Monthly Archives - September 2016

#TBT – Cinnamon’s History and Benefits

Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We’ll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care.

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Today, cinnamon is a well known and beloved spice that is widely available and used frequently. In ancient Egypt, it was a rarity and considered so valuable that it was regarded as a gift for kings. It was also utilized in the embalming of mummies! Cinnamon was used throughout the ancient world. Arab traders brought it to Europe but the difficulty of traveling across the region turned the spice into something of a status symbol. According to history.com,

To maintain their monopoly on the cinnamon trade and justify its exorbitant price, Arab traders wove colorful tales for their buyers about where and how they obtained the luxury spice. One such story, related by the 5th-century B.C. Greek historian Herodotus, said that enormous birds carried the cinnamon sticks to their nests perched high atop mountains that were insurmountable by any human. According to the story, people would leave large pieces of ox meat below these nests for the birds to collect. When the birds brought the meat into the nest, its weight would cause the nests to fall to the ground, allowing the cinnamon sticks stored within to be collected.

Cinnamon is actually the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum. When it dries it curls up into quills and then is either cut into sticks or ground into a powder. It’s amazing smell is due to the oil in the bark which has high concentrations of Cinnamaldehyde. Although there are hundreds of varieties of this spice in the world, today we are best acquainted with the Ceylon and Cassia varieties.

So other than it’s amazing taste and smell, what is this spice good for? Well as sweet smelling as it is, it may help with regulating blood sugar. However studies are inconclusive so don’t get too excited about this wonder spice as an aid for diabetes just yet. That said, there are plenty of other reasons to sprinkle a little cinnamon into your diet. It’s a powerhouse of an antioxidant, even nudging out garlic and oregano for the number two spot in its potency, just behind mint. It’s also a natural and powerful anti-microbial. It’s traditionally been used in helping to preserve meat and it can be used to make a delicious smelling countertop spray to help keep germs at bay. In addition, cinnamon oil is useful in tooth and gum care and as a natural insect repellant.

Looking for some easy ways to get more cinnamon into your diet? We’ve pulled together a few links to great recipes to try. Enjoy!

Pan Fried Cinnamon Bananas

Savory Coconut Rice with Cinnamon

Maple Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

Top Three Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

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There are a myriad of reasons why getting out of the house and spending time outdoors are beneficial to your physical and mental health but we’ve chosen our top three to inspire you to open that door and step outside.

 

Sweet Sunshine

We know, we know. . . you just spent all summer lathering yourself up with SPF to protect yourself from the damaging rays of the sun and we applaud you for that healthy choice. That said, there are benefits to soaking up some of those rays. What usually comes to mind is the absorption of Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone created in the body via sunlight and it is essential for a healthy immune system. It’s linked to protection against osteoporosis, autoimmune disorders and heart disease and getting it naturally is far superior to Vitamin D supplements.

Something else to think about? While it’s true that most of the time we should be wearing UV protective sunglasses outdoors, some sunlight is essential for optimum eye health. Just a bit of time in natural light, will help to alleviate the effects of our modern habits of spending too much time in front of screens which can cause serious eye strain. Also, new research indicates that too much time in artificial light can bring on myopia, also known as nearsightedness.

 

Fresh Air

Where would we be without oxygen? Just one mature tree can produce 260 pounds of oxygen a year, which is enough to support the needs of two people. So while you’re hanging out in nature, hug a tree and thank it for helping your white blood cells work optimally at killing and fighting germs and bacteria. Nature’s fresh air assists your lungs to dilate more fully and improves their ability at cleansing the body of airborne toxins, including the slew of indoor pollutants we are exposed to, and aids in digestion and relieving stress. So take those deep cleansing breaths in the great outdoors!

 

Engage Your Senses

Nature is a playground of exciting sounds, smells and other ways to engage our senses. Step outside, whether it be in the city or country, and the air is full with the songs of birds. Julian Treasure, with The Sound Agency, believes these special songs help to relax people physically but stimulate them cognitively, “People find birdsong relaxing and reassuring because over thousands of years they have learnt that when the birds sing they are safe, it’s when birds stop singing that people need to worry. Birdsong is also nature’s alarm clock, with the dawn chorus signalling the start of the day, so it stimulates us cognitively.”

