Drinks, Health Tips, Smoothies

What you need to know about inflammation

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word, “inflammation”? For many, words like pain, damage and destruction come to mind and rightfully so.

Inflammation is a process designed to happen for our protection. It is a knee jerk reaction to an injury or an infection. Think of what might happen if this response didn’t exist. There wouldn’t be proper repair to damaged tissue and threatening germs would have their way with us. However, inflammation can only serve us well when it is kept under control, in an individual who is normally healthy.

Traditionally, relief for inflammation involves the R.I.C.E method. This method involves resting, “cooling” down, compressing and elevation of an injury. Today, several health professionals are recommending a method that is in contrast to said method, called M.E.T.H. The proponents behind this method claim that this is a way which works with the body’s defence mechanism instead of against it. The theory behind this is, when we “help” our body with a quick fix, we tend to work against it, prolonging the healing process.

Ugly Inflammation

 There are several reasons why inflammation gets ugly. To name a few, they are:

*Having an impaired immune system/chronic infections

*Consuming a diet rich in arachidonic acid (omega 6 fatty acid) and not enough omega 3

* Constant exposure to toxins (foods and environment)

*Prolonged trauma/injury

*Obesity

Chronic inflammation can lead to damaged tissues in other parts of the body and as a result could lead to health conditions such as heart disease. This can be minimized by including more whole foods like nuts, seeds, legumes and especially vegetables and fruits into your diet.

Factors that impair healing:

*Nutrient deficiencies

*Lack of sufficient protein

*Over use of effected area than is needed

NUTRIENTS TO THE RESCUE!

There is a time period in which healing from inflammation is most crucial and that is during the first six to eight weeks after an injury or infection.

By focusing on several key nutrients, will ensure that your body is well equipped with the necessary tools it needs to deal with an injury/infection. By doing this, you will minimize any further damage and speed up recovery.

TOP SEVEN RECOMMENDED NUTRIENTS FOR A SPEEDY RECOVERY

*Vitamin A

*Vitamin C

*Vitamin E

*Essential Fatty Acids (Omegas)

*Enzymes

*Protein

*Zinc

FOODS WITH ANTIINFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES

*Turmeric

*Pineapple

*Ginger

*Papaya

*Garlic

*Aloe Vera Juice

*Flax Oil

*Hemp Hearts

Here is a simple and delicious way to incorporate the majority of these ingredients and key nutrients, mentioned above:

Cool down inflammation with a tropical smoothie!

Tropical Spice Anti Inflammatory Smoothie

Ingredients:

2-3 clementines, peeled or 1 medium orange

1 cup of unsweetened coconut water

1 cup of frozen or fresh pineapple

1 cup of frozen or fresh mango

½- 1 tsp of turmeric powder (if you aren’t a fan of spice, start off with ½ tsp.)

1 tsp of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped or ½-1 tsp of ground ginger

3 tbsp of hemp hearts

½-1 tsp of stevia to sweeten, optional

Instructions:

In a high speed blender, place coconut water, ginger, hemp hearts, turmeric, oranges and sweetener. Then, add in your fruit and blend on low to get things moving. Next, turn up blender speed to high until ingredients are blended well.

Enjoy!

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Drinks, Health Tips

Beet Lemonade

This beetade is refreshing and delicious! Plus,it also helps to support your body’s detox organs. #healthywin!

Best beet lemonade ever!

If there’s one drink to reach for this spring/summer, make it this one! Lets face it, we are bombarded with a plethora of unhealthy beverage choices. These are usually skillfully marketed to make you feel that you “need” it, you just have to “have” it.I get it! So, sometimes it’s ok to indulge but why not throw in a drink choice that’s actually going to give back to your body?

Bodacious Beets

Beet Benefits

Beets have been used in the natural health care field for several years, primarily for issues in the liver. They have also been known to help in other areas along the digestive tract, such as with digestion, kidney stones, gallbladder, and in the intestines. They also help to flush out uric acid. The top nutrients found in beets are calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, Vitamin C, folate and other B vitamins such as B1, 2,3, 5 and 6. How can you pass up a drink that can fuel your body with these life giving nutrients!?!? Maybe you’re not a beet lover? Me neither! For me, that’s huge…..I like all my vegetables. So trust me when I say this is one beet juice you’ll love!

