The ABCs of Cleansing

By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHC

It’s that time of year when you are probably consuming more sugar and alcohol than usual. Detox the toxins as much as possible through the holiday season so that you don’t have so much work to do come the New Year.

Natur-Tyme has plenty of detox supplement formulas, which can give you the extra detoxification boost you need. If you are a customer, you may want to consider using our free wellness consultation services. Our Integrative Dietician, Laurel Sterling, can provide guidance on the perfect supplements for your detoxification needs.

Here are the ABCs of a few of my favorite cleansing foods:

Almonds:

High in fiber, calcium, and magnesium, as well as vitamin E, almonds help to purify the blood and work well in cleansing the intestines of impurities.

 Before hitting up your next holiday party, grab a handful of raw almonds. They’ll fill you up so you’re less likely to indulge in the heavy finger foods and alluring sweets.

Apples:

Apples have an abundance of powerful nutrients. They contain phenomenal fiber, many vitamins and minerals, and helpful flavonoids, such as phlorizin, which increases bile production, helping to detox the liver. Apples also contain pectin, a fiber, which helps to detox metals and food additives from your body through your intestines.

 Slice up some apples for a fulfilling snack. Dip them in almond butter if you need a more satiating snack.

Avocados:

Avocados lower cholesterol and dilate blood vessels, helping to block toxicity from your blood. They contain a nutrient called glutathione, which blocks at least 30 different carcinogens, while helping the liver to detoxify dozens of synthetic chemicals.

 Make guacamole for a holiday party; try sliced avocado on whole grain toast for breakfast!

Beets:

Beets contain a unique mixture of phytochemicals and minerals that make them superheroes when it comes to detoxification; these compounds purify the blood and help assist the liver in ridding toxins. They actually help improve the functionality of the liver, which is awesome news for those who have liver disease or who have spent many decades over-consuming alcohol.

Try my delicious Borscht recipe, a fitting color for Christmas.

Bodacious Borscht

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 medium size carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small parsnip, cut into thin 2-inch strips
  • 3 medium size beets, cut into thin 2-inch strips
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 small cabbage, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 3 medium size potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Herbamare and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic or red wine vinegar

Directions:

  • In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat and sauté onion, carrots, parsnip and beets until onion is translucent.
  • Stir in the garlic and bay leaf and cook for 30 seconds. Add broth, cabbage, potatoes, Herbamare and pepper.
  • Simmer, covered until vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar.

Cruciferous Vegetables:

Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, and cabbage are all part of the cruciferous vegetable family. These vegetables contain sulfur and other phytonutrients that do a phenomenal job at clearing toxins out of every pathway in your body. These amazing veggies help to jumpstart the liver’s production of cleansing enzymes as well.

Be sure to include cauliflower and broccoli on your holiday veggie tray. Consider hummus or a yogurt dip, which are both healthier than most commercial dips.

Seasonal Allergies

Carol B. Blair, BS, DiHom, CNC
Wellness Educator

An allergen is a substance that has been targeted by the immune system as a carolforeign invader. The receptor on the mast cell binds to an allergen, and the body produces antibodies to this invader. The mast cells then release histamine that causes the typical allergic responses such as red, itchy eyes/coughing/nasal congestion/runny nose.

Most allergy medications work as anti-histamines, and there are many natural anti-histamines and anti-inflammatories that will help reduce symptoms without side effects.

Quercetin, a flavonoid found in apples, buckwheat, onions, and green tea, helps keep mast cells from releasing histamine. The absorption of quercetin is enhanced by bromelain, which potentiates its action, so you will often find them combined for best results. This combination is one of the most commonly used natural therapies for allergies.

Nettle leaf tea has been used for centuries to relieve allergies especially hayfever. It has been recommended highly by Dr. Andrew Weil. Nettle tea or the extract inhibits pro-inflammatory pathways related to allergies, and it has an impressive number of other benefits for the immune system.

Osha is an herb used for its anti-histamine-like properties. Osha will often quickly reduce allergic reactions; it also soothes a sore throat. Recent studies also show the herb, Butterbur, to be excellent for allergy symptom relief.

Antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Grapeseed extract, MSM, and fish oil can also help reduce inflammation, and therefore, symptoms.

Allergy relief is an area where homeopathy shines. Homeopathy is based on the theory that “like cures like.” Many homeopathic formulas contain the allergens, such as pollen, in minute doses that are prevalent in a certain region of the country, and formulas exist for allergies in our area. There are other allergy formulas available as well for individuals who have sensitivities to animal dander or dairy, for instance. These can be a big help for allergy sufferers.

