Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Celebrate National Nurse Practitioner Week With Us!

Join Us in Celebrating our Holistic Family Nurse Practitioner, Martha Bray!

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the NP profession. The first NP program was established in Colorado. There are now over 205,000 NP's licensed to practice in the United States. Martha Bray, FNP-BC, APRN,  is dedicated to the health and well-being of her clients, day in and day out. She works tirelessly in bringing the very best of Integrative Medicine to all of us at AdvancedHealth Clinic.

As a holistic nurse practitioner, Martha uses alternative treatments and medicines that are combined with the traditional Western medicine to care for her clients. Holistic nursing is based on treating a disease by treating the whole person, which includes their mental, spiritual and emotional conditions. Martha focuses on wellness and how to maintain and propagate health as opposed to focusing on illness and the purely curative aspects of health.

Martha, we thank you, and celebrate you for who you are and for all you do! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine incorporates the latest in genetic science, systems biology, and understanding of how environmental and lifestyle factors influence the emergence and progression of disease. Functional medicine addresses the
Holistic Nurse Practitioner
Martha Bray, FNP-BC, APRN
underlying causes of disease, using a system based approach that engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. The term “functional medicine” was coined in 1993 to describe the medicine of the future.1 In fact, today, many complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, practitioners use a functional medicine approach that includes the following:

  • Patient uniqueness: Each individual is unique. This uniqueness encompasses voluntary activities, such as decision-making, personality development, and emotional response, and involuntary activities like metabolism of nutrients, cellular processing of information, and communication among the body’s organ systems. Functional medicine professionals realize that all individuals have unique metabolic patterns that affect their health needs and thus, the concept of individuality is central to every aspect of functional medicine, from clinical assessment and diagnosis to the broad spectrum of treatment modalities.  
  • Patient-centered approach: Functional medicine practitioners use a patient-centered approach to support wellness. This means that in addition to considering the overall health of the patient, functional medicine practitioners consider the beliefs, attitudes, and motivations, as well as the physical, mental, and emotional aspects, of the patient.
  • Preventive care: Optimal health is not just the absence of disease. Even the most minor symptoms can foreshadow more serious conditions later in life. This often happens via the “snowball effect,” in which a “minor” imbalance within the body produces a cascade of biological triggers that can eventually lead to poor health and chronic illness. For this reason, functional medicine focuses on the prevention, instead of just the treatment of, even the most minor imbalances.2
Through changes in lifestyle, environment, and nutrition, functional medicine professionals rely on their knowledge of key physiological, genetic, and biochemical processes for establishing an innovative form of total patient wellness amidst the diversity of interests in health care today.1

The Institute for Functional Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2002, from
GSDL Functional Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2002, from

Friday, September 25, 2015

How to Choose a Holistic Practitioner

Your first responsibility as a patient/client is to select a practitioner who will join your "team" to support you in obtaining and maintaining optimum health for your body, mind, emotions and spirit. While most holistic practitioners use modalities that are currently labeled "alternative medicine," their interests and practices may vary widely. Thus, one person might work primarily with nutrition and herbs, while another might look mainly at the spiritual aspects of health and disease. Other areas of interest include spinal manipulation and body work, "energy medicine," mind-body medicine, acupuncture and stress management. It is important to remember that there are many different definitions of holistic medicine. When choosing a practitioner, make sure that individual has the same type of philosophy and uses the treatment modalities you are seeking.

The following considerations are offered as a guide to help you find a practitioner with whom you are comfortable. Optimum health is more likely to be present when you work with someone who is supportive of your efforts to be in charge of your life. Some of the criteria may not apply to all situations.
  1. Does this practitioner have health professional relationships with others? How did you hear about this practitioner? A personal referral is often more powerful than a professional referral. What do friends and other professionals say about this person? How does he/she feel about second opinions or your interest in alternative health care therapies/treatments? What technical certifications, professional organizations or hospital affiliations does this practitioner have?
  2. How do YOU respond to this practitioner's office and staff? This environment reveals his/her attitudes and beliefs. Do you feel comfortable and cared for when you call or visit the office? Does the ambiance enhance that comfort? Does the staff further your sense of well being? Are educational handouts available in the office or waiting room? Is your appointment time honored or do you have to wait?
  3. Do you feel like a valued person working as a partner with this practitioner?Healing is enhanced by a healthy relationship between patient/client and practitioner. Do you feel this practitioner is there for you? Do you feel trust and confidence? Does he/she seem to care about you, take your medical history personally and show an interest in your family, lifestyle and diet? Are you told about various treatment options? Do each of you recognize that you need the other? Is the practitioner accessible? Are you able to discuss the financial aspects of your care openly and comfortably? Positive answers to these questions are evidence of your rightful place as a co-creator of this healing partnership.
  4. Is your personal dignity respected? Any examination or interaction should be respectful of your personal dignity.
  5. Does this practitioner honor your anxieties and fears? Is this practitioner sensitive enough to place him/herself in your position regarding fears and anxieties about an illness or proposed treatment?
  6. What is the state of this practitioner's health? Does he/she appear to have a healthy lifestyle? Signs of overweight, overwork, smoking or drinking may indicate that he/she does not take care of him/herself. You will probably do best with a teammember who is just as committed to good health as you are. The Biblical statement, "Physician, heal thyself," is paramount in a health-filled relationship.
  7. Are you allowed time between diagnosis and treatment? Does this practitioner allow you the time to collect the educational and personal resources that you need to make a well-informed decision?
  8. Are you treated as if this is an important, ongoing relationship? Are you notified of test results within a reasonable period of time? Are follow-up visits scheduled after treatment? Is there discussion of future health goals and not just the immediate matter at hand?
  9. Do you feel unconditionally accepted by this practitioner? Unconditional acceptance allows you to get well in your unique way. Do you feel that you are accepted no matter what develops, no matter what decisions you make? Can the practitioner approach your care with an open mind, rather than with a predetermined treatment plan? Would the practitioner offer to a member of his/her own family the same carefully chosen advice that he/she has offered to you?
  10. Would you send the person most dear to you to this practitioner? Do you have such a strong feeling of caring, confidence and trust in this practitioner that you would send to him/her, with no misgivings, the person who is dearest to you? If so, then you have found that special person to be on your health team.

