Digestive Health

Whole Foods Spotlight: Barley

Barley is an often overlooked member of the whole grains family. This is a shame because it contains a wealth of nutrients essential to our health. Our skin, bones, muscles, digestive system and more can benefit by adding more of this whole food into our diet and the parts of the plant can be used in many ways.

Barley grass is the seedling of the plant and the young shoots are rich in amino acids, antioxidants and chlorophyll which combats harmful toxins and detoxifies the body. Hulled barley (also known as pot or scotch) is eaten after removing the inedible outer hull. In this form it takes a long time to soak prior to cooking. Pearl barley is hulled and processed, the bran is removed and polished which lessens the cooking time but strips away so much of the nutritional value that it can no longer be considered a whole grain. There are also flakes and flours made from both hulled and pearl varieties.

Osteoporosis Prevention

The phosphorus found in barley promotes good health of bones and teeth. When it comes to calcium, this whole grain has milk beat, containing 11x greater calcium content! It also contains copper which may aid in reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by helping cell regeneration. Copper also supports collagen and elastin production, making bones and joints more flexible.

Immune System Boost

It has nearly twice as much Vitamin C than oranges and helps to reduce the chances of cold and flu. It also contains a good amount of iron, helping to prevent fatigue and anemia, regulates blood volume and aids in kidney function as well.

Healthy Skin

The selenium found in barley helps preserve skin elasticity and prevent loosening. Selenium works with vitamin E in the body to protect and strengthen the cell membranes, the protective coating around cells. It also helps with healing inflammation in the skin.

Intestinal Wellness

Finally, it is a great source of fiber and acts as a fuel source or prebiotic for the beneficial bacteria in our large intestine and the byproduct of it fermenting in our system creates butyric acid, the primary fuel for intestinal cells. The grain helps to protect the colon and helps to prevent the development of gallstones.

 

Barley, Spinach and Mushrooms

Barley Fried Rice with Marinated Shrimp

Slow-cooker Breakfast Barley

Whole Foods Spotlight – Asparagus

 

Springtime is the perfect time to enjoy thin, tender, flavorful stalks of asparagus! This vegetable has long been consumed and valued for its nutritional properties. An Egyptian frieze dating at around 3000 BC pictures asparagus as an offering and it’s name comes from a Persian word meaning stalk or shoot. During Roman times, Emperor Augustus coined the phrase “faster than cooking asparagus” for quick action, as the vegetable is best when lightly and quickly steamed, broiled or sauteed. The thickness of the stem indicates the age of the plant and newer, slender stalks are the most tender. The stalks of older plants can be woody but can be peeled or easily snapped off.

While we typically think of asparagus as green, there are white and purple varieties of the vegetable as well. Purple asparagus grows naturally and has a fruitier flavor that makes the purple variety a great choice for eating raw. White asparagus has no chlorophyll to give it its green color as it’s grown underground or under plastic domes, completely shaded. Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally balanced vegetables. It’s low in calories and sodium, has no cholesterol and is a great source of fiber. It’s also loaded with minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc as well as vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B9 (folate), C, E and K.

The abundance of B vitamins, including folate, helps to maintain healthy levels of homocysteine, produced by the blood when amino acids break down. A deficiency of B vitamins will elevate these homocysteine levels leading to ailments such as damaged blood vessels, venous thrombosis which is the clotting of blood in the veins and other cardiac disorders. Folate is also linked to preventing neural health disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s also crucial for a developing fetus and women who are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant are strongly encouraged to increase their intake of folate.

Asparagus supports kidney health as well. A known diuretic, it helps to flush out excess salt and fluids from the body and helps to prevent toxins from building up in the kidneys and the formation of kidney stones. However, if you have uric acid kidney stones, your physician may tell you to avoid the vegetable to keep your urine from getting too acidic and worsening your condition. If you’ve ever noticed that eating a lot of asparagus causes urine to smell strong, this is because it’s the only food to contain a chemical called asparagusic acid. During digestion, this acid breaks down into compounds which contain sulfur which leads to the strong scent that everyone produces but only a small percentage of people can smell.

In addition, the high fiber content of asparagus and it’s prebiotic nature which acts as a food source for good gut bacteria makes it a fantastic choice for good digestive health. It also helps to support the immune system, provides protection for the thyroid gland and has anti-inflammatory benefits as well. All great reasons to pick up a bundle the next time you are at the farmer’s market or grocery store!

