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General Health Category

Improve Your Memory Today While Maintaining Healthy Brain Volume as You Age

February 5th, 2019

Brain boosting dietary supplements are very beneficial  for improving memory and recall, but equally important is their ability to maintain healthy and youthful brain volume as you age.

In this age where sophisticated imaging machines can look at the health of our brains, we’ve learned that several parts of the brain can shrink with aging. This shrinking (atrophy) is associated with poorer brain/cognitive function and may even lead to Alzheimer’s disease.  Akeso Health Sciences has included ingredients in the dietary supplement “Calm & Clever” that have been shown to help maintain already healthy and normal levels of brain volume in areas crucial to long-term brain health, cognitive function and memory.  Calm & Clever contains both anxiolytic (stress reducing) and Nootropic (brain boosting) ingredients.  Think of nootropics as food for your brain. When we provide our brains with proper nutrition, it can function at peak performance.

One such supplement is Huperzine A, a potent and well-rounded nootropic famous for its ability to improve cognition and overall brain health.  Huperzine A is an herbal alkaloid compound extracted and purified from the Huperziaceae family of plants. It has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.  Its list of physical and mental health benefits is extensive. From its ability to improve memory and recall, to slowing age-related cognitive decline and providing neuroprotection.

What is acetylcholine and why is it important?

Acetylcholine is one of the chemicals that our nerves use to communicate in the brain, muscles, and other areas. It is known as the learning neurotransmitter linked directly to memory and one’s ability to retain newly learned information. Acetylcholine also plays a significant role in muscle contraction leading to improvements in physical performance and reaction time.  Huperzine A is known as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI).  In other words, Huperzine A prevents enzymes from breaking down acetylcholine in the brain. The enzyme in question is acetylcholinesterase which is an abundant substance in our brains. Therefore, Huperzine A’s inhibition of AChE allows more acetylcholine to build up in the brain.  By increasing the amount of available acetylcholine in your brain, we increase our brain’s capacity to memorize and retain information through enhanced neurotransmission.

Improved learning, memory and recall are just some of the many benefits of Huperzine A.  Studies have confirmed the following cognitive enhancements and overall health benefits.

Huperzine A:

  • Reduces brain fog and enhances mental precision
  • Enhances physical and mental endurance and overall fatigue reduction
  • Improves  physical power output during exercise and quicker recovery following overexertion
  • Enhances human growth hormone (HGH) production in young healthy adults
  • Improves fat oxidation in all age ranges
  • Significantly improves mood without negatively impacting sleep or causing restlessness
  • Provides neuroprotection to help prevent age-related cognitive decline and brain shrinkage (hippocampal atrophy)
  • Promotes nervous tissue growth and development through neurogenesis
  • Can improve and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurodegenerative conditions
  • Improves focus, concentration and overall cognitive function

Most of the Huperzine A benefits result from the increased acetylcholine production. It is not only a powerful nootropic but an excellent choice for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. The mood boosting effects arise from the subsequent increase in norepinephrine and dopamine levels.

PROTECTING THE BRAIN
Huperzine A performs several vital functions that allow acetylcholine levels to increase. Once increased, it begins to shield your brain from oxidative damage and other common causes of brain cell death. Huperzine A (a NMDA receptor antagonist) prevents glutamate toxicity from damaging neurons. Amino acid glutamate is known for its overstimulation of NMDA receptors, which in turn causes damage to neurons. Huperzine A helps prevent this type of impairment from occurring. 

Huperzine A is just one of the amazing ingredients in the dietary supplement “Calm & Clever.”  To learn about the other  ingredients in this nootroopic and anxiolitic combination supplement, click here.

Brain Supplement

HOW TO LIVE FOR 100 YEARS OR MORE! Copy

February 5th, 2019

On behalf of myself and the MigreLief team at Akeso Health Sciences, I would like to thank you all for following and “Liking Us” on Facebook.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting MigreLief’s goal to improve quality of life worldwide for sufferers of debilitating migraines. In part, because of your support we are reaching more men, women, and children whose lives are disrupted by extremely painful migraines.

As a way of saying thank you, I would like to share, what I believe to be extremely valuable science that you and your loved ones can begin implementing today, in order to significantly reduce your risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases and thereby increasing the likelihood of living to a ripe old age while remaining vibrant, strong, energetic and young looking.

Chronic degenerative diseases such as,

  • * Heart disease
  • * Cancer
  • * Arthritis
  • * Diabetes
  • * Asthma
  • * Alzheimer’s disease

Though seemingly distinct and different diseases, all have remarkable similarities when we measure certain biomarkers in the blood and spinal fluid that are acknowledged indicators or precursors of disease progression.

Three of the most important destructive aging and disease causing phenomenon that occur and can be measured in the body are:

  • 1- Oxidative Stress
  • 2- Systemic Inflammation
  • 3- Excessive Glycation – (the damage that sugar does to tissue and cellular proteins.)

Oxidative Stress – Many of you have probably heard about the damage that “free radicals” can do to our bodies. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that are missing an electron and steal electrons from healthy cells and damage them or cause them to die or mutate (cancer). Removal of the electron from the healthy cell by the free radical is called oxidation and thus the term “oxidative stress”. To reduce the risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases and prevent accelerated aging, we need to control oxidative stress!

Systemic Inflammation – Believe it or not, inflammation, when under control is actually a signal used by the body to call white blood cells to an injured/damaged area within our bodies to start healing.  For example, if a cut becomes infected it becomes inflamed. The inflammation is actually a signal for certain types of white blood cells to come to the injured area to “clean” up the infection.

