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Why a Multivitamin is Important for Your Child

Importance of kids multivitamins
Importance of kids multivitamins

Good nutrition is important for a child’s healthy growth and development. Along with smart food choices, many parents do their best to ensure their children receive their recommended, daily dose of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. But getting your child to eat right all the time can be challenging, as we live in a world filled with foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats, and low in nutrients. Today, studies show this scenario has created the dual burden of a population that is overfed but undernourished.

Providing kids with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables along with healthy proteins and whole grains will help them meet many daily nutritional requirements. And to get an extra boost, adding a high-quality multivitamin to a child’s daily diet can help fill any gaps, so you don’t have to worry.

Good Nutrition and Growing Kids

Unlike adults, kids are continuously growing. They tend to experience growth spurts scattered throughout their childhood, but the process in continuous. Their bodies are working hard as their bones are becoming dense and strong, the brain is developing, the heart is growing, and muscles are filling out. Keeping up with their nutritional needs can ensure your child’s body can grow and develop with healthy cells that are less likely to succumb to health problems. The following is a breakdown of the many reasons why kids need balanced nutrition.

Growing Bones – Skeletal and bone development are part of growing, and the right vitamins (nutrients) can ensure healthy bone density and size. Some habits like exercise help develop strong bones, but some habits like soda and sugar consumption, can create a nutrient deficit leaving the body starved for nutrition. Our bones are made of living tissue that requires nutrients like vitamin D and calcium, and a steady supply of the right vitamins and minerals helps bones grow strong.

Brain Development – Our brains are constantly changing and updating, but a child’s brain is more than twice as active than the adult brain. (1) As they learn and grow, the brain is constantly making new connections, which is why learning and stimulation are important. However, nutrition is important too, because iodine, iron and vitamins like A, B12, D and folate are crucial to support brain development.

Immune Health – Kids play with other kids, pets, and dirt. That’s why it becomes even more important they get their daily dose of nutrients to support their immune health. The immune system is a vast network of organs and vessels, but when the body is supplied with adequate amounts of Vitamins A, C, D and E, it has a much better chance at keeping up with an active child and ward off potentially harmful pathogens.

Sugar – While many parents strive to feed their children healthy foods and teach them good habits, treats like cookies or cakes can find their way into your child’s life. When kids consume too many treats or food and drink with hidden sugars, their bodies need more nutrition. Extra nutrition will not stop the effects of unhealthy foods, but it can help limit some of the damage that excess sugar may cause.

Strong Muscles – As a body grows, muscles need fuel for healthy development. While we often think of protein as the nutrient muscles rely on most, they also need vitamin D for growth, biotin to help muscles use protein and vitamin C for fuel. The right nutrition is important, so your child has all the energy they need to play and recover, and if your child is an athlete, proper nutrition becomes even more important. A wide array of vitamins is important for healthy muscle development.

Healthy Means Happy – Good physical health is important for kids to remain healthy and active, but it is also important for their emotional health. In fact, diets that are rich in B vitamins like folate and B-6 are known to help anyone maintain a positive outlook. On the other hand, a poor diet that is deficient in adequate vitamins and minerals can leave kids feeling tired and cranky.

Top Vitamins for Growing Kids

  • Vitamin A is important for healthy eyes and to support the immune system. It is mainly found in dairy products and liver as well as some vegetables like carrots and broccoli. Those who cannot tolerate dairy may have a difficult time getting enough of this vitamin.
  • B Vitamins include biotin, folate, pantothenic acid, and more. This array of vitamins is important for a healthy body and provides energy that kids need.
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant and top vitamin for immune support, but it also contributes to healthy hair and skin, among other things.
  • Vitamin D supports strong bones and is important for the growing child.
  • Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the body and cells from free radical damage. And while we usually don’t think of kids needing this protection, it is just as important for them as it is for adults.
  • Iodine supports growing bodies and may support the endocrine system and brain health.
  • Zinc is a nutrient found throughout the body and may help support the immune system and metabolism.

Ingredients Matter

Diet is the best source of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that children need, but sickness, stress, and active lifestyles can create a need for more. For those who want to support their child’s health with a multivitamin, it is important to know that ingredients do matter. Not all vitamin sources are created equal and some added ingredients like extra sugar just aren’t necessary.

A multivitamin can be a part of a healthy diet. Organic ingredients and high-quality vitamin sources will provide the extra support and fill in any nutritional gaps that parents often worry about. Keep up with your kid’s nutrition to help them stay happy, healthy and fit.

References:

1 Osawa M, Konishi Y. [Developing the brain–proposal to child neurologists: how to nurture and stimulate brain development]. No To Hattatsu. 2003 Mar;35(2):113-6. Japanese. PMID: 12661091.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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The Healthy Benefits of Zinc

the healthy benefits of zinc complex

Minerals and trace minerals are nutritional elements that our bodies use for a host of functions including building bone tissue, converting food into energy, brain and heart health. Zinc is one of the more important nutrients, and is considered essential because the body does not produce it. Because of this, zinc must be consumed through diet, and when diet fall short, many turn to supplements to help keep the body balanced.

What is Zinc and Why do We Need it?

Zinc is an essential trace element that is required for healthy enzyme function and metabolism, among other things. Even though it is found in every cell of the body, it is not stored by your body, which means you must get a steady supply through diet to ensure healthy levels. But how much is healthy?

It is recommended that men consume 11 mg of zinc per day, women consume 8 mg, pregnant women consume 11 mg and breastfeeding women consume 12 mg each day. Even children need up to 8 mg per day, with teenagers requiring up to 11 mg each day.

The continuous supply of zinc is important for daily living and necessary body functions that keep us alive. Zinc is required for enzyme activities, which are the chemical reactions that support digestion, metabolism and even muscle repair. Some of the main functions that are supported by zinc include the following:

  • Support enzyme activity
  • Metabolism of nutrients
  • Skin health
  • Immune health
  • Protein and DNA synthesis
  • Wound healing
  • Growth and/or tissue repair
  • Healthy sense of taste and smell
  • Support vision
  • Protect cells from stress

Zinc works best when used with other trace minerals to help maintain a healthy balance. Some of these minerals are magnesium and copper, both of which support muscle and nerve health. When used together, these three important minerals can also support health of the immune system, nervous system and even promote healthy aging.