 

Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes

Asparagus Egg and Bacon Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Grilled Sriracha Meatball Skewers with Coconut Rice and Asparagus

re:iimmune and Direct Relief Mobilize to Bring Medical Resources to Peru & Colombia

Direct Relief and re:iimmune Mobilize to Bring Medical Resources to Peru & Colombia 

– 35,000 doses of re:iimmune will be included in family hygiene kits to provide clinical strength hydration and intestinal immune support-

Springfield, MO, May 19, 2017— In the midst of historic flooding and mudslides that have impacted hundreds of thousands of people in Peru, Make People Better, LLC has joined forces with Direct Relief to provide essential medical supplies to those in need.

Over 35,000 doses of re:iimmune, a hydrobiotic recovery formula that provides clinical strength hydration and intestinal support, will be donated to Direct Relief to aid in recovery efforts. The doses are part of $32 million in medical inventories that the nonprofit organization has made available in Peru and Colombia.

“In disaster situations when IVs are scarce, many patients don’t get enough liquids to get better and stay better,” says Make People Better founder Dr. Kerri Miller. “I have seen the devastating impact on families and children firsthand. Even with proper nutrition, they often can’t absorb the nutrients from the food. I created re:iimmune to not only provide clinical strength hydration, but also intestinal support so people can get healthy, and stay healthy.”

Since 2014, Miller has donated over 160,000 doses of re:iimmune to sick patients worldwide in the U.S. and abroad. For every box purchased, Make People Better donates one dose to organizations such as Direct Relief who are working daily to improve the health of under-served populations. “We are grateful to our partnerships with Bartell Drug, Kinney Drug, and Walgreens stores, where direct sales make this type of giving program possible,” says Miller.

According to Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe, “Families are facing severe risks in the wake of these devastating storms. Water sources often become compromised after serious flooding, which can lead to a host of health issues. In addition to dehydration, cholera and other diseases related to poor sanitation pose additional threats to public health. The donation of re:iimmune will be incredibly helpful to promote healing from the inside out.”

About re:iimmune

re:iimmune is the first oral hydrobiotic recovery formula designed to provide clinical strength hydration and intestinal immune support, so patients’ bodies can absorb key nutrients from food and metabolize medications efficiently. re:iimmune delivers amino acid L-glutamine to help repair tissue, a prebiotic to feed the body’s “good” bacteria, zinc, ginger  and a blend of 14 probiotics to help boost immunity, plus ginger root to ease nausea.

About Make People Better

Founded by Dr. Kerri Miller in 2013, Make People Better, LLC is dedicated to addressing the missing components in wellness and bridging the gap in healthcare. The company’s core product, re:iimmune, is a hydrobiotic recovery formula that provides clinical strength hydration and intestinal immune support following illness and hospitalization. Do you know a community that needs help? Want to raise funds to donate more re:iimmune to those in need? Make People Better is looking to align with individuals and organizations who share our same vision of giving back. For more information, contact: https://reiimmune.com/contact/

About Direct Relief

Established in 1948 with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies, Direct Relief delivers lifesaving medical resources throughout the world – without regard to politics, religion, ethnic identities, or ability to pay. With operations spanning more than 80 countries and 50 U.S. states, Direct Relief is the only charitable nonprofit to obtain Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor (VAWD) accreditation by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Among other distinctions, Direct Relief earns a perfect score of 100 from independent evaluator Charity Navigator, has received the CECP Directors’ Award, the Drucker Prize for Nonprofit Innovation, the President’s Award from Esri for excellence in GIS mapping, and been named among the world’s most innovative nonprofits by Fast Company. For more information, please visit https://www.directrelief.org/.

 

 

 

Whole Foods Spotlight: Sweet Peas

How many times did you hear, “Eat your peas!” when you were growing up? That piece of parental wisdom is definitely one to follow because sweet peas are tiny little powerhouses of nutrition. Today we share some reasons why you should put another spoonful of peas on your plate.

