Lifestyle Factors to Keep in Mind for Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

Losing Brain FunctionBy Jennifer Morganti, ND, Needs Director of Education

 

As Alzheimer’s disease (AD) rates continue to rise, many of us are wondering what our own risk is of  becoming a statistic. Current data says your chances are one in nine if you are over 65 years old, and if you’re over 85, it’s one in three. With such high risks, wouldn’t it be great to better understand what we can do to prevent it? There isn’t a good treatment to reverse AD and we still are not clear what causes it. Genetics and lifestyle factors seem to play in to the scenario, but the picture is fuzzy at best.

A recent study was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, which may help provide clues as to which lifestyle risk factors can be modified to help decrease the chances of developing this devastating disease.  This study was a meta-analysis of other studies that contained data about AD risks. The diligent researchers initially browsed through almost 17,000 relevant studies, then narrowed it down to 323 which were appropriate to include in the review. There were over 5,000 patients included in the 323 studies.

The review of these 5,000 patients brought to light some interesting findings. They found a strong protective effect from five dietary factors: coffee intake, light to moderate drinking (alcohol), vitamin E, vitamin C, and folic acid. They found a significantly increased risk of developing AD when homocysteine levels were high or if a person was depressed. Risk also increased in the presence of other health conditions such as obesity (in middle age), atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and having type-2 diabetes. Interestingly, the study found a seemingly contradictory risk factor; a “low” BMI (being underweight) also is a hazard. Smoking or having a lower education level increases a person’s risk. Frailty (lacking strength and not exercising) puts a person at risk as well.

Some of the results were surprising and all in all, some were familiar. Although nothing is conclusive from this one review, the information is useful.  I think it does help point us in the right direction to make smart lifestyle choices for AD prevention, and those choices are also generally wise recommendations for overall health and wellness. 

Reference:
Xu W, Tan L, Wang H, et al: Meta-analysis of modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 2015;August 21, 2015.

How to Go Organic Affordably

Excerpt from Jordan Rubin’s book, Planet Heal Thyself

Organic fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products are more expensive, generally anywhere from 20 percent to 100 percent more than conventionally grown and raised groceries. [However], there are ways to get a lot of organic bang for your buck:

  • Stock up at sale time. Yes, even organic products go on sale at health-food grocery stores.
  • Shop at farmers markets. Food that’s grown, produced, and sold locally is a great way to help the planet heal itself, and without middlemen between you and the grower, the prices can be excellent. Farmers market produce tastes better than fruits and vegetables that have traveled thousands of miles from farm to plate.
  • Eat organic food instead of going out to a restaurant. Yes, this means time spent preparing and cooking organic foods, but eating organic food is cheaper than taking the family to a fast-food place or “fast casual” restaurant—and much healthier, of course. A family of four would have to pay a minimum of $20 to $25 for a meal out, but you could pay for a wonderful home-cooked meal, complete with organic, grass-fed beef or wild-caught fish for that amount—even less. [However], if you are interested in eating out, search for local organic restaurants as more and more of them are opening their doors in major and even smaller cities all across the U.S.
  • Eating organic is cheaper than going on a special diet. And there’s a good chance you’ll lose extra pounds that wouldn’t come off with any other diet.
  • If you’re taking nutritional supplements, shop organic as well. Surveys suggest that 40 percent to 70 percent of Americans consume nutritional supplements, so look for products that are certified-organic (Check for the USDA seal) as more and more leading brands are taking the giant leap and producing nutritional formulations using organic ingredients.

When you get down to the nitty-gritty, the decision to eat organic foods boils down to what’s important to you. What you spend your money on shows where your [interests lay] and where your heart is.

Do you want to live a healthier life and leave a smaller footprint on the planet? Do you see organic foods as a down-payment for your future and your health?

Let me leave you with this little saying that puts everything in perspective:
You can pay the farmer now, or you can pay the doctor later.
GetReal_andrew_2If you would like more inspiring healthy-living tips from Jordan Rubin, be sure to attend his April 10th lecture from 2:15-3:45 at Natur-Tyme’s 15th annual health fair, held at the New Your State Fairgrounds. Tickets are available on our website.

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.

Nordic Naturals: Perfecting the Art of Fish Oil Manufacturing

Blog Joar

       Joar Opheim – Founder of Nordic Naturals

Nordic Naturals has been revolutionizing omegas since 1995, pioneering a new definition of fish oil as it relates to purity, freshness, taste, and dosage. Based in California, the company also offers complementary foundational nutrients essential to health.

Nordic Naturals was born in Arctic Norway, where founder, Joar Opheim, grew up and where fish oil is a part of everyday life.

“Growing up, I never knew anyone who didn’t take fish oil to stay healthy,” Joar recalls. “Our fish oil was always really pure and fresh, with high omega-3 levels.”

When he came to the United States to complete his MBA in the 1980s and could not find quality fish oil, he decided to do something about it.

Joar founded Nordic Naturals in 1995. His vision was to manage every step of the manufacturing process in order to guarantee both high-quality fish oil and environmental stewardship.