Once the wound is healed the inflammation goes away and we return to normal. But due to poor diets, excessive sugar consumption, and excessive oxidative stress from not consuming enough antioxidants contained in fruits and vegetables, we develop a consistent “low grade” level of circulating inflammatory compounds that over time, if not checked, actually erode our bodies, brains and other organs which accelerates oxidative stress and the on-going damage that occurs over time. To reduce the risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases and prevent accelerated aging, we need to control “systemic inflammation!”

Excessive Glycation – The chemical process by which part of a sugar molecule attaches to and changes/destroys a protein molecule is referred to as glycation.  Many of you have probably heard how Type II diabetes is becoming rampant in our American population. Due to poor diets, many of us stop responding efficiently to insulin produced by the pancreas that is supposed to make sure that sugar in our blood is transferred to the cells where it can be used for energy and carrying out cellular functions.

When we become less sensitive to insulin, more sugar “hangs around” in the blood and as the blood circulates the sugar in it does damage to the organs like our hearts, kidneys, lungs, brains and eyes. This is why heart disease is associated with diabetes.  To reduce the risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases and prevent accelerated aging, we need to control “excessive glycation.”

IF WE WANT TO LEAD LONG, PRODUCTIVE, HEALTHY LIVES WELL INTO OUR 80’S, 90’S AND BEYOND, WE NEED TO CONTROL – “OXIDATIVE “STRESS,” “SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION,” AND “EXCESSIVE GLYCATION!”

HERE’S HOW TO DO IT:

1- The Indian spice TUMERIC and its active ingredient CURCUMIN – Tumeric is the yellow spice that is used in Indian cooking. Extracts of turmeric that contain 95% curcumin are among the most medicinally researched herbal compounds in the world. From cancer, to heart disease, to Alzheimer’s and arthritis, there are studies in animals and humans that show the incredible protective and healing powers of curcumin.

Curcumin is at the same time a powerful antioxidant, powerful anti-inflammatory and also demonstrates some ability to slow down glycation. So there is no wonder why it is on my list of things to take if you want to live to 100 and maintain exceptional health, and resist disease and aging. Take 1000-1500 mg a day of the turmeric extract. Make sure it states it is 95% curcumin on its label.

2- GREEN TEA EXTRACT – Many of you have heard about the multiple health benefits of drinking green tea. I suggest in addition to drinking it, that you take green tea extract as well, because you can never be sure the specific green tea you are drinking has any or enough of the specific phyto-compounds in it that make it so healthy and protective. Take 800-1000 mg a day of a green tea extract in capsule or tablet form that contain 50% EGCG (the most important active compound found in green tea). Several studies that have been published indicate that combining green tea with curcumin is synergistic and enhances the protective and health promoting benefits of each.

3- R-ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID – is a dietary supplement that helps to prevent the advanced glycation end products caused by sugar that do harm to our cells and tissues. It also helps us to maintain our ability to remain sensitive to insulin and reduces the risk of developing Type II diabetes.

In addition, lipoic acid protects the energy producing organelles in our cells called mitochondria. As we age the effects of oxidative stress, inflammation and toxins damage the energy producing ability of our mitochondria and thus we experience the lack of energy often associated with advancing age. Lipoic acid helps to reduce this mitochondrial damage from occurring. Take 400-600 mg a day of R-alpha-lipoic acid. (Be sure that the supplement you get says “R” lipoic acid as it is believed to be the active isomer of this compound.)

4- Multivitamin and Fiber – To the above recommendations I strongly suggest that you take a daily comprehensive multiple vitamin/mineral product (that contains at least 25 mg each of Vitamin B-1, 2, 3, 5 and 400-800 mcg of folic acid and 100 mcg of vitamin B-12).  Finally, make sure that you get at least 30 grams a day of soluble and insoluble fiber into your diet. Hi-fiber cereals that contain 8+ grams per serving are good places to start. Then you can sprinkle either psyllium or ground FLAX SEED on top of the cereals or into yogurt or salads to further increase your fiber intake.

Healthy Item List:

Tumeric (95% curcumin): 1000-1500 mg/day

Green Tea Extract (50% EGCG): 800-1000 mg/day

R-alpha-lipoic acid – 400-800 mcg/day

plus

Multiple Vitamin – containing at least; 25mg of Vit B-1, B-2, B-3 B-5, 100 mcg of B-12 and 400-800 folic acid

Ground Flaxseed or Psyllium -30 grams (sprinkled on food or mixed into smoothies etc.

I sincerely hope that you take this advice to heart and follow it daily. It will make a profound difference in how you age and how young and healthy you stay throughout the oncoming decades.

To the Best of Health,

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

MigreLief is Covered by Flexible Spending Plans (Pre-Tax Dollars)

December 28th, 2018

MigreLief Nonprescription Migraine Relief Qualifies for FSA Plans with a Note from DocAs the end of the year approaches and employees enrolled in Section 125 FLEX PAY PLANS calculate the dollars left in their flexible spending account (FSA) or healthcare spending accounts (HSA) due to the “Use it or lose it” policy,  it is a good time to remember that MigreLief is considered an OTC (over the counter) item that qualifies for reimbursement under your flex-pay plan, however you’ll need a note from your healthcare provider.

Pursuant to Revenue Ruling 2003-102, over-the-counter drugs that are used to alleviate or treat personal injuries or sickness are now reimbursable through health care flexible spending accounts. Employees’ flex pay pretax contributions are not subject to federal, state, or social security taxes.  In general, individuals must use funds from a flexible spending account for medical care. Medical care is for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, OR for the purpose of affecting a structure or function of the body (section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code).