When it comes to scent, it is our sense of smell that is most directly linked to areas of the brain responsible for processing emotion. This is why we link certain time periods of our lives or events with specific smells. Phytoncides are organic compounds emitted by trees and plants and inhaling them causes humans to slow down their breathing which in turn reduces anxiety. To get the benefits of phytoncides, some Japanese partake in what is called Shinrin-Yoku or “forest bathing” where quality time is spent walking through forests to promote improved mood, cognitive function, creativity and to relieve stress.

Get Well, Make Well – re:iimmune®

“Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine.” – Slovakian Proverb

Water is the source of life. But what if you aren’t lucky enough to live in a country that has developed sanitation and easy access to clean sources of that gift of life? In much of the world, water then turns from being “medicine” and instead becomes the infecting agent of terrible illness and death. As reported by the World Health Organization, each year gastrointestinal diseases kill 2.2 million people globally, primarily in developing countries where citizens lack access to clean drinking water. Contaminated water spreads malaria, dysentery, cholera and a host of other horrors which bring on diarrhea and weaken the body’s immune system. This year, a half million children under the age of five will die from dehydration and millions more suffer from poor intestinal health and malnutrition.

Our goal has always been to save lives by changing these awful statistics and we know you want to help! We understand that the weight of the world’s problems often leave folks feeling helpless and at loss for how to make a difference. Sometimes it is the simplest of actions that make the biggest impact, and our Get Well, Make Well campaign enables our customers to take part in changing and saving lives around the world. It’s pretty simple; For every box of re:iimmune purchased, a serving is donated to relief organizations working to improve the health of underserved populations. Your purchase of re:immune helps you to “get well” and simultaneously help “make well” the life of another.

We are proud to join great organizations like TOMS Shoes and to partner with humanitarian organization Convoy of Hope to distribute doses of re:iimmune to developing countries. To date, 80,000 doses have been donated and with your continued support we can make that number skyrocket!

The Scoop on Zinc

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But Wait, There’s More…

Zinc isn’t normally the first thing to pop in your head when you head to the vitamin section for an immune boost, but Zinc is in fact the secret gem of supplements. If you were to ask the average person what supplement they would think of first in terms of boosting ones immune system, chances are they would answer: Vitamin C.

Vitamins are key components to boosting your immune system, but there are other highly effective, and complex supplements that deserve a little more recognition. Zinc is one of these important supplements that is technically considered an “essential trace element” and is often thought of as a “natural cold remedy”, yet, Zinc has so much more to offer your body’s health and well-being than we commonly consider and that is exactly why we specifically chose it to join the re:iimmune® formula.
According to researchers at the Department of Dermatology at the University of California,

zinc plays an essential role in numerous biochemical pathways: organ systems, including the integumentary, gastrointestinal, central nervous system, immune, skeletal, and reproductive systems… Zinc deficiency results in dysfunction of both humoral and cell-mediated immunity and increases the susceptibility to infection. (1)

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In other words; Zinc is good for your whole body! Not only does it boost your immune system, it is in fact crucially essential to your body’s immune response, hormonal function, nervous system, energy levels, and may lower your metabolism if your zinc levels drop below a healthy marker. Some symptoms that you may experience if you are in fact zinc deficient include:

  • Poor concentration or memory
  • Hormonal complications
  • Nerve dysfunction
  • Digestive issues, including diarrhea
  • A slower healing process when wounded
  • Abnormal hair loss

Zinc is more than simply a slight boost to your body’s immune function, but it is an essential nutrient that your body requires on a regular basis. When we mention zinc as a component to re:iimmune’s Hydrobiotic™ formula, we often title it simply as an extra immunity boost. In actuality it was chosen carefully for its smorgasbord of vital health components. When re:iimmune was created, the time was taken to hand pick each ingredient, analyze it’s potential to make people better, and chosen for the highest quality potential. So, the next time you’re feeling under the weather and you reach for your own glass of re:iimmune, you can feel confidence in the fact that every single piece of this recovery puzzle was put together to specifically help you get better, better™!