Nutrition

2016 Health and Wellness Books

Did you receive a gift card this holiday season to the local bookstore? Today we offer up a few of the health and wellness books that came out in 2016 that you might want to check out! All descriptions are via each publisher’s website. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2017 and more great books to read!

 

Essential Oils Every Day: Rituals and Remedies for Healing, Happiness, and Beauty

Hope Gillerman – Harper Collins Books

“From Hope Gillerman, founder of the aromatherapy line H. Gillerman Organics, an indispensable guide to the fundamentals of one of our most ancient and aromatic healing tools, essential oils—nature’s most concentrated plant medicines.

Fragrant and wonderfully sensual, one hundred times more concentrated than dried herbs, essential oils are the ultimate in luxurious natural self-care. Pairing pleasure with potent healing, essential oils have been a therapeutic treatment of choice for thousands of years, from ancient Egyptian rituals to Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic treatments, and Aromatherapy. But while essential oils are accessible, versatile, and beautiful, few of us know how simple it is to harness their power.

Enter Hope Gillerman, founder of H. Gillerman Organics, a line of essential oil remedies beloved by celebrities, the fashion elite, and leaders of holistic healing. With passion and unparalleled expertise, Hope takes readers on a lively tour through the science and history of essential oils. Carefully culling the hundreds of oils out there to introduce readers to the forty truly must-have oils for home use, from lavender to jasmine and eucalyptus, she provides clear, quick, and easy-to-follow techniques for integrating them into daily life—as simple as breathing.

From topical applications for aromatic healing to crafting homemade blends, Essential Oils Every Day is a practical, beautiful guide to all the ways the power of essential oils will transform your everyday: better breathing; improved relaxation and focus; sounder sleep; healthier travel; natural beauty; and spiritual uplift.”

Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health

Drew Ramsey, M.D. – Harper Collins

“Named one of the top health and wellness books for 2016 by Well + Good and MindBodyGreen

From leading psychiatrist and author of Fifty Shades of Kale comes a collection of 100 simple, delicious, and affordable recipes to help you get the core nutrients your brain and body need to stay happy and healthy.

What does food have to do with brain health? Everything.

Your brain burns more of the food you eat than any other organ. It determines if you gain or lose weight, if you’re feeling energetic or fatigued, if you’re upbeat or depressed. In this essential guide and cookbook, Drew Ramsey, MD, explores the role the human brain plays in every part of your life, including mood, health, focus, memory, and appetite, and reveals what foods you need to eat to keep your brain—and by extension your body—properly fueled.

Drawing upon cutting-edge scientific research, Dr. Ramsey identifies the twenty-one nutrients most important to brain health and overall well-being—the very nutrients that are often lacking in most people’s diets. Without these nutrients, he emphasizes, our brains and bodies don’t run the way they should.

Eat Complete includes 100 appetizing, easy, gluten-free recipes engineered for optimal nourishment. It also teaches readers how to use food to correct the nutrient deficiencies causing brain drain and poor health for millions. For example:

  • Start the day with an Orange Pecan Waffle or a Turmeric Raspberry Almond Smoothie, and the Vitamin E found in the nuts will work to protect vulnerable brain fat (plus the fiber keeps you satisfied until lunch).
  • Enjoy Garlic Butter Shrimp over Zucchini Noodles and Mussels with Garlicky Kale Ribbons and Artichokes, and the zinc and magnesium from the seafood will help stimulate the growth of new brain cells.
  • Want to slow down your brain’s aging process? Indulge with a cup of Turmeric Cinnamon Hot Chocolate, and the flavanols found in chocolate both increase blood flow to the brain and help fight age-related memory decline.

Featuring fifty stunning, full-color photographs, Eat Complete helps you pinpoint the nutrients missing from your diet and gives you tasty recipes to transform your health—and ultimately your life.”

 

The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time

Arianna Huffington, Penguin/Random House

“We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis, writes Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post. And this has profound consequences – on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. What is needed, she boldly asserts, is nothing short of a sleep revolution.  Only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.

In her bestseller Thrive, Arianna wrote about our need to redefine success through well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. Her discussion of the importance of sleep as a gateway to this more fulfilling way of living struck such a powerful chord that she realized the mystery and transformative power of sleep called for a fuller investigation.

The result is a sweeping, scientifically rigorous, and deeply personal exploration of sleep from all angles, from the history of sleep, to the role of dreams in our lives, to the consequences of sleep deprivation, and the new golden age of sleep science that is revealing the vital role sleep plays in our every waking moment and every aspect of our health – from weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease to cancer and Alzheimer’s.  