Trace minerals are nutrients that are crucial for good health, but we only need a very small amount each day, usually between .2 and 15 milligrams. And while many foods contain them, some people may find it difficult to get all the minerals through diet, since some minerals may be destroyed by food processing or cooking. Some of the trace minerals include:

  • Chromium for healthy blood sugar levels
  • Iron for oxygen-rich blood
  • Manganese for enzyme health
  • Selenium as a powerful antioxidant to protect the cells

The above is not an exhaustive list, but provides insight into the importance of trace minerals in the daily diet. Ensuring you get a well-rounded balance of these nutrients can ensure your health is also balanced.

Zinc and Your Immune System

A healthy immune system relies on a variety of nutrients to stay strong. Because the immune system has many parts that work together, nutritional balance is important so that our immune response is ready when needed. But nutritional balance may not come as easily as it seems.

A balanced diet includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. And while you may think you are getting nutrition through your diet you might be in for a surprise.

The food supply today is rife with highly processed foods and produce that may be grown in less than desirable soil. Unfortunately, processing foods can destroy important vitamins and minerals, lowering the nutritional count to below dietary recommendations. At the same time, vegetables and fruits rely on nutrients from soil that is often depleted, due to overuse of fertilizers, increasing salinity, soil runoff and other environmental factors.

Luckily, you have the power to take control of your health and be proactive when it comes to supporting a strong immune system. Exercise is a known immune system modulator that can support natural antibodies. Regular exercise helps the lungs flush pathogens while keeping stress hormones like cortisol in check.

Diet is another way to support good health, and focusing on whole foods with plenty of vegetables, fruits and lean proteins can help you stay strong and healthy. Avoid foods high in sugar and trans fats, fried foods and other harmful foods, as they all interfere with immune health. And if you know that your diet could use support, add a zinc and trace mineral supplement to your daily health regimen.

Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiencies are not common, but some people are more susceptible including mature adults, pregnant women and those who are nursing. Digestive issues like ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome can also cause problems with zinc levels as the body may not be able to absorb all the minerals from the foods that are eaten. When added to a deficient diet, the case for supplementation strengthens.

Some vegetarians and vegans also seem to have lower levels of zinc. (1) This may be because fruits and vegetables are not a primary source of zinc, while foods like seafood and cheese that are higher in zinc might be avoided. Other conditions that may increase risk for a zinc deficiency include:

  • Alcohol addiction
  • Chrohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Low zinc levels can lead to some health concerns such as a loss of appetite and thus, unwanted weight loss. Other signs of a zinc deficiency include:

  • Hair loss
  • Skin sores that heal slowly
  • Brain fog
  • Diarrhea
  • Lowered immune response

Zinc and mineral supplementation can help maintain a healthy nutritional balance, which may improve overall health.

Zinc Rich Foods         

Some foods are a naturally rich source of zinc and can help boost your zinc levels. Some of these foods include oysters, beef and crab. Other sources that are rich in zinc include whole grains, legumes and cereals, but these also present a problem when it comes to bioavailability of certain minerals.

Whole grains, legumes, beans, seeds, nuts and fortified breakfast cereals also contain phytates, or phytic acid, which are compounds that can bind minerals like zinc, iron and manganese. This means that when you eat these foods, your body will have a difficult time absorbing them, potentially leaving you nutritionally deficient. And while cooking the foods can reduce the phytic acid, it can also destroy some minerals.

Luckily, phytic acid can be lessened, which can remove the barriers to nutrient absorption. Most of these foods can be soaked in a solution of water and vinegar or water and salt to lessen the phytates. Soaking nuts and beans also make them more digestible, leaving less problems like gas and bloating.

A zinc supplement can also fill in some nutritional gaps. Because zinc is found in every cell of your body, it is the second most abundant trace element behind iron, which shows how important this versatile nutrient is. Supplementing with zinc can help ensure you take advantage of the benefits like immune and blood sugar support, healthy skin and cardiovascular support.

Magnesium and Copper

Magnesium is a mineral that helps convert food into energy and supports the health of the nervous system, muscles and numerous chemical actions of the body. Some people use magnesium supplements to get better sleep, while others use it to help them relax after a stressful day. Getting enough magnesium into your daily diet is essential for good health, especially for those with digestive issues and mature individuals.

Copper is an essential nutrient that the body uses for numerous functions like immune support, and it plays a role in the generation of ATP, your body’s main source of energy. (2) Copper deficiencies may lead to issues such as weakness and digestive issues. And while the body only requires a small amount of copper to maintain health, it is important to get enough into your diet, since your body cannot produce it.

Ensuring you get a healthy supply of all nutrients is essential, as benefits are recognized when they are used together. For example, research shows the combination of zinc, copper, magnesium and calcium supports bone health, especially in mature adults. In fact, at least one study has shown that postmenopausal women who supplemented with this combination of minerals experienced less bone loss than those who took a placebo.

It is possible to get both magnesium and copper through dietary sources. Foods that contain copper are similar to those that contain zinc, including oysters, nuts and seeds. Other foods that are a source of copper include:

  • Liver
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Lobster
  • Leafy greens
  • Dark chocolate
  • Spirulina

Foods that contain magnesium include:

  • Legumes
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews

Some of these foods share the phytic acid issue, but soaking them will allow you to take advantage of the nutrients while avoiding digestive issues.

Trace Minerals

Many people are familiar with vitamins and minerals that are part of a healthy diet, but micro or trace minerals are less commonly discussed. Minerals, or macro-minerals, include calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium, to name a few. Minerals should be consumed in amounts of at least 100 milligrams, depending upon the mineral, to maintain good health. But trace minerals are just as important, even though they are lesser known that the rest.

Trace minerals are the microminerals that are required by the body. They are labeled as trace minerals because only small amounts are needed for good health, but they work “behind the scenes” to ensure your body functions at an optimum level.

Trace minerals play many roles including the synthesis of DNA, metabolism, ensure enzymes are active and helps keep hormones balanced. They provide support for your immune system, digestion, growth and repair of the body. Here are some ways the body uses these micronutrients:

  • Protect cells from oxidative stress
  • Support immune function
  • Support brain function
  • Support nervous system
  • Healthy digestion
  • Strong enzymes
  • Metabolize macronutrients
  • Help body rejuvenate itself
  • Support tissue repair

Because of the many roles and functions of trace minerals, it is important to maintain a healthy balance by consuming mineral rich foods that contribute to health. If you have digestive issues, take medications or are vegan, you might benefit with a trace mineral supplement.

