Category Archives: Nutrition

Choose Coconut Oil to Boost Your Immune System

You may have noticed that a short while ago a certain product was reported to be unhealthy for humans, and then a few years later new research proves that in fact the product offers health benefits. Chocolate was ‘bad’ for you and now it is a good source of antioxidants, so long as you avoid products high in sugar. Sometimes, the change in posture reflects real scientific discovery, and sometimes it is simply the result of misunderstanding or miscommunication. Over the last decade or two, not too many products have experienced the degree of change in public support that coconut oil has.

Coconut oil was listed as a dangerous high saturated fat at a time when the food industry was attempting to convince the world that margarine was a healthier alternative to butter. To be clear, the oil from the coconut that is partially hydrogenated may contain high levels of trans fats that are known to be harmful to human health. Similarly, highly refined oil may be created because of potentially harmful chemical applications to extract the oil from the coconut flesh. The magic, however, lies in the unrefined or virgin coconut oil that is extracted via cold press or other techniques without the use of chemicals or high temperatures that damage the oils.

Virgin coconut oil contains high levels of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) rather than long chain fatty acids common in other plant oils. MCTs are not easily absorbed and stored as fat on our bodies. Medium chain fatty acids differ from long chain fatty acids in one crucial area; they do not contribute to high cholesterol levels or heart disease. In fact, MCTs may help to lower the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis. Most long-chain fatty acids, including the soy-based oil that is popular in many processed foods, contribute to lowering good cholesterol (HDL) and raising bad cholesterol (LDL).

The inability of our bodies to absorb MCTs makes the oil a good choice for supporting weight loss and improving body mass by losing more fat than muscle tissue. MCTs also help to improve glucose tolerance, which helps to balance insulin action and reduces the risk of type II diabetes. Coconut oil also tends to supply a slightly lower number of calories per ounce than most other oils. Virgin oil is rich in polyphenol and tocopherol antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce oxidative stress on body tissue in laboratory animals.

When shopping for coconut oil, look for unrefined or extra virgin oils. Avoid partially hydrogenated oils for cooking and make sure you look carefully at the labels of packaged foods for products containing these harmful oils. The oil can be a great substitute for butter or other oils used in cooking. The taste of some foods will be enhanced with the sweet flavor of coconut and may take a little getting used to. Stews, curries, salads and baked cookies will all benefit from the addition of the oil. Have fun with it as you discover the magic from the coconut.

10 Ways to Naturally Boost Immunity, by a Holistic Nutrition + Health Coach

I wish I had taken better care of myself before I got sick! Sound familiar? Now is the time to boost immunity, while the colds and flus are lingering around, waiting to attack your immune system and take you down with the others.

As an alternative to medications, I always begin with natural remedies, and this includes food. Food is medicine, after all. Plants contain powerful antioxidants that kill bacteria, fight off free radicals that break down cells, and boost our immune system. Start with these 10 tips and easy-to-find foods that you can incorporate into meals daily to get a jump start on your health and be armed for this coming cold and flu season.

1. Cut the chemicals. I’m talking about smoking, alcohol and drugs. These deplete your antioxidants -aka natural defenses- and make you more at risk for getting sick.

2. Up the vitamin C. You probably already know this one. What you might not know is that vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and you have to take it daily because you lose it through perspiration and urination. You can find it in citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, leafy greens, papaya and tomatoes.

3. Oil of Oregano. The oil comes from oregano (obviously) but the plant is actually a member of the mint family. The phenols, or chemical compounds found in oregano oil, can kill Candida albicans, E. coli, and Giardia, while another of it’s components actually boosts the immune system and helps to protect against further damage. (Purely Healthful Oregano Oil, J. Tellier Johnson, ND)

4. Exercise. This helps move lymph, allowing it to circulate through your body, get processed by your liver, and then excess toxins are excreted. Perspiration also allows the release of toxins and endorphins!

5. Garlic. A superstar that boosts the natural killer cells in your body to help fight off illness. Garlic works best when you crush a raw clove and let it sit for a minute to release it’s allicin enzyme (through a few other reactions), and this is where all the magic happens.

