Tea – Delicious and Healthy
So many of us are tea drinkers here in America, although I tend to think of tea drinking as a pastime of the British mostly. That’s not even true! But recently I have been increasingly aware of the many tea drinkers here at home; in fact, more than 159 million Americans drink it.
In fact, in 2020, Americans drank more than 84 billion servings of tea! And, on any day, over 50% of the American population drinks tea.
So, it seems wise, knowing how popular tea drinking is, to explore the many health benefits of tea, and there are a bunch!
Tea has been clinically studied for a long time, so when we talk benefits, we mean real, scientific benefits. Here are a few:
Tea can boost the immune system. And if there’s ever a time to boost the immune system, it would be during the current pandemic! In fact, white tea may be the most effective type in fighting cancer, another disease having to do with our immunity.
Chamomile tea can help reduce menstrual pain and muscle spasms; it is also known to improve sleep quality and quantity, help generally with relaxation, thereby reducing stress.
Rooibos tea, an African tea, is known to improve blood pressure and circulation (thereby being heart healthy) and can help boost our good cholesterol and lower our bad cholesterol. It can also help keep our skin and hair healthy.
Peppermint tea, which has menthol naturally in it, can help sooth an upset stomach and help you if you’re constipated and/or have irritable bowel syndrome or even motion sickness.
Ginger is wonderful any way you eat it! But as a tea it can help to ward off morning sickness and is useful if you have chronic indigestion. It is also known to help relieve joint pain if you have osteoarthritis.
Green tea, being high in flavonoids, can also help your heart health like rooibos tea by lowering bad cholesterol and raising your good cholesterol. It can also help lower your triglycerides and impact total cholesterol count.
Black tea, which stems from the same plant as does green tea, is made by drying and fermenting the leaves which results in a darker color and different taste. This one is useful if applied to minor cuts and abrasions and bruises; it is also known to reduce swelling and can lower inflammation from rashes and even poison ivy. In general, tea has antioxidants which are completely healthy, it has less caffeine than coffee (or none at all), and as stated above, can help reduce your risk of heart issues. It might also be helpful in the battle of the bulge (i.e., weight loss). It may be able to help protect your bones and is gut healthy. Remember – three-fourths of our immune system resides in the gut so it’s a great idea to keep the gut nice and healthy!
At the time of this writing, we are heading into the cold weather seasons. There’s nothing like a hot cup of tea (or iced if you prefer) to give you comfort and warmth and a sense of feeling cozy.
How about a few recipes?!
One favorite tea recipe is Moroccan tea. You can make this with green tea and fresh (preferably organic) spearmint leaves. Be careful about sweetening this up, as table sugar is never really good for you – LOL! Add the tea to boiling water and let it steep for about 15 minutes. Strain it, if need be, put the spearmint at the bottom of the teapot and pour the tea over the leaves. Enjoy!
Another good one is lemon ginger tea. You will need fresh ginger root (preferably organic), perhaps a very little honey if you like it sweet (but use very sparingly), and one (organic or local) lemon which has been rinsed well. Fill a pot with water and boil. Turn the heat down to medium. Add some thinly sliced ginger root (leaving the peel on it). Simmer for about 15 minutes or until it tastes well and some of the water has reduced. Enjoy!
Then there’s chai tea. You can use Darjeeling tea, fresh cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger root, cloves, green cardamom pods, black peppercorns, and a little honey. You’ll also need whole milk. Using a grinder or a mortar and pestle grind the cloves, cardamon, and black peppercorns. Add all the above (except the milk and honey) to a saucepan, stir, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. You may want to strain the spices and tea leaves out and then add the milk and honey, and make sure everything is nice and warm for a cozy, cuddly day. Enjoy!
Now, if you’re wanting to lose some weight, you can enhance the process of dieting and exercising with some homemade recipes. As many of you know, green tea can be particularly useful in a variety of ways. It is also good if you’re trying to lose weight. You can make a delicious and healthy tea with grated ginger (using either the root or powder), cinnamon (use sticks or powder), water of course, green tea (loose or in teabag form), a little lemon juice (fresh organic will be the best), and if you want a little sweetener, use a tiny bit of honey. You can also use – in any recipe – a healthy sweetener like stevia or erythritol, for example. You can always put in a few fresh mint leaves as a garnish and some of its nutrients will add flavor and health-giving properties to your tea. Boil the ginger and cinnamon in the water for a few minutes. Add honey or healthy substitute (or leave it out if you wish), and a little lemon juice and mix. Strain this mixture. Then put in your green tea bag or leaves. Let it steep for just a couple of minutes. Enjoy!
