Kyolic Blog Archives - Wakunaga of America

Yoga Poses for Better Digestion

We’re talking about yoga! In addition to its other health benefits, including increased flexibility, increased muscle strength, improved energy, and increased circulatory health, there is another little known benefit, and it has to do with your digestion. You can think of your yoga exercises as a massage for your internal organs. If you’re dealing with gut issues, gentle yoga poses and deep breathing are great ways to relax the gut. Yoga is also very detoxifying, a key factor in improving digestion. The twisting postures can help to enhance your digestion, and encourage your liver and kidneys to flush out toxins1. Yoga can also help with bloating, increasing the amount of oxygen to the area.

Understanding Digestion

Before we get more into yoga and look at special poses to help with digestion, let’s talk a little more about digestion. The body uses the process of digestion to break down food into a form that can be absorbed and used for fuel. The organs of the digestive system are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, and the small and large intestine. More organs than you thought, right? Recognizing how these organs work together is important in understanding how digestion works.

The digestive process starts in the mouth. Even before you eat, the anticipation of eating stimulates the glands in the mouth to produce saliva. The digestive system carries out three main processes in the mouth, mixing food, moving food through the digestive tract, and then using chemicals to break down this food. Next up is the esophagus. This is a long, muscular tube connecting your mouth to your stomach. When you swallow, the muscles squeeze together, moving food downwards to the stomach. The stomach contains hydrochloric acid and enzymes that starts the process of breaking down food. The muscles in the stomach churn food and break it all down into a liquid. The small intestine is where most chemical digestion happens, using bile and enzymes. The large intestine, commonly known as the colon, absorbs water and electrolytes. Bacteria here produces Vitamin K and biotin. The pancreas then secretes hormones including insulin and glucagon, as well as digestive enzymes to further break down carbs, fats, and proteins. The gallbladder stores bile, a liquid made by your liver, which helps digest fats and some vitamins. Lastly, your liver produces hormones, stores glycogen (used for energy), breaks down red blood cells so that we can replace them with healthy ones, synthesizes proteins, and detoxifies2.

Deeper Dive Into Yoga

The reason yoga is so beneficial for your digestion, is because it can help to relieve some common digestive problems, like constipation, stomach pain, gas, and even acid reflux, with that gentle massaging action that we mentioned earlier. There are many yoga poses that can stimulate the intestines, pancreas, and stomach, helping keep these organs strong and healthy.

Certain yoga poses have been known to bring about the following improvements: eliminate constipation problems, decrease gas, increase production of mucous, reduce acid, improve absorption of food, and even improve gastrointestinal circulation3. It is important to note though, if you plan on practicing a few yoga poses for healthy digestion, there are a few precautions to take. The first, is to perform yoga poses in the mornings, on an empty stomach. Also, try not to hurry to do each pose, practice breathing and relax. Refrain from practicing yoga if you have just had a surgery or suffer from appendicitis, hernia, or other abdominal injury.

Without further ado, here are the top two yoga poses for better digestion:

Downward Facing Dog

Begin in this post in a plank position, arms and feet hip-distance apart, hands and feet grounded. Begin to lift your hips upwards, strengthening your core and letting your head drop. Have a slight bend in your knees, gently pulling your shoulders away from your ears and lengthening your spine. Hold position for 1-3 minutes, and repeat 8-10 times.

Cat/Cow Posture

From a seated position, get onto your hands and knees, knees hip-distance apart.  Place hands firmly on the ground/mat. Have your shoulders positioned beneath your hands. Inhale deeply, bringing your shoulders back, raising your face and looking upwards and lift your hips, gently, curving your back. Hold, and deeply exhale, curving your back upwards, dropping your head and look downwards, and pull your sit bones inwards. Repeat 10 times.

In addition to improving digestion, these poses may also contribute to increased relaxation, and restore energy. Good luck, and namaste!

 

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Key Supplements for Better Heart Health

Before we get into the best supplements for your cardiovascular health, let’s take a closer look at some basics regarding eating well for a healthy heart. Now, you may be eating plenty of food, but your body may not be getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Nutrient-rich foods have vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, fats and carbohydrates, and are generally lower in calories. They may help you to manage your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. Overall, a heart healthy diet emphasizes eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes. Try to limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. If you choose to eat red meat, compare labels and select the leanest cuts available. One diet that fits this pattern is called the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)1. Most healthy eating patterns can be adapted based on calorie requirements and your personal food preferences.

