|Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health
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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates
IN THIS ISSUE:
1) FOODS THAT STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
2) THE POWER OF THE PLACEBO EFFECT
3) THE HEALING NATURE OF GROUNDING
4) UPCOMING NO COST ONLINE EVENTS
( Plant Medicine
for Modern Epidemics Summit, Energy Code, Biofield Tuning, Awakening Your Kundalini Masterclass, Reading Energy as a Medical Intuitive, Radical Energy Medicine, Discover Potent Antiviral Herbs and Formulas, Supercharge Your Chakra Practice ...)
1) FOODS THAT STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
By Jennifer Cook
Staying healthy and avoiding infections have never been more important. Social distancing can help keep other people’s germs from landing on you, and frequent hand-washing will kill them if they do reach you. But what can you do to improve your body’s ability to fight off germs if—despite your best efforts—you pick them up?
What you eat can make a big difference in how well your immune system functions. “It’s really important for older people to have very nutrient-dense diets,” says Katherine L. Tucker, Ph.D., director of the Center for Population Health at
the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Immune responses decline with age, and many older adults have chronic low-level inflammation and underlying health conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, that can also hamper the body’s defenses. And they may become less efficient at absorbing many infection-fighting vitamins and minerals.
Getting your immune system in battle-ready shape won’t happen overnight. “I don’t think you can suddenly change your diet today and tomorrow your immune system is happier,” says Philip C. Calder, Ph.D., a professor of nutritional immunology at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. But shoring up your diet now can pay off in the long run with fewer sick days and better overall health.
How Immunity Works
The immune system has often been compared to a police force. Made up of an intricate network of molecules, cells, tissues, and organs, it’s on patrol everywhere in the body. One part of the
force, the innate immune system, is on the front lines—in skin, saliva, the GI and respiratory tracts, and elsewhere—and acts quickly to thwart foreign invaders. The other part, the adaptive (or acquired) immune system, works over days to track down bad actors that have breached the first-line defenders and helps develop antibodies against them.
Because the components of the immune system are so varied, keeping it healthy means getting an array of vitamins and minerals, which often work together in dozens of immune-boosting roles. Vitamin A, for example, is important for healthy skin and GI-tract cells. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that protect cells and tissues from the flood of damaging free radicals produced when the immune system is fighting off an invader. Making new immune cells and initiating an immune response requires B vitamins (B6, B12, and folate). Other nutrients that fuel your immune system are copper, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fats, protein,
selenium, vitamin D, and zinc.
The Power of Plants
The best diet for your body’s defenses is one that’s based on whole, minimally processed food that’s mostly cooked at home. Eating too many foods high in saturated fats, sugars, and salt can weaken immunity. In addition to multiple nutrients and phytochemicals, plant-based foods also provide fiber, which feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut. These bacteria aid immunity, too, Calder says.
Fruits and vegetables supply most of the body’s need for vitamins A and C, which are important germ fighters. Produce is also generally rich in antioxidants, which tamp down inflammation and protect immune (and other) cell membranes from damaging oxidation. Aim for at least 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day. Mix up the type and color of your produce to get a wide variety of nutrients. Tucker recommends having at least one green vegetable every day, such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard,
broccoli, arugula, or cabbage. Bell peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots are also high in vitamin A and/or C. Citrus fruits are high in C, as are tomatoes, strawberries, and kiwifruit.
Nuts and seeds are great sources of crucial vitamins and minerals, fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, and most people don’t come close to consuming the daily need (15 mg). Tucker says munching on a handful of sunflower seeds or almonds every day will do the trick.
Almonds also provide copper and magnesium, which studies show are involved in DNA repair and antibody production. Sunflower seeds have selenium, copper, folate, and zinc. (Deficiencies of zinc account for 16 percent of lower respiratory infections across the globe.) Hazelnuts, pistachios, and walnuts are brimming with B6.
Beans and whole grains contribute nutrients and contain fiber to help replenish healthy intestinal bacteria. Lentils are a good source of
copper, folate, and iron; garbanzos and black beans provide zinc; and cranberry beans are high in folate. Whole-grain breads and cereals and whole grains themselves (barley, bulgur, wheatberries, oats, and quinoa, among others) supply B vitamins, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
Healthy oils, such as olive, flaxseed, and canola, supply omega-3 fats, which help keep inflammation in check and regulate immune cell activity. A tablespoon or two of an oil-based dressing can also help your body absorb antioxidant carotenoids (which the body converts to vitamin A) and other nutrients in greens and other vegetables.
Choose Healthy Meat and Dairy
“You need animal-based foods to provide the things that plants can’t supply enough of,” Calder says. “A good example is vitamin B12, where meat is a very good source.” Some vitamins and minerals are more accessible in animal foods than in plant foods. Zinc, for example, is more readily absorbed from
seafood and meat than from beans and whole grains. Adequate protein also has the building blocks for immune cells.