This material is used with the permission of the the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA). It was originally created in 1988 as a consumer education pamphlet for the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) and the American Holistic Medical Foundation (AHMF) by the AHMF Education Committee. The chair of the committee at that time was Suzan Walter, who is now president of the American Holistic Health Association.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

“Say OM” - A Guide to Stress Reduction

We need stress. It is an essential part of life—as long as it stays in balance. It is when it is out of balance—or overwhelming—is when it becomes harmful. Unfortunately, most of us are out of balance when it comes to stress.  Here are some of our favorite Stress Reduction techniques that are simple to make a part of your daily habits:


Meditation is a mind and body practice that is well known for increasing  mental alertness, emotional calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness and other stressors, as well as enhancing overall health and well-being. Mind and body practices focus on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior.


Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that is used in other relaxation practices, such as yoga, meditation, and visualization. It involves using the lungs and the abdomen or diaphragm. Most of us take shallow breaths from our upper chest instead of using our diaphragms. Shallow breathing limits the amount of oxygen we take in and when we are stressed our breathing becomes even shallower. This makes us feel more tense and Deep breathing encourages full oxygen exchange throughout the chest and lungs which calms the mind and the body Inhale about one cup of oxygen Inhale about a quart of oxygen.

Creates shorter, restless brain waves Creates longer, slower brain waves
Cannot relax, increases stress Can relax quickly, decreases stress

1. Sit  or lie comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on
your stomach.

2. Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your
chest should move very little.

3. Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.

4. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale
enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls.

In addition you may want to add counting as you breathe. This will help you focus on
your breathing and distract you from stressors.

  1. Breathe in to a slow count of four.
  2. Hold your breath to a slow count of four.
  3. Exhale slowly - like you are blowing through a straw to a slow count of four.


Studies have shown that just 20 relaxing minutes a day you can get amazing results!

  • Reduces or eliminates brain fog and negative mind chatter
  • Can helps increase energy
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Reduces unwanted habits and behaviors
  • Enhances productivity, memory, focus and creativity
  • Improved quality of life


Who doesn't love a  deep-rooted belly laugh. It brings us together and helps us connect to each other in more meaningful ways. As we like to say, "A laugh a day keeps the doctor away."

Researchers Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at the Loma Linda University in California have shown that laughter: 


People who lower their blood pressure, even those who start at normal levels, will reduce their risk of stroke and heart attack. So grab the Sunday paper, flip to the funny pages, and enjoy your laughter medicine.


By reducing the level of stress hormones, you're simultaneously cutting the anxiety and stress that impacts your body. Additionally, the reduction of stress hormones may result in higher immune system performance. Just think: Laughing along as a co-worker tells a funny joke can relieve some of the day's stress and help you reap the health benefits of laughter.


One of the benefits of laughter is that it can help you tone your abs. When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs. Meanwhile, the muscles you are not using to laugh are getting an opportunity to relax. Add laughter to your ab routine and make getting a toned tummy more enjoyable.


Laughter is a great cardio workout, especially for those who are incapable of doing other physical activity due to injury or illness. It gets your heart pumping and burns a similar amount of calories per hour as walking at a slow to moderate pace. So, laugh your heart into health.


T-cells are specialized immune system cells just waiting in your body for activation. When you laugh, you activate T-cells that immediately begin to help you fight off sickness. Next time you feel a cold coming on, add chuckling to your illness prevention plan.


Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. By laughing, you can release endorphins, which can help ease chronic pain and make you feel good all over.


Laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. Doctors have found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. So smile, laugh, and live longer!

Martha's Minute: Eating Well


  •  Eat organic fresh fruits and vegetables make 2/3 of your meal something living.
  • Incorporate variety and as many colors of fruits and vegetables into your meal. If you have multi-colors of food on your plate, you have incorporated variety.
  • Clean your fruits and vegetables well. Use a fruit and vegi cleaner, like Sunsmile Fruit and Vegi Wash 
  • Avoid fried foods, trans fats, and cooking with vegetable oil. Instead, use organic coconut oil to cook with and cold-pressed virgin olive oil or nut oils, like macadamia or sesame nut oils for dressings.
  • Eliminate processes sugar. Instead use Xylitol, Stevia, Organic Honey or Pure Natural Maple Syrup.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

10 Riskiest Foods Revealed

Which Foods are Most Likely to Make You Sick?
Recent massive egg recall, prompted by thousands of cases of Salmonella poisoning, is now safely behind us, but there are still foods lurking in your supermarket that have the potential to make you sick.

