Category Archives: Vitamins

Top Foods to Help Beat the Cold/Flu Season

The time has come my friends.  Cold weather, runny noses, the flu epidemic. With busy schedules and the holidays, this is by far the worst time to get sick.  Lucky for you, there are a wide array of foods you can eat to help keep you healthy and happy during this time of year. Studies show that infection-fighting vitamins and nutrients work best before symptoms start, so load up on these immune-boosting foods now to help keep you and your family strong during this cold/flu season.

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  • GARLIC.  Garlic has been known as a powerful infection fighter since the beginning of time.  Garlic contains a compound, allicin, which has been proven to stave off drug-resistant strains of bacteria and viruses.   You can add fresh garlic to almost anything! I love throwing some garlic in with sautéed veggies, soups, sandwiches, etc.  Add some garlic to your favorite recipes and you will keep those nasty infections away…as well as some vampires 😉
  • FERMENTED FOODS.  These have also been eaten by cultures for thousands of years and for good reason. Fermented foods help restore healthy bacteria in your gut which is a necessity for a healthy immune system.  Some of the best fermented foods include kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, pickles, non-dairy yogurt, etc.  My favorite is Cultured Coconut Milk and kombucha which you can find at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
  • BRAZIL NUTS.  Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of Selenium.  Selenium forms selenoproteins which act as powerful antioxidants and increase your amount of T cells which fight infections.  Selenium has also been found to help regulate intestinal flora, boosting your overall immunity.
  • MUSHROOMS.  These contain high amounts of Vitamin D as well as beta-glucans.  Beta-glucans have the innate ability to activate macrophages and white blood cells within your immune system which fight off infection.  Mushrooms are also a great meat replacer so it’s a win-win if you can include these in your diet.
  • COCONUTS/COCONUT OIL.  Coconuts and coconut oil are rich in lauric acid, a compound proven to boost immunity. Lauric acid is actually known to disrupt the membranes of invading pathogens.  Try substituting your cooking oil with coconut oil or try adding coconut oil to your oatmeal, smoothies, etc. When buying coconut oil, always be sure to buy the organic unrefined kind. Eventually, you’ll be going kookoo for coconut oil 🙂
  • BLUEBERRIES.  These are packed with antioxidants.  They contain potent phytochemicals, such as anthocyanins, which keep your immune system strong. Berries also contain lower amounts of sugar in comparison to other fruits which is an added bonus.
  • CHLORELLA/SPIRULINA.  I’ve mentioned these super foods many times before but I cannot reiterate their health value enough! These are freshwater algae which bind to harmful toxins and transport them out of your body. They contain high amounts of chlorophyll which promotes tissue repair, cleanses your blood, and helps you process oxygen. You can buy these in powder or supplement form. Try adding a teaspoon of the powder to your smoothies for a mega boost of nutrients.
  • SWEET POTATOES.  Beta-carotene increases the number of infection fighting cells (natural killer and T cells)  within your immune system. Sweet potatoes actually pack more beta carotene than carrots.  Baked sweet potato fries are a yummy treat everyone will love.  Also, sweet potato-orange-pineapple juice tastes like an orange creamsicle…who would’ve thought!
  • LOCAL ORGANIC VEGETABLES.  For your immune system to work optimally, you need a wide array of nutrients.  Choosing vibrant, diverse vegetables will ensure you are receiving a wide array of nutrients which help protect you from that nasty cold and flu. Fresh green juices and smoothies are a quick and easy way to boost your nutrient intake.
  • GREEN TEA.  Green teas are rich in  polyphenols, most specifically catechins. The most  potent catechin in green tea is epigallocatechin (EGCG), which is found to be 25-100 times more powerful than vitamins C and E. Matcha green tea is one of the most beneficial types to incorporate into your daily routine.
  • VITAMIN C. We all know Vitamin C keeps colds away. Foods highest in vitamin C include papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, pineapple, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, oranges, and dark leafy greens such as kale (kale is by far one of the top foods you can eat). Vitamin C supplements also work wonders.  Add Vitamin C to your routine and say “C ya” to that cold….If you’re at a point of no return and already have a cold, try taking 1000 mg of vitamin C every few hours and your cold will be gone within a day or 2.
  • SPICES.  Powerful Immune boosting spices include cinnamon, oregano, turmeric, black pepper, and cloves. All of these have high antioxidant values as well as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory properties.

