It’s Time to Man Up!

It has been stated that compared to women, more men smoke, drink, make unhealthy or risky health decisions, and are more likely to put off medical check-ups and to delay treatment for conditions. Some of the most common conditions that affect men include Andropause and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia/BPH, which can lead to low libido and sexual dysfunction.

Andropause, also known as “male menopause”, is a name given to a specific set of symptoms that appears in some men as they age. It is said that on average, men experience a 10% decline in testosterone each decade after the age of 30, unless it is acknowledged and properly addressed.  As men age, their estrogen levels rise and their testosterone drops as the conversion of testosterone to estrogen increases.  These hormonal changes can lead to multiple signs and symptoms such as a decline in muscle mass, lower metabolism, body fat accumulation and “man boobs”, moodiness and anxiety, low energy, memory problems, diminished sex drive and dysfunction, hair loss and increased risk of heart complication and diabetes. High estrogen levels are closely linked to excess belly fat, which is linked to higher activity of an enzyme called aromatase. This enzyme breaks down testosterone into estrogen, in turn, leading to a vicious cycle.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is gradual prostate enlargement and very common in men over 40. It is caused by an increased conversion of testosterone to estrogen and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a testosterone by-product by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which stimulates an overproduction of prostate cells leading to enlargement.  Due to pressure on the urethra, affected men often have difficulty emptying the bladder, leading to infections. Other symptoms include frequent need to urinate at night and painful urination. Due to the fact that the prostate gland impacts both urinary and sexual function, erectile dysfunction can also be a sign of enlarged prostate. DHT production is also associated with male pattern baldness!

Underlying risk factors include hormonal changes due to age, nutritional deficiencies, toxic overload, chronic stress and xeno estrogen/estrogen mimicker exposure in food, environment and products (i.e. plastics, pesticides).

 

Supplement Suggestions

  • Prostate Support Ingredients:
    • Pygeum Bark -> Inhibits inflammation in prostate, has a diuretic effect.
    • Rye Flower Pollen -> Supports urinary flow, relaxes muscles and reduces prostate size.
    • Saw Palmetto -> Improves BPH symptoms, helps inhibit conversion of testosterone to DHT, reduces rapid cell growth and has anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory activity.
    • Plant Sterols (Beta Sitosterol) -> Relieves urination difficulties, helps block conversion to DHT, reduces BPH symptoms and cholesterol, and modulates the immune system.
    • Pumpkin Seed Oil -> Improves bladder function to relieve BPH symptoms, reduces inflammation, helps inhibit conversion to DHT.
    • Zinc -> Anti-bacterial activity, reduces symptoms, size of prostate and DHT conversion.
    • Lycopene, Turmeric, Selenium -> Offer powerful antioxidant protection.
    • Helpful Herbs: Parsley, Juniper, Uva Ursi, Dandelion, Nettle act as diuretics and Cranberry, D-Mannose protect against urinary tract infections.
  • Hormone Balancing Ingredients:
    • Chrysin – Promotes healthy testosterone levels and lean muscle mass.
    • Indole 3 Carbinol (I3C)/DIM -> Breaks down harmful estrogens into non-toxic forms.
    • Broccoli Extract/Sulforaphane -> Stimulates production of detoxification enzymes that eliminate environmental estrogens.
  • Libido Enhancing Ingredients:
    • Zinc -> Increases sperm count, motility and characteristics (+ copper for long term).
    • L-Arginine -> Dilates vessels to improve blood flow, increases sperm count and quality!
    • Elk Velvet Antler -> Used to energize the body, increase lean muscle mass, support weight loss, stimulate libido, renew mental health, boost mood and reduce stress.
    • Maca –> Supports libido, energy, stamina, hormone balance and resistance to stress.
    • Tribulus –> Used to increase testosterone, sperm counts, sexual desire and potency.
    • Gingko Biloba –> Increases circulation to both brain and genitals.
    • Damiana -> Has aphrodisiac properties, helps to improve blood flow and inhibit stress.
    • Horny Goat Weed –> Acts as an aphrodisiac to increase libido and reduce fatigue.
    • Tongkat Ali -> An aphrodisiac that helps support natural testosterone production.

     

Dietary Suggestions

  • Avoid stimulants, refined/processed foods and sugars, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated fats, alcohol and excess red meat.
  • Eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables for hormone balance support and consume more fibre and antioxidant-rich foods such as fresh berries.
  • Incorporate nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil & avocado as healthy dietary fats.
  • Stabilize blood sugar levels with regular, balanced meals.
  • Consume Essential Omega Fats, Probiotics and a Multivitamin + Vitamin D as a prevention pack to support immunity, hormones, inflammation and digestion.

 

Lifestyle Suggestions

  • Manage stress & sleep. Consider mental health support if necessary.
  • Get yearly physical checkups and monitor nutrient levels.
  • Exercise regularly (30 mins./5x per week), including strength training sessions.
  • Minimize toxic exposure, consider cleansing, and drink plenty of water.

 

  • This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach -

Why Has Everyone Gone Kooky For Kale?

Known as the “Queen of Greens”, kale is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family along with bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, etc. It is known for its ability to thrive during the cooler seasons of the year. In fact, it is said that exposure to cooler temperatures enhances both its flavor and quality. There are three main types of kale. They include flat wide leaf kale, darker kale and tight curly leafed kale. These can be found in various shades of green and purple. Note that “ornamental kales" are also edible, but are used primarily for appearance, rather than taste or texture.

Kale is truly a superstar when it comes to nutrient-density, as it provides an abundance of nutrients for minimal calories. For example, according to “World’s Healthiest Foods”, in 1 cup of cooked kale, there are only 36 calories and 1180% DRI/DV Vitamin K, 98% DRI/DV Vitamin A, 71% DRI/DV Vitamin C, roughly 2.5g of both fiber and protein, along with B-vitamins, calcium, iron and magnesium!

