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Echinacea Purpurea

Echinacea purpurea is a species of flowering plant that has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries. It is commonly used today in herbal remedies for seasonal challenges, and possibly for good reason. The echinacea plant contains an array of active compounds like phenolic acids, polyacetylenes and caffeic acid, many of which are linked to health benefits including reduced internal inflammation response and immunity support. 

Echinacea, as it is commonly called, is high in antioxidants like rosmarinic acid and flavonoids. Antioxidants have numerous roles in our bodies and protect your cells from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that may come from external sources or internal metabolic processes. Antioxidants are needed to help neutralize or eliminate these, which supports the overall immune system. 

In addition to antioxidants, echinacea also contains alkamides that support the existing antioxidant network. They can help renew spent antioxidants, transport antioxidants to where they are needed and enhance their activity. 

The nutritional properties of echinacea may be why Native Americans used it for everything from health issues and even insect bites. Today, some pharmaceutical companies use it to mobilize certain white blood cells among other things. (1) No wonder this versatile plant seems to find its way into many modern herbal remedies. 

Immune Support 

Echinacea is most commonly used as an herbal remedy to support the immune system. It is said to boost immunity naturally. A review of studies did indeed find that it helped reduce the risk of seasonal challenges.  So there may be something to this home remedy. 

Support for Healthy Skin 

Echinacea has been found to be antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Because of this, some beauty products add it to the ingredients as it was found to reduce wrinkles and improve skin hydration in one small study. (2) It was noted that it has a short shelf-life, which may be why some health experts advocate oral consumption instead. 

Echinacea as an Anti-inflammatory 

Chronic internal inflammation response is a risk factor for many diseases, but may also be a condition caused by possible chronic disease. A pilot study looking to ease inflammation and pain due to bone and joint issues showed that patients who did not respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs did respond to echinacea. In this study, it was found that when used with highly standardized ginger, echinacea did show improvement in pain and swelling. 

Conclusion 

When other methods fail, herbal remedies offer great promise. And by standing the test of time, echinacea purpurea is definitely one of the herbs to add to your home remedy rescue kit. 

References: 

1 Manayi A, Vazirian M, Saeidnia S. Echinacea purpurea: Pharmacology, phytochemistry and analysis methods. Pharmacogn Rev. 2015;9(17):63-72. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.156353 

2 Yotsawimonwat S, Rattanadechsakul J, Rattanadechsakul P, Okonogi S. Skin improvement and stability of Echinacea purpurea dermatological formulations. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2010 Oct;32(5):340-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2009.00559.x. PMID: 20384903.

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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Vitamin C Supports More Than Immunity

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin and a powerful antioxidant. Essential vitamins are those the body cannot make on its own, so to take advantage of the potent benefits, we have to get it through our diet.  

While many foods like citrus fruits, sweet potatoes and tomatoes contain vitamin C, it may not always be available in the foods we eat. This is a water-soluble vitamin, so is sensitive to heat and light and may be destroyed during food preparation.  

This nutrient is stored in only small amounts in our body and excreted through urine, so continuous intake is important. On the bright side, these same traits also make it very difficult to have too much in your system, and supplementation can help fill the nutritional gap if you don’t eat enough vitamin C rich foods. 

Benefits of Vitamin C 

Antioxidant Protection – As mentioned, vitamin C is not only an essential nutrient, but also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are molecules that support the body’s natural defenses, as it boosts antioxidant levels in the blood. In fact, at least one study showed that supplementation with vitamin C significantly increased blood antioxidant levels.  

Immune Support – Vitamin C has long been a staple nutrient and dietary supplement to the diet of those who want to ward off colds and flus. Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C is known to increase the strength and protection of an organism, which supports immunity. (1) 

Iron Absorption – Lack of iron leads to fatigue and weakness, and possibly anemia, which is low blood iron. Vitamin C happens to be an important nutrient that enhances iron absorption. (2) Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, and hemoglobin helps carry oxygen to your muscles, making it an important nutrient for your overall energy. Therefore, ensuring you get enough vitamin C may be an important factor in preventing iron deficiencies.  