Last but not least, new studies are showing the role of probiotics in down-regulating the immune system to help reduce allergies!

All of these supplements are quite effective in reducing congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, headaches, and fatigue that are associated with seasonal allergies. The best part is that, instead of side effects, most of these supplements will have other beneficial uses for your immune system as well

MegaFood: Not Your Average Supplement Company

Submitted by MegaFood

From back in 1973, up to this very minute, MegaFood has always held a strong commitment to REAL: Real Food, Real Slow, Real People, Real Relationships. We have another big focus, too; to improve lives. We achieve this by delivering nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to the body in the way nature has always intended: through food.

Our process is unique, and we’re proud to be different. We call it the Slo-Food process, and it starts by sourcing real food from real farms. We partner with organic, sustainable farmers who are as passionate about their produce as we are about our products. Our oranges, for example, come from our friend Uncle Matt. The Stauner family – owner/operators of James Lake Farms are in charge of cranberries. Meanwhile, Stahlbush Island Farms has us covered in the beet department, and our newest farm partner, Kauai Organics, grows the most lovely fresh turmeric root you’ve ever seen. These beautiful crops land in our New Hampshire manufacturing facility where we grind all that goodness into a yummy pulp, integrating even more vitamins into the mix for potency. Then, we dry and tumble it into powder form before pressing it into nutrient-dense tablets that are small enough to swallow. One batch takes approximately 236 hours from start to finish–Fresh from Farm to Tablet. It’s all starting to make sense now, isn’t it?

In addition to our commitment to REAL, we are also committed to Non-GMO ingredients. Our food and ingredients are tested no less than three times during the manufacturing process to ensure that our strict purity standards are met in every batch for all of our product certifications.

Beyond our large range of vitamins and multivitamins, minerals, and condition-specific formulas, we are head-over-heels for our line of one-of-a-kind Daily Nutrient Booster Powders. Designed to increase your capacity with select nutrients and botanicals, these powders mix directly into your favorite smoothie, shake, or juice to boost your beverage up a notch.

Ready to get Real? We invite you to visit our website at MegaFood.com, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and look for us on the shelves at Natur-Tyme. Come join us in the Journey of Real and see just how good real feels.

Your Friend,
MegaFood

Alternatives to Prescription Sleeping Pills

By Laurel Sterling, RD57564237(1)

Sleep is such an important time for the body and mind to rest and repair from daily tasks. When we are able to sleep well, we wake up feeling refreshed and alert for our day-to-day activities. How well we sleep has a major influence on our overall quality of life. Sleep disorders have been linked to many chronic diseases such as: hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, diabetes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, and more.

Many people end up turning to over-the-counter sedative medications, and yet others seek stronger prescription medications. It has been discovered that each year up to 12.5% of adults in the U.S. receive prescriptions for drugs to help them sleep. Most sleeping pills are technically “sedative hypnotics,” which is a class of drugs that are used to treat anxiety and stress also. All of these drugs are associated with significant risks, and most are highly addictive to the brain!

Daniel Kripke, MD, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at the University of California did work for over 30 years looking at the effects of people who take sleeping pills. He found that people who take sleeping pills die sooner than people who do not use sleeping pills. Deaths from heart disease, cancer, and stroke were all increased among sleeping pill users. These studies found that sleeping pills appeared to be unsafe in any amounts!

My suggestions to assist in a more restful sleep depend on the root cause of the sleep dilemma. If there is a lot of stress going on in your life, I may choose a supplement such as magnesium, GABA Calm, 5-HTP, or L-Theanine. You may also want to consider herbs such as valerian, lavender, chamomile, or homeopathic formulas like Calms Forte. If lack of sleep is due to hot flashes, high caffeine consumption, poor diet, or medication side effects, I would offer a variety of other recommendations.

Everyone is different, and everyone’s circumstances in life are different; therefore, we need to take that into consideration when offering suggestions. Occasionally, it is something as simple as magnesium that one needs to assist then in getting a good night’s sleep. It’s not the case for everyone, but as for me, it was a good place to start.

A Clean Multivitamin endorsed by Alicia Silverstone

At Natur-Tyme, we carry a wide variety of high-quality multivitamins. One such selection is Garden of Life’s mykind line. This is the story of the inception of this line.