*Note that this source uses the terms DRI & DV to evaluate ingredients. DRI or “Dietary Reference Intake” is set by The National Academy of Sciences and includes 22 distinct age and gender groups. DV or “Daily Value” is set by the FDA and is a “one size fits all” recommendation. Because both sets of standards are important when considering daily nutrient requirements, both were incorporated into the WHfoods rating system.

 

VISION BOOST

Kale offers tremendous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits due to its incredible phytonutrient content. Kale has an unusual concentration of two types of antioxidants in particular, carotenoids (such as lutein and beta-carotene) and flavonoids (such as quercetin and kaempferol). Among these, lutein is perhaps best known for its role in eye health and its ability to protect different parts of the eye from potential damage.

 

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY

In addition to its phytonutrients, the omega-3 fatty acids found in kale also have anti-inflammatory benefits. It only takes 100 calories of kale to provide over 350 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)! The vitamin A in kale is useful in helping to prevent acne due to its anti-inflammatory effects in addition to its ability to reduce the overproduction of oil in the skin. Vitamin C plays an important role in protecting skin health from damage. Plus, kale is a spectacular source of vitamin K, which plays a role in helping regulate the body's inflammatory process while supporting blood clotting and healthy bone mineral density.

 

HEART HEALTH

Due to the fact that kale is a concentrated source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, it helps protect arteries and lessen risk of heart disease. In addition, the fiber-related nutrients in kale can bind together with bile acids, helping to decrease blood cholesterol levels as the body breaks down cholesterol to replace them. Studies on kale intake show that total blood cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol drop while blood levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol increase with increasing amounts of kale in the diet.

 

DETOXIFICATION

In addition to containing detoxifying and blood cleansing chlorophyll, kale is also a top food source for beneficial glucosinolate phytonutrients. Once digested, these can be converted by the body into helpful compounds known as isothiocyanates (ITCs), which have been shown to help support healthy hormone balance in addition to regulating detoxification activities at a cellular level. In fact, they have been shown to play a favorable role in both phases of detoxification (Phase I and Phase II). In addition, the large amount of sulfur compounds in kale have also been shown to help support Phase II detoxification. The ITCs made from kale's glucosinolates should also help protect stomach lining from bacterial overgrowth of H. Pylori.  

 

How to Enjoy

  • Limit exposure to contaminants by purchasing organically-grown kale as conventional leafy greens are generally heavily sprayed.
  • It has been suggested to massage kale leaves before consumption to break down the cell walls and make nutrients more bioavailable.
  • Kale can be cooked or eaten raw. However, cooking will inactivate “goitrogens” which may be of concern for those with thyroid issues.
  • Try kale in salads or smoothies, juiced, steamed or sautéed as a simple side dish or drizzled with olive oil and sea salt and baked into “kale chips”!
  • Store kale in the refrigerator in a plastic bag, removing as much air as possible for up to 5 days. Do not wash kale before storing because exposure to water encourages spoilage.

 

At a minimum, “World’s Healthiest Foods” recommends 3/4 cup of cruciferous vegetables on a daily basis, equivalent to approximately 5 cups per week. A more optimal intake amount would be to double this recommendation. If meeting these serving sizes seems overwhelming, consider incorporating an easy-to-use organic fermented kale powder into your diet for the nutritional and health benefits of kale along with the digestive benefits of natural fermentation!

 

-This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach -

What’s Making Your Head Ache?

Did you know there are over 20 different types of headaches? While tension headaches are said to be the most frequent, migraines are the most debilitating. Here are descriptions of three common types of headaches and potential ways to address each one.

 

  • Tension Headaches – These are associated with muscle rigidity/contraction, start at the back of the neck and shoulders, and then spread forward. The pain is felt as squeezing/pressure, however it does not pulse. It is usually felt as a moderate, dull, steady pain, across forehead or base of skull.   These headaches can last for 2 hours or multiple days and often occur due to stress, bad posture, eye strain, overexertion or magnesium deficiency.

Suggestions: Consider massage, acupuncture or chiropractic. Ask about calming herbs (chamomile, kava kava, valerian, skullcap) and supplement with magnesium, an effective “relaxer” which is also essential for stress support! Many have also reported positive results from applying peppermint or lavender essential oil topically.

 

  • Sinusitis – Frontal headaches can be caused by this condition, which is characterized by a vicious cycle of inflammation and/or infection, excess mucous production, and pressure in the sinuses. Other common triggers include allergies, environmental triggers (pollution, chemicals, cigarette smoke) or an underlying health condition. Symptoms include nasal congestion, sneezing and trouble breathing.

Suggestions: Consider natural-anti-inflammatories such as omega oils (high EPA & GLA sources), serrapeptase, bromelain, and curcumin. Quercetin, & Vitamin C act as natural anti-histamines and plant sterols help modulate the immune system for allergic reactions. Ionic Silver, Citrus Extracts, Horseradish, Oregano, Echinacea, and Garlic work to combat infection. Herbs such as mullein, marshmallow, fenugreek, slippery elm, elderflower, goldenseal, thyme work together to help loosen/expel mucous and soothe irritated membranes. Also, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) is especially helpful as it is known as a “mucous buster”. Consider inhaling eucalyptus essential oil to help clear airways. Many have also successfully used a Neti Pot with sea salt or a xylitol based nose spray to clear sinuses.