Collagen Synthesis – Collagen is a protein that is part of the structure of our skin, bones, and even ligaments. It gives our joints flexibility and makes our skin plump and youthful. More important, collagen helps reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, keeping metabolism intact. And it turns out that your body needs vitamin C to make collagen. In fact, a recent study showed that vitamin C enriched gelatin was important for tissue repair and injury prevention when added to an exercise program. In addition, vitamin C is a favorite in the aesthetic industry for beautiful skin and hair. 

Protect Your Heart – Heart disease has many risk factors including high blood pressure and an imbalance of good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). At least one study confirmed that vitamin C supplementation of at least 500 mg/d significantly decreased LDL.  Another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that high blood concentrations of vitamin C through diet may reduce heart health issues.  

Conclusion 

Vitamin C is an important nutrient that impacts our health, how we age and how we feel. Luckily, it is an easy nutrient to fit into our diet through both food and supplementation. Be sure to get your daily intake so you can reap the benefits this super nutrient has to offer. 

References: 

1 Sorice A, Guerriero E, Capone F, Colonna G, Castello G, Costantini S. Ascorbic acid: its role in immune system and chronic inflammation diseases. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2014 May;14(5):444-52. doi: 10.2174/1389557514666140428112602. PMID: 24766384. 

2 Hallberg L, Brune M, Rossander L. The role of vitamin C in iron absorption. Int J Vitam Nutr Res Suppl. 1989;30:103-8. PMID: 2507689. 

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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Purified Silver for Health

Purified silver is used as a health remedy by millions of people around the world. Its main use is as an antibiotic, but today it is also incorporated into household products, cosmetics, and herbal remedies. Some take it internally while others use it topically, with many health advocates touting the benefits. 

Purified silver is created by chemically combining silver nanoparticles with purified water to create a solution that ensures the silver will not fall out of suspension. The particles are believed by some to be effective against pathogens by damaging the cell walls. The result is an effect similar to antibiotics without causing bacteria to mutate into a superbug. 

Antioxidant activity has been reported in a study using silver nanoparticles. In this study, it was found that using silver increased activity of the enzymes, catalase and superoxide dismutase. Both are important enzymes that helps combat oxidative stress. When left unchecked, oxidative stress can lead to numerous health issues. (1) 

Research also reports that silver nanoparticles are used in a wide applications including burn and wound treatment, as antimicrobials and to treat infections. The use dates back to ancient times, and medical uses indicate it is still a viable ingredient for many different remedies. 

Today, fans of purified silver as a home remedy still applaud the benefits. It is believed to include a number of health supporting advantages, and so advocates use it in many ways, such as: 

  • As an antibacterial that can mitigate harmful bacteria throughout the body 
  • As an antiviral, as it is believed to bind with virus molecules to inactivate them 
  • To destroy yeast and fungus 
  • To support the immune system, due to the antibacterial and antiviral activities 
  • Purified silver is used by people around the world every day to help with seasonal health challenges 
  • As an acne treatment in many holistic remedies  
  • Silver is used in eye drops to help clear bacteria 

Due to the many concerns of using silver in self-help remedies, manufacturers ensure they incorporate the safest methods for use and delivery. More studies are being done on the safety and effectiveness of silver, including a study that showed nanoparticles of silver did exhibit antimicrobial properties with fewer toxic side effects than another type of silver. (2) 

Conclusion 

Thanks to modern technology combined with the test of time, purified silver is proving to be a product that may support health. This is why many today still look to silver for natural healing properties and kept in the home medicine cabinets of many health enthusiasts. Just like any supplement, follow the instructions for safest use and if you take medications always check with your doctor before using any supplement. 

References: 

1 Marambio-Jones, C., Hoek, E.M.V. A review of the antibacterial effects of silver nanomaterials and potential implications for human health and the environment. J Nanopart Res 12, 1531–1551 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11051-010-9900-y 

2 Brandt O, Mildner M, Egger AE, Groessl M, Rix U, Posch M, Keppler BK, Strupp C, Mueller B, Stingl G. Nanoscalic silver possesses broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities and exhibits fewer toxicological side effects than silver sulfadiazine. Nanomedicine. 2012 May;8(4):478-88. doi: 10.1016/j.nano.2011.07.005. Epub 2011 Aug 10. PMID: 21839058. 

