Which Superfoods Will Protect My Eyesight?

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Our eyes are under a lot of strain and sadly, for some of us, this will lead to serious damage and even blindness later in life. The culprit? Blue light emitted from our personal digital devices, computers and lighting. Over time, these harmful rays can cause degeneration of our retinas and lead to sight loss.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Scientists at Harvard University have shown that certain superfoods actually protect against the damaging effects of blue light and can protect our eyesight in the future.  

What’s the science?

The reason blue light is so dangerous is that is has a much higher frequency than other visible light. This means the light rays vibrate more violently as they enter your eye, causing damage to your retina. Specifically, they damage your macula – a highly-pigmented area at the back of the retina.

The macula acts as a filter to blue light. It’s packed with yellow pigment, which fends of those harmful rays. Repeatedly having to do this takes its toll however, leading to what is called advanced macular degeneration. This condition is the leading cause of blindness in the West, affecting a staggering 30% of people over the age of 75. And we can only assume that, in the age of the ever-present smartphone, this figure looks set to rise.

How can superfoods help?

The Harvard study found that the nutrients in certain superfoods have a significant benefit to the health of our eyes. It followed the visual health of over 100,000 participants over the course of 20 years to conclude that two nutrients are vital in protecting against macular degeneration: lutein and zeaxanthin.

Researchers showed that people eating a diet rich in lutein and zeaxanthin are 40% less likely to suffer from advanced age-related macular degeneration. The reason? These two little carotenoids contain the yellow pigment the macula needs to be able to filter out blue light. Pretty clever huh?

Which superfoods should I be eating?

Fermented_Kale_supplementTop of the list is superfood favorite, kale. We always knew we loved these nutrient-dense greens and it can feature in a wide range of dishes from stir-fry to smoothies. If you’re not keen on its earthy taste don’t worry, there are also clever products and supplements that make eating your greens so much easier. Try Perfect Fermented Kale to quickly and easily get concentrated kale into your diet.

Other foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin include raw cress, raw spinach, cooked spinach and green peas. And in a slightly disappointing myth-buster, carrots were found to have relatively low levels of eyesight-protecting nutrients.

So, it looks like eating your greens is a must when it comes to protecting your eyesight. But exactly how many greens do you need to eat?

How much lutein and zeaxanthin do I need?

At this point in time, there is no established Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for either lutein or zeaxanthin. However, in another study into visual health – the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS2) –  just 10mg of lutein and 2mg of zeaxanthin per day were found to have significant benefits to macular health.

In the study, this was provided in the form of a supplement but just one cup (or 100g) of cooked kale is thought to contain around 20mg of lutein and zeaxanthin. Five portions a day of other green vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli and peas, would also provide you with sufficient levels of these very special carotenoids. That’s a pretty delicious way to protect your eyesight!  

AMD and superfoods

Image Credit: Focus Clinics

How to Stay Healthy While Indulging This Holiday Season

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Let’s face it: between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the opportunities for indulgence abound, and even the most committed of us sometimes stray from our normally healthy diets. I’m not going to be the one to tell you to give up your grandma’s special glazed ham or the amazing chocolate dessert party-goers are saying you just have to try. Of course it’s ideal to adhere closely to a healthy, minimally-processed diet, but the holidays are full of traditions and temptations, and making a gluten-free, sugar-free version of your family’s favorite dessert isn’t always feasible or even desirable. Go ahead, enjoy a bite — or two! But follow these tips to minimize the impact of a month or two of indulgences.

Prepare for Parties & Avoid Overeatingweight_loss_smoothie

If you’re headed out to a holiday party, don’t skip meals all day so you can binge all night! That’s a surefire way to ensure you’ll end up eating too much of all the wrong foods. Instead, keep your pre-party diet as healthy as possible. Eat a healthy, protein rich breakfast, like a quick smoothie or an omelet. Have a hearty salad topped with meat or nuts for lunch, drink plenty of water, and snack on fruits and veggies all day. When you arrive at the party, you won’t be starving or delirious from low blood sugar. You’ll be able to pick and choose the foods that you’ll truly enjoy and pass on the rest of the artificial-ingredient-laden fare.

