Pecans are by far my favorite nut. I love them for their sweet buttery flavor and health benefits.
Health Benefits of Pecans:
1. Heart Healthy
Pecans contain monounsaturated fats along with antioxidants which help reduce the risk of heart disease. Adding pecans to your diet can help decrease your LDL, ‘bad cholesterol’ and increase HDL ‘good cholesterol’. Keeping your cholesterol in a healthy range can prevent stroke and coronary artery disease.
2. Improves Digestion
Pecans are full of fiber which helps to support your gut health. Fiber aids in regular bowel movements which are so important to help prevent toxins from building up in your body.
3. Helps with Weight Loss
Eating nuts provides a feeling of fullness and pecans are a very rich source of B vitamins which help to increase the rate of metabolism.
4. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Pecans are rich in magnesium which is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Increased magnesium intake reduces inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the root cause of almost all disease.
6. Boosts Immunity
Pecans are a rich source of manganese which is a powerful antioxidant. This trace mineral protects your nerve cells from free-radical damage, thus boosting immune function.
7. Skin Benefits
Pecan nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E, vitamin A, zinc, folate and phosphorus which play roles in maintaining a healthy complexion.
The antioxidants in pecans, ellagic acid, vitamin A and vitamin E, fight and eliminate free radicals. These free radicals are responsible for causing damage throughout the body, including skin damage.
Pecans are my go to snack. Sometimes I pair them with apple slices sprinkled with a little Ceylon cinnamon but my favorite snack is simply pecans and blueberries.
Add pecans to your diet and notice the enjoyment and benefits they can bring.
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The VITAMIN C, plentiful in raw fruits and vegetables, benefits the body in many ways. It aids in wound healing, bone and tooth formation, strengthens blood vessel walls, improves immune system function, increases absorption and utilization of iron and acts as an antioxidant.
Since our bodies cannot produce or store vitamin C, it is very important to have an adequate daily intake.
It is beneficial to have a daily intake of at least 2000mg/day. Supplementation is typically necessary to achieve this amount.
2. EAT MORE HEALTHY FATS
Healthy fats, like those found in coconut oil, avocado oil, nuts, seeds and avocados are anti-inflammatory and may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens. Since chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system, these fats may naturally combat illnesses.
Low-level, acute inflammation is a normal response to stress or injury, chronic inflammation is damaging to your body and can suppress your immune system.
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those in sustainably caught, wild salmon and chia seeds, help fight inflammation as well.
3. EAT LESS SUGAR: ELIMINATE ADDED SUGARS
Limiting sugar is an important part of an immune-boosting diet.
Added processed sugar, high fructose corn syrup and refined carbs may contribute disproportionately to excess weight and obesity.
Obesity increases risk for chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Chronic health conditions can weaken your immune system and may increase your risk of getting sick.
Curbing your sugar intake can decrease inflammation and aid weight loss, thus reducing your risk of chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease and keeping your immune system strong.
Sugar intake should be limited to less than 5% of your daily calories. This is about 2 tablespoons (25 grams) of sugar for a 2,000 calorie diet. This sugar is best when it is coming from whole food sources that contain fiber which helps the body to process the sugar more efficiently.
Hydration doesn’t directly protect you from germs and viruses, but preventing dehydration is important to your overall health.
Dehydration can make you more susceptible to illness.
Dehydration can cause headaches and hinder your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and heart and kidney function. These issues can increase your susceptibility to illness.
Be sure you’re drinking plenty of purified water each day.
A reasonable goal is to aim to consume half of your body weight in ounces. (Example: if you weigh 180 pounds, you would aim to consume 90 ounces of fluids per day, with a good portion of that coming from purified water).
5. MICROBIOME SUPPORT: ADD PROBIOTICS
Gut health and immunity are inseparable.
Probiotics from supplements or from fermented foods may support your immune system by crowding out harmful pathogens and introducing helpful organisms to your gastrointestinal tract.
Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and natto, are rich in these beneficial bacteria called probiotics.
People with Candida Overgrowth may not be able to tolerate these fermented foods because they may encourage the Candida Overgrowth.
In his book, The Biology of Belief, Dr. Lipton explains that stress is responsible for up to 90% of illness, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
When an individual is in stress, the release of stress hormones shuts down the immune system to conserve the body’s energy for running away from the perceived stressor – the evolutionary ‘fight or flight response’.
Fear breeds stress and the fear of the coronavirus is more deadly than the virus itself!
Advice from Dr. Lipton: “If you are someone with a compromised immune system, it is supportive to surround yourself with loving family and friends, nature, and positive thoughts as well as any other nutrition and vitamins that you may already be taking for your health and wellbeing. Following your intuition about what is best for you is key! The point here is that no matter who you are and what your state of health, you will only benefit from steering clear of the fear and supporting yourself in whatever way feels best to you.”