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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Health Benefits of Thyme

Commonly found in the kitchen of many chefs, thyme is an herb and member of the mint family, although it doesn’t share the flavor of mint. It is also a common garden herb or can be found fresh or dried at your local market. And thanks to its many therapeutic effects, it is also distilled into an essential oil that many use for anything from infections to skin problems

Timely Thyme Benefits 

Immune Boost – Thyme is packed with vitamin C, which is well known to support immune function. It is also is a rich source of vitamin A as well as copper, manganese and iron, providing more nutrients for all body systems, including the immune. 

Antimicrobial and Antioxidant – Thyme has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties thanks to the thymol and carvacrol, which are the health promoting oils that give thyme is scent. This herb is also a rich source of antioxidants that help the body defend against oxidative stress due to free radicals. 

Intestinal Health – Thyme has been used in traditional remedies for centuries to support intestinal health. Some believe this may be due to the effect of thymol, which may help neutralize certain bacteria. 

Respiratory Health – The essential oil of thyme and thyme tea are used by many health enthusiasts as a natural remedy. One 2013 study from the European Respiratory Journal found that thymol had a positive impact on receptors of the mouth and throat.  

Skin Health – When applied topically, it seems that thymol inhibited the effect of bacteria that may aggravate skin issues. A study showed that thymol was potent enough to be a candidate for management of severe skin issues. This may have implications on the ability of thyme to support skin health in many areas. 

Anxiety Reduction – Many holistic and alternative practitioners advocate thyme essential oil to help reduce anxiety. This practice has withstood the test of time as it has been used for thousands of years and is still recommended today. 

More Health Benefits 

Hippocrates, also known as the father of medicine, promoted thyme for respiratory related issues in his time, around 300 BC. In the 1340’s, thyme was worn around the neck as protection from the Black Death. Today, thanks to the nutrients, phytochemicals and oils this plant contains, thyme is still used by many for home remedies for things like: 

  • Ear discomfort 
  • Stimulate appetite 
  • Healthy inflammation response 

Advocates and health practitioners each recommend different ways to incorporate this healing herb into a health routine. Internal use is considered very powerful as it may promote digestive health and as we have seen, research backs up topical use, as well. Thyme oils and supplements are recognized by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as GRAS or generally recommended as safe, so enjoy getting enough thyme for your health.  

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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Ginger Root Extract

Ginger has long been a home remedy for digestive issues like nausea, gas, and irritable bowels. It is even used by some pregnant women to ease morning sickness and for relief of nausea due to certain medical treatments. It’s no wonder that health promoters have jumped on the opportunity to condense it into an easily digestible form of ginger root extract. 

Ginger root extract is the extract of the ginger plant rhizome, which is the horizontal stem from which ginger roots grow. It is considered to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, among other benefits. Ginger contains a host of polyphenols that are thought to be beneficial to health, which has led to numerous clinical trials to study the effects. 

Health Benefits of Ginger 

Nausea – The main reason many people resort to ginger as a natural remedy is to relieve nausea. In fact, a systematic review of clinical applications found that 43 clinical trials showed high quality evidence that ginger may be effective for improvement of nausea, among other things. 

Another review found enough evidence that ginger should be a viable adjuvant treatment for nausea and vomiting. It is believed that bioactive compounds found in the ginger plant  may boost a healthy inflammation response and improve gastrointestinal mobility, which may be behind this effect. 

Interestingly, ginger is also implicated in helping those with chronic indigestion, or ongoing discomfort in the upper area of the stomach. Delayed emptying is thought to be partly responsible for this, and the effect that ginger has on gastrointestinal mobility may play a role in helping to alleviate the problem. 

Fight Infections – Ginger contains a phytochemical known as gingerol, which is believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Gingerol, found in concentrated form in ginger extract, has been found to prevent the growth of certain bacteria. (1) 

Another study found the anti-viral effects of ginger were shown to help cells counter viral infection. (2) This may be why ginger is added to the Traditional Chinese Medicine called Ge-Gen-Tang, long used as a remedy for upper respiratory health concerns. 