When dinner is finally served, pause. Check in with yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Do you need a few moments of calm and quiet before joining the busy dinner? Are you angry about a cousin’s remark, and craving fried food to stuff down the anger? Pause. Halfway through the meal, as you’re shoveling in the mashed potatoes, pause. Are you really still hungry? Are you enjoying these potatoes, or just eating them because they’re on your plate? Are you worried about wasting food or offending the host? Pause. Make a deliberate decision to stop or continue eating. One of the truest maxims I’ve ever read is this: “Your body is not a trash can.”. If you’re hoping to avoid the average 5 pounds of holiday weight gain, check out some more tips from Dr. Oz for preventing weight gain over the holidays.

Weigh the Consequences; Then, Savor the Moment!

Try not to just mindlessly fill your plate with a bit of each option. Instead, think about how these foods will make you feel, which is different for everyone. Maybe enjoying fresh bread outweighs the slight chance of a stomach ache, while a meal containing dairy just isn’t worth the consequences. I myself need to be extra conscious of sugar, since too much refined sugar can make me feel sick both immediately and for days afterward. Indulging in a few unhealthy foods doesn’t mean you need to give up on all your ideals. Take some time now to plan out which dietary ideals are worth sticking to and which leave you with more wiggle room.

If you do decide to break your personal top diet rules, make it completely worth it! Take time to really chew and taste each bite. Focus on the food’s appearance, smell, texture, and flavor. Eat it slowly and mindfully. Ask your aunt how she made this delicious dish. Revel in the memories it brings back or the images it conjures up. And let go of the guilt; you can get back to your normal diet as soon as the holidays are over. Give yourself permission to just savor each moment and every bite.

Detox, Detox, Detox

No one’s likely to embark on an intense detox program a week before Christmas. But when your best intentions go awry and you wind up eating too much processed food, too much sugar, too much poiprescript-assist_probioticsson… support your body in processing and eliminating those toxins as quickly as possible. Taking probiotics is a simple way to alleviate some of the digestive distress that can accompany a sudden change in dietary habits. Drink a glass of water with the juice of half a lemon each morning to flush out toxins. In addition, these supplements gently draw toxins out without the time commitment or emotional investment of a full detox plan:

Perfect Liver Detox Support is a doctor-developed supplement designed to keep your liver performing its best. After all, the liver is the body’s filter for all those toxins coursing through your body. If it becomes overloaded, it can become sluggish and ineffective. Use Perfect Liver Detox Support which comes in convenient capsules loaded with milk thistle and other organic, detoxifying herbs, each day to help your body better process the chemicals, pesticides, sugars, and artificial ingredients in your holiday diet.

Perfect Chlorella is a powerful detox agent and also provides essential nutrients that your body may be lacking if you’re not prioritizing a healthy diet. High in chlorophyll and numerous vitamins and minerals, chlorella binds to toxins so that they can be safely eliminated. I recommend capsules for this busy time of year, but you can also opt for powder if you’re whipping up daily smoothies anyway. Get your chlorella along with spirulina in Perfect Aquatic Greens, for even more abundant and diverse nutrients.

Like chlorella, bentonite clay, too, binds to and draws out toxins as it passes through the digestive system. Start with a small amount — about a teaspoon — mixed into a glass of water. Make sure to eat plenty of fiber and drink lots of water to avoid constipation. You may need to add a bit of extra magnesium while taking bentonite clay if you find constipation is a problem for you. Bentonite clay also provides trace minerals that your diet may not provide during this busy holiday season.

Reduce Stress

Stress is good for no one, and a stressed body is much more vulnerable to toxins as well as illness. Fortunately, we have a great holiday stress guide featuring supplements and daily practices to help minimize the effects of stress on your body and mind. Simply getting outside for a short walk or taking a few moments to breathe or meditate can make a huge impact on your stress level, leaving you feeling healthier in both mind and body.

Avoid Feeling Low When Stress is High

 

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By Ali Wetherbee

The holidays can be fun and magical and ever-so-memorable — but this busy time of year can also really stress your mind and body. From holiday shopping to fighting traffic, from being cooped up indoors with germs to being cooped up with the in-laws, there are countless hits to our time, our finances, our health, our peace and sanity. We don’t eat as well and don’t have time to exercise. All of this leaves us especially vulnerable to all those colds and flus going around. So before you wind up in bed with a box of tissues and a hot water bottle, try these ideas. 

In Your Medicine Cabinet:

Instead of toxic, chemical-laden medicines, stock your medicine cabinet with organic vitamins and herbs and homeopathic formulas. Take these daily, but especially when you are under unusual stress or already sick.