Consuming foods that are rich in minerals can support your body’s levels of trace minerals, especially if you  consume the recommended 7 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eating a variety and including foods that are lightly cooked while soaking those with phytic acid can keep your digestion strong, so you absorb enough to keep you healthy. Organic produce is another way to ensure you get the most nutrition from the foods you eat. And ensuring your diet includes a variety of healthy foods also ensures you get a variety of nutrients, too.

Trace ionic mineral supplements are becoming more popular among health enthusiasts as synthesized fertilizers and overuse of farmland depletes the soil. The result is that minerals essential to our wellbeing do not get replenished in the food supply, but supplements can help fill any nutritional gaps.

Zinc Complex

Fortunately for our health, Balanced Health has created Zinc Complex with zinc, magnesium, copper and trace minerals. This is the perfect combination to support the immune system as well as ensure healthy and balanced levels of minerals for every part of the body including muscles, bones and skin.

The right combination of minerals in the right balance means the nutrients are digestible and bioavailable for the body. They are easy to assimilate, which means your body can use them as required. And because they are highly digestible, they are the perfect supplement for those who have digestive issues and for those who simply need to fill in their diet.

Feel the Difference

While zinc deficiency may be rare, zinc inadequacy may not be. Some indications of low zinc include acne, hair loss, poor vision and slow healing from wounds. Many people supplement with zinc to overcome acne and provide immune support, especially during cold and flu season.

Balanced Health’s Zinc Complex is easy to digest and highly absorbable. Regular supplementation can support balanced nutrition, a healthy immune system and healthy aging. And you can feel safe knowing it is free of wheat, yeast and dairy, and manufactured in the United State. Zinc Complex makes it easy to be proactive, so you can live healthy.

References

1 Freeland-Graves JH, Bodzy PW, Eppright MA. Zinc status of vegetarians. J Am Diet Assoc. 1980 Dec;77(6):655-61. PMID: 7440860.

2 Medeiros DM, Jennings D. Role of copper in mitochondrial biogenesis via interaction with ATP synthase and cytochrome c oxidase. J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2002 Oct;34(5):389-95. doi: 10.1023/a:1021206220851. PMID: 12539966.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Elderberry Extract for Health and Support

The elderberry plant has been used in traditional medicines for centuries. It has long been used to treat infections, heal skin problems and to support immunity. Leaves, flowers and cooked berries have all been used in various remedies, while there are many varieties of elderberry plants, such as black elderberry or European elderberry.  

Nutritional Benefits 

Elderberries are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that support the immune system by fighting free radicals and other harmful molecules. Fruits and vegetables are our main source of antioxidants, and it turns out that elderberries are rich in anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that support the immune system. 

Along with antioxidants, elderberries are a rich source of vitamin C, phenolic acids and flavonols. Vitamin C supports the immune system, while phenolic acids and flavonols include more antioxidants that can protect your body from oxidative stress

The nutritional content of elderberries is rounded out with an array of B vitamins, as well as vitamin A and tocopherols (vitamin E). The combination of nutrients might account for why traditional cultures considered it to be an important part of health and healing. 

Health Benefits 

Shorten the Duration Seasonal ChallengesOne study showed that participants who drank elderberry syrup cut the duration of symptoms by four days, compared to a placebo group. Some believe the high amounts of vitamins and other nutrients may help support the immune system. 

Immune Support – Anthocyanins are antioxidants that give the elderberry their pretty purple color. But aside from aesthetics, it is important to note that these molecules are linked to some important health benefits. One example is that the anthocyanins were found to have anticarcinogenic properties and may protect against oxidative stress. 

Vitamin C is abundant in elderberry fruit. Stress can rob us of energy, which has an impact on immunity, and vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help the body stay strong. It is an important part of the immune system, and is essential, meaning it is important to get a steady supply of this nutrient through the diet. 

Improve Skin Health – Elderberries are rich in vitamin C, which is an important nutrient that helps the body manufacture collagen. For this reason, many treatments in the beauty industry include vitamin C for healthy skin and hair. Elderberries also contain high levels of vitamin A, which is a nutrient that is important for skin nutrition, and along with C may help improve skin quality. 

Conclusion 

Elderberries should not be consumed raw, as they are toxic. This is why it has traditionally been cooked and prepared for human use, and one of the most popular forms is elderberry tincture. 

Elderberry tincture is a liquid concentrate of the elderberry fruit. It has a long shelf life and because it is in liquid form, it is more easily absorbed into the digestive system. Also called Sambucol, it may be mixed with other nutrients to boost the health benefits. While the tincture can be made at home, it is a tedious process that may not always result in a supplement that works. But tinctures are easy to purchase and use as an over the counter to protect and boost your health any time you need support. 

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Super Foods for Super Nutrition

Super Foods for Super Nutrition

Life Super Foods Micro Greens

In the world of nutrition, there are healthy foods and then there are super healthy foods. Called super foods for short, these include various vegetables, fruits and even grasses that pack a huge nutritional punch per serving. Consuming them on a regular basis is one of the best ways to fill in nutritional deficits that are common in our modern food supply.

Life Super Foods is a nutritional supplement that includes a variety of highly nutritious components like micro greens, potent antioxidants, immune boosting prebiotics and proteins. A dash of harmonizing foods like maca, squash, and holy basil round out the nutritional profile to make a supplement that adds a positive boost to any diet.

Micro Greens

Micro greens are the classification of plant foods that are older than sprouts, yet harvested before maturation. They consist of mainly common vegetables and herbs that are still small and green as the vegetable is not fully developed when picked, hence the name “micro greens.” The early harvesting creates a supplement that packs all the nutrition of the large plant and more, so less is required to get the same nutritional benefit.

While micro greens might include some common plants like arugula, chives, cilantro and beets, some lesser known greens include moringa, barley grass and blue green algae. These nutrient-dense super foods provide a wide variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A and K as well as manganese and folate. And the best part of these little nutritional powerhouses is that they contain up to 40 times more nutrients than their adult counterparts.

Super Powerful Vegetables

It is widely known that vegetables are an important part of a healthy lifestyle diet. Due to increased awareness about diet and health, we also know that some foods are associated with lowering the risk of chronic disease while providing numerous important nutrients like potassium, fiber and folate. Some of the vegetables found in Life Super Foods are widely known for their superior health benefits.