As an addition to a healthy weight-loss program, you can choose a tea recipe that will help give your metabolic rate a boost. Take some warm water, a little bit of raw honey or other healthy substitute, a little fresh lemon juice, a little raw apple cider vinegar, a little fresh ginger, a little cinnamon, and a bit of cayenne pepper. First mix the honey with the warm water, add the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Add ginger (preferably freshly grated) and some cinnamon (use a healthy one). Finally add the cayenne pepper; mix up well and … enjoy!
And as always, have a happy, holistically healthy day!
Let’s face it – times have been tough the last couple of years! Many of us have lost our income sources, as least temporarily during this “pandemic.” Thank heavens for unemployment, but it’s only a fraction of what our income is or has been. Although things seem to be picking up again for many people, we can still be justifiably concerned with cash flow, paying bills, and feeding ourselves and our loved ones.
So, this begs the question – can we eat healthy on a tighter budget? Can it really be done?
The answer is a resounding YES! I’ll tell you how!
First of all, it’s a great time to start reducing our junk food intake. Junk food, as most of us know, takes away from our healthy by supplying a fraction of substandard nutrients. I can hear it now – but I can’t afford to buy healthy food! I used to say and think this myself in earlier years.
However, it’s not true. Even organic foods go on sale; in fact, some grocery stores have it on clearance racks. The trick is to buy it at greatly reduced rates, and then either eat it right away, or throw it in the freezer if it’s fresh meat, poultry, or wild caught fish, or store it in your cupboards if it’s something canned, such as organic beans.
If you are buying fresh produce on sale, just buy enough to feed yourselves before it goes bad. So, salads would be something to consume right away, but you can get by a little longer if you cook with it in soups, stir-fries, stews, etc. (Plus you can freeze it then.)
Don’t think you can’t do the same thing with fresh conventional foods. I’m always checking the meat clearance rack and checking for sales on everything. I visit my grocery store fairly often – some of you won’t have time or inclination to do so, and it’s just a suggestion.
If some of you have access to bulk purchasing, you can always buy things like spring water at bulk prices and larger quantities. So, in my opinion, if it makes sense to have a paid membership, then by all means do so, because over the course of a year, you will save much more money than the membership price.
Advance planning is always a good way to potentially save money. You’re not buying things so much on the spur of the moment. If you have a grocery list, then just buy what’s on the list.
It’s still usually less expensive to cook and eat at home, although I am a big fan of eating healthy in restaurants. But often and especially in the winter especially, when I don’t feel so much like going outside and running around, I eat more at home and my bank account thanks me!
If you cook more than you eat at one meal, don’t be afraid to consume your leftovers in a timely manner. Most cooked food can be frozen, so if you freeze your leftovers, you don’t have to have the same meal several times in a row.
Try not to shop when you’re hungry! Statistics show that we tend to buy more when our tummies are growling – LOL!
Remember to keep your food purchases to real, whole foods – skip the ramen noodles and mac and cheese even though they’re very inexpensive to buy, relatively speaking. Your overall health, including your mental health, will thank you!
Get to know your food brands – do your due diligence and make sure that these companies have a good reputation for quality, especially in terms of having a lack of chemical additives which really take away from your health. (Ask yourself, am I worth it?! And I really, really hope your answer is yes!)
So, if you have a good brand, and you’re always reading ingredients and know about processing methods, you can save a little more money and buy generic. One good example is the Whole Foods home brand (365), which always saves money. Since I shop at Kroger, I have familiarized myself with their Simple Truth Natural and Simple Truth Organic brands and have done my due diligence.
Another good hack is to purchase healthy but cheaper cuts of meat and you can use them in your pressure cooker, soups, stews, burritos, casseroles, etc.
After fresh produce (hopefully that’s local and in season), you can go to flash frozen fruits and veggies, as these will usually contain more healthy nutrients than canned.
If you have a green thumb, you can try your hand at growing your own garden of produce – it’s so much fun! I have a very tiny back yard, but I have cultivated it over about 5 years and it’s pretty close to organic by now.
You can grow your own plants from seeds, or you can buy organic plants, but at least purchase non-GMO plants. I lay fresh, organic soil down each year, too. I can easily get about 20 veggie plans in my small garden, although I will admit that it’s way too crowded. My yield each year is fantastic, and I really enjoy the miracle of growing my own food!
If you like digital and/or paper coupons, use them wisely. If your grocery store generates coupons for you, they may base them on your buying patterns, so at times, I get double discounts – from a mark-down and a coupon, combined. I buy more when I get good stuff cheap and use it up later.