Per the IRS  – Eligible expenses include, “Dietary supplements or herbal medicines to treat medical conditions in narrow circumstances.”

MigreLief qualifies…  however, as of 2011 qualifying OTC items require a note from your doctor.

Many MigreLief users have been prescribed MigreLief by a neurologist, general practitioner or other healthcare professional for medical purposes. If you use any MigreLief supplements, approach your healthcare practitioner for a prescription to be placed on file with your flex-pay plan administrator so you can purchase it monthly with your pretax dollars.

Studies have shown that employees on average lose approximately $100 annually in forfeited balances within their employee health care flex spending accounts because any money remaining in your flexible spending account on Dec 31 disappears and is retained by your employer.

If you have money in your flex-pay account at year end, stock up on MigreLief or other items from the list below to avoid losing those dollars.

Many other OTC items you may not have considered also qualify for reimbursement with a note from your doctor.  The following is a list of common non-prescription over-the-counter items the IRS has determined to be primarily for medical care and eligible for reimbursement, and dual purpose items that are reimbursable with a physician’s statement.

Note:  This list does not include all reimbursable items but is the best guidance provided by the Internal Revenue Service to date.

ELIGIBLE EXPENSES

Allergy medicine

Antacids

Bactine

Band-Aids/bandages

Anti-diarrhea medicine

Bug-bite medication

Calamine lotion

Carpal-tunnel wrist supports

Cold medicines

Reading glasses

Cold/hot packs for injuries

Condoms

Contact lens cleaning solution

Cough drops

Spermicidal foam

Diaper rash ointments

First aid cream/First aid kits

Hemorrhoid medication

Incontinence supplies

Laxatives

Liquid adhesive for small cuts

Menstrual cycle products for pain/cramps

Motion sickness pills

Muscle or joint pain products

Nasal sinus sprays/strips

Nicotine gum/patches for stop-smoking

Pain relievers

Pedialyte for ill child dehydration

Pregnancy test kits

Rubbing alcohol

Sinus medications

Sleeping aids to treat insomnia

Sunburn ointments or creams

Thermometers (ear or mouth)

Throat lozenges

Visine and other eye products

Wart remover treatments

 

Dual purposes OTC items

The following list of dual-purpose over-the-counter items can be reimbursed if used for medical purposes. They must be accompanied by a medical practitioner’s note stating the item is to treat a specific medical condition and not a cosmetic procedure.

Acne treatment (Retin A) only to treat a specific medical condition such as acne vulgaris

Dietary supplements or herbal medicines to treat medical conditions in narrow circumstances

Fiber supplements under narrow circumstances

Glucosamine/chondrotin for arthritis or other medical conditions

Orthopedic shoes and inserts (only the cost difference between orthopedic and nonorthopedic shoes will be reimbursed)

Hormone therapy and treatment for menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats

Pills for lactose intolerance

Prenatal vitamins

St. John’s Wort for depression

Sunscreen

Weight-loss drugs to treat a specific disease including obesity

 

Medical expenses eligible for reimbursement under a Section 125 cafeteria plan

Acupuncture

Adoption related medical costs

Air conditioner filters for allergy relief (supplied by online Goodman furnace and AC)

Alcoholism treatment

Ambulance services

Attendant for blind or deaf student

Autoette

Birth control pills

Blind persons accessories (seeing eye dog, Braille training, special schooling)

Capital expenditures (home modifications for handicapped)

Car modifications for handicapped

Childbirth prep classes (mother only)

Chiropractors

Christian Science treatment

Contact lenses (including replacement insurance)

Cosmetic Surgery (non-elective only)

Crutches

Deaf persons accessories (hearing aids, special schooling)

Dental fees

Dentures

Diagnostic fees

Doctors’ fees

Domestic aid (in home nurse)

Drug addiction treatment

Dyslexia language training

Electrolysis (medical reasons only)

Elevator for cardiac conditions

Eye exams and glasses

Fertility enhancement

Fluoride device

Guide animals

Hair transplant (surgical and medical reasons)

Hearing aids

HMO’s

Hospital care (in-patient)

Indian medicine man

Insulin

Insurance premiums (medical post-tax only)

Iron lung

Lab fees

Laetrile (legal use)

Laser eye surgery

Lead paint removal

Learning disability (doctor recommended special schooling fees)

Legal expenses related to medical condition

Lifetime medical care prepaid-retirement home

Limbs (artificial)

Lodging (for medical care away from home)

Long Term Care Services (qualified medical only)

Meals (medical care away from home)

Medical conferences (relating to illness)

Nursing home (medical reasons)

Nursing services (home care)

Operation (legal, including abortion)

Organ Donor

Orthodontia

Orthopedic shoes

Osteopaths

Oxygen equipment

Prescription Drugs –

Psychiatric care

Psychotherapists

Sexual dysfunction treatment

Sterilization

Stop Smoking Programs (and related stop smoking prescription drugs only)

Swimming pool (for polio or arthritis treatment)

Telephone equipment (for hearing impaired)

Television close caption prescribed by doctor

Vasectomy

Weight loss programs (doctor prescribed for medical reasons)

Wheelchair

Wigs (alleviation of physical or mental discomfort)

X-rays

If you have not opted in to your firm’s flex-pay plan, you may want to consider it during the next enrollment period.  Many other items you use regularly may be covered and it is a good way to cut taxes. In many cases it is permitted to add or a portable air conditioner to the plan. Consult the portable air conditioner guide for all the details.