  • Spinach is packed with antioxidants, which can help ward of aging and disease. It contains important compounds like quercetin, lutein and natural nitrates and can support eye health and blood pressure. Antioxidants help improve oxidative stress balance in the body, making spinach a supreme leafy green.
  • Peas were once thought of as merely an inexpensive pantry item to keep on hand, but research has shown they are powerful vegetables worth mentioning. They are packed with nutrients that have anti-inflammatory effects and when used as a protein powder can aid digestion, help you feel fuller for longer and have a positive impact on muscle strength and size. (1)
  • Beets have quickly become a super food supplement in their own right. This is because they contain nitric oxide, which helps transport oxygen throughout the body. Many athletes use this supplement for increased energy and quicker recovery from workouts, along with the added benefits of blood pressure support and heart health.

Super Antioxidant Fruits

While vegetables are the focus of many healthy diet plans, fruits also boast nutritional properties that you don’t want to miss. They are high in phytonutrients that help support and nourish all functions of the body and contain high amounts of antioxidants that help fight free radicals. It happens that the fruits found in Life Super Foods are some of the most nutrient dense foods available.

  • Cranberries are low in sugar but higher in antioxidants than most other fruits. In fact, one powerful antioxidant called proanthocyanidins, or PACs for short, are anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, which may be why they are known to support the immune system.
  • Blueberries contain strong phytonutrients and antioxidants that support cardiovascular health. They are also packed with vitamins C and B6 along with folate, potassium and fiber. And in one report from 2018 published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, researchers found that blueberry powder supplementation had a positive effect on blood glucose. (2)
  • Lemons are high in antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids, which help fight free radicals. Free radicals are linked to premature aging, among other things, as they damage cells and wreak havoc within the body. Vitamin C also aids in the formation of collagen, which supports healthy skin and a healthy circulatory system.

Healthy Harmonizing Foods

Harmonizing foods are those that have been traditionally used to help balance and calm all systems of the body. Herbs like maca have traditionally been used to balance women’s hormonal health, holy basil is a traditional remedy for stress and anxiety along with numerous other health benefits, and annatto promotes healthy digestion.

While one serving of Life Super Foods is merely 2 small scoops, it packs a significant dose of nutrients, like:

  • Vitamin C – The organic food blend provides 40 mg of this antioxidant, which not only supports the immune system, but also supports the health of connective tissue and bones.
  • Vitamin E – One serving provides over 44 mg of this immune boosting nutrient.
  • Folic Acid – Folic acid is a B-complex vitamin that helps maintain immunity, while aiding in digestive health. Luckily, one serving of Life Super Foods provides 133.3 mcg of folic acid, making it easy to fit it into any diet.

Life Super Foods includes foods and herbs that have been used as health aids for centuries. Supplements that include micro greens, fruits, vegetables and herbs can support any diet, especially those that fall short on nutrition or for people who are extremely active and require that extra boost. With today’s collective knowledge of various foods and their benefits, we can all take advantage to get that extra nutritional edge for energy, health and balance in all areas of our lives.

References:

1 Babault N, Païzis C, Deley G, et al. Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12(1):3. Published 2015 Jan 21. doi:10.1186/s12970-014-0064-5

2 Rocha DMUP, Caldas APS, da Silva BP, Hermsdorff HHM, Alfenas RCG. Effects of blueberry and cranberry consumption on type 2 diabetes glycemic control: a systematic review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018;59(11):1816-1828. doi:10.1080/10408398.2018.1430019

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Digestive Health is the Core of Wellness

Digestive Health is the Core of Wellness

 

When your digestion is out of whack, your whole body can suffer. This is because digestion is linked to the immune system, mental wellbeing and even heart health. But can we control the health of our digestive system?

The old saying that you are what you eat still holds true today. Our bodies use the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to build new cells for muscle tissue, heart tissue and skin. Nutrients are the building blocks used by every part of your body to replace damaged or worn out cells. This is called cell turnover and takes place everywhere including your organs and the lining of your digestive tract. If your diet is subpar, so too are the building blocks that are used in cell turnover.

Your Gut Microbiome

The gut is another term for the digestive system and includes the microbiome. The microbiome is the environment that hosts a wide array of bacteria, fungi and other microbes that exist mainly in the intestinal tract. Sometimes referred to by scientists as another organ, the gut microbiome is part of the gut-brain axis and must remain balanced to work properly.

The gut-brain axis is a new area of interest for scientists and doctors alike because it shows how intricately connected our digestive health is with our physical and mental health. The key to health is that good or healthy microbes keep the harmful ones in check. And while research is ongoing, one thing for sure is that to keep this area healthy, diet, probiotics and prebiotics are at the core of digestive health.

How to Improve Digestive Health

Many factors affect digestion including diet, exercise, medications and even our mental state. Overall a healthy lifestyle improves digestive health and is well within our control. But sometimes it seems like the bad pathogens are winning in spite of our best efforts. The following are some tips that can help keep your digestive health intact.

Focus on Fiber

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate found mainly in fresh, whole fruits, vegetables and grains while some people get an added boost with a fiber supplement. There are different types of fiber that serve different purposes, and each is important for healthy digestion.

Soluble fiber is found mainly in nuts, seeds, oats, lentils and some fruits and vegetables. It dissolves in the digestive tract and by doing so, help soften and remove waste. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve and adds bulk to stool, allowing it to pass through the digestive tract more efficiently. Consuming a variety of these healthy foods ensures you get both types of fiber.

Pay Attention to Prebiotics and Probiotics

Prebiotics are special types of plant fibers that feed and stimulate growth of healthy organisms in the gut microbiome, while probiotics contain live organisms that contribute to the healthy microbe population. Prebiotic foods include most fruits and vegetables and probiotics are found in specific foods like yogurt as well as fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut. Maintaining a consistent intake of both will contribute to and maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria while preventing an overgrowth harmful pathogens that disrupt health.

Avoid High Fat Diets

Diets that are high in unhealthy fats can contribute to not only poor digestion, but other health issues as well. Unhealthy fats are those found in most animal fats as well as most junk and highly processed foods. They are easy to identify, since they are found in foods that are commonly unhealthy like pizza, burgers and hot dogs.

Healthy fats like those found in salmon, avocados, nuts and seeds will contribute to health. They are known to support healthy skin, a well-functioning brain and weight control. But don’t overdo it on these either, because too much of any fat can slow or inhibit digestion.