In The Sleep Revolution, Arianna shows how our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted compromises our health and our decision-making and undermines our work lives, our personal lives – and even our sex lives. She explores all the latest science on what exactly is going on while we sleep and dream.  She takes on the dangerous sleeping pill industry, and all the ways our addiction to technology disrupts our sleep. She also offers a range of recommendations and tips from leading scientists on how we can get better and more restorative sleep, and harness its incredible power.

In today’s fast-paced, always-connected, perpetually-harried and sleep-deprived world, our need for a good night’s sleep is more important – and elusive — than ever. The Sleep Revolution both sounds the alarm on our worldwide sleep crisis and provides a detailed road map to the great sleep awakening that can help transform our lives, our communities, and our world.”

 

Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure it

Dr. Josh Axe – Harper Collins

Doctor of Natural Medicine and wellness authority Dr. Josh Axe delivers a groundbreaking, indispensable guide for understanding, diagnosing, and treating one of the most discussed yet little-understood health conditions: leaky gut syndrome.

Do you have a leaky gut? For 80% of the population the answer is “yes”—and most people don’t even realize it. Leaky gut syndrome is the root cause of a litany of ailments, including: chronic inflammation, allergies, autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, diabetes, and even arthritis.

To keep us in good health, our gut relies on maintaining a symbiotic relationship with trillions of microorganisms that live in our digestive tract. When our digestive system is out of whack, serious health problems can manifest and our intestinal walls can develop microscopic holes, allowing undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins to seep into the bloodstream. This condition is known as leaky gut syndrome.

In Eat Dirt, Dr. Josh Axe explains that what we regard as modern “improvements” to our food supply—including refrigeration, sanitation, and modified grains—have damaged our intestinal health. In fact, the same organisms in soil that allow plants and animals to flourish are the ones we need for gut health. In Eat Dirt, Dr. Axe explains that it’s essential to get a little “dirty” in our daily lives in order to support our gut bacteria and prevent leaky gut syndrome. Dr. Axe offers simple ways to get these needed microbes, from incorporating local honey and bee pollen into your diet to forgoing hand sanitizers and even ingesting a little probiotic-rich soil.

Because leaky gut manifests differently in every individual, Dr. Axe also identifies the five main “gut types” and offers customizable plans—including diet, supplement, and lifestyle recommendations—to dramatically improve gut health in just thirty days. With a simple diet plan, recipes, and practical advice, Eat Dirt will help readers restore gut health and eliminate leaky gut for good.

Whole Foods Spotlight: Black Eyed Peas

“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! This week we focus on the protein/potassium powerhouse.  . . black eyed peas!

If you are from the southern United States, chances are you’ll have your black eyed peas on New Year’s for good luck. If you don’t know about this tradition, check out this article on americanfood.about.com . Today we want to share some of the amazing health benefits packed in this powerful little pea, which is actually a bean.

Black eyed peas are used in cuisines throughout the world. In the southern region of the United States, “Hoppin’ John” is perhaps the traditional dish folks would have on New Year’s to ensure their luck. In Portugal, black eyed peas accompany cod and potatoes. Egyptians call them “lobia” and use them in very popular rice dish cooked with garlic, onions, tomato juice and meat.  Meanwhile, in Vietnam they are used in a sweet sticky rice and coconut milk dessert called chè đậu trắng and in India they are used in many ways, including a curry made with black eyed peas and potatoes. A popular traditional street food of Brazil is called akara, which originates from Nigeria. The black eyed peas are peeled, mashed and then the paste is used to form balls which are then deep fried. They are usually served split in half and stuffed with Vatapá (a dish made of bread, shrimp, coconut milk, finely ground peanuts and palm oil mashed into a creamy paste) and a condiment called caruru which is made from okra, onion, shrimp, palm oil and peanuts or cashews. Akara is topped with diced green and red tomatoes, fried sun-dried shrimp and homemade hot sauce. There are so many delicious ways to use this simple little bean!

Not only are black eyed peas delicious, they are highly nutritious. They are packed with potassium and protein. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure which lowers your risk of heart disease and it supports muscle and bone health too. Getting cramps in your legs or feet? Foods rich in potassium are the first things to reach for. As for protein, they are a smart alternative for those who don’t eat meat. Protein supports the health of most of the parts of your body including muscles, skin, hair and nails and it also helps your cells repair and grow while providing you with energy.  Dried black-eyed peas contain 6.7 g of protein per ½ cup and the same size serving of canned black eyed peas contain 5.7 g.  Be sure to rinse canned beans of any kind to reduce sodium and to help prevent problems with flatulence. They are a great high fiber, low calorie food to rely on if you are trying to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

We already provided a couple of links to some seriously great black eyed pea recipes above but here are a few more very simple ways to incorporate more of this whole food into your diet. . .

