Author - Janet Noe

Gut Health – Reset Your System!

Our gut health impacts nearly every other part of our bodies. When it’s functionality is disrupted due to poor diet, illness, bacteria, stress, etc. it can really take a toll on our system and quality of life. Here are a few tips to get your gut health back on track!

Remove Toxins From Your Diet

There are many things we consume that take a serious toll on our gut health. Limiting or completely eliminating the following can make a huge difference when you are struggling with intestinal issues.

  • Alcohol
  • Grains
  • Processed Foods
  • Refined Sugars

It’s also a good idea stay clear of conventionally raised meats. Due to what the animals are fed, their meat tends to be higher in omega-6 oils which raises risk of inflammatory disease. Opt for pastured or grass fed meat.

Include Fermented Foods and Bone Broth

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt and kefir are probiotic rich foods which repopulate the intestines with helpful bacteria necessary for optimal gut health. Bone broth has also been found to have fantastic healing properties for our bodies. Just be aware that store bought, boxed or canned “stock” and “broth” are typically created with lab produced flavorings. So if you want real benefits, make your own stock at home!

De-Stress

We know it’s hard sometimes with busy lifestyles and the worries of the world but taking time to relax is crucial for good gut health. The brain and the gut have a symbiotic relationship and their health impacts one another. Soothing the worries of the mind can have a positive effect on gut health and in turn, taking care of your digestive system has a profound impact on your mindset and mood. Meditation, exercise, yoga, reconnecting with nature and spending quality time with loved ones are some of the ways to reduce the stress in your life.

Avoid Antibiotics Unless Absolutely Necessary

The opposite of probiotics, antibiotics are meant to kill off bacteria. However they don’t discern between good bacteria and bad, killing off all gut flora. If it is absolutely necessary for you to take an antibiotic, then you definitely want to utilize these tips to reset your system!

Reach for the re:iimmune

Developed to provide adequate hydration and promote healthy intestinal bacteria, re:iimmune contains a multi-strain probiotic blend along with a prebiotic which acts as a food source for the probiotics. This aids in restoring beneficial gut flora and offers protection to your digestive system. The amino acid L-Glutamine aids in hydration by assisting cells to absorb water quicker and helps to rebuild healthy tissue in your intestinal wall. All of which helps to get your gut health in optimum working order, thereby impacting your overall well being and vitality!

Melinda Lund, Dietitian

 

It’s so wonderful to hear from the doctors, nurses and dietitians like Melinda who are witnessing the benefits of re:iimmune in their patients. The creation of our product was born from a desire to help folks who are recovering from a variety of illnesses to get better in a better and more convenient way. From l-glutamine to repair intestinal tissue, probiotics to help feed healthy gut bacteria to ginger to ease the discomfort of nausea all in one product, we’re proud to hear that re:iimmune is helping folks on the road to recovery!

“Professionally I’d like to focus on our oncology population. Even though I have recommended this product to other patients (including pre/post bariatric surgery), it’s our oncology patients I feel that are some of our most vulnerable.  The use of this product just within that group is multi-fold. We have the patients who are going through chemo treatment that have higher than usual ER/UC utilization for dehydration after treatment (days 2-4 post chemo) because of the vomiting and/or lack of intake. Then, we have that group of patients who lose significant amount of weight or have head and neck cancer that, with treatment, are no longer to eat by mouth. In both cases, a tube feeding of some sort is warranted and so another surgery and the risks of surgery to go along with it.  

re:iimmune is a product that is fantastic to recommend in all of these scenarios.  Both pre-surgery on through post-surgery recovery and again just prior to and through post chemo treatment.  The bonus ingredient from my perspective is the ginger!  For our oncology patients that experience extreme nausea, I always recommend ginger in some form to them. This being in the re:iimmune, to me, makes so much sense and is the perfect place to “house it”.  The probiotics already added in are also very important to me for the patients.  Chemo/radiation treatment are very hard on the gut balance, and I typically was recommending a probiotic supplement for those patients all of the time already.  Again, having this already in the formula is amazing.  One drink, everything that they need.  Many of them can be overwhelmed with all of the medications they are asked to take during treatment, so to help them limit added pills to swallow makes life much easier for them…and in drinkable form.   

