Tag - nutrition

#TBT – Plantain – 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 discuss plantain, a “weed” that has many benefits!

 

You’ve probably seen plantain (the plant variety, not the fruit related to the banana) growing in your backyard and dismissed it as a weed. However, this plant has been used for thousands of years by native peoples as a source of nutrition and healing. Plantago major or common plantain can grow almost anywhere, sprouting up even through cracks in asphalt and concrete and it can thrive in nearly any climate.

Related to spinach, plantain leaves provide iron, beta carotene, calcium, ascorbic acid and contains vitamins A, C and K. It can be added raw to salads but adult leaves tend to be stringy. It can be cooked just like spinach and the seedpods are edible as well, a bit like asparagus. Plantain is a little more bitter than spinach or asparagus and are great to use in stews or soups and stir-fries. They also have gentle astringent properties which help to dry up excess secretions in the respiratory and digestive tracts and can be helpful in treating chest colds and diarrhea.

Plantain is also commonly used as a natural poultice to draw out toxins and stingers from bug bites and stings and to alleviate other irritations. Crushed and added right to the problem area like a paste, it’s anti-inflammatory properties make it useful on wounds, burns and even removing splinters. Even if you don’t plan on harvesting the plant for use from your own backyard, it’s good to keep this information in your mind when camping or hiking in the woods!  Plantain can also help to cool and heal sunburns and because it contains a phytochemical called allantoin it generally promotes healthy skin by stimulating new cells and healthy tissue.

While you may be able to find plantain in your own backyard, if it’s been sprayed with chemicals and fertilizer you may want to find it from a different source. It is invasive so if you are thinking about planting some in your yard, be forewarned. Also keep in mind that while young shoots are more tender, the larger leaves contain more of the beneficial phytochemicals.

Surgery Recovery and re:iimmune

If you or a loved one are facing an operation, you will want to put as much thought into surgery recovery as the procedure itself. The healing process can be a frustrating one but planning ahead can make the surgery recovery time less daunting and help support healing. Today we have some tips for you as you begin the healing process. . .

Follow the Doctor’s Orders

Listen carefully to what your doctor instructs you to do post-surgery. Sometimes patients follow only the instructions that make sense to them personally and ignore the ones they don’t care for, think silly or decide don’t apply to their case. There are usually very good reasons for the surgery recovery directions your physician gives. You may hear things like “no lifting anything over ten pounds” or “showers no baths” and blow it off but these types of things can really impede healing and if your doctor says to avoid them, then listen and follow that advice.

Get Up and Walk

Unless your doctor has given you strict instruction not to do so, walking can be one of the most beneficial things you can do in surgery recovery. Short walks can help prevent constipation, one of the side effects of anesthesia, and prevent complications like pneumonia and deep vein thrombosis. Short walks every couple of hours are recommended and if you can get out into a little sunshine, that helps the healing process as well.

Incision Care

Obviously you want clean hands before inspecting and touching your incision. Don’t scrub or remove scabs from the area or use alcohol or peroxide on the incision unless your doctor specifically directs you to do so. Scabbing can be annoying and itchy but picking them off can cause the site to heal more slowly.

Food as Medicine

During surgery recovery many patients suffer from nausea, lack of appetite and constipation. However it is vital to think of food as medicine. Certain foods help support recovery and aid with fatigue. Protein found in foods like eggs, meat and beans is at the top of the list as it helps with wound healing. Foods with B12, iron, fiber and vitamin C are beneficial during the healing process. It’s important to discuss supplements with your doctor to be sure of what you should and shouldn’t be taking with whatever medications you are on. One supplement that many find beneficial during surgery recovery is bromelain (pineapple extract). It’s aids in digestion and has strong anti-inflammatory effects to help reduce swelling and bruising. Once again, consult with your physician first.
Hydration for Healing

Dehydration is a serious risk that can get in the way of recovery. Staying hydrated helps to reduce the chance of stroke, deep vein thrombosis and urinary tract infections and is one of the most important things you can do to support healing in the body. Poor hydration and a stressed immune system can slow your body’s natural ability to heal. We understand that healing starts from the inside out and re:iimmune was specifically designed to aid in the healing process, providing isotonic clinical strength hydration with balancing electrolytes. L-Glutamine pulls water across the intestinal wall, assists the cells in absorbing water and aids in tissue repair. The probiotics found in re:iimmune were included to give the digestive system support in strengthening beneficial bacteria. 75% of our body’s immune system is located in the digestive tract. With probiotics and a prebiotic food source you can help fight against the side effects of antibiotics that kill off healthy gut flora, inflammation, bacterial infection and constipation. All of which helps you on the road to recovery!

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!

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

#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

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.

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 – 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!

SAGE.TIF

“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