Black Eyed Peas and Dill Potato Skillet

Hot Black Eyed Pea Dip

Black Eyed Pea Salad

Whole Foods Spotlight – Brussel Sprouts

“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! This week we’ll remind you why you need to add more Brussel sprouts into your diet!

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Oh poor brussel sprouts! Hatred for them amongst most children is even worse than broccoli. However, as our taste buds develop and change many people come to more enjoy the taste of cruciferous vegetables. This is great for one’s health as this family of vegetables offer some excellent nutrition and protection against a host of issues.

As with other cabbage species, brussel sprouts are native to the Mediterranean region and first appeared in northern Europe during the fifth century. Later, in the thirteenth century, brussel sprouts began being cultivated near the city of Brussels in Belgium, where they derived their name.

Brussel sprouts are loaded with important phytonutrients for our health called glucosinolates which are chemical starting points for a range of cancer-protective substance. Specifically four of these glucosinolates found in brussel sprouts (glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin and gluconasturtiin) seem to provide a unique and important combination when it comes to cancer prevention. This along with the fact that their total glucosinolate content tops the charts among that found in mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, cauliflower or broccoli makes the brussel sprout a smart choice to add into one’s diet.

This vegetable is also high in fiber and acts an excellent weapon against constipation. A serving of six contains about 3g of fiber and supports the formation of soft stool, enabling a more comfortable bowel movement. In addition, brussel sprouts are loaded with folic acid, a b vitamin that keeps our blood healthy and prevents anemia. We cannot store folic acid in our bodies and that means we need daily intake. Just one brussel sprout provides enough folic acid for a whole day!

A study conducted by Heinz in 2008 concluded that brussel sprouts are the most hated vegetable in America and a similar poll in Great Britain revealed the same. We hope that knowing some of their powerful medicinal qualities and a few recipes to make them tastier will help encourage you to give them a try!

P.S. The very best way to unleash their powerful nutrients is through steaming. Ironically, it’s this cooking method that is one of the very reasons why people don’t seem to like them. If you want to get all the benefits through steamed brussel sprouts just be sure not to overdo it to the point where they get mushy. For those of you who just can’t handle that steamed taste, never fear, we’ve got links below that just might help you grow a little love for the brussel sprout!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Balsamic Reduction

Crispy Thai Brussels Sprouts

Beef and Brussels Sprouts Stew

Whole Foods Spotlight: Collard Greens

 

 

“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! Bone health booster, collard greens is our focus this week!

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Collard greens are a cruciferous vegetable belonging to the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and kale. This family of veggies is known for their cholesterol-lowering abilities and collard greens are the king of the family when it comes to it’s impressive means of binding to bile acids (which are made of cholesterol) in the digestive tract, making it easier for them to be excreted from the body. They are much more effective at this when cooked than when ingested raw.

Collard greens are also a rich source of vitamin K, beneficial for bone health as it helps improve calcium absorption. Which is great because collard greens are also loaded with calcium! Two cups contain over 450 mg of calcium, which is almost 90% of daily recommended intake. They are also high in folate which is one of the B vitamins necessary for red and white blood cell formation in bone marrow. It also assists in converting carbohydrates into energy and producing DNA, so it’s doubly important to increase folate intake during pregnancy, infancy and adolescence, all periods of rapid growth. In addition, collard greens are loaded with choline which assists in good restful sleep, muscle movement and memory. Collard greens also contain thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and potassium.

When purchasing collard greens, you want to look for firm, unwilted, vivid green leaves. Smaller leaves mean tenderness and milder flavor. Be sure to store them in the refrigerator to prevent wilting and bitterness and to minimize loss of nutrients. Collard greens are also relatively easy to grow. Planted in spring and fall, gardeners typically prefer fall plantings as the frost brings out sweetness in the leaves. They need fertile, well drained soil and at least 4 to 5 hours of full sun to bring out their flavor.

