Monthly Archives - November 2016

Investigated: Inflammation and the Benefits of Ginger and Zinc

 

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Inflammation in and of itself is actually a natural and protective response by the body. White blood cells and the substances they produce help to fight against infection from bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, there are instances when this natural defense system goes out of whack or in cases such as arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, inflammation is occurring even though there’s no bacterial or viral infection to fight against. Chronic inflammation is painful and it is extremely damaging to our bodies. Numerous studies are revealing that it is linked to diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

re:iimmune was created with an understanding that dehydration exacerbates inflammation in the body. Our solution provides Clinical Strength Hydration® with a rich package of health-supporting ingredients including probiotics, prebiotic, electrolytes, L-Glutatmine, zinc and ginger. After testing re:iimmune’s capabilities, a recent study published by the Journal of Nutrition and Health shared that testing indicated that “five inflammatory markers were significantly altered as a result of incubation with the re:iimmune product.”

Ginger and zinc were added to our formula for a variety of reasons. Ginger is effective against nausea and zinc is known to help promote immunity. In addition, both ginger and zinc have anti-inflammatory qualities!

Ginger contains phtytonutrients called gingerols known for their potency in reducing inflammation, muscular pain and swelling. The Arthritis Foundation notes in their article “Health Benefits of Ginger for Arthritis” that a University of Miami study proposes that “ginger extract could one day be a substitute to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The study compared the effects of a highly concentrated ginger extract to placebo in 247 patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. The ginger reduced pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40 percent over the placebo.”

A large percentage of the population is deficient in zinc, including an estimated 40% of older adults, which compromises our ability to fight off common infections. Research out of Ohio State University found that zinc “gently taps the breaks” on an over-response of the immune system and that  “a protein lures zinc into key cells that are first-responders against infection. The zinc then interacts with a process that is vital to the fight against infection and by doing so helps balance the immune response.” This process prevents excess and damaging inflammation in the body.

Turmeric – 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. Today we learn about the treasure that is turmeric!

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The people of India have long known what a treasure turmeric is and have used it in their cooking, sacred rights, in their beauty routines and as a healing helper for many ailments. Pottery discovered near New Dehli contained residue from the spice used as early back as 2500 BCE. It’s botanical name is Curcuma longa and it produces both flower and rhizome, a stem that grows underground, similar to ginger. The rhizome is the part of the plant that gives us golden hued turmeric. Indian curry gets its yellow coloring from it and it’s long been used in many other dishes, favored for its ability to aid in digestion and improve circulation.

Turmeric was also used in India and other surrounding countries in sacred ceremonies. In southern India, an amulet made of the turmeric rhizome was believed to protect the wearer from evil spirits. Saffron colored Buddhist robes are achieved by using the spice as a dye. Hindus also view it as sacred. During a wedding, a string dyed yellow with turmeric is tied around the bride’s neck by the groom. The mangala sutra, as the necklace is called shows that the woman is married and capable of running a household.

It’s sacred standing is owed to its remarkable healing properties as well. Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient Indian practice of natural healing and these discoveries of turmeric’s abilities by these ancient peoples benefit us still today. They discovered that burning turmeric could relieve congestion and that the spice was also helpful in healing wounds, bruises and a variety of other skin problems.

Turmeric is prized for its many benefits in a skin care/beauty regimen. It’s been used successfully to aid in inhibiting facial hair growth, smoothing and evening out skin tone and lessening dark circles under the eyes. Its wonderful as an exfoliant and in treating dandruff of the scalp. Many swear by it’s ability to naturally whiten teeth and it’s also known to be effective as a treatment for cracked heels and softening the skin of the feet. Head to toe, turmeric has a myriad of benefits for the human body.

This includes internally. Turmeric is a potent natural anti-inflammatory and painkiller with abilities that have been shown to be as effective as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects. This makes it very helpful in dealing with arthritis and muscle pain. Numerous other studies are being done on its possible powers in treating some forms of cancer including melanoma, slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s by removing amyloid plaque buildup in the brain and its abilities to aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

There are so many different ways and good reasons to incorporate more turmeric into your diet and beauty routine. Below you’ll find a few links to ways to do just that!