Though some flex pay plans offer an explicit choice of cash or benefits, most today are operated through a “salary redirection agreement”, which is a payroll deduction in all but name. Deductions under such agreements are often called pre-tax deductions because salary redirection contributions are not actually or constructively received by the participant. Therefore, those contributions are not generally considered wages for federal income tax purposes,  nor are they usually subject to Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA)  and Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA).

So remember to save your receipt the next time you purchase MigreLief and submit it along with a note from your doctor for reimbursement.

~ The MigreLief Team

.

Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds for Healthy Eyes, Heart, Skin, Hair, Weight Loss & More!

October 26th, 2018

 

Pumpkin Health BenefitsCommonly viewed as a vegetable, pumpkin is scientifically a fruit, as it contains seeds. Nutritionally it is more similar to vegetables than fruits. Pumpkin has a range of fantastic health benefits, including being one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene.

Eye Health:  Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant. It also gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color.  The body converts any ingested beta-carotene into vitamin A.  Vitamin A is essential for eye health and helps the retina absorb and process light. One cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of most people’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A, making it an outstanding option for optical health.  Studies show that vitamin A can also strengthen your immune system and help fight infections. (1) (2)

High Antioxidant Content:  Free radicals are molecules produced by your body’s metabolic process. Though highly unstable, they have useful roles, such as destroying harmful bacteria.  However, excessive free radicals in your body create a state called oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. Pumpkins contain antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These can neutralize free radicals, stopping them from damaging your cells.  Pumpkin may lower you risk of cancer. (3)  (4)

Heart Health:  Pumpkin contains a variety of nutrients that can improve your heart health.  It’s high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber, which have been linked to heart benefits.  For instance, studies have shown that people with higher potassium intakes appear to have lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of strokes which are both risk factors for heart disease. (5)

Weight Loss:  Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer.  It is low in calories as it is 94% water and contains only 50 calories per cup (245 grams).

Healthy Skin:  Pumpkin is great for the skin for many reasons.  Studies show that carotenoids like beta-carotene can act as a natural sunblock. (6)
Once ingested, carotenoids are transported to various organs including your skin. Here, they help protect skin cells against damage from harmful UV rays (7).
Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, which is essential for healthy skin. Your body needs this vitamin to make collagen, a protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy. (8).
Moreover, pumpkins contain lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E and many more antioxidants that have been shown to boost your skin’s defenses against UV. (9) (10)

One cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains:

Calories: 49
Fat: 0.2 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Carbs: 12 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
Potassium: 16% of the RDI
Copper: 11% of the RDI
Manganese: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
Iron: 8% of the RDI
Small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and several B vitamins.

When making pumpkin dishes… Don’t throw away the seeds!

PUMPKIN SEEDS ARE POWER SEEDS

Pumpkin SeedsPumpkin seeds were discovered by archaeologists in caves in Mexico back in 7,000 B.C.  North American Indian tribes were the very first to observe the dietary and medicinal properties of pumpkin seeds.  The nutrition in pumpkin seeds improves with age; they are among the few foods that increase in nutritive value as they decompose. Pumpkin seeds stored for more than five months increase in protein content. They can be consumed raw or toasted, plain or tossed in salads and other fresh or cooked dishes.  Containing a variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are extremely healthy and are a good source of B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates), magnesium, iron and protein.  100 grams of pumpkin seeds contains about 30 grams of protein. They are the most alkaline-forming seed.

PUMPKIN SEED BENEFITS

Heart Healthy:  Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of healthy fats, fibers and various antioxidants that are beneficial for the heart.  The high levels of essential fatty acids help maintain healthy blood vessels and lower unhealthy cholesterol in the blood.  Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.

Healthy Sleep:  Pumpkin seeds contain Serotonin, a neurochemical which promotes health sleep.  They are also high in Tryptophan, an amino acid that further converts into Serotonin in the body, to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Prostate Health:  High in zinc these seeds are useful for promoting men’s fertility and preventing prostrate problems. The oil in pumpkin seeds alleviates difficult urination that happens with an enlarged prostate.  Pumpkin seeds also have DHEA (Di-hydro epi-androstenedione) that helps reduce the chances of prostate cancer.

Stabilize Blood Sugar – Pumpkin seeds help improve insulin regulation in diabetics and decreases oxidative stress. These seeds are a rich source of digestible protein that helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

Hair Growth:  Pumpkin seeds consist of cucurbitin, a unique amino that may be responsible for hair growth. They also contain vitamin C that also plays a crucial role in hair growth. Apply pumpkin seeds oil on scalp to see the results or just consume a handful of them daily.

Bone Protection:  High in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis, since zinc deficiencies can lead to higher rates of osteoporosis.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source vitamin E; they contain about 35.10 mg of tocopherol per 100 g.

Other benefits:  According to studies, pumpkin seeds prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.  These seeds reduce inflammation and counter arthritis pain without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.  They are also used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites.

Take advantage of the abundance of pumpkins during the fall season and give your health a boost. Enjoy these healthy pumpkin recipes.

 

PUMPKIN PIE SMOOTHIE

Pumpkin Smoothy

Tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass and will satisfy all your pumpkin cravings.  It combines pumpkin purée with almond butter, milk, delicious spices, and honey. It’s an excellent source of filling protein and fiber, plus it provides eye-helping beta-carotene. (Can’t get enough pumpkin?

