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Psyllium – Health Benefits and Uses

Dietary fiber, sometimes called roughage, is a fundamental component of a healthy diet. It is found naturally in various fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. While it is mainly known for its digestive benefits, fiber plays an essential role in your overall health.

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs water and gets broken down into a gel-like substance that supports digestion and improves blood glucose control. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and promotes a smooth passage of nutrients and waste through the gut. Some estimates indicate that only 5 percent of adults in the United States meet adequate fiber intake recommendations.

Psyllium has been used for centuries to promote digestive health, increase fiber intake, and support cardiovascular health.

What is psyllium?

Psyllium is a plant-based soluble fiber derived from the husks of the psyllium seed (Plantago ovata), an herb native to India but that is now grown worldwide including growing wildly in the southwest U.S.  The name psyllium comes from the Ancient Greek “psúlla,” meaning flea or spider because each plant can produce up to 15,000 tiny seeds that resemble clusters of small insects. Clinically, psyllium is used as a mild laxative or supplement for people experiencing frequent constipation or that need to add more fiber into their diet.

Health benefits

Evidence suggests that taking a daily psyllium supplement can bring many health benefits.

Constipation

Constipation happens when the colon absorbs too much water from stool during the digestion process, causing the stool to become tougher in consistency and harder to evacuate. The most common causes of constipation include not eating enough fiber, stress, sedentarism, and certain medications (especially antidepressants and iron supplements). Psyllium works as a bulk-forming laxative and can help relieve and prevent constipation. Bulk-forming laxatives work by drawing water into your intestines to produce bigger, easier-to-pass stools.

In one study of 170 individuals with chronic constipation, those who took 5.1 grams of psyllium twice a day experienced positive changes in their stool composition and number of bowel movements.

A small analysis looking at the characteristics of the bowel movements of participants taking different types of fiber supplements (psyllium, wheat bran, or a combination), found that psyllium had a more significant effect on the stool bulk and amount of water. Participants taking the fiber supplement also reported significantly fewer “hard” bowel movements.

In another study, drinking psyllium seeds dissolved in warm water reduced constipation in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Compared to a common GERD medication (omeprazole), psyllium was also more effective in minimizing the risk of recurring GERD symptoms.

IBS

IBS is a common disorder that affects the colon. It is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal condition globally. In the United States, it is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of the adult population suffers from IBS symptoms. There are three major types of IBS: IBS with constipation (IBS-C), IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D), and IBS-A, which alternates constipation and diarrhea. Psyllium can help reduce discomfort for any type of IBS.

Research shows that psyllium not only helps relieve constipation – it can help treat diarrhea, too. In a study, individuals undergoing radiation therapy who took a psyllium supplement experienced fewer radiation-related diarrhea instances. Furthermore, a study from 2017 showed psyllium supplementation significantly reduced the number of IBS-related abdominal pain episodes in children with IBS.

Heart health

Fiber, including psyllium, contributes to heart health in several ways. According to a 2018 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, psyllium helped lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and two other risk factor markers for heart disease. The gel-like fiber created when psyllium absorbs water may also play an important role in lowering our “bad” LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol via a similar mechanism to that of cholesterol-lowering drugs.  This mechanism involves psyllium binding to bile acids in the gut and preventing their re-absorption. This has important implications for our health as studies have suggested that high LDL cholesterol is associated with various cardiovascular diseases. A review of studies concluded that increasing fiber intake could help prevent high blood pressure.

Glucose Control

Controlling blood sugar levels is essential for good health.  Studies show that adding psyllium husk to the diet has been shown to control spikes in blood sugar following a meal by reducing the rate of carbohydrate absorbed. This helps to reduce blood sugar swings and the energy crash that commonly follows a meal.  Psyllium husk also helps to improve long-term glucose control according to another study.

Weight Control

Water-soluble fibers like psyllium promote satiety, or the feeling of fullness, which may help you lose weight and prevent cardiovascular risk factors like obesity and type 2 diabetes. The high fiber content of the psyllium husk has been demonstrated to help slow the digestion of food within the stomach and increase feelings of fullness following a meal.

GERD (reflux)

GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease impacts tens of millions of people, and proton pump inhibitors PPI’s (medication that reduces the production of acid in the stomach like Prilosec ) have significant side effects and the potential to create other pathologies.  If you are one of the people with both Gerd and constipation psyllium is a perfect solution.   A 2018 study concluded that the use of Psyllium seed in the treatment of functional constipation in patients with GERD is very safe, effective, easily available, and this treatment also minimizes the chance of recurrence of GERD compared to omeprazole (a prescription treatment for GERD).  Please note that you can also take psyllium for GERD even if you are not experiencing constipation.

How to take psyllium

You may find psyllium in many forms: powdered, granulated, in capsules, liquid, and more. Typically, dissolving one tablespoon of psyllium in a glass of warm water (8 oz. – 16 oz.) and drinking twice a day before a meal can help prevent constipation and maintain regularity. To prevent gastric discomfort, it is recommended to start with lower doses to allow the digestive system to get used to the increased fiber. Psyllium can be purchased in grocery stores, health food stores, and online.  Common brands are Meta Mucil Fiber, NOW Psyllium Husk Caps, Viva Naturals Psyllium Husk Powder, and  Anthonys-Organic-Psyllium-Powder to name a few.

As low-fiber diets appear to be a risk factor for heart and gastrointestinal issues as well as other health issues, it is important to add fiber to your diet. The benefits listed above can be achieved through a range of whole food sources, and the addition of 1-2 teaspoons of psyllium husk each day

Natural Treatments for Acid Reflux, Heartburn, Gas, Cough, and Sore Throat

Burping, belching, stomach growling/gas pains, sore throat, phlegm, difficulty swallowing, coughing, reflux/heartburn, diarrhea, constipation even voice problems….. Are any of these symptoms persistent or chronic issues in your life?

Fortunately, most of the symptoms above have not been ongoing issues in my life, so I was never completely aware of just how much they can impact the day-to-day quality and enjoyment of your life.  That all changed when three weeks ago for some unknown reason I experienced food poisoning. It is because of what I suffered through that I am writing this article to give you simple every day and inexpensive strategies you can implement to reduce or even completely eliminate any and all of these symptoms.

Though many things can cause these symptoms they ultimately, for the most part, center around a compromised digestive system (dyspepsia).

The food poisoning caused me to have seriously painful abdominal/gas pains….. and for some reason, constipation.

I was constantly belching and burping which was my body‘s attempt to try to rid myself of the gas that was building up in my digestive system and this led to reflux symptoms like sore throat, phlegm, heartburn and cough, and even difficulty speaking. I knew the toxic bacteria were causing an imbalance in my gut and I took a powerful probiotic (100 billion) but I wasn’t sure how quickly or how much it would help.  To address the constipation, I took a tablespoon of ground psyllium husks stirred into 10 ounces of water, and drank it immediately.  I was also concerned about dehydration so I drank plenty of water and added electrolytes by drinking half of a bottle of Pedialyte.  Within less than a day the psyllium resolved the constipation which eliminated 90% of my abdominal pain.

However, I continued to have a sore throat, cough, and difficulty speaking much. (These are often common symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) and LPR, (silent reflux called Laryngopharangeal Reflux) 

When you have abdominal and digestive issues like the ones I am describing, stomach contents can back up into your esophagus and in some cases through the esophagus into your throat and voice box as well. These contents can contain a protein digestive enzyme called pepsin that can cause damage to both your throat and your voice box and thus the symptoms I am describing.

Help for digestive issues, cough, sore throat, indigestion, etc:

    • Gargling with Baking Soda:  Baking soda can deactivate pepsin.  Gargling with 1/4 tsp of baking soda mixed with 1/2 c of warm water and then swallowing it often brings relief to a sore throat.  Note: Gargling does not allow the baking soda to reach the voice box which sits on top of the trachea (air pipe) which is protective.