I’ve also had this product on hand to recommend to our ALS patients – again, many with declining oral intake, weight loss, PEG tube surgeries…an excellent supplement for them! As I mentioned, we have such a vast variety of patient populations here where I can see re:iimmune being beneficial…so I really am a firm believer in this product and it’s quality!”

 

Melinda Lund MS, RD

Dietitian, Center for Health Improvement/Outpatient Diabetes Services

 

 

Garden Planning – Companion Planting

 

It’s a wise idea for new gardeners to familiarize themselves with companion planting for best success in the home garden. Certain plants offer protection to other plants against pests and disease. Today we’ve picked three very easy to grow plants that offer protection to each other. At the end, we’ll give you a few more ideas of what to plant and what not to plant next to each other for a successful garden!

Green Beans – This is another plant whose seeds are directly sown into the ground. They are prolific producers that sprout quickly. Half runners are very popular because they are so tender but be advised that you’ll need to grow these alongside a trellis since they are a vining plant. Also, these beans have strings which have to be removed prior to eating. If you are looking for a simpler option, bush beans are the route to go. Beans really give back, helping to fix nitrogen levels in the soil, which makes them a great companion planting for another easy to grow option in the garden. . .

Radishes – Radishes need nitrogen to thrive, which means they will thrive if you have companion planting in mind and place them near the green beans. These fast growers will produce in as short a time span as 21 days, making them a great “quick reward with little effort” for those of us impatient to have something pop up quickly. You’ll want to provide constant moisture and stay on top of harvesting so that they are crisp and mild flavored. To determine when to harvest, simply push back a little garden soil to see if there’s a bulb and pick and taste a few. Not crazy about raw radishes? Try baking them in the oven to bring out a little sweetness. Radishes are a great companion planting for . . .

Cucumbers – Radishes are natural repellents of cucumber beetles! Other than that pest, cucumbers are super simple to grow. If you try sowing from seed, they will need to be started indoors about three weeks before going outside into the ground, after the last spring frost. They need well drained soil and ample sunlight. It’s a good idea to build a trellis for these plants to produce optimally.

Here are some other good companion plantings to keep in mind. . .

 

  • tomatoes with asparagus
  • eggplants with peppers
  • melons/squash with corn

 

And on the flip side of companion planting here are some combinations to avoid. . .

 

  • Keep the strawberries away from pest prone cabbage.
  • If you want both crops to grow hardy, keep the onions away from the beans and peas.
  • Fennel should just pretty much be planted far away from everything!

Check back next week as we’ll focus on the superstars of the summer garden!

Zinc for Cold and Flu Season

There has definitely been a spike in the last few weeks of all sorts of nasty bugs going around. Today we want to share a little knowledge about the mineral zinc and how it can become your ally in the fight against these nasty bugs during cold and flu season.

Our bodies rely on zinc to support immune function, cellular activities and more than 300 enzymatic functions. Zinc also combats inflammation in the body.  It’s essential for healthy hormone and immune development, as well as human growth. This is why it is especially important for pregnant women, babies and children. It is essential for cognitive development and regulates hormones such as leptin and cortisol. As important as it is, around 2 billion people worldwide are deficient primarily due to inadequate nutrition. Another factor is high sugar and carbohydrate consumption. When the body has an unhealthy blood sugar balance, the body cannot properly absorb zinc. For people suffering from leaky gut syndrome the inability to absorb zinc is common.

Zinc deficiency can cause a host of problems in the body, including. . .

  • Lowered immunity
  • Low energy/insomnia
  • Skin rashes/eczema
  • Loss of libido
  • Poor memory
  • Abnormal hair loss
  • Spots on fingernails
  • Frequent colds or flu

Zinc is known to be helpful in boosting the immune system to prevent catching colds and also in shortening the duration of a cold. Studies have shown that taking zinc within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms can shorten the length of a cold by several days. A significant amount of colds are caused by rhinovirus which thrives in the nasal passages and throat and multiplies quickly. It has been found to be effective at preventing the rhinovirus from multiplying and may stop it from lodging in the mucus membranes of the upper respiratory system.