About 76 million Americans are stricken with a food-borne illness every year -- often when they least expect it.

Food-borne diseases cause an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In all, about 200 diseases can be transmitted through food, including via viruses, bacteria, parasites, toxins, metals and prions. Most deadly, however, are bacteria, which account for 72 percent of food-related deaths, followed by parasites (21 percent), and viruses (7 percent). And though there are countless organisms that can make you ill, just five pathogens are responsible for 90 percent of food-related deaths each year. These include:
  1. Salmonella (31 percent)
  2. Listeria (28 percent)
  3. Toxoplasma (21 percent)
  4. Norwalk-like viruses (7 percent)
  5. Campylobacter (5 percent)
E. coli O157:H7 accounts for an additional 3 percent of deaths.
Which Foods are Riskiest?
It’s possible to get food poisoning from virtually any food in today’s modern food system, and with the mass production of food nowadays it’s common for a batch of contaminated food to quickly get spread across the entire country.
Not only does this make it difficult to trace the pathogen back to its source, it often takes longer to determine where the contaminated foods were distributed -- which means more people may get sick.
Often, the foods that are most likely to be contaminated may be those you least suspect. In fact, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which analyzed data from foodborne-illness outbreaks from 1990 to 2006, revealed exactly which FDA-regulated foods are most often contaminated … and their findings may surprise you:
Leafy Greens1. Leafy Greens – 363 outbreaks
Responsible for nearly 30 percent of the illnesses linked to the Top 10 Most-Contaminated list, leafy greens were found to contain varying pathogens, ranging from E. coli O157:H7, which caused several deaths, to Norovirus and Salmonella.
Leafy greens can become contaminated from contact with wild animals, manure, contaminated water, or poor handling during harvest, according to CSPI. They can also be contaminated during the pre-wash process used for bagged lettuce, as the washing systems themselves can transfer bacteria from one batch of lettuce to the next.
eggs2. Eggs – 325 outbreaks
As you might suspect, most cases of egg contamination were due to Salmonella, which can reach eggs via animal feces or directly from an infected hen’s ovaries. While cooking and proper storage can destroy Salmonella, about half of the outbreaks occurred in restaurants where eggs may have been served raw or runny, or left on buffets at improper temperatures.
Tuna3. Tuna – 268 outbreaks
You’ve likely heard of the warnings regarding heavy metals like mercury in your tuna, but you may not be familiar with scombroid poisoning, which is caused by the Scombrotoxin in tuna. This toxin is released when fresh fish are stored above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and can cause headaches, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, palpitations, and loss of vision in humans. Scombrotoxin caused the most illnesses related to tuna, however Norovirus and Salmonella were also implicated.
Oysters4. Oysters – 132 outbreaks
Even though oysters comprise only a small amount of the American diet, they rank highly on the food-contamination list. Norovirus, which can live in waters where oysters are harvested, is common in oysters, as is Vibrio, a bacteria that’s in the cholera family.
Eating food infected with Vibrio causes diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea and headache. In people with weakened immune systems, certain varieties of Vibrio can infect the bloodstream and be life-threatening.
Potatoes5. Potatoes – 108 outbreaks
Since potatoes are always cooked before eating, contamination usually occurs when potatoes are used as part of a recipe, such as potato salad. Salmonella and E. coli in these dishes are often due to cross contamination from raw ingredients, while Shigella may be transmitted from improper handling. Listeria in potato dishes is also relatively common, as Listeria may live in deli areas where potato salads are made.
Cheese6. Cheese – 83 outbreaks
Cheese may be contaminated with Salmonella or Listeria, which can get into the product during production or processing. Listeria is especially dangerous for pregnant women, as it can cause miscarriage without the mother experiencing symptoms. For this reason, pregnant women are advised to avoid soft cheeses (feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined and Mexican-style cheese), which are more likely to carry the bacteria, especially if unpasteurized.
Ice Cream7. Ice Cream – 75 outbreaks
Ice cream can contain Salmonella or Staphylcoccus, and most outbreaks are linked to homemade ice cream made in private homes. The ice cream can also be contaminated via cross contamination during processing. Soft-serve ice cream may also be a risk, as Listeria can live on metal surfaces in soft-serve ice cream machines, thereby contaminating batch after batch.
Tomatoes8. Tomatoes – 31 outbreaks
Salmonella, which can enter a tomato plant through its roots or flowers, as well as through cracks on the skin, the stem scar or through the plant itself, was responsible for over half of the tomato outbreaks. Norovirus can also contaminate tomatoes. Most often illnesses occur after eating contaminated tomatoes in restaurants.
Sprouts9. Sprouts – 31 outbreaks
Sprout seeds can become contaminated with Salmonella or E. coli during storage, then spread under the warm, humid growing conditions. Improper handling during production has also caused outbreaks. Because sprouts pose a contamination hazard, both the CDC and the FDA recommends that people with compromised immune systems, the elderly and young children not consume raw sprouts.
Berries10. Berries – 25 outbreaks
Cyclospora in berries causes a parasitic illness of the intestines that can cause severe diarrhea, cramps and dehydration and requires antibiotics to treat. While this is the most common cause of contamination, one major outbreak occurred in 1997 after frozen strawberries were contaminated with Hepatitis A, likely from an infected farm worker.
What Can You to do Reduce Your Risk?
Even with the best intentions and hygiene it’s still possible to be exposed to a contaminated food. And this is why many natural health experts recommend keeping your digestive system in top working order at all times.
Why? Because 70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system, which means that if your gut is overrun with bad bacteria, there’s a good chance your immune system will not be functioning at its best.
On the other hand, if your gut is being fortified with good bacteria, or probiotics, your immune system will be fully functioning and have the best chance of fighting off any disease-causing bacteria it encounters.
In choosing a probiotic supplement for yourself, find a probiotic supplement that provides clinical activities supporting systemic health and wellness through immune-system protection, allergy reduction and effective and enhanced nutrient absorption with 30 billion or more organisms per capsule.
Probiotics not only help to keep your digestive health in working order, but they may also help you to ward off food poisoning if you get it. According to one study by Irish scientists, pigs receiving probiotics had reduced incidence, severity and duration of diarrhea after being infected with salmonella.
So if you suspect you have come down with a food-borne illness, having probiotics on hand and taking a generous dose is a simple, and safe, remedy to try. However, if your symptoms persist make sure to see your doctor.
You can further reduce your food-poisoning risk by following these tips from the Mayo Clinic and other experts:
  1. Wash your hands, utensils and food surfaces often.
  1. Keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods when shopping, preparing food or storing food.
  1. Cook foods to a safe temperature. You can kill harmful organisms in most foods by cooking them to temperatures between 145 F (62.8 C) and 165 F (73.9 C).
  1. Keep foods hot or refrigerated until serving.
  1. Only eat shellfish, such as oysters, that has been thoroughly cooked, particularly in the warm-weather months when related infections are more common.
  1. Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly (within two hours of purchasing or preparing them).
  1. Defrost food safely. Do not thaw foods at room temperature. The safest way to thaw foods is to defrost foods in the refrigerator or to microwave the food using the "defrost" or "50 percent power" setting. Running cold water over the food also safely thaws the food.
  1. Throw it out when in doubt. If you aren't sure if a food has been prepared, served or stored safely, discard it.
SixWise Ways!The American food system is in crisis, plagued with an industrial mentality that puts profits ahead of the people it is supposed to nourish. Take proactive steps to become informed and empowered to make better choices for you and your family.

