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10 Immune System Boosters for Seniors

1. Consider herbal supplements or multivitamins.

An option for fighting infections and increasing nutrients, seniors should talk to their doctors first before adding herbs such as echinacea, ginseng, multivitamins or probiotics to their regimen.

2. Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet.

Older people tend to eat less and have less variety in their diets. Fruits and vegetables rich in beta-carotene, vitamins C and E and zinc are essential to good health. So is maintaining a low-fat, low-sugar diet that incorporates lean proteins and whole grains.

3. Exercise.

Regular physical activity promotes circulation and heart health and relaxes the body and mind. Bicycle rides, walks, yoga classes and other forms of exercise help boost a senior’s immune system performance and ward off infections.

4. Get vaccinated.

Flu vaccines have shown to be effective for around one-quarter of older adults. Seniors who get the flu vaccine have significantly lower rates of sickness.

5. Reduce stress.

Stress has been linked to a number of illnesses, including heart disease and stomach problems. Whether it’s isolation, social stress or another form, stress can suppress a senior’s immune system, making them more susceptible to viruses.

6. Sleep.

One of the best natural immune system boosters, sleep helps us respond better to inflammation and stress. It’s also shown to improve our response to the flu vaccine.

7. Stay hydrated.

Seniors tend to sense thirst less than younger people. But older people need at least eight to nine glasses of fluid a day to keep mucous membranes moist, which lowers the chances of flu or colds. Coffee, soup, tea and water all count.

8. Stay positive.

healthy outlook on life boosts endorphins, which make us feel good. Seniors who keep up with activities and hobbies that make them happy have a better chance of staying healthy and positive.

9. Try some superfoods.

Foods like avocados, berries, broccoli and kale have been shown to improve immune system performance. Some superfoods even boost cognitive function and help fight dementia.

10. Wash hands.

Washing hands regularly scrubs away germs. Covering coughs and sneezes helps prevent diseases from spreading.

Illness isn’t inevitable, but good habits lend to keeping seniors happy and healthy so they can enjoy the most out of life.

Do you know of any other immune system boosters for seniors that we should add to our list? We’d like to hear your suggestions

What to eat before a 5K or 10K run

Get ready, set…eat! Before heading out for a run, it’s important to make sure you are properly fuelled so that you have enough energy to go the distance. Eating the right foods, at the right time, can not only help you run better and for longer, it can also help avoid stomach cramps, dizziness and falling energy levels. To help with this, today I am going to look at what to eat before a 10k.

1. Eat – Low GI foods

The glycaemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It measures how quickly these foods are digested and how soon they affect blood sugar (glucose) levels after being eaten. The faster the body breaks these down, and blood glucose rises, the higher the GI rating.

According to our Nutritionist Emma Thornton, it’s important for runners to eat foods containing low GI carbs, particularly in the 2-3 hours before a run, as these foods release energy slower and at a more sustained rate. She says: “This will help to preserve energy stores in the muscles and should allow fat sources to be used thus ensuring energy levels are higher for longer.”

It is particularly important to avoid all high GI foods in the 20 minute window prior to exercise as there can be a physiological effect attached to the drop in blood glucose at this time. This means energy gels are one to watch as they can be packed with sugar, meaning their effects on your energy levels may not be very long-lasting.

Low GI foods:

  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Dried apricots
  • Oranges

. Eat – healthy carbohydrates

When it comes to carbohydrates, it is important not to overload as this group of foods can leave you feeling sluggish and bloated. However, eating a small amount of carbs the morning before a big run should help to see you through. That’s because carbs are able to boost stores of glycogen which serves as a source of energy.

Before a 10k, aim to have around 1/3 of your meal made up with carbs and use fish, meat and vegetables to fill up the other proportions.

Healthy carbohydrate foods:

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Wholegrain bread
  • Potato
  • Porridge
  • Cereal

3. Eat – protein

A little bit of protein before a race can help you feel full for a longer period of time – as a rough guide, around ¼ of your dinner plate should be made up of protein. On top of this, protein is really important for the muscles as it is used to build and repair tissue there. It makes up tendons, for example, as well as ligaments, collagen and elastin, the latter of which is essential for repair work. This means it is important to get protein both before and after a run.

Read our blog ‘How much protein do you really need?’ for further information on protein.
Protein-rich foods:

  • Beans
  • Pulses
  • Fish
  • Eggs

4. Eat – healthy fats

Nutritionist Emma Thornton says that we mustn’t forget about eating healthy fats before a run. These provide fuel to sustain the body through a long distance and help support the absorption of multiple nutrients too. Healthy fats also help support the health of the muscles and joints.