By adding these immune boosting foods you will not only keep that cold away, you will improve your overall health and well-being!

berries

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Eat The Rainbow!

Here’s why you should EAT THE RAINBOW…

color

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Increase Omega 3s

As I am currently working with Autistic/ADHD students, I thought I’d share some promising findings on increasing Omega 3s.

Sixty percent of the dry weight of the brain is made up of fats, and the largest concentration of long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids in the body is found in the retina, brain, and nervous system. In the 1980s, researchers observed signs of fatty acid deficiency in hyperactive children. Since, more and more studies found lower Omega-3 levels in children with ADHD and Autism compared with controls. 

The Standard American Diet consists of high levels of Omega-6 fatty acids and not enough Omega-3 fatty acids, thus it is important to increase the ratio of Omega 3/Omega 6 in your child’s diet. Omega 3 fatty acids promote proper cellular function and growth of neurons in the brain, help maintain energy levels, normalize blood sugar, reduce inflammation, increase focus, etc. 

This picture depicts some of the health benefits of Omega 3s

omega 3

Two large studies have recently been conducted in this area, both showing promising results.  After 3 months of Omega 3 (EPA & DHA) supplementation, students with ADHD showed significant improvements in core ADHD symptoms, such as improved reading, spelling, and overall focus.

Omega 3 fatty acids from foods are better absorbed than supplements.  Foods highest in Omega 3s include flax seeds, chia seeds, salmon, walnuts, dark leafy greens, sardines, soybeans, and tuna. Flax seeds and Chia seeds are an excellent way to increase your Omega 3 consumption.  I love adding flax and chia seeds to green smoothies or homemade trail mixes!  Omega 3 supplements are still a great way to ensure optimal intake on a daily basis.

While Omega 3s have shown promising results for Autistic/ADHD children, increasing the Omega 3 to omega 6 ratio will work wonders for ANYONE’s health.  Increasing omega 3s have been proven to fight inflammation, thus reducing risks for heart disease and other chronic disease! As you can see in the picture above, Omega 3s have a variety of health benefits.

It is essential that you significantly reduce your omega 6 consumption, otherwise you will not reap the benefits of the Omega 3s as they compete against each other within your body. 

Here are some tips for reducing your omega 6 consumption:

Change your cooking oil.  Try using olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado instead of the highest offenders (corn, sunflower, grapeseed, soybean, etc)

Limit processed foods. The food industry uses cheap oils to mass produce their products which are loaded with omega 6 fatty acids. Choosing whole, natural foods over processed ones will drastically reduce your omega 6 intake.

-Read food labels. Steer clear of the typical oils listed above which are found in the majority of foods on grocery store shelves.

-Avoid fried foods and animal products.

-Limit dressings, mayonnaise, margarines,and spreads.

 So try increasing your omega 3s, while significantly reducing your omega 6s and see how you and your family’s health improve!

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Superfoods=Superhuman

CHLORELLA AND SPIRULINA…my two favorite superfoods!

Some of you may be asking yourself, “What in the world is that?”

Well, Chlorella and Spirulina are fresh water algae and are packed with vitamins and minerals. They are both considered superfoods, meaning they have a wide array of health benefits reaching far beyond their nutrient value. These algae are two of the oldest foods in the world. Fossil records show that Spirulina and Chlorella have existed for billions of years essentially unchanged, surviving harsh conditions such as radiation, drought, and man-made poisons.