Sources Top 3 in List of Riskiest FDA-Regulated Foods
The Ten Riskiest Foods Regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Science in the Public Interest (PDF) Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol. 5, No. 5 September-October Food Poisoning

© 2011 Health Realizations, Inc

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

206 Reasons Why Your Bone Health Is Important

Our 206 bones give our bodies structure and make movement possible. But for postmenopausal women in particular, natural changes in bone physiology can put freedom of movement at risk.
Bone Is Continually Changing
Contrary to popular notion, bone is a dynamic, living tissue that is constantly undergoing a process called remodeling.
Remodeling consists of two major phases:
  • Bone resorption, or breakdown. Bone cells called osteoclasts remove old and damaged bone tissue.
  • Bone formation. Other bone cells called osteoblasts and osteocytes create a new bone matrix (the web-like, micro-architecture of bone), and use calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals to harden the matrix.
The Menopausal Effect
From birth until about age 40, bone remodeling occurs in relative balance, building bones that are hard, dense, and strong. But menopause marks a major turning point in a woman's bone physiology. The steady decline of estrogen combined with a subtle increase of inflammatory markers after menopause may contribute to an increase in bone resorption. Over time, this can make the bone matrix more and more fragile, resulting in an increased risk of fracture.
Why Mineral Supplements May Not Be Enough
Calcium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals are essential for maintaining bone density and hardness. But even the highest quality minerals may not work as well on a weak bone matrix.
A Natural Approach to Healthy Bone Remodeling
Standard approaches to osteoporosis prevention focus on achieving and maintaining peak bone mass or density. But thanks to new scientific developments, we now know that a combination of the following nutrients may target the quality of the bone matrix in women with low estrogen levels:
  • Berberine and reduced iso-alpha acids derived from hops — key botanicals shown to beneficially influence cellular processes involved in bone health
  • Vitamin K — a key nutrient for the metabolism of bone proteins crucial to bone integrity
  • Vitamin D — an important nutrient associated with healthy bone formation and bone mineralization
In a recent clinical study of postmenopausal women with low estrogen, these nutrients, together with a Mediterranean-style, low-glycemic-load diet and regular exercise were shown to improve several important indicators of healthy bone remodeling more than the same diet and exercise alone. Furthermore, patients taking these nutrients did not report serious adverse effects associated with some conventional approaches.
Ask Us About Bone Health Support Today
Bone health is important at every age, but for postmenopausal women who want to enjoy life to the fullest, it's crucial. Don't wait! To find out more about natural approaches to bone health support, call our office and schedule an appointment today.

"Glasbergen cartoons used with special permission from"

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Good Fats to Feel Better Vs. Fats

Good Fats to Feel Better Vs. Fats Causing Depression and Heart Disease
Why Even Skinny People Need to Know Their Fats!

Many Americans are under the impression that "fats" is a four-letter word ... a substance that must be shunned in your diet if you want to stay thin and avoid heart disease and other health issues. But this misguided nutritional dogma could actually be putting your health at risk, as all fats are NOT created equal -- and, in fact, some fats are absolutely essential for your body to function optimally.