6. Say no to sugar. Sugar suppresses your immune system by shutting down the cells that fight bacteria. Have some healthy snack alternatives always on hand and read the nutrition facts label to see the source of the sugar in your food.

7. Protein. A deficiency in protein can lead to decreased immune function, ending in infection. Protein is also important when recovering from illness, to build back up and repair the body. This means plant-based or animal protein. Just be sure that you are combining your plant-based proteins to make complete proteins. Contact a Nutritionist if you would like to learn more about building a balanced meal plan.

8. Get your Zzzz’s. You know how it goes… you’re up too late, you’re working too much, you ca’t catch up on sleep and – boom – you get sick. And you say to yourself, “Of course I’m sick. I’ve been going like crazy and I am rundown”. Sleep is an important time to let the body and brain rest, recover and reset. High cortisol levels lead to no sleep, and lack of sleep can be taxing on your nervous system and suppress your immune system. Create a sleep routine where screens are off at a decent hour, the room is dark, and get at least 7 hours sleep each night.

9. Phytonutrients. Nutrients found in plants that have antioxidant properties, help to fight off sickness and disease. These are easily obtained through colourful vegetables, fruits (eat the rainbow), dark leafy greens, beans, green tea, even dark chocolate!

10. Fibre. The key to health. Fibre binds to toxins and excess hormones to help excrete them, and reduces inflammation in the body. Aim for about 25g fibre each day through veggies, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

So, you have the self care tools to defend yourself against this season’s bugs. Set your mind to sickness is not an option, eat more plants, rely on nature. She has your back.

Reasons Why You Should Make Spirulina Part Of Your Diet

Dietary supplements have become part of life for many considering that foods don’t always provide all the nutrients and compounds needed by the body. Spirulina, the blue-green algae found in sea water and fresh water has gained popularity as a nutrient supplement because of the numerous health benefits it has. It is now being produced commercially in different parts of the world and it can be taken in flake, tablet or powder form; you can therefore choose a form that you are most comfortable with in terms of consuming. It is however important that you follow the directions of use provided on your supplement.

Considering that it is algae most people would be hesitant to trying it out, but it is a food that is rich in protein, minerals and vitamins making it very helpful to health. It is generally a food that helps with detoxifying the body, but there are so many other benefits that you stand to enjoy when you make the supplement part of your diet.

1. It prevents visual problems – This is because the algae have carotenes and xanthophyll which protect part of the retina known as the macula. When you take the supplement, you will manage to prevent macular degeneration that is age related.

2. It contains beneficial chlorophyll – The chlorophyll is what gives this super food its green color and it acts as an antioxidant and detoxifier. It does not only provide magnesium in absorbable form, but also helps in building red blood cells.

3. It reduces allergic inflammation – This is thanks to the blue pigmented protein phycocyanin that is found in spirulina. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and therefore besides reducing allergic inflammation, it also keeps nerve cells, kidneys and liver protected against oxidative damage.

4. It improves resistance against disease, fatigue and weakness – The beta carotene in spirulina activates the natural defense mechanism thus greatly improving resistance against disease, fatigue and weakness. It therefore makes a very detox considering that the body feels tired and weak when there is a lack of efficient food circulation. It helps cleanse the body and prevent toxin buildup which leads to lots of issues.

5. It aids weight reduction – This supplement helps in weight reduction because it is easily digested compared to meat and soya protein. It may contain higher fat content compared to meat and soya but it’s easy to digest nature gives it an advantage, making it a better choice for those looking to lose weight.

Other health benefits of this nutrient supplement are brain protection, acts as poisoning antidote, fights pre-menstrual symptoms and eliminates candida as well as helps in management of HIV. Spirulina is also very helpful in regulating blood pressure, cholesterol and improving muscle endurance and strength. When you take it on a regular basis, you will have healthier skin and will generally feel stronger because of its ability to boost the immune system. It also improves academic performance and memory and will preserve bone health too.

When buying spirulina as a nutrient supplement to boost your health, it is important that you choose a product which is a toxin free, pathogen free and it’s organic in every sense. This is the only way you will be able to reap all the benefits.