Start with Vitamin Ccaties_real_vitamin_c_supplements

Whole Food Vitamin C belongs in every family’s medicine cabinet. Take it daily to keep your immune system functioning optimally, and begin taking it more frequently or in higher doses as soon as you feel something coming on. Vitamin C, when taken daily, can shorten the duration of the common cold. Taking one or two extra doses daily when symptoms first appear can thwart a cold before it really gets started! It also prevents and reverses free radical damage caused by oxidative stress, UV rays, and environmental toxins. Vitamin C is necessary for serotonin production, so this is a must-have for anyone suffering from depression or seasonal affective disorder.

Try:

Adapt Better to Stress

Take adaptogens during intense periods of stress. Adaptogenic herbs help you adapt to physical and mental stress and keep the body in balance. They may be particularly useful if you are experiencing anxiety, fatigue, or depression as a result of stress or tension. Stress increases cortisol levels, which may lead to chronic inflammatory conditions, weight gain, fatigue, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances, and illness. Adaptogens such as rhodiola and cordyceps lower high cortisol levels, minimizing the harmful effects of stress on the body.

Try:

Get a Good Night’s Rest

Stress can disrupt your sleep/wake cycles, making it hard to fall asleep and sleep through the night. This leaves you even more prone to feeling stressed, and you wind up stuck in a vicious cycle. These all-natural formulas can ensure you get an adequate amount of sleep, whether you are up late wrapping gifts or at your company Christmas party past bedtime. Healthy sleep is critical to a healthy immune system, and those who get poor-quality or insufficient sleep are more likely to succumb to colds, flu, and viruses.

Try:

Support Your Immune System

Take an immune support formula to keep your immune system in tip top shape. These are an excellent way to boost your body’s resistance to illness during this stressful time of year. Inadequate sleep, poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, increased exposure to germs, aging, and chronic health conditions can all leave you much more susceptible to illness, but these supplements strengthen the immune system, naturally.

Try:

Treat Your Cold Naturally

If illness hits despite your best efforts, you will be glad to have a medicine cabinet stocked with healing herbs, vitamins, and supplements! Keep these items on hand for when you start to feel stuffy or achy. Calm Balm is an all-natural alternative to petroleum-based chest rubs, and is great for colds, aches, and pains. Manuka Honey Nuggets help soothe sore throats with organic antibacterial ingredients.

Try:

‘Tis the Season to Stay Healthy!

Keeping healthy and fighting stress is not just a physical process. Every choice we make and each action we take can leave us more stressed or more relaxed, sicker or healthier. Try these tips to stay on track toward a healthier holiday season:

Learn to Say No

You do not need to attend every party or gathering you are invited to! Pick your favorites and skip the rest. The same goes for gift swaps among friends or at the office. Feel free to opt out of those that bring you more stress than pleasure.

Designate one day a week as a “day off” and avoid errands, shopping, planning, ordering, and organizing for the entire day. Instead, read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk, or do something else relaxing. If an entire day seems unrealistic, aim for at least one stress-free evening a week. 

Focus on the Important Things in Life

Spend time with your family. Your kids or grandkids won’t remember every present under the tree or how perfectly the gifts were wrapped, but they will remember the days spent baking cookies, playing games, building snowmen, and cuddling by the fire. Take time out each day to do something that builds memories.

Be grateful. At the end of the day, instead of thinking about all the things you didn’t get done, spend some time thinking about all the things you are thankful for. Keep a Gratitude Jar with scraps of paper for family members to write down each happy moment or blessing, and read through the papers every night at dinner. Bake cookies for someone who has helped you out sometime this year. Bring gifts or food to those who are less fortunate.

naturally_healthy_holidayGet Plenty of Fresh Air and Exercise

Go for a jog before work or take an evening walk with the family to see neighborhood light displays. Enjoy winter sports such as sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. Build a snow fort with the kids or have an impromptu dance party. It’s fine to do your workout indoors if the cold is too harsh for you, but also bundle up in a blanket and sit on your front stoop for a few minutes with a hot cup of tea and breathe in the fresh air.

Nourish Your Soul

Engage in soul-friendly practices. While you’re sitting at a red light or stuck in traffic, take some deep breaths and relax your shoulders. When someone cuts you in line at the store or pushes you aside to grab the very last can of cranberry sauce, take some time to think loving, forgiving thoughts about this rude person. Be present and live in the moment instead of spending the entire holiday season tallying your mental lists. Practice yoga, mindfulness, or meditation. All of these things will reduce your stress load and leave you stronger, healthier, and happier.