Top Supplements for Heart Health

In addition to eating well, you may need to consider adding a few heart healthy supplements to your routine to help fill any nutritional gaps in your diet.

Aged Garlic Extract (AGE)

Aged Garlic Extract is one of the most heavily researched herbal medicines today and is among the most commonly used supplements in people with heart disease. In studies, AGE is the type of garlic supplement that has been most consistently shown to have favorable effects on heart health. Kyolic AGE is produced through a proprietary aging process that eliminates garlic odor and harsh side effects. A heart-healthy dose is 1,200 mg daily. AGE can support healthy blood pressure levels, keep bad cholesterol in check, protect LDL (bad cholesterol) from oxidation, increase adiponectin (a hormone that helps protect against inflammation), thins your blood, and staves off plaque in your artieries2.

Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 is a natural compound made by your body that has antioxidant properties. It is considered an “energy generator,” that enhances your heart’s pumping ability. Your body naturally makes some CoQ10, but it only makes a limited amount. CoQ10 is especially important to take if you are on a statin drug, because studies show that when you take a statin drug to lower cholesterol, you deplete CoQ103.

Red Yeast Rice

Red Yeast Rice is a fermented rice supplement produced by growing red yeast on white rice. Red yeast contains a small amount of a naturally occurring statin that lowers cholesterol. So it works like a statin drug by blocking an enzyme that is involved in making cholesterol4. If you’ve had side effects from taking a statin drug though, such as muscle aches and weakness, you should be cautious with red yeast rice, especially high doses, as you may experience the same side effects from the supplement. It is always best to talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen.

Phytosterols

Phytosterols are compounds naturally found in the cell membranes of foods from certain plants, and they have a chemical structure that’s similar to cholesterol. Because of that, they can compete with cholesterol for absorption in your gut, which may help lower LDL in your bloodstream5. You consume small amounts of phytosterols when you eat vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Foods containing at least 0.65 grams per serving of plant sterols, eaten twice a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. Adding a supplement with Phytosterols can ensure that you are doing all you can to keep your cholesterol levels in check.

Take charge of your heart health by eating well, keep exercising and working some of these cardiovascular supplements into your daily routine.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Plant Sterol Esters Explained

So what are plant sterols? Actually, let’s back up…what is a “sterol?” Sterols are a family of molecules with a specific shape and structure. Phytosterols (“phyto” meaning plant) are sterols found in plants. They are similar in structure to cholesterol in the human body.1


When phytosterols are consumed, they compete with cholesterol absorption in digestive tract, blocking it and, as a result, lowering blood cholesterol levels. Some studies have found that getting just two grams of phytosterols a day may help you lower your LDL cholesterol by as much as 10%. Unfortunately though, most people aren’t getting nearly this much in their everyday diets. In fact, today, dietary intake of phytosterols ranges between 78 and 500 mg per day, even with food manufacturers enriching common foods we eat with these compounds.

Why are plant sterol esters such an integral part of healthy eating, and of lowering cholesterol? Let’s take a look.

More on Phytosterols

When it comes to lowering your cholesterol, your first strategy is usually to change the way you eat. You replace the unhealthy fats (trans and saturated) with healthy ones (monosaturated and polyunsaturated), and increase dietary fiber by emphasizing whole grains, fruits, and veggies. If these strategies haven’t worked to their fullest potential, or if you want to work on lowering your bad cholesterol even further, this is where plant sterol esters come into play.