 

    • Steaming with Baking Soda:  Using a steamer or inhaler, (Gurin – available on Amazon).  To get the baking soda solution to your larynx (vocal cords) I suggest using a steamer/inhaler into which you put the baking soda water solution. Breath in the steam from the baking soda solution. It will reach the vocal cords and deactivate the pepsin that is irritating them.

 

    • Psyllium – Drink 1 tablespoon of psyllium husks briskly stirred into 10 oz of water, 2-3 times per day.

 

  • Side-sleeping – When excess acid builds up in the stomach, it can come into contact with the esophagus and as mentioned, can even rise upward towards the throat, causing a number of uncomfortable issues. Severe heartburn, pain, and even the feeling of choking or coughing at night can be the result of acid reflux or GERD. When left untreated, acid reflux often gets worse, making sleeping even more difficult and even causing damage to the esophagus. Side sleeping is an easy and effective method of natural relief that can not only relieve heartburn pain but can also help prevent damage to the stomach and esophagus.

Please understand that the techniques and procedures I have described above help alleviate these symptoms regardless of what caused them (indigestion, burping, belching, stomach growling/gas pains, sore throat, phlegm, difficulty swallowing, coughing, reflux/heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, and voice issues).  After following this regimen, I was 90 to 100% better in less than a few days.

In most cases, the symptoms described above will be due to dyspepsia/indigestion/GERD

The two most important preventive daily steps that you need to incorporate into your life if you suffer these symptoms and/or you are a GERD sufferer are:

1- take a tablespoon of psyllium dissolved in 8 to 10 ounces of water twice a day just before or after a meal.

2- take a powerful probiotic once a day.

I believe by just doing these two things there is a strong likelihood that you will reduce or eliminate your indigestion, abdominal issues, and or GERD.

Backup Products – Slippery Elm and Sage: If the baking soda doesn’t completely eliminate your sore throat and cough, I suggest adding 1 capsule each of slippery elm and sage to either 1/2 half cup of warm water or 1/2 ounce of olive oil, whichever you are most comfortable with. Gargling it for 45 seconds to a minute will really help.   In fact, we will be coming out with a product that combines these ingredients and more to help heal your sore throat, cough, and other symptoms of indigestion. You can check in with us in about 2 to 3 months to see if it’s available. It will simply be called “Cough, Throat, Indigestion”.

These easy preventative and relief strategies should make a big difference.  If you try any of these suggestions, please let me know which of the options you found most beneficial.

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.
healthadvisor@migrelief.com

 

6 New Year’s Health Habits to Adopt in 2021

While these holidays may not have looked like any other before, many people see the end of the year as a fresh start – a renewed opportunity to break old habits and focus on what’s important. For some, this means making a list of promises or resolutions, detailing the good practices they want to carry over to the next year or the new habits or goals they want to achieve over the next 12 months. However, many others, aware of how prone people are to abandon them (more than eighty percent over the first 30 days, research suggests!), choose to skip the tradition altogether.

But whatever you decide to do, the end of the year is always a good time to look at what’s going on in our lives, especially given everything that has happened this year. Now may be a good time to evaluate what’s going on around us and consider how it has impacted us so that we can make adjustments and move towards what matters to us. To help you get started, here are six simple health habits that you can easily adopt in 2021.

Build a Resilient Immune System

Over the past year, we’ve been presented daily with evidence of the immune system’s amazing strengths and also heartbreaking vulnerabilities.  Now is the time to take a proactive role in your health to build and maintain a strong immune system, starting with getting quality sleep. Deep restorative sleep is where your body’s internal systems regenerate themselves.  We can’t say it enough…   Establishing healthy sleep patterns is the most powerful tool you have to maintain good health and EXTEND YOUR LIFE.  Eating a healthy diet, avoiding sugar, and taking an immune-boosting supplement containing ingredients at the proper doses  (shown to be effective in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies) will go along way to helping you build a resilient immune system.  Remember,  your immune system is what stands between you and your fight against disease and infection.  (Download our free sleep e-book for tips to fall asleep faster, reach deep sleep, and stay asleep longer)

Practice mindfulness

“Being present” is not just another catchphrase or meaningless buzzword. It is about paying attention to our day-to-day activities instead of rushing through life mindlessly. Research shows that being more mindful and present rather than worrying about things that happened in the past or might occur in the future may improve life satisfaction and increase happiness.

Some easy ways to be more present can be taking a few minutes every day to do a guided meditation, writing in a journal, stretching, or going for a walk and noticing the environment around you.

Get more fresh air

Since we have spent most of 2020 cooped up inside, we are all eager to go out and enjoy the great outdoors as soon as we can. Fresh air contains higher levels of oxygen and lower pollution levels, which helps dilate blood vessels in the lungs and promotes cellular and tissue reparation in the airways.  Fresh air can help your immune system fight off disease more effectively due to healthier white blood cells. It also supplies your immune system with the oxygen it needs to kill and destroy bacteria, viruses, and germs.  Fresh air is good for the heart and will help you heal faster.  Breathing stale, polluted, or recirculated air makes our bodies have to work harder to get the oxygen they need to rejuvenate our bodies and minds.

Spending time outdoors – especially in green spaces – has also been associated with a lower risk of developing psychiatric disorders. A 2019 meta-analysis of studies comparing indoor and outdoor exercise found that just a few minutes of exercising outdoors in a green space resulted in improved mood and better self-esteem.

Take care of your teeth

Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly not only prevents bad breath and cavities. A growing body of evidence suggests that gum disease, which is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene, may be associated with severe health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Visiting your dentist at least every six months is also important to catch potential problems early and save yourself the literal and metaphorical pain of an emergency dental procedure.

Try a new way of eating

In January, the Mediterranean diet was named the best overall diet for health and wellness for the third time in a row.

The Mediterranean diet is an eating plan based on traditional foods from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece, Spain, and Italy. It involves plenty of fresh vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli, kale, and cucumbers, among others, always emphasizing color and variety. Fatty fish like sardines and salmon make up a significant portion of the diet’s protein intake. Whole grains, like quinoa, brown rice, oats, should be consumed daily in moderation. Red meats should be eaten only rarely, and highly processed foods should be avoided.

Some science-backed health benefits of the Mediterranean diet include:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • May reduce the risk for heart disease
  • May help lose weight and maintaining it
  • May protect against type 2 diabetes
  • May help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer
  • May help delay cognitive decline

Cut back on soft drinks and diet drinks

Some studies have linked soft drink consumption with neurological problems, including an increased risk for dementia and stroke. In fact, a study published in 2017 in the journal Stroke suggested that drinking even one soft drink a day may triple a person’s risk of developing dementia.

Unfortunately, diet soda may not be a better alternative. A new study found that artificially sweetened drinks may be just as harmful to cardiovascular health as sugar-sweetened sodas. And if these risks aren’t enough to put down the soda, consider these benefits of cutting back on soft and diet drinks:

  • Fewer headaches and migraines
  • More sanative taste buds
  • Healthier relationship towards food
  • Improved kidney function
  • Whiter teeth
  • Decreased cardiovascular disease risk

Making a few simple lifestyle changes can have big payoffs when it comes to your health and happiness.

Best wishes from all of us at Akeso Health Sciences, for a safe, happy, and healthy new year.

Exercising Just 11 Minutes a Day Helps You Live Longer

In a fascinating new study of how exercise and sedentary behavior can impact health, those who spent more hours sitting were at increased risk of dying prematurely. The study, published recently in a special edition of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, analyzed physical activity data from more than 44,000 middle-aged and older adults. Results suggested that people who were most sedentary faced a higher mortality risk.

But what’s interesting about the study is that even among those who sat for as much as 8.5 hours a day, getting just 11 minutes of moderate exercise was enough to significantly decrease some of the effects of sedentarism, including premature death.

Not surprisingly, this is wasn’t the first study to examine the relationships between prolonged sitting and health. Several other analyses have linked lengthy times spent sitting down, particularly watching television, to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and certain types of cancer.