Top Ten Best Beauty Remedies Using Turmeric

Golden Turmeric Milk Recipe

Healing Carrot Soup with Turmeric and Ginger

Convoy of Hope – Spreading Relief and Compassion Around the Globe

 

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First of all, what a lovely name, Convoy of Hope. When times are dark and disaster strikes, a convoy of caring individuals spreading hope and trying to create solutions to problems is not only a comfort, it’s a necessity. Founded by the Donaldson Family in 1994, the inspiration for starting the organization was born out of their gratitude for the many people who reached out and helped their family after their father, Harold, was killed by a drunk driver in 1969. Over the years, they’ve worked with churches, businesses, government agencies and other nonprofits to provide help to over 79 million people suffering from impoverishment, natural disasters and hunger. They are a multi-year recipient of the prestigious Four Star Charity Award from Charity Navigator.

Convoy of Hope makes it’s home, as re:iimmune does, here in Springfield, Missouri. It’s an ideal location right in the middle of the country for their distribution center as its proximity to U.S. 65 and I-44 allows for rapid transport of goods. Food and other relief supplies are transferred to and from the warehouse weekly.  Over twenty years time, the organization has helped provide disaster response, conduct community outreach events and direct nutritional programs and sustainability projects in 48 states in America.

Internationally, here are just a few places where Convoy of Hope has reached out a helping hand. We’ve taken these directly from their website and there are plenty more examples if you’d like to learn more!

THE PHILIPPINES

We began feeding children in the Philippines in 2009 and it has become one of our largest feeding countries with 28,024 children currently enrolled in the initiative at 235 program centers. The Philippines is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons, so having an efficient feeding network allows us to respond quickly when disasters strike the island nation.

KENYA

After establishing our program in Kenya in 2009, we began helping the Maasai people find ways to get clean water to their villages. Maasai tribes in one region had been desperately searching for ways to overcome their lack of water when they discovered the answer lied within Mt. Suswa, an active volcano. They found that the lava flow running beneath them was heating existing ground water, turning it into steam and trapping it in the earth. They began harvesting the steam by inserting pipes in the ground and collecting it as it turns to distilled water. We’ve funded the work at 12 sites where the Maasai are utilizing this method. There are currently 2,574 children being fed at 15 program centers in Kenya.

EL SALVADOR

We began feeding children in El Salvador in 2007 and the initiative has seen positive growth in the years since. Currently 11,296 children are being fed at 79 program centers s in El Salvador. We also piloted our Mother’s Club program in this country, through which we provide poverty-stricken mothers with entrepreneurial skills they use to earn a living and provide for their families.

We are so proud to partner with the people at Convoy of Hope for our Get Well, Make Well campaign which enables customers purchasing re:iimmune to help another person in need. When you buy a box, a serving is donated to relief organizations working to improve the health of underserved populations suffering from dehydration and intestinal maladies. Our partnership with Convoy of Hope is vital to this process and in the spirit of the holiday season, we wanted to extend our thanks to this fine organization by telling you a bit more about what they do domestically and internationally in an effort to help wipe out hunger and malnutrition and to improve the quality of life of those most in need.

Thank you Convoy of Hope for all the good you bring to the world! We are thrilled to partner with them! If you or your organization would like to donate to, partner or volunteer with Convoy of Hope, please check out their Get Involved page on their website.

Indoor Plants That Help Clean the Air

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Not only do indoor plants cheer up a space, some varieties can even help remove pollutants from the air! Unfortunately, a variety of household and consumer products contain ingredients that create noxious gases that can build up in an enclosed space. During the colder months, when we can’t open the windows as much to get fresh air, we are exposed even more to these chemicals and gases. Benzene, Formaldehyde, Xylene, Toluene and Ammonia are all such irritants. The good news is that certain types of easy to grow indoor plants are capable of cleaning the air and adding them to our living spaces can make our homes much healthier.

Aloe Vera

This one’s a no brainer when it comes to choosing plants for the home since they are incredibly easy to grow and they provide relief for sunburn and skin irritation. On top of that, they produce a good amount of oxygen and are champs at filtering formaldehyde.

Boston Fern

The best choice for fighting formaldehyde is the Boston fern. Although drought tolerant (for those of us who are forgetful waterers), the fern thrives in humid conditions so it’s a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

Peace Lily

Many cleaning products contain chemicals that irritate our lungs. The peace lily does a great job of ridding the air of these pollutants and it produces beautiful white flowers. Bonus!