8. SLEEP: GET ENOUGH & HIGH QUALITY
Sleep and immunity are closely tied.
Inadequate sleep may increase your risk of getting sick.
Getting adequate rest may strengthen your natural immunity.
Most adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Teens and Children need more. Teens may need 8–10 hours and younger children and infants up to 14 hours.
When you are sick, listen to your body and rest! You may need more sleep to allow your immune system to fight the illness.
Blue light emitted from your phone, TV, and computer may disrupt your body’s natural wake-sleep cycle.
Limit screen time for at least an hour before bed, reading a book is a much better sleep inducer.
Consider getting blue blocker glasses or adding this feature on your next pair of glasses.
Adjust the lighting on your devices to emit less blue light and more red light. This is a built in feature, in the settings, on many devices.
Practice good sleep hygiene: Go to bed at the same time every night, Sleep in a completely dark room or use a sleep mask, and avoid screen time within one hour of going to bed.
9. STRESS MANAGEMENT
Lowering your stress levels is extremely important to support your immune system.
Long-term stress can suppress the immune response and cause inflammation.
Take an honest look at our everyday routine and notice where and when stress is most intense.
Sometimes just the simple act of respectfully saying “no” can go a long way to reducing stress.
Deep breathing is a quick and effective method to reduce stress and you can do this anywhere. Just take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of 7, Hold it for a count of 7, Breathe out slowly for a count of 7, Hold again for a count of 7, and Repeat as many times as necessary.
Exercise like walking in nature and yoga are stress reducing.
Meditation and Journaling can be helpful mindfulness practices that help manage stress.
Laughing by yourself or with a friend is so therapeutic. Watch a funny movie.
Listen to some calming music and put some essential oils in a diffuser, or just on a cotton ball. Both the music and the aromatherapy can be calming.
Decrease Caffeine Intake. Caffeine can be a huge contributor to adrenal stress. Everyday stress can be damaging to your adrenal glands as well. Even though that cup of coffee may seem necessary to get you through your day, it may be contributing to the overall stress on your body.
10. SUPPLEMENT SMARTLY
If you decide to supplement, make sure to purchase products that are high quality, non-GMO and have been tested by a third party like United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, and ConsumerLab.
Vitamin C is a powerful Antioxidant. Antioxidants bind free radicals and help your body fight inflammation which is essential for immunity and general health.
Vitamin C Boosts the immune system, reduces severity of allergic reactions and helps your body fight off infections.
Vitamin C is water-soluble and is better absorbed when taken throughout the day rather than all at once.
If you take more Vitamin C than your body needs, the excess will cause mild diarrhea. This is a simple way to know if you are taking too much.
Start by taking 1000mg twice daily, if tolerated, increase by 1000mg daily until you are taking 1000mg every 4 hours (5000mg while awake). This is generally enough when you are feeling well and can be increased when feeling ill by adding another 1000mg to each dose, one day at a time, as tolerated.
Lipophilic Vitamin C is better absorbed but also more expensive.
This is great to add at the first sign of any illness (stuffy nose, scratchy throat, headache, fever, etc.). Add one or two packets of LivOn Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C 1000mg to about 2 ounces of water, stir and drink.
Capsules are convenient and typically have less ‘junk’ ingredients than tablets.
One way to incorporate Vitamin C Powder: add ½ teaspoon (2000mg) of the PURE Vitamin C Powder to 32 oz. of water/ice, along with the juice from ½ lime, a pinch (or a shake) of pink Himalayan salt and a dropperful of Lemon Sweet Drops or to taste.
Vitamin D is actually a hormone that regulates many functions in our bodies.
Our bodies manufacture Vitamin D from sunlight. This requires 10-30 minutes of daily sun exposure with no sunscreen. Most people in northern climates will require Vitamin D supplementation for optimal health.
Vitamin D deficiency may increase your chances of getting sick, supplementing will typically counteract this effect.
In addition to decreased immune function, Inadequate Levels of Vitamin D can lead to:
Slower Wound Healing
Increased Bone or Muscle Pain
Impaired bone health
A good starting dose of Vitamin D3 is 2000-5000IU every day.
Levels can be tested with a simple blood draw. Normal range, for most labs, is 30-80 ng/ml, 30 is surviving and 80 is thriving. You definitely want to be closer to 80 than to 30; increase dose accordingly.
Zinc is considered an essential nutrient. This means that your body can’t produce or store it. For this reason, you must get a constant supply through your diet.
