ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Stem Cells Might Treat Tough Fractures
CANCER
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
CAREGIVING
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
Blueberry Drink Protects Mice From Obesity, Diabetes
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
EYE CARE, VISION
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Maximize Your Run
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
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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.