Oct 30, 2014

Natural Immune Boosters for Kids

Every once and awhile I find myself talking to a friend about the fact that her child is coming down with a virus. I usually say something like—“just give her lots of immune boosters, she’ll be better in no time!” Then my friend usually gives me a quizzical look and asks, HOW DO I DO THAT? TELL ME!

Today I’m going to tell you!

When my kids start acting funny and I know they are fighting off a virus, I try to work as many immune boosting foods, drinks and supplements into their diets as possible. Often this is enough to ward off the virus altogether. If they do end up getting sick, the virus is usually mild as a result of this immune support.

So the next time your little one is feeling ill, try these natural immune boosters for kids.
Probiotic Food and Drink

Probiotic flora (good bacteria) in the gut is the key to our immune function. Lowered immune function is often a sign that the balance of bacteria is off in our digestive tract. To boost immune function, try giving your child a probiotic-rich beverage like kombucha, kefir water, or another cultured beverage like Kevita . Or probiotic-rich foods like fermented carrot sticks, sauerkraut, kimchi. If you don’t have food or drink—try a probiotic supplement in the morning and before bed on an empty stomach.

Bone Broth

Homemade broths made from the bones of organic/grass fed animals are full of trace minerals and gelatin to heal the gut lining. Broth is highly absorbable and is almost like giving your immune system an IV drip of liquid gold. We make a big batch of broth weekly and freeze the extra for days when one of my kids needs an immune boost. Learn more about the health benefits of gelatin here.

Garlic

Known as nature’s antibiotic, garlic is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-viral. An immune boosting (and very cheap) powerhouse! But kids may not want to eat raw garlic. I have had success chopping garlic up finely and my son swallows it like pills. I do this if he is in the middle of an acute illness and I make sure we do it with a meal so the garlic isn’t hard on his tummy. Another option is to make chicken and vegetable soup and add lots and lots of garlic, or chop up fresh garlic and sprinkle into a bowl of soup. Raw garlic has more healing benefits but if cooked garlic is all your kids will eat…it’s still all good.

Ginger

Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and immune booster. Raw ginger is easy to sneak into a fresh green vegetable juice. You can also grate 1 teaspoon of ginger and put it in a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 5 minutes, strain the ginger and drink it like tea.

Fresh Green Vegetable Juice

Live enzymes, vitamins and minerals help the immune system perform at its best. When your little one is feeling down, an immune boosting green juice of: apple, leafy greens, lemon, ginger, cucumber and carrot will help to boost immune function. Your kids will think they are drinking a treat, and you will know they are drinking an immune boosting multi-vitamin.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin to increase immune function during healing. Vitamin D is a good supplement to take year round, however, in times of acute illness you may increase your child’s Vitamin D intake to support immune function.

Omega-3 Fats

Our immune systems depend on essential fatty acids to stay in optimal shape. We call these fatty acids “essential” because the body cannot make them for itself and must obtain these fatty acids from food. Wild caught seafood like salmon or sardines are good sources. As well as nuts and seeds like walnuts and chia seeds. Fermented cod liver oil is my favorite omega-3 supplement. It contains vitamin D and vitamin A, two vitamins that work together to lower systemic inflammation and support immune function. We use Fermented Cod Liver Oil.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw apple cider vinegar (or AVC) introduces enzymes, probiotics and amino acids to the body. These components help digestion, stimulate the lymphatic system and boost immune function. It is important to choose raw, organic apple cider vinegar. Raw vinegar will include cobweb like substances called “the mother” that are part of the natural fermentation process. If your ACV does not contain “the mother” it won’t have the health benefits you need. Try a kid-friendly ACV tonic: 2 teaspoons of RAW apple cider vinegar and ½ fresh pressed organic apple juice.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-viral nutrient. Buffered vitamin C is a great choice as it is easy on the tummy. We use a powdered supplement and add it to smoothies and fresh green juices. You can also introduce foods containing vitamin C like oranges and pomegranates.

Trace Minerals

Modern farming practices have depleted our soils (and hence our food supply) of many important trace minerals that are vital to immune function. When my kids are under the weather I add a few drops of this to their water. If you make a batch of bone broth and include extra kombu, the broth will also contain extra trace minerals too.