The Coconut Oil Connection: Can Coconut Oil Help Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s & Dementia?

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By now we’ve all heard of the benefits of coconut oil as observed by others. Many of you have even tried it – to improve skin or as a healthy fat substitute in baked goods. Could this delicious-tasting, healthy oil do much more than originally thought?

The Common Benefits of Coconut Oil

First, let’s look at some of the top reasons many people use a high quality coconut oil.

Some include:

  • Improve skin – hair, cuticles, body, lips, as shaving cream or massage oil
  • Enhance Hair – defrizzer, hair mask and even for the treatment of head lice
  • Brush teeth and improve oral care – as a toothpaste, mouthwash or for oil pulling
  • Cleaning – natural household uses include cleaning and conditioning wooden furniture, soften and moisturize leather, season cast iron pans and pots, and helps remove chewing gum from virtually anything.
  • Healing wounds and infections through its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties
  • Control glucose levels
  • Aiding weight loss
  • As a healthy fat in baking & cooking

Recently, study results have linked coconut oil to something much more important than originally thought. Something with the potential to be life changing for so many…

Can Coconut Oil Prevent and Treat Dementia?

While the uses mentioned above are ways people have observed coconut oil improving their lives, a recent University of Oxford study uncovered that coconut oil might help improve symptoms in people suffering from forms of dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimers.net recently shared the following on their site about the study:

“…although the effects of coconut oil may be temporary, Alzheimer’s and dementia patients have indeed seen short-term benefits resulting from its use.”

Florida neonatologist Dr. Mary T. Newport explains in this Tedx Talk how this potential miracle oil helped her husband regain many functions after being stricken with early-onset Alzheimer’s. In her book, Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was A Cure?, she shares her family’s story and her theory, “…that ketones, which are byproducts of the breakdown of fats in the body, play an important role in brain health. The idea is that by boosting ketones, found in coconut oil, we can improve cognitive function.”

Dr. Newport’s second book published in 2013, The Coconut Oil and Low-Carbohydrate Solution for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Other Diseases, offersa practical guide to using coconut oil and MCT oil and a sensible approach to lowering carbs in the diet to increase ketones, which provide alternative fuel for the brain.”

Studies are underway to look at the affects of coconut oil and a high ketone diet to improve or even stop the symptoms of dementias like Alzheimer’s. Many families desperate for help when nothing seems to be helping slow the disease in their loved one, have turned to coconut oil. You can read their testimonials all over the web.

The Science Behind Coconut Oil For Brain Function

In someone who has Alzheimer’s, some areas of the brain stop processing glucose – a primary source of energy. Question is, what if that gap could be plugged up to prevent this energy loss to keep brain cells alive?

Some have called dementia “diabetes of the brain.” Cells don’t function properly without insulin. As an alternative, the brain can use ketones as another fuel for the brain. Therefore, a ketogenic diet could be very beneficial. What exactly is a ketogenic diet, you ask? A ketogenic diet is one that is high in fat, low in carbs and rich in MCT (medium chain triglycerides) – found in and extracted from coconut oil. Some people with dementia symptoms experienced improvement after just one dose.

Dr. Newport shared a link on her Facebook page, to a recent study by The Nisshin Oillio Company, the largest edible oil company in Japan. The company studied MCT oil for the past 20+ years. The study shows how lauric acid, the only other source of which is found in mother’s breast milk, directly and potently “activates production of ketones in astrocytes which are brain cells that control energy metabolism in the brain and nourish neurons.”

This early evidence certainly is eye opening and encouraging.

Quality – What to Look For in a Coconut Oil

organic_virgin_cold-pressed_coconut_oilIt’s important to consider quality when deciding which oil to choose and how to use it. You’ll find a variety on the market but all are not alike.

Wendy Bazilian, R.D., author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet, shares the differences between various types of coconut oils in a SHAPE Magazine article titled “Everything You Need to Know About Coconut Oil”:

“Coconut oil that is labeled “virgin” or “extra virgin” is extracted from coconut meat {called Copra} using delicate methods such as cold-pressing. This type of oil will have more antioxidants as well as a stronger coconut flavor and aroma,” Bazilian says.

Good news is cold-pressed as well as expeller-pressed versions have a long shelf life. They keep for 2 years without needing refrigeration – longer than other types of oils.

