5 Best Immune Boosters for Kids

Boost their immune system and avoid the back to school bugs.

I can’t believe the Summer is almost gone! We had a blast visiting Hershey Park in PA and Scarborough Beach here in RI. The time flew by and now the kids are back to school. And all I can think about is how much the schools are a breeding ground for colds and other sicknesses. Time to start boosting their immune systems before they bring that crap home!

Best Immune Boosters for Kids

Wanna prevent or lessen the duration of sicknesses? Then check out this list of my favorite immune boosters for people of all ages.

Vitamin C from Real Food

Picture of Catie's Vitamin C Plus and Pure Radiance C supplements on a background of fresh berries.Vitamin C has been touted as a great immune booster and antioxidant for decades. But, not all vitamin C is created equal. Created is the key word there because lab synthesized vitamin C lacks the cofactors that help our bodies absorb and use it. Much of it just goes right through us without being absorbed. Yes, it is cheaper, but you literally might as well throw your money right into the toilet. You might ask “What about  Emergen C? That is supposed to be like a billion mg per serving. Won’t that help?” It has to have so much because so much just goes right through you. Yes, it does help some people, but it may also be doing harm. A friend of mine ended up with kidney stones because her body was taxed with flushing all the excess synthetic C from her system. Her very young children had colds and she was trying to be proactive and started taking 5000mg of synthetic vitamin C daily (Emergen-C) to stave it off. After a couple weeks of this, she was in terrible pain from trying to pass the stones. Her PCP said it was from her body eliminating all the unabsorbed synthetic C. The cold would have been preferable!

So, here at Nourishing World, we sell only vitamin C supplements from whole food and real food sources – the kind your body can absorb properly and effectively. My personal favorite is the Catie’s Vitamin C Plus. This is a powdered supplement that can be added to drinks or smoothies, yogurt, apple sauce or any super moist food. It cannot be cooked, so don’t add it to hot foods or drinks. It tastes like fruit punch, so you can mix it into your kids water bottles for school to keep their immunity high all day. If they don’t like the taste of this one, my next favorite is Pure Synergy Vitamin C. This is a super concentrated real food vitamin C supplement. The serving size is just 1/4 tsp or one capsule. Again the powder can be added to many foods. I take vitamin C every day not just for it’s immune boosting effects, but also because it is vital to helping our body absorb proteins. And, our bodies cannot produce vitamin C, no matter what we eat. We have to get it from outside sources, so if you don’t think you eat much vitamin C in a day, then a high quality vitamin C supplement is very important for you.

Medicinal Grade Manuka Honey

A picture of 100% Raw Wedderspoon Manuka Honey on a background of bees in honeycomb.While regular honey has some immune boosting properties, medicinal grade Manuka honey kicks it up a few notches. This is super easy to get children to take because it is sweet and tasty. It can be mixed into warm liquids (under 96° F), spread on crackers or bread, or mixed with your favorite nut butter. Again, avoid mixing it with hot foods or drinks. It is a fantastic supplement to have on hand for immune boosting and so much more. It is also great for the digestive tract and is a fantastic natural anti-inflammatory. And, Manuka honey is antibacterial and antimicrobial, so it is great to use on wounds and burns. I used a combination of this and emu oil on my stitches and resulting wounds after my ACL/MCL knee surgery. Both my doctor and physical therapist were amazed at how well I healed. And two years later I have only very faint scars.

Our favorite brand is Wedderspoon Manuka Honey because it is raw. Therefore it contains all the beneficial enzymes that many other brands cook out. You can read more about this fantastic supplement here. When my daughter has a mild cold, I send her to school with a couple of the Honey On The Go packets to take while at school to help keep her body fighting that cold all day

Superfood Antioxidant Acai

A picture of Perfect Acai powder on a background of acai berries in baskets.Size doesn’t always matter. Acai berries, while small, are the world’s most concentrated antioxidant source! And our favorite brand, Perfect Acai has an astounding ORAC value of 50,000 per 100 g – on average 50 higher than the competition. This is because Perfect Acai is organic and super pure with no fillers of flow agents. Aside from being a great immune booster, acai also has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to help regulate cholesterol levels and reverse free radical damage.

Perfect Acai comes in capsule or powder form. The capsules are great for older kids and busy adults who want to get their antioxidants quickly. The powder is perfect for adding to food and smoothies for young children or quick easy breakfasts. I put this in my morning smoothie to keep my immunity up all year round.

Improve Gut Health with Probiotics

Eat Dirt? Absolutely.Did you know that your gut houses 70% of the cells that make up our immune system? That’s right, so a healthy gut is crucial to a healthy immune system. One of the best and easiest things everyone can do for their guts is to take a really good probiotic. Probiotics can help our bodies maintain a good ratio of bacteria in our entire digestive system. All sorts of problems can occur when the ratio gets out of whack. I really can’t go into all the benefits of adding probiotics to your regimen, so to learn more about the benefits of probiotics, check out this article.

My all time favorite probiotic is Prescript Assist. This is a soil-based probiotic that is safe for people of all ages. If children cannot swallow the capsules, then they can be opened and poured into food or thick drinks. The powder won’t dissolve, so if you pour it into water or juice, it will float on top and stick to the sides of the glass. This is the probiotic I have been taking for years.