Nordic Naturals’ award-winning omega oils are manufactured at its state-of-the-art facility in Arctic Norway that was recognized by the Norwegian government with a $1 million grant for its extensive use of green technology.

“In order to continue to bring our vision to fruition, Nordic Naturals will remain family-owned,” Joar states. “The past 20-plus years have required deeply committed work from my family, our dedicated employees, and me. And there is still more to do.”

Nordic Naturals works passionately to see generations of healthier, happier people around the world. Their products are distributed to over 35 countries and includes more than 200 items in a variety of flavors and formulations for adults, kids, athletes, and pets.

Further information is available at nordicnaturals.com.

Nine Tips to Help You Stay Healthy During Flu Season

By Boiron USA

Sadly, according to trends, we are in a high-activity flu area.

A homeopathic brand that Natur-Tyme carries, Boiron USA, offers the following tips on how to stay healthy this flu season and what to do if the flu bug bites:

  1. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. Get professional advice if you are at risk for complications from flu.
  1. WASH YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY. Flu viruses are spread by droplets from infected people when they sneeze, blow their nose, or wipe away secretions from their nose or eyes. During flu season, everyone should be encouraged to keep their hands out of their mouths, avoid rubbing their eyes and wash their hands thoroughly several times a day, especially before meals.
  1. EAT A HEALTHY DIET RICH IN VITAMINS C AND E. Foods containing these vitamins are believed to be helpful in supporting the immune system. Foods rich in vitamin E include sunflower and corn oils, sunflower seeds, and nuts such as almonds and peanuts. You can get your daily vitamin C from foods like orange juice, citrus fruits, broccoli, and green peppers. And make an effort to reduce your intake of concentrated sugar (e.g. soda, candy) because excessive sugar impairs the immune response.
  1. GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP. Lack of sleep may profoundly inhibit your immune system. Get a full night’s sleep to keep your body’s natural defenses at optimum efficiency.
  1. STAY HYDRATED. Increasing your water intake will help you stay healthy and lessen the chance of you coming down with flu. When you are feeling under the weather, drinking extra fluids prevents dehydration caused by fever, loosens mucus, and keeps your throat moist. Warm liquids are preferable, and there is some evidence that inhaling steam early in the course of a cold or flu may reduce the spread of viruses in your upper respiratory tract.
  1. KEEP OSCILLOCOCCINUM®READILY AVAILABLE. Oscillococcinum (Oscillo®), one of the world’s most popular natural flu medicines, can reduce the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms when taken at the onset of symptoms. Its use is supported by published clinical studies, as well as more than 65 years of use throughout the world. Plus, unlike other flu medicines, Oscillo does not cause drowsiness, it does not interfere with other medications, and it is recommended for both adults and children ages 2 and up.
  1. EXERCISE REGULARLY. Not only can regular exercise lower stress, but research indicates that exercise can stimulate the immune system and promote healthy sleep. In a recent study reported inMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, scientists found that modest exercise may prevent the elderly from getting colds and flu.
  1. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you do come down with a cold or flu, take it easy. Spending excessive energy steals valuable resources from the immune system. Even attempting to perform normal activities at work or school may be too much. Besides, if you believe you’re coming down with flu, probably the best thing you can do for friends and family is to not expose them unnecessarily to the virus.
  1. SEEK HELP IF YOU GET WORSE. If your symptoms become significantly worse after the first three days of illness, especially if your fever subsides and then returns, be sure to seek medical attention right away. The reason that flu is considered a potentially dangerous infection is that it leaves the body vulnerable to other infections like pneumonia.

Keep the GMOs Away From Our Little Ones’ Food!!


By Laurel Sterling, RD,
Natur-Tyme Wellness Educator

My hope is that most of the population knows and understands what GMOs really are. GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. Genetic modification of food involves splicing genes into the DNA of food, crops, or animals. GMOs can be engineered with genes from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals, or even humans. According to the USDA, in 2009, 93% of soy, 93% of cotton, 86% of corn grown in the U.S. was genetically-modified. It is estimated that over 90% of canola grown is genetically-modified. I am sure it is much more now! Sugar beets, which are used as the sugar source in so many products, are GMOs as well. Also within the last one to two years, alfalfa, which is used as a food source for animals, is now genetically-modified. In 30 other countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs because they are not proven safe.

If any of you have ever watched the documentary Genetic Roulette, you KNOW how bad GMOs are for human AND animal consumption. Approximately 75 percent of our food contains GMOs, and these GMOs are exposed to 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides! So knowing this…would you want any of this in your diet….or your newborn baby’s formula??? I certainly wouldn’t!!!

I recently learned the horrifying news that according to GMWatch, Purity brands infant formula and cereal contained extremely high levels of GMOs. Nestlé has gone on record stating: “. . . it took consumer preferences into consideration and therefore all its infant cereals in South Africa used non-GM maize.” Great! They did that for them, but why are they not doing that for us in the US?