Small and Frequent Meals

Smaller, frequent meals consisting of wholesome foods are easy on the digestion as they do not overtax the system. Researchers at Duke Health found that smaller meals are more optimal for digestion, as it allows better energy expenditure and blood sugar levels. (1) If your digestion needs help, try consuming six small meals a day, each with a protein or starch and vegetables. Eat fruit alone for quick digestion and assimilation. Many who follow this type of eating report surges in energy levels as well as better digestion and metabolism.

Supplemental Nutrition

If you are experiencing impaired digestion, it will be difficult for your body to digest and use the nutrients from your diet. If this is the case, liquid food supplements are easier for the body to assimilate, allowing you to take advantage of the full nutrient profile. For some people, increasing nutrients like vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients provide the building blocks for a stronger digestive system, which can lead to optimal health.

Move Your Body

Exercise increases blood flow, and helps your digestive system remain active. This is because when blood flow is stimulated, it includes the blood flow throughout the digestive tract. This means more digestive fluids and more movement without the sluggishness that a sedentary lifestyle can bring. And the best part is that research shows that exercise improves gastric emptying for those who suffer from nausea or bloating after eating. (2)

Stress Management

Stress creates physical reactions in the body that may interfere with digestion. For example, the stress reaction can cause a decrease of blood flow and oxygen to the stomach, which may create an imbalance in the gut microbiome. In addition, chronic stress promotes digestive problems and has similar effects of diets that are high in unhealthy fats. (3) Incorporating stress management practices into your daily routine such as meditation or journaling can go a long way in helping your body manage stress better.

Conclusion

Improve your body and mind with practices that support healthy digestion. Remember that health begins in the kitchen, and an overall healthy lifestyle is the best way to maintain good health, so you can enjoy life more fully.

References:

1 Sheena Faherty December 16, & Faherty, S. (2014, December 16). Small, Frequent Meals are Better for Your Metabolism. Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://www.dukehealth.org/blog/small-frequent-meals-are-better-your-metabolism

2 Evans, G., Watson, P., Shirreffs, S., & Maughan, R. (2015). The Effect of Exercise Intensity on Subsequent Gastric Emptying Rate in Humans. IJSNEM International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

3 Foster JA, Rinaman L, Cryan JF. Stress & the gut-brain axis: Regulation by the microbiome. Neurobiol Stress. 2017;7:124-136. Published 2017 Mar 19. doi:10.1016/j.ynstr.2017.03.001

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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The Power of Antioxidants

The Power of Antioxidants

 

Many of us are familiar with the term, antioxidants. They protect us from free radical damage and are found in many different fruits, vegetables and even certain types of tea. Through all the information, it might get lost that antioxidants are truly powerful substances that protect the body from cell damage. They are as common as that anti-aging nutrient Vitamin C and as unheard of as bilberry that can help one from night blindness, but are a necessary part of healthy nutrition.

What are Oxidants and Oxidative Stress?

Oxidants are shorthand for oxidizing agents or oxidizing materials. In general, they are substances that are short on electrons, so take them from other substances, namely our body’s molecules. This process may render them unstable, and when this take place on a regular basis, the process of oxidative stress begins. Free radicals are the most commonly known oxidizing agents and can be created from our internal metabolic processes or found in foods like processed meats and some unhealthy fats and oils.

The Problem with Oxidative Stress

While oxidation is a normal process that results in metabolic waste, oxidative stress is an unhealthy state where the body has an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants. Oxidative stress can damage cells and is linked to a host of health issues such as:

  • Chronic internal inflammation
  • Premature aging
  • Heart disease
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of blood vessels)
  • Diabetes
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Certain cancers

As we age, our bodies lose the ability to fight the effects of oxidative stress. At the same time, heavy exercise, pollution, smoking, medications and alcohol can all increase oxidative stress. But antioxidants and the foods they are found in can go a long way in neutralizing free radicals or preventing the damage they do to our cells.

The Power of Antioxidants

Our bodies rely on a healthy diet to help fight oxidizing agents and free radicals from the outside, and to maintain toxins from our internal processes, as well. Antioxidants help us in the fight against oxidative stress, and play a role in prevention of many health issues.

The term, “antioxidants,” is not truly a group of substances, but more a description of what some substances can do. While some are made internally, our best source of antioxidants is in the foods we eat. And while it is common knowledge that fruits and vegetables are a great source of powerful antioxidants, it might be surprising to learn that some common nutrients are also in this category. Some common antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin A, C and E
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lycopene
  • Lutein
  • Selenium
  • manganese
  • Flavonoids
  • Catechins
  • Polyphenols

This is only a partial list and each antioxidant has its own function, which is why nutritionists encourage people to eat a variety of healthy foods.

The Benefits of Antioxidants

Each antioxidant has a different function for various benefits, and we need a variety of them for good health. Some benefits of antioxidants include:

  • Protect Your DNA – Oxidative stress from free radical damages DNA, and as we age the ability to neutralize free radical damage lessens. This is why it becomes more important to consume foods and superfoods with antioxidants throughout adulthood.
  • Protect Brain Function – Free radical damage doesn’t stop at skin cells, they can harm or damage brain cells, too. But studies show that the antioxidants luteolin and flavonoid diosmin improve brain function while lowering oxidative stress. (1)
  • Better Eyesight – Some antioxidants protect eye health, which is important since cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affect millions of people every year. In fact, according to the American Optometric Association, AMD is a leading cause of blindness in mature adults, yet studies by the National Eye Institute have shown that antioxidants can delay or even prevent this debilitating health problem.
  • Diabetes – People with diabetes have increased free radical activity accompanied by decreased antioxidant protection, which leads to a higher rate of oxidative damage. And while studies find no evidence that synthetic (man-made imitation) antioxidants do not provide significant protection it is widely accepted that the antioxidants found is food sources are beneficial.
  • Anti-Aging – The free radical theory of aging simply states that we age prematurely when our cells are in a state of oxidative stress. Antioxidants can protect us from the effects of free radicals and can help repair the damage. And those who exercise, endure higher levels of stress, lack fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet or who live in higher pollution areas can all benefit from consumer higher amounts of antioxidants to combat the higher risk of oxidative stress from each of these risk factors.

Sources of Antioxidants

It is generally agreed by nutritional experts that food is the best source of antioxidants. As far as supplements, synthetic (or fake) antioxidant supplements should be used with caution while supplements that contain antioxidants from whole food sources can be beneficial.