And, as always, please have a happy and holistically healthy day!
It hardly seems possible that Thanksgiving Day is nearly upon us! My head is full of thoughts of turkey, stuffing, and other favorite dishes!
You might be asking yourself if it is possible to have a decadent, delicious Thanksgiving meal and have it healthy, too. Well … the answer is a resounding yes!
Use fresh (and organic when possible) veggies, including mashed potatoes and yams (okay, we’ll relax the carb count a little for the occasion if you watch them). Use little to no table sugar, but perhaps a little honey and/or maple syrup would be okay. Remember – I said a little bit! Some safer sweeteners to use are stevia and monk fruit extract, although these, I find, are an acquired taste.
I am baking a pumpkin pie as we speak, and I am using almond flour and crushed pecans for the crust. I purchased a can of organic pumpkin puree to act as a base for the filling. I plan to take some organic heavy whipping cream to put on top before we indulge! (This is allowed on my low carb approach and is it delicious!)
Now … for the turkey … or any meat you may be consuming (sorry to my vegetarian/vegan friends!): organic or all-natural meats can be a bit pricy, so I always purchase when they are on sale and into my freezer they go.
Since I rarely eat wheat anymore, I do not make a stuffing based on it, but almond flour and cream cheese – and maybe a little mozzarella thrown in – make up a good “bread” from which you can fashion dressing. If you like, you can get a gluten free package of stuffing mix, although it will still be starchy. Look on the internet for delicious recipes!
Are you getting the picture?! You are only limited by your imagination and your unwillingness to surf the net for wonderful, free recipes.
Avoid drinks with sugar, but indulge in a little wine, if you are so inclined. Remember – I said a little!
Above all else, count your blessings and bask in the knowledge that this is one holiday meal that will not be unhealthy. For more information on holistic healthy living, please visit my website!
And – as always – please have a happy, holistically healthy day and holiday season!
For me, the word mindfulness conjures up the same kinds of images that I get when I hear the word, exercise. In other words, I think “oh, no!” The truth is, when I exercise in any way, shape, or form, I feel good while I’m doing it and afterwards. It’s the same thing when I actually engage in mindfulness practices. So – I definitely need an attitude adjustment!
Mindfulness is a state of being in the present moment. It’s focus, calmness, etc. It’s definitely not self-put-downs or self-recriminations. Yoga and other mindfulness practices such as meditation, taking a bubble bath, being in nature, etc., are great ways to get into that calm, in-the-present mode of being. That’s where you’re at your best.
Self-care is not being self-indulgent. It’s not something that could be negative either. It means you take care of yourself to help promote better health. It’s something that helps you stay balanced. In fact, according to Google Trends, the number of searches for self-care has more than doubled in the past five years or so.
I think we all do self-care to a certain extent (and yoga and mindfulness definitely belong in this category), but are we really doing enough? For all of you helping people, you wonderful, loving people who would rather help others than yourselves, this can turn into a nightmare if you don’t learn how to do a balancing act between taking care of yourself and others.
Do you let others drain you? Do you put your perception of their needs in front of your own? If so, you can benefit from many of our course offerings on our Health and Wellness Online Teachable, whether you are a professional seeking continuing education credits or a parent or just a person who wants to be better informed.
Did I say yoga? Of course, I did – it is one of the best researched, and most effective ways to achieve mindfulness and healing, both in the mental/emotional realm and in the physical body. Remember that old mind-body connection…it’s real and succinct.
Here are just some tangible benefits of practicing yoga:
Since self-care is an umbrella term of sorts – it includes everything, we need to get and stay healthy – this includes our nutrition, cleanliness, getting medical care, taking supplements, practicing mental health care, etc. It can even mean making our spiritual life healthy…after all, we are hard-wired genetically for spirituality! It’s all that we need to do to keep our balance in this chaotic world. It helps us manage stressors from a healthy vantage point, not from an unhealthy one.
Yoga is one of the best researched modes of self-care, and it combines strength building, awareness, and harmony or balance in the mind and the body. In fact, if someone thinks they can have optimal health in one but not the other, I will respectfully beg to differ! One helps promote the other. Together, mind and body, we are stronger in all ways.
There are probably over 100 different types of schools of yoga, but most include breathing exercises, meditation, and posturing or striking poses which help flex different muscle groups. Haven’t you experienced muscles and other types of fasciae getting knotted up? Or when you’re stressed out, how does your back and neck feel?!
It’s important to find the ways that work well for you personally, as an individual, as well as in your tight schedules, to be able to relax and unwind. I know the same to be true of exercise – I like walking but love to dance! So, try a few things and find out what seems to be most beneficial to you. Then practice it a few minutes a day.