Our clinical strength hydration supplement, re:iimmune, addresses the core reasons people struggle to recover from an illness: dehydration and malnutrion. Good hydration is critical when recovering from any type of illness. In order to properly fight against all these nasty germs we need our immune systems at the top of their game. Since 70% of our immunity is in our digestive tract we’ve included a prebiotic and probiotics in re:iimmune to support the intestinal immune system. Balancing electrolytes, L-glutamine for tissue repair and zinc are all included to get you better, better!

Whole Foods Spotlight – Bananas

When talking about foods that are nutritional powerhouses, there are few better to wax poetic over than humble bananas. Not only does it come in its own packaging, making it ideal for busy folks on the run, inside that yellow peel is a treasure trove of nutrients and vitamins! Here are some of the top apPEELing (sorry, couldn’t resist) health benefits of eating  bananas. . .

 

  • Bananas are a significant source of potassium which plays a key role in cardiovascular health. Lack of potassium can also cause muscle cramping so if you are getting those charley horses in the middle of the night, it’s time to reach for a banana. You’ll be helping your bones as well since potassium plays a key role in retaining calcium in the body.

 

  • Tryptophan is also found in bananas. When consumed, tryptophan is converted into serotonin which elevates mood and relieves stress. It also helps to regulate sleep patterns, body temperature, memory and appetite.

 

  • For digestive health, bananas are a super hero of the fruit world. They are a natural antacid, giving relief from heartburn and acid reflux. Because they coat the lining of the stomach against acid, they are the only raw fruit recommended to people suffering from stomach ulcers. The pectin in bananas aids in digestion and removal of toxins and heavy metals from our system. They produce enzymes which assist in absorbing nutrients during digestion. They play the role of prebiotic, acting as a food source for friendly bacteria in the gut. A banana can also be a soother for two very opposite problems, soothing both constipation and diarrhea.

 

  • The high water content and levels of Vitamin A in bananas help to repair dry and damaged skin cells. By ingesting the fruit or using a banana face mask, you can help restore moisture to the skin and renew damaged cells. Many also swear by banana peels for treating acne and it’s also effective at neutralizing the itch from bug bites.

 

They are a perfect food all in their own cute yellow package but we’ve included a few tasty banana recipes below as well. Enjoy!

 

Brown Sugar Banana Overnight Oats

Banana Bread Scones

Dairy Free Banana Chocolate Ice Cream

Garden Planning – Part One – Early Spring Crops

Have you been thinking about growing some of your own food? While it’s a bit too early in most of the country to really start digging in the dirt, this is the perfect time to do a little garden planning! Whether the prospect seems a little overwhelming or you are just hoping to keep the process as simple and productive as possible, over the next few weeks we’ll be offering some suggestions for you of the easiest items to grow in a home garden. Today we’re focusing on those crops that can be planted in these early days before true spring arrives.

Lettuces – For a new gardener, starting plants from seed can be a difficult and intimidating prospect. Lettuces are a great option as they can be directly sown into the soil. A few weeks after planting in the garden, you will want to go over the area and thin out the seedlings a bit. Since it’s a cool weather plant they can be sown in early spring or fall and are tolerant of a little bit of frost. If temperatures dip below 45 degrees or there’s snow in the forecast, covering the plants with plastic or a sheet should help to protect them. To keep a continuous supply, replant every two to three weeks.

Potatoes – It depends upon what zone you live in and soil temperatures but traditionally, in many parts of the United States, potatoes are planted in the garden around St. Patrick’s Day. A couple of days before you plant them, you’ll want to quarter the seed potatoes and store them in a warm dark place, allowing them to toughen up and dry out a little. In a typical garden, you’ll want to plant them about 2 inches deep and 8 inches apart and mulch them with straw. However, if space is limited, you can always try bucket planting.