Meat and fish. While you don’t need either on your plate at every meal—a few times a week is fine—they do supply key nutrients. Lean meat and poultry have ample B vitamins (especially vitamin B12, which about 20 percent of older adults are deficient in), iron, selenium, and zinc. Shellfish is a good source of zinc, copper, and selenium. And fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are important sources of omega-3 fats as well as B vitamins, selenium, and vitamin D, which may protect against upper respiratory tract infections and over-responses by the immune system.
Dairy foods add to your stores of vitamin A, some Bs, zinc, magnesium, and selenium. Fortified dairy products—such as milk and yogurt—can supply hard-to-get vitamin D. Yogurt (plain is best so you avoid added sugars) is also teeming with probiotic bacteria, which help keep the
intestinal microbiome healthy. In two studies involving healthy older people, one lasting more than 8 weeks and the other more than 12 weeks, those who ate about 3 ounces of yogurt daily had fewer colds than those who drank milk.
What About Supplements?
Supplements for the immune system have been flying off store shelves recently. But experts warn against using them in most cases. You run the risk of getting too much of a nutrient. Too much zinc, for example, can block copper absorption, and high levels of folate can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency. Herbal and other remedies, like elderberry tincture and colloidal silver (silver molecules suspended in liquid), which have been advertised on social media as a way to destroy the coronavirus, are unproven and potentially harmful. IP-6 (phytic acid), touted as an antioxidant, can lead to calcium, iron, and zinc deficiencies, and polyphenols from green tea extracts may reduce the absorption of iron,
folate, and vitamin C.
It’s best to get the nutrients you need from food so that you don’t lose out on other beneficial ingredients, like phytonutrients. The exception is vitamin D. Because more than 80 percent of older Americans don’t get enough from diet alone, Kathleen Tucker of the University of Massachusetts Lowell recommends taking a supplement. The daily need for people ages 51 to 70 is 600 IU; over 70, it’s 800 IU.
About the Author: Jennifer Cook is an award-winning freelance writer who contributes to Consumer Reports on health, wellness, mind-body, and environmental topics. She lives in New York's Hudson Valley in a farmhouse built in the 1840s. An avid walker and dancer, she feels fortunate to live near wetlands and wild things, and to have easy access to culture and good food.
2) THE POWER OF THE PLACEBO EFFECT
Treating yourself with your mind is possible, but there is more to the placebo effect
than positive thinking.
Your mind can be a powerful healing tool when given the chance. The idea that your brain can convince your body a fake treatment is the real thing — the so-called placebo effect — and thus stimulate healing has been around for millennia. Now science has found that under the right circumstances, a placebo can be just as effective as traditional treatments.
"The placebo effect is more than positive thinking — believing a treatment or procedure will work. It's about creating a stronger connection between the brain and body and how they work together," says Professor Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, whose research focuses on the placebo effect.
Placebos won't lower your cholesterol or shrink a tumor. Instead, placebos work on symptoms modulated by the brain, like the perception of pain. "Placebos may make you feel better, but they will not cure you," says Kaptchuk. "They have been shown
to be most effective for conditions like pain management, stress-related insomnia, and cancer treatment side effects like fatigue and nausea."
Does the placebo effect mean failure or success?
For years, a placebo effect was considered a sign of failure. A placebo is used in clinical trials to test the effectiveness of treatments and is most often used in drug studies. For instance, people in one group get the tested drug, while the others receive a fake drug, or placebo, that they think is the real thing. This way, the researchers can measure if the drug works by comparing how both groups react. If they both have the same reaction — improvement or not — the drug is deemed not to work.
More recently, however, experts have concluded that reacting to a placebo is not proof that a certain treatment doesn't work, but rather that another, non-pharmacological mechanism may be present.
How placebos work is still not quite understood,
but it involves a complex neurobiological reaction that includes everything from increases in feel-good neurotransmitters, like endorphins and dopamine, to greater activity in certain brain regions linked to moods, emotional reactions, and self-awareness. All of it can have therapeutic benefit. "The placebo effect is a way for your brain to tell the body what it needs to feel better," says Kaptchuk.
But placebos are not all about releasing brainpower. You also need the ritual of treatment. "When you look at these studies that compare drugs with placebos, there is the entire environmental and ritual factor at work," says Kaptchuk. "You have to go to a clinic at certain times and be examined by medical professionals in white coats. You receive all kinds of exotic pills and undergo strange procedures. All this can have a profound impact on how the body perceives symptoms because you feel you are getting attention and care."
Give yourself a
Placebos often work because people don't know they are getting one. But what happens if you know you are getting a placebo?
A 2014 study led by Kaptchuk and published in Science Translational Medicine explored this by testing how people reacted to migraine pain medication. One group took a migraine drug labeled with the drug's name, another took a placebo labeled "placebo," and a third group took nothing. The researchers discovered that the placebo was 50% as effective as the real drug to reduce pain after a migraine attack.
The researchers speculated that a driving force beyond this reaction was the simple act of taking a pill. "People associate the ritual of taking medicine as a positive healing effect," says Kaptchuk. "Even if they know it's not medicine, the action itself can stimulate the brain into thinking the body is being healed."