Ingredients:

1 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
4 ice cubes

Directions:  Blend ingredients together, and enjoy! Serves 1.

 

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Healthy Pumpkin MuffinsHEALTHY PUMPKIN MUFFINS (No Flour, Sugar Free, Oil Free, Dairy Free Gluten Free)

Healthy pumpkin muffins are a better-for-you alternative to traditional pumpkin muffins or pumpkin bread.
Gluten free, sugar-free, oil free, and dairy free. Your taste buds will love the healthy fall flavors.

Prep Time – 20 min
Cook Time – 20 min
Total Time – 32 mins
Servings: 14 muffins
Calories: 123  calories

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (toasted & ground) * 9.3 ounces
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats (toasted, 2 Tbsp reserved for muffin tops) * 2.8 ounces
1 1/8 cups pumpkin puree * 10.7 ounces
2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
6 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
3/4 cup canned coconut milk or dairy milk (full fat, skim or 1 %,)
2 tsp real vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 ½ tsp pumpkin spice (or 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, and 1/4 ground nutmeg)
½ cup walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 325. Place all oats on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, stirring once (about 4 to 6 minutes).
Let cool to room temperature. (If you are in a hurry you can skip this step and use plain old-fashioned oats, however the toasting adds flavor.)
Place 2.5 cups of oats in a food processor and blend/pulse until they reach a rough, flour like consistency.
Combine pumpkin puree, eggs, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla. Mix to combine.

Add both ground and unground oats to wet ingredients and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes (this allows the oats to soak and soften).
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just incorporated. (The batter will be very thick.)

Optional: Fold in approximately 1/2 c walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips, or dried cranberries.

Scoop batter into muffin tin, lined with muffin wrappers (makes 12-14 muffins). Fill the muffin tins 7/8 full.
Bake at 350 for about 23 – 25 minutes, a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean and the top of the muffin should feel firm.
Recipe Notes
Use parchment muffin liners or lightly spray liners lightly with oil to make the baked muffins easier to remove.

 

GREAT PUMPKIN SOUP
Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients
1 small pumpkin
1 onion
3 to 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1.5 cups of vegetable broth
1.5 cups of coconut milk
1/4 tsp turmeric
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
Olive oil (to brush on pumpkin flesh)
Pumpkin seeds and fresh rosemary (to garnish)

Instructions
1. Preheat your oven to 375°F before cutting your pumpkin in half. Spoon out the strings and seeds, saving the seeds for roasting.

2. Using olive oil, brush the flesh of the pumpkin and place the halves skin-side up on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately one hour — a fork should be able to pierce the skin. When cooked, allow to cool.

3. On your stove top, saute garlic and onions until translucent — then add turmeric to toast slightly.

4. Add all remaining ingredients (pumpkin flesh, broth, coconut milk, salt and pepper) and bring to a simmer.

5. Once incorporated, use an emulsion blender to create a smoother consistency and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes.

6. When ready to serve, garnish with rosemary and pumpkin seeds. If you’d like to roast your own, simply toss seeds in olive oil and salt, baking for around 40 to 45 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

Enjoy!

For more great recipes, visit BrenDid .com

HEALTHY EASTER EGGS – Hunting for the Truth About Eggs and Cholesterol

March 30th, 2018

Easter Eggs ImageHow many times have you heard (perhaps even from your physician) to limit the consumption of eggs because they contain a lot of cholesterol and that by eating too many eggs, you will negatively affect your cholesterol levels?

Well, for those of you who love eggs but feel guilty eating them, there is some really good news.  All of those warnings about egg consumption were JUST PLAIN WRONG!

First of all, for about 70% of people, consuming cholesterol in your diet (from any source) has absolutely no meaningful effect on your cholesterol levels! There are several studies proving this and NOT one study showing that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease.

Secondly, it has been shown in the 30% of people whose cholesterol levels rise modestly when consuming eggs, that their LDL cholesterol particle size gets bigger….AND THIS IS A GOOD THING.

Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Nutritional Sciences summarized the results of egg consumption on blood cholesterol levels. In children aged 10-12, in men aged 20-50, in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, in whites and Hispanics:  two or three eggs per day has little or no effect on the blood cholesterol levels of over two thirds of the population. (1)

But there was even good news in the less than 1/3 of the population whose cholesterol did go up with egg consumption.  Their good and bad cholesterol went up equally and there was no change in their ratio of LDL to HDL or even the ratio of LDL to total cholesterol both of which are considered much more important than total cholesterol levels.

But the good news continued. It turns out that the LDL in egg eaters actually became safer. When LDL particles are small and dense, they can more easily penetrate into the lining of your arteries and cause plaque. The LDL in egg eaters got larger and fluffier making it safer and less susceptible to damage from oxidation and less susceptible to causing plaque in the arteries.

In addition, other health benefits of eggs are:

1- Eye health – May help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts because of lutein and zeaxanthin levels they contain
2- Provide high quality protein and essential amino acids
3- Contains Vitamin D
4- Possible breast cancer prevention – in one study, 6 eggs per week reduced risk by 44%
5- Healthy hair and nail due to high sulfur content

Enjoy your Easter holiday.

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix,  M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

(1)-Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006;9:8-12.

Enjoying Thanksgiving Heartburn-Free, Tips for Avoiding GERD Over the Holidays.

November 23rd, 2017

Thanksgiving is one of the holidays that revolves around food and can be challenging for people with gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, heartburn or acid reflux.