And as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
Many of you know you’re not living the healthiest lifestyle you could be, and especially in today’s world, maybe you’re having some thoughts about changing that up.
But you may not know exactly what to do. We all know that getting rid of our beloved junk foods – foods with empty calories, foods that are overly processed, foods that are laden with chemicals and especially sugar, and foods that have been robbed of their nutrients, is a good idea!
Easier said than done, right?!
Let’s face it – it’s hard work! Don’t let anybody fool you. But if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s the ones who don’t give up that eventually turn their lives around for the better. Also, an occasional excursion into sugar and pizza mania is not likely going to be lethal – as long as it’s really occasional – LOL! (Psst, by the way, I and the internet have recipes for very healthy pizzas and other goodies that actually taste good too!)
So, yes, I start by talking about food, because what we eat represents about 75% of our total health. Adding some well-placed supplements to that list makes this percentage even stronger!
But there are other types of lifestyle changes that we can incorporate, like mindfulness, changing living and work environments, changing our social environments, etc. Have you heard about time management? Of course you have! (And we’re not all always that good at it.)
1) You can start by informing yourself of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, one that will promote optimal healing and abundant health in you and your loved ones. By the way, having worked with kids for about 16 years in a public middle school, I found out that kids watch adults, even adults they don’t know, and so we are in a very strong position to influence them. It makes sense we’d want to influence them in a positive way, right?! Examples of the bigger picture are cutting back or cutting out all junk food unless you make them with healthier ingredients. There are lots of available recipes. Just reach out and ask me for some guidance! Then start adding more health-giving foods each day, like salads made with fresh, preferably organic and varied veggies, and lightly steamed veggies as accompaniments to your meals. I also cook with tons of fresh veggies inside recipes for soups, stews, even meatloaf! It goes without saying that you need to read labels and not buy overly processed, chemical-laden foods. Use real, whole foods. If you want more help on this step, please just reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) The key to success is to start off after learning a lot by making one or two small changes at a time. The first week, cut down or cut out all things with sugar. The next week, continuing with low to no sugar, cut down or cut out anything made with processed grains, like wheat. If you see enriched wheat on the label, it should signal you that this wheat has been stripped of all nutrients first, and then a thimble-full of nutrients have been added back in. So, it’s a no-go! The next week you could cut back or cut out soda, even the ones that are healthier due to sugar content. You get the drift! And don’t be overly worried if you mess up – just start over again. Nobody’s saying this will be easy so be nice and understanding with yourself. Eventually you’ll get it!
3) If you’re not used to moving your body much, identify some things you enjoy or will enjoy doing that involve moving your body. For me the most fun thing I can do is dance. Even if I’m not going anywhere to dance, when I put on some music that moves me, I just dance around my living room! Nobody sees me doing this – LOL! If I get really ambitious, I remember that in earlier years I loved riding my bike and roller skating so I imagine I might be able to get into those things again. This is an individual taste thing, so it’s entirely up to you – even if you just like to take a stroll. Hey, logging in steps everyday is very healthy too!
4) Make lists of healthy foods that you like and be sure to include them in your mealtimes. In other words, slowly start to decrease unhealthy foods and increase healthy foods. If you don’t already take supplements, start with a healthy multiple vitamin – it’s easy and not too pricy!
These things can be accomplished slowly over a few months’ time, unless you want to dive in deeper all at once. It is my belief though that if you start and build up slowly, you may be more inclined to continue.
Above all else, don’t be discouraged if you fall off the wagon. Just forgive yourself and start over again. If you think you need extra help, you can reach out to me for a free 30-minute consultation, and we can go from there! If you want more help on this step, please just reach out to me at email@example.com.
And, as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
You know, there was a time when our food supplies were so healthy that we didn’t need to even manufacture supplements, let alone take them! Those times, unfortunately, are long gone.
With the ushering in of the industrial revolution especially, this had both good and bad effects. Food became much more abundantly available on a widespread basis. However, preserving of foods had to happen due to food being shipped to other places farther away and the food would not stay fresh that long.
So, companies started using chemical additives, pesticides, herbicides, etc., and began to invent ways to create calories using not only chemicals, but also other heavily processed foods like wheat and sugar. In fact, some food became so nutritionally deficient, that vitamin C had to be added back in to prevent scurvy, and vitamin B to prevent pellagra. After stripping these foods of their nutrients, the ones added back in were negligible in terms of their ability to create health. In other words, it was enough to prevent certain diseases, but otherwise very nutrient deficient.