As part of a heart-healthy eating program, eating foods containing plant sterols have been shown to reduce cholesterol up to 10% and LDL (bad) cholesterol up to 14%. This reduction is in addition to other cholesterol-lowering strategies you may have started, like eating more heart healthfully or taking a cholesterol-lowering medication. The effectiveness of plant sterols is so strong, so recognized, that the National Cholesterol Education Program recommends people with high cholesterol consume two grams of plant sterols every day.3

How to Incorporate Plant Sterol Esters in Your Diet

The National Institute of Health Reports that there are over 200 different kinds of sterols, and the highest concentrations are found naturally in vegetable oils, beans, and nuts. But what you might not know, is that many products also have added plant sterols. At the store for example, you might see orange juice or margarine advertising plant sterol content. Foods containing at least 0.65 grams per serving of plant sterols, eaten twice a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels.4

The following foods contain the highest amounts of phytosterols (plant sterols):

Nuts: Nuts contain high amounts of phytosterols, ranging between 95 and 270 mg per 100 g serving of nuts. Studies have shown that a handful of most nuts can have a favorable impact on your lipid profile.5 If you’re going to load up on nuts, these nuts have the greatest amount of phytosterols: almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. Avoid eating salted nuts, since these may have adverse effects on your health.

Whole grains: Foods with whole grains, like barley, rye, and oatmeal, are high in many types of nutrients. Some whole grain products also contain high amounts of phytosterols, so aim for these: flaxseed, wheat germ, and rye bread. Flax seeds can be added as a nutritious oatmeal topping, as can wheat germ. As for the rye bread, try toasting it and adding nut butter, as opposed to a sugary jam, to reap the greatest benefits.

Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables contain less phytosterols than nuts and whole grains, but they also contain lot’s of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other healthy ingredients that are great for cholesterol. These fruits and vegetables contain the greatest amount of phytosterols, so load up: broccoli, red onion, carrot, corn, Brussel sprouts, spinach, and strawberries.

Add Supplements

In addition to adding these plant sterol-rich foods to your diet, a supplement containing plant sterol esters (a.k.a. plant sterols) can help too. Studies have shown that, on average, supplements containing plant sterols produce an average decrease in LDL cholesterol of 5 percent to 15 percent, with greater decreases shown with higher doses (2 grams per day). Notably, there is also individual variation in how much people respond to these sterols. Genetics and other factors may play a role as well.

Foods containing at least 0.65g per serving of plant sterol esters, eaten twice a day, for a total intake of 1.3g, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels.6

So if you’re looking to up your heart-health game, plant sterol esters can help support that goal. Try adding in some of the foods mentioned above, and a quality supplement, and reap the cardiovascular benefits.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

 

Keep Your Immune System in Balance with Plant Sterols

The openings of your mouth and nose can be thought of as your immune system’s border control. If invaders get inside your body through the mouth, nose, or even a cut, the immune system sends out lines of defense, whether in the blood, organs, muscles, or bone. This internal “police force” is vital to our health, but sometimes it can get a little “off balance.” When this happens, the immune system can work against us, causing allergic reactions to foods or environments, and sometimes even autoimmune conditions.1 Why does this happen, and what can we do to prevent it?

What causes your immune system to be off balance?

You’re washing your hands, not touching your face, practicing good hygiene practices…but you still feel a little run-down, and get infections easily. What gives?

If you notice that you get sick a lot, feel run-down, or have other symptoms you can’t quite figure out, it may mean that your immune system is off-balance, or weakened. When this happens, there are usually a handful of culprits that may be contributing:

Stress level

Do you ever find yourself getting sick after pulling an all-nighter on a big report for work, or after a really emotional situation at home? According to the American Psychological Association, long-term stress weakens the responses of your immune system.2 This is because stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes, the white blood cells that help fight off infection. The lower your lymphocyte level, the more you’re at risk for catching a cold or other viruses.3

If you think you are experiencing a high level of stress, it can be helpful to meditate, and also practice breathing exercises, such as “box breathing.” Box breathing can calm the nervous system down, and help you to feel more relaxed. All it requires is for you to breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and then breathe out for four seconds.