Antioxidant Protection – Ginger root contains very high levels of plant antioxidants and seems to decrease age-related oxidative stress markers. In at least one study, ginger seemed to protect from kidney damage due to reperfusion injury. 

Conclusion 

Along with these clinically supported benefits, other indications of ginger include protection from blood sugar issues. Studies and reviews are encouraging and continue to show promise. Since it is an herb with a long history of use in folk remedies, it seems to be a safe addition to any daily regimen to support health. 

References: 

1 Gull I, Saeed M, Shaukat H, Aslam SM, Samra ZQ, Athar AM. Inhibitory effect of Allium sativum and Zingiber officinale extracts on clinically important drug resistant pathogenic bacteria. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 2012;11:8. Published 2012 Apr 27. doi:10.1186/1476-0711-11-8 

2 Chang JS, Wang KC, Yeh CF, Shieh DE, Chiang LC. Fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale) has anti-viral activity against human respiratory syncytial virus in human respiratory tract cell lines. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jan 9;145(1):146-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.10.043. Epub 2012 Nov 1. PMID: 23123794. 

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Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract is a tincture made from the leaves of the olive tree. While it is the same tree that provides the health-giving olive oil, olive leaf extract is distinct in that it has its own set of health benefits and qualities. 

Olive leaves have been used in traditional remedies for centuries to help with season immune challenges and digestive issues. The hype may be due to the benefits of the known polyphenols, or plant compounds, that are abundant in the leaves, including oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. 

What Are Polyphenols? 

Polyphenols are plant compounds that are believed to offer health benefits. One of the main polyphenols found in olive leaves is oleuropein, which is thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants are important compounds our bodies use to ward off the damaging effects that free radicals have on our cells. And when a compound is anti-inflammatory, it may help reduce internal chronic inflammation that is a result of free radical activity, among other things. 

The other main polyphenol in olive leaves, hydroxytyrosol, which has a unique set of health benefits. Recent studies show it might offer protection from heart health issues and immunity issues. It is thought these health effects may be due to it’s potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects as well as protection from LDL, or “bad” cholesterol buildup. 

Other research points to the effects of both polyphenols as having antiviral and antibacterial properties. This may be why it is associated with helping to lessen the duration of symptoms of respiratory illness among high school athletes. Because of this, supplementing with olive leaf extract is believed to have helped athletes return to play sooner than without it. (1) 

Olive Leaf Extract Benefits 

Because olive leaf extract contains the above-mentioned polyphenols, it may offer the same health benefits, such as protection from other health issues and quicker healing time from upper respiratory illness. But there are some other benefits, too, which may be why it has historically been used as a traditional medicine. 

Olive leaf extract may help protect those with high blood pressure. In one 8-week study, participants with stage 1 hypertension were administered either 500 mg of olive leaf extract or 12.5 to 25 mg of a blood pressure medication called captopril. Blood pressure was lowered in both groups, indicating that olive leaf extract was just as effective at lowering blood pressure as the medication, captopril. (2) 

In another study, a study of 46 overweight, middle-aged men were given either a placebo or olive leaf extract. After 12 weeks, the olive leaf extract group showed improvements in pancreatic responsiveness as well as improvements in insulin sensitivity, as compared the to placebo group. This indicates that it is effective at helping to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

Conclusion 

Olive leaf extract seems to have protective properties that can contribute to health. This dietary supplement can be a healthy addition for anyone who wants to improve their health. As with any supplement, talking with your doctor is recommended, especially if you take medications. 

References: 

1 Somerville V, Moore R, Braakhuis A. The Effect of Olive Leaf Extract on Upper Respiratory Illness in High School Athletes: A Randomised Control Trial. Nutrients. 2019;11(2):358. Published 2019 Feb 9. doi:10.3390/nu11020358 

2 Susalit E, Agus N, Effendi I, Tjandrawinata RR, Nofiarny D, Perrinjaquet-Moccetti T, Verbruggen M. Olive (Olea europaea) leaf extract effective in patients with stage-1 hypertension: comparison with Captopril. Phytomedicine. 2011 Feb 15;18(4):251-8. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2010.08.016. Epub 2010 Oct 30. PMID: 21036583. 

