Natural Alternatives to Supplements and Medications

pineapple

I love reading about the recommended supplements in Dr Connealy’s newsletters, especially when the suggested supplements are aimed at symptoms I suffer from.  As we age, we cannot help but notice the changes in our bodies.  Our skin loses elasticity, gains wrinkles and loses that youthful glow.  Our internal organs, our eyes, our joints and our brains do not work as well as they used to.

My problem is, every supplement I take gives me side effects that are often worse than the original symptoms of aging.  My solution is to research foods that provide or encourage the formation of the beneficial ingredient contained in the supplement. I then incorporate these foods into my daily diet.  I realize that these supplements provide a much more concentrated form of these wonderful ingredients, but I figure every bit helps.

For example, the newsletter referred to above describes the wonders of melatonin, a hormone produced naturally in our bodies. Melatonin is responsible for enhancing our sleep so our bodies can recharge properly.  Without adequate sleep we can suffer from brain fog, muscles aches, anxiety, weight gain due to increased appetite and a weakened immune system. Check out a previous post of mine about sleep deprivation.

Unfortunately, as we age the production of melatonin is reduced.  Our options to increase melatonin are to take a supplement or to increase our intake of foods that encourage the formation of melatonin in our bodies.  These foods include pineapple, bananas, oranges, walnuts, almonds, cherry juice and dairy products.

Another wonderful ingredient recommended by Dr Connealy is curcumin which is derived from turmeric root.  I have added ground turmeric to my soups, stews, tea, smoothies and stir frys for the past few months, ever since I read that it helps relieve joint pain. Another previous post describes the benefits of curcumin or turmeric.   I believe that I have noticed a reduction in joint pain associated with arthritis.  This is even more significant for me this time of year since the cold weather usually brings an increase in arthritis symptoms.

To see if I can increase melatonin production naturally, I plan to experiment for the next while, making myself a smoothie before bedtime using pineapple, banana, orange, almond milk, cherry juice and yogurt.  I will keep you posted!

Foods that Boost our Immune Systems

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To ensure optimal health, everyone, especially pregnant women, should look to proper nutrition and exercise.   To do so, we must be aware of what foods we eat as many are better than others at promoting a healthy immune system to ward off possible pathogens that may affect us.   As well as drinking eight to ten glasses of water per day, we can add the following foods to our daily diets to promote a healthy immune system.

Sweet Potatoes

Like other orange-colored vegetables, sweet potatoes contain beta carotene which is turned into vitamin A in our bodies.  Vitamin A is important in the production of connective tissue which is primarily what our skin is made up of.  Since our skin is the first line of defense protecting the rest of our bodies from viruses and bacteria that could harm us, the vitamin A derived from sweet potatoes keeps our skin healthy.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are known to increase the production and activity of our white blood cells.  Since our white blood cells are what fights off infection in our bodies, more aggressive white cells and an increased production of them means less chance of bacterial or viral infections.  Shitake, reishi and maitake mushrooms are considered the best at producing white blood cells.  Add them to pizza, pasta sauces, eggs, soups and more.

Beef

The mineral zinc is found in large quantities in beef.  Zinc is necessary in the development of our white blood cells, an important component in our immune systems that recognizes and destroys pathogens like viruses and bacteria from our bodies.  Even a mild zinc deficiency can increase the risk of infection drastically.

Yogurt

The active but harmless bacterial cultures in yogurt called probiotics keep germs that we do get exposed to from settling in our stomachs and intestines.   These germs do not get a chance to settle and grow stronger because the probiotics in yogurt cause our food to move through our bodies faster.  Any infections we may encounter will therefore be much less severe with fewer symptoms and a quicker recovery.

Oats and Barley

These well-known grains contain beta glucan fiber which has anti-microbial and anti-oxidant roles in boosting our immune systems.  The increased fiber in our diet from these grains also helps move food, as well as any pathogens encountered, through our systems faster, resulting in fewer infections.  Oats and barley are present in many cereals and breads.

Tea

Both black and green teas are known to contain L-thianine, an amino acid that produces interferon which in turn fights viruses.  Since these teas are made with water, they also provide an increased boost to the immune systems because adequate water consumption is essential to flushing our systems of viral and bacterial pathogens.

Keeping our immune systems working well is crucial for everyone, but especially important for pregnant women.  In the third trimester of pregnancy a woman’s immune system is naturally suppressed so that the fetus will not be recognized as a foreign object and rejected.  It is therefore imperative that a pregnant woman keep her immune system in peak condition by eating the proper foods throughout the pregnancy.

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