Immune Systems, Sun and Summer Fruit

May 31, 2012

In the summer, members of the IAHS generally find that you, our customer, ask about immunity mainly in terms of hay fever prevention. Will it be different this year?

At the time of writing there’s a lot of talk, but not much knowledge about swine ‘flu and whether it could become a pandemic or fizzle out like bird ‘flu.

The golden rules for protection from any virus or bacteria never change: eat healthily [be aware that sugars damages the immune system], get sufficient rest, exercise adequately and avoid stress.

Garlic, the most widely-used medicinal herb in the world, has strong anti-viral properties, as have elderberries. Echinacea helps to modulate the immune system, while vitamin C, olive leaf and probiotics boost it. Your local health store will add to the list!

Have any articles on vitamin D caught your eye recently? It is the new superhero of food supplements, with well-established benefits for immunity and fighting tumours, as well as for calcium absorption.

Vitamin D is naturally produced when UVB rays in sunlight strike our skin, which is why many of the best-formulated skin moisturisers do not contain it as a blocking agent. UVA rays are the baddies, and protection against them is sensible, and of course sunburn is also to be avoided.

So choose a moisturiser free from UVB blockers, and on that topic, ask your local health store for sunscreen products, which do not contain OCM [octyl methoxycinnamate]. This is a toxic addition to many sunscreens and best avoided, particularly for children.

As we welcome the wonderful summer fruits and vegetables, do think about buying locally, whether from your health store or farmers’ market, and if you can afford the extra cents to buy fresh and organic, go for it!

Not only are you supporting the local economy, but it’s well established that organic crops are higher in nutrients than food grown in tired soils fed with artificial fertilisers.

Health stores have a wide variety of organic oils, vinegars and mustards for your salad dressings, and what about adding a sprinkle of pink peppercorns to your salad – delicious flavour as well as a beautiful colour.

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