Sitting for prolonged periods of time is increasingly common, especially now that the pandemic has made our lives more recluse and sedentary than usual. According to a 2019 analysis of 16 years of data gathered by the National Center for Health and Statistics, the average US adult spends about 6.5 hours a day sitting. Teenagers 12 to 19 years of age spend as much as 8 hours sitting each day.

The Problem with Sitting Too Much

More time spent watching TV, scrolling on our phones, and working on the computer means that nowadays, most people are spending more time sitting than ever before. And some argue that our bodies didn’t evolve to be so sedentary.

When we sit, we use less energy than we do when standing or walking around, which, according to some experts, can slow down the metabolism and hinder the body’s ability to break down fat, and regulate blood sugar and pressure. The body burns far fewer calories when sitting than standing or moving. That’s why sedentary behavior is so closely related to weight gain and obesity.

Mounting epidemiological evidence also suggests that sitting or lying for extended periods can lead to increase insulin resistance, which is strongly associated with common chronic conditions like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. Sitting for prolonged periods can also lead to muscle weakening, increasing the risk for falls and exercise-related strains.

What the Recommendations Say

Experts aren’t sure how much physical activity is needed to counter the effects of sitting fully. The investigators of this study found that regardless of how long people sat, about 35 minutes a day of brisk walking or exercising at a moderate pace seemed to yield the most significant statistical improvement on longevity. Just 11 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, although not enough to counter the effects of sitting all day, also seemed to reduce the risk of premature death.

Most health agencies, including the American Heart Association (AHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of physical activity of moderate-intensity or higher every week. Why 150 minutes? Because research shows that the equivalent of 150 minutes of exercise weekly reduces the risk for:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Early death

Challenge yourself to get moving!

Choosing to add even a small amount of physical activity to your day can lead to big benefits and increased longevity.   Every bout of physical activity or exercise contributes to a fitter, healthier, and very likely, happier you!

 

 

How to Roast Nuts – Tasty Roasted Nut Recipes

Roasted nuts are delicious and make healthy snacks, party treats, and great gifts.  Roasting nuts deepens their flavor making them even more nutty and complex.  Nuts are a good source of healthful fats, fiber, and beneficial micro and macronutrients. Nuts are also among the best source of plant-based proteins and have numerous health benefits and .including increased longevity.  Each type of nut offers different nutritional benefits.  Studies have shown that dry roasting of most nuts does not reduce their health benefits.

Dry Roasting vs. Roasting
There are two basic ways to roast nuts in the oven-dry or with a small amount of oil. Roasting nuts with a touch of oil is a really nice way to add flavor and crispness. You can use a neutral oil like grapeseed oil, or match the oil to the nut such as almond oil or walnut oil. Various spices can also be added to the oil for flavored nuts. Roasting in oil is great when adding nuts to salads, or when using as a garnish. Dry roast the nuts if they are going to be used in baking recipes because the extra oiliness can throw off the recipe. If a recipe requires chopped, roasted nuts, chop AFTER roasting as it is easy to burn chopped nuts during the roasting process. Warm nuts also chop more cleanly and with less flaking.

ROASTING NUTS IN OIL

Ingredients:

  • Nuts (any amount)
  • Oil (a neutral oil such as olive oil, grapeseed, or nut oil such as almond or walnut oil).

Equipment:
Heavy baking tray or cake pan
Plate or tray for cooling

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Spread nuts in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  3. If you are roasting the nuts with oil, drizzle a small amount over the nuts and toss to coat evenly. A cake pan can be used for small amounts allowing you to shake the pan to evenly distribute them.
    Use as little oil as possible, starting with just a teaspoon or two.
  4. Leave plain or sprinkle with your favorite herbal spices (Italian spice blends are easy to buy and taste great)
  5. Roast in the oven for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove after 5 minutes to check, and stir so that the outer nuts are moved towards the middle and the middle nuts are moved towards the edges. If using a cake tin, gently shake to redistribute.
  7. Check the nuts again after 3 minutes. You are looking for the color to be a few shades darker. Return to the oven and check again in 3 more minutes. If they need longer, give another stir. Nuts rarely take longer than 15 minutes to properly roast, usually closer to 8 to 12 minutes.
  8. Check for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool by immediately transferring to another plate or baking sheet. DO NOT COOL ON THE TRAY THEY WERE BAKED ON or you run the risk of scorching them.
  9. ENJOY!

Note: While roasting, nuts can go from “just right” to “burnt” in under a minute… so monitor carefully.

Tasty Variations – Roasted Nut Recipes
Sweet and Spicy Party Nuts, Roasted Almonds with Honey and Cinnamon, Spiced Rosemary and Thyme Nuts, Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts, Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds, Maple Citrus Roasted Pecans, Cocoa Cardamom Espresso Roasted Almonds and more…

You may use any type of nut or combination with the recipes below.

Recipe #1 – Roasted Almonds with Honey and Cinnamon

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 12 ounces shelled almonds
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or baking liner. In a skillet warm honey, cinnamon and ginger over low heat, stirring until combined. Add almonds and stir to coat almonds. Remove from heat. Sprinkle in brown sugar and salt and combine. Spread coated almonds on lined baking sheet and bake at 325-degrees F for 12-15 minutes. Slightly adjust cook time to toasted/roasted preference. Allow to cool, tossing a couple of times as they cool to avoid them sticking together. Break apart once cooled before storing.

Recipe #2 – Spiced Rosemary and Thyme Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. large whole nuts – such as 1 c. cashews, 1 c. pecans, and 1 c. almonds
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 300°. Place nuts in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour oil into a small heavy saucepan and place over medium-low heat until warm. Do not let it get too hot – the oil will burn. Add rosemary and thyme and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in cumin and cayenne pepper. Pour the flavored oil over the nuts and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and black pepper. Stir again. Transfer to a jelly roll pan or a baking pan with sides. Bake for about 15 minutes total, stirring after the first 10 minutes. Let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Recipe #3 – Italian Rosemary Garlic Spiced Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (you could cut the amount of olive oil in half, if preferable)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons flaky sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix up the nuts in a medium mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix the olive oil with the seasonings. Pour the oil mixture over the nut mixture and stir to coat all the nuts. Spread the nuts out onto a rimmed baking sheet. A 11 x 15 jellyroll pan works really well for this. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the nuts are lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Recipe #4 – Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 2 (6-ounce) packages pecan halves
  • 1 (6-ounce) can whole natural almonds
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle seasoning
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 egg whites
  • Cooking spray

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine pecans, almonds and next 3 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir in maple syrup and egg whites, stirring well. Spread evenly onto a foil-lined baking sheet coated well with cooking spray. Bake at 325 F for 10 minutes. Stir mixture and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Cool and break into pieces, if needed.

Recipe #5 – Pumpkin Pie Spiced AlmondsIngredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:
Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, pour 1 cup almonds into a large mixing bowl. Add your cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt — toss to coat. Drizzle the agave and vanilla extract on the almonds and stir until all almonds are coated with the spices and sweetener. Spray a foil lined cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread the almonds on the sheet in a single layer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping once, until almonds are roasted. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Recipe #6 – Maple Citrus Roasted Pecans

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces raw pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade B – the darker, more flavorful syrup)
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • pinch of ground ginger

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle. Place nuts in a single layer on a parchment or Silpat lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast until fragrant about 10 minutes. Flip once during with a pair of tongs. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees F. In a medium sauce pan bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil over medium high heat. Turn off the heat. Toss roasted pecans in the mixture with a heat proof spatula. Evenly spread the pecans back onto the lined cookie tray. Be sure they are in a single layer. Bake nuts for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let the nuts cool before serving. Store in a air tight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe #7 – Sweet, Salty, Spicy Party Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup untoasted walnut halves
  • 1 cup untoasted pecan halves
  • 1 cup unsalted, dry roasted almonds
  • 1 cup unsalted, dry-roasted cashews
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Combine walnut halves, pecan halves, almonds, and cashews in a large bowl. Add salt, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper; toss to coat. Heat the sugar, water, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat. Slowly pour butter mixture over the bowl of nuts and stir to coat. Transfer nuts to the prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Bake nuts in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Stir nuts until the warm syrup coats every nut. Spread into a single layer, return to the oven, and bake until nuts are sticky and roasted, about 6 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

Recipe #8 – Rosemary Roasted Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups walnuts

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the olive oil, rosemary, brown sugar, salt, and cayenne in a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine well.

Recipe #9 – Barbecue Roasted Mixed Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts etc.)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger

Instructions:
Heat oven to 325°F. Line 15x10x1-inch baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, extending foil over edges.
Melt butter in oven in foil-lined pan. Combine sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Place egg whites into bowl. Beat at high speed, scraping bowl often, until soft peaks form. Continue beating, gradually adding sugar mixture, until stiff peaks form. Gently stir in nuts and orange zest. Spread nut mixture over melted butter in pan. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, 25-30 minutes, or until nuts are browned and no butter remains. Cool completely. Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

Recipe #10 – Cocoa Cardamom Espresso Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom (for a more subtle cardamom flavor, use just 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3 cups raw almonds

Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 275°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper, and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, cardamom, and salt. Whisk to remove any lumps. In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white and vanilla bean paste until frothy. Add the almonds and toss in the egg mixture. Pour the sugar and cocoa mixture into the almonds and stir until the almonds are evenly coated. Transfer the almonds to the prepared baking sheet, and spread into an even layer. Roast for about 40 – 45 minutes, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet, continuing to stir occasionally. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe #11 – Chai Spiced Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole almonds
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • Few drops of water
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon chai spice mix (or half cinnamon, half ginger would work)
  • Pinch salt

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white, vanilla bean paste, and water until frothy. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, chai spice mix, and salt. Add the almonds to the whisked egg mixture and stir to evenly coat all of the almonds. Add the sugar and spice mixture, and toss until all of the almonds are covered. Spread the almonds out on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring twice. Spread the almonds out on waxed paper or parchment paper to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Not only are roasted nuts great snacks and party treats, but they also make great gifts. Place in small half-pint mason jars, labeled and decorated, or in plastic bags tied up with ribbon.

To learn more about the amazing health benefits of nuts… CLICK HERE

IMMUNE PATROL – New 24/7 Immune Defense from Akeso Health Sciences

Build a Resilient Immune System!

Best Natural Immune SupportIntroducing New IMMUNE PATROL from Akeso Health Sciences.

Immune Patrol works at the cellular level to support interdependent body systems that affect immune health. This multifunctional supplement helps to keep the immune system strong year-round.

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A message from Curt Hendrix, the scientist behind MigreLief and Akeso Condition Specific Supplements:

More than ever before, people are realizing that protecting themselves and their loved ones during challenging times means building and maintaining a strong immune system. Immuno and respiratory health are the fastest growing concerns among people today. Rightfully so. Your immune system is what stands between you and your fight against disease and infection.

Recently the market has been flooded with new “Immune Boosting” products.  But in the rush to stay healthy, consumers often overlook the most important aspect of buying dietary supplements… the ingredients’ quality, source, and effective doses.

Not all supplements are created equal especially when it comes to purity and potency and many supplements on the market today do not contain the correct doses to make a positive difference; the amount proven in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to be beneficial.  This is what I do best and getting it right is my passion so I am thrilled to be offering you my latest formulation, the most comprehensive immune support on the market for building a resilient immune system… “Immune Patrol – 24/7 Immune Defense.” 

Immune Patrol’s key features include clinically studied key ingredients and doses to support a healthy immune response and to promote healthy respiratory function.  I’ve included nature’s top defenders, 9 powerful ingredients in one convenient multi-functional supplement to boost all areas of your body’s natural defenses, 24/7 year-round.

Over the past year, we’ve been presented daily with evidence of the immune system’s amazing strengths and also heartbreaking vulnerabilities.  Now is the time to take a proactive role in your health to build and maintain a strong immune system. Taking supplements, eating right, exercising, avoiding stress when possible, and most importantly getting quality sleep will help you reach this goal.

~To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S
Chief Scientific Officer, Akeso Health Sciences

 

Click Here to View Immune Patrol’s Key Features, Ingredient Descriptions and Supplement Facts

Healthy Sleep Habits Lower Heart Failure Risk, New Research Says

It’s 2 a.m., and you’ve been tossing and turning for hours trying to get to sleep. As morning draws near, you dread the next day’s exhaustion, grogginess, and potential headache. If that sounds familiar, you are not alone; insomnia and sleeplessness are two increasingly common disruptions faced by adults in the U.S.

The day-after effects of a sleepless night – whether you stayed up on purpose or because you couldn’t sleep – are well-documented. Mood changes, trouble with thinking and concentration, and increased risk for car accidents are among the immediate, short-term effects of sleep deprivation. But now, new research published by the American Heart Association suggests that sleeping 7-8 a day and not having frequent insomnia may help lower the risk of heart complications.

Tens of millions of Americans experience chronic sleeplessness, which can be triggered by a variety of factors. The most common causes include stress, anxiety, excessive alcohol or caffeine use, eating too much before bed, poor sleeping habits, and traveling or work schedule. Occasional sleeplessness, though unpleasant, isn’t too harmful. A sleepless night here and there – as long as it doesn’t turn into a pattern – can be normal and even expected.

Problems emerge when these difficulties become chronic, disrupting a person’s ability to fall asleep at least three nights a week, for three months or more. Past studies have found that poor sleep can elevate a person’s risk for many chronic conditions, such as diabetes and stroke. Sleep-deprived men and women, research shows, tend to experience a decreased interest in sex and have lower libidos. Additionally, sleep deprivation – which obstructs critical biological processes like glucose metabolism, inflammation, and immunity – has repeatedly been associated with a host of cardiovascular issues, including high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease.

Adding to the growing evidence that poor sleep habits can yield serious health effects, investigators analyzed 10 years’ worth of data from more than 400,000 UK Biobank participants – an ongoing longitudinal study examining the relationships between the environment, genes, and lifestyle. The participants, aged 37 to 73, self-reported sleep behaviors via a questionnaire that included sleep duration, presence of insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and snoring.

After adjusting for potential confounders like medication use, diabetes, high blood pressure, and genetic variables, results suggested that participants with the healthiest sleeping habits had a significantly lower risk of heart failure compared to people with poorer sleeping habits. They also found that heart failure risk was 8 percent lower in people that woke up early, 12 percent lower among those who slept seven to eight hours each night, and 34 percent lower in participants that reported no daytime sleepiness.

“Our findings highlight the importance of improving overall sleep patterns to help prevent heart failure,” said Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D., one of the authors of the study. They also noted, however, that other unmeasured variables could also have influenced their findings. Other factors, such as diet and lifestyle habits, are known to also contribute to cardiovascular disease.

But the overall message of the findings is clear: lack of sleep can increase your risk for a host of serious health problems, including heart disease. Getting enough quality sleep can protect both your physical and mental health and reduce the risk of being involved in workplace or driving accidents.

If you are having difficulty sleeping and worried about your long term health, consider a comprehensive sleep supplement with ingredients proven to increase sleep quality and duration for deep, restorative sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

The Many Health Benefits of Turmeric

There are some ingredients that, delicious as they may be, don’t belong just in the kitchen. Turmeric is one of them. Warm, earthy, and just a little bit bitter, the health benefits of this vibrant orange-yellow spice range from fighting inflammation and helping prevent certain types of cancer, to lowering the risk of heart disease and even supporting mental health.

What Is It?

Turmeric comes from the root of Curcuma longa, a South Asian plant belonging to the ginger family. A staple ingredient in many cuisines – it is the main spice in Indian curry – this aromatic botanical has a rich, long history of culinary, medicinal, and cultural traditions reaching back thousands of years.