Because different foods contain different nutrients and antioxidants, consuming a wide variety of healthy foods will help you get a variety of each. The following is a list of some important antioxidants and the foods that provide them:

  • Carotenoids are antioxidants that support eye health, immunity and reduce cancer risk. Some of these foods include carrots, spinach, kale, oranges, yams and tomatoes.
  • Flavonoids can reduce the risk of certain cancers, is anti-inflammatory and protect skin. They are found in apples, grapefruits, onions, ginger, coffee and green tea.
  • Ellagic acid also reduces cancer risk as well as internal inflammation. Foods that are rich in ellagic acid include blueberries, strawberries, grapes, pomegranates, pecans and walnuts.
  • Resveratrol is mainly found in grape skins, making red wine a fun and popular antioxidant beverage for some. This antioxidant supports brain and heart health and can be found in blueberries, strawberries, pistachios and dark chocolate.
  • Glucosinolates are antioxidants found mostly in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and bok choy. They are known to support metabolic function, help with internal inflammation and even protect from cancer.

Conclusion

Making healthy and wholesome foods choice like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes a focus of your meal plan can improve your health by boosting antioxidant levels. And a healthy diet provides more energy and immune support so you can enjoy life without health issues. When you cannot get enough antioxidants in your diet, consider supplementing with whole food sources to maintain balance in your diet and health.

 

References:

1 Yoo DY, Choi JH, Kim W, et al. Effects of luteolin on spatial memory, cell proliferation, and neuroblast differentiation in the hippocampal dentate gyrus in a scopolamine-induced amnesia model. Neurol Res. 2013;35(8):813-820. doi:10.1179/1743132813Y.0000000217

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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The Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient and antioxidant that is important for tissue repair and enzyme function. It is considered essential because our bodies don’t manufacture it, and it is water soluble, so you need to replenish this vitamin every day. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for women is 75 mg and 90 mg for men, while some studies showed that more benefits are recognized at higher amounts.

Unfortunately, vitamin C can be destroyed by high temperatures and other forms of food processing. Boiling and steaming food can cause up to a 34% loss of C while pressure cooking creates a loss of around 10%. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best way to take advantage of all nutrients including vitamin C, but if you aren’t able to keep up with the recommended 5 – 9 servings a day, supplementation might be an option.

The functions of vitamin C are extensive, making it a widely researched nutrient with more benefits still being discovered today. It turns out that patients with health issues often have low levels of this nutrient, while those with health concerns have an increased need for antioxidants like ascorbic acid.

Environmental and lifestyle factors like smoking, stress or high amounts of air pollution also increase the need for vitamin C. And because it is an essential nutrient that our bodies rely on, the benefits are numerous including immune support, brain health protection and wrinkle prevention.

Immune Support

Immune support is by far the most common reason why people supplement with vitamin C. That’s because this nutrient is associated with many areas of immunity, helps protect cells and may even shorten wound healing time.

As an antioxidant vitamin C becomes part of the skin’s defense system, which is our outer layer of protection and often our first line of defense. Antioxidants protect us from free radicals that are linked to a host of health issues, and it just so happens that vitamin C is a type of antioxidant called carotenoids. And because it protects the integrity of cells, it is the perfect nutrient to support immune health.

Brain Health

It turns out that vitamin C is an important antioxidant that is vital for healthy brain function. (1) Our brains use a lot of oxygen, which makes them more prone to oxidative stress than other organs; it’s no wonder the brain has higher concentrations of vitamin C. In fact, some studies have found higher levels of C in those with healthy cognitive function but lower levels in those with impaired function. (2) It may be because as an antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect the brain from oxidative stress that can impact cognitive performance.

A Powerful Antioxidant

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects out entire body, inside and out, from free radical damage. It helps the body manufacture collagen, which keeps our skin, eyes, and blood vessels strong. It helps prevent damage that can lead to a host of health conditions associated with oxidative stress and can even help your body regenerate vitamin E supplies. This may be the reason why it has been associated with lower blood pressure and considered a heart healthy nutrient.

Anti-Aging

Some researchers have gone so far as to call C the anti-aging vitamin. That’s because it is involved with collagen synthesis; the protein that keeps our skin from sagging. Collagen is not only necessary for firm skin, but also plays a role in skin repair and helps maintain the integrity of ligaments and tendons. It also gives our blood vessels flexibility which becomes more important as we age.

Signs of aging include wrinkles and deterioration of our eyes and overall health. Many aging experts claim that free radicals accelerate the aging process, while superior nutrition seems to slow it down. Antioxidants like vitamin C help ward off the signs of aging as it combats free radical damage. Consuming a diet high in foods that are abundant with this nutrient can help you fight the signs of aging, while supplementing with vitamin C can fill in any nutritional gaps.

Stress Management

Nutrition plays a role in not only physical health, but our mental health, as well. Our bodies need a supply of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients to function at full capacity. And our brains rely on nutrients and antioxidants like vitamin C to function at its best. But vitamin C is also necessary for the balance of healthy brain chemicals that our bodies naturally produce.

When under stress, our bodies become depleted of nutrients. In fact, stress can impair the digestive system, leading to a lessened ability to break down and extract nutrients from foods we eat. This can create a cycle of stress and malnutrition as each condition worsens the other. To make matters worse, low levels of vitamin C have been linked to negative moods like sadness and anxiety.

This may be why researchers have found that vitamin C should be considered a part of stress management protocols. It seems to suppress stress while some studies showed that those who consume higher amounts of antioxidants like vitamin C report feeling calmer and less anxious.

Conclusion

Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are known to be high in vitamin C, but you can also add strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, and red peppers to the list of foods rich in C. Since most foods contain far less than the RDA of this nutrient, aim for 7 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. And if you believe you need more, supplements are well tolerated and found to be useful when it comes to keeping your blood levels of vitamin C in a healthy range. And with all the benefits, you don’t want to miss your daily dose of this important nutrient.

References:

1 Harrison FE, May JM. Vitamin C function in the brain: vital role of the ascorbate transporter SVCT2. Free Radic Biol Med. 2009;46(6):719‐730. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2008.12.018

2 Travica N, Ried K, Sali A, Scholey A, Hudson I, Pipingas A. Vitamin C Status and Cognitive Function: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(9):960. Published 2017 Aug 30. doi:10.3390/nu9090960

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Zinc and Why it is Important for Health

Why zinc? Our bodies have a line of defense against bacteria, virus and other pathogens known as the immune system. Having immunity against microorganisms that can harm us depends upon whether our lifestyles support health or work against us. When in a weakened state, we become more susceptible to microorganisms that can make us sick.