Choosing an organic unrefined coconut oil (likely to contain no trans fats) that has not been hydrogenated, is the healthiest choice. Bazilian recommends researching brands online to find ones that avoid using harsh chemicals to refine their coconut oil. The fewer chemicals used in treating the oil means the fewer chemicals in the oil itself. Organic, unrefined coconut oil, such as Green Pasture Blue Breeze Organic Virgin Coconut Oil or Perfect Coconut Oil (organic, cold-pressed & extra virgin) is never processed with chemicals.

For those who aren’t yet into the coconut flavor, coconut oil capsule supplements like Perfect Coconut Oil Softgels will do the trick. These supplements travel well, too.

In a Coco-Nut Shell

While there is still a lot of research to be done on the benefits of coconut oil to treat dementia, there is a lot to be hopeful for, too. As with any natural remedy, it’s always best to check with your doctor before beginning any regimen.

 

Resources:

  1. Can Coconut Oil Prevent Alzheimer’s?: http://www.alzheimers.net/2013-05-29/coconut-oil-for-alzheimers/
  2. Health.com– Beauty Benefits of Coconut Oil
  3. Amazing Beauty Tricks With Coconut Oil: http://www.prevention.com/beauty/coconut-oil-cures-for-your-skin-and-hair
  4. Countless Uses for Coconut Oil – The Simple, the Strange, and the Downright Odd: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/18/coconut-oil-uses.aspx
  5. 10 things we didn’t know about coconut oil: Separating myths from miracles: http://www.today.com/food/10-ways-use-coconut-oil-separating-myths-miracles-t9451
  6. Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was A Cure?: http://coconutketones.com/

 

 

Six Supplements to Fight the Flu

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Two weeks ago we posted a blog about all the potential risks associated with getting an annual flu vaccine. This week we’ll give advice on what you can do to boost your immune system and help avoid flus and colds. Remember, we are not suggesting you go buy everything listed below to start taking it all every day. But, by adding a few to your daily diet, you may find the combination that works for you to prevent or drastically shorten duration of illness.

Don’t Encourage Illness

You’re probably thinking “Well, duh!”. But, there are many things we all do in a day that encourage illness. Eating foods that have been grown in toxins, dealing with stress, and not getting enough sleep are just a few. All of this adds up, so the less we do in a day, the better it is for our bodies. So we need to do the opposite – encourage wellness. Focus on doing the things that make and keep us well and do more of those. A healthy diet, preferably organic, and regular exercise are excellent ways to encourage wellness. The following supplements also encourage wellness in our bodies, in many ways. But, for the purposes of this blog, we’ll focus on their immune boosting and virus busting properties.

Real Vitamin C

caties_real_vitamin_c_supplementsI know, this one is a no-brainer. Everyone knows Vitamin C helps boost your immune system because it is loaded with antioxidants. But, did you know our bodies don’t produce it? So it has to be eaten every day in proper quantities to be effective against fighting flus and colds. Check out this post from September for lots of great information on Vitamin C. A whole food vitamin C supplement is a great way to make sure you and your family are getting all the vitamin C necessary to fight colds and flus. We have two great whole food Vitamin C powdered supplements from real food. They are Catie’s Whole Plant Food Vitamin C Plus and  Pure Radiance C from The Synergy Company.

Acai

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Many people have heard of acai for weight loss, but did you know it is loaded with antioxidants? It has twice the antioxidant power of wild blueberries and 10 times that of red grapes! And it has 10 to 30 times more anthocyanins than red wine! Anthocyanins are the pigments in red, blue and purple foods and have mega antioxidant properties. Back in 2009, Dr. Oz talked about acai on Oprah and it became an overnight sensation. He recommended taking it daily because it is a concentrated protein source and for it’s high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value. The higher the ORAC value, the better at immune boosting. We recommend Perfect Acai in capsules or powder form because it is organically grown, fairly traded & there are never any fillers or flow agents.

Colloidal Silver

Sovereign_SilverBelieve it or not, silver is a necessary element in our bodies. It has been used medicinally for over 2000 years because of its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. In the 1970’s, Dr. Robert O. Becker, MD, conducted research at Syracuse Medical University on electrically generated silver ions. He discovered that people with the lowest amounts of silver in their bodies were prone to frequent and severe colds, flus and infections, while the people with the highest amounts of silver in their bodies were the least prone to colds, flus and infections. What’s more, their illnesses were less severe and for a shorter duration. Colloidal silver can be taken daily to help boost the immune system and increase the amount of silver in our bodies, but taking too much can be harmful. We recommend Sovereign Silver Bioactive Silver Hydrosol because it never contains stabilizers, salts, compounds, proteins, or other questionable ingredients. There are only 2 ingredients, 99.999% pure silver and pharmaceutical-grade purified water.

