Healthy Lifestyle

Essential Vitamin List

We all want to feel and look our best, have lots of energy and keep our bodies healthy. Making sure we are getting the right amounts of essential vitamins is key to all of that! Today we’ve put together a list of the essential vitamins your body needs, what they do for your health and great sources to incorporate more into your diet!

A

What doesn’t Vitamin A do? This powerhouse is in charge of general growth and development. It’s crucial for eye health, teeth, skin and helps to boost the immune system and cuts the risk of heart disease.

You know you are getting a dose of A when you are eating foods with an orange hue, caused by the carotene pigment. Carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe are all packed with Vitamin A.

The recommended daily dosage is 2,300 IU. Be advised that it can be toxic in large doses so stick with the recommended amount.

B VITAMINS

The eight B vitamins include B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B12 and Folic acid. These are responsible for energy production, maintaining metabolism, muscle tone, iron absorption, immune function and memory.

These nutrients can be found in whole foods including potatoes, bananas, lentils, peppers, beans, whole grains, yeast and molasses. Recommended daily allowance is as follows. . .

  • B1: 2-10 mg/day
  • B2: 5-10mg/day
  • B3: 15-30mg/day
  • B5: 1-15mgs
  • B6: 6-12mg/day
  • B7 : 100-300 mcgs
  • B12: 12-100 mcg
  • Folic acid: 200-400 mcg/day

C

Known for boosting the immune system, Vitamin C is also hard at work giving skin elasticity, strengthening blood vessels, assisting in iron absorption, helping wounds heal faster and preventing heart disease.

Oranges, guava, bell peppers, kiwi, grapefruit, strawberries, Brussel sprouts and cantaloupe are all great sources for C. A single orange covers your recommended daily dosage, 75 mg.

D

Here’s one of the essential vitamins you may want to strongly consider supplementing. While milk, eggs, orange juice, fish and mushrooms provide Vitamin D, the amounts are not enough. The recommended daily dosage is 1,000 to 2,000 IU.

The best source of Vitamin D is spending time in the sun. However, with rising skin cancer rates we have to balance how much time we spend in the sun without sunscreen with our need for Vitamin D. It’s necessary for strong, healthy bones and optimum muscle function. It’s believed that it can reduce the risk of breast cancer by as much as 50 percent!

E

Many cells of our body use vitamin E to carry out important functions. It gives a boost to the immune system, widen blood vessels, prevents clots and offers protection against free radicals.

Almonds are absolutely packed with Vitamin E and other nuts like peanuts and hazelnuts and sunflower seeds are also good sources. For adults, the recommended daily allowance is 15 mg or 22.4 IU.

K

Blood coagulation, the process by which blood clots is dependent upon K. Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli and brussel sprouts are the best natural sources.

The recommended daily doses differ for men and women at 120 mcg for men and 90 mcg for women. Research is finding that vitamin K has been shown to help improve insulin resistance in older men.  

#TBT – Dandelions – 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 dandelions and their many benefits!

Folks who want perfectly manicured lawns fight against the dandelion but this herbaceous plant has so many benefits to us and our ecosystem, you might think twice about mowing over them or spraying them with chemicals. Dandelions have been around for so long in the Northern Hemisphere that it’s impossible to pinpoint their nonnative status but their use was recorded in Roman times and by Anglo Saxon tribes of Britain and the Normans of France and Arabian and Indian peoples. European settlers found them so useful that they brought them on their long ocean journey across to America.

This perennial flower, botanically related to the sunflower family, which also includes daisies and thistles, grows year round unless in an area that experiences a cold winter in which case they go dormant. They have a thick taproot that can penetrate 10 to 15 feet into the soil and because they spread via seeds that can travel on the wind for hundreds of miles, they spread quickly. The name dandelion is from the French term “dent de lion” which means “tooth of the lion”.  All parts of the plant are edible and dandelions have long been used as a food source, in making wine and for medicinal benefits.

Kidneys and Liver

Dandelions are very diuretic, helping to eliminate toxic substances in the kidneys and urinary tract. In France, they are also called “pissenlit” which translates to “urinate in bed”. So be under advisement! That said, dandelions can be very helpful in eliminating fat from the body as well as eliminating jaundice. Jaundice occurs when the liver begins over-producing bile which will then enter the bloodstream and messes with metabolism. The disorder causes the skin and eyes to develop a yellow tint. How interesting that the sunny colored dandelion is excellent for helping to eliminate jaundice from the body! It regulates bile production and because of its diuretic nature, it aids in eliminating excess bile.