In Ayurveda, the Indian system of holistic medicine, turmeric is one of the most important spices for health and wellness. It is believed to balance digestion and metabolism and reduce harmful toxins from the bloodstream. It is also an important part of several religious practices around the world, serving as a symbol of purity and prosperity for many Hindus.

But turmeric is not just any old alternative remedy or a health food fad. Extensive research over the past several decades has been done on its main bioactive component: curcumin. This powerful polyphenol boasts a multitude of health benefits and gives turmeric its characteristic yellow tint.

These are some of the impressive evidence-based effects of turmeric and curcumin.

Arthritis and Inflammation

Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and swelling of the joints. It doesn’t have a cure, but many treatments can slow it down and help relieve stiffness and inflammation. According to the Arthritis Foundation, curcumin may help ease arthritis and osteoarthritis symptoms.

One of turmeric’s most famous and well-researched effects is its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that curcumin is capable of fighting inflammation on a molecular level by blocking specific molecules that trigger inflammation and contribute to many chronic conditions.

In fact, a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that, after supplementing with turmeric capsules over a period of 12 weeks, participants experienced significant improvement in pain and stiffness of knee osteoarthritis compared to those taking a placebo pill.

Another study comparing curcumin with the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac, showed that both treatments were similarly effective at relieving arthritis pain. More specifically, 97 percent of those taking diclofenac, and 94 percent of those taking curcumin reported at least a 50 percent improvement in their pain.

Brain Health

Turmeric has been linked to improved brain function and better memory processing. An 18-month study conducted by UCLA researchers found that adults aged 50 to 90 with mild, age-related memory issues experienced significant improvements to their memory and attention after taking 90 milligrams of curcumin twice a day for 18 months.

Early-stage research has suggested that curcumin could be useful for delaying, or even reversing certain degenerative cognitive conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, although more research is still needed.

Curcumin may also have positive mental health effects. In a small, short-term randomized-control trial, investigators divided 60 participants with major depressive disorder into three groups: one group took an antidepressant, one was given curcumin, and another group was given both. After six weeks, participants taking both curcumin and the antidepressant experienced significant improvements. Those who took curcumin alone saw similar improvements to the ones taking the antidepressant.

However, there is not enough evidence to recommend turmeric or curcumin as a depression treatment until more research is conducted on the subject.

Cancer Prevention

Although there isn’t enough scientific evidence to embrace turmeric as a cancer treatment or prevention strategy, preliminary research shows that curcumin may target several molecules that can cause cancer cells to reproduce.

A 2009 study by the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists revealed that curcumin might employ as many as 40 different mechanisms to kill cancer cells. Such diverse approaches to eradicate them, the authors of the study hypothesized, may make cancer cells less likely to become resistant to curcumin.

Some laboratory and animal studies have also found that turmeric’s curcumin may slow down cancer progression, protect healthy cells from radiation, and make chemotherapy more effective.

Increasing Bioavailability

Despite its impressive health effects, turmeric has one important downside: curcumin only makes up about 5 percent of turmeric, and the bloodstream can’t absorb it effectively when eaten by itself. Fortunately, there are ways to optimize curcumin absorption and maximize its health benefits.

Combining turmeric with black pepper can enhance its absorption. In fact, research shows that piperine – black pepper’s main bioactive compound – can increase curcumin’s bioavailability by up to 2000 percent. Mixing and matching these spices may also help boost turmeric effects; studies suggest that piperine has significant anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and gastrointestinal properties.

Is Turmeric Safe?

Turmeric is generally regarded as safe for most healthy adults when consumed in the amounts found in food or when taken as an oral supplement in the recommended doses. Long-term use or large amounts of turmeric or curcumin are not recommended as there is not enough research to confirm their safety for prolonged periods.

How much Turmeric Supplement to Consume?

To fully benefit from its many protective and healing properties, take 1000-1500 mg a day of turmeric extract. Make sure it states it contains 95% curcuminoids on the label.

Read about the extensive health conditions and diseases Turmeric/Curcumin can prevent or address in this systematic review:  Therapeutic roles of curcumin: lessons learned from clinical trials

Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention-deficit disorder (ADHD) is not just a childhood problem. Learn what adult ADHD looks like and discover your natural options for improving attention, focus, and clarity.

Understanding Adult ADHD

Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neuropsychiatric condition characterized by inattention, restlessness or hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. ADHD is relatively common in childhood, affecting more than 16 million children in the United States ages 2 to 17. In fact, it was once regarded as a mental health condition that occurred exclusively during childhood. However, ADHD is now considered a life-long condition, with about 5 percent of children carrying on their symptoms into adulthood, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

It is estimated that less than one-quarter of adults with ADHD seek professional help for their symptoms, meaning that the majority of adult ADHD cases are never diagnosed or treated. Untreated ADHD can lead to personal and professional difficulties like trouble meeting deadlines, unstable relationships, impulsive behavior or temper, and more.

Adults with ADHD are more likely to have comorbid or coexisting conditions that can make diagnosis and treatment more challenging, including:

  • Depression and persistent depressive disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Sleep disorders

Signs and symptoms of adult ADHD

For both children and adults, ADHD is typically marked by inattention and hyperactivity or impulsivity. However, most adults experience fewer symptoms as they age, and the intensity of the symptoms tends to dwindle down as well – especially the hyperactivity and impulsivity. In adults, ADHD inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity might look like:

Inattention

  • Difficulty focusing or paying attention
  • Procrastinating
  • Struggling to complete even seemingly simple tasks
  • Poor listening skills
  • Frequent daydreaming
  • Frequent careless mistakes
  • Difficulty with organization
  • Losing things easily
  • Struggling to follow instructions
  • Difficulty meeting deadlines
  • Forgetfulness
  • Dislike for activities that require sustained mental effort
  • Hard time remembering details
  • Poor planning and/or time management skills
  • Difficulty multitasking

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity

  • Being excessively restless
  • Mood swings
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sleeping issues
  • Relationship issues
  • Poor self-control
  • Addictive tendencies
  • Irritability/short temper
  • Getting bored easily
  • Fidgeting
  • Talking excessively even during inappropriate times
  • Multitasking but not getting anything done
  • Difficulty waiting for turns
  • Constantly interrupting others
  • Reckless driving
  • Trouble relaxing

Treating adult ADHD

Physicians often prescribe medications to treat ADHD during childhood and adulthood, but it is important to understand that while drugs can help some people cope with their symptoms, they often come with side-effects and are not a cure or a solution for this condition.

Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants are the most commonly prescribed drugs for ADHD.  CNS stimulants work by increasing the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine and stimulating brain activity. These drugs help individuals with ADHD to stay focused. Two common CNS stimulant choices prescribed to both children and adults are methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamines (Adderall). Both drugs are controlled substances available by prescription only because they potentially can be misused or abused.

Stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD have known side effects that range from non-serious to severe, including:

  • Anorexia or appetite loss
  • Trouble sleeping
  • High blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Increased irritability
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Increased restlessness
  • Addiction

Therapy

Adults are typically better equipped than children to implement structured strategies to successfully manage their ADHD symptoms. After learning how to identify unhealthy patterns and how to address them, many may not even need medication or outside intervention, if their symptoms are not disruptive or dangerous for themselves or others.

Psychological counseling or talk therapy can provide adults with ADHD with the tools they need to gain control over their symptoms. For example, mental health counselors or coaches can teach individuals how to set goals, prioritize, manage time, and stay organized. There are several types of therapy available for adults with ADHD, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Biofeedback

Natural Alternatives

Research shows that alternative therapies can also be useful for reducing ADHD symptoms. The following evidence-based supplements have been shown to help improve attention, focus, and clarity and calmness.

Magnesium: Individuals with ADHD have been observed to have lower levels of magnesium, which is an essential mineral for brain health. In a study evaluating 50 children diagnosed with ADHD, researchers found that those who received a magnesium supplement for six months showed a significant decrease in hyperactive behaviors.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Researchers have also observed that individuals with ADHD appear to have lower omega-3 levels.