 

  • Migraines – These are intense headaches that impact quality of life. They are often chronic, periodic and recurring. Migraines are especially painful, usually one-sided (unilateral) and characterized by pulsating, throbbing pain in and around the eye/temple. These can hit without warning or be preceded by blurred vision/spots, numbness, brain fog and can persist for 2-72 hours. Sufferers may also experience nausea, sensitivity to light/sounds/smells in addition to light headedness, irritability, fatigue and lethargy. Migraines are said to be initiated by an accumulation of triggers over time that affect serotonin metabolism and lead to an instability of blood vessels, resulting in a disturbance of blood circulation to the head and pain. Common triggers include food and environmental allergies, constipation, stress and insomnia, hormonal changes, weather and pressure changes, dental problems, nutrient deficiencies, blood sugar imbalances, liver problems, dehydration, overexertion and toxicity.  

Suggestions: Vitamin B3, Gingko Biloba and CoQ10 help improve blood flow to the brain. Feverfew and butterbur have been shown to be anti-inflammatory and reduce the frequency and severity of migraines when taken preventatively. White willow and cayenne/capsaicin are useful for migraine pain relief. 5-HTP is effective in helping to control serotonin levels and preventing migraines.  Ginger and Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) have also been reported to be effective in avoiding migraine headaches. In addition, some have tried a “Hot & Cold Treatment” and immerse their feet in a hot bath, while placing a cool cloth or ice pack on the back of the neck to help draw blood away from the head to reduce pressure.

 

General Suggestions for Headaches:

  • Ensure proper gut health and support with probiotics, fibre and enzymes if necessary.
  • Avoid common allergens and potential food triggers such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, nitrites, gluten, yeast, MSG, citrus, lactose and tyramine-containing foods (i.e. chocolate, aged cheeses, red wine).
  • Choose whole, natural and organic ingredients as much as possible.
  • Get regular, moderate exercise and practice deep breathing.
  • Reduce stress and improve sleep.
  • Correct posture and ensure proper lighting.
  • Balance thyroid and estrogen/progesterone hormones if necessary.
  • Drink plenty of water!
  • Avoid excess caffeine, alcohol and cigarette smoke.
  • Ensure regular bowel movements to avoid constipation.
  • Use natural cleaning and personal care products.
  • Minimize exposure to chemicals and heavy metals.
  • Eat regular, well balanced meals.

 

This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach -

BE ALL THAT YOU CAN “B”!

A group of water-soluble nutrients, the B vitamins help enzymes to react chemically with other substances. They are required daily as they are water soluble and easily depleted by stress, poor diet, certain medications, alcohol and smoking. Each member of this group plays an important role in our health, although they work incredibly well as a team. Here are some of the many key benefits of each B vitamin:

MOOD CONTROL -> Vitamin B1 (Thiamin):
Plays an important role in neurotransmitter synthesis. It is related to a healthy nervous system and has a beneficial effect on mood, mental attitude and sleep. Vitamin B1 is also known to help improve learning capacity, concentration and learning. Diets high in processed foods call for a higher need of vitamin B1.

VISION BOOST -> Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Acts as an antioxidant to support healthy vision and proper eye function, reducing eye light sensitivity and helping to prevent headaches and migraines. Unfortunately, Vitamin B2 is not available in a wide variety of foods nor is it present in large quantities in foods, so a deficiency is common in those who have unbalanced diets.

HEART HEALTH -> Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
In certain forms, Vitamin B3 has been shown to effectively reduce levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, while helping to increase levels of HDL "good" cholesterol. It also acts as a potent vasodilator, expanding blood vessels to increase the flow of blood, improving circulation. As a result, niacin can sometimes cause an uncomfortable, temporary “flush”.

STRESS SUPPORT -> Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Supports the adrenal glands, playing a vital role in the production of adrenal hormones. Helps to increases energy and the ability to cope with and handle stressful situations.

HORMONE CONTROL -> Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Has been called the “woman’s vitamin” because of the range of PMS symptoms that it may help alleviate. Ideal for women of child-bearing age, this vitamin helps manage symptoms such as nausea in pregnancy and may inhibit the formation of kidney stones. Vitamin B6 is involved in more bodily functions than most other single nutrients.

BEAUTY AID -> Vitamin B7 (Biotin):
Promotes strong and healthy hair, skin, nails and bones. Supplemental biotin has been found to increase nail thickness, reducing splitting and brittleness. It also encourages the growth of strong, thick, healthy-looking hair and can help reverse the loss of hair and hair colour that may result from a biotin deficiency. Some dry skin conditions can benefit from biotin supplementation as this nutrient increases the production of fatty acids essential for skin health. A therapeutic amount of biotin exceeds that found in the typical diet.


PREGNANCY ESSENTIAL -> Vitamin B9 (Folate):
Very important in pregnancy! Helps regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation, ensuring the healthy development of the spinal cord and brain in fetuses. Folate before conception and in early pregnancy (first trimester) may prevent the vast majority of neural tube birth defects (such as spina bifida) in unborn children. Low levels are common and can be caused by alcoholism, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease and certain medications.

BRAIN PRESERVATION -> Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin):
Plays a role in the production of myelin, the protective sheath around nerves, as well as the production of a neurotransmitter that helps with memory and learning. It helps slow cognitive decline that comes with aging. Low B12 levels are associated with an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive impairment. Those who tend to have deficient B12 levels may include vegetarians and vegans, seniors, or those with low stomach acid, malabsorption issues and individuals who take antacids or aspirin regularly. Although B12 is the only B vitamin that can be stored in the body it is very safe to take, although it is still a good idea to have B12 levels tested fairly regularly.

Better Together!

Energy– Together the B-vitamins are involved in energy production. They help the body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Optimally balanced levels of B vitamins are a natural way to energize the body. In addition, both vitamin B12 and B9 are required for the formation of red blood cells! Note that high doses of B9 can mask symptoms of B12 deficiency.