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Citrus Bioflavonoids and Hesperidin

Hesperidin is a plant chemical that is part of a group of citrus bioflavonoids. These compounds are mainly derived from citrus fruits, along with other plants, and are believed to support the activity of antioxidants while acting as an antioxidant itself. 

Citrus bioflavonoids are plant compounds that often are the source of color for some fruits. Bioflavonoids are a group of antioxidants that are used in herbal remedies and pharmaceuticals for their health benefits. Some well-known citrus bioflavonoids are dosmetin, tangeretin, naringin and hesperidin, and while each has unique properties, they share common benefits such as: 

  • Antioxidants – Citrus bioflavonoids work with vitamin C to help protect cells from free radical damage. 
  • Immune Support – The combination of vitamin C along with citrus bioflavonoids seems to provide powerful immune support. 
  • Protection from AtherosclerosisStudies show that citrus bioflavonoids may protect against the buildup of fatty plaque on the inner walls of arteries, thus improving circulatory health. 

Health Benefits of Hesperidin 

Hesperidin is a citrus bioflavonoid found in fruits like tangerines, oranges, lemons and grapefruits, and has its own set of protective benefits. Many herbal remedies use hesperidin to help improve circulation, reduce internal inflammation, seasonal relief and may assist with high blood pressure issues. 

Research for hesperidin is promising. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that regular consumption of hesperidin helped lower blood pressure in overweight men. In the four-week study, healthy but slightly overweight men were given orange juice and a hesperidin supplement, resulting in significantly lowered diastolic blood pressure. 

Another review of both animal and human studies showed strong evidence that hesperidin does have an effect on antioxidant activity, helps lower internal inflammation and may improve aerobic performance. (1) While each study in the review was different, the commonalities included supplementation for four weeks and even though exercise protocols varied, performance in each was improved. 

And yet another study with older adults showed that daily consumption of orange juice enriched with extra flavonoids increased cognitive function. (2) The researchers went on to conclude that this is further evidence that consuming fruits and other flavonoid-rich foods provides protection from neuropsychological disease and age-related cognitive decline. 

Lastly, a review of clinical evidence showed that supplementing with hesperidin has a significant impact on brain health. In particular, it improves antioxidant defense functions, improves blood flow to the brain, memory and cognition. 

Conclusion 

Fruits and vegetables have a significant impact on improving health, and the more you consume, the healthier you will be. Just like each category for fruits, citrus fruits have individual and specific health benefits that cannot be obtained from other food sources. To enjoy the benefits such as heart health and brain health, these fruits should be included in everyone’s daily diet. And for those who cannot consume fruit on a daily basis, research shows that citrus bioflavonoids and hesperidin supplementation have a beneficial impact on health. 

References: 

1 Martínez-Noguera FJ, Marín-Pagán C, Carlos-Vivas J, Rubio-Arias JA, Alcaraz PE. Acute Effects of Hesperidin in Oxidant/Antioxidant State Markers and Performance in Amateur Cyclists. Nutrients. 2019;11(8):1898. Published 2019 Aug 14. doi:10.3390/nu11081898 

2 Alharbi MH, Lamport DJ, Dodd GF, et al. Flavonoid-rich orange juice is associated with acute improvements in cognitive function in healthy middle-aged males. Eur J Nutr. 2016;55(6):2021-2029. doi:10.1007/s00394-015-1016-9 

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 Your Health

Trace minerals are essential for good health, and zinc is one of the most abundant of these minerals. It is found throughout all systems of the human body and is required for healthy immunity, cell division and healing and even for the breakdown of carbohydrates. And more recently, zinc is a standard in supplements for immunity, while some use for seasonal immune challenges. 

Zinc is an essential nutrient, which means your body doesn’t make it. Because of this we must obtain it through diet, including foods like seafood, beans, nuts, dairy products and enriched cereals or grains. For those who have digestive issues or absorption problems, zinc supplements can help fill the void. 

