Address Health Concerns with Apple Cider Vinegar

By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHC

 

Some health trends last forever and Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is one of them! Its benefits are numerous!

Taking a tablespoon of ACV before meals can help stabilize blood-sugar levels, which is very useful for digestion of high-carbohydrate meals, especially for those who have diabetes.

One of the benefits of ACV is that it can ease an upset stomach. Are you feeling bloated? Nauseous? Simply add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a small glass of water to solve your discomfort. The stomach discomfort is typically because of bacteria and the vinegar contains pectin, which has soothing properties.

ACV can also help with a variety of cold symptoms. Gurgling with two ounces of apple cider vinegar mixed with two ounces of warm water will soothe a sore throat. Along with alleviating a sore throat, ACV will clear your nose of congestion and stuffiness. The potassium in the vinegar makes your mucous thinner, while the acid reacts with the bacteria. This can relieve your stuffy feeling almost instantly.

Not only can ACV help with your cold, but also, it can help in the cold months with dry scalp. You may experience dandruff, which can be embarrassing. Mixing the vinegar with water and then with your shampoo will help your dry scalp. Again, the acidity in the vinegar prevents germs from invading your skin and prevents a dry scalp.

You are probably recognizing a trend; ACV helps almost any condition that is bacterial in nature. It can even be helpful in treating acne. It kills the bacteria on the surface of your skin and leaves you with clear, smooth skin that will be sure to make you happy.

Falling asleep during work? Instead of grabbing another cup of coffee, try grabbing some ACV. Having one tablespoon of vinegar gives you the same amount of energy as a cup of coffee.

The most effective ACV is in a glass bottle, organic, and unfiltered, such as Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. Natur-Tyme sells the 32-ounce Bragg’s ACV for 30% off MSRP everyday; it is one of our customers’ favorite L.E.A.N. (Lower Everyday at Natur-Tyme) products!

The Microbiome: A Key to Your Health

Abigail McShinsky
MegaFood Training and Education Specialist

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of probiotics. Perhaps you even take them, as a supplement, yourself. The research and information demonstrating their vital importance to our health is growing, and it’s remarkable. Probiotics comprise what we refer to as the human microbiome – the vast collection of beneficial bacteria that inhabit, and form a deeply symbiotic relationship with, us.

Our digestive tracts are home to over 5,000 different species of beneficial bacteria, all of whom perform specific functions within our body (LiveScience). In addition to aiding in the digestion of food and nutrient assimilation, they are our biggest defense against illness – over 70% of our immune response resides within our gut!

Beyond this role, however, science continues to link the health of our microbiome to things such as allergies, and even lend credence to the phrase “gut reaction,” demonstrating a link between the health of our friendly crusaders and the brain! It begins to make sense, then, why these helpful bacteria, so important to our health and well-being, are called what they are – probiotic – literally meaning for life!

Unfortunately, modern diet trends and a focus on refined foods do not make for a strong microbiome. The Standard American Diet lacks diversity and an emphasis on fresh, whole, and fermented foods that nourish and grow our probiotic army. In addition, our frequent antibiotic use decimates these good guys and lowers our defenses further.

There is, of course, good news at the end of all of this. There are great ways to get probiotics back into your diet, and of course, into your gut, where they belong!  One thing to consider is foods that are rich in probiotics. Traditionally, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, and pickles are great options to start including in your daily diet. Just be sure they are the real deal – look for the words ‘fermented’ or ‘traditionally fermented’ on the label, and make sure they come from the refrigerated section, as probiotics are living, and many strains require cooler temperatures to stay alive (they can actually be damaged by heat!)

There are, of course, less-familiar options to look into as well – foods such as kimchi, kefir, and kombucha are delicious and healthy ways to get probiotics into your child’s diet, not to mention helping them create healthy eating habits for years to come.

In addition to fortifying the diet with these good-for-the-gut foods, a probiotic supplement is another convenient choice. Seek formulations that deliver a wide-range of flora strains rather than just one or two, and one that requires refrigeration, to ensure you are getting viable, living strains.

A Course in Supplements: How to Know if a Supplement is High Quality – Part II

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By the Natur-Tyme Wellness Team

Natur-Tyme is excited to start a blog series on the importance of supplementation. There are so many supplements on the market; it is difficult to decipher supplements you need and which brands or forms of vitamins are best. We’re here to help!

In our last blog, we discussed the importance of looking at how the raw materials in a supplement are sourced. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of the manufacturing process and the physical characteristics of the supplement in question.

THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS

What part of the herb is used? Is it the same part shown in studies to contain the active ingredient? Is the final product tested for potency? Some less-than-ethical companies actually buy the “straw” left over from an extraction process to make tinctures, then encapsulate the spent herb, label it, and sell it as a regular herbal supplement.

Some nutrients and herbal compounds are best rendered with solvents. Is the final product tested for solvent residue? If present, these residues must be detoxified by the body—not always easily accomplished. Also, does the company test the final product for microbial contamination, such as bacteria or mold?

Several nutrients are derived from substances such as corn, wheat, soy, or dairy, to which some may be sensitive. Many can tolerate small amounts of these substances, others require an ultra-clean product that is either highly purified or extracted from a more expensive agent.

If you take fish oil, how is it prepared? Is it extracted and packaged in an oxygen-poor environment to help prevent rancidity? Most quality fish oil manufacturers will test their final products for rancidity.

If probotics such as Acidophilus and Bifidus are part of your regimen, does the company who makes them guarantee that there are live, viable organisms in their product? How long will they be stable and at what temperature? What was the growth media for the probotics? If a person is sensitive to dairy, it may be best to use a probotic grown on beets or chicory, for instance.

THE ADDITIVES

Finally, what are the physical characteristics of the tablet or capsule? Are the binders, fillers, flowing agents, colorings, etc., nutritive or benign? Can they result in negative side-effects? Yellow Dye #5 and Red Dye #1, for instance, have been associated with Attention Deficit Disorder and migraines, as well as many other conditions. Tablet or capsule, dissolution rates are also of paramount importance; both must dissolve at the precise time in order for your body to use the nutrients.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of supplement ingredients and qualities available. If you have adequate stomach acid or assimilate nutrients well, you may be fine taking a medium-grade supplement. On the other hand, if you do have certain health conditions or sensitivities, you will want to use physician-grade supplements.

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