Boost Brain Power & Immunity with Coconut Oil

Picture of Perfect Coconut Oil on a background of coconuts.Coconut oil is a fantastic immune booster because of all the unique medium chain fatty acids in it, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid. During digestion, these are broken down into monoglycerides and free fatty acids. The monoglycerides deter microbes from attacking our immune system. Monolaurin, from lauric acid, is believed to have the best antiviral, anti-fungal and antibacterial effect. Good coconut oil contains more naturally occurring  lauric acid than any other food besides breast milk. And it is great for brain power at school and work.

But, not all coconut oils are as good. Make sure you get a high quality, unrefined coconut oil if you want to get all the immune and brain boosting goodness from it. We sell two excellent quality coconut oils, Perfect Coconut Oil and Blue Breeze Coconut Oil from Green Pastures. Both are organic and cold pressed. Perfect Coconut Oil comes in capsules, too for those who like the ease of swallowing capsules.

Coconut oil can be added to oatmeal or any hot cereal, smoothies, or you can even make salad dressing out of it. You can stir-fry veggies with it or use it in baking. Adding one or two tablespoons a day to your children’s diet can help boost their immune system and their brain power.

Final Thoughts on Immune Boosting for Kids

This is a list of real food supplements that can be taken daily to help boost and keep our immune systems healthy. I know from experience that taking Perfect Acai and Vitamin C daily has helped me go from getting six or more colds a year to once or fewer. I also take more if I feel a tiny bit under the weather to help stave off colds before they take root. We have other great immune boosters, like cod liver oil, but that is much harder to get kids to take. The immune boosters on this list can be taken daily by people of all ages. So, what are you waiting for? Grab some and get it in yourself and your kids before they bring home something besides their latest art project.

 

Home Modifications to Improve Your Health and Well-Being

make your home as healthy as possible for the ones you love!

by Natalie Jones

There are many factors in our daily lives that impact our health. When we think about these factors, we probably consider diet, exercise, genetics, and even our stress levels. Many people, however, overlook the important role that our own homes play in our overall health.

Research has shown that “there is a direct relationship between health and housing.” Believe it or not, there are many types of green home improvements and repairs that can help improve your health and well-being.

If you’re planning your next home improvement projects for the upcoming year, these are just a handful you might consider adding to the list:

Indoor Improvements for Health

Wood is Better Than Carpets

When it comes to creating a healthier home, one of the first steps you might consider is removing carpets to help reduce allergens. Hardwood or tile flooring can be better for reducing allergens such as dust mites and pet dander. As an added bonus, hardwood flooring is also easier to clean, longer-lasting, and more sustainable. In other words, it’s a win-win situation.

 Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors For Safety

An extremely important (and affordable) safety consideration is installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. You’ll also want to ensure that these devices have working batteries.

While you are installing the detectors throughout your home, you should also determine your family’s emergency evacuation plan in case of fire, severe weather, or other unexpected disaster. This will keep all household members safe during unexpected emergency situations.

Repurpose Unused Spaces

Do you have any unused rooms in your home, such as empty bedrooms or basement spaces? If so, you might consider converting an unused space into a “reading room” so that you have a quiet place to relax and unwind.

Another great green home improvement for an unused room or unfinished basement is to build your own home gym. This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank by investing in expensive equipment. Instead, you can install a mirrored wall (so you can help reduce injuries by ensuring you have proper form) and invest in some dumbbells. Additionally, you might also consider installing a sound system so that you can listen to energizing music while you workout.

Outdoor Home Improvements for Health and Safety

If you have a pool or pond in your yard, you probably make sure someone is there to carefully monitor all water-based activities. This is especially important if you have children or pets. Of course, there are some home modifications that can help increase pool safety. For instance, you might consider installing a fence around the perimeter of the water to help keep children and pets from accidentally slipping and falling in.

 Going “Green”

Some additional home improvement projects you might consider include “green” changes. Your household water usage is a great place to start when it comes to sustainability. For instance, you could implement low-water landscaping with a variety of colorful and beautiful plants.

You might also install a water filtration system. Environmentally-friendly systems such as this 10-stage under sink water filter kit, can cleanse and purify your drinking water. You’ll help the environment (and save money) by not having to purchase bottled water, and you’ll enjoy quenching your thirst with toxin-free drinking water.

Sometimes, taking your health into your own hands can start in the comfort of your own home. Green home improvements do more than add to your home’s resale value; modifications like the ones listed above can actually contribute to your overall health and well-being. They don’t cost much money and the value they add to your life (and your health) will be well worth it.

Bust Holiday Stress

supplements_for_stress

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 C

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 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 succomb to colds, flu, and viruses.

Try:

Support Your Immune System with Antioxidnts

Take supplements loaded with antioxidants to keep your immune system in tip top shape. This is 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. Sovereign Silver is a colloidal silver supplement that my family goes to whenever any of us has a cold. It can be taken every 2 hours or so to help kick the cold out before it gets a firm hold. Calm Balm is an all-natural alternative to petroleum-based chest rubs, and is great for colds, aches, and pains. Wedderspoon 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.

Get 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 improptu 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.

Which Superfoods Will Protect My Eyesight?

superfoods_for_eye_health

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 supplement 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

detox_supplements.jpg

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

 

Shopping, parties, family time: How do you fit it all in? Follow these tips to stay healthy when exposure to germs & stress is high.

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 CGet your daily vitamin C from real food 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?

coconut_oil_for_alzheimers

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/