Mental Health - B Complex supplements have been used to improve symptoms and quality of life in those with depression, anxiety or low mood.
Homocysteine – Supplementation with Vitamins B6, B12 and B9 has demonstrated positive results in the reduction of dangerous buildup homocysteine levels in the bloodstream. Without adequate levels of these vitamins, homocysteine builds up in the blood rather than being further metabolized and eliminated by the body. Homocysteine, is an amino acid by-product that can harm the cardiovascular and nervous system.

Neuropathy- Vitamins B1, B6 & B12 have been used to help guard against damage caused by diabetes complications.

Supplement Tip: Certain forms of B-vitamins require activation by the liver, which can be problemative for certain people with genetic differences in B vitamin metabolism. Look for a formula that contains the B- vitamins in their biologically active forms, which don’t require conversion by the liver before they can be absorbed and utilized by the body.

 

-This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach -

WHAT TO INGEST WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING!

OMEGAS ->

Essential Omega Fatty Acids are especially crucial before, during and after pregnancy. Among these are omega -3 providing DHA & EPA. DHA is the omega-3 fatty acid that is most important for fetal brain and retina development. The brain develops early in life at a rapid pace, reaching essential completion by ages five or six years. A woman’s demand for omega-3 DHA increases significantly during pregnancy and breastfeeding as infants rely on their mothers to supply DHA initially through the placenta and then through breast milk. EPA is the omega-3 fatty acid that helps support healthy mood, skin and control inflammation in the body. The benefits of Omega-3 during pregnancy and breastfeeding for mom include:

  • Greater maternal stores to supply the fetus via the placenta
  • Greater supply and improved nutrition of breastmilk
  • Reduced risk of postpartum depression
  • Healthy skin, hair and nails
  • Stronger immune system
  • Reduces risk of premature delivery and increased birth weight

The benefits of Omega-3 during pregnancy and breastfeeding for children include:

  • Improved vision, motor abilities, concentration, IQ, coordination, attention span
  • Healthier sleep patterns, better social behavior and communication skills
  • Less anxiety, irritability, aggression and hyperactivity
  • Stronger immunity and reduced risk of allergies, asthma and eczema

It is recommended to eat 2 servings per week of low-mercury fish (i.e. wild salmon) or take a high quality fish oil supplement to increase omega fats available to both mom and baby.

PROBIOTICS ->

Many experts agree that passage through the vaginal birth canal at birth is the baby’s first inoculation with beneficial bacteria, making it the foundation of its own bacterial ecosystem. Therefore, the composition of the microbiome is essential to both mom and child’s health. In addition, it has now been established that breast milk has its own microbiome containing, plus it produces its own prebiotics for the bacteria residing in the breast tissue and milk. Supplementing with beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, during pregnancy and breastfeeding can reduce the risk of the child developing eczema, asthma, allergy and digestive distress, in addition to supporting mom’s immune, digestive and mental health. Consider a probiotic supplement (especially if taking antibiotics), consume fermented foods (i.e. kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha), plan for a vaginal birth and choose to breastfeed if possible.

IRON ->

Women need about twice the amount of iron during pregnancy as before because their body uses it to make extra blood for baby. Iron also helps move oxygen from their lungs to the rest of the body. Too little iron is a common cause of fatigue during pregnancy. Consult a health care practitioner to see if additional iron is necessary in a non-constipating supplement form and ensure adequate consumption of iron-rich foods such as beans, spinach and grass-fed beef.    

CALCIUM ->

Calcium is not only essential to build strong bones and teeth in a growing fetus, but will help prevent deficiency during pregnancy, which will cause baby to draw the calcium it needs for development from mom’s bones, which can lead to future health problems such as osteoporosis. Consider an additional calcium supplement if necessary and consume more calcium-rich foods such as kale, almonds or organic dairy.

FOLATE ->

Folate is essential for development of baby’s neural tube (which develops into brain and spinal cord) and helps prevent birth defects that can occur at 3-4 weeks of pregnancy. In fact, supplementation in early pregnancy can reduce the incidence of neural tube defects by as much as 80%, which is why it is often recommended even before conception. In addition to a quality supplement, consume foods such as chickpeas, asparagus and cauliflower.

Other Recommendations:

  • AVOID TOXINS: Avoid nicotine, excess caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, pesticides, chemicals, and preservatives as much as possible.
  • TAKE YOUR MULTI: Choose a high quality prenatal multivitamin/mineral and consider additional Vitamin D3 to meet the nutrition needs not attained in the diet.
  • EAT WELL: Focus on consuming a variety of simple “whole” foods (unrefined/unprocessed), which should naturally contain the nutrients your body needs and avoid those it can do without. Enjoy food cravings in moderation, but ensure that you are taking in adequate amounts of essential nutrients.
  • BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR: Consume balanced meals throughout the day that provide quality protein, fibre-rich complex carbohydrates and healthful fats.
  • REST & RELAX: Manage stress and ensure adequate sleep. Consider acupuncture.
  • DRINK UP: Your blood volume increases by almost 50% during pregnancy so make sure you are consuming plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • STAY ACTIVE: Engage in regular, moderate exercise that is appropriate for your pregnancy. Consult a professional for guidelines. Stretch and wear supportive shoes!
  • A FEW MORE TIPS:
    • Both ginger and vitamin B6 have been studied as effective treatment options for pregnant women with morning sickness!
    • Red raspberry leaf taken later in pregnancy help strengthen the uterus.
    • Some professionals will recommend omega-6 evening primrose near the end of pregnancy in order to soften the cervix.
    • To improve stretch marks, try topical coconut oil, shea butter or vitamin E cream.
    • Leg cramps may indicate a possible magnesium or potassium deficiency.
    • Be sure to avoid anything that will have a cleansing effect body.