It's true that some fats -- like the trans fats found in doughnuts -- need to be avoided. But others should be a regular part of your heart-healthy diet.

Repeat after us: All fat is not my enemy -- and many fats are actually my friend.
Which Two Fats Really Should be Avoided?
1. Trans Fats (Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Fats)
In the realm of fats, there are two types you should definitely try to limit in your diet, the first being trans fats.
Trans fats are a synthetic type of fat found in margarine, shortening, fried foods like french fries and fried chicken, doughnuts, cookies, pastries and crackers. Anything that contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil also contains them.
Trans fat poses various serious health risks. It raises your body's level of bad cholesterol (LDL) while scrubbing away the good cholesterol (HDL) that keeps your arteries clean. Your arteries can become clogged, making them inflexible, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Trans fat can also increase triglycerides and inflammation, a direct link to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
While many food manufacturers have removed trans fats from popular processed foods in recent years, there is a labeling "catch" you should know. The FDA allows food manufacturers to round to zero any ingredient that accounts for less than 0.5 grams per serving. So while a product may claim to be "trans-fat-free" it can legally contain up to 0.5 grams per serving. While this may seem like an insignificant amount, over time this small fraction can add up, especially if you eat more than one serving at a time.
A good rule of thumb? Trans fat is formed when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil, a process called hydrogenation. So if a food label lists hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat or oil, it contains trans fats in some level, even if the label says "0." Avoid such foods at all costs.
A National Academy of Sciences panel actually ruled that trans fats are so dangerous, the only "safe" level is zero, so it could not set a safe daily intake level. Rather, they recommend that people consume as little trans fat as possible.
2. Refined Polyunsaturated Fats from Vegetable Oils
You may have been expecting to see saturated fats as the second dietary villain, but polyunsaturated fats are actually what you should look out for.
Polyunsaturated fats (omega-6 fats), which are found in soybean oil, canola oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, and others, are typically described as heart healthy -- they may help to reduce cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease -- BUT they are often highly processed and are quite perishable.
This means that the fats easily become rancid, and rancid fats may contribute to oxidative stress and damaging free radicals in your body. Further, when polyunsaturated fats are eaten in excess, as they are in the typical American diet, they can lead to the formation of excess prostanoids, which are chemicals that increase inflammation in your body.
One study published in Psychosomatic Medicine even found that people with more omega-6 fats in their blood compared to omega-3 fats (which we'll discuss shortly) were more likely to suffer from depression and have high levels of inflammation-promoting substances like tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-6 -- which increase your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and other diseases.
Which Fats are Your Friend?
While you should strive to reduce trans fats and polyunsaturated fats from refined vegetable oils in your diet, the following fats should be a regular part of your healthy diet.
1. Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 fats, found in fish and fish oils and also some plant foods, are excellent for your heart. They're anti-inflammatory and make blood less likely to clot inside arteries, prevent erratic heart rhythms, and prevent cholesterol from becoming damaged or oxidized.
Omega-3 fats have also been found to reduce the risk of many other health conditions including macular degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.
When consuming omega-3 fats, it's important to be sure you're getting some in the animal-based form, as opposed to only the plant-based form found in flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are rich in alpha linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fat, while the omega-3 fats in fish oil, cod liver oil and krill oil are called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). It's these latter two forms of omega-3 that seem to be responsible for most of the benefits, such as helping to prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer's disease and more.
Getting back to flaxseeds, ALA is a precursor to EPA, which means it is converted to EPA in your body. When converted, it can provide the benefits that EPA has to offer, BUT only a small percentage actually gets converted.
So, in order to receive the same benefits of the omega-3 in fish oil, cod liver oil or krill oil, you would need to take in A LOT of flaxseeds. This is the drawback to consuming omega-3 fats in plant form, even though flaxseeds are often -- and somewhat misleadingly -- thought of as a superior form of omega-3 fat.
2. Monounsaturated Fats
Most everyone agrees that monounsaturated fats, the kind found in avocados, olive oil, seeds and nuts, are exceptionally healthy and should definitely be included in your diet.
Increasing foods that contain these healthy fats can raise your HDL levels without harming your total cholesterol. Further, according to the American Heart Association:
"Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body's cells. Monounsaturated fats are also typically high in vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of."

The saturated fat found in butter, cheese and other animal products may actually be good for you, according to some experts.

