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Top 10 Best Immune System Boosters

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“The immune system is a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is still much that researchers don’t know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response. For now, there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function.  Quite a number of researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, herbal supplements, and other factors on the immune response, both in animals and in humans. Although interesting results are emerging, thus far they can only be considered preliminary (Harvard Health Publishing).”

During our world pandemic due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) we all must take preventative cautionary steps to maintain optimal health and reduce the spread of the virus.  We have been advised to practice social distancing and stay home. But what else can we do? The next most important step is to maintain a healthy immune system.

 

Adopting healthy behaviors are your first line of defense for a strong immune system

Tip 1: Live Tobacco Free

If you already live a tobacco-free lifestyle you are doing yourself a gigantic health favor.  And if you use tobacco there are resources to help you reduce your intake and ultimately kick the habit.   Visit the Mayo Clinic’s Smoking Cessation Guide. Check out Healthline’s List of Products to help you quit.  Email us admin@bkomplete.com to learn more about our Tobacco Cessation Program.

Tip 2: Eat a Diet Rich in Nutrients

Eat a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber and low in added sugar, saturated and trans saturated fat.  But, what does that mean to eat exactly?  No stress, we have you covered! Check out our Meal Prep Guide, Healthy Hydration Hacks, What are Pre and ProBiotics, What Foods to Eat in the Winter and What Foods to Eat in the SummerStill not sure?  No problem, email us at admin@bkomplete.com to schedule your nutrition and wellness consult. This is how we can help you learn more about which foods to eat.

Tip 3: Exercise Regularly

In addition to eating  more nutrient-rich foods, it is also important to get regular exercise. That equals at least 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity and at least 2 instances per week of muscle training for all major muscle groups.  But we know the biggest barrier to exercise is time. Now that many of us are working from home we have gained back the time it took for our commute to the office.  Use that extra time to add physical activity into your day. You will feel great and reduce your stress! Not sure how to exercise at home? Check out this Home Gym 101 article on body weight exercises you can do at home.  You can also visit Fitness Blender on YouTube for hundreds of free exercise routines.   

Tip 4: Maintain a Healthy Weight

 A healthy body weight does NOT mean the lowest body weight.  At B.Komplete we never recommend restrictive diets.  A healthy body weight philosophy means that you have accepted your body and you are practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors.  Body acceptance includes mindful eating, frequent exercise, self compassion, and healthcare prevention. One important measure rather than your weight is your waist circumference.  Elevated waist circumferences can be a predictor for heart issues. The goal for waist circumference is less than 35 inches for women and less than 40 inches for men. Another measure is your body fat percentage. While this can range significantly you can visit Healthline for more information.

Tip 5: Control Your Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure impacts roughly 1 in 3 Americans.  This puts us at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.  But the good news is, by following the guidance of your healthcare team you can control your blood pressure. The first defense is practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors (all of the items on this list). This should be practiced in combination with taking prescribed blood pressure medication.  If you are unsure what your blood pressure is, order a blood pressure cuff to use at home.  

Tip 6: Drink in Moderation

If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.  In times of stress alcohol may seem even more inviting.  But practicing moderation is the key for your success. For men the recommendation is no more than 2 drinks per day. And for women the recommendation is no more than 1 drink per day.  A standard drink is generally equal to 1-12 ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1 – 1.5 ounces of liquor.  And watch out for drinks with a lot of added sugar and make sure that you hydrate well before, during and after intake of alcohol. 

Tip 7: Get Adequate Sleep

“Adequate” sleep generally means 7 – 9 hours per night of restful slumber for most adults.  If this sounds like a dream you may need to work on your sleep health. Because getting enough sleep does more than give you energy. It also helps to boost your immune system and benefits your metabolism.  Learn more from Healthy People

Tip 8: Take Steps to Avoid Infection and Protect Your Immune System

This means washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.  Hand washing has always been our first life of defense against infection.  And with the pandemic of coronavirus (COVID-19)public health organizations are providing as much guidance as possible on the proper way to wash your handsSafe food handling has always been paramount to reduce our risk for food borne illness.  For instance, cooking meat to the proper temperature, not using the same cutting board for meat and produce, and storing food properly are just a few basic practices.  Learn more from the USDA on keeping food safe.  

Tip 9: Get Regular Healthcare Prevention Screenings

Get regular healthcare prevention screenings for people in your age group and risk category.  This means visiting your primary care physician at least annually and getting your blood measured. This also means getting your preventative dental exams, cancer screenings, eye exams and meeting with your  B.Komplete Registered Dietitian for your preventative wellness visits.  Learn more about the frequency of various healthcare prevention exams from the Cleveland Clinic

Virtual Counseling

Tip 10: Manage Your Stress

We are facing great uncertainty, illness, and economic challenges with the coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, stress is higher than everSome of our go-to tips for managing stress include breath exercises, practicing meditation and mindfulness, engaging in physical activity, laughing, and practicing gratitude.  Learn more about some of our go-to stress reduction ideas here

If you enjoyed this post please share with your family, friends and colleagues.  Because the more we can do to support our immune system and stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the better our world will be.  