     

Assure that any supplements taken during pregnancy/breastfeeding are approved by a professional, such as a naturopath.

 

-This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach-

Terrific Turmeric!

Turmeric root has been used for thousands of years in Asia and India. You may be familiar with the use of this traditional spice in curry dishes, but were you aware that it also offers tremendous health benefits?

Curcumin is the yellow pigment in turmeric, which acts as an important active compound and is responsible for its many beneficial qualities. Although curcumin is the best known medicinal and therapeutic ingredient in turmeric root, it does contain other curcuminoids which are thought to have some health benefits as well.

Curcumin acts as a powerful antioxidant for the entire body and only a small amount is needed to exert its many health benefits, assuming that the curcumin is able to be absorbed. Here is a review of the main uses and benefits of this incredible ingredient.

INFLAMMATION RELIEF - >

Due to recent research, curcumin has been nicknamed the “master off-switch for inflammation.” It has been shown to help relieve pain and inflammation by modulating the inflammatory pathways that affect heart, joints, liver, gastrointestinal tract, brain, cellular health and the immune system! This makes curcumin useful for relieving the pain in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and bursitis as well as in digestive conditions such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, gastritis and gastric ulcers. Curcumin has the ability to block more than 30 different inflammation pathways!

Curcumin also protects against inflammatory calcium loss from our bones and has been shown to slow prostate cell proliferation in addition to supporting healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

LIVER HEALTH - >

Curcumin has liver-protective effects and is a powerful liver detoxifier. It helps to prevent the build-up of toxins, enhance glutathione levels, supports bile production and solubility as well as improve digestive function.

Curcumin may help reverse certain forms of liver cirrhosis to some degree, and is thought to be especially helpful for people who regularly drink alcohol or use common painkillers, both of which damage cause liver damage. Studies suggest that curcumin can also reduce the severity of liver injury induced by iron overdose, cholestasis and carbon tetrachloride intoxication.

In addition to supporting the liver processes, managing inflammation is also vital in aiding detoxification. Inflammation control is needed because the detoxification process involves the release of toxic metabolites from our cells and tissues in order to expel them from the body. On the way to being eliminated, these toxins can trigger inflammatory reactions and cause tissue damage.

BRAIN SUPPORT - >


Curcumin, was originally researched for Alzheimer's disease because studies found there is a much lower incidence and prevalence of Alzheimer's in India than in North America. The association between curry consumption and cognitive level in certain populations were researched and it was found that those who ate curry foods performed better on a standard test than those who never or rarely ate curry!

Alzheimer's disease degrades the nerve cells in the brain through inflammation in glial cells, the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, metal toxicity, and oxidative damage. Curcumin acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in the brain. It can also break down plaques and has the potential to guard against their development, plus it supports healthy neurotransmitter function, improving memory and helping to prevent cognitive decline. 


Including organic turmeric in the diet is highly recommended. Try it in dressings, soups, hot drinks (see recipe below), smoothies or as a natural food coloring! In addition, consider a supplemental form that has been created for maximum absorption and digestibility in order to better experience its therapeutic effects.

Golden Turmeric Milk Recipe (Serves 2):

  • 2 cups of dairy-free milk
  • ¼ tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. fermented organic turmeric
  • pinch of black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsps. raw honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil

Blend all ingredients together. Add to a pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer for a few minutes. Serve & Enjoy!

-This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach -

Don't Let A Cold Knock You Down!

There are more than 200 different viruses known to cause symptoms of the common cold. In North America, there are billions each year, with children averaging 6-8 and adults averaging 2-4 colds yearly. It is said that we lose 45 million sick days and 22 million school days each year due to colds. A cold is usually a viral infection that primarily affects the throat, nose and sinuses. Possible symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose, congestion, sneezing, cough, etc.

Factors that impair immunity and increase our risk of catching a cold include stress and insomnia, poor diet (especially high in refined foods/sugar) and nutrient deficiencies, lack of exercise, poor hygiene, aging, dehydration, among others.

Did You Know? A tickly throat indicates a virus has already been at work for at least a day trying to break down the connective tissue in the throat to get into the bloodstream!

Tips to Support Immune System:

  • Rest Up. Get at least 8 hours of good quality sleep per evening.
  • Manage Stress. Consider supportive herbs, stress-management techniques and/or acupuncture!
  • Stay Hydrated. Drink plenty of water to help keep mucous membranes moist, preventing airborne pathogens from colonizing in the nose and throat.
  • Get Moving. Aim to do regular, moderate exercise at least 3x/week to promote lymphatic activity.
  • Stay Clean. Wash hands frequently with simple soap and hot water.
  • Avoid Toxins. Be aware of heavy metals, electromagnetic frequencies and chemicals.
  • Optimize Digestion. Chew food well, avoid food sensitivities, consider enzymes.
  • Consider Supplements. Below are key ingredients to consider to support immunity and prevent or treat colds.

Supplement Suggestions

Prevention Pack ->

  • Multivitamin/mineral: Provides the basic nutrition our bodies need to support immune function.
  • Vitamin D3: Studies show that those with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in the blood are 40% more likely to report colds or flus!
  • Fish Oils: Decrease inflammation in the body, enabling the immune system to function more efficiently.
  • Probiotics: Several strains of beneficial bacteria have been found to help support immune function. Individuals using probiotics daily suffer fewer colds or flus, or experience shorter and milder illnesses.

