooking pots carefully. Be careful with products like baking powder, and over-the-counter antacids. Some of them contain aluminium. Avoid.
10. Take your vitamin B12 daily, if you are a vegan. Your recommended daily dose should be 2.4 micrograms.
11. Get as much sleep as possible each night. Shift workers may find it difficult to adhere to this but you should look to get as much sleep as possible when you are off duty. 7 – 8 hours’ sleep a night is what you should be aiming for.
Sleep is important for forming new memories. If you liken sleep to an email account and liken new memories to the ‘Inbox’, lack of sleep will mean new memories will bounce back just like an email will bounce if the address in incorrect. Instead of having new memories received or stored, they will bounce if you are sleep-deprived.
Also, sleep period is the time the brain detoxes itself. Getting rid of the damage of wakefulness, recharging itself and getting rid of that toxic protein, beta amyloid. Lack of sleep means you deprive your brain of that wash-out of beta amyloid. Read more about sleep benefits from this book “Why We Sleep” at Amazon UK here.
12. Exercise your brain and your physical body. As I stated previously, 150 minutes of physical exercise a week is ideal and exercise for your brain works just as well.
Brain exercises will include activities like crosswords, puzzles, play scrabble, solve riddles and twists. Anything that exercises your brain even reading newspapers and online articles like this will help you exercise your brain and stave off Alzheimer’s disease.
13. Quit smoking cigarettes. Look for smoking cessation programs around where you live. You are probably going to find more success with that method than trying to go it alone. Of course, if you can do it yourself, go ahead and do it.
Those are your tips for preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Take them on board and start using these tips starting today.
Don’t rely on Big Pharma to rescue you in later years. There’s no guarantee they will. Why wait when you can take Alzheimer preventing steps yourself.
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