Black Eyed Pea Soup with Collard Greens and Sausage

Sweet Potato and Collard Green Frittata

Chicken and Collards Pilau

The Importance of Getting More Good Fats Into Your Diet

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Good fats? Is that an oxymoron? Nope! There are excellent reasons to include fat, at least the right kinds of fat, into your diet. As a culture, we’ve been bombarded over the past few decades with every kind of low-fat, decreased fat, no fat food option the manufacturers of mostly processed foods could come up with. However, at the same time “low-fat” has been all the craze, obesity rates have skyrocketed. A healthy diet should include daily intake of good fats and avoidance of bad fats.

Of the bad fats, the baddest of the bad is trans fat. Trans fats are healthy oils that have been turned into solids to prevent them from becoming rancid through a process called hydrogenation. On a food label, you’d typically see it listed as “partially hydrogenated oil” and it is wise to steer clear. These types of fats increase levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream leading to heart disease, are a major cause of inflammation and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Saturated fats fall on the in-between scale of “avoid at all cost” bad fat and “get more of this into your diet” good fats. This type of fat is found in red meat, whole milk, cheese and coconut oil. These types of fats can drive up total cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation.

As for good fats, there’s monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, peanut oil, avocados, olives and most nuts. During the 1960’s a study called the Seven Countries Study showed that the people of the Mediterranean region had lower rates of heart disease despite the fact that their diets were rich in fat. However, they weren’t using saturated animal fats to cook with as was common in countries with high rates of heart disease.

Polyunsaturated fats are called “essential fats” because they are required for normal body function such as building cell membranes, blood clotting muscle movement and fighting off inflammation. However they aren’t produced within the body and so it is essential that we get them from food. Doing so, lowers triglycerides and even reduces levels of LDL cholesterol. Good sources include fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, as well as flaxseeds, sesame seeds and walnuts.

Adding more good fats into your diet also helps you feel fuller longer, balance your mood, fight fatigue, sharpen your memory and decrease joint pain and stiffness!

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

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

#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 throughout the cooler months and for some, 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 the colder, drier months 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 back next week for a 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 exfoliants 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!

Whole Food Spotlight – Cranberries

“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! This week we’re looking forward to the holidays ahead and cranberries on our table!

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Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines common to Canada and the northern United States thanks to the receding glaciers of the Ice Age which carved out bogs perfect for their growth. Native Americans of the region used cranberries as wound medicine, as a dye and of course as a source of food, including pemmican. Algonquin peoples called the red berries Sassamanash and it’s thought they may have introduced the starving English settlers of Massachusetts to the berry. Sometimes called “bearberries” as bears feast on them regularly, it was the early English and European settlers who began calling them “craneberries” as they thought the expanding flower, stem, calyx and petals of the plant looked like the neck, head and bill of a crane. The word then morphed into cranberry.

Cranberries most widely believed benefit is in the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections. However, don’t reach for the juice as studies are showing that cranberry capsules may be more effective. That beautiful ruby red color of the cranberry comes from anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are a class of naturally occurring pigments in plants responsible for rich reds and purples in berries, eggplant, blood oranges and cranberries. A number of studies suggest that anthocyanins help improve sharpness of vision, reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration and that they may also be beneficial in fighting cancer, diabetes and some neurological diseases. Interestingly enough, it is the way cranberries are harvested that gives them such great concentrations of anthocyanins. According to “The World’s Healthiest Foods”,

Many cranberries are water-harvested. Water-harvesting means that the cranberries are grown in bogs and floated in water to allow for easy harvesting. For many years, water-harvesting of cranberries has been looked upon as an industry convenience. It’s simply easier to harvest berries that are floating on the surface. However, recent research has shown that the anthocyanin content of cranberries (the phytonutrients that give the berries their amazing red color) is increased in direct proportion to the amount of natural sunlight striking the berry. If berries floating on top of water get exposed to increased amounts of natural sunlight (in comparison to other growing and harvesting conditions), they are likely to develop greater concentrations of anthocyanins. These greater concentrations of anthocyanins are likely to provide us with stronger health benefits. In other words, water-harvesting may turn out to provide more than just harvest convenience. If it can expose cranberries to greater amounts of natural sunlight, it can increase phytonutrient health benefits that involve the unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of anthocyanins.

Unfortunately, fresh cranberries are a fruit with a short season. They are harvested between Labor Day and Halloween, appearing at the market from October through December. Fortunately, cranberries freeze well and can be kept for several years. To freeze them, spread them out on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Wait a couple of hours and then transfer the frozen berries to a freezer bag. They will be soft once thawed and should be used immediately. To select quality cranberries, look for ones that are deep red in color, plump and firm to the touch.

Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

Holiday Cranberry Sauce