Emma says: “Healthy fats should make up 1/4 to 1/3 of our daily diet so these should feature during periods of training, although you might want to reduce this intake in the few hours prior to running as they are much slower to digest.”

Foods containing healthy fats:

  • Flaxseed
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Tofu
  • Fish


When was the last time you spent time outside and enjoyed the benefits of nature?

study  found that most people spent a mere half-day outside each week. If you’re struggling to remember or you’ve realised that it’s been a while, you should consider shaking this up, read on to find out why.

Regular time spent outside in nature is key to a healthy lifestyle. Technology is improving in leaps and bounds to the point where we can experience other worlds from the comforts of our living room through virtual reality, but it will never be able to recreate the wonderful benefits the outside has to offer us.

Here are the key benefits of nature.


It helps to reduce stress

Nature has been found to have a calming quality on our stress levels. Beautiful natural surroundings and scenery can feel like worlds away from our home and work life and consequently causes us to put any associated stress on the back burner. A study explored the effect of nature on the stress hormone cortisol. The study focused on two separate groups of students, one group remained in the city whilst the other group was taken on a hiking and camping venture on a break from school. Lower levels of cortisol were found in the students who took part in the hiking and camping experience.

It builds our focus

Actively getting outside breaks up our working day, which for the vast majority takes part indoors whether it be an office, classroom or vehicle. Being inside for too long can cause us to become overwhelmed, particularly as a lot of our work takes place face-to-face with a computer screen which can have a negative effect on our focus levels.

Several studies have supported the notion that outdoor activities helps to attune our attention and focus levels. One study tasked three separate groups with a proofreading assignment after experiencing different activities, these included a walk through the city, a walk out in nature and relaxing indoors. The group who took a walk out in nature performed the best on the task. A separate study carried out in Finland found that students who engaged in outdoor activities tended to gain better academic achievements.

It could help support the immune system

Our immune systems improve when we face different environments, when we stay in one environment it can become somewhat stuck – it thrives from a challenge. A study carried out in Japan found the number of white blood cells in adults after a weekend trip to a forest increased. White blood cells play a key role in the immune system – they fend off unwelcome antibodies and diseases.

This study proves that a stride out into nature can help to strengthen the immune system.

It positively impacts physical health

The very act of walking, cycling or running in nature has a positive impact on our physical health. On the one hand you’ll be exposed to the wonders of vitamin D from the sunlight, on the other hand the rough and ready terrain forces you to work harder than you would on a flat treadmill or tarmacked running track; this consequently burns more energy.


Do you ever hit a slump at certain points of the day? No matter how productive we all want to be, we’re all prone to a little dip in concentration, and who could blame us? We’re inundated with temptations to focus our attentions anywhere else than our tasks at hand – we can watch Youtube or check social media anytime, anywhere. But that’s only half the battle when it comes to staying mentally active, there are a number of other contributing factors – frequency of exercise, the state of your diet and ways of working to name a few.

We’ve zoomed in on each of these areas to dissect how you can retain and improve concentration throughout the day.


The Impact of Exercise

As a majority of our day-to-day working activities can be conquered at our computer screens, us humans are sitting down more than we ever have. And with that comes an onslaught of issues – you only need to gaze over the potential repercussions detailed on the NHS to understand.

One way to combat this and keep yourself mentally active is to engage in regular exercise, many studies have linked physical activity to concentration levels. A study on Dutch school children found that pupils became better at multi-tasking, resisting distractions and retaining information when classes were broken up with 20 minutes of aerobic exercise.

With this in mind, here are some ideas on how to stay active:

Walking & Getting Outside

One of the biggest excuses for not exercising is a lack of time. Well, there are plenty of ways to make exercise work in your favour when it comes your day-to-day which we tackled in our healthy eating and exercise for busy lifestyles. You could try walking to work, or if that’s not achievable at least make a part of your journey on foot. Otherwise, you can make the most of your lunchbreak by taking a walk around the block or in a nearby park. Being outside in nature alone holds many benefits in itself. Alongside a boost in focus, it also helps to reduce feelings of stress and positively impacts our general health.

A simple way of boosting your mental activity throughout the day is to shake up your seated position at your desk for something different.

Standing Desks

Standing desks have already swept offices all around the country, and for good reason. A study in Minneapolis looked into the effects of standing desks in an office environment over a 7 week period, the study concluded that workers experienced a reduced feeling of fatigue and stress after using standing desks. Elsewhere, standing desks have proved to reduce back pain and strain and may lower blood pressure.