Zinc is important for many essential functions in your body. It supports immunity, wound healing, your sense of smell and taste, energy production, hormone function, mood and the cardiovascular system.
Zinc, as a supplement, can be helpful in supporting your immune function when you are ill or fighting off an infection.
It is typically not necessary to supplement when feeling well. Unless a medical condition is hindering absorption, you should easily reach the RDI for zinc through diet alone.
High-Dose zinc supplements can lead to dangerous side effects.
Limit intake to 20 to 50mg daily for a limited duration of time.
If supplementing, take with Magnesium and Quercetin at bedtime.
Supplements, if taken, should be chelated (attached to an amino acid which makes it easier to pass into your intestines for absorption)
Quercetin is the most abundant flavonoid in the human diet, providing you eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
It’s estimated that the average person consumes 10–100 mg of quercetin daily from fruits, vegetables, and herbal sources.
The health benefits of flavonoids, like quercetin, come from their antioxidant functions inside the body.
Quercetin may interact with various medications, including blood thinners, blood pressure medications, and antibiotics. Speak with your health care provider before taking any supplement, including quercetin.
As a supplement, quercetin appears to be generally safe with little to no side effects and many potential benefits.
People take this supplement to Boost Immunity, Fight Inflammation, Combat Allergies, Increase Exercise Performance & Maintain General Health
Recommended dose is 500mgonce or twice daily for up to 12 weeks.
Taking periodic breaks from taking quercetin may be a good idea
Taking quercetin supplements with Zinc and/or Vitamin C will increase its absorption.
Quercetin is available as a dietary supplement in powder and capsule form.
Probiotics may help give your immune system a boost and inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria. Some probiotics have been shown to promote the production of natural antibodies in the body.
More studies are being done on specific organisms. This will hopefully provide helpful guidance to choosing probiotics in the future.
Choose a probiotic with at least 10 different organisms and change your probiotic often to get diversity.
Zinc is considered an essential nutrient, meaning that your body can’t produce or store it. For this reason, you must get a constant supply through your diet.
Zinc is important for many essential functions in your body. It supports immunity, energy production, hormone function, mood and the cardiovascular system.
The body uses Copper in energy production and to support bone, skin, and neurological and cardiovascular health.
Zinc and copper are two essential minerals that balance each other out. If you take too much zinc, this can decrease copper levels in your body, but together they create a powerful antioxidant enzyme (copper-zinc superoxide dismutase), which is a critical defense against oxidative stress.
Dietary Zinc and Copper intake has fallen over the past hundred years due to modern farming practices. Modern fruits, vegetables and conventional meats are lower in mineral and vitamin content.
Zinc needs to be replenished daily because it is only stored for short periods of time.
Unlike Zinc, Copper can readily accumulate in the body into toxic concentrations.
WHICH FOODS ARE HIGH IN ZINC?
Animal sources contain a form of zinc that your body easily absorbs
Meat: Beef, Pork, Lamb, Bison
Shellfish: Oysters, Crab, Mussels, Lobster, Clams
Fish: Flounder, Sardines, Salmon, Sole
Plant-Based sources are absorbed less efficiently because of other plant compounds that inhibit absorption
Legumes: Chickpeas, Lentils, Black Beans, Kidney Beans
Seeds: Hemp, Pumpkin, Sesame
Whole Grains: Quinoa, Oats, Rice
Certain Vegetables: Mushrooms, Kale, Peas, Asparagus, Beet Greens, Potatoes, Green Beans
WHICH FOODS ARE HIGH IN COPPER?
Nuts & Seeds (Almonds, Cashews, Sesame Seeds)
WHAT DOES ZINC DO?
Helps your immune system defend against viruses and bacteria
Supports your body’s protein production
Helps your body make DNA (genetic material in all cells)
Supports your senses of Smell and Taste. Because one of the enzymes crucial for proper taste and smell is dependent Zinc, a zinc deficiency can reduce your ability to taste or smell.
Helps wounds heal
Fundamental to Skin Health
Helps reduce your risk of age-related diseases
WHO IS AT RISK FOR ZINC DEFICIENCY?
People who consume large amounts of alcohol
Pregnant and Lactating women
Older infants who are exclusively breastfed
People who consume too much copper
People who are malnourished, including those with anorexia or bulimia
People who are not absorbing nutrients effectively
Those Taking Acid Blockers
Those Who Have Gut Dysbiosis/Leaky Gut
People with Certain Diseases
Chronic Renal Disease
Chronic Liver Disease
Sickle Cell Disease
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF MILD ZINC DEFICIENCY?
Impaired Wound Healing
WHAT ARE SIGNS OF GETTING TOO MUCH ZINC?