Packed with anti-oxidants including flavenoids, carotenoids, phenolic acid and polyphenols, peas provide protection to the immune system and protection against the effects of aging. Pisumsaponins and pisomosides, primarily found in peas, are two anti-inflammatory phytonutrients providing protection against heart disease. Also at work to keep the heart healthy? Generous levels of vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6 and folate which lower homocysteine levels linked to a risk factor for heart disease.

While peas are low in fat, they are jam packed with fiber and only have 100 calories per cup making them a great choice for weight management. They contain a phytonutrient called coumestrol which has been linked to stomach cancer prevention. The high fiber content helps stave off constipation and keep the bowels running smoothly.

For optimum bone health and osteoporosis prevention, getting enough Vitamin K and B is key. Once cup of peas contains over 40% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin K.

Peas are one of the best plants you can have in the garden to maintain healthy soil. The plant works with bacteria in the soil to replenish nitrogen levels. The plant easily breaks down into the soil after a crop has been harvested. They are also able to grow with minimal water, saving that valuable resource as well.

Soon after harvesting, much of their sugar content rapidly converts to starch so it’s best to consume them as soon as possible after they are picked. They can be kept in the refrigerator for two to three days, which helps to keep the sugars from turning to starch. If you are looking to freeze them for later use, blanch them for 1 to 2 minutes prior to putting them in the freezer where they can last from 6 months to a year.

Preventing and Easing Constipation

Constipation, infrequent or difficult to pass bowel movements, can cause abdominal pain and bloating. It’s a pretty common complaint among those eating a low fiber diet. Foods such as eggs, red meat and cheese are low-fiber/high fat and slow down digestion. Balancing out your diet with plenty of high fiber foods help to rev up that sluggish digestive system and is one of the best ways of preventing and treating constipation.

There are other less well-known causes of constipation. Certain medications such as narcotic painkillers, antacids, blood pressure medications and allergy medicines containing antihistamines can be the culprit behind constipation. People suffering from hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland is underactive, are dealing with a slowed metabolic process. This includes the digestive system.

Lack of exercise also plays a major role in constipation. Too much sitting can really slow down the system whereas activity and good muscle development helps to keep digestion running smoothly.

Back to those high fiber foods! The average American only consumes around 13 grams of fiber per day which doesn’t even come close to the recommended amount. Women ages 18 to 50 should be getting 25 grams per day and men in the same age bracket should have 38 grams. After age 50, the numbers go down slightly at 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men. The most fiber filled foods include fruits (pears, berries, apples and oranges), vegetables (carrots, potatoes, squash, broccoli and Brussels sprouts), beans, lentils, split peas, whole grain breads, brown rice, oatmeal, nuts and seeds.

Last but certainly not least is making sure you are fully hydrated. The digestive process slows down considerably when we aren’t taking in enough water and dehydration can lead to constipation. Using re:iimmune helps to optimize your digestive tract as it contains L-Glutamine which draws water over the intestinal wall and aids in absorption. We’ve also included probiotics, friendly bacteria, and a prebiotic food source to encourage healthy bacterial growth. Kick constipation to the curb with proper hydration, a high fiber diet and plenty of exercise!

#TBT – Ylang Ylang – 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 the benefits of ylang ylang essential oil!

Ylang ylang (e-lang e-lang), often called “the poor man’s jasmine”, comes from the sweet smelling, star-shaped flowers of the ylang-ylang tree. Native to Malaysia, Indonesia and other east Asian lowland countries the tree does not produce flowers until five years of growth but then produces up to 45 pounds of flowers for up to fifty years. High quality oil made from the flowers has a sweet and musky aroma and is prized for it’s amazing scent. However, indigenous peoples of the areas where it grows quickly discovered it was effective as a natural treatment for skin irritations such as cuts, burns and insect bites as it inhibits microbial growth and disinfects wounds.

Indonesians scatter the petals over the beds of newlywed couples on their wedding night. A hair pomade, Macassar oil, developed in the Molucca Islands became so popular in Victorian England that it led to the creation of the antimacassar, a decorative chair covering used to keep the oil from staining upholstery. In the 20th century, French chemists discovered that the oil was useful in treating intestinal infections and that the oil had a calming effect on the body, specifically the heart. Eventually, ylang ylang essential oil was used as the top floral note in the now famous Chanel No. 5 perfume.

