ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
CAREGIVING
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
The High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Debate
Added Sugars in Diet Threaten Heart Health
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
EYE CARE, VISION
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
FITNESS
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Food and Water Supply Poisoned by Perchlorate
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
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Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu

When you provide your immune system with the necessary tools to fight bacteria and viruses, vibrant health will always be the natural result. Yet many people are grossly deficient in the basic nutrients the body needs to be able to mount an efficient defensive immune response.

The typical processed food diet is void of the critical vitamins and minerals our cells require to fortify our immune system and over time, we become a magnet for a host of circulating pathogens that cause suffering for millions each year. Proper diet and targeted natural immune nutrients will help you and your family avoid colds and the flu by boosting your adaptive immune response.

1. Eat natural foods and avoid sugar to boost immunity.

Diet is the single most important lifestyle process that is within your control to help your immune system. Simply put, sugar suppresses our immune system by inhibiting the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacterial and viral invaders. Sugary treats, high glycemic processed carbohydrates and sweetened beverages blunt our response to pathogens and open the door to disease.

The results of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) demonstrates that the amount of sugar in two sweetened beverages lowers immune response by 50% for up to five hours after drinking or eating. Conversely, a diet filled with complex carbohydrates has no detrimental effect on immunity, and the high nutritional content of fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds provide the building blocks required to mount a healthy defensive attack when needed.

2. Take vitamin D to activate killer T cells.

Health conscious individuals who ensure proper blood levels of vitamin D appear to have the ultimate protection against the cold and flu. The journal, Nature Immunology provides details on the synergy between the sunshine vitamin and our adaptive immune killer T cells. Vitamin D is shown to provide the activation key that stimulates T cells into action when invaders are detected.

Virtually every cell in our body has a vitamin D receptor that is only filled when sufficient amounts are circulating in the blood. A deficiency in this essential compound leaves the cellular receptor open and available for viral hijacking. A separate AJCN study shows that vitamin D is far superior to vaccines at warding off the flu. Maintain your vitamin D blood levels between 50 and 70 ng/ml for optimal protection by requesting a 25(OH)D blood test.

3. Take vitamin C to prepare immune cells for action.

Vitamin C has been shown to increase the number of infection-fighting white blood cells and stimulates the production of interferon. Interferon provides a protective coating on the surface of cells that prevents penetration by viruses. Research published in the Journal of Immunology explains that up to 5 grams of vitamin C are needed daily to activate the production of interferon for general health and up to 1 gram every hour should be used when fighting a cold or the flu.

The importance of a strong immune response cannot be underestimated. Follow the common sense practices of thorough hand washing and covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough to limit exposure to bacterial and viral agents. Eliminate sugar and processed carbohydrates from your diet to boost your front line response. Finally, add natural nutrients including vitamins C and D for top notch natural protection against the common cold and flu virus.

John Phillip is a diet, health and nutrition researcher and writer with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modiication through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. Johnís passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives.

Discover the latest alternative health news concerning diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and weight loss at My Optimal Health Resource.