Probiotics

Prescript_Assist_probioticsIt may seem kinda crazy, but so much of our health is tied to our guts. Did you know eighty percent of our immune system is located in the digestive tract? That information alone helps us see why probiotics could be very effective at helping to avoid cold and flu viruses. There was a study done on three to five year old children that was very convincing. The children took probiotics twice a day for six months. The probiotic users had fewer fevers, less coughing, fewer runny noses, and, amazingly, 64 – 83%  less antibiotic use. There are a variety of probiotics in our store, but my favorite is Prescript-Assist. It is a multi-strain soil-based probiotic. If you are looking for a more traditional probiotic, try Just Thrive Probiotic & Antibiotic blend or Mercola Complete Probiotics.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This one may not be so widely known, but drinking a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily can greatly reduce your chances of getting any flu or colds. This is because it changes the pH in our bodies to alkaline, which creates a hostile environment for viruses and infections. Essentially, they can’t grow well in an alkaline environment and it even helps to kill the bacteria and infection. It is important to use a raw variety with the mothers. I get mine here. Daily, I try to drink a concoction with 2 Tb apple cider vinegar, 1 Tb raw honey (I use medicinal Manuka Honey if I’m feeling stressed or feel like I’m coming down with something) and 100% organic pomegranate or cranberry juice. I can still taste the vinegar a little, but it doesn’t bother me so much. When I actually do end up with sniffles and sneezing because of sickness, I drink 2 – 3 glasses a day. I drink them slowly, so that there is a somewhat constant infusion of alkaline fluids entering my system. Recently my sister asked if lemon will do the same thing. And yes, lemons are also acidic but I haven’t found the correct amount to fend off my own colds. Apple cider vinegar works well for me.

Elderberry Syrup

Feel the effects of elderberry & honey home remedies.Many people report great success preventing and fighting colds and flus by taking a daily dose of elderberry syrup. The use of elderberry as an herbal medicinal goes way back. Folklore around the elder tree pre-dates christianity. More recently, research done at Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel shows how elderberry helps. They found viruses use specific enzymes to penetrate healthy cells in the nose and throat. Elderberry helps to block these enzymes, thus thwarting the infection before it starts. If it is taken after an infection is already present, it helps prevent the spread of the infection through the respiratory tract. There are many pre-made elderberry syrup supplements out there, but it is actually very easy to make and store at home for a fraction of the cost. Check out this blog we did last year for a recipe for homemade elderberry syrup and elderberry gummies. The recommended amount for prevention of flu is 1/2 to 1 tsp daily for children and adults during cold and flu season. Up this to at least 3 times a day if you already have an infection or feel one coming on.

Other Preventatives

I’m sure there are many other natural preventatives out there and welcome input from our readers. If you have a preventative that works for you, please share it with us so we can share it with the world.

 

With Side Effects Like Seizures, Paralysis, and Death, Are Flu Shots Really Safe?

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It’s considered one of the top things you can do to protect your health this winter: get your flu shot. But is the flu shot safe? What are the potential side effects? The flu vaccine wasn’t even used in humans until the early 1940s and has only been in widespread use for part of that time — hardly enough time to know the long-term effects of the flu shot or the cumulative effects over a lifetime. Plenty of adverse reactions in the short term have already been identified:

  • injection site reactions
  • muscle aches and pains
  • severe shoulder pain and paralysis
  • low platelet count and abnormal bleeding
  • inflammation of the spinal cord, optic nerve, or blood vessels
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome (a deadly rash)
  • Bell’s palsy (palsy of the face)
  • numbness and tingling
  • itching
  • lymph node enlargement
  • chest pain
  • dizziness and fainting

…and other adverse effects to the flu vaccine. Believe it or not, some serious and even deadly flu shot side effects have been identified.