So, Why should you add Spirulina and Chlorella into your daily routine? Here goes nothing…(the healing properties are endless)

  • DETOXIFY! DETOXIFY! In the toxic world we live in, toxin removal is a must! And these two algae have the astounding ability to detoxify  heavy metals from our bodies.
  • 12 times more digestible protein than beef
  • More calcium than milk
  • Nutritional value compared to 5-6 vegetable servings
  • Promotes healthy cell growth and repair
  • Contains anti-cancer phytochemicals/antioxidants (30 times more than blueberries)
  • Anti-bacterial/Anti-viral agents
  • Highest sources of chlorophyll (10 times that of green vegetables)
  • Rich in Vitamins B, C, E, A, beta carotene, zinc, iron, lutein, magnesium etc..
  • Boosts Immune function
  • Increases energy
  • Increases intensity of workouts/enhances exercise performance
  • Regulates blood sugar (new research for type 2 diabetics and hypoglycemics)
  • Contains all B vitamins
  • Best source of vegan Vitamin B12
  • Stimulates growth of friendly bacteria aka improves digestion
  • Rich sources of Gamma-Linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid
  • Natural anti-inflammatory
  • Reduces body acidity
  • Increases mental capacity
  • Powerful blood cleanser
  • Can lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Anti-aging
  • Improves allergy symptoms
  • Reduces cravings
  • Aids in weight loss

Convinced?  There is more and more research on the healing benefits of these algae emerging daily. While some people choose to take one over the other, I take both daily to ensure optimal nutrition.

Both Spirulina and Chlorella come in powder and pill form.  The powder form is great to add into green smoothies and juices (1 tsp per smoothie). I’m not gonna lie, the taste of the powdered form is quite pungent and off-putting at first.  I opted to go for the pill form due to taste and convenience. Be sure to get a high quality supplement brand, as many of them on the market are not. I love taking these, and can always note a difference in my energy level if I go a day without them. Always consult with your physician before adding supplements to your diet.

Incorporate these two algae into your daily routine and you’ll be a SUPER HUMAN!

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KICK the SICKness

A wise man once said:

“Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates

Hippocrates is commonly known as the FATHER OF MEDICINE. He believed that the human body had an innate ability to heal itself. I cannot help but ponder why it is we have ventured so far away from this ideal of Hippocrates…Let FOOD be thy MEDICINE!  What a concept right!? Using the terms FOOD and MEDICINE interchangeably (Who would’ve thought)?!  As a society, we have veered so far off this path that it has become almost impossible to remind ourselves of the importance of food.

I think back to my old (pre-nutrition enriched) self and am reminded of some of my old thoughts. I use to think of eating healthy as just a way to lose weight.  I never really believed “You are what you eat.” I would go from one extreme diet to another. I even remember back to a time when I would eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast, an apple for lunch, and a bowl of canned green beans for dinner. At that time, I considered this menu to be a healthy one! After a few weeks of eating like that and obsessively exercising I was sick for a solid week or two. Yet still, it never fully registered with me that what I was doing was bad for me. There were even times in high school that I thought it was okay to only eat those fresh baked cookies at school for lunch. I said to myself, “I know these 2 cookies are bad for me, but if I only eat the cookies then that’s not too bad.” I’m appalled by my “old self” ways, but really I was just IGNORANT!

Nutrition has been put on the back burner in today’s society; we are not taught the importance of nutrition.  We go from hearing about one fad diet to the next, or about the next quick fix for weight loss which never seems to work long term.   A lifestyle change of eating right and exercising has the power to prevent degenerative diseases, cancers, obesity, aging, autoimmune diseases, psychosis, colds, flus…the list is endless!

Today, our society tends to laugh at holistic medicine and write it off as quackery.  A “Pill for every Ill” has been the adopted motto of today. Headache, stomach ache, depression, can’t focus…No worries, there’s a drug for that! Does anyone ever stop to think, “What is in this drug that I’m taking?” or “WOW, this drug has over 20 dangerous side effects?” Each year, there are an average of 106,000 deaths due to adverse drug reactions. 106,000 deaths! And by no means am I hating on doctors, because they work wonders and save lives each and every day! But what I am saying is, first and foremost, you control what you are putting into your body.  Less than 6% of today’s graduating physicians receive any training in nutrition.  We need nutrition education instead of all of this medication. We have to be the change we wish to see in the world!

HEALTH IS A CHOICE!! Only you can take responsibility for your health which is why it can be a struggle sometimes. You have to make the choice to change your life!

Fruits and vegetables have crazy amounts of vitamins and minerals which equal healing power! YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Think about it, if you were to plant a tree tomorrow and never gave it water or nutrient rich soil, it would NOT live for 100 years like you would hope and the same thing goes with our bodies! We have to start putting nutrients in and it is up to you to do just that!

I was amazed once I started researching fruits, vegetables, herbs, vitamins, minerals, etc when I found that for almost every pharmaceutical drug, there is a product of nature that has the exact same healing benefits, without the chemicals and those 20 odd side effects! Vitamins enable our bodies to heal itself.

Since I’ve adopted eating healthy as a LIFESTYLE and not as a “quick fix,” I have felt better than ever! In the past year alone, I have not been sick one time. I have not taken one pharmaceutical drug or over the counter drug (Yep, no Tylenol! Who would’ve thought that was possible?! haha)

Imagine the money you can save just by eating right and getting yourself healthy. No more/minimal doctor bills and paying for drug prescriptions.

Many of you that have known me for a while know that my entire life I have struggled with an awful “chesty” cough which pretty much lasted year round. I even have home videos at age two with evidence of the dog bark of a cough. We’re talking about a persistent TWENTY ONE YEAR OLD, YEAR ROUND COUGH! Once i started eating healthy, POOF! It was magically gone! This was a cough that had sent me from numerous doctors to pulmonary specialists; from one pharmaceutical drug to the next, but nothing had ever helped! Yet adopting a nutrient-rich, organic, plant based diet completely eradicated it! I am amazed each and every day of the power of eating healthy organic fruits and vegetables and the impact it can have on each and every one of us. I do realize it is impossible to eat organic produce 100% of the time, but try to go for the organic option as much as you can!

We are living amidst a SICK nation where annually there are:

650,000 Heart disease deaths

550,000 Cancer deaths

106,000 adverse drug deaths

Cancer and disease statistics have not drastically changed over the past five decades, therefore we need to try something NEW!  The statistics for the healing powers of nutrition are out there, they have just been chosen to be ignored. While good health has been proven to work, it does not make a lot of money for the corporate world.

I’m going to leave you with this thought by Orthomolecular expert Andrew Saul, “We need a new paradigm..a whole new way of looking at things. We need to BOOST health with nutrition. It’s really the one thing we haven’t tried.”

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Get Your Sunshine On! (from a bottle)

New research suggests that 50% of Americans are Vitamin D deficient.  Receiving adequate sun exposure prompts our bodies to make Vitamin D which is why it’s known as the “Sunshine Vitamin.” But at this time of year and with skin cancer on the rise, taking a supplement form of the vitamin is imperative!

Many of us may be deficient in Vitamin D and not even know it!

The reason for  this deficiency is clear enough.  While our ancient ancestors spent a large amount of time in the sun doing their hunting and gathering thing, then farming, nowadays most of us (who am I kidding, practically ALL of us)  live and work indoors (gotta love those 9:00-5:00’s), and thus receive comparatively insufficient amounts of sunlight. This is notably true at this time of year when good sunlight is minimal!  Factors such as aging, dark skin, and obesity also lower one’s  Vitamin D levels even more than the average person.

According to new studies, Vitamin D deficiencies are progressively blamed for everything from cancer and heart disease to diabetes and depression. Another reason it’s called the sunshine vitamin…it makes us happy! 🙂  Not only is Vitamin D vital for building and maintaining strong bones through calcium absorption, but it has also been proven to counteract autoimmune diseases, the flu, and mood disorders.

Getting enough Vitamin D in your diet is rare as food sources are minimal. The main dietary sources are fish, egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver. Therefore taking Vitamin D supplements are extremely important. Vitamin D3 is the optimal form of the vitamin to take.

A daily dose of 3,000-5,000 I.U of Vitamin D3 is now recommended as an ideal target dose. It is very important to buy superior brands of vitamins, as many of them on the market are not properly absorbed in our bodies. I love a good bargain and buy my D3 from this website:    Get your D3 50% OFF!

Once I started taking Vitamin D3 supplements, I felt energized and renewed!

Start taking Vitamin D3 supplements and you’ll be WALKING ON SUNSHINE (and don’t it feel good…hey!)

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