Zinc: Decreased zinc levels have been linked to trouble concentrating, reduced learning abilities, and ADHD. Research suggests that used in combination with amphetamines, zinc may help reduce the dosage needed to treat ADHD.

Iron: Iron deficiency has been noted to increase the risk of psychiatric disorders, including ADHD. Iron-deficient children and adults who suffer from ADHD may benefit from supplementing with iron to help control their symptoms.

Vitamin D:  Research has shown that vitamin D deficiency is more common in people experiencing a lack of attention. A 2018 study helped clarify the mechanism responsible for lower vitamin D levels, as it revealed that children with lower vitamin D levels, also had lower vitamin D receptor levels.1 Recent research has also suggested that vitamin D may have an impact on dopamine levels in the brain.2   Dopamine is a brain chemical called a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters accommodate signaling between nerve cells (neurons).  Dopamine is used to modulate certain physiological functions – including memory, motor movement, sleep, cognition, and addiction. It is also responsible for regulating mood, pleasure, and the reward cycle.  Vitamin D supplementation improves cognitive function and inattention.

Bacopa Monnieri:  Bacopa is a well-known herb frequently used in Ayurvedic traditional medicine and is widely studied and used as part of herbal preparations to improve memory and intelligence. Clinical studies suggest that bacopa may improve learning rate, ability to process data/information, retention of learned facts, and memory. Over 4 weeks bacopa was shown to reduce nervousness and irritability in humans diagnosed with anxiety. Bacopa helps the elderly as well. In a patient population whose average age was 62, bacopa was shown to improve working memory/recall and improve attention as well as cognitive processing.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a universal nutrient building block for cell membranes that are especially concentrated in the brain’s nerve cells. It covers and protects the cells in your brain and carries messages between them, playing an important role in keeping your mind and memory sharp. Phosphatidylserine also helps to improve attention and the ability to cope with stress.

Saffron Extract:  Saffron (stigma, 2% safranal) is an impressive botanical known in traditional medicine for mood balance and has been clinically studied for evidence of improving positive mental outlook, nervous system health, support for healthy stress levels, and increased brain dopamine levels.

The Sleep/ADHD Connection

People with ADHD often have a hard time falling or staying asleep. Everyone needs 7-9 hours of proper sleep each night to feel productive and well during the day.  Feeling tired makes ADHD symptoms worse, and that makes it harder to sleep the next night. This cycle repeats.  While sleeplessness and ADHD were once thought to be separate issues, some scientists believe symptoms of ADHD may be a problem associated with a lack of normal sleep patterns.  Approximately 75% of children and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are believed to have sleep problems.  Therefore, reestablishing healthy sleep patterns is key for anyone with symptoms of ADHD.

The following supplements are beneficial for reestablishing healthy sleep patterns:

Magnesium is a mineral with wide-ranging effects including an influence over some of the processes that promote sleep. Magnesium helps the body maintain healthy levels of GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid), a naturally occurring amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter in your brain and, in part, can help calm the body and mind while preparing for sleep

Pyridoxal 5-phosphate is the active form of vitamin B6 and the necessary cofactor for the conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin. Serotonin promotes sleep. In conjunction with other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin influences when, how much, and how well you sleep. In addition to boosting mood and confidence, serotonin also helps sustain the body’s 24-hour rhythms and promotes deep and sustained sleep. It helps regulate your emotions and circadian rhythms, signaling the body to go to sleep or wake up at about the same time each day. Vitamin B6 deficiency has been linked to irritability, emotional disturbances, confusion, and disturbed sleep.

L-Theanine – Found in green tea in significant amounts, L-theanine is an amino acid that has a calming effect and is used to improve cognitive and mental performance. Alpha-wave predominance in the brain is associated with a state of relaxation, and theanine supplementation produces a shift toward more alpha-wave production within 40 minutes of taking it at amounts of 50 to 200 mg. The effects appear to last up to eight hours and are dependent on the amount taken. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study on boys that failed to pay attention or had periods of occasional sleeplessness demonstrated that L-theanine significantly increases sleep efficiency as well as time spent asleep.

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our circadian rhythm, which synchronizes our sleep-wake cycle, and is one of the most popular supplements used by people who have trouble falling asleep. The role of melatonin has been studied in people who have occasional sleeplessness, delayed sleep onset, and nighttime awakening issues.

Lemon Balm Extract– Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has been used in traditional medicines as a sleep-inducing, and memory-enhancing nutrient. Human trials have provided scientific evidence for the impact of lemon balm, demonstrating its ability to improve mood, reduce stress, and help induce sleep. For instance, one study that investigated the impact of lemon balm extract over a 15-day period found that occasional anxiety was reduced in 70% of the study participants and occasional sleeplessness was reduced in 85% of the participants.

Lifestyle Changes

In addition to dietary supplements, and getting proper sleep (both quantity and quality), the following lifestyle changes can help with ADHD.

Eat Healthily
A healthy diet can have a powerful, positive effect on your cognition, mood, memory, and behavior. The wrong diet can aggravate ADHD symptoms.   Limit foods with sugar and trans-fat and eat plenty of foods with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber. Salmon, blueberries, spinach, nuts, broccoli, and dark chocolate (in moderation, of course) are all examples of foods that can improve focus.  Impulsivity leads many people diagnosed with ADHD to eat the wrong things too often. In fact, impulsivity is associated with unhealthy weight gain, which has been shown to be bad for the brain. Eat only high-quality calories. Avoid junk food and sugar as much as possible.  Eating sugar and processed food, even in small amounts, leads to craving more food and feeling less energetic.

It is important to start each day with protein to boost your focus and concentration. Protein helps balance your blood sugar, increases focus and gives your brain the necessary building blocks for brain health.  Great sources of high quality, lean protein include wild fish such as salmon, skinless turkey or chicken, beans, raw nuts, and vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. Protein powders can also be a good source of protein but it is important to read the labels. Many protein powders contain sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.

Drink Plenty of Water
Your brain is 80 percent water. Anything that dehydrates it, such as too much caffeine or alcohol, impairs your cognition and judgment. Stay well hydrated every day.

Get Up and Get Moving
Regular exercise is just as healthy for the brain as it is for the body. It increases blood flow to the brain and improves concentration. It also boosts energy levels and can help you or your child become more alert and productive. There’s no need to run a marathon every day to reap the benefits of exercise. Simply go for a walk around the neighborhood, take a yoga class, swim, or cycle.

Control Stress
Since stress can make paying attention and staying focused even more challenging, it is important for you or your child to keep stress levels under control. One of the best ways to control stress is to exercise regularly as doing so can increase the brain’s serotonin levels and combat the stress hormone, cortisol. Meditating, breathing deeply, listening to soothing music, participating in a hobby, and spending time with positive friends and family members can also help.

Avoid Multitasking
Juggling several tasks at once can make staying focused even more difficult. Rather than multitasking in an effort to save time, you should concentrate on one task at a time. Create a to-do list each morning with only a few tasks so that you know what to focus on and avoid becoming overwhelmed.

Inattentiveness and impulsivity can interfere with all aspects of life.  Following the right regimen can have multiple benefits and lead to greater productivity, improved performance at work and/or school, healthier relationships, better sleep, and therefore increased longevity and a higher quality of life.

30 Interesting Facts & Statistics You Didn’t Know About Sleep

A lot of what we know about sleep today has only been investigated in the last 30 years or so, and much of this research has proven that a good night’s sleep isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. As demonstrated by devastating events caused or influenced by sleep deprivation, like the Challenger explosion in 1986 or the Exxon-Valdez spill in 1989, not getting enough sleep can have serious consequences, both for individuals and for societies.

So, because sleep is so important for our health and wellbeing – it’s one of the four pillars of healthy living, together with exercise, good nutrition, and relaxation – we have compiled a list of the 30 most fascinating, intriguing, and insightful research-backed facts and statistics about this fantastic nighttime habit of ours.