Skin Care

The sap, called dandelion milk, is alkaline and fights against various germs and fungi. It’s traditionally been used in the treatment of ringworm, eczema and acne. The greens of the plant contain over 100% of the daily minimum of vitamin A which also benefits the skin as well as mucus membranes and vision.

Protect Bee Populations

Dandelions are one of the major food sources for bees in the springtime. Because bee populations are in serious decline and we rely on their existence for so many other foods, it’s important to keep this in mind. Show a little love to the bees not only by leaving dandelions alone but also by avoiding the chemicals in sprays that are directly linked to their decline.

 

How to Cook Dandelion Greens

Dandelion Wine

DIY Fine and Dandy Facial Serum

 

Natural Anxiety Buster Suggestions

Anxiety and stress can be detrimental to your health and well being. You may have a head of swirling thoughts, life’s pressures weighing down on you or perhaps battling phobias or bouts of panic. Each natural anxiety buster listed below can be incorporated into your life to help soothe and calm your brain and body.

Anxiety Buster #1 – Simply acknowledge what you are feeling. Just saying to yourself or even out loud, “I’m feeling stressed. I’m feeling anxious.” without any judgement on yourself can lift a bit of the weight of your feelings. After that, seek out a friend to talk to and share your feelings with. Releasing and connecting with another person helps take weight off your shoulders and strengthen the bonds of friendship.

Anxiety Buster #2 – Breathe. Breathe. Then breathe some more. Deep cleansing breaths help to steady your heart rate, relieve tension and release pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain to elevate moods. Deep breathing means breathing into the belly, not just the chest, and doing so stimulates the vagus nerve, part of your parasympathetic nervous system which calms you down.

Anxiety Buster #3 – Hear what Tibetan Buddhist Master, Mingyur Rinpoche has to say about simple meditation and training your “monkey mind.” This simple exercise can bring much relief and help to train your brain away from constant worrying.

 

Anxiety Buster #4 – Rev up your serotonin levels with exercise, time in nature and music that you love! A neurotransmitter, known for improving mood, serotonin affects many areas of the body including the gut. Many people feeling the pressures of stress and anxiety often have accompanying digestion issues, which leads us to our final anxiety buster. . .

Anxiety Buster #5 – Promote good gut health with proper nutrition and making sure your intestinal health is in balance. The re:iimmune formula was created to provide hydration support and through the addition of probiotics and a prebiotic, a food source for good gut bacteria to thrive, to help those battling with digestion issues. The gut and the mind are closely connected and taking care of each, helps the other!

 

Superstars of the Summer Garden

When it comes to gardening, you always have to think ahead. So even though it’s barely spring, today we want to focus on the plants that will be superstars of your summer garden. By putting in the time, research and effort now, you’ll be reaping the rewards of your summer garden with satisfaction! Once again, these are all items that are relatively easy to grow for the newbie or inexperienced gardener. All three require a good amount of direct sunlight and can be started from seed indoors now or you can pick up seedlings from your local nursery when ready to plant in the ground.

Tomatoes – No summer garden is complete without tomatoes and nothing compares to the taste of a homegrown tomato! They will want lots of sunshine, water and nitrogen in the soil. If you notice the plants turning yellow, this means they are lacking nitrogen. Adding a little bone or blood meal around the base of each plant is a quick fix. Just be sure to keep companion planting in mind and keep your tomatoes at a distance from our next suggested plant. . . bell peppers.

Bell Peppers – Bees will cross pollinate peppers and tomatoes, ruining the flavor of tomatoes which is why they should not be planted together. Bell peppers love heat which makes them a superstar of the summer garden. They want sun all day long and do best in well drained soil, spaced about 4-6 inches apart. When they first begin to ripen, they’ll be a lighter shade of their color and are ready to pick when they turn bright and waxy.

Summer Squash – These vining plants either needs ample ground space to run or you’ll need a sturdy trellis. This summer garden group includes both green and yellow zucchini, crookneck and scallop squash, all of which are typically ready to pick 60-70 days after planting. They also produce squash blossoms which are delicious sauteed, stuffed or dipped in batter and fried.