Even foods grown locally today as well as organically are not quite as nutrient dense as they once were, although it’s gotten a lot better! Making crucial lifestyle changes in our diets is about ¾ the battle of regaining robust health, and taking supplements helps this endeavor even further.
As today’s lifestyles are busy and hectic and we multi-task all the time, juggling work, pleasure, kids, parents, social life, etc. – it is certainly challenging enough to get even sufficient nutrients into our diets. Remember, too, that stress eats up our nutrients faster in our bodies.
So, working on improving the quality of our diets and even more, learning what our individual bodies need at any given time, is a great first step (I can give you tips on how to do this, too), but adding targeted supplements which your body can actually absorb and use efficiently, is for sure a great added step.
Remember, taking supplements without improving your diet does not quite cut it!
Some benefits of taking supplements are that you can age more healthfully, although everyone ages! We need better absorption and more nutrient density as we age, but not to worry – it’s not so hard to get that done.
Supplements have the ability to help you reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. Usually, the B vitamins are the ones which get this job done. Red meat, which has been unfairly vilified in my opinion, is a great source of B vitamins!
There are other supplements which are very heart healthy – yes, it’s the B vitamins again, magnesium, CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10), etc. Omega 3’s are also known to be heart healthy, and vitamin E is also good in this regard.
Your immune system can be greatly supported with supplements, like vitamins C, E, and D. Anything that gives an antioxidant effect, food or supplement-wise supports your immune system. Eating fermented foods is another good step, although some of this can also be procured by supplements, such as probiotics.
And don’t forget to also eat prebiotics (like green bananas and a small piece of raw potato -ugh – but it works). Yogurt containing lots of live active cultures is healthy in this regard, as is certain herbs like elderberry and perhaps even some homeopathic remedies, like allium cepa, oscillococcinum, etc.
Did you know your eyes could be improved by taking certain supplements? For example, vitamins E, C, and A, plus selenium are very helpful for eye health. So are zeaxanthin and lutein.
Of course, supplements can help keep your bones strong – something that is increasingly important as you age. Getting enough vitamin D is helpful, both from sun exposure but also by supplement, plus calcium, magnesium, and a host of others.
In this day and age of dementia – the most prominent one being Alzheimer’s – supplements can act protectively by keeping brain function in good shape. Some recommended supplements are fish oil containing omega 3 fatty acids, resveratrol, found in the skin of purple and red fruits, such as grapes, raspberries, and blueberries. Caffeine also stimulates the brain and central nervous system, but don’t use this as a license to overdo it! And if you’re sensitive to caffeine, don’t take it because there are plenty of other supplements to get the job done!
Well, there’s a lot more I can say on this topic – in fact, I could write a book about it and may do just that someday – LOL – but suffice it to say supplements are crucial to building health, maintaining it, and preventing disease!
Always remember to work with a highly competent health care professional!
This does not mean you can’t and shouldn’t do your own research as well.
And as always, please have a happy and holistically healthy day!
Today’s world is chock full of stress. If you’re a parent trying to navigate through this pandemic, or if you’re an adult or a professional, I think we can all agree that there’s more stress than ever before. These times have led to some very dramatic changes in our daily lives.
Increasing numbers of people – for good reason – are focusing on their own health and wellness and if you’re a parent, that of your kids as well. Because of this, growth of the supplement industry here in America has increased over 12% just in 2020 alone. The market size in this current year (2021) which is not yet over was $151.9 billion!
Supplements give us extra protection from all kinds of things. Besides supplements for beauty and skin care, collagen added to a smoothie can do way more for you than help with wrinkles although that is a very nice benefit! Collagen is the major protein in your connective tissues, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. Hey, we can all use a boost of something to help us look and feel younger – all this worry and stress ages us faster – LOL!
Lending support to these systems no matter what your age is protective, especially for older adults, as stress can bring about a weakening of all systems. Did you know that stress uses up the supplements in your body faster than normal?
Collagen hydrates and gives your skin structure and elasticity plus helps strengthen your bones. If you use a hydrolyzed form, this means it has been broken down making it more absorbable in your digestive tract.
As we’re living through a terrifying pandemic which creates so much stress and weakens the immune system, we have seen a 50% increase in people looking for immune-supportive supplements. There are a bunch of great supplements good for supporting the immune system, like vitamins B, C, D, plus elderberry, echinacea, astragalus, turmeric, and ginger are quite useful in this vein too.