3. Saturated Fats
The health benefits, or lack thereof, of saturated fats is one of the most hotly debated topics among conventional and alternative medicine practitioners.
According to the American Heart Association, saturated fats are the main dietary cause of high blood cholesterol, but the "lipid hypothesis," the one that claims foods high in saturated fats drive up your cholesterol levels, which clog your arteries and lead to heart disease, may be based on entirely flawed science.
In his book The Cholesterol Myths, Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD explained that Ancel Keys, who performed the study upon which the Lipid Hypothesis is based, used cherry-picked data to prove his point that countries with the highest intake of animal fat have the highest rates of heart disease.
According to Keys this is what the data showed, but Dr. Ravnskov revealed that the countries used in the study were handpicked, and those that did NOT show that eating a lot of animal fat lead to higher rates of heart disease were left out of the study, leading to entirely skewed, and faulty, data.
So, many experts actually believe that saturated fats are good for you. They're necessary for energy, hormone production, and cellular membranes, among other biological functions, and according to Mary Enig, PhD, your diet should contain at least 25 percent of fat as saturated fat.
The Weston A. Price Foundation expands on the many roles of saturated fats:
"Contrary to the accepted view, which is not scientifically based, saturated fats do not clog arteries or cause heart disease. In fact, the preferred food for the heart is saturated fat; and saturated fats lower a substance called Lp(a), which is a very accurate marker for proneness to heart disease.
Saturated fats play many important roles in the body chemistry. They strengthen the immune system and are involved in inter-cellular communication, which means they protect us against cancer. They help the receptors on our cell membranes work properly, including receptors for insulin, thereby protecting us against diabetes. The lungs cannot function without saturated fats, which is why children given butter and full-fat milk have much less asthma than children given reduced-fat milk and margarine. Saturated fats are also involved in kidney function and hormone production.
Saturated fats are required for the nervous system to function properly, and over half the fat in the brain is saturated. Saturated fats also help suppress inflammation. Finally, saturated animal fats carry the vital fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2, which we need in large amounts to be healthy.
Human beings have been consuming saturated fats from animals products, milk products and the tropical oils for thousands of years; it is the advent of modern processed vegetable oil that is associated with the epidemic of modern degenerative disease, not the consumption of saturated fats."
A Low-Fat Diet May Cause Heart Disease and Depression
It's very important that your diet include a variety of healthy fats, as adhering to the low- and no-fat craze of decades' past could put your health at risk.
Numerous studies have linked low-fat and low cholesterol diets to increased risks of depression, suicide and aggressive behavior. And one of the largest studies on low-fat diets -- a $415-million federally funded study of close to 49,000 women -- found that those who ate a low-fat diet had the same rates of breast cancer, colon cancer, heart attacks and strokes as those who did not limit their fat intake, and no changes in weight gain or loss were observed between the groups either.

Further, a new study presented at the American Dietetic Association's (ADA) Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in 2010 revealed that replacing saturated fat in your diet with carbohydrates may actually increase your risk of heart disease.
So it's very important that your diet includes plenty of healthy fats if you want to stay optimally healthy and protect your heart. You can get most healthy fats by eating a wide range of animal foods, fish, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado, but you may want to supplement with additional omega-3, such as:
  • OmegAvail Lemon Drop Smoothie: A delicious tasting, high potency, emulsified fish oil product with superior bioavailability

    OmegAvail™ Lemon Drop Smoothie is a wonderful option for children and those who prefer not to swallow pills. It is also very convenient to use, as it quickly dissolves for easy mixing in water, juice, or blended beverages. It may also be taken alone.
  • OmegAvail Synergy: Enhanced with the addition of lipase, a digestive aid, this unique formula contains a blend of wild deep-sea sourced fish oils containing the omega-3 fats (EPA/DHA) in theTruTG™form, the omega-3 fat alpha linolenic acid (ALA) from flax seed oil and the most important omega-6 fat, GLA, from borage oil.
Remember, fats are not your enemy and many are actually your friends. If you want to support your heart health, your mood and your long-term health, consuming healthy fats is a smart choice and a veritable necessity.

Center for Science in the Public Interest July 10, 2002 Trans Fats November 16, 2010
Psychosomatic Medicine March 30, 2007
Reuters April 17, 2007
The Weston A. Price Foundation: Principles of Healthy Diets
Psychology Today April 29, 2003
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JAMA. 2006 Feb 8;295(6):643-54.
JAMA. 2006 Feb 8;295(6):655-66.
JAMA. 2006 Jan 4;295(1):39-49.

© 2011 Health Realizations, Inc

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Super Foods to Boost Immunity

11 Power Foods to Boost Your Immunity

You wake up with a scratchy throat, body aches and an overall run-down feeling and immediately begin to think of ways to knock out whatever virus is looming so you can make it to work the next day or enjoy the upcoming weekend with your family.

What should you eat to ward off colds, flu and chronic disease? Keep reading to find 11 excellent options.