The Impact of Diet  

Your diet has an incredibly powerful effect on your mental state throughout the day – you need to stay loyal to your meal times and fill it with a good balance of foods.

Don’t Forget Breakfast!

A lot of people hold off from eating breakfast until they get to work these days. In fact, it’s better to eat within the first hour of waking up – your naturally low sugar levels upon waking will be fed which, in turn, keeps you energised and mentally active for extended periods of time.

Healthy Snacking

In terms of snacking, berries, bananas and nuts are your friends. These foods contain the most rewarding properties when it comes to needing a boost of energy which in return allows you to remain focussed. Here’s some wider reading on those foods:

Our TREK bars at Natural Balance Foods consist of a simple mixture of fruits, oats and protein crunchies so you know you’re getting nutritional, no nonsense snacking. Explore the range of TREK Protein Energy Bars and TREK Energy Chunks to stock up your snack box.


Iron deficiency is directly linked to feelings of fatigue so it’s important to keep iron present in your diet to keep yourself mentally active throughout the day. Iron helps the body to produce a vital strand of protein called hemoglobin which assists in the passing of oxygen from your lungs to your body. Pistachio nuts, a sea vegetable called dulse and lentils are all great examples of iron-rich foods.


Article –

Sleep Easy – the story behind Pukka Night Time tea blend

One of the beautiful things about working with herbs is the way they can help our sense of wellbeing every day. We all need our beauty sleep we all need to find something that could help slow us down when the end of the day beckoned.

This is where Night Time tea came from. Pukka knew about the soothing wonders of oatstraw flowers, and started giving it to friends after a fine meal together. mixed it with lavender flowers, and relax into the softness of the night. Chamomile flowers, tulsi leaf and some valerian root joined the slumber blend. Everyone loved the taste and feel so much, it made sense to blend it for the perfect Night Time.

The joy is that such beautiful plants can have such an effect. Blessed by being able to help so many people since Pukka made this tea – people who are waking up refreshed and waking up to the wonders of organic herbs too.



If you’re interested in health and fitness or follow a plant-based diet, you’ve probably heard of pulses or may already be consuming them whether you’re aware of it or not. Read on to discover more about what pulses are, the role they play in our diet and why they’re considered to be a fantastic source of nutrition.   

So, what are pulses?

Pulses are a strand of the legume family (legumes are plants that grow in pods), specifically they are the seed part of legumes. This means pulses are mainly comprised of lentils, beans and peas.

Here is a short list of some example pulses:

  • Dry beans
  • Lentils
  • Faba Beans
  • Cowpeas
  • Bambara beans
  • Pigeon peas

Why are they so great? What are the benefits of pulses?

In short, there are a ton of essential nutrients packed into pulses and are therefore considered to be an incredibly positive addition to a healthy diet. Here are the main reasons why pulses pack such a nutritional punch.

They’re full of protein

Pulses are a fantastic plant-based source of protein making it an especially important food for vegans and vital for maintaining a healthy vegan diet. You’ll find roughly 15g of protein in a cup of pulses. They’re celebrated for being a low-fat type of protein especially when compared to other sources such as meat, fish and certain types of nuts. Explore more vegan sources of protein here.

They’re rich in fibre

Fibre is a key part of a healthy and balanced diet. Pulses are regarded as a strong source of fibre due to the presence of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Here’s a quick definition of both types:

  • Soluble fibre – helps to control blood sugar levels, body weight and lower cholesterol.
  • Insoluble fibre – helps digestion and regulation of the digestive system

This means it’s not only beneficial to heart health but it makes positive contributions to gut-health, too.

They’re a strong source of folate

Folate is a B vitamin which is required for the production and maintenance of new cells making it an especially important nutrient for growth. The presence of folate in pulses means the ingredient is a beneficial addition to diets for children and pregnant women.

Pulses also have a valuable impact on the environment and provide fantastic inspiration in the kitchen, too.

They’re friendly to the environment

Nitrogen-rich soil is required in order for crops to successfully grow. Pulses are a nitrogen-fixing plant and therefore make significantly less impact on the environment due to their natural ability to grow without the help of fertilizers or pesticides. In fact, they increase the presence of nitrogen in the soil leaving a healthy patch for new crops to grow and thrive.

They’re versatile as a cooking ingredient

” What about the taste! The mix of turmeric and ginger can be felt, yet there is also a feel of citrus (and other fruits). It’s turmeric content gives it a yellowish colour. Whilst the warmth comes from the ginger. It definitely is a pleasant tea to drink.” – Veggy Malta


To read the full post click on the link below

Pukka Turmeric Active – herbal care for the active in a teabag

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