Loss of appetite
Low Copper Levels
Low Levels of ‘Good’ Cholesterol – HDL
WHAT ARE SIGNS OF A ZINC/COPPER IMBALANCE? (Most likely from elevated copper & low zinc)
Frequent Panic Attacks & Headaches
Slow Wound Healing
GI Issues, Diarrhea
Reduced Appetite/Weight Loss
Skin Issues: Acne/Eczema
Difficulty Digesting/Absorbing Protein
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED DAILY INTAKE (RDI) OF ZINC?
Men – 11 mg/day
Women – 8 mg/day
Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women – 12 mg/day
Unless a medical condition is hindering absorption, you should easily reach the RDI for zinc though diet alone
High-Dose zinc supplements can lead to dangerous side effects
Follow recommendations from your health professional and only take supplements when necessary. Typically a ratio of 15 mg of Zinc to 1 mg of Copper is recommended.
Ingesting too much zinc can cause deficiencies in other nutrients, like copper and iron
If you take supplements, choose chelated forms (the zinc is attached to an amino acid which makes it easier to pass into your intestines for absorption) like Zinc Picolinate (Thorne Brand or NOW Brand) or Zinc Orotate (Solgar Brand). Stay away from Zinc Oxide which is poorly absorbed
ARE YOU CURIOUS ABOUT YOUR LEVELS OF ZINC AND COPPER?
This test provides insight into levels of heavy metals – cadmium, lead, and mercury – as well as the essential minerals zinc, copper, magnesium, and selenium, along with a personalized plan for optimizing your health.
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It can add an element of fun, silliness or sophistication to our experiences. However, it is helpful to be aware of the benefits and risks behind anything we choose to put into our body.
ALCOHOL CAN ADD HAPPINESS AND ENHANCE OUR EXPERIENCES
It is fun to have a cocktail with friends. It can help us relax and unwind. Spending time with friends and family is good for the spirit. Of course, it is possible to take things a little too far. Getting a little carried away and having a few too many might make your next morning a bit of a challenge, but how much harm can a few drinks really cause?
YOUR LIVER HAS MANY RESPONSIBILITES
The liver performs hundreds of functions, including metabolizing the fats, carbohydrates and proteins in our diet. The liver’s primary job is to filter toxins from the blood. Drinking alcohol gives your body extra work to do which keeps it from performing other jobs, like removing other harmful toxins and metabolizing your fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
ALCOHOL IS HIGH PRIORITY FOR YOUR LIVER
Once you have a drink containing alcohol, your body makes metabolizing it a priority because, unlike fats, carbohydrates and proteins, your body doesn’t have a way to store alcohol.
YOUR LIVER WORKS HARD TO GET IT ALL DONE
When you have a cocktail, beer or wine, your liver detoxifies and removes the alcohol thru a process called oxidation. The liver first converts the alcohol to another toxic substance called acetaldehyde. When oxidation is complete, acetaldehyde becomes water and carbon dioxide, which is excreted from the body.
A healthy liver can metabolize one alcoholic drink per hour. Have more than that, and the toxic acetaldehyde builds up in the body, causing a hangover. Drink too much too often, and the liver suffers damage.
FAT CONSEQUENCES OF TOO MUCH ALCOHOL
When you drink alcohol, the liver must choose to burn acetaldehyde for fuel instead of fat. If you drink too much too often, damage can result. Acetaldehyde damages the liver, and fat is stored in the liver instead of elsewhere in the body or being burned off altogether. This can lead to a condition called fatty liver disease. This is an early stage of liver disease and can typically be completely reversed in a month or two from simply abstaining from drinking alcohol and supporting your liver. Once liver damage has progressed beyond the fatty liver stage, damage typically becomes irreversible.
ALCOHOL’S EFFECT ON THE REST OF YOUR BODY
Alcohol can weaken the immune system. If you drink every day, or almost every day, you may notice that you catch colds, flu or other illnesses more frequently than people who don’t drink.
Drinking can upset the balance of the microorganisms in your digestive system. It can also damage the tissues in your GI tract and prevent you from digesting food and from absorbing nutrients and vitamins. Drinking alcohol can also lead to gassiness, bloating, and diarrhea.
Alcohol can affect your heart and lungs. Chronic use of alcohol puts you at higher risk for heart related issues including: high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, stroke, heart attack and heart disease.
SKELETAL AND MUSCLE SYSTEMS
Long-term alcohol use may prevent your body from keeping your bones strong. Thinner bones may increase your risk for fractures if you fall and these fractures may heal more slowly.
Drinking alcohol may also lead to muscle weakness and cramping.
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM
Slurred speech is one of the first signs you’ve had too much to drink. Alcohol can reduce communication between your body and your brain, impairing coordination.