Before heading out the grocery store to pick up some over-the-counter medicine, take a look in your pantry and fridge and make a list of these 11 immunity-building foods for a natural way to get your body back to optimal health.
By stocking your shelves with foods containing disease-fighting nutrients you are creating a win-win situation by not only opening the door to wellness within your body but also enjoying the taste of nutritious foods.
"Nutrition plays an important part in maintaining immune function," explained George L. Blackburn, M.D., Ph.D., associate director of the division of nutrition at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts in an article published by CNN Health. "Insufficiency in one or more essential nutrients may prevent the immune system from functioning at its peak."
David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Yale Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Connecticut added:
"There's no question the immune system fundamentally is influenced by overall health -- and a balanced diet is key.
Not only are essential nutrients critical for the production and maintenance of key germ-fighting cells in the immune system, but a balanced diet also has a strong effect on vascular function, and the immune system is dependent on blood flow. The bloodstream is the route along which infection-fighting cells travel throughout the body to where they're needed."
There is no one magic food or pill that will make you resistant to colds and viruses, yet a plateful of nutritionally packed fruits, vegetables and antioxidant-rich herbs, drinks and snack options is one of the best immunity-building line of defenses that you can weave into your life on a daily basis.
To help you build and maintain a healthy body year-round, below is a list of some of the best "super foods" to incorporate into your daily diet and recipes.
11 Super Foods to Put on Your Grocery List
greek yogurt1.) Greek Yogurt
The vitamin D benefits you consume from just one cup of yogurt a day can reduce your risk of getting a cold. When looking for a yogurt to buy, look for live and active cultures on the label as some research has shown these may work to trigger the immune system to help ward off diseases.
These live active cultures (also known as probiotics) are the healthy bacteria that protect and line your intestinal tract to keep it clear of disease-causing germs and improve your immune response by increasing the white blood cell count in the body.
Remember, 70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system. This means that if your gut is overrun with bad bacteria, there's a good chance your immune system will not be functioning at its best. Eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt can help keep your digestive system functioning at its peak.
Look for plain Greek yogurt, as opposed to flavored varieties, as you'll avoid excess sugar and sweeteners.
sweet potatoes2.) Sweet Potatoes
Not only do they taste good, but sweet potatoes are gaining a lot of attention for their nutritional health benefits including high fiber content. Eating one sweet potato with the skin on is equivalent to the amount of fiber in a half cup of oatmeal, resulting in fewer bouts of constipation and reducing the risks of diverticulosis and colon and rectal cancers.
This dark orange member of the vegetable family is also a rich source of vitamin A (beta carotene). The amount of antioxidant beta-carotene found in sweet potatoes wipes out potentially damaging free radicals, works to slow down the aging process and in some studies has been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers.
mushrooms3.) Mushrooms
Despite the fact they are made up of 90 percent water, these fungi are packed with immune-bolstering punch. With the mineral selenium, antioxidants and the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, research has shown that mushrooms can aid in a variety of important immune functions such as suppressing both breast and prostate cancers and decreasing the size of tumors.
In a CNN Health article, Clare Hasler, Ph.D., a well-known expert in functional foods and executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at the University of California, Davis, pointed out that mushrooms offer a healthy helping of the blood-pressure-lowering mineral potassium.
"Most people might be surprised to learn that while orange juice is touted as one of the highest potassium foods, one medium Portobello mushroom actually has more potassium," said Hasler. "And five white button mushrooms have more potassium than an orange."
Although virtually all mushrooms are good for your immune system, shitake mushrooms appear particularly beneficial. An active compound in shitakes called lentinan has been found to boost the immune system. In fact, studies have found this compound to be even more effective than prescription drugs for treating flu and other viruses, and it may improve the immune systems of people with HIV.
The bottom line is although they may not look attractive, these fungi are full of healthy nutrients that strengthen your immune system.
almonds4.) Almonds
Almonds are another excellent source of riboflavin and niacin B vitamins but in addition contain 50 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E that works to elevate your immune system.
And if you've had a stress-filled day, just a handful of these nuts or 1/4 cup has been shown to lessen the effects of stress. Also the rich amount of antioxidants found in almonds is comparable to those found in several fruits and vegetables. Researchers at Tufts University discovered that a handful of almonds equals the amount of antioxidants as a serving of cooked broccoli!
Since almonds are considered a low-glycemic food, they may also contribute to improved blood sugar levels after eating a high-carbohydrate meal. Proper blood sugar levels help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Another study revealed that almonds play a key role in keeping cholesterol levels in check by reducing LDL -- otherwise known as "bad" -- cholesterol, similar to the effects of using a cholesterol-lowering medication.
5.) Green Tea
Drinking a cup of green tea not only produces soothing effects on the body but also several health benefits due to its rich antioxidants. One of its powerful antioxidant flavonoids called epigallocatechin (EGCG) has been linked to anti-inflammatory effects, acting as a line of defense for the body and protecting it from the common cold and flu.
In your body, flavonoids act as powerful antioxidants that neutralize damage from free radicals. They're known to:
  • Help protect your blood vessels from rupture or leakage
  • Enhance the power of vitamin C
  • Protect your cells from oxygen damage
  • Prevent excessive inflammation in your body
Studies have also found an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers including skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder.
Drinking green tea is also good for your heart. According to one Chinese study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, there was a 46-65 percent reduction in hypertension risk in regular consumers of green tea, compared to non-consumers of tea.
Plant-derived antioxidants abundant in green tea, particularly catechins, have been found to have stronger disease-fighting properties than vitamins C and E, play a significant role in reducing the risk of heart disease by blocking the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, increasing HDL (good) cholesterol and improving artery function.
wild salmon6.) Wild Salmon
The American Heart Association calls salmon a heart-healthy food, rich in omega-3 fats, and recommends eating it twice a week, especially for those at risk of cardiovascular disease. In a study of heart failure participants reported by the American Heart Association it was discovered that after one year of receiving omega-3 supplements, heart patients showed a 10.4 percent increase in heart function, compared with a 5 percent decrease among those taking placebo.
Other research has revealed that omega-3 fatty acids like those found in wild salmon decrease arrhythmia, triglyceride levels and slow the rate of plaque buildup. If you need more reasons to start eating salmon you can choose from one of the following: it's low in calories, contains a lot of protein, is a good source of iron and is very low in saturated fat.
When shopping for your salmon be sure to pick out wild salmon over farm-raised for health and safety reasons. Studies have shown that wild salmon contains more of the healthy omega 3s than farm-raised salmon. Farm raised salmon, on the other hand, accumulates more cancer-causing PCBs and dioxins -- in some cases up to 16 times more -- than in wild salmon.
spinach broccoli7.) Spinach and Broccoli
Winter marks the peak season for broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. You can easily add these staple vegetables to your salads, rice, soup or side dishes. Broccoli is loaded with a myriad of healthy antioxidants including vitamins A, C, E and K, strong anti-cancer agents and glucosinolates that work to stimulate the body's immune system. All of these nutrients work together in harmony to keep your body and immune system working at its peak level.
Popeye the Sailor Man had the right idea by eating his spinach, too, to stay big and strong and now research is showing that he could have also reaped the benefits of healthier hair follicles from its abundance of vitamins A and C, which produce an oily substance called sebum that acts as a built-in natural hair conditioner.
This superfood also contains folate, a nutrient that plays a key role in generating new cells, repairing DNA and producing red blood cells. Folate also works at fighting depression and keeping your brain in a youthful state by slowing down the effects of aging.
grapefruit8.) Grapefruit and Oranges
Fill your body with vitamin C and protect yourself from cold and flu season by having a grapefruit with your breakfast. This nutrient-dense fruit is packed with flavonoids and natural chemical compounds that have been found to increase the activation of the immune system.
If grapefruit is too tart for your taste buds then pick up a bag of oranges or tangerines to optimize your immunity, or if you're in the midst of fighting off a cold, possibly shorten its duration with these vitamin C-enriched foods.
One important thing to keep in mind is that your body isn't able to store vitamin C, so you need to replenish it every day with healthy citrus fruits and vegetables.
Citrus fruits also offer your body a great source of fiber to help move things along the digestive tract. They have even been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and lower the risks of certain types of cancer.