Several months ago, Garden of Life met with Alicia Silverstone, noted actress, author, and health advocate, to talk about supplements. Hauling her luggage-sized purse with her, she proceeded to pull out several multivitamin products…and quickly proclaimed, “I’m confused. . . which of these products is actually from organic foods that I eat and which of these do not start off with chemicals?” To which Garden of Life answered, “None.”

That was the shocking truth. Silverstone went to great lengths to eat a diet of organic, chemical (and cruelty) free foods. But to supplement that diet, there was not a multivitamin on the market that she could take. Even the best fermented or cultured multis all started off with chemical isolates and the tableted versions had harsh chemical binders, fillers, or coatings. What a disappointment. Silverstone wanted a multivitamin that was made from the types of foods she ate—Certified-USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and real!

Garden of Life wanted the same thing—they always have. Creating a vitamin that started off with organic foods, concentrating those foods into meaningful amounts of vitamins and minerals, was always a goal for them. And after years of research, they were close to achieving it.

The process for efficiently harvesting the vitamins and minerals from their organic food sources eluded them for over a decade. However, a few years ago, they began their relationship with a scientist who holds multiple international patents for his novel approach to harvesting vitamins and minerals from organic fruit and herbs. So, they realized that fate had brought them together at just the right time, and they joined forces with Silverstone to create mykind Organics.

Shortly thereafter, they had a major breakthrough with the last obstacle to creating their Certified-Organic multi—they figured out an entirely new, organic way to make a tablet without using the common binders such as magnesium stearate. The process was so novel that it’s now patent-pending, and they call it, Clean Tablet Technology™. This newly invented, entirely organic tablet system worked beautifully, and the finished tablets looked great, had a pleasant smell and taste, and an organic coating making them easy to swallow.

Check out the mykind Organics line at Natur-Tyme and if you have any questions, our professional supplement & vitamin educators would be happy to assist you.

What to Look for in a Supplement

carolCarol B Blair, BS. DiHom, CNC
Wellness Educator

Some of us spend a fair amount of money on supplements to keep us well but are you getting what you pay for?

Here are a few tips in what to look for:

  • Are the minerals in forms that your body can absorb such as citrate, glycinate, or another chelated form (not oxide, carbonate, sulfate which are poorly absorbed by the body)?
  • Vitamin D should be the more easily absorbed D3 as opposed to the cheaper and synthetic D2.
  • Vitamin E should be mixed tocopherols and even added tocotrienols if possible. How do you know if E is synthetic? Look for an “l” after the D such as Dl-alpha tocopherol. The natural form would be D-alpha tocopherol. Studies show the synthetic form to be useless and possibly even harmful.
  • Is the nutrient in an amount that is useful or is it what I call pixie dust – enough so they can put it on the label?

Be sure to check the “other” ingredients. You may be surprised at what you find there:

  • Artificial colors, flavors, and dyes should be avoided. Why do you want to give you body more work to detoxify these non-foods?
  • Fillers such as propylene glycol (think antifreeze!) are not in there for your health. They are in there for economical purposes – so they can run supplements through the machines faster. Time is money.
  • Some supplements even contain artificial sweeteners!

Natur-Tyme carries only high-quality supplements and you won’t find any of these ingredients in our Natur-Tyme brand.

Speaking of that, our Natur-Tyme brand of supplements is a superior line. They are from GMP-certified labs that are FDA-approved, and you won’t find any “junk” in them. I use them myself because I know they are top-shelf.

So don’t waste your money buying substandard supplements that aren’t doing you any good. If you can’t afford a quality vitamin, mineral, or herb, do your body a favor and wait until you can get a good one.

Zinc: The Latest Vitamin Superstar

factoids-banner_zinc

Modern scientific studies have supported the use of zinc for boosting immune function, reducing infections, decreasing the occurrence of diarrhea, and removing toxic metals from the body. A research review published by Indian researchers earlier this year identified eight more reasons we may want to consider taking zinc: it acts like an antidepressant; it might help regulate blood pressure; it might help prevent zinc deficiency common in those with liver diseases; zinc supplementation during pregnancy may help prevent maternal morbidity and prolonged gestation; it may help prevent several risks associated with diabetes such as coronary artery disease and hypertension; it helps balance the endocrine system in geriatric patients; it may help with wound healing; lastly, it may shorten the duration of severe pneumonia.

Comp Rev in Food Science and Food Safety.July2014;13:4:358–376.