For this recipe, I used beet juice crystals instead of straight up beet juice because I find they taste milder/less earthy 🙂 If you are a hardcore beet fan or, maybe you just don’t want to buy a jar of beet crystals, you can sub them with 2 cups of fresh beet juice and then only add in 1 cup of purified water.



Beet Lemonade

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Lemons, freshly squeezed/juiced
  • 3 tbsps of beet juice crystals, I like to use Salus Red beet crystals
  • 3 cups of purified water
  • 1/2 tsp of stevia or 2 packets, I use the Wholesome brand for a milder tasting stevia
  • 2 tbsps of pure maple syrup

DIRECTIONS:

Using a large pitcher, add in all your ingredients and stir until it’s well blended.

Cheers to good health!

Health Tips, Salads

Glorious Green Salad Bowl with Balsamic Dressing

 Why Greens Should Be Included Into Your Everyday Meals

Have you seen adds or articles popping up here and there that are touting the power of green foods, lately? And it’s left you wondering “what’s up with all the popularity attached to these green foods, anyway? When you stroll down the aisle of your favorite health foods store, you’ll notice that there is an entire sections dedicated to green food supplements. Also, there are many options to choose from. Firstly, you have your land greens and your sea greens. Secondly, you can choice what form of consumption fit you best- powdered or liquid form? Maybe with all this hype, you’ve decided its time to give the greens a go. So, here’s why I think you should definitely hope on board…….

The Benefits of Green Food

Magnesium:

 The luscious green colour comes from a green photosynthetic pigment called chlorophyll, also referred as the life blood of the plant. Some of chlorophyll’s benefits are through liver support, aiding in detoxification. And, magnesium just so happens to be at the center of the chlorophyll molecule, making green vegetables a great source of magnesium. Be sure to choose locally grown, organic greens- these tend to have a higher source of magnesium because of the rich soil that they’re grown in.
Due to the over processing of food and the lack of leafy green consumption, this mineral is largely missing in a standard diet-this may be a contributing factor in the majority heart disease cases. Magnesium is also important to our muscles, especially the older ticker, our heart. Because magnesium acts as a muscle relaxer, it can help in the prevention of arterial spasms.

Iron:

Iron deficiency is fairly common in our western culture and there are many reasons why this can be happening. A couple contributors are……..one, a lack of it in our diet, especially if processed foods make up the majority of it. Number two, any underlying digestive issues-this can reduce iron absorption. Lastly, blood loss-through menstruation or through issues along the GI tract, such as peptic ulcers, IBD ( Inflammatory bowel disease), polyps and hemorrhoids.

Some of the familiar symptoms of iron deficiency are fatigue or lack of energy, hair loss and Tachycardia (an abnormal electrical response in the heart). In order to ensure that we are getting enough iron we don’t always need to turn to a steak because leafy greens can pack a good portion of our daily intake. Although certain greens contain vitamin C, it’s a good idea to include others foods that contain Vitamin C to improve iron’s absorption. You might think this seems like a daunting task but you might already be doing this without even knowing it….have you ever added peppers, strawberries, avocados, cucumbers or lemon juice to your green salad? 😉

Vitamin K:

We don’t hear as much as we should with this vitamin. It is equally important in our diets because of its blood clotting ability. Vitamin K is also an important nutrient in combination with calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D. This team of nutrients are important in the integrity of the skeletal system.

Green vegetables are known as the power house of nutrients and are at the top of the list of the most nutritious vegetables. Thankfully, we will soon be entering into a season with copious amounts of these powerhouse vegetables. Here is a recipe that is packed with greens. You can enjoy it as a meal anytime of day (maybe not for breakfast though 😉 ) or it can be brought to share at your next potluck.