berries9.) Berry-Oxidants -- Blue, Elder and Acai
Out of all the fruit families, blueberries rank the highest in antioxidants, protecting against damage caused by free radicals that may lead to dangerous health conditions such as blood vessel disease and some cancers. A few blueberries go a long way -- just one cup supplies you with 14 percent of the recommended dose of daily fiber and almost a quarter of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
These wonder berries are also responsible for slowing down the normal aging process while warding off age-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. They may also reverse some effects of brain-aging diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease by helping improve memory and concentration.
A relative of the blueberry, the acai berry (native to Central and South America) has been stirring up antioxidant activity of its own with research showing it may help prevent diseases resulting from oxidative stress such as heart disease and cancer.
The richly colored elderberry, native to North America, grows on trees referred to as "the medicine chest." It boasts anti-viral capabilities and an abundant source of flavonoids (quercetin and anthocyanins) that work in sync with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, fending off viruses and activating immune cells. One of the components of elderberries, lectins, has been proven in laboratory tests to stop the reproduction of 10 different strains of the flu virus.
garlic10.) Garlic
This strong-smelling food will not only temporarily keep romance at bay, but also infections, colon and stomach cancers and bacteria, fungal and parasitic infections.
Often touted as a miracle food, garlic contains powerful antioxidants that battle foreign invaders from the body such as H. pylori, bacteria associated with certain ulcers and stomach cancers. Its immunity-building properties provide your body built-in anti-tumor and antioxidant properties that forge a wall against daily wear and tear on the body.
11.) Immune-Boosting Supplements
Fresh whole fruits and veggies are among your best sources of immunity-building nutrients, but you can also help fortify your immune system health with high-quality supportive supplements, such as:
  • Immune Support Packets: An all-encompassing comprehensive arsenal of immune-supportive herbs and nutrients to help build a strong immune defense. Immune Support Packets may:
    • Provide antibacterial and antiviral support
    • Support white blood cell production (the body's army)
    • Support lymphocyte production, including natural killer (NK) cells, T cells, B cells
    • Support cytokine synthesis, such as interleukin-10
    • Raise glutathione levels (antioxidant involved in regulating the body's immune response)
    • Prevent pulmonary infections including respiratory tract infection
    • Reduce age-related decline in the immune system
    • Protect cell membranes from potential pathogens
    • Support healthy function of the thymus gland
  • Probiotic Synergy™ 60 BIO-tract Probiosphers. Regular consumption of probiotics may improve immune response and mucin production, as well as alleviate symptoms associated with diarrhea, constipation, dysbiosis, bacterial infections, and yeast overgrowth.

    With probiotics, it's all about survival. Probiotic organisms must survive three critical barriers to be of benefit -- the manufacturing process, time on the shelf, and most importantly, survive transit through the acidic environment of your stomach. Probiotic Synergy™ is formulated to handle all of the above, presented in moisture-resistant BIO-tract Probiospheres® that enhance stability and the ultimate delivery of probiotic organisms to the intestinal tract.
  • Allicillin™: Allicillin™ is the first ever commercially available garlic supplement containing significant levels of ajoene and diithins, the most active compounds formed from garlic.

    Since the discovery and identification of ajoene and diithins, there have been many studies that have demonstrated their related health benefits, which may include
    • Anti-bacterial
    • Anti-lipidemic
    • Anti-fungal
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Anti-parasitic
    • Anti-tumorigenic and Anti-mutagenic
    • Anti-thrombotic and Anti-platelet
**All of the Designs for Health supplements in this article from health practitioners only so it is important to see your health care provider to discuss your nutritional needs and supplement options.

Prevention 9 Power Foods that Boost Immunity
Web MD November 12, 2009
Web MD 10 Everyday Super Foods
CNN Health November 14, 2007
CNN Health November 6, 2007
ABC News October 30, 2008
American Heart Association Fish 101 World's Healthiest Foods: Yogurt (Greece)
Medical News Today January 14, 2007

© 2011 Health Realizations, Inc