Perhaps the one most trending and possibly the most important is vitamin D, which has been getting a lot of press due to its many-faceted benefits. Also known as the sunshine vitamin because it’s produced in your skin by exposure to sunlight, we know it’s a fat-soluble vitamin which has a family of compounds. Vitamin D helps regulate calcium and phosphorus and facilitates normal immune system function. It helps in the development of bones and teeth and has been noted to improve resistance against many diseases.
Vitamin D has been noted to reduce your risk of multiple sclerosis and decrease your chance of developing heart disease. In these times when so many people are getting vaccinated with a newer and more experimental gene therapy, there have been many reports of myocarditis. Isn’t good to know that you are taking some supplements that are protective of your heart?!
Vitamin D is also known to reduce your chance of getting the flu. It’s also very useful in reducing depression (rampant and raging during these trying times) and may play a meaningful role in calming anxiety as well.
Magnesium is also a much-needed supplement. Magnesium can help us navigate through migraines and is also known for improving sleep. I don’t know about you, but I’m increasingly finding that my sleep quality is a major tool against all the stress.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. A majority of magnesium is found in your bones, and the rest is found in muscles, soft tissues, and fluids, including the bloodstream. Every cell needs magnesium to function.
Magnesium helps convert food into energy and assists in the creation of new proteins made from amino acids. It also is instrumental in creating and repairing DNA and RNA. Magnesium is also involved in contracting and relaxing muscles, and also helps regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin. Unfortunately, about half of the people in America and Europe get less than the minimal recommended amount each day.
It's not hard to see what a critical role supplements play normally in our daily existence. They become even more important when living during times of high stress. Daily life is stressful enough, and when catastrophes occur, stress multiples exponentially.
However, we don’t have to worry about this! So many of us have faith and those who do should definitely use it to the max! We have an abundance of health-giving foods in America, and we can maximize consuming these and minimize “treating” our stress levels with junk food. Yes, it’s a very mindful and disciplined process, but you can do it! Plus, we can support each other in doing so. Supplements are also a critical part of our diet, and they give us extra added protection in so many way.
As always, I wish you a happy, holistically healthy day!
We have been inundated with reasons why our cholesterol is too high and that it’s bad for us. Then there’s the idea that there’s “good” cholesterol and “bad cholesterol.” Then we take a ratio of the good and the bad, and voilà – we have a percentage of average risk. Who can really understand all this, and what is this science based on?
Let’s understand that cholesterol is necessary and very much needed by the human brain. A huge part of our brain is composed of cholesterol! A doctor I used to go to once told me that he had patients coming in complaining of brain fog, and when tested, their cholesterol levels were very low. When they began to eat healthy foods containing cholesterol, their clarity of thinking improved.
So, let’s see why we need cholesterol first. Although higher levels of “bad” cholesterol have been linked to heart disease and are still problematic, the Cleveland Clinic says that we don’t have to worry anymore about eating foods high in cholesterol. (If you have diabetes, many cardiologists believe you should still avoid foods high in cholesterol.)
Our genes are more implicated in heart disease than diet. If your body is wired genetically to create high levels of bad cholesterol, what you eat is not going to affect that. On the other hand, the field of epigenetics (how environment and your genes interact) shows us that we can quiet adverse gene expression through higher quality diet, supplements, mindfulness, etc.
Just be sure you work with a very competent health care practitioner – you don’t want to play Russian Roulette with your health!
Cholesterol is needed to maintain cell health and build cells, and it is a precursor for synthesizing things like sex hormones, the bile in the liver, and vitamin D. So, folks, we really do need it!
However, if our percentages of good to bad are out of whack, and so many of us have this problem, it’s time to go to work on our diets. Start by cutting way back or completely out the junky foods and drinks full of sugar and refined grains and other chemicals. That’s a big part of the problem. Read food labels and avoid foods containing hydrogenated oils, or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, for one big example. This has even been banned by the FDA earlier this year.
Eat foods that are healthy – even saturated fats. For example, although many will cry out in horror, meat fat consumed in moderation will not be harmful for most people! Coconut oil, a very healthy fat, is a saturated fat so you get a green light on that.
Foods which can help lower LDL cholesterol are oats, barley, beans, eggplant, nuts, fruits such as applies, grapes, strawberries, and citrus fruits, being rich in pectin, represent soluble fiber that helps lower LDL. Fatty fishes (think mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, trout – preferably wild caught) can also help, because they are rich in omega-e fats, which help in the battle against high triglyceride levels. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids are also helpful. It almost goes without saying that extra virgin olive oil is heart healthy – go for the cold-pressed ones, as needed nutrients are not lost through the heating process this way.
A few supplements which are protective of your cholesterol levels are niacin (vitamin B-3), soluble fiber, psyllium, garlic, red yeast rice (white rice fermented with yeast), ginger, which is completely healthy for your gut as well as tasting yummy, and flaxseed.