Gut issues

Another signal your immune system might be off balance are underlying gut issues. If you have frequent diarrhea, gas, or constipation, it could be a sign that your immune system has been compromised. Research shows that 70% of the immune system resides in the gut. The beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that live there defend your gut from infection and support the immune system. If these beneficial bacteria are in low supply, it opens you up to viruses, chronic inflammation, and also autoimmune conditions.4

You feel tired all the time

Burning a candle at both ends is not a healthy way to live, and can really take a toll on your immune system. Try to prioritize your sleep routine, and aim for 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night. On the flip side, if you are already getting enough sleep and are still feeling fatigued, it might be your immune system trying to tell you something. When your immune system struggles, so does your energy level. Your energy level is down because your body is trying to conserve energy to fuel your immune system so that it can fight off germs and other invaders.6

Tips for Regaining Balance

If any of the above concerns sound like they might apply to you, it may be time to make some lifestyle adjustments. This includes things like eating a balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, getting 6-8 hours of sleep, exercising 30 minutes most days of the week, and trying to find ways to minimize stress.

If you incorporate these adjustments into your daily routine, you can give your immune system the best chance to get back to a healthier place. That being said, the key to longterm health is more than just a balanced diet, regular exercise, and the like, especially when it comes to a strong immune system. This is where phytosterols come in.

How phytosterols (sterols and sterolins) can help

In addition to the lifestyle adjustments above, plant sterols and sterolins can help to support your immune system too. Sterols are compounds found in plants that resemble cholesterol (i.e. are structurally similar to cholesterol). When a supplement with plant sterols is consumed, it can help to bring overall balance to the immune system by enhancing an underactive immune system, and modulating an overactive one. While sterols do not “fix” the immune system, they do give it the nutrients it needs to be balanced.7 Sterols and sterolins allow the immune system to regulate itself: “upregulating” or boosting an underactive response and “downregulating” an overactive one.

When looking for a quality supplement containing these plant sterols, which can benefit adults and kids alike, it is helpful to look for one that has research behind it, and one that has the right sterol to sterolin ratio. Research has shown quite clearly that the blend of sterols and sterolins in a 100:1 ratio, exhibit the best immune balancing activity.8

One thing to remember is to not take a sterol/sterolins supplement while ingesting cholesterol heavy foods (animal fat), including all meat, dairy, eggs, seafood, etc. Cholesterol has a very similar molecular structure and the two compounds “compete” for absorption.  Take your supplement between meals.

And did we mention kids? Yes, your children’s immune system can get out of balance too. They are exposed to any number of germs from their peers and from the environment, and have their own levels of stress and digestive problems. Building a strong, well-balanced immune system from an early age will benefit children for a lifetime. Talk to your pediatrician about supplements that contain phytosterols and see if they may be right for your family.

If you think you have a weakened or imbalanced immune system, don’t fret! There are steps you can take to keep yourself and those around you healthy, and maximize your immune function.

Before taking Seterol and Sterolins consult your health care professional:

Recipients of foreign organs and tissues, including bone marrow and corneal transplants, are cautioned not to take any immune regulating nutritional supplements. Therefore, sterols and sterolins are NOT recommended for transplant patients.

People with synthetic replacement/reconstruction will not be affected, such as in hip replacement, knee replacement, breast reconstruction and pacemaker implant.

People with multiple sclerosis should take plant sterols and sterolins only under the guidance of their health care practitioner.

Diabetics should monitor their blood sugar closely as many have experienced a reduction in insulin requirements. They should start with one capsule daily to ensure a gradual increase in sterols and sterolins.

 

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.


References

  1. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/can-immune-system-go-haywire-falter/
  2. https://www.apa.org/research/action/immune
  3. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2020/march/weakened-immune-system
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3337124/
  5. https://kyolic.com/best-practices-for-buying-taking-and-storing-probiotics/
  6. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2020/march/weakened-immune-system
  7. https://www.moducare.com/faqs/
  8. https://www.moducare.com/faqs/

 

How Stress Affects Immunity and Your Health

Stress is a situation that triggers a particular biological response. When you perceive a threat or a challenge, chemicals and hormones surge throughout your body. Stress triggers your fight or flight response in order to fight the stressor or run away from it. Usually, after the response occurs, your body typically relaxes. But too much stress can have negative effects on your long term health.1

Stress…not always a bad thing

Sometimes stress can be helpful, if you are working hard to meet a deadline it may motivate you to meet that goal. Stress can also be positive. Your wedding day, for instance, would be an example of a positive form of stress. The bottom line though, is that stress should be temporary. Once you’ve gotten past the fight-or-flight moment, your heart rate and breathing should slow down and your muscles should relax, and there should not be any long-term negative effects. But severe, frequent, or prolonged stress can be dangerous to your mental and physical health.