English Ivy

If someone in your home suffers from asthma, benzene can be a real threat and trigger attacks. English ivy is the one of the best choices among indoor plants for filtering benzene out of the air.

Spider Plant

NASA did a Clean Air Study in which they named the spider plant as one of the best houseplants for air purification. The link will also give you some other indoor plants they found to be effective at filtering the air. Spider plants are great option for the frugal among us as they sprout many babies or offshoots which enables you to fill your home without spending a lot of cash.

Cold or Flu? Tips to Tell and Ways to Deal

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Got the sniffly, sneezy blues? First things first, you gotta know your enemy! In the beginning stages of sickness you might be wondering if what you are dealing with is a cold or flu. Today we are sharing some helpful ways to figure out which monster you are battling and common myths to dispel.

The symptoms are very similar but one of the first ways to tell if you are dealing with a cold or flu is how quickly it comes on. A sudden onset of symptoms such as respiratory issues, fever, chills, aches and intense tiredness typically point to the flu. If what you are dealing with is a stuffy nose and sore throat, with none of the other symptoms just described, then it’s a common cold. Vomiting is a sign of neither, but instead is a sign of a stomach bug. Flu is a respiratory illness, not a digestive illness. It’s really important to figure out what you are dealing with because if it is the flu then there are prescription antiviral medications specifically formulated to lessen the symptoms and duration. However, those medications are most effective if taken within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Now to dispel some of those myths floating around there about the cold and flu. . .

“Feed a cold, starve a fever”

Nope. Your cold is not gonna budge just because you are filling up the tank. And a fever doesn’t lessen just because your tummy is grumbling. In any case, you need to eat healthy to give your body the essential nutrients it needs to repair itself. Not a myth? Chicken soup really is good for a cold and at providing relief from your symptoms.

“You need antibiotics”

Wrong. A cold or flu are both caused by viruses. Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections. Taking antibiotics when you don’t really need them lessens their effectiveness when you really do. So unless a doctor has diagnosed you with a bacterial infection, don’t go this route.

“Cold weather is to blame. Bundle up or you’ll get sick”

Negative. As just mentioned, colds and the flu are viruses spread person to person. However, those roller coaster temperatures we experience in the fall can play havoc with your sinuses. Just don’t go blaming the weather for your cold or flu.

“You need to sweat it out”

Absolutely not! Dehydration can be dangerous and the exact opposite is what you need. Staying hydrated is essential to recover from illness. Our re:iimmune Hydrobiotic Recovery Formula has balancing electrolytes to help provide maximum rehydration.

Whole Foods Spotlight – Sweet Potatoes

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf

It is in this spirit that we present re:iimmune’s new blog series “Whole Foods Spotlight” where we will focus in on a specific whole food, its nutritional benefits and provide you with a few links to some tasty recipes that may inspire you to add more of that particular food into your diet. After all, good health begins with good nutrition! Today we focus on the awesome nutritional benefits of the sweet potato. . . 

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Botanically part of the Morning Glory family, the sweet potato’s origins can be traced back to Incan and pre-Incan races whose ancient pottery even show depictions of many different varieties. By the time it was introduced to European explorers, it was not found growing wild there but another member of its family “wild potato vine” or “wild sweet potato” can still be found in parts of U.S. such as Illinois and Indiana. The sweet potato was brought back to Europe before the continent was even introduced to Irish potatoes. It immediately became a rare delicacy whose popularity spread it throughout the world. The plant only produces seed in warmer tropical clients and in colder climates new plants come from planting roots or cuttings of the vines. They are a prolific producer, yielding more pounds per acre than any other plant including Irish potatoes and corn! This is good news because this tasty orange jewel provides a host of beneficial nutrients to us if included in our diet.

Potassium

Potassium rich foods, such as sweet potatoes are known for improving blood pressure control. Potassium improves kidney function, reduces blood clotting and helps to regulate the opening of blood vessels. If your doctor is concerned about blood pressure control, they may recommend increasing intake of potassium.

Iron

They are also high in iron, an essential mineral vital in producing energy in the body. Whether you are just feeling a little sluggish or are full blown anemic, adding sweet potatoes to your diet is a good idea. Iron deficiency is linked to many health issues such as impaired cognitive and immune function, problems with body temperature regulation and gastrointestinal issues.