Scary Flu Shot Side Effects: Seizures

Febrile seizures are a known side effect of the flu shot. This risk is highest in babies and young children, and increases when multiple vaccines (such as MMR, pneumococcus, and DTaP) are administered at the same time as the flu shot. Febrile seizures are seizures related to a fever, and they usually occur within 24 hours of receiving the flu shot. Symptoms include anything from small twitches or jerks, to whole-body spasms and loss of consciousness. While the CDC puts the rate of febrile seizures after a flu shot at 1 in 2000 vaccinated children, in 2010, Australia suspended the use of the flu vaccine because so many children had seizures within 12 hours of receiving the flu vaccine. In fact, more Australian children ended up in the hospital because of flu vaccine side effects than were hospitalized for influenza itself!

Allergic Reaction to the Flu Vaccine

It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to the flu shot. Those who have known allergies to eggs, gelatin, latex, or antibiotics are more likely to suffer an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine, but anyone can develop such a reaction. Other flu shot ingredients such as mercury, MSG, and formaldehyde can trigger both mild and severe allergic reactions. Severe anaphylactic allergic reactions are often life-threatening, and include symptoms such as difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, hives, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. These reactions can occur minutes to hours after receiving the vaccination. Milder allergic reactions, while not immediately life-threatening, can leave you feeling ill for weeks, months, or even years.

The Flu Shot Can Paralyze or Kill You

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a debilitating side effect of the flu shot. Though considered rare, GBS has been the top vaccine injury receiving compensation by the vaccine court for several years. This disorder causes nerve damage, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Your body begins to quite literally attack itself. While these symptoms often subside after a few weeks, in other cases GBS can cause permanent damage, disability, and even death. Those over age 50 are at the highest risk of contracting Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Can the Flu Vaccine Give You the Flu?

How many times have you heard someone sniffle, “I think I have the flu! And I just got my flu shot!” Unfortunately, flu-like symptoms are one of the most frequent side effects of the flu shot. You got the flu shot to avoid exactly this: congestion, headache, fever, nausea, aches and pains… yet here you are, suffering exactly those symptoms. The doctor told you the influenza virus was inactivated (dead), so why did it make you sick? What’s going on?

The answer is simple. When you inject anything foreign into your bloodstream, there is a chance that your body will react. Flu shots contain toxic chemicals such as:

  • formaldehyde
  • MSG
  • ethylenes
  • Triton X-100
  • thimerosal (mercury)
  • polysorbate
  • phosphates and sulfates

Your body knows these chemicals don’t belong; it attacks them and tries to rid you of them, leaving you tired, achy, and downright miserable. Consider the fact that you will need to repeat the flu shot every single year. Over a lifetime, all these toxins accumulate in your system and may lead to health problems down the road.

There are several other reasons you may contract the flu after receiving a flu shot. While the flu shot contains only the dead viruses, the nasal spray flu vaccine actually contains live, weakened influenza viruses. While the CDC claims that no one can contract the flu from these weakened viruses, many disagree and believe this can lead to the flu or flu-like symptoms. The CDC does admit that the live virus flu vaccine can shed, transmitting the virus to others. They even recommend that those who are immunosuppressed avoid contact with recently vaccinated individuals for this reason!

What’s more, the flu vaccine only protects against certain viral strains of influenza — those that are most anticipated to be in circulation over the winter. Plus, your body needs a couple of weeks to build up immunity from the flu shot. So if you still come down with the flu, it may be that you were exposed too soon after vaccination, or you were exposed to a strain of flu virus that wasn’t covered by your vaccination. Some people, especially those who are in poor health, cannot build up enough antibodies to acquire immunity to the flu, and in these people the vaccination will be ineffective.

Is There Anything Natural That Can Prevent the Flu?

Yes! Whether or not you choose to get a flu shot — and you always have a choice — there are plenty of natural ways to cut your risk of getting the flu. Reduce your exposure by avoiding those who are sick, washing your hands frequently, and refraining from touching your face. Boost your immune system with all natural supplements so that your body will have the nutrients and compounds it needs to fight invading germs. Exercise, get enough sleep, don’t smoke, and eat your fruits and veggies. Make sure to drink enough water and cut back on alcohol, which suppresses the immune system. Sugar and grains can drag down the immune system too, so reduce or avoid these altogether.

Check back next week for detailed information on what you can do to avoid the flu.

By Ali Wetherbee

Improve Your Energy in One Protein- Packed Bite!

raw_proetin_energy_balls_recipe

by Kerrie Bross

So the kids are back in school now and probably feeling a little run down. Boost their energy with snacks that are high in protein and loaded with antioxidants to support the immune system during stressful times, like back-to-school.