Benefits of Zinc 

Zinc has been shown to be necessary for wound healing, protein and DNA synthesis and even for immune support. When zinc levels are low, one might experience a lowered or weak immune response, and many studies show that zinc levels decline with age. Because of this, ensuring we get enough through diet or supplementation may help people avoid this. Check out these zinc benefits. 

Immune Response – A declining immune system is a normal part of aging, and even a small zinc deficiency can exacerbate the problem. Fortunately, it seems the supplementing with zinc can improve immune response in the elderly. (1) In addition, a review of studies shows that supplementing with zinc lozenges reduced the duration of the common cold by an average of 33%. (2) 

Lastly, the Cochrane Group, often considered the gold standard in medical research, concluded that if zinc was taken within 24 hours of the onset of seasonal challenges, one might experience milder symptoms for a shorter time. 

Accelerated Wound Healing – Our immune system fights of harmful pathogens like bacteria and viruses, but it is also responsible for helping our bodies heal from injury. This may be why it is used by those in the medical community as a treatment for burns and other skin injuries. In one study, zinc increased wound healing in patients with diabetic foot ulcers. 

Lower Internal Inflammation – Chronic internal inflammation leads to damage of healthy cells and is linked to chronic diseases like arthritis, heart disease and even cancer. Fortunately, lifestyle factors like diet and exercise play a role in this condition, meaning we can have an impact on this risk factor with healthier choices. Zinc seems to have an anti-inflammatory action, and six months of supplementation suggested that zinc may support blood flow. (3) 

Conclusion 

Since zinc is important in numerous body systems and involved in functions like cell repair and growth, it is important to ensure you get enough in your diet. The recommended RDA is 8mg for women and 11mg for men, with the Tolerable Upper Level (or maximum amount) is 40mg for all. If you don’t get enough through your diet, supplements can help make up the deficit.  

References

1 Haase H, Rink L. The immune system and the impact of zinc during aging. Immun Ageing. 2009;6:9. Published 2009 Jun 12. doi:10.1186/1742-4933-6-9 

2 Hemilä H. Zinc lozenges and the common cold: a meta-analysis comparing zinc acetate and zinc gluconate, and the role of zinc dosage. JRSM Open. 2017 May 2;8(5):2054270417694291. doi: 10.1177/2054270417694291. PMID: 28515951; PMCID: PMC5418896. 

3 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 

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 a Healthy Diet and Exercise on the Immune System

When it comes to staying healthy, your immune system is your body’s powerhouse. Keeping it strong and healthy through diet and exercise can help you avoid getting sick and feeling tired and rundown all the time. It can even help you prevent getting sick in the first place.

How Your Immune System Works

Your immune system operates as a network and runs throughout your body. It works hard at all times to identify and fight foreign invaders, known as pathogens. When it spots a pathogen, it triggers a response that boosts the number of white blood cells in your body. These are the cells that fight off invaders and keep us healthy.

There are two primary types of immune responses: Innate and adaptive. We’re born with innate immunity. The innate immune system recognizes foreign pathogens and tries to fight them using a generic response and includes our skin, hair, tears, sweat, and other physical barriers. (1)

Your adaptive immune system evolves as you age. It is made up of cellular and chemical responses that recognize familiar pathogens that you have been exposed to either through having an illness or having a vaccine.

How Your Diet Impacts Your Immune System

When your body is sick, it needs energy to fight off infections. Proper nutrition for the immune system includes eating foods that will provide the energy that the immune system needs to fight pathogens and prevent chronic inflammation, which can trigger immune responses. (2)

Here are a few specific things you can do to improve your diet and boost your immune system.

  1. Cut down on sugar

Sugar can do a lot of harm to our bodies, including causing us to become overweight. Additionally, sugar can prevent immune cells from attacking bacteria as they should. (3) When you have too much sugar, your immune system starts to effectively shut down, which can make you more susceptible to illnesses and less capable of fighting pathogens.