Sleep Facts and Statistics

  1. Humans spend one-third of their lives sleeping.
  2. Americans sleep 6.8 hours daily on average.
  3. 35 percent of Americans don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night.
  4. Lack of sleep is linked to several chronic conditions, like type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity, and heart disease.
  5. Falling asleep should take you 10 to 20 minutes. If it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep, chances are you are sleep deprived.
  6. 50-70 million US adults have a diagnosed sleep disorder
  7. In a nation-wide sleep survey, nearly 38 percent of respondents reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once during the previous month.
  8. Driving while sleepy or drowsy is similar to driving under the influence of alcohol. In fact, going 16 hours without sleep is the equivalent (reaction times, ability to sustain attention, awareness of hazards) of driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, the US legal limit.
  9. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 100,000 police-reported car crashes every year that involve drowsy driving.
  10. People are three times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident if they are fatigued.
  11. Disrupted sleep is the most common sleep problem, with short-term sleepless issues reported by about 30 percent of US adults.
  12. Snoring is the number one cause of sleep disruption for about 90 million Americans.
  13. The percentage of disrupted sleep instances increases with age, with 50 to 70 percent of older adults reporting difficulties sleeping at night.
  14. 97 percent of teenagers don’t get the recommended amount of sleep.
  15. Three-quarters of those who suffer from depression also experience sleeping difficulties.
  16. Sleep deprivation decreases pain tolerance.
  17. Humans are the only mammals that put off sleep purposely.
  18. 75 percent of people dream in color nowadays. Before the invention of color television, only 15 percent did.
  19. Studies have shown promising effects in the use of melatonin to shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and reduce the number of awakenings during the night.
  20. People who don’t get enough sleep tend to be hungrier. That is because sleep deprivation affects leptin (an appetite-regulating hormone) production.
  21. Regular exercise can help improve sleep patterns. Exercising before bed, however, may make it harder to fall asleep.
  22. The average person has 4-6 dreams every night.
  23. You can only dream of faces you have already seen.
  24. We forget 50 percent of our dreams within the first five minutes of waking up.
  25. You can’t “catch up” on sleep. Studies show that sleeping in during weekends to compensate for lost sleep decreases reaction time and ability to focus.
  26. Blue light (from your phone, computer, etc.) suppresses melatonin’s secretion, making it harder to fall asleep.
  27. Beauty sleep is real! Sleep regenerates your skin cells and promotes healing from environmental damage (UV rays, oxidative stress, dirt, etc.)
  28. Humans usually experience peak tiredness at two times in a 24-hours period: 2:00 am and 2:00 pm.
  29. Some research shows that people are more likely to sleep better during a new moon and worse during a full moon, though the reasons are still unclear.
  30. Somniphobia is the fear of falling asleep.

    IMPORTANT FACT:  There are natural ingredients that have been clinically proven to promote deep restorative sleep.

Jaw Pain: 5 Exercises for TMJ Relief

Compared to other animals who can rip through meat, bone, and even metal, the human jaw may not seem so impressive. It has been suggested that thousands of years of eating softer, cooked foods have made our jaw weaker, incapable of inflicting or enduring much significant bite forces. But our jaws aren’t weak or flimsy at all; research shows that the human mandible is actually very strong and effective, capable of exerting a bite force even greater than some primates our size, like orangutans and gibbons.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge that connects the jawbone to the skull. There is one on each side of the jaw, and they are capable of sliding front and back, up and down, and moving side to side to allow for a wide range of motion. Working together with a series of ligaments, muscles, and bones, a well-aligned mandible lets us bite, chew, yawn, talk, and swallow smoothly and painlessly.

TMJ disorders happen when the jaw joints or muscles become injured, misaligned, or inflamed, which can occur for many different reasons. An injured or inflamed mandible often leads to teeth grinding; pain when chewing or talking; clicking, popping, or crackling sounds or sensations; headaches or migraines; and, in some cases, ear pain.

Mild TMJ disorders usually respond well to home remedies like taking over-the-counter pain relief medications, hot and cold therapy, using splints or mouth guards (occlusal appliances) and taking magnesium supplements. Relaxation techniques, trigger point massages, and exercises to help loosen up the jaw and relieve pressure can also help.

Here are five easy exercises to try when your jaw feels painful, tired, or tense:

Jaw relaxation and massage

This stretch-massage combo can help relax your jaw muscles and ease stiffness.

  1. Sit or stand tall, with your legs uncrossed and your feet on the floor.
  2. Rest your tongue gently on the roof of your mouth.
  3. Open and close your mouth slowly.
  4. Repeat five times.
  5. With your jaw relaxed, place 2 or 3 fingers on your jaw muscles, right below your ears.
  6. Press gently and hold for 5-10 seconds. If your jaw is tense, you should feel the muscles tighten under your fingers.
  7. Repeat as needed in other areas that feel tender or tight.

Side-to-side movements

  1. Place an object (like a clean wooden chopstick or a craft stick) between your teeth.
  2. Clench the object with your teeth and slowly move your jaw from side to side for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Repeat 3 times.
  4. Increase the thickness of the object as the exercise gets easier.

Front-to-back movements

  1. Using the same object between your teeth from the previous exercise, thrust your jaw outwards, so your bottom teeth are in front of your top teeth.
  2. Repeat 3 times.
  3. Increase the thickness of the object as the exercise gets easier.

Mouth resistance

  1. Place your thumb under your chin.
  2. Open your mouth slowly and apply light pressure with your thumb, creating a resistance to open your mouth.
  3. Hold for 5-10 seconds before closing your mouth.
  4. Repeat 3 times.

Chin tucks

  1. Sit or stand stall against a wall with your back straight.
  2. Pull your chin towards your neck, as if you were creating a “double chin.”
  3. Hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Repeat 5-10 times.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet: 5 Foods That Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response to an irritant, injury, or infection. It is an effective mechanism for signaling the immune system that something needs to be repaired, or that there is an intruder that should be kicked out.

Inflammatory responses are not entirely good or bad. On the one hand, acute inflammation is crucial for defending ourselves against harmful pathogens and healing from injuries. On the other hand, research has shown that chronic or sustained inflammation can contribute to a wide range of health problems, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and metabolic conditions.

Chronic or severe inflammation triggers profound changes in the body, like the increase of immune cells in the bloodstream. Very generally speaking, this surplus of immune cells, together with other factors, can make the immune system attack the body’s own cells by mistake, potentially causing a number of conditions collectively referred to as “chronic inflammatory diseases.” Some examples of chronic inflammatory diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, and more.

Several things can trigger inflammation besides infection and injury. Long-term exposure to irritants, such as cigarette smoke or industrial chemicals, alcohol overuse, obesity, and chronic stress, also contribute to chronic inflammation. An unhealthy diet has also been linked to persistent low-grade inflammation.

Treating inflammation will often depend on the cause, severity, and frequency of the symptoms. Sometimes, making a few lifestyle changes may be all you need. Other times, however, it’s important to get it under control with medical treatments or dietary supplements to avoid long-term damage.

Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to reduce inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator. You can fight off inflammation by following an anti-inflammatory diet, avoiding foods known to cause inflammation and eating more functional foods.

What are ‘Functional Foods’?

Although there is no universal definition of functional food, a typical and simple definition is “foods having disease-preventing and/or health-promoting benefits in addition to their nutritive value.”

Functional foods health benefits include:

Providing antioxidants (like carotenoids, flavonoids, lycopene, anthocyanin and polyphenols) that fight free radical damage.
Reducing inflammation.
Aiding in disease prevention, such as reducing the risk for cardiovascular diseases, neurological conditions, depression or cancer.
Supporting gut health and therefore enhancing the immune system.
Providing live microbial cultures, also called probiotic bacteria.
Providing “prebiotics” that help feed probiotics.
Reducing pathogenic bacteria and microbes.