Peas – Sweet, delicious peas are a favorite in the home garden as they are relatively easy to grow and produce well. The seeds are small and should be planted shallowly, no more than a ½ inch deep. This allows them to germinate and sprout quickly, usually in about a week. Sow the seeds about 2.5 inches apart and as the plants grow, you will want to install some sort of trellis for them to climb.
Check back with us next week for more ideas for your spring garden!

#TBT – Anise Seed – 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 focus on sweet anise seed! 

Anise is a delicate white flowering plant with feathery leaves closely related to star anise, fennel and licorice. Native to Egypt, Greece, Crete and Asia Minor, it was the Egyptians who first began cultivating the plant. The Romans often included the spice in baked goods served at the end of decadent meals as the seeds provide protection against indigestion and flatulence. It was given the nickname Solamen intestinorum or “the comforter of the bowels.”

In France, Spain, Italy and South America, the seeds are used primarily in the production of cordial liquers such as Anisette. In Germany of the 1800’s, the spice was so popular, they flavored their bread with whole aniseseed. It is a remarkably versatile herb, used in both sweet and savory dishes.

It’s uses for human and animal alike, abound!

  • The oil of anise has long been used to destroy lice and other biting insects and to treat skin irritations. The oil is also said to work well in combination with cheese on mousetraps!
  • Some beekeepers say that anise oil is the fastest way to attract bees if there are no flowers around and putting the oil on bee boxes will help attract and encourage their return.
  • In addition to providing relief from excess gas and indegestion, the essential oil has been used to eliminate intestinal worms. It also provides relief from aches, pains and menstrual cramps as it has antispasmodic properties.
  • Anise has also been traditionally used in the treatment of  clearing congestion in the lungs and respiratory tracts, bronchitis and asthma. Teas with anise are very soothing during cold and flu season!

German Spelt Bread

Cinnamon Anise Tea

Homemade Italian Sausage

#TBT – Rosemary – 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 it’s the refreshing memory enhancer, Rosemary!

Native to the Mediterranean and Asia, rosemary or rosmarinus officinalis derives from the latin words for “dew” (ros) and “sea” (marinus) meaning “dew of the sea.”  Throughout time, this woody fragrant herb with evergreen like “needles” for leaves has been valued for its invigorating scent, for culinary enhancement and medicinal qualities. During the Middle Ages it was thought to be a love charm. Often, brides would wear a headpiece made of the herb. It has long been associated with improving memory and used as a symbol for remembrance for the dearly departed. Interestingly enough, modern studies are showing that the herb does positively enhance memory, speed and accuracy and helps keep one alert.

Rosemary has traditionally been used to improve circulation and is often used in massage to help decrease muscle cramps and soreness. Suffer from cold hands and feet? Mix a bit of rosemary oil into a carrier oil and use it to massage these areas regularly. It aids in circulation, so using it for massage is a wonderful. Even just inhaling the scent is ideal for helping to relieve migraines and headaches. If battling a cold, you might want to make yourself a rosemary tea. The eucalyptol within rosemary aids in loosening chest congestion and since it’s rich in anti-inflammatory tannins it also helps to soothe a sore throat.

If dandruff is an issue for you, try mixing a few drops of rosemary oil into your shampoo. However don’t apply the oil directly to your scalp as that could cause additional flaking. For centuries it’s been used, especially in the Mediterranean region, to stimulate hair growth.

In the garden, rosemary is a solid butterfly attractor and it helps ward off mosquitos! It likes very well drained soil and enough room to grow and can reach 4 feet high and spread out over 4 feet. Pruning it will help to keep it from getting lanky and it’s often used in topiary gardens as it holds beautiful shapes. It can also be grown in smaller containers both indoors and outdoors.

Last but not least, rosemary is a beautiful herb to cook with, perfectly pairing with meat, potatoes and other root vegetables, as well as enhancing many desserts. Along with the smell of pine trees, cinnamon and peppermint, rosemary is one of those scents closely associated with the holidays and all the comfort foods of the winter season.