Why are these such great snacks?

Aside from being tasty balls of goodness, they are loaded with raw, dried fruits to give an energy  boost. Dates are easily digested, so the energy comes quickly, and they are loaded with gut healthy fiber. They also contain vitamins A and K, as well as B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and B6 (pyridoxine). Dates are good sources of some important minerals and trace minerals – potassium, iron, copper, magnesium and manganese. Oh, and lets not forget there are also antioxidants in dates.

Cranberries have long been known for their wealth of antioxidants. But, did you know they are also an excellent source of vitamins B5, C, E and K? And they have manganese and copper. Fiber and anthocyanins are other notable nutrients in cranberries.

Whenever you want an antioxidant boost, turn to Perfect Acai. These berries have the highest ORAC value (measure for antioxidant power) of all fruits and vegetables! But, that’s not all, they are also good sources of vitamin A, fiber, monounsaturated fats, iron, calcium, and anthocyanins.

perfect_collagen_protein_snack_recipeNuts, seeds and collagen give these Protein Energy Balls the protein to keep you going for the long haul, along with many other benefits. Chia seeds contain essential fatty acids and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B3, E & D. They are an excellent source of calcium, and contain other minerals and trace minerals such as phosphorus, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc and potassium. And protein.

With over 82% of the RDA in a 1/4 cup serving, sunflower seeds are a powerhouse of vitamin E! They are also great sources of vitamins B1, B3, B6 and B9 (folate). There are plenty of minerals in these babies as well. You’ll find copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous. And more protein.

Almonds are no slouch in the health department. They are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, the same kind found in olive oil. They are also excellent sources of  vitamins E, B2, and B7 (biotin). The minerals present are manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorous and molybdenum, an essential trace mineral cofactor that helps the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. And lets not forget protein.

Pumpkin seeds also pack a powerful health punch. They are a good source of vitamin E and an excellent source of zinc, and other minerals like magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, copper and iron. They are a great source of antioxidants as well. And even more protein.

The mega protein boost in these protein balls comes from the addition of Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen. Each scoop contains 10g of protein from pasture-raised, grass-fed cattle. Super healthy! Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the human body and is great for bones, joints, digestion, and many other things.

With 4 – 5g of protein in each ball and natural sugars, they are the perfect snack for after lunch when the day starts to drag and your energy starts to lag. I’ve been eating a couple for a quick and easy breakfast!

Fruit & Nut Protein Ballspaleo_protein_energy_balls_recipe

Ingredients
1 C organic pitted dates
6 Tbs organic almond butter
3 11g scoops Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen
5 3g scoops Perfect Acai Powder
1/2 C raw organic pumpkin seeds
1/4 C juice sweetened organic cranberries
1/4 C raw organic sunflower seeds
1 Tbs chia seeds

Directions
1.Combine the dates, almond butter, Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen and Perfect Acai Powder in a food processor on high until well mixed. The consistency should be a bit moist so it will form good balls that stick together. If it is dry, add more almond butter until desired consistency.
2. Add the pumpkin seeds, cranberries, sunflower seeds and chia seeds. Mix on low just long enough to combine without completely obliterating the nuts and fruit.
3. Form into balls and enjoy!

Makes about 20 depending on how you roll them. I think 2 is a good serving size. Nutritional breakdown for each ball – protein over 4g, fat about 5g, total carbohydrates about 9g with roughly 6g natural sugars and about 2g fiber.

Double Chocolate Protein Balls

Ingredients
1 C organic pitted dates
6 Tbs organic almond butter
3 11g scoops Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen
5 3g scoops Perfect Acai Powder
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tsp real vanilla extract
2 Tbs honey
1 C raw organic slivered almonds
1/2 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Directions
1. Combine the dates, almond butter, Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen, Perfect Acai Powder, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and honey in a food processor on high until well mixed. The consistency should be a bit moist so it will form good balls that stick together. If it is dry, add more almond butter until desired consistency.
2. Add the almonds and chocolate chips. Mix on low just long enough to combine without completely obliterating the nuts and fruit.
3. Form into balls and enjoy!

Makes about 20 depending on how you roll them. I think 2 is a good serving size. Nutritional breakdown for each ball – total protein about 5g, fat about 7g, total carbohydrates about 13g with roughly 9g natural sugars and about 3g fiber.