Monthly Archives: October 2015

Sugar Season is Here

By Cristina McMullen, Certified Wellness Coach, Bio-Energetic Practitioner

Cristina McMullen

Have you ever sat back and wondered why “flu season” starts around mid-October and lasts all the way until March/April?  What is going on this time of year that makes our bodies an ideal environment for these microbes to thrive?

Sugar Season

This is the time of year when sugar is in abundance!  It starts with Halloween, continues with Thanksgiving, gets a huge boost at Christmas/Hanukkah, continues at Super Bowl parties, gets a big chocolate kiss at Valentine’s Day, and ends with Easter candy!

Sugar and its effect on the immune system has been studied since the early 1970s.  It has been proven time and again that simple sugars can suppress the immune system for hours after ingestion.  It does this by affecting the function of neutrophils, the major immune cell that engulfs and destroys microbes.  A normal, healthy white blood cell can destroy an average of 13 germs.  Consuming only 4 grams of sugar weakens our white blood cells so that they can only destroy about 10 microbes.  Increase this sugar consumption to 50 grams and our white blood cells can now only destroy about 5-6 microbes!  To put this into perspective, one miniature Hershey’s bar contains 4 grams of sugar, one miniature Three Musketeer contains 11 grams of sugar, 8 gummy bears contain 21 grams of sugar, and your typical slice of pie with one scoop of ice cream packs a powerful 50 grams of sugar!  Think about how much candy kids eat starting on Halloween night, and it no longer becomes a mystery as to why flu season is in full swing in early November.

The Vitamin D Connection

Our bodies synthesize vitamin D3 from the UV rays of the sun.  When the weather begins to cool down and our clothing layers come out of the attic, our skin is no longer exposed to the sun’s rays, making it next to impossible for our bodies to synthesize vitamin D.  Research has shown that vitamin D3 encourages the production of antimicrobial peptides known as cathelicidins.  These polypeptides play a critical role in the body’s immune defense against microbes.  Supplementing with Vitamin D3 during the fall and winter months is a great way to help support the immune system. (We recommend 5,000 iu per day for adults, and 1,000 iu per every 25 pounds of body weight for children in the fall/winter months.)

Holiday Stress

Let’s face it, the holidays are stressful.  Whether it is dealing with out-of-town family, fighting the shopping crowds, or figuring out how to pay for the extra holiday expenses, our adrenal glands are in over drive.  They enter into a state of constant “fight or flight” and begin producing large amounts of the stress hormone cortisol.  High levels of cortisol in the bloodstream suppress the immune system and can even stop the production of certain immune cells altogether.  Supporting the adrenal glands nutritionally with Vitamins B and C, as well as taking an herbal supplement to support the adrenal glands, can be another way to support the immune system and stay healthy during “flu season.”

So if you want to keep your immune system strong this coming season, limit your sugar consumption, supplement with vitamin D3, and combat stress with natural supplements that promote healthy adrenal function and relaxation.

Natural sleep remedies and mood-elevating products are 15% off in Longevity’s Walk-In Nutrition Shoppe in December.  Call or stop by to speak with one of our staff members about the best stress-relieving and immune-boosting supplements for your family.  

Dinner Dilemma Solved: Baked Pepper Explosion

By JoAnna Anderson Brown, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

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Isn’t it great when you come across a simple supper recipe that doesn’t require you to run to the grocery store?  As the mother of a preschooler, a toddler and an infant, it’s a miracle! That’s why I was so jazzed when I found this Baked Pepper Explosion recipe, which includes ingredients I almost always have on hand.

This dish is gluten-free, protein-packed, quick and easy, and it freezes well.  It’s also warm, flavorful and comforting, making it perfect for fall!

Ingredients (serves 6):
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound of ground turkey or beef
2 chopped bell peppers, any color
Seasonings to taste:  I used garlic powder, oregano, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, black pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
3 cups of cooked rice (I used organic brown basmati rice)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Your favorite salsa to taste

Preparation Instructions: 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a large skillet, saute the garlic and onion in oil until translucent.
  • Add the ground meat and cook thoroughly.  Drain excess fat if necessary.
  • Add the bell peppers and cook until softened.  Then add the diced tomatoes and season to your liking.  Cook 3 minutes or so to blend the flavors.

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  • Transfer the meat/veggie mixture to a large mixing bowl.  Add the cooked rice and 1.5 cups of cheese and mix evenly.
  • Transfer the mixture to a greased 9×13 baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.
  • Cook for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, remove foil and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese to the top.  Broil for 2-3 minutes to melt/gently crisp the cheese.

  • Remove from oven, serve with salsa and enjoy!

Since my kids are not big eaters yet, I froze half of this dish for another night.  Serve it with a side salad and tortilla chips, and you’ve got yourself a dinner worthy of guests!