Extra Support->

  • Zinc: Known to support and protect the immune system and help the body fight against diseases. Also helps with tissue formation and supports membranes.
  • Vitamin C: A natural virus fighter that enhances the immune system by increasing natural killer cell activity, antibody response, thymus function and supporting collagen synthesis for connective tissue integrity, making it harder for viruses to invade. It is often used to prevent and reduce the length of colds and flus.
  • Echinacea: Has immune-strengthening effects and can help stop a cold from developing, ease symptoms, and accelerate healing (reducing the length and severity).
  • Elderberry: Packed with antioxidants, strengthens immunity and has anti-viral abilities.
  • Goldenseal: An immune-boosting herb with anti-mucous properties. Contains berberine, which is antimicrobial and can soothe throat pain.
  • Oregano: A powerful anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial that is high in antioxidants. Often used to help with respiratory and sinus conditions.
  • Thyme: Traditionally used to help relieve coughs, sore throats and chest congestion.
  • Astragalus: Used to treat viral infections and has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms in treatment of the common cold by stimulating several factors of the immune system.
  • Bee Propolis: Has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic activity. Great to use as a preventative and works to protect and boost the immune system.
  • Beta Glucans: Sourced from certain forms of yeast and medicinal mushrooms (i.e. Reishi). They enhance the body’s response to infection and activate immune cells without overstimulating the immune system.
  • Plant/Phytosterols: Have also been shown to modulate the immune system.
  • Antioxidants: Helps prevent oxidative damage to the thymus gland, the major organ of the immune system and reduce inflammation.
  • Helpful Herbs: Wild cherry bark, mullein & horehound help break up and clear phlegm.
  • Essential Oils: Eucalyptus and peppermint help open up sinuses to clear congestion.

Dietary Suggestions

  • Stay Away. Avoid refined or processed foods, sugars, excess caffeine or alcohol, hydrogenated fats.
  • Balance Blood Sugar. Consume adequate fibre & protein with meals. Note that fibre is also necessary to remove toxins from the body and can act as a prebiotic for good bacteria. Protein is especially critical for a strong immune system and chronic infections is a sign of deficiency.
  • Eat Well. Consume an alkalizing and anti-inflammatory diet! Great ingredients include leafy greens, berries, garlic, coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, lemon, green tea, cacao, sweet potatoes and fermented foods such as kimchi.

- This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach -

Ten Commonly Used Natural Ingredients & Their Benefits

  • SLEEP SUPPORT: Valerian ->
    Used as a mild sedative for the treatment of insomnia and sleep disorders. By promoting a sense of calm and relaxation, it supports natural sleep, anxiety, nervousness, etc. It has been proven to shorten the time it takes to fall asleep, reduce the amount of waking time after sleep onset, prolong the overall time spent asleep, increase the length of deep sleep, increase dreaming and significantly improve the quality of sleep in both normal and insomniac sleepers.

 

  • MENTAL BOOST: Ginkgo Biloba ->
    It increases blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain and extremities. Ginkgo enhances memory, concentration and mental sharpness, helping to boost cognitive function. It has been shown to affect recall, recognition, reaction time, mood and energy! Ginkgo may also be helpful for the early stages of cognitive decline and dementia/Alzheimer's disease, circulation problems, vertigo and tinnitus.

 

  • HEART HEALTH: Hawthorn ->
    Many naturopaths consider hawthorn to be the number one herb for the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn is able to bring about a gentle and sustained reversal of many degenerative and negative age-related changes to the way the heart functions at a cellular level through a wide spectrum of flavonoids. It is used as a cardio tonic and helps to strengthen heart contractions (making the heart a more efficient pump), reduce heart rate, and dilate blood vessels to reduce blood pressure, while improving blood flow and circulation. It may also help to lower cholesterol levels while preventing plaque buildup.

 

  • LIVER LOVE: Milk Thistle ->
    It is used as a powerful antioxidant to counteract the effects of pollutants and protect the liver from damage. It helps to repair and promote tissue regeneration, supportis detoxification reactions and cholesterol metabolism while improving digestion/gallbladder function (increasing bile production and flow). Milk thistle has been found effective for all sorts of inflammatory and infectious liver/gallbladder disorders and has been used to support treatment of liver disease associated with alcohol abuse, chronic hepatitis, and those working with or exposed to toxic chemicals, and other harmful substances. The active ingredients in milk thistle are flavonoids collectively known as silymarin.

 

  • STRESS SOLUTION: Rhodiola ->
    An effective anti-stress herbal extract that works as a stimulating adaptogen to help us manage and deal with stress by increasing resistance of the body to chemical, biological and physical stressors. Rhodiola helps balances cortisol levels and may be used for stress-induced fatigue, anxiety and chronic fatigue syndrome. It helps restore energy levels and support cognitive performance such as memory, clarity, and concentration and focus while supporting mood.

 

  • PROSTATE PROTECTION: Saw Palmetto ->
    Saw palmetto has been used to treat prostatitis and urinary tract infections. It is used to help reduce enlarged prostate glands and relieve the symptoms associated with mild to moderate benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), such as frequent urination (especially at night), difficult or painful urination, hesitancy, urgency, heaviness, weak urine flow, incomplete voiding, etc. Saw palmetto has anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. It also works to inhibit hormone conversions that lead to BPH, improving the metabolism of testosterone in the prostate.

 

  • WEIGHT CONTROL: Garcinia Cambogia ->
    It is a fruit in the tamarind family whose rind is rich in hydroxycitric acid (HCA). It has been said to be one of the most successful weight management herbs. HCA has been shown to inhibit the enzyme responsible for the conversion of carbohydrates into fat, causing the body to use up existing fat stores. Garcinia Cambogia helps prevent new body fat formation, while increasing your fat-burning rate. The HCA component may also increase serotonin levels, which helps boost mood and control appetite and food cravings. Lastly, this ingredient has also been shown to support blood sugar management.