How can you give yourself a placebo besides taking a fake pill? Practicing self-help
methods is one way. "Engaging in the ritual of healthy living — eating right, exercising, yoga, quality social time, meditating — probably provides some of the key ingredients of a placebo effect," says Kaptchuk.
While these activities are positive interventions in their own right, the level of attention you give can enhance their benefits. "The attention and emotional support you give yourself is often not something you can easily measure, but it can help you feel more comfortable in the world, and that can go a long way when it comes to healing
A study published online Oct. 27, 2016, by PLOS Biology may have identified what goes on in the brain during a placebo effect. Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of people with chronic pain from knee osteoarthritis. Then everyone was given a placebo and had another brain scan. The researchers noticed that those who felt pain relief had greater activity in the middle frontal
gyrus brain region, which makes up about one-third of the frontal lobe.
3) THE HEALING NATURE OF GROUNDING
By Izzy Findlay MA,LPC,LCDC
If you’ve ever jumpstarted a car, you know you’re dealing with electrical currents. You’re probably aware that there’s a proper way and order of hooking up the red and black clamps to the battery terminals: positive goes with positive, negative with negative. An important and often-overlooked step, though, is to ground one of the black (negative) clamps; this is done by attaching it to a piece of metal on the car with the dead battery, thereby drastically decreasing the potential for fire or explosion.
In a metaphorical sense, humans are no different. We’re bioelectrical beings. Energy flows in and energy flows out, just like the currents that run through jumper cables. Because our many bodily systems are fueled by a complex electrical network, we carry our own charge. This charge changes
depending on our environment and what we come into contact with. As a result, our mental, physical, and emotional states are affected – sometimes positively, sometimes negatively.
The COVID-19 pandemic spawned a new reality consisting of face masks, business closures, virtual education, and social distancing, as well as the related mental, physical, and emotional aftermath. With the sudden upheaval of our everyday rhythm, humanity was forced to adjust to a new beat, a shift that has led to higher rates of anxiety, stress, and imbalance. To combat these feelings, we need to somehow calibrate ourselves.
We need to ground.
Grounding, or earthing, is a method of electrically reconnecting our bodies to the earth. By doing this, we’re soaking up healthy antioxidants and resetting our personal charge.
For example, it’s probably time to recharge your “battery” if you:
* Feel anxious, stressed, or nervous
* Feel fatigued
* Suffer from a chronic illness or pain
* Have poor circulation
* Are easily distracted
* Experience sleep disturbances
* Are clumsier than usual
Fortunately, for us and every living organism, Planet Earth maintains a slightly negative charge, atomically speaking. It’s an invisible, omnipresent force that silently connects us all. Essentially, it autocorrects us on an individual basis. Although research in this area is still in its infancy, numerous studies indicate significant psychological and physiological improvements as a result of grounding. And the icing on the cake? It’s free and anyone can do it!
For grounding to work, your skin must be in direct contact with the earth – meaning grass, sand, soil, gravel, rocks, tile, natural water, or unstained concrete. Materials such as asphalt, rubber, wood, vinyl, and plastic are not electrically conductive, and actually create a barrier between you and the
earth’s surface. So, when possible, ditch your shoes to soak up some of this natural electric goodness.
Below are a few grounding techniques to help prevent an emotional “fire” or mental “explosion”:
Collecting seashells or rocks
Swimming/wading in natural bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, creeks, and oceans
Building a sandcastle
Lying on the ground
Having a picnic
Gardening (skip the rubber boots and gloves when possible)
Petting your dog or cat after they’ve been outside
Handling crystals, gems, and rocks
Using grounding equipment (e.g., metal rods, grounding mats, earthing shoes, patches, etc.)
Even during the hot Texas summers, my wife and I exercise outdoors because we enjoy the fresh air and the opportunity to ground. A favorite grounding spot of ours is at a nearby park, where we’ll often stop by the creek, remove our shoes and socks, and walk barefoot through the
low water. We intentionally use this time to cool down, meditate, relax, and appreciate nature’s beauty. We’ve found that we’re more focused and energized afterwards. For us, it feels like hitting the body and mind’s ‘Reset’ button.
Because the world seems busier with each sunrise, it’s paramount that we nurture our electric roots by getting a regular dose of Mother Nature. Just walk outside barefoot for a few minutes…she’ll set your soul right.
About the Author: Izzy Findlay, MA, LPC, LCDC, is a licensed counselor, writer, and editor based in Austin, Texas. She is the owner/operator of IzzyEdit, which provides professional writing, editing, formatting, and self-publishing services for a global clientele. Izzy earned a Master of Arts degree in Mental Health Counseling from The University of Montana and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. She is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Chemical
Dependency Counselor in Texas. Izzy practiced in the counseling field for 10 years in various settings (e.g., private practice, youth group homes, foster care, and substance abuse treatment centers) before leaving the field to pursue her passion for writing
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This newsletter is for educational purposes only.It is your right to educate yourself in health
and medical knowledge,to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health.You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advises are not intended to be a substitute forconventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changesin order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.