Elderberry

Elderberry syrup is best to take when symptoms first come on. High in antioxidants and full of anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, elderberry is a powerful natural medicine. I add this to water or juice for my kids.

Echinacea and Goldenseal

These herbs support the immune system and help to fight infection. Echinacea in particular has been shown to increase white blood cell activity, the body’s natural immune defense system. You can buy them in tincture form and add them to a bit of water or juice.

Lifestyle suggestions
When your little one is feeling ill, let them rest as much as possible. Sleep is how the body repairs and heals. Also try a kid-friendly detox bath to help aid your child’s immune system.

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Oct 8, 2014

Benefits of Safflower Oil

Safflower is a plant. The flower and oil from the seeds are used as medicine. Safflower seed oil is used for preventing heart disease, including “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis) and stroke. It is also used to treat fever, tumors, coughs, breathing problems, clotting conditions, pain, heart disease, chest pain, and traumatic injuries. Some people use it for inducing sweating; and as a laxative, stimulant, antiperspirant, and expectorant to help loosen phlegm. Women sometimes use safflower oil for absent or painful menstrual periods; they use safflower flower to cause an abortion. In foods, safflower seed oil is used as a cooking oil.

This oil contains healthy fats and may even help prevent cardiovascular disease. All oils are pure fat, however, which means they're high in calories. Use safflower oil sparingly to help avoid unwanted weight gain.

Safflower oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, which may help protect against heart disease. Unlike saturated fats from meat and dairy, which are linked to unhealthy cholesterol levels, monounsaturated fat may help reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream that can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, narrowing the passageway. Sometimes, the plaque can break open, causing a blood clot that completely blocks the artery. This may cause a heart attack or stroke, which is why cholesterol management is vital for your cardiovascular health.

Safflower oil is also an excellent source of vitamin E, as each tablespoon provides 4.6 milligrams of this nutrient, one-fourth of the daily value. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from free-radical damage from sun exposure, cigarette smoke and other pollutants. You also need vitamin E for a healthy immune system and cell signaling, and the nutrient may even play a role in maintaining plaque-free arteries, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.

Not only is safflower oil good for you, but it's versatile enough to fit into just about any recipe that calls for oil. It has a mild flavor, and it works well in baked goods as well as salad dressings or marinades. The refined variety has a high-smoke point -- meaning you can heat it to high temperatures before it burns -- so it's suitable for sauteing or frying. Just look for "high heat" on the label, as some safflower oils don't hold up well in the frying pan.

Safflower Oil is possibly effective for:
Reducing cholesterol. Taking safflower oil as a dietary supplement seems to lower total and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. However, it does not seem to lower other blood fats called triglycerides or raise “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.




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Sep 8, 2014

Meditation During Pregnancy

Meditation is an integral part of yoga. It aims to help you achieve a harmonious balance between your body and mind.

Meditation relaxes your mind and eliminates feelings of restlessness. Meditation improves your concentration and creates an awareness about the power of your body.

Meditation can be safely practiced in all stages of pregnancy, even the last trimester when the growing body may hinder you from completing asanas or other exercises.

While you can practice meditation throughout your pregnancy, it is best to follow a prenatal yoga class to choose the postures and breathing techniques most suited to relax your growing body without straining your back or abdominal muscles. The type of meditation you prefer may depend on your personal beliefs and the time available.

Benefits of meditation

Meditation:
  • helps you deal with mood swings
  • increases your sense of self-awareness
  • helps you focus thereby improving concentration
  • calms you down and relaxes you as well
  • helps you connect with your inner self
  • brings you closer to your baby and helps you bond with your little one.
Tips on how to meditate effectively
1. Choose a well ventilated area in your house. You can even choose to meditate outdoors in a park.
2. Ensure that the place is calm and quiet where you will not be disturbed.
3. Follow a set routine – you may start with a few minutes at a preset time and gradually increase its duration.
4. Avoid meditating after a heavy meal or when you are tired.
5. Follow up your meditation with a session of Yog nidra to feel rejuvenated

Initially your mind may wander while you focus within, but you will be able to gradually focus with practice and a good dose of patience.

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