 

  • MENOPAUSE RELIEF: Black Cohosh ->
    The main active constituents in black cohosh help with symptoms of menopause while providing anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It is effective in the relief of hot flashes, night sweats, heavy perspiration, headaches, heart palpitations, depression, sleep disturbances, vaginal atrophy (thinning of the vaginal walls causing painful intercourse) and dryness, nervousness, irritability and loss of concentration.

 

  • IMMUNE BOOST: Oregano ->
    As an antimicrobial, it can directly kill bacteria, viruses, intestinal parasites, and fungal infections. Oil of oregano is one of the few remedies that can fight superbugs! It is also a powerful antioxidant capable of preventing cellular damage and possesses anti-inflammatory qualities as well. Often used to help with respiratory and sinus conditions, traveller’s diarrhea, candida overgrowth, seasonal allergies or topically to relieve insect bites, wounds and minor skin conditions.

 

  • VEIN CARE: Butcher's Broom ->
    Has been shown in several clinical trials to reduce varicose veins and hemorrhoids, and to treat the itching and burning of hemorrhoids. Butcher's broom has been found to reduce blood pooling in the lower leg and is used to help treat lower leg discomfort, including cramps, pain, and swelling. A review indicated that it exerts activity on the three levels of circulation involved in Chronic Venous Insufficiency. It acts on lymphatic drainage, the constriction of blood vessels and microcirculation. When used in combination with the other ingredients (such as horse chestnut), it also improves the strength of veins and reduces permeability.

 

-This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach-

Understanding “Organic” Part 2 -> Common Concern: Can I Afford To Eat Organic?

Nutritionist, Joy McCarthy states that “It's not that organic food is more expensive, it's that mass-manufactured, industrial farmed and packaged foods have become so cheap! For example, in 1950 30% of a household’s budget was dedicated towards food vs. only 13% in 2003 - and I can guarantee you it's not because people are eating half the amount of food.” It is encouraged that consumers learn to appreciate the value of their organic dollar and invest in their health. However, here are a few tips on how to make healthy eating a financial reality.

 

  1. BUY THE BASICS IN BULK- It has been shown that packaging alone can make up 15-20% of a food’s cost! Stock up on raw, single ingredient, whole foods and take the time to package and prepare them from scratch. Examples include whole grains, beans, nuts, dried fruit and seeds and many can be found in bulk. Be sure to store them appropriately for long-term use. Tip: Find a shopping buddy and split big ticket items with a friend if it’s too much for your family to consume.
  2. PUT IN THE EFFORT - Avoid convenience foods that are pre- cut and washed. Buy these products in their original forms and clean, slice, grind and prepare at home.
  3. MEAT SELECTION- Cook a whole chicken and take it apart, using as many parts as possible, including the stock. You can also consider trying less expensive cuts of meat.
  4. RE-THINK YOUR DRINK - By switching to water, you can save a ton of money on frozen and carbonated beverages, not to mention significantly improve your health. Also, if you are a coffee drinker, brew your own at home. Tip: try making healthier speciality coffee replicas with ingredients like almond milk, honey, coconut cream, matcha, etc.
  5. DIY - Plant a garden (you can even start in containers or on rooftops, windowsills, etc.) and grow your own herbs, produce and sprouts. Also, you can make your own kombucha, yogurt, kefir, bread and even cheese if you are feeling adventurous! In addition, try creating healthier homemade versions of snacks such as bars, muffins or granola at home.
  6. GET ORGANIZED - Did you know that the average household wastes 14% of the food they buy? Make a meal plan before grocery shopping and only buy what you need. Plan in a way that will make optimal use of ingredients so extras can be used efficiently in the next meal. Keep your pantry and fridge organized and properly rotated to keep track of food supply and avoid unnecessary purchases. Also, don’t forget…“never shop hungry!”
  7. KEEP IT SIMPLE - You don’t need fancy ingredients to make a great, healthy meal. Stick to staple items that can be used in a variety of dishes. Make a base list and refill it as needed. Learn to cook great meals with fewer, yet better ingredients.
  8. QUALITY OVER QUANITY - Note that organic, whole, grass-fed ingredients are richer in nutrients and have less fillers so you can get much more satisfaction out of less food when it is of high quality.
  9. STAY HOME - Restaurant food can add up quickly and is not necessarily ideal in terms of nutrition. Learn to experiment in the kitchen and try to replicate your favorite dish at home. If you are going out, do so for breakfast or lunch as they are smaller, less expensive meals that usually offer healthier options (ex: oatmeal, soup, etc.)
  10. THE BEAUTY OF CHEAP PROTEIN- Stretch meals by adding healthy inexpensive ingredients to high quality meats to make them larger and more nutritious. For example, try adding black beans to ground beef tortillas or enjoy chickpeas in chicken stir-fry. Another budget-friendly idea is to try to enjoy a meatless meal at least once a week. Try egg and cheese quiche, lentil burgers, 3-bean chili or quinoa stuffed peppers. Protein powders are also an affordable, simple way to add good nutrition to your diet.
  11. PRIORITIZE - Learn what is most important to buy organic and when you can afford to choose conventional. For example, choosing quality animal products are of high importance. When it comes to produce, learn the dirty dozen list. These ingredients tend to have the highest concentration of chemical residue so aim to purchase them in organic forms (i.e. apples, celery, blueberries, potatoes, spinach, kale, bell peppers, etc.)
  12. SIGN UP! - Take advantage of coupons and in-store loyalty points programs whenever possible. While it may be temporarily inconvenient to sign up, it will be worth it in the end.
  13. CHOOSE LOCAL - Not only are local foods fresher and therefore more nutritious. They are lower in shipping costs, post-harvest preservatives/pesticides and minimize transportation pollutants. Plus, the money spent comes back to you indirectly as profits stay within the community. Local purchases are an investment towards the future.
  14. SHOP IN SEASON. Organic food in-season can even be cheaper than its conventional counterparts. Buy large amounts and learn to properly prepare them for long-term storage (freezing, canning, dehydrating, etc.). Try to “pick your own” local produce (i.e. strawberries) if possible at peak times and make it a fun family event!
  15. REMIX LEFTOVERS - Get creative with cooking and learn to use left overs efficiently in order to avoid waste. Create soups, stir-fries, salads and casseroles out of what’s left in the fridge before it spoils. Make friends with your crockpot and cook bigger batches to stretch meals for a few days and/or freeze for future use.