Make other needed lifestyle changes. If you’re a smoker, or perhaps even a drug user, STOP! I know it is much easier said than done, but please work on it because your life may depend on this. In fact, if you quit cigarettes, after 20 minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the spiking that smoking causes. Within three months of quitting, lung and blood circulation function start to improve. Within a year, your risk of heart disease is 50% lower than people who still smoke!
Please get enough exercise that you find invigorating and fun. You’re probably not going to continue to exercise forever if you’re not having fun doing it. You can do this in moderation – too little won’t be much help, and neither will too much! (You can actually hurt yourself by exercising too much.)
Although it is just one of many, many diverse health factors, it can be helpful to lose some weight. If you have a lot to lose, this may be especially beneficial. However, just changing your diet may help in this path to recovery.
If you enjoy alcoholic beverages, please do so in moderation. As a drug counselor and prevention specialist, I would not recommend drinking every day. In fact, a couple times a month is plenty in my opinion, and I’m talking about one to two drinks. You shouldn’t get tipsy – if you do, in my educated opinion (remember – I’m a nerd!), it’s too much.
I cannot recommend starting mindfulness activities on a daily basis. This can even be five minutes a day! Do something you enjoy, which helps calm you, relax you, and helps you be in the present moment. Some favorites are diffusing essential oils, bubble baths, reading, taking a walk in the woods, etc.
If you find yourself in a dangerous position with your cholesterol, you can implement natural ways to lower it and also take medication until you can lower the amounts of medication needed or stop completely. This is a good way to control for negative side effects.
As always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
So many people have high blood pressure! Whether you’re one of them or you know someone with this issue, not to worry…always make sure you get checked out by a competent health care provider. According to the American Heart Association, about half of all adult Americans have hypertension.
Do not let this go untreated. It can develop into a heart attack, a stroke, and other adverse health effects – but that goes without saying. Of course, there are many medications available, and I would suggest if you have an acute case of high blood pressure and need to get it under control while working out alternatives to getting it down to normal levels, by all means take them.
There are lifestyle changes you can make including mindfulness activities, nutritional changes, supplements, and exercises. These are all advisable changes to make no matter what your situation is. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?!
Let’s start with exercise. If you’re not very physically fit, do exercises by starting a little at a time. For example, if you can walk, try to get 1,000 steps in a day, slowly increasing them as you are able. I use my phone to track steps as it worked the best out of all ways I tried. So, I try to have my cell phone in my pocket most of the time.
You can also run or go on a treadmill, or you can ride a bike, go swimming, etc. Make sure you do this also under supervision of a competent health care practitioner, so you don’t end up hurting yourself!
If you read my information regularly, you know what a huge fan I am of healthy nutrition! What you put into your mouth accounts for about 75% of your overall health, so it’s very important. General guidelines are consuming fresh produce, especially veggies, don’t overload carbs or starches, and when consuming, use whole grains. Use moderate amount of healthy fats, like full butter if you eat dairy (although it’s mostly fat), extra virgin olive oil, etc. Oils should ideally be cold pressed for better nutritional value. If you eat meat, use high quality red meats and poultry, fish, etc. For example, use organic or natural, grass-fed meat, free range chickens, wild caught or responsibly farmed fish, etc. All of this will increase nutritional value and decrease toxic load.
Adding supplements which are heart healthy is an excellent idea. If you have serious health conditions, please check with your competent health care practitioner before embarking on a supplemental protocol to make sure it’s healthy for you. Although there aren’t many, there are a few supplements that don’t play nicely with certain medications and health conditions, so err on the side of caution and be sure!
Take a high-quality multiple vitamin/mineral to cover nutritional bases. One of the healthiest supplements you can take for your heart is Coenzyme A10 or CoQ10, as it’s nicknamed. Since fiber is very heart healthy, you should be getting ample amounts through your diet, but you can also add a fiber supplement like psyllium husks. Omega-3 fatty acids are very heart healthy. Many people take fish oil (make sure you purchase one that is highly absorbable), but I personally take Icelandic Cod Liver Oil, as my body uses this much more efficiently than fish oil.
Magnesium is also heart healthy. So is the amino acid L-Carnitine. Green tea, which is something you can drink, can also be taken as a supplement. Garlic is also extremely heart healthy, and you can eat it (my preference – almost all of my dishes have garlic in them) or take them in supplement form. Pomegranates are also heart healthy, and again, you can drink it or take it in supplement form.