  1. Eat garlic

People have been eating garlic for medicinal purposes for centuries. It turns out, garlic can improve your immune function and is particularly useful in fighting the common cold or flu. (4) You can add garlic to your meals or take a garlic supplement when you start feeling a cold coming on.

  1. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet

The majority of the nutrients our bodies need can be found in fruits and vegetables. Eating a lot of just one type of food won’t be as beneficial as getting multiple vitamins from a variety of sources.

Some specific vitamins and minerals that you should add to your diet to get a boost of for your immune system include the following:

  • Zinc: Boosts white blood cell count. Sources include lentils, beans, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
  • Vitamin C: Antioxidant that destroys free radicals. Sources include citrus fruits, red peppers, and broccoli.
  • Vitamin D: Can reduce your risk of contracting viral infections. Sources include sunlight and fortified foods.
  • Vitamin E: Antioxidant that destroys free radicals and improves immune function. Sources include spinach, broccoli, seeds, and nuts.
  • Beta-carotene: Antioxidant that reduces inflammation and increases the number of your body’s disease-fighting cells. Sources include sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, and carrots.

How Exercise Benefits Your Immune System

In addition to eating well and getting a variety of nutrients into your diet, you should be regularly exercising to keep your immune system strong. Research has shown that inactivity, aging, and obesity can all be detrimental to your immune system. (5)

A simple solution is to add more activity to your lifestyle. You don’t need to worry about intensity, especially if you are new to working out. Starting small with light exercises can be enough to make a difference and help you stay healthy.

When to Exercise

Regular exercise can prevent illness, but sometimes you still get sick. If you have a mild illness, you might be able to exercise through it and feel better. Exercising is thought to be able to flush fluids from your lungs and help you feel better if you have a minor cold. (6) It may also raise your body temperature enough to more effectively fight off infections (similar to what happens when you get a fever). (6)

Don’t Overdo It

There is such a thing as getting too much exercise. In order to improve your immune system, you want to make sure you don’t cross the line of overdoing it. Overtraining has been shown to lead to fatigue and worsened performance, which can negatively impact your immune function. (7)

Similarly, don’t try to exercise if you are feeling extremely ill. If you have anything more severe than a minor cold, you’re probably better off resting than you would be trying to get through a light workout.

How Much to Exercise to Get the Benefits

A good rule of thumb is to get 150 minutes of moderate activity every week. This can include running, walking, swimming, or cycling for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. This amount of exercise has been shown to improve immune function without putting too much strain on your body. (8) Find ways to add more steps to your day by parking further away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or adding an after-dinner walk to your evening routine.

 

Conclusion

Taking care of your body through proper nutrition and regular exercise can help you boost your immune system to prevent illnesses and give your body the tools it needs to fight them off faster.

If you are struggling to get all your nutrients through food, you aren’t alone. Most adults don’t get all the nutrients they need through diet alone.

Fortunately, supplements can help fill the gaps and ensure that you get the right balance of nutrients into your body every day. Taking a supplement like Balanced ECZ Immune Support is an easy way to make sure you are getting enough nutrients to have a healthy immune system, no matter what life throws your way.

 

References:

  1. The innate and adaptive immune systems. (2020, July 30). Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279396/
  2. Childs, C. E., Calder, P. C., & Miles, E. A. (2019, August 16). Diet and Immune Function. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723551/
  3. Sanchez, A., Reeser, J., Lau, H., Yahiku, P., Willard, R., McMillan, P., . . . Magie, A. (1973, November 01). Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/26/11/1180/4732762
  4. Nantz, M. P., Rowe, C. A., Miller, C. E., Creasy, R. A., Stanilka, J. M., & Percival, S. S. (2012, January 24). Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22280901/
  5. Nieman, D. (2020, May 8). Coronavirus disease-2019: A tocsin to our aging, unfit, corpulent, and immunodeficient society. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7205734/
  6. Exercise and immunity: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm
  7. Hackney, A. C., & Koltun, K. J. (2012, December). The immune system and overtraining in athletes: Clinical implications. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23540172/
  8. Regular exercise benefits immunity — even in isolation. (2020, March 31). Retrieved September 05, 2020, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200331162314.htm

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/