Just a little FYI, Nestlé is in the company of Abbott Laboratories (makers of Similac), and Mead Johnson Nutrition (makers of Enfamil). Their formulas contain corn, sugar, or soy—all ingredients which are highly likely to be GMO!

GMO crops were created to be able to withstand pesticides. The weeds have built up resistance now to these pesticides; therefore, new pesticides are being formulated that may be even more dangerous to your health. Recently, new soybean and corn seeds have been reengineered to survive the strongest pesticides out there. The latest to emerge are glyphosate and the 2, 4-D. During the Vietnam War, 2, 4-D was used (and then banned).  Do we really want these in our food supply? I don’t!

Exposure to the chemical 2, 4-D is linked to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, thyroid & reproductive problems, Parkinson’s disease, and neurological damage. So say NO to GMO!! Natur-Tyme has several GMO-FREE choices on sale throughout October 2014, which is Non-GMO month.

Alexis’s Journey into the World of Natural Health & Beauty–Introductory Blog

By Alexis Capers — Alexis Capers is our Enhanced Beauty Salon and Enhanced Beauty Area manager. Join her every other Wednesday for a blog about her journey into natural health & beauty products.

031214_ProductsHello all! This is the first time in my life I have kept an electronic account of my days and the fluff that fills it! I say fluff because I always live to enjoy the day as much as possible. So if it’s a cloudy day (which it often can be in Syracuse), it’s really fluffy! But weather aside, I am excited to share my days and journey with you, flashbacks and hot flashes included! So join me in my path to a new beginning of wellness, work, and wonderment!

I am three weeks in my new position at Natur-Tyme and loving it! For many years, I traveled for a manufacturer doing education and sales. While I loved my job, it took me away from my family (3-year old, 10-year old, and 17-year old) so it was a balancing act to say the least! In July of 2012, I was diagnosed with stage-2A breast cancer.

My perspective on life, family, and work all changed. I realized my worth and the quality-of-life I was providing myself fell short due to taking care of others first—typical career mom.

So I changed gears, left my full time job, and on a leap of faith went back to school to pursue a career in Esthetics. Now while I love to perform services and make people look and feel better, I really love managing a team. As luck would have it (or maybe Karma?), I was approached on my graduation day by our placement teacher with this question “How do you feel about natural products?” Interesting question, I thought. How do I feel about them? I have learned now through my cancer journey how important it is to watch what I put in my body. But what about the things I put on my body? Now I will be the first to admit, I’m a product junkie! So this concept is new to me. However, I have an open mind and a thirst for knowledge, so I decided to dive in! And I am loving every minute of it. So join me each week as I discuss more of my journey and share the fabulous natural products I pick up along the way! Creating a healthier me and you too!

Products I am falling for this week: Natur-Tyme Signature Skin care! All these effective products are featured this month for a fantastic value. Priced just right to try and love yourself! My picks: Glycolic Night Crème, Facial Scrub with MSM, Firming Eye Crème, and Peptide C Serum! LOVE! ~Alexis

Attitude of Gratitude

Girl_Writing_Web

By Carol B. Blair, BS, DiHom, CNC

Wellness Educator

Did you know that adopting an attitude of gratitude can lift depression, improve your mental alertness, and help you feel more optimistic?

In a study performed at the University of California, it was found that the daily gratitude recording “resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy,” compared to those who only recorded the events of the day or documented their unpleasant occurrences. The study also revealed that the individuals in the gratitude group experienced less depression and worked more diligently on their goals.

Soon after setting New Year’s Resolutions, many people are working on lofty goals such as attempting to lose weight, exercising more frequently, improving relationships, or perhaps setting job-related goals. One thing that can help us with all of these things is to develop a gratitude journal.

This is not a time-consuming project. All you have to do is to get a small notebook and upon arising or at bedtime, write down one thing each day for which you are grateful; write a different thing every day.

If you think you might have difficulty with this, perhaps a few pointers will be helpful. Are you grateful for your family or a certain member of your family or relationship? Are you grateful for the job you have? How about some of the things we take for granted such as freedom of speech or religion, or the home you live in? There are many people who don’t have a home, can’t speak about their religious beliefs or can’t protest; we need to be more grateful that we still have these privileges because those freedoms have been taken away from many people.

However, small things are important too. Are you grateful that we had some sun in Syracuse today or are you grateful, perhaps, for all the snow we have so you can go skiing? Did someone give you a compliment that lifted your spirits? Did one of the staff at Natur-Tyme give you a $5 coupon on Bone Strength? Did you actually have a whole hour to finish that project without an interruption? Did your husband shovel the sidewalk or did your wife make a nice dinner? Are you grateful that someone gave you a fresh, out-of-the-oven, loaf of bread? Oh, sorry! I’m dreaming now!

Optimism is central to good health and developing an “attitude of gratitude” might just make the difference in attaining your 2013 goals or lifting you out of that gloomy mood. Try it for a week or two and see what happens. You may just find that it is actually fun and beneficial.

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