But, just like any other bodily system, the immune system can be supported with a healthy lifestyle and superior nutrition, allowing it to function at its best. And when we fall short, zinc may be one way to help support the immune system.

What is Zinc?

Zinc is a nutrient that the body needs to function properly and is classified as an essential mineral or essential trace element. This means it is essential we get this particular mineral from our diet, through nutritious food sources. And while many foods are touted for their nutritional content, it pays to be choosey because highly processed, fried foods and foods cooked at high temperatures may naturally lose their mineral content.

Zinc in Your Diet

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of zinc is 8 mg for adult females and 11 mg for adult males, with certain groups such as pregnant women, requiring slightly more. Luckily you can get zinc from a variety of food sources including:

  • Oysters
  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Shellfish
  • Beans
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Fortified bread

Oysters come in at the highest amount of zinc with 74 mg per serving. The next highest is beef chuck roast at 7 mg per serving, with all the other foods being significantly less. The trick to zinc intake is to get a steady amount into your daily diet; a task that proves to be more difficult than it seems.

Most people do not consume oysters on a daily basis, while others may be vegetarians or vegans, making it a little more challenging to get the RDA of this all-important mineral. At the same time, foods such as fortified cereals or breads contain synthetic zinc, yet not all of these are digestible. For example, zinc oxide comes back with mixed study results, while other forms like zinc gluconate are merely a chemical substitute for the true mineral. But plant-based forms of zinc may be the most absorbable as it is in a more natural state.

Zinc and Your Body

Zinc plays many roles in our health and is found in every cell of the body. It is required for healthy digestion and metabolism, nerve function, skin health and even protein production. It plays a role in cell growth and division and most importantly for many people today, it supports immune function.

The role that zinc plays in immunity is one reason why many throat lozenges and over-the-counter cold remedies contain this important element. While many studies have been done, a 1998 review of these suggested that zinc was indeed helpful for reducing the severity and duration of cold symptoms.

Chronic internal inflammation is a problem for many people with busy lifestyles, and results from risk factors like stress, poor diet, certain medications and sedentary lifestyles. Surprisingly, older adults who used zinc supplements were able to reduce inflammatory markers, one of the only ways to measure the risk of chronic inflammation. (1) This may be why zinc also seems to be an effective mineral to support immune health since inflammation has an effect on immunity.

Zinc Deficiency

Some people are deficient in zinc because either their diet does not include zinc rich foods or digestive issues inhibit absorption of the mineral. Pregnant women, older adults and women who are breastfeeding are at the highest risk of zinc deficiency. And for those who breastfeed, a zinc deficiency may pass to the nursing infant.

Some researchers find that zinc deficiency is prevalent in populations of low animal protein consumption and increased cereal consumption. (2) Vegans and vegetarians have lower levels of zinc because their diets lack meat and fish. But adding to the problem is that while they may eat more mineral-rich beans than non-vegetarians, phytates in beans, legumes, nuts and seeds can impair digestion and make it difficult to absorb the small amounts of zinc that they do consume. Soaking these foods before consuming them may help lessen this problem.

Others who may be at risk for zinc deficiency include those with Chrohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and alcohol addiction because they may not sufficiently absorb zinc from their diet. Also, at risk are those with pancreatic disease, celiac disease, diabetes or chronic liver disease. Signs of zinc deficiency includes the following:

  • Hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Poor immunity
  • Eye and skin lesions
  • Slow wound healing

Zinc Supplements

Many people use zinc supplements to enhance their diets, especially if they have one of the above risk factors such as digestive problems. Supplementation is also popular during cold and flu season as a natural way to support the immune system. But be wary of zinc in many over-the-counter throat lozenges or syrups as it may be a form that is difficult for the body to use.

For best absorption, zinc supplements are most effective when taken within two hours after a meal and in liquid form. And if you are using it to ward of a cold or flu, enhanced supplements that include a plant-based form of zinc along with vitamin C and herbs like elderberry may offer additional immune support.

Conclusion

In today’s world of uncertainty, stress becomes the norm, wreaking havoc on digestion and our immune systems, while superbugs seem to be more prominent. Doing all you can to support your body can help you stay strong and better protect you from harmful pathogens. Support your health with a wholesome diet, daily exercise, rest and supplementation when you need to ensure you stay healthy through any season.

References:

1 Bao B, Prasad AS, Beck FW, et al. Zinc decreases C-reactive protein, lipid peroxidation, and inflammatory cytokines in elderly subjects: a potential implication of zinc as an atheroprotective agent. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(6):1634–1641. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28836

2 Roohani N, Hurrell R, Kelishadi R, Schulin R. Zinc and its importance for human health: An integrative review. J Res Med Sci. 2013;18(2):144–157.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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6 Healthy Ways to Stay Stress-Free During COVID-19

The reality of the world we live in has changed drastically in the last 90 days. And learning how to adjust to a new way of life can be overwhelming and stressful.  The Coronavirus looms heavy on our minds, and it’s important to keep stress levels under control…for our own health.

Here are some tips to navigate the quarantine way of life and remain sane throughout times of uncertainty:

1. Start New Hobbies

Keeping busy during quarantine and isolation requires some creativity. It can be easy to binge-watch Netflix to distract yourself. But the truth is, if you don’t take the time to keep your mind-muscle moving, you may face depression, weight gain, and other adverse health effects.

Take this time-out to start that new hobby you’ve been meaning to start, or even think about how you can implement a career change.

While the pandemic has halted life and has many negative effects on our lives, it’s also a time to reset and pivot, if it’s been on your mind.

2. Enjoy The Great Outdoors

Many states are advocating for outdoor activities like hikes, biking, or dog walking. If your local park remains open, take advantage of it and get some steps in to keep your body moving and get some fresh air into your lungs.

Just remember, social distancing (physically) will help prevent the spread of the virus, so if you see others enjoying nature, make sure to stay a safe distance from one another.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

With that being said, a friendly wave and a nod will do for now.

3. Maintain Social Contact (without violating social distancing)

It’s important to connect with loved ones while in isolation. Humans need each other, we thrive off each other, and we can support each other through uncertainty.

Even though social distancing is important physically, it’s even more important to remain connected to our loved ones.

Employ technology like Skype or Facetime to see friends and family that you cannot spend time with. Call loved ones and elderly family members who live alone…hearing your voice may lift their spirits…and yours.