Ylang ylang oil has also proven beneficial in treating eczema. Caused by malfunctioning sebaceous glands which don’t provide an adequate production of sebum, eczema is a painful skin disorder. Ylang ylang soothes inflammation and assists the skin in regulating sebum production.  It’s also loaded with organic compounds that are beneficial to the hair and scalp. Since it’s known for uplifting mood and promoting relaxation, it’s a terrific addition to massage oil.

If taken in excessive amounts, it can result in nausea and headache so it is important to use ylang ylang oil in recommended doses.

re:iimmune – Get Well Make Well Campaign

Through the Get Well Make Well program, a serving of re:iimmune will be donated for every box purchased to organizations who work daily to improve the health of under-served populations and catastrophe relief. Your purchase of re:immune helps you to “get well” and simultaneously helps “make well” the life of another. To date Get Well Make Well has enabled us to donate over 100,000 servings world-wide through Convoy of Hope.

Every year a half million children under the age of 5 die from dehydration and millions more suffer from poor intestinal health and malnutrition. Lack of clean water sources lead to an increase of diarrheal diseases which cause severe dehydration, leaving the body in a depleted state and requiring more than just plain old H2O to rehydrate efficiently.

Dr. Kerri Miller, the creator and founder of Make People Better spent time volunteering as a medical aid in Nicaragua where she witnessed lethal dehydration up close and inspired her to develop re:iimmune and eventually the Get Well Make Well campaign. She worked with the Nicaraguan government to introduce the World Health Organization’s protocol and implement the use of the oral rehydration solution with zinc for immune support. A prebiotic and probiotic complex promote the growth of beneficial bacteria which help destroy bad bacteria and support the immune system, while L-glutamine assists in tissue repair and ginger reduces nausea. By first restoring hydration and then offering support to the immune system, re:iimmune proved helpful to people facing terrible intestinal diseases such as cholera and dysentery.

Our Get Well Make Well campaign gives you the opportunity to help people a world away. For each box of re:iimmune sold, one potentially lifesaving serving is donated to organizations who work daily to improve the health of underserved populations and disaster relief. If you would like to get involved and use re:iimmune in your global health organization please follow this link to obtain more information.

Potassium and It’s Many Functions in the Human Body

Wanna hear a joke about potassium?

 

K.

 

If this one doesn’t have you laughing, think back to chemistry class and the periodic table of elements. While the symbol for potassium is a “K”, it is not the same as vitamin K. Each are essential micronutrients but potassium is not a vitamin, it’s a mineral that is used for different functions in our bodies than vitamin K. Potassium is vital for good health and today we’ve got some great reasons you should make sure you’re getting enough in your diet and why we included the mineral in re:iimmune!

Image via periodictable.com

While it is classified as a mineral, it’s also an electrolyte. These conduct electrical impulses and are important for a range of essential functions of the body including regulating blood pressure, muscle contractions, digestion and heart rhythm. It’s not produced by the body so we must be sure to include potassium rich foods in our diet such as fruits like kiwi, bananas, apricots and pineapple and vegetables like leafy greens, potatoes and carrots. The mineral can also be found in lean meats, beans, nuts and whole grains.

 

There are negative effects associated with too much potassium (hyperkalemia) including upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, mental confusion and tingling sensations in the extremities. Some drugs can cause levels to rises such as ACE-inhibitors, blood thinning agents like heparin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A severe deficiency in potassium (hypokalemia) is often associated with use of antibiotics such as penicillin, magnesium deficiency, kidney disease and overusing diuretics.

 

Most potassium ions are stored in the muscle cells. Required for the regular contraction and relaxation of muscles, it also helps keep our reflexes sharp as it stimulates the neural connectivity between the muscles and the brain. If your levels are too low, it can cause muscle cramps, spasms and weakness. Studies also show that consuming foods that have high levels promote higher mineral density in bones as it assists the body in retaining and preserving calcium.
It also assists in metabolism, helping to process nutrients like fats and carbohydrates and the synthesis of proteins positively affecting tissue regeneration and cell growth. Lack of the mineral weakens the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract and can lead to abdominal pain, constipation and bloating. This is why the re:iimmune formula includes 11% of the daily value of potassium. Along with a prebiotic and probiotics for promoting healthy intestinal bacteria and L-Glutamine for repairing intestinal tissue, potassium helps to support intestinal health and optimal function!

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!

#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