Yet Another Amazing Benefit of Vitamin D

factoids-banner-sunshineMost of us, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, are deficient in vitamin D. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has recently increased the recommended daily allowance from 400 IU to 800+ IU. Research has shown that vitamin D is beneficial for immune health, brain health, and more. And now a study by Italian researchers has found that vitamin D may benefit heart health. This small study looked at a group of heart failure patients, averaging 74 years old, with low vitamin D levels. Half the group took 4,000 IU vitamin D daily for 25 weeks, and the other half took a placebo. The vitamin D group experienced an improvement in ejection fraction rate (how well blood is being pumped out of the heart) by over 20%, but the placebo group worsened. The vitamin D group also lowered their systolic blood pressure.

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis Aug. 2014;24(8):861-8.

Saw Palmetto for Prostate Health

By Laurel Sterling, MA, RD155472626

Saw Palmetto is an herb typically associated with alleviating issues associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is widely used in many formulas for prostate health along with a variety of other compounds such as: stinging nettle, lycopene, green tea, selenium, zinc, vitamin D3, phytosterols, and pumpkin seed oil.

BPH is a nonmalignant enlargement of the prostate. The enlargement of the prostate leads to a narrowing of the urethra. Common signs and symptoms of BPH include: decreased force and stream of flow, dribbling after urination, increased frequency of urination, increased nighttime urination (nocturia), and occasionally painful urination (dysuria).

How do they believe that saw palmetto works? It is believed that the liposterolic (fat-soluble) extract of saw palmetto berries induces inhibition of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) binding to prostate cellular receptors, inhibition of 5-alpha-reductase, and interference with prostate estrogen receptors. Most experts believe DHT to be a major factor in the cause of less-than-optimal prostate health and prostate enlargement. Testosterone is metabolized in your body to DHT, and the enzyme that is responsible for converting testosterone to DHT is called 5-alpha-reductase (Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci.May 2012).

Many clinical studies over the years (30-90 days in length) have demonstrated a significant difference in urine flow, volume voided, dysuria, nocturia, etc. after taking saw palmetto. They have also seen that roughly 90% of men that have mild-moderate BPH feel some improvement in only four to six weeks! More recent clinical studies have observed saw palmetto’s use from six to around twelve months. In a relatively recent study, researchers compared saw palmetto 320 mg/day (Permixon) to the drug Proscar at 5mg/day. There were similar decreases in many of the symptoms of BPH, but saw palmetto did not have the side effect of erectile dysfunction that the drug did. Another similar study using saw palmetto and nettle root (Prostagutt forte) and the drug Proscar came up with similar findings.

There are no known interactions with this herb, but note that most of the clinical trials excluded men taking diuretics, alpha blockers, and anticoagulants. Possible side effects are mild gastrointestinal disturbances. NOTE: Because saw palmetto is used for mild to moderate BPH stages I and II, it is contraindicated with advanced BPH. BPH should be diagnosed by a certified healthcare practitioner or physician.

Recommended use is to take 320 mg of saw palmetto berry extract (standardized to 85%-95% fatty acids and sterols), all at once or in two divided doses with meals. Use at least six months to determine its effectiveness.

Black Cohosh For Easing Menopause Symptoms

By Laurel Sterling, MA, RD86531501

Black cohosh is an herb that is mainly associated with assisting hot flashes. I have numerous clients using black cohosh per their doctor’s, friend’s, sister’s, television, etc. recommendation. I have seen that it works for some… and not for others.

Black cohosh is typically used for a wide variety of women’s health conditions related to menopause. It has emerged in the last 25 years as the most-studied herbal alternative for menopause to use in place of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). There have been approximately 100 studies on its use with menopause resulting in mixed reviews, particularly related to its efficacy in alleviating hot flashes. Despite two negative studies in 2006, most study findings and anecdotal evidence show its effectiveness for hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep issues.

The jury is still out on how exactly it works. Early studies found it to have estrogenic activity; however, more recent studies have demonstrated that it does not have phytoestrogens in it. More recent theories are that it has an effect on serotonin levels. I have seen many of my clients that had been put on antidepressants from their doctor solely for ameliorating hot flashes, and it works for many. However, these meds have other side effects and are difficult to get off once on them. So if black cohosh has this ability to inhibit serotonin reuptake, this may be how it helps decrease hot flashes.

Very occasional adverse side effects are gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, nausea, vomiting, and vertigo. The average recommended dose of standardized extract is 40-80 mg per day. The dosage used in most clinical trials to date is 20-40 mg of the standardized extract twice daily. Standardized liquid extract ½-1 tsp twice per day. Results are usually seen within four weeks. Black cohosh can be used safely with hormone therapy if one is on HRT, and lower doses of HRT can be achieved along with black cohosh.

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