What is heartburn?  It is the burning, bloated feeling in the chest and sometimes throat that is caused by the leaking of stomach digestive juices containing acid and pepsin (a digestive enzyme that breaks down proteins) into your esophagus (the tube connecting your throat to your stomach) and sometimes this reflux travels up into the throat which can irritate both your throat (larynx) and voice box (pharynx), cause difficult, painful swallowing, and lead to coughing, phlegm and hoarseness. When these symptoms develop in the throat instead of the chest cavity they are referred to as extraesophageal reflux (outside of the esophagus or LPR/ laryngopharyngeal reflux).

It is pepsin that causes most of the tissue damage to the esophagus, throat and voice box because it breaks down the protein structure in our tissues.  When left untreated GERD can lead to Barrett’s syndrome which is pre-cancer of the esophagus.

Though reflux can occur during the day, by standing up, gravity helps keep it somewhat under control but when we lie down at night its much easier for the stomach juices to flow back into the esophagus and start the symptoms discussed above.

If you are often bothered by heartburn and GERD (or possibly LPR) you may take antacid medications to try to control the acid and burning symptoms by using the most popular drugs for this purpose which are known as PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors) these are drugs like Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec.

It is not healthy to be on these drugs for longer than a month or two yet many people are threatening their health by being on them for much longer periods of time.  These drugs have been shown to:

1.  Increase the risk of early death,

2.  Increase the risk of kidney disease, heart disease, bone fractures, dementia, and infections.

3.  Decrease absorption of important compounds like magnesium, iron and vitamin B-12 to name a few.

So here’s what to do:

1-      Never eat within 2 ½-3 hours of going to bed.

2-      Sleep with your upper back and head raised

3-      Try to sleep as much as possible on your left side – The anatomy of your stomach makes it much more difficult for gastric juices to flow into the esophagus when you are on your left side.

4-      Decrease your use of the PPI’s slowly over 2 weeks and replace with H2 blocker like Zantac or Pepsid if you need relief and wean off those as you proceed with the other recommendations

5-      Don’t eat your next days first meal for at least 15 hours after your last meal from the previous night.  This in essence gives you a 15 hour fast which calms down your digestive symptoms, lowers the risk of reflux, and helps with blood sugar and weight control for added benefit.

6-      Consider adding a forkful of natural sauerkraut during the day. It helps the stomach to maintain healthy acid levels and adds many good bacteria that can offset ingested pathogenic bacteria that can get into the stomach, release gas and cause pressure that can force the gastric juices to reflux into the esophagus.

7-      Eliminate as much sugar as you can from your diet.  In addition to the danger of sugar to your overall health, it has been associated with GERD.  The same applies to processed meats and foods.

8-      Try using ½ teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in ½ glass of warm water for relief. Gargle it your mouth for a few seconds and then swallow it.  If your stomach acid levels are sufficient you should burp in no more than one or two minutes.  Often “too little” stomach acid is the cause of reflux and NOT “too much.”  Even if you have too little acid in your stomach when it refluxes it still burns, so it is the act of refluxing not necessarily that you have too much stomach acid!  In fact too little acid leads to poor control of gas-producing bacteria and the gas pushes the stomach juices into the esophagus.

If you need additional relief during the same day, instead of taking more medicine or another dose of baking soda, try swallowing a glass of 8.8 alkaline water which is sold in supermarkets.  The combo of baking soda and alkaline water works very well together for both GERD and LPR.

9-      If you have LPR symptoms and the above after a month or so hasn’t brough much relief, you can add a ½ teaspoon of sodium alginate to your ½ teaspoon of baking soda in warm water.

Though the sodium alginate does not dissolve too well in water, mix it as best you can, it will be clumpy but swallow it anyway.  The sodium alginate and the baking soda combo form a harmless bridge that covers the stop of your stomach fluids and prevents them from flowing backward into your esophagus.

TIPS TO ENJOY A HEARTBURN FREE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

Juicy turkey, savory stuffing, creamy casseroles, and buttery mashed potatoes make the perfect spread for a traditional Thanksgiving table, but if you suffer from GERD, these rich, indulgent foods, can aggravate acid reflux and lead to hours of discomfort long after you’ve put away the leftovers.

The key to enjoying a heartburn-free holiday lies in knowing which foods to choose and which ones to avoid.  Also, eating too much overall or within a short time can trigger reflux,  Here are some tips for a heartburn-friendly Thanksgiving meal:

Choose lean cuts of turkey – Turkey is relatively safe for GERD sufferers, but try to choose cuts of white meat instead of dark, as they contain less fat. You can also limit the fat content by removing the skin and keeping the gravy to a minimum.

Fix mashed potatoes with chicken broth – Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving tradition, but when you load them up with butter and sour cream, they become a reflux nightmare. Adding chicken broth to your mashed potatoes gives them a rich flavor without ramping up the fat content.

Season stuffing with herbs – Everyone loves a heaping scoop of warm, savory stuffing, but if it’s seasoned with garlic and onions, it’s likely to cause heartburn. Prepare your stuffing with a variety of freshly chopped herbs instead.

Make casseroles with low-fat ingredients – If your casserole recipe uses a cream soup base, you can instantly make it more heartburn-friendly by using low-fat condensed soup. Look for other ingredients that come in low-fat or fat-free varieties like cream cheese, sour cream and whipping cream.

Skip the alcohol – It may be tempting to indulge in a glass of wine or champagne at dinnertime, but alcohol is a major heartburn trigger. Keep your beverage heartburn-friendly by sticking to water, non-citrus juice or decaffeinated tea. You can still participate in holiday toasts with a glass of sparkling cider or club soda!