How can functional foods help fight disease?

Each functional food works a bit differently, depending on the specific compounds it contains. Some of the ways that functional foods offer protection against illnesses include:

Counteracting the negative effects of stress, such as by offering B vitamins, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Supporting detoxification and digestive health.
Protecting the brain from free radical damage and supporting cognitive/mental health.
Aiding in nutrient absorption.
Balancing cholesterol levels and blood pressure, as well as regulating heartbeats.
Helping build and maintain bone mass, such as by lowering acidity and helping alkalize the body.
Managing blood sugar levels, such as by providing fiber and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Helping with weight management and obesity prevention.

Foods to Fight Inflammation

Here are five foods that can help ease and improve the symptoms of inflammation naturally:

Berries

Most berries are packed with fiber, vitamins, and a type of plant-based compounds called polyphenols. Polyphenols are naturally occurring micronutrients present in many red, blue, purple, and dark plant foods. Generally speaking, the polyphenols in berries act as antioxidants and are capable of reducing inflammation, neutralizing free radicals, and fighting cell damage.

There are dozens of varieties of berries, but some of the healthiest include:

  • Blueberries
  • Goji berries
  • Raspberries
  • Açai berries
  • Cranberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries

Avocado

One of the first foods to be endowed with the name “superfood,” avocados are packed with potassium, fiber, magnesium, and healthy fats capable of reducing inflammation, helping you lose belly fat, and protecting against heart disease.

Avocados may also help lessen the inflammatory effects of fatty foods such as hamburgers, a study published by the Royal Society of Chemistry of the United Kingdom found. For the study, 11 healthy participants were asked to eat a hamburger patty alone or a hamburger patty with 68 grams of avocado for two meals.

Vascular and nervous system responses were measured two hours later to look for specific inflammatory markers. The study results showed that, whereas participants who only ate meat experienced a significant increase in IL-6 (a pro-inflammatory protein), no such changes were observed when the hamburger patty was consumed with avocado.

Whole Grains

In a review of 9 studies published by the journal Medicine, investigators found that eating a diet rich in whole grains, such as oatmeal, barley, brown rice, and whole wheat, can help reduce systemic inflammation.

Part of the reason why whole grains can effectively reduce inflammatory markers is thanks to their fiber content. In contrast to more popular refined grains, whole grains are left intact during the manufacturing process. This ensures that the bran, germ, and endosperm – all of which are packed with beneficial nutrients such as fiber – remain inside the grain when we eat it.

Incorporating more whole grains into your diet doesn’t have to be hard! Try these simple tips to add more whole grains to your meals:

  • Swap white bread for whole-grain bread or rolls.
  • Blitz rolled oats or quinoa to use in recipes as a substitute for breadcrumbs.
  • Replace or mix white rice with brown or wild rice.
  • Enjoy them as a snack! Popcorn is considered a whole grain, but avoid using microwave-ready bags. Bagged popcorn has been linked with myriad health problems, from lung damage to increased risk for certain kinds of cancer.

Fatty Fish

Contrary to popular belief, “fatty” doesn’t always mean “bad for you,” as demonstrated by salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and the rest of their omega-3-rich cousins. Fatty fishes are amongst the healthiest animal foods you can eat.

Packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, omega-3, EPA, and DHA, research suggests that consuming fish or EPA and DHA supplements can reduce inflammatory markers in the body. It may also protect against cardiovascular disease and lower the risk of developing chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms have been eaten by humans – both as food and as medicine – for thousands of years. Albeit low in calories, mushrooms are abundant sources of essential vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and potent anti-inflammatory compounds like polysaccharides and polyphenols. However, studies show that cooking mushrooms can destroy a significant amount of anti-inflammatory compounds, so it’s best to eat them raw or lightly cooked, whenever possible.

Some of the healthiest edible mushroom varieties you can eat:

  • Shiitake
  • Oyster
  • Reishi
  • Portobello
  • Porcini
  • Chanterelle
  • Lion’s mane
  • Chaga mushrooms – often consumed as tea

Foods to Avoid

Preventing inflammation in your body can be simple when you follow an anti-inflammatory diet. There are many foods that cause inflammation, and cutting back on them will improve your overall health. Chronic inflammation can lead to worrisome health problems, such as heart disease, acne, and even cancer, so being aware of the foods that cause inflammation is crucial for a healthy lifestyle.

White sugar
White sugar, found in sweets like candy, cakes, and other deserts is one of the biggest culprits of inflammation. It elevates blood glucose levels and is also highly addictive, which means if you start eating sugary foods, you’ll crave them more and more. Everything in moderation is okay, but the less white sugar you have in your system, the better.

Sweeteners
Sweeteners like Agave and Splenda are really no better than sugar itself, and might even be worse. Not only do they cause inflammation but they are also linked to other health conditions and diseases since sugar slows your white blood cell activity.  The safest drink for quenching thirst is water, unsweetened coffee or tea.

Peanuts
Peanuts can cause major inflammation in the body. This applies to peanut butter and oil as well, so it’s probably in your best interest to switch to organic almond, cashew, or other nut butters.

Dairy
Frozen yogurt, cheese, ice cream, butter – all of these foods cause inflammation. Dairy is a common allergen, and unfortunately, many dairy products contain hormones and antibiotics that your body is better off without.

Alcohol
Alcohol causes inflammation due to its negative effect on your liver function. Excessive amounts of alcohol can disturb the way your organs interact leading to inflammation and other diseases. If you can’t eliminate it, then drink it in moderation –  too many alcoholic beverages can be harmful.

Gluten
Found in foods with wheat, rye, and barley, gluten products are known to result in inflammation. If you suffer from celiac disease, you have to cut gluten out completely, and even if you don’t it’s best to keep your gluten intake to a minimum to prevent inflammation. Quinoa and buckwheat are good alternatives.

Vegetable oil
Vegetable oil is high in omega 6 fats, which can throw off your body’s balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fats, causing inflammation. Coconut oil is one of the best alternatives to cook with.

Refined carbs
Foods like white bread, white rice, and white potatoes are refined carbs that are no good for your body. They are high-glycemic-index foods that lead to advanced glycation end (AGE) products. This leads to inflammation, not to mention these foods are a main cause of obesity and other health concerns.

GMO corn
Genetically modified corn is really harsh on your system and causes inflammation in your stomach. Avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup and corn oil for the best anti-inflammatory results.

Red meat
Hormones and preservatives often found in red meat products can be troublesome. Wild-caught fish or tofu are healthier alternatives that won’t cause inflammation.

Artificial chemicals
Preservatives, additives, and food coloring can all be found in processed foods, which are really bad for your system. Your body triggers an immune system response since it doesn’t recognize these things as food and you’re left with inflammation.

Trans fats
Trans fats can be found in fast and fried foods, cookies, donuts, and even crackers. Consumption of these no-good fatty acids can create excess inflammation in your body as well as numerous other health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

MSG
MSG leads to liver inflammation, and since your liver is your most metabolic organ it creates systematic inflammation in the rest of your body. You should be eliminating MSG entirely. It can be found in many processed dinners, potatoes chips, restaurant foods, salty flavored snacks, and much more. Do your research and try your best to cut it out.

Deep-fried foods
Deep-fried foods are harder to digest than baked or pan-fried foods.  Eating deep-fried foods can increase your exposure to free radicals so if possible, avoid them altogether.

High sodium/salt
Your body needs sodium to function, but too much can wreak havoc on your system.  One of the big charges against dietary salt is that it supposedly contributes to inflammation, which adds to the problems of high blood pressure.  However; high-salt is often associated with salty-junk-food, which some researchers feel could be skewing the results.  The jury is still out on the pure salt supplementation and inflammation connection.

The bottom line — You don’t necessarily need to eliminate all these foods completely from your diet. Moderation is key to a healthy lifestyle.  Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet and avoiding inflammatory foods when you can is key to good health, feeling better, and living longer.