Orange Upside Down Cake with Rosemary

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland

Lavender Rosemary Wax Melts

IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome

An estimated 1 in 5 people suffer from a condition known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. Characterized by pain, bloating, cramping, gas, constipation and diarrhea, many digestive disorders mimic the symptoms of IBS so it can be difficult to pin down a diagnosis. The digestive tract naturally contracts to move digested food through to the bowels. In sufferers of IBS, those contractions are uncoordinated and this leads an accumulation of mucus and toxins in the intestines. For those diagnosed with IBS, there are three different types. The first group are more prone to constipation, others are more prone to diarrhea and about half are prone to alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea.

Diet, food intolerances, stress, unbalanced hormones and disruption of the natural bacteria in the gut are all contributing factors to IBS. Common symptoms of the syndrome include. . .

 

  • Gassiness, bloating and swelling of the stomach
  • Abdominal stomach pain and cramping
  • Change in bowel movements from diarrhea to constipation
  • Urgency to go to the bathroom, incontinence, bladder problems
  • Low energy and feeling sick
  • Feeling of not completely emptying your bowels
  • Mucus in the stool

 

So what can sufferers of IBS do to help bring their system back into balance? The first step in managing digestive health is to work with your doctor on an elimination diet for removing food triggers. Common foods that trigger symptoms are dairy products, red meat, caffeine, sugar and alcohol. A diet that has recently become popular and shown positive results is called the FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. Foods avoided in this diet contain carbohydrates that are incompletely absorbed in the intestines and are easily fermented by gut bacteria. These undigested sugars cause gas, pain and diarrhea. Avoiding inflammatory foods and regulating digestion with fiber and probiotic rich foods is recommended to those with IBS.

re:iimmune is here to assist in your recovery as well. Hydration is essential in maintaining a healthy intestinal tract. The L-glutamine in re:iimmune works to rebuild delicate tissues in the intestinal lining and the various strains of probiotics help to balance the digestive system. Finally ginger root extract soothes nausea and aids in decreasing inflammation. This combination helps those who are battling IBS and other illnesses get better, better!

Eye Health and Nutrition

 

In regards to eye health, you have probably heard “Eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes!” from mom several times throughout childhood. There are several foods that contain vitamins and nutrients essential for eye health. Protect your peepers by consuming more of the following. . .

Brightly colored Fruits and Vegetables – Yes, carrots are on the list of top foods for eye health. So are bell peppers, strawberries, pumpkin, corn and canteloupe and other yellow, orange and red fruit and veggies. Carotenoids are the compounds responsible for this bright coloring and help decrease the risk of many eye diseases. The Vitamin C found in many of these fruits and vegetables also lowers your risk of developing cataracts. Mom was right! Carrots and other foods which contain Vitamin A or retinol help your body to synthesize a pigment in your eyes that operates in low light conditions called rhodopsin. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness.

FishCold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which offer protection against dry eyes, macular degeneration and cataracts. Tuna, Salmon, anchovies and trout have high levels of a type of omega 3 called DHA, a fatty acid esential for the health of the retinas but one that our bodies don’t make efficiently. We need to replenish DHA with food rich in this nutrient.  Low levels of DHA are linked to dry eye syndrome.

Nuts – Pistachios, walnuts, almonds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and also offer healthy doses of vitamin E for eye health. Vitamin E helps protect membranes of cells throughout the body against free radicals, including parts of the eye. Cataracts may be formed due to oxidation in the lens of the eye and Vitamin E offers preventative help.

Leafy Greens – Spinach, kale, collard greens and seaweed are rich in luteins, nicknamed the “eye vitamin” as it is incredibly important for eye health. When we consume foods rich in lutein it is deposited in high quantities in the retina. It helps to fight free radical damage caused by exposure to sunlight, reduces eye fatigue and light sensitivity, protects against the development of cataracts. and halts the growth of cancerous cells. Lutein can also be found in those brightly colored fruits and veggies mentioned above!

Eggs – Another great source of both lutein and Vitamin A to protect against night blindness, dry eyes and general eye health and function.

Legumes – Kidney beans, black-eyed peas and lentils are good sources of zinc which assists the body in absorption of Vitamin A and reduce one’s risk of macular degeneration.