We hope we’ve given you some inspiration to get out and get gardening! Here’s hoping for a great growing season and an ample harvest!

Spring Cleaning For Better Health

A good spring cleaning of the house is on many people’s to-do lists at this time of the year. Clearing out the dirt, dust and clutter can make for a healthier and happier home. Today we have a few areas to keep in mind as you tackle your spring cleaning chores.

Tackle the Dust Collectors

Dust is no friend at a time of year when people may also be dealing with seasonal allergies. Start high with ceiling fans, curtains and upholstery and then move on to furniture and floors.

 

Get Ready to Open Those Windows Wide

Cleaning the dust away from the tops of window sashes and getting rid of the winter dirt and grime from the glass will make those spring views even more enjoyable. Opening the windows to get some fresh air means also making sure that screens are cleaned and in good repair.

 

Renew the Refrigerator

Give the fridge a total overhaul as part of your spring cleaning routine. Throw out expired foods and condiments and get rid of any spills and debris which can breed bacteria and mold. This is also a good time to clean the condenser coil, typically found behind the toe grill. You can usually do this with a long handled bottle brush or vacuum cleaner attachment hose. Getting rid of dust and lint can help prevent the refrigerator to overheat. If coils are attached to the back of the fridge, don’t hurt yourself pulling it out, ask for help to get to the area!

 

Declutter and LET GO

Go through clothes, books, household items and such to see what isn’t working or you don’t need anymore. Purging items that you don’t really love, wear or use can be extremely satisfying. Remember, more stuff means more stuff you have to take care of and it might just be a good time to eliminate that burden.

 

Fire Alarms/Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Do a thorough test of existing units, change batteries and add alarms and detectors where needed. The American Red Cross has some valuable information on the importance of having working alarms and estimates that, “The fire death rate in homes with working smoke alarms is 51% less than the rate for homes without this protection.”

Snow Safety: Part One – Driving Snow and Ice Covered Roads

 

The kids are all singing “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” hoping for days off school and time for snowball fights and sled rides. While it sure is beautiful, most adults find it to be a pain, especially when it comes to driving snow covered streets and roads. At the very least, it can make life inconvenient but at worst it can be downright dangerous. We’ve put together a three part series on staying safe and healthy in the snow. Driving snow covered roads and icy streets can be a challenge, so today we focus on navigating the white stuff!

We are one snowy nation! Around 70% of U.S. roads will see 5 or more inches of snow each year and vehicle accidents result in about 1,300 fatalities per year. Here are some tips to keep you safe as you navigate the ice, slush and snow. . .

  • Bridges, overpasses and rarely travelled roads are the first to freeze. If conditions are wet, these areas can become icy before the temperatures even drop below freezing.
  • Be sure to brake gently when driving snow or ice covered streets and roads. If standard brakes lock, pump gently and if anti-lock brakes do lock up, apply steady pressure (they may begin to pulse and make noise when doing so).
  • Never pass a snowplow. These vehicles have limited visibility and conditions ahead of them are more than likely worse than behind them.
  • Allow enough space between you and the car ahead of you. About 3 car lengths for every 10mph you are travelling.
  • If you begin to slide and it’s your rear tires, take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels then begin sliding in the opposite direction, ease the steering wheel in the same direction as the tires. Repeat gently until the car is under control. If your front tires are sliding, take your foot off the accelerator and put the car in neutral. When traction returns, gently steer the car in the direction you want to go, put the vehicle back in drive and slowly accelerate.
  • If you get stuck, turn your wheels from side to side to push the snow. If needed, get out and try to shovel some snow away from the tires and undercarriage. Go easy with gentle acceleration to avoid spinning your tires.

#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.

Healthier Homemade Baby Food

Parents concerned with the cost and quality of jarred foods for beginning eaters may be considering homemade baby food instead. It really is a great way of saving money, providing quality nutrition and getting that little one on the path to a healthy relationship with food. Making homemade baby food gives you the ability to experiment with different textures for your baby and use a greater variety of ingredients than what can be found in commercial baby food.