If you’re a smoker, please do everything you can do to quit! As a drug counselor, I get it – much easier said than done. Tobacco is highly addictive and really tough to beat, but people do it successfully all the time … so can you!
Many recommend reducing salt intake; in any case, use salt a bit sparingly and use healthy salt preparations such as kosher salt, or red sea salt, as well as other options.
If you’re overweight, changing your diet may help you lose weight, which is a good idea for heart health.
It also goes without saying that reducing your stress load is desirable. Think about everything you do, and perhaps you can streamline and omit some things that are not particularly necessary or helpful to you. So, time management is in order! Many people need to learn how to say no more often – is that you?!
Mindfulness activities help greatly in reducing stress and helping you be calm and focused so you can think more clearly and make better decisions. Think yoga, meditation, binaural beats, deep meditation music, bubble baths, reading, being in nature, etc. Do what works best for you – after all, you are an individual. What relaxes you the best? Remember to take time off and go on vacations or at least staycations.
Lasting change often comes gradually. So don’t overload yourself all at once. Do a little bit each day, sustaining it, and adding onto it. I know you can do this!
If you have questions or need help, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
There’s no doubt about it – Vitamin D has been trending in the news within the last couple of years, mainly in conjunction with whether it can help in treating COVID or not. But Vitamin D is very helpful in conjunction with kidney function, as well. For some reason, we have been seeing many inquiries about this in recent weeks.
It’s well known that Vitamin D is nicknamed the sunshine vitamin due to the fact that our bodies – particularly the skin – make it in response to sunlight. Our liver converts this Vitamin D from the sunlight to the form that is measured by a blood test. So, spending a bit more time in the sun is a great way to up your levels of this all-important vitamin.
You can also get Vitamin D through certain foods and supplements which will ensure that you have ample levels in your bloodstream. Vitamin D is fat soluble. Salmon, herring, and sardines contain Vitamin D. So does cod liver oil, canned tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, and other fortified foods (think milk). Spinach also has the vitamin, as well as kale, okra, collards, soybeans, white beans, etc.
Too much Vitamin D can hurt your kidneys. Since it’s fat soluble, it stays in your body longer than if it were water soluble (where things wash out quickly). So, it’s important to have just the right amount! Most people either have adequate amounts when measured in their blood, or they have too little, which can make us vulnerable to other disease since it’s important to immune function.
Too much of this wonderful vitamin can also contribute to constipation, nausea, and kidney stones. So, it’s very important to work with a competent healthcare practitioner and have it measured occasionally so you really know where your level is. If it’s low, then you can take supplementation or try focusing on the foods that are rich in Vitamin D and spend a bit more time in the sun!
But how is it supposed to help kidney function?
There are also many benefits to having enough Vitamin D in your body. It may play a role in reduction of risk for multiple sclerosis, decrease your chance of developing heart disease, and help reduce your risk of getting the flu.
Vitamin D can reduce depression, according to some clinical studies. Another study was conducted with people who have fibromyalgia, and it showed that Vitamin D deficiency was more prevalent in these people dealing with anxiety and depression.
Vitamin D may help with weight loss or in heart disease. In a study conducted with overweight people, those who took a daily Vitamin D supplement together with calcium were able to lose more weight than those taking a placebo. In another study with overweight individuals, those who supplemented daily with Vitamin D showed improved heart disease risk markers.
Healthy kidneys have many Vitamin D receptors, and they help turn the vitamin into its active form. If you have kidney disease, your kidneys cannot activate the Vitamin D. Without the ability to control calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood, your parathyroid hormone goes outside of its normal healthy level.
Recommended doses vary, from about 400 IU up to 2000 IU per day. I like to err on the side of caution and find out where my blood level is first!
Several herbs have been studied and are known to be good for the kidneys, as well. These are milk thistle which contains silymarin and helps repair kidney tissue faster and is chock full of antioxidants. It is known to reduce inflammation in the kidneys as well. Marshmallow root is known to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal. This root can act as a diuretic which can help flush out toxins from the kidneys.
Parsley – of all things – contains many flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all good for the kidneys. Like marshmallow root, it can have a diuretic effect. Beetroot helps dilate blood vessels, increasing blood flow, which enhances your kidney function. Beetroot is also anti-inflammatory. Ginger, also great for the digestive tract, can lower inflammation and remove toxins from your organs.
The great news is that many people can recover if their kidneys are not functioning well. Eating a very healthy diet and taking some needed supplements like Vitamin D in appropriate amounts, practicing mindfulness, reducing stress, and more goes a very long way toward helping everything in your body including your kidneys achieve improvement and abundant health.
And, as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!