Beta-carotene

That beautiful orange color is a signal from nature that a food is high in beta-carotene which provides Vitamin A. This is vital in maintaining and improving both retinal health and bone strength.

Get some more of the delicious sweet potato into your diet! Here are some links to a few delicious recipes. . .

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato and Kale Salad

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Carrier Oils for Every Skin Type

 

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Last week we talked about the dry skin blues and some ways to help keep it at bay. Today we’re focusing one one of the best things you can do for your skin, the use of plant derived carrier oils to help rehydrate and moisturize dry skin. Skin types vary and maybe the opposite, oily skin, is your issue or perhaps you have combination skin. In any case, there are carrier oils that are right for you!

It may seem odd to put oil on your face, it’s a much more common practice in England and other places in the world. The thing is that your skin naturally produces oil called sebum. When it’s washed away, your skin craves more and by keeping a balance by replenishing with the right kinds of carrier oils, you may find that you’ll help combat a number of issues and have happier, healthier skin. Few of the plant oils we will discuss have any kind of significant smell so we’ll include some ideas for essential oils which you can add a few drops of to your carrier oil.

Here are a few, easy to find carrier oils which can be used on both face and body and which types of skin they are best suited for. . .

Jojoba Oil  

Jojoba is a type of shrub found in the deserts of California, Arizona and Utah. The great thing about it is that it mimics the consistency of sebum and therefore it absorbs well into the skin. Jojoba, pronounced “ho-ho-ba”, can be used on any skin type with great benefit.

Evening Primrose Oil

We know it sounds strange to use oil on already oily skin but for some folks, it actually can help balance you out and keep the skin from over producing sebum. Evening Primrose Oil taken internally can even assist in balancing out hormones. One of the best plant oils for reducing inflammation and promoting elasticity.

Coconut Oil

The internet is chock full of articles about the many, many beneficial uses of coconut oil and it’s one of the best things for dry skin! However, folks who are acne prone may want to stick with jojoba. It is heavy and it will take a few minutes to sink in but when it does, it provides amazing relief for dry skin.

Apricot Kernel Oil

This easily absorbed carrier oil is great for those with combination to dry skin types. It’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial which helps against acne causing bacteria.

Grapeseed Oil

This  works well for most skin types and is very light and easily absorbed. It’s chock full of Vitamin E which helps moisturize and tighten the skin. It’s great at speeding up the healing of acne and reduces redness and inflammation.

Essential Oils

For normal skin types: Chamomile, Lavender, Fennel, Rose, Sandalwood

For oily skin types: Cedarwood, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Grapefruit

For dry skin types: Ylang, Ylang, Rose Geranium, Roman Chamomile

For acne prone skin: Tea Tree, Thyme, Bergamot, Vetiver

Keep in mind that any kind of change to your skincare routine typically comes with a transition period where you might notice a few breakouts. Stick with it for a couple of weeks to truly get an idea of whether it’s working for you or not.

#TBT – Sage – 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. This week we focus on the herbal savior, sage!

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“How can a man grow old who has sage in his garden?” is an old proverb quoted throughout much of Europe, China and Persia. During the 17th century, sage was so valued by the Chinese that Dutch merchants discovered that they would trade three chests of Chinese tea for just one chest of sage. The word sage derives from the Latin word salvare which means “to save” bestowed for it’s many healing and curative properties.

Native Americans called the sagebrush “spirit caller” and used it in the cleansing and purification of their dwellings. Still today, people looking to cleanse their home of bad vibes or just to refresh the air will burn a smudge stick made of sage. Some even find relief from the smoke for sinus congestion or pain as well as migraines. Sage contains saponins which improve circulation and its been used for over a thousand years in the treatment of Cerebrovascular disease. Like its family member rosemary, it is also known for improving memory and many studies are showing that it may even help treat and prevent Alzheimer’s. With these benefits, it’s no wonder we use the word “sage” to describe a very wise person!

The herb  is prized for it’s strong flavor and for many people the smell of it evokes the holidays. Which is perfect, as the herb is known for its ability to assist the body in digesting all those fatty foods we enjoy this time of year! Also, red sage has been used traditionally as a treatment for inflammation of the mouth, throat and tonsils so it’s one to turn to for relief during cold season.