Most pediatricians recommend starting kids on solid foods between the ages of 4 to 6 months. Prior to 4 months, nitrates in foods can be toxic to the infant as their digestive system cannot handle them. After four months, it’s best to start with single ingredients and to space new foods about 4 days apart to see how baby reacts to the food. These first foods are highly pureed and strained foods that are lowest on the allergy scale and are more easily digested by those little bellies. Rice and other grain cereals, sweet potatoes, avocados, bananas and carrots are among good choices for the first foods.  

Many of these first foods can just be smashed up with a fork such as avocado, banana, cantaloupe and pear. Simple purees from foods that must first be cooked, can be made using a food processor, blender or immersion blender. It’s very difficult to finely puree some vegetables such as peas and green beans and so some parents choose to wait on introducing those later when baby has reached the age of enjoying some texture and can eat them as finger foods.

Another great reason to make homemade baby food is the ability to incorporate herbs and spices to introduce new flavors and build baby’s taste buds. Most pediatricians will recommend waiting until 8 months to incorporate spices and herbs but this has more to do with preventing digestive upset than a concern over allergic reactions. Many cultures begin using spices and herbs in homemade baby food from the very start. As with any new food, just be sure to wait about 4 days before introducing something new. It is never recommended that one add sugar or salt to homemade baby food but several spices and herbs to try include: anise, basil, cinnamon, curry powder, dill, ginger, garlic, mint, nutmeg, oregano, pepper, rosemary and vanilla.

There are so many ideas out there for simple recipes for baby that we’re sure you’ll have no problem finding a wealth of suggestions on the internet. The idea is to give baby a healthy start when it comes to a relationship with food, so we recommend not getting too upset or worried if your child doesn’t take to certain foods right away or at all. Remember that taste buds change throughout the years and it can take several tries of a food before a child decides they like it. It’s best not to force foods on children or make a big deal about being a “picky eater” which can set up an unhealthy relationship with food. There are a wealth of healthy options in the food world and as they grow they are certain to find some nutritious delights that they love. Bon appetit, babies!

Nutritional Deficiencies – Signs in Your Body, Part One

 

We’re all aware that nutritional deficiencies can impact the complex machine that is the human body. Lack of certain nutrients and vitamins manifest in various weaknesses, illnesses and problems. However, the body also gives us signals when something is not right. By paying attention to what the body is telling us can make spotting nutritional deficiencies and, while less common, the over consumption of certain nutrients, and then rectifying those problems much easier!

Here are some common issues of the nails and skin that signal that nutritional deficiencies of one sort or another might be plaguing you. Check back with us next week for more signals that our bodies give when something isn’t quite right!

 

Nails

White spots: These are typically nothing to worry about, sometimes the result of trauma to the nail. If excessive, it could be an indicator of low zinc.

Ridged nails: This can also indicate a lack of zinc.

Weak or brittle nails: Lifestyle factors such as having your hands in water often or living in an environment with low humidity may be the culprit. With those factors taken into consideration, Weak and brittle nails could also be a signal of too little magnesium, vitamins A or C and the B vitamin biotin.

Spoon nails: If nails curve upward at the edges like a spoon it may be a sign of iron-deficiency anemia or excess iron absorption called hemochromatosis.

Dark discolorations: These are not a signal of a nutritional deficiency but warrant an immediate visit to the doctor as they can be caused by a form of melanoma, a deadly skin cancer.

 

Skin

Face: The face is a great indicator of vitamin B deficiencies.  If you are plagued with greasy, red, scaly skin on the face (typically on the sides of the nose) this can be a signal of too little vitamin B2. Acne that appears like a rash on the forehead and sides of nose can indicate a vitamin B6 deficiency. If you notice that your skin seems paler than usual it can be a symptom of B12 deficiency. Take a look at your tongue as well, which should appear somewhat bumpy. If it’s completely smooth, this is another signal that you are lacking in B12.

Stretch Marks: It’s a popular misconception that these are hereditary. However it is a lack of zinc which impacts collagen formation in the body that could be the culprit. If you are prone to stretch marks, these slight tearings of the skin may be due to a zinc/collagen deficiency.

Yellow Palms: This is not caused by nutritional deficiencies, rather the opposite. Yellow palms are a signal that you are consuming too much beta carotene, found in foods with the same coloring such as carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, etc.

“Chicken Skin”: Typically found on the backs of the arms, pimply rough skin signals that you are lacking essential fatty acids or vitamin A.

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!