Nutrition and Food

Healthy Hydration Hacks

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We all know that drinking water is a good – and essential – thing to do.  But how much do we need to drink?  And, besides water, what are the best beverages and foods to hydrate us?  And, what is the most convenient and delicious way to flavor water?  We have you covered in this post – our top tips for healthy hydration hacks!

Hack #1: How Much Water Do We Need?

Your individual water needs depend on many factors, including your health, your age, how active you are and where you live.  No single formula fits everyone. Knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of our daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.

Hack #2: Besides Water, What Fluids Hydrate Well?

Water reigns supreme for hydration and can do the trick almost every time. However, we all get tired of just drinking water from time to time.  There are quite a few additional beverages you can add to your list for hydration helpers.

  • Milk.  Whether you pick dairyalmondcashew or soy, milk can provide an excellent source of hydration.  Look for varieties with no-added sugar.  Milk is a good post-workout drink as it can provide protein and carbohydrate which is needed for your muscles.  In one study, drinking (dairy) milk helped people retain a third of the fluid they consumed over a two-hour follow-up period, and remain hydrated for over four hours.  In this study the researchers found that milk was better than water for re-hydration, and is more effective at countering dehydration.
  • Sparkling Water.  Just adding a little fizz can make water more interesting.  While sparkling water may not be ideal pre-, during or post-workout, it is a great option for when you are going out and need to reduce the alcohol you are drinking.  Sparkling water can be great with meals and snacks during the day.  There are some delicious commercial options, and you can DIY at home.
  • Tea.  Whether you like black, green or herbal, tea can help with your hydration goals.  Teas that are caffeine-free are better at hydration versus those with caffeine.  There are countless ways to enjoy tea, you can enjoy a RTD variety like Honest Tea or Pure Leaf (look for the unsweetened varieties), loose leaf or bag teas, and sachets with tea.  Our favorite herbal teas include Yogi Tea’s Lemon Ginger, and Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea.  
  • Coconut Water.  In really hot and humid weather or in a workout when you sweat a lot, you could need a little hydration with some added electrolytes.  Electrolytes are minerals that our bodies need to maintain balance and include sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.  Coconut water provides potassium and sodium.  Look for a brand that has no added sugar varieties like Harmless Harvest and Zico.  You can get electrolytes through fruits and vegetables also like bananas, melon, citrus, green leafy vegetables, and beets.  
  • Juice.  Juice is hydrating, and to lower the sugar content you can dilute with water.  Fresh juice is a good option, and may not have added sugar.  Check out BluePrint for some wholesome juice options.  All foods and beverages can fit into a healthy lifestyle.  If you are not sure how much sugar to be consuming, we can help you.  Email us at info@bkomplete.com to schedule a session with one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. 

Hack #3: Flavor Your Water

Making water more “fun” is easier than ever to do.  You can slice up your favorite fruit – orange, lemon, strawberry – and add to your water bottle or glass.  For a savory twist, try sliced cucumber and lemon in your water – delicious, refreshing, and a little different.  

Another option that we love at B.Komplete is to flavor our water with Stur Water Enhancer.  Our favorite flavors are Coconut Pineapple and Boldy Blue and Blackberry.  Just a few squirts, and your water will take on a vibrant flavor and color.  Your kids will like this too!  Using Stur is the perfect way to encourage a picky drinker to enjoy water.  

Hack #4: Hydrate with a Smoothie

Smoothies are a delicious way to add nutrients and hydration into your diet.  A smoothie can be as simple as throwing some ice, fruit and milk into a blender and blending until smooth – to as complex as adding ancient grains, fresh herbs, and organic protein powder to make a masterpiece (but, will that taste good?!).  Our tips for the most hydrating ingredients to add into your smoothie include: water, any unsweetened milk (dairy, almond, cashew or soy), veggies (try spinach, cucumber, celery or kale), and – of course – fruit (try oranges, berries, and melon).  Check out our recipe for a scrumptious Pineapple Smoothie and visit the Green Blender Recipe Blog for several hydrating smoothie recipes.  

Whichever options you try, let us know in the comments below!  The most important thing is to stay hydrated, in a healthy way, all year round.  If you find it hard to remember to drink water, perhaps add it as a reminder in your calendar/phone each hour.  Healthy hydration is the foundation for physical and mental activity.