In the pink of health

     Print Edition: March 4, 2012

Fighting Disease
There's a reason we have that old saying 'avoid it like the plague'. No one likes being sick. The key to better health is a strong immune system. So, can you boost your immunity? The answer isn't a straight yes. That's because the body doesn't have a single 'immunity organ'. Better immunity results from bringing balance to all the complex components that make up your immune system. Here's how you can achieve a more perfect balance.

Eat Right

 A Cancer Filter
Ideally, you shouldn't be smoking at all. For some though, this can be a really hard habit to beat. A new discovery could take away at least one of the many dangers associated with cigarettes. Researchers found that lycopene and grape seed extracts drastically reduced the amount of cancer-causing free radicals that were passed through a cigarette filter.

Free radicals damage cells by attacking the protein structure, lipids and DNA, and can cause cancer. In the case of cigarettes, the free radicals get a straight path to your respiratory system, courtesy you. That’s why mouth, throat and lung cancer rates are so high among smokers.

While the new filter reduces free radicals, it must be remembered there are hundreds of other deadly chemicals in cigarette smoke that this procedure does not eliminate.

Source: Journal of Visualised Experiments

Some foods have been observed - thought not conclusively proved - to help prevent disease. These include most fruits and especially berries, yogurt, fish, garlic, mushrooms and tea. There's no harm in eating more of these. Drink in moderation. A glass of wine a day is about right.

Clean Up

Avoid pollution. Besides foul air, this includes water and food contamination as well. Pollution hurts us in a range of ways from slowly poisoning us to generating free radicals that hit cell growth. Don't smoke. You'll miss your lungs when they're gone, not to mention a whole lot else!

Cut the Stress

Several studies done after natural disasters showed links between increased stress and emotional trauma and reduced immune function. While you can't avoid acts of God, you can associate with positive people. Socialise regularly or even get a pet. They're great for company and amusement.

Source: Health.Harvard.edu & Prevention.com

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