Dr. Anderson’s Favorite Adaptogens

Dr. Seneca Anderson, DOM, ND, L.Ac.

Longevity Health Center Founder Dr. Seneca Anderson, DOM, ND, L.Ac.

When you think of Adaptogens, think of these three S words: Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief!

To qualify as an Adaptogen, an herb must be completely safe and non-toxic, it must have broad uses for health, and it must specifically reduce stress, both mental and physical. To put it simply: Adaptogens help you adapt. By tonifying and rejuvenating the entire adrenal system, they promote the healthy regulation of cortisol, the “stress hormone.”

Adaptogens greatly improve your body’s ability to adapt to stressors, from a hectic schedule or rush hour traffic to extreme temperatures and high altitudes. This elite class of herbs impart strength, energy, stamina, endurance, and they improve mental clarity. In many parts of the non-western world Adaptogens are used extensively in high-risk, fast-reflex occupations, from athletes to miners to deep sea divers.

Ashwagandha: For exhaustion from physical and/or mental strain.

Of all the medicinal plants used in India’s several millennia old tradition of Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is the most highly prized. It is used to help increase vitality, energy, endurance and stamina, promote longevity, and strengthen the immune system. Today, herbalists often recommend it for people with high blood pressure, insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and impotence associated with anxiety or exhaustion. It enhances endocrine function, especially the thyroid and adrenals.

Astragalus: The Immune Defender

Astragalus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It was often combined with other herbs to strengthen the body against disease. Astragalus may help protect the body from diseases such as cancer and diabetes. It contains antioxidants, which protect cells against damage. Astragalus is used to protect and support the immune system, preventing colds and upper respiratory infections, lowering blood pressure, treating diabetes, and protecting the liver. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, studies have shown that astragalus has antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system, suggesting that it may help prevent colds. U.S. researchers have looked at astragalus as a possible treatment for people whose immune systems have been weakened by chemotherapy or radiation. In these studies, astragalus supplements seem to help people recover faster and live longer.

Eleuthero: For sexual function and overall vitality.

Employed in Traditional Chinese Medicine to invigorate sexual function, boost vital energy and normalize overall body functions, Eleuthero enhances immunity and vitality overall. With 3000 studies and counting, Eleuthero has been studied more than any other herb on the planet! It helps the body adapt to stress and makes the stress response more efficient. It also strengthens memory and helps one stay clear-headed even under pressure. It helps sustain energy over the long-term without the jitters or energy roller coasters of stimulants like caffeine.

Holy Basil: For immunity and longevity.

Like other Adaptogens, Holy Basil enhances the body’s natural response to physical and emotional stress. But it’s also used to treat common colds and flu, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, earache, headache, heart disease, fever and ringworm. The natural chemicals found in this herb help decrease pain and swelling (inflammation), and stabilize high blood sugar.

Maca: For stamina and performance.

Maca root enhances energy, memory, libido and fertility. Women can use it for hormone balance, menstrual problems and menopause symptoms, and men can use it for sexual and athletic stamina. Maca is also used to treat anemia, osteoporosis, immune dysfunction and depression.

Panax Ginseng: For mental clarity and mood stability.

Ginseng is a tonic herb used for rejuvenate and invigorate. It is often used for improving thinking, concentration, memory and work efficiency, physical stamina, and athletic endurance. It’s also useful in treating depression and anxiety.

Rhodiola Rosea: For “burn-out” from prolonged stress and exhaustion.

A well studied Adaptogen, Rhodiola defends the body overall, and protects general health and well-being. Its anti-stress and fatigue-fighting properties make it one of the most popular botanicals in all of Siberia. It is known for fighting “21st century stress”: fatigue, mental fog, trouble concentrating, low energy and, perhaps, mild depression.

Schisandra: The liver and cell protector.

Schisandra is a potent general tonic, decreasing fatigue, enhancing physical performance, and promoting endurance. The berry counters stress by reducing the levels of stress hormones in the blood. This herb has particular benefits to the liver. It helps in the treatment of hepatitis, as noted in over 500 cases. Schisandra berries provide powerful antioxidant protection, particularly from free radicals and other toxins in the environment that may cause cellular damage.

A few things to note about Adaptogens:

  • Adaptogenic herbs do not alter mood or have a numbing effect, but rather, they help the body function optimally during times of stress.
  • Because many adaptogenic herbs have a stimulating effect, it’s best to take them before 3 p.m., so as not to disrupt sleep. Another class of herbs called nervine relaxants are more suitable for the evening hours (kava kava, avena sativa, etc, chamomile, etc).
  • Different Adaptogens affect people different ways. At Longevity, we favor the synergistic blends, but many of our patients do well with certain herbs over others and like to take one by itself. As you’re experimenting with these herbs, start with low doses and be mindful of your mood, energy and sleep levels. We can help you adjust accordingly.