 

When it comes to eating healthy on a budget remember that choosing higher quality, putting in more effort, some smart planning and good ol’ creativity can go a long way!

 

-This Column in Sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach-

Understanding “Organic” Part 1 -> Common Concern: Is the “Organic” claim actually regulated?

A 2015 survey on organic food showed that 69% buy it, 20% understand it, 72% think it’s just about marketing and 53% don’t trust it.  Perhaps you have heard comments stating that “organic” is simply a buzz word used to overcharge people. Maybe you are among those that believe anyone can slap this claim on their product without differentiating themselves in any way. Regardless, it’s clear that this term is misunderstood and that more information is needed on what it means and how it is enforced in order for it to be properly appreciated.

 

What Does “Organic” Mean?

According to the Canadian Health Food Association, the term “Organic” refers to the way products are grown and processed. More specifically, this food is produced in a holistic way, using harmonious, environmentally and animal-friendly farming methods. Certification assures consumers that every step from farm to table has protected and maintained the product’s integrity.

Organic is about more than just nutrition and safety, as these principles are based on ecology, health, fairness and care! By choosing organic, we help support pro-active sustainable farming practices that focus on conserving soil health and water. Organic farmers also use renewable resources to grow their crops and avoid synthetic chemicals.  

When in doubt, we can look at how things are done in nature as it holds the answer and many will agree that organic standards coincide with nature’s processes!

 

What Are Organic Standards? 

Organic certification “places strict limits and prohibitions on the use of toxic and persistent pesticides; synthetic fertilizers; the routine use of drugs, antibiotics or synthetic hormones; animal cloning; Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs); sewage sludge (bio solids); and irradiation. Organic standards also forbid the use of artificial food colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and many other processing aids and ingredients commonly found in processed foods (CHFA).”

 

Is Organic Certification Enforced?

In Canada, this system is overseen by government organic standards and regulations, and applies to both domestic and imported products. Canada’s organic standards are among the most widely recognized in the world and is the most heavily scrutinized and regulated food system in Canada.

DID YOU KNOW? In order to obtain certification, a farm must be managed using organic practices for 3 years prior to harvest of the first certified organic crop!

 

Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA)’s “10 Great Reasons to Go Organic”!

  1. Organic products meet strict national standards

Assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures and rules.

  1. Cut back on chemicals!

Choosing certified organic significantly reduces your exposure to toxic chemical residues. Organic farming practices focus on ppreventative and proactive pest management techniques.

  1. Organic farms take water seriously

Organic farmers are required to manage the land and life around water systems very carefully.

  1. Organic farmers work in harmony with nature

A survey found that 59% of Canadians believe organic farming is better for a healthy environment. It builds healthy ecosystems and has higher biodiversity, which promotes sustainability and balance.

  1. Organic methods reduce pollution and wasted energy

Practices can use as little as half the energy of other farming methods! They rely on renewable resources, recycle materials as much as possible and strive to protect the environment.

  1. Organic practices protect the health of farmers and animals

Choosing organic reduces the exposure for families and the farmers who grow their food. Organic standards also ensure that attentive care is given to livestock (health, housing, feed and behavior) in order to meet their needs and promote wellbeing.

  1. Organic farmers build healthy soil

Focused on using sustainable practices such as crop rotation, that build healthy soil and prevent erosion/degradation.

  1. Organic farming is good for rural Canada

3,700 organic farms in Canada. 11,167 Canadian employees. Contribution of over $3.5 billion to our economy.

  1. Organic producers strive to preserve genetic diversity

Many organic farmers collect and preserve seeds and grow heirloom varieties and rare breeds of livestock.

  1. The only non-GMO standard overseen by the Canadian government

Organic standards forbid the use of Genetically Modified Organisms in seeds, animal feed, and ingredients.

 

To be sure you are getting a certified product, look for the Canada Organic logo, which can only appear on foods that are 95% or more “organic”. Note that many smaller growers can’t afford to get organic certification, which is why it’s advised to talk to local growers and ask them about their farming practices.

Now that we have discussed the issue of validity when it comes to all things “organic”, visit our column in the upcoming weeks as we tap into common concerns regarding nutritional value and budget.

 

-This Column in Sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach-

The views expressed in Community Blogs are those of the author, and are not necessarily shared by SteinbachOnline.com

Blog Coordinator

Pamela Thiessen completed an Advanced Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Manitoba before she discovered the power of nutrition and natural health. This new found passion led her to seek employment at Good N Natural. Fascinated by the incredible benefits of healthy eating, she was inspired to enroll into the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition Program, where she attained a diploma in holistic nutrition. She also holds her Canadian Natural Product Advisor certification. This accumulation of knowledge and her desire to promote health and educate individuals has led her into the marketing and consumer education role at the store. Her goal is to help others improve their quality of life and experience the joy that comes along with healthy living, in hopes of improving the community as a whole.

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