Go easy on dessert – It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving dinner without the pumpkin pie, but just one slice has over 300 calories and 14 grams of fat.  Keep the fat content to a minimum by choosing a smaller slice, skipping the whipped cream, and removing the buttery crust from the back portion of your pie.

Have a wonderful and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.

To the Best of Heath,

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S. C.C.N., C.N. S.

 

Enjoy the 4th: Don’t Let a Migraine Rain on Your Parade

July 3rd, 2017

Coupon Code:  JULY4 for $5 off MigreLief-NOW

The 4th of July is fun for most everyone but certain aspects of what we do on the 4th can bring on a migraine attack.  Taking these precautions can help you enjoy the celebration.

Be prepared.  Keep MigreLief-Now on hand at all times in case of an emergency and take at the first sign of discomfort.  (Kids age 2-Adult)

Don’t stress: If you’re in charge of the festivities, make it easy on yourself. Plan a casual day, out of the heat as much as possible. Ask people to bring a dish to share. Don’t plan too many activities; remember to make it about people, not a performance.

$5 OFF MigreLief-NOW – Coupon Code:
JULY4 – Redeem at MigreLief.com or call 1-800-758-8746. Expires 7-15-17. May not combine offers. One per customer.

Avoid food triggers: Barbequed meats, cheeses, chips, dips, pickles & olives, meat tenderizers and lots of sugary stuff – the chemicals found in these ingredients have all been associated with migraines. If you are going to a celebration where you might not have your choice of foods, take along foods that you know are safe for you. If you have suffered migraines for a long time, you likely know what foods trigger them. If you’re not really sure what foods trigger your migraines, some safe bets are burgers without tenderizers prepared with basic seasonings like salt and pepper, grilled chicken and vegetables or fruit salads.  At the dessert table, a sugar cookie, slice of watermelon or frozen fruit pop may satisfy your sweet-tooth and will likely not lead to a food-triggered headache.

Don’t skip meals.  By skipping a meal your blood sugar levels may drop to a level that causes your body to release hormones that are compensating for depleted glucose levels, this in turn can cause an increase in blood pressure and can narrow your arteries.  The result can be headaches and migraines.

Hydrate!  Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, tea or coffee. If iced drinks are a trigger for you, be sure to ask for your tea without it. Avoid sodas all together, both regular and diet.

Avoid alcohol: Heat, crowds, and other triggers are bad enough, so don’t add alcohol to the mix as it can make you much more sensitive to all of it.  Stick with water, fruit juice, coffee, or if available, beverages sweetened with stevia or erythritol.

Tamp down lights and sound: Take along ear protection if you are triggered by loud noises. You can buy the little foam earplugs at most stores. Consider wearing sunglasses when you watch the fireworks as bright, strobing or blinking lights can be a major migraine trigger.

Hopefully, these hints will make your day a true celebration instead of just a headache in the making.  Be safe, enjoy and may you stay independent of migraines on Independence Day.

Enjoy these healthy cake recipes with summertime berries.  

Click here for recipes.

 

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

 

 

The Truth About Eggs and Cholesterol

June 20th, 2017

How many times have you heard (perhaps even from your physician) to limit the consumption of eggs because they contain a lot of cholesterol and that by eating too many eggs, you will negatively affect your cholesterol levels?

Well, for those of you who love eggs but feel guilty eating them, there is some really good news.  All of those warnings about egg consumption were JUST PLAIN WRONG!

First of all, for about 70% of people, consuming cholesterol in your diet (from any source) has absolutely no meaningful effect on your cholesterol levels! There are several studies proving this and NOT one study showing that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease.

Secondly, it has been shown in the 30% of people whose cholesterol levels rise modestly when consuming eggs, that their LDL cholesterol particle size gets bigger….AND THIS IS A GOOD THING.

Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Nutritional Sciences summarized the results of egg consumption on blood cholesterol levels. In children aged 10-12, in men aged 20-50, in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, in whites and Hispanics:  two or three eggs per day has little or no effect on the blood cholesterol levels of over two thirds of the population. (1)

But there was even good news in the less than 1/3 of the population whose cholesterol did go up with egg consumption.  Their good and bad cholesterol went up equally and there was no change in their ratio of LDL to HDL or even the ratio of LDL to total cholesterol both of which are considered much more important than total cholesterol levels.

But the good news continued. It turns out that the LDL in egg eaters actually became safer. When LDL particles are small and dense, they can more easily penetrate into the lining of your arteries and cause plaque. The LDL in egg eaters got larger and fluffier making it safer and less susceptible to damage from oxidation and less susceptible to causing plaque in the arteries.

In addition, other health benefits of eggs are:

1- Eye health – May help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts because of lutein and zeaxanthin levels they contain
2- Provide high quality protein and essential amino acids
3- Contains Vitamin D
4- Possible breast cancer prevention – in one study, 6 eggs per week reduced risk by 44%
5- Healthy hair and nail due to high sulfur content

 

Click here to listen to my radio segment about cholesterol, discussed on the Dr. Tony O’Donnell Show!

 

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix,  M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

(1)-Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006;9:8-12.

Paying Attention to Your Gut Pays Off!

May 26th, 2017

Gut Health & ProbioticsMany people might be surprised and intrigued to learn that we have what could be considered a second brain or additional nervous system located in our gut. Our gastrointestinal tract works hard to keep us healthy and happy but we can face major health consequences when our gut health is compromised.