In the garden, sage is a fragrant and often overlooked spring flowering plant. There are dozens of varieties; some for cooking, some for medicinal purposes and some ornamental. Most are very hardy and prefer well drained soil. Common sage, which is most often used in cooking, produces beautiful purple flowers which attract bees and other beneficial insects to the garden.

We’ve collected a few useful DIY’s for you that take advantage of sage’s many wonderful offerings. Enjoy!

Sage Tincture for Colds and Sore Throats (scroll to bottom of article)

Homegrown Smudge Sticks

Fresh Sage Wreath

Dealing with Dry Skin

Has the weather got you feeling itchy? Dry skin is a major problem for people all year round. Never fear, we’ve got some tips for you to help you stay smooth and soft.

Our skin is our largest organ, measuring around 20 square feet! As with all the organs in your body, the most important thing you can do for your skin is to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. re:iimmune can help in that department! Sometimes to get hydration to optimum levels your body might need a bit of assistance. The L-Glutamine and electrolyte balancing nutrients in re:iimmune can help give a boost when trying to stay well hydrated.

Speaking of water, another tip to keep in mind is avoiding super hot showers. Whereas ingesting water is excellent for your skin, frequent bathing in hot water can make dry skin worse. Keep the shower temps down and make sure to replenish the oils stripped from your skin during bathing with a good moisturizer. Check out our post on how various plant oils, not lotion, might be your best bet!

Before we talk moisturizing, there’s another important step in keeping your skin at it’s best. Exfoliation is key! Dead skin cells need to be dealt with and there are several ways to do this. Alpha-hydroxy acids are essentially fruit acids that help to eliminate dead skin cells. One of the best is pineapple! In Sri Lanka, women have used pineapple on their skin for centuries to smooth their skin. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain which literally eats up dead skin cells! Other great natural exfoliates include baking soda, apple cider vinegar, rice bran and oatmeal.

As with water, the food we eat plays a huge part in the health of our organs and skin is no different! Here are a few suggestions of items to add to your diet which have great benefits to your skin’s health. . .

Walnuts – Omega-3 fatty acids increase your skin’s ability to retain moisture.

Cantaloupe – Chock full of choline, Vitamin K and E which keep skin healthy and radiant.

Watermelon – No brainer! It’s 93% water, aiding in hydration. It also contains vitamins A, B6 and C to repair and protect your skin.

Kale – Some studies have shown that the indole-3-carbonal in Kale boosts DNA repair in our cells and may help block the growth of skin cancer cells.

Other food helpers in the struggle to keep skin looking great include strawberries, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and avocados. So eat, drink your water and keep your skin merry this winter season!

Digestive Health – Why you need both probiotics and prebiotics

What are probiotics and prebiotics and how do they affect digestive health?

The human digestive system is full of both good and bad bacteria and when all is working well, the good bacteria help to keep the bad at bay! Inside the digestive tract there are trillions of microorganisms working to keep the balance and keep the entire body healthy. An imbalance doesn’t just cause gastrointestinal and digestive issues. Our gut health is connected to brain function and mood, skin health and our immune system.

Probiotics are living bacteria and yeast which live in the intestines and help balance out bad bacteria in the digestive system. We ingest probiotics through foods like yogurt, kefir and aged cheeses such as bleu, gouda and cheddar. You can also get probiotics through soybean products and brined and fermented foods like pickles and sauerkraut.

However, all on their own probiotics can only have a limited effect because they are easily destroyed in our system. Probiotics must have particular sources of food in order to flourish and that’s where prebiotics lend a helping hand in digestive health! Prebiotics are not living bacteria, they are forms of fiber which act as food for probiotics. Legumes, beans, bananas, berries and vegetables like tomatoes, onions, asparagus, and greens are all good sources of prebiotics to add to your diet.

Often a good diet is not enough to keep a good balance of probiotics and prebiotics in our systems and a supplement can be of enormous benefit. Especially if one has been taking antibiotics which can kill off a number of good bacteria, if one has contracted food poisoning or is recovering from an illness. The latter was one of the driving forces in the creation of re:iimmune. We want to help people get better, better and two of the best things you can do for your digestive health when your system has been thrown out of whack for whatever reason is to stay hydrated and keep your gut in good health!