4. Disconnect from Social Media

Even though keeping up with the latest headlines is important, it’s also important to not allow yourself to get carried away by alarmists, conspiracy theorists, and negative news.

Try to set a daily limit for social media and news information, the rest of your day can be spent on speaking directly (over the phone) to loved ones, spending time outdoors, or working on your new hobby.

5. Savor Alone Time

If you live in a household that’s full of activity, and family members, it can start to feel a tad stuffy. So instead of needing social contact, you may find that you need alone time to recharge.

So, allow yourself time to simply be alone.

It’s ok to need a time-out from a fast and busy household, not everyone gets their energy from being with others.

6. Start Eating Well

Or continue to eat well.

In order for your body to take on the new stressors of the pandemic, it needs to stay healthy—not only to cope with stress but also to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

If you’re prone to emotional eating and bingeing, the stress of the pandemic can make healthy choices more difficult. To combat a couch-potato session, eat your meals at the kitchen table, with the television turned off.

Be mindful of each bite you take and allow your body time to digest food. You’ll find that you feel full much sooner than you thought.

In fact, if you’ve been meaning to change your diet, now’s the perfect time to simplify and eat whole foods.

Instead of takeout, for example, start cooking for yourself.

There’s no better time to kick poor eating habits to the curb than now.

7. Add Vitamins and Minerals to Your Daily Routine

Speaking of eating well, and boosting immunity, make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals from your diet, and if there’s a deficit, take some time to research and order supplements that will help bolster your health.

Supporting your immune system and overall wellness will not only benefit you physically but also mentally.

Because when you’re body feels good your mind feels good as well.

As we navigate this new world, we have choices to make. Choices that can affect our mental health, the health of our bodies, and the health of our loved ones.

So the good news is, there will be some good to come out of the COVID-19 crisis.

Through the negativity, take time to listen to your body, simplify your life, and tend to your needs. Doing so will make it easier to minimize the stress involved with maneuvering the pandemic, and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is not a single vitamin, but a group of compounds that are essential for good health. And interestingly, it is not a true vitamin at all, but rather a prohormone that helps the body manufacture this all essential nutrient.

Vitamin D plays a role in keeping teeth and bones strong, helps your body absorb other important nutrients like calcium, and supports immune strength. Ensuring your body has plenty of this vitamin along with other essential nutrients and a wholesome diet will support your health any time of the year.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is from 200 – 600 IU (International Units) per day in the United States, but 400 to 800 IU per day in Europe. The more scientists learn about this vitamin, the more they realize the RDA numbers may be much higher than they are currently. In fact, some experts recommend dosages of  800 to 1,000 per day with others recommending a whopping 50,000 IU per week. (1)

Do I Need to Supplement Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is essential for digestive health and used by the intestines to absorb calcium that helps keep bones and teeth strong. It helps prevent loss of calcium through the urine, and can even support heart health, brain health and muscle function. (2) Because it is important for bacterial balance in the intestinal tract, vitamin D is also known to support a healthy immune system which relies on intestinal health.

It may be tricky for certain individuals to get the required amount of this nutrient every day. Vitamin D2 is naturally found in some mushrooms while D3 is found in oily fish (like salmon, herring and tuna), cod liver oil, liver and egg yolks. It is supplemented in milk as most people are not likely to get enough in their daily diets.

But if you avoid milk products, limit fish due to mercury and other toxins (or you just don’t like it), then supplementing your diet may be helpful. Also, those with darker skin or over 50 years of age may not be able to convert sunlight into vitamin D as efficiently as younger people and those with fairer skin.

Even though vitamin D is added to milk and dairy products, one would typically have to drink at least four, 8-ounce glasses of milk each day. Unfortunately, many people are not able to consume dairy products due to being lactose intolerant or don’t want to drink that much milk. And if you do enjoy fish, you would have to consume fatty fish every day to keep optimum levels of this nutrient. That adds up to quite a few calories, leaving little room for other types of protein. Because of these dietary limitations, many people choose to support their health with a vitamin D supplement.

Your Immune System

The immune system plays many roles in our health including protection from viruses and other pathogens that can harm, as well as chronic diseases. Taking care of your body with a diet centered around healthy, whole foods can help your body function at its best. Here are some practices that you can do to keep your immune system strong:

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes, five times each week
  • Drink plenty of fresh, spring water
  • Consume lots of fruits and vegetables; be sure to include citrus a few times each week
  • Get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, depending on how much you exercise
  • Supplement your diet if you need extra support

Nutrition plays a vital role in our health and how well our immune systems work. Poor nutrition often leads to malnutrition as we lack the vitamins and minerals essential for healthy living. But consuming a healthy diet along with nutritional support when needed will have a positive effect on your health and your life.

Vitamin D Deficiency Risk Factors

Many people consume plenty of calories yet lack the required daily nutrients to stay healthy and well. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that is important for overall health, but few foods provide it or the precursors necessary for our bodies to produce it. And while some experts warn that up to 50% of Americans are deficient in this vitamin, some people are more prone than others. Some risk factors include:

  • Dark skin
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Older adults of 65 years and over
  • Lack of sun exposure due to environment or limiting sun for other health reasons
  • Vegans
  • Lack of fatty fish or egg yolks in the diet
  • Obesity
  • Medications like anticonvulsants ad glucocorticoids

Vitamin D Foods and Supplements

Consuming foods like salmon, herring, cod liver oil, liver and canned tuna will supply some vitamin D through your diet. Daily exposure to sunshine without overdoing it will also help your body manufacture some. But if you don’t get enough of either or you have one or more of the above risk factors, you may benefit from a Vitamin D supplement.

There is quite a bit of research that shows the benefits of consuming healthy amounts of this nutrient and plenty of evidence that deficiencies can lead to health problems. Because of its effects on gut health, vitamin D supplementation can help support a strong immune system.

The best practice may be to do your best to consume foods that contain vitamin D and try to get at least 15 minutes of sunshine each day. Most experts agree it is unlikely most people will be able to get enough in their diet, and supplementing can help fill in the gaps. For the best health and to boost your immune function, consume a moderate amount of daily vitamin D and a little sunshine; it may go a long way in supporting your health.

References:

1 Bordelon, P., Ghetu, M. V., & Langan, R. C. (2009, October 15). Recognition and Management of Vitamin D Deficiency. Retrieved March 30, 2020, from https://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/1015/p841.html

2 Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D. (2020, March 24). Retrieved March 30, 2020, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/#h3

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/