Our gut is an entire ecosystem of bacteria and yeast, some are beneficial while others are toxic. The human body contains about 100 billion bacteria cells. Only 10% of the cells in our body are human, the rest are microbial. Keeping this system healthy and balanced is crucial to our short and long-term health and even our longevity.

The Role of Probiotics in Gut Health
A probiotic is any food or substance that maintains or restores the balance of healthy and unhealthy microorganisms like bacteria and yeasts in our gut.  Since the number of microorganisms in our gut outnumber the human cells in our body, you can begin to imagine why maintaining a healthy balance or correcting dysbiosis (an unhealthy balance of pathogenic organisms to healthy ones) is very important.  Other than our skin, our gut is our primary contact with the outside world and a major entry point for pathogenic organisms.  A very large percentage of our immune response is based upon phenomenon that occur in our gut (lymph tissue, white blood cells etc).

Dysbiosis has been associated with: heart issues, diabetes, obesity, chronic fatigue and cancer.  It can also lead to depression, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autoimmune diseases, and Alzheimer’s just to name a few.  This link may be due to intestinal bacteria’s ability to make small molecules (called metabolites) that can reach the brain and impact how it works.

The plethora of microorganisms in our gut communicate with our brains via chemicals, hormoness, enzymes and specific nerve connections between this gut-brain axis which is referred to as the enteric nervous system or second brain.  This could explain such expressions as: having a gut feeling, or doing a gut check.

Some evidence suggests that it is not the presence or absence of one bacteria that makes up a healthy gut, but rather the diversity of bacteria.  Because there are dozens or more of good microorganisms in our guts, I feel that food sources of probiotics are far favorable to taking probiotics supplements because they have multiple strains of the different probiotics which are naturally occurring and much more likely to provide over-all balance.

The best sources of probiotics are from fermented foods.  Originally fermentation was used to naturally preserve foods so they would last longer but the process also significantly enhanced the concentration of healthy probiotic microorganisms as well.

Probiotic Food sourcesFermented foods which are EXCELLENT SOURCES of multiple types of probiotics are:

·         Kefir – Kevita is a brand I am not associated with, but really like.  It is a sparkling, low sugar, high probiotic drink that comes in many flavors.

·         Sauerkraut – Tastes great and comes prepackaged or in jars carried by supermarkets and health-food stores.

·         Red Miso Paste – If you like miso soup you will enjoy its taste as well.  You can eat the paste by itself or mix it with something.  I like mixing it with sauerkraut.

·         Organic Yogurt – I prefer yogurt that is low in sugar and organic or made from goat’s milk.  You can sweeten the yogurt with natural non-caloric sweeteners like stevia or erythritol or a combination of the two.

Beware of Antibiotics
When pathogens enter our body, they can sometimes cause infections, which are often treated with antibiotics.  Unfortunately, antibiotics kill off both good and bad gut microorganisms thus creating an imbalance/dysbiosis.  Poor diet and especially too much sugar can have the same effect.

Paying attention to your gut pays off!  Our food choices greatly influence our bacteria population.   Supplementing with probiotics or adding probiotics foods daily to your diet while trying your best to eat more plant-based foods and to reduce sugar consumption can lead to large and noticeable improvements in your over-all health, extend your life and increase your sense of physical and cognitive wellbeing.

To the best of health,
Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

 

The Costly American Healthcare System

April 13th, 2017

The power of huge corporations and politics adds up to Americans paying the most in the world for healthcare yet two years ago we were ranked dead last for the fifth time in the developed world and last year the World Health Organization listed the U.S as 37th in overall efficiency.  A few of the 36 countries that rate higher than the U.S. are France, Italy, Singapore, Spain, Israel, Austria, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Columbia, Germany, the UK, Sweden, Canada, Chile…  The list goes on and on and it is a disgrace.

Furthermore, the United States health statistics seem to be getting worse. Last year, America was the only developed country in the world that experienced a decrease in life expectancy.

American’s pay 2-4 times more for the same pharmaceutical drugs purchased by citizens of other major countries. Pharmaceutical companies donate hundreds of millions of dollars to politicians in order to influence the price our American healthcare system pays for their drugs.  In fact, a study by Harvard researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that the nature of the American drug market as designed and regulated by our government is to blame.  Other countries negotiate much harder to keep the drug prices down and are willing to say “No” to over priced drugs.

As a percentage of our gross domestic product, the U.S. cost of healthcare was 50% higher than France and almost double that of the United Kingdom yet we rank dead last. The profits of the huge healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are thriving but the American citizens are not.

Though dietary supplements were not shown by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to have caused one death last year while prescriptions drugs were shown to have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, district attorneys of some states, in my opinion, to further their own political careers and aspirations have attacked the supplement industry and conspicuously for the most part, have left big pharma alone.  This is politics at its worst.  These are attempts by politically motivated entities and individuals to divert our attention away from the very real and serious problems by worrying about what… Vitamins?

Obvioiusly, this is all very upsetting and we as American citizens are getting the raw end of the deal. I don’t know how to curtail the power that the money of huge corporations can buy politically but I do know what you can do to rely less on this broken American healthcare system.

You’ve heard this before but you need to stay healthy:

  • Exercise, even if its just walking for10-15 minutes a day 4-5 times a week.
  • Cut back on sugar… Read labels and try to consume less than 50 grams a day of sugar, and cutting back on soda and deserts is a good place to start.
  • Take a multi-vitamin every day from one of the well known dietary supplement companies.
  • Get at least 7 hours a day of sleep.
  • Try to eat fish like salmon at least once a week, don’t worry about mercury, the issue is way over-stated and not of concern.

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.