How stress affects the body

Stress causes your body to produce greater than normal levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In short bursts, cortisol can actually boost your immunity by limiting inflammation. But over time, your body can get used to having too much cortisol in your blood. And this opens the door for more inflammation. Also, stress can reduce the amount of lymphocytes in the body, which are the white blood cells that help fight off infection. The less lymphocytes you have, the less your body can fight off infection, and the higher chances you have of contracting the common cold, or viruses. High levels of stress can also lead to depression and anxiety, which in turn contribute to higher levels of inflammation in the body. In a nutshell, long-term high levels of stress can lead to lots of inflammation, which can lead to an over-worked immune system that can’t properly defend and protect you2.

So what can you do? While it is not possible to completely eliminate all stress since life can be unpredictable, we can learn to avoid it if possible, and manage it, if it is unavoidable. Here are some simple ways to manage your stress.

Top tips to avoid stress

Socialize: Spend time with friends and family who support you, and who you can support as well. Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help in stressful times.

Consider supplements: Certain herbs, nutrients and vitamins can help promote less stress and anxiety. Look for supplements that combine GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) along with B vitamins, which can support healthy relaxation and increased alertness. Other nutrients to look for in a de-stressing supplement are omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce anxiety, ashwagandha, which is an herb used in ayurvedic medicine to help lessen anxiety, and valerian root, which is a popular sleep aid, due to it’s calming effects3.

Exercise: Try going on a brisk walk outside, do some yoga, or take a boxing class. Exercise is a great way to manage stress. Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones, like cortisol. It also helps release endorphins, which are the body’s natural mood-elevators. Find an exercise routine that you enjoy doing, because then it will be easier to stick with it.

Laugh: It’s hard to feel stressed when you’re laughing! Laughing is good for your health, and can help to relieve your stress response and even help relax your muscles. Try watching a funny show, or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.4 Cat videos are often good for a laugh.

Meditate: Practice deep breathing and meditation exercises, like box breathing (breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, then exhale for 4 seconds). It reduces your cortisol levels and reduces inflammation.5

Remember, stress in some situations can be helpful, even positive. It is the long-term, prolonged stress that needs to be addressed before it affects your health. Practicing the strategies above will help you curb your stress and protect your immune system.

 

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Be in the Know About High Blood Pressure

According to the American Heart Association, 116.4 million—or nearly half of all US adults—are estimated to have high blood pressure. In recognition of national “High Blood Pressure Education Month,” we wanted to shed a little light on this topic, starting by explaining what high blood pressure is. Blood pressure is the force of your blood as it flows through the arteries in your body. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. When your heart beats, it pushes blood through your arteries. As the blood flows, it puts pressure on your artery walls. This is called blood pressure. High blood pressure (a.k.a. hypertension) happens when your blood moves through your arteries at a higher pressure than normal.1 Let’s take a look at different things that can cause high blood pressure, how you can reduce your risk, and what nutrients may be able to help.


What causes high blood pressure, and what are some of its symptoms?

There are two types of hypertension, and they each have different causes.

Primary hypertension: Primary hypertension is also called “essential hypertension.” This kind of hypertension develops over time with no identifiable cause.2 Most people have this type of hypertension. A combination of factors may play a role in primary hypertension:

Genes: Some people are genetically more likely to get hypertension. This may be from gene mutations or genetic anomalies from your parents.

Physical changes: If something in your body changes, you may begin to experience the effects of high blood pressure. For example, it is thought that changes in your kidney function due to aging may upset the body’s natural balance of salts and fluid. This change may cause your body’s blood pressure to rise.

Environment: Over time, unhealthy lifestyle choices like limited exercise and unhealthy food choices can lead to weight problems. And being overweight can increase your chances of getting hypertension.