The Glorious Green Salad Bowl

10 oz baby spinach

2 stalks kale, lacinato or curly kale, chopped super fine

1-2 mini cucumbers or half a large cucumber, sliced into small chunks

1 stalk celery, chopped into small pieces

2 green onions, chopped

Handful of parsley, chopped finely

 3 Tbsp hemp hearts

3 Tbsp nutritional yeast, optional

Other optional add-ins for more colour and nutrients…..

-Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Avocado, Peppers or any other vegetable you fancy 🙂

Balsamic Dressing

 ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil

4 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar

1-3 cloves of garlic, depending on taste, crushed

 Sea salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

Because kale is a tougher leafy green, I suggest removing the stem and then chopping the leaves into thin shreds so that it blends well into the salad. I’ve incorporated nutritional yeast into this recipe because it adds a “cheesy” flavour along with added nutrients like protein and B12. If you don’t have it on hand, this salad still tastes great!

Wash and spin your leafy greens, then pat dry. For the kale, you want to remove the leaf from the stem. Hold the stem with one hand and grab the leaves at the base of the stem with the other hand and pull up so that the leaf separates from the stem. Once you have removed the stems, take the leaves and roll or bunch them up as much as you can and slice the bunch into thin strips. Add chopped cucumber, celery and parsley. Top with hemp hearts and nutritional yeast, if using.

For the dressing:

Mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar together and pour into a bottle that can be shaken and stored for later. Add crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Place cap on bottle and shake until well combined.

Pour desired amount onto salad and toss. Once the dressing has been added, this salad should be eaten within 1-2 hours.

I hope you enjoy this nutritious and delicious salad as much as my family does. Spread the health and share it!

Health Tips

Pumpkin Seeds for Prostate Health

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As we say goodbye to October and all it’s beauty, be sure to hang on to those pumpkins that you forgotten to gut and carve-maybe even rescue a few that haven’t been sold?! Why you might ask. Well first off, even though we are headed into the Christmas season,  the ‘all things pumpkin spice’ train is still traveling through this month and second, you have some nutrient gold sitting out at your front door….pumpkin seeds!

 

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Now that we are heading into November, a month that is bringing more awareness to the effects cancer has on all the men in our lives, I wanted to do a post that could provide a  bit of info on prostate cancer prevention because my motto is  “prevention is key and knowledge is what puts that key into your hand”.

One particular food that kept coming up as I was doing research was pumpkin seeds. There’s a powerhouse of nutrients packed into these little seeds! The majority of these nutrients have a role in protecting against cancer.

Most of us have heard the word antioxidants floating around, some might not know what it is that they do or what nutrients belong to the antioxidant family but they know they need them in their diets. In a nut shell, no pun intended 🙂 antioxidants help to fight free radicals from wreaking havoc in our bodies. Free radicals are an atom or molecule with an uneven number of electrons in its valence shell. These molecules are unstable and roam around destroying our healthy cells in their quest to find another electron. Antioxidants come in and neutralize the destructive molecule by giving it the electron it needs. Our bodies naturally produce free radicals just by functioning. The problem lies when we are producing too many and end up being left unchecked. Too much cell damage leads to many diseases, especially cancer.

 How to Avoid Free Radicals

*Minimize stress

*Avoid cigarette smoke

* Avoid or try to limit chemicals and toxins  in your diet and environment ( buy locally grown organic produce, start substituting your personal care products and house hold cleaners with natural ones).

*Eating a healthy diet, one that includes a variety of whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds- these are all loaded with antioxidants

 

 Antioxidants That Fight Prostate Cancer In More Ways Than One

ZINC: 

*Boosts testosterone levels

*Can aid in shrinking an already enlarged prostate by getting rid of excess DHT (dihydrotestosterone)

VITAMIN E:

*  Combination of E & selenium have been found to significantly lower the incidences of prostate cancer in men. Selenium also increases vitamin E absorption

 

Like all the other plant foods, pumpkin seeds also contain phytochemicals or phytonutrients. Phytochemicals are a natural compound found in plants. These compounds help the plant to fight off disease. They also help us by working with our body to protect it against disease. There  are different classes of phytochemicals in the plant kingdom, each having a unique part in the fight against disease which is why it’s important to eat many different varieties of plant foods.

Pumpkin seeds have a mild flavor and can be added into your bowl of oatmeal for a bit of crunch or added to your smoothies like some of these green smoothies!

 

 

 

Sources:

Murray, Michael. N.D. and Pizzorno, Joseph. N.D. with Pizzorno, Lara. M.A, L.M.T. Encyclopedia of Healing foods

Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness

Haas M. Elson, M.D. with Levin, Buck, PhD, RD Staying Healthy With Nutrition, The complete Guide to Diet And Nutritional Medicine. 21st Century Edition

 

Health Tips

Signs and symptoms of a microbial imbalance and small changes that can help you to restore optimal balance.

Do find yourself constantly feeling unwell and unsure of what’s going on with your health? Doctors visits leave you without answers because most tests have come back normal? You convince yourself that this is your new normal, hoping that things could get better….

If you are suffering with several of the following symptoms, it could be that you have an imbalance of good and bad bacteria.

*Fatigue

*Constant cravings for sugars and other refined carbs ( this could also be a blood sugar issue)

*Frequent skin rashes or itchy skin and ears

*Abdominal pain

*Bloating

*Diarrhea, Constipation

*Recurrent UTI ( urinary tract infections), or vaginal infections

* Often have feelings of being “spaced out”

*Poor memory

*Hormonal issues such as PMS or irregular periods

Why it’s important to have proper balance in good and bad bacteria

You could say we are a walking host to trillions of microbes, the good bacteria within us out number our cells 10 to 1. These friendly guys are there to keep us alive, this is their main goal. If we don’t survive, neither do they. We do need a small portion of bad bacteria because these become food for the good guys, but it isn’t their main faire. You see, these beneficial microbes prefer foods that your parents, grandparents and health practitioners have been pushing on you for years……..FIBRE ( a prebiotic) and we all know where it comes from, right?? Not from pastries, chips, pop, chocolate bars or ice cream…..although I can see marketing companies trying to come up with a way to add fibre to ice cream and in a sense “health wash” it to boost sales. If this ends up on the shelves of your local grocery store-please don’t buy it as a way to increase your fibre!!

The best way to incorporate more fibre is the old tried and true method, adding more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. I know this has been the main emphasis for years but fibre is only one important nutrient among many in these types of foods and if the fibre alone can help to rebalance a healthy microbial environment then they’re worth their weight in gold.

Purchase this image at https://www.stocksy.com/1371453

In addition to good bacteria, we have microbes that are neutral, they live off food from the gut but aren’t harmful or beneficial. We also have pathogenic bacteria, parasites and viruses. They eat off the food from our gut and can be harmful to us if their population goes up ( they should be kept at a 3-10% level). When these guys get a chance to overpopulate, autointoxication happens. This is the result of  pathogens giving off endotoxins that our liver has to detoxify and when we either have an already burdened liver or there are too many endotoxins for the liver to detoxify, they end up in the blood stream, resulting in several symptoms mentioned above.

Things that can cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria:

*Lack of fibre from real food to feed good bacteria

* Antibiotic usage ( great for eliminating bad bacteria but they also wipe out good bacteria)

*Consuming foods that feed the bad bacteria (refined/processed foods, e.g. sugar, white grains and alcohol)

*Consuming little to no lacto fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha)

*Over eating

*Stress

*Frequently drinking chlorinated water

Things you can do to help improve the population of good bacteria:

*Consider supplementing with a good quality probiotic supplement( this is like reseeding the grass after it has been overtaken by weeds)

*Incorporate more whole foods into your diet ( fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, raw nuts and seeds)

*Add fermented foods to your meals at least once a day

*Add more garlic to your diet, this acts as an antimicrobial nutrient.

Each person is biochemically unique and you may be suffering with a greater imbalance. The recommendations here are a step in the right direction but there might be a deeper issue involved. It would be wise to get checked by your natural health practitioner.

Stacy Unruh, R.H.N.