Secondary hypertension: Secondary hypertension usually happens pretty quickly, and can become more severe than primary hypertension. Some causes of secondary hypertension include: kidney disease, sleep apnea, thyroid problems, adrenal gland issues, among others.3

High blood pressure is known as a “silent killer.” You may not feel that anything is wrong, but high blood pressure could be quietly causing damage that can threaten your health. Most people won’t even experience any symptoms, and even if they do, they might attribute these symptoms to other issues. Some symptoms of hypertension include shortness of breath, headaches, nosebleeds, flushing, and dizziness. These symptoms require immediate medical attention. When you have your yearly physical, get your blood pressure checked and talk to your doctor about your risks for hypertension. The best prevention is to know your numbers and make lifestyle changes as needed.

How you can reduce your risk

When it comes to reducing your risk of hypertension, it all comes down to making some key lifestyle changes. If you successfully control your high blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay, or reduce the need for medication, too. Here are some lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk:

Watch your waistline: Blood pressure often increases as weight increases, and losing even a small amount of weight can help reduce your risk. Being overweight can also cause sleep apnea and other breathing disruptions at night, which can further raise your blood pressure. Besides losing weight in general, also pay attention to the weight you carry specifically around your waist. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure. The rule of thumb, is that men are at risk if their waist measurement is more than 40 inches, and women are more at risk if their waist measurement is more than 35 inches.4

Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity, which amounts to getting in about 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week, can also help to lower your blood pressure. With exercise, though, you have to be consistent. Because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again. Some examples of aerobic physical activity that can help to lower your blood pressure include things like swimming, Zumba, and high intensity interval training. If you have any concerns, you can talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program that is right for you.

Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and one that is low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol, can help to lower your blood pressure. Sometimes it can be hard changing the foods you eat, especially if you’re used to eating the same thing every day. It may be helpful to keep a food diary. This can shed some light on your eating habits, and may give you some insight into something you’ve been eating everyday which has not been the healthiest for you. Another helpful tip is to be a smart shopper. Read food labels when you shop, and pay attention to sodium levels, which can increase blood pressure if consumed in high amounts.

Top nutrients and herbs that may help

Aged Garlic Extract: According to a recent study published in the journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine,5 supplementing with Aged Garlic Extract effectively reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension, while also improving arterial stiffness. This groundbreaking study focused on 12 clinical trials involving 553 people with high blood pressure. It confirms earlier findings that aged garlic extract lowers systolic blood pressure by an average of 8.3 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure an average of 5.5 mmHg. The effectiveness of this plant-based supplement is comparable to the benefits provided by standard drugs used to treat high blood pressure, but without the potential drug side effects.

Nattokinase: Another nutrient that can help to lower blood pressure is nattokinase, which comes from the Japanese food natto. Nattokinase works by reinforcing the actions of plasmin, your body’s own enzyme that breaks down the clotting agent called fibrin, thereby preventing abnormal thickening of the blood. Because plasmin production slows as you age, this type of support is another really great option for those who would like to help lower blood pressure naturally.7

Managing your blood pressure is a lifelong commitment, but one that can ultimately lead to a healthier and longer life. For a free guide all about high blood pressure, natural ways to manage it, and how to reduce your risk, check out this healthy living guide.7 If you would also like a printed copy mailed to you, please contact us.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

New to Green Drinks? Here’s What You Need to Know

Nutritionists, health agencies, and mothers everywhere have long heralded the benefits of eating your vegetables daily – especially green ones. Yet, it’s a goal that very few of us meet. Despite recommendations to eat two to three cups of vegetables daily, only 1 in 10 adults actually consumes that amount, which is unfortunate, because, calorie for calorie, vegetables provide optimal sources of nutrients among any food. The star among them is greens, including arugula, broccoli, dark leafy lettuces, kale, spinach, and watercress.


Why you need more greens

Green vegetables are essential for a strong immune system, proper gut health, healthy detoxification, and better cognition. Most importantly, greens help keep your body’s pH in balance, thanks to their alkalinizing properties. But greens go beyond what you’ll find at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Think chlorella and kelp from the sea. Or barley and wheat grasses from the fields.

Whether you’re among those who are frightened by the sight of broccoli, or you simply have trouble meeting your daily quota due to a hectic schedule, upping your intake of a variety of greens should be an essential part of your health game plan. Smoothies and smoothie bowls are tasty ways to add more greens to your diet.

Build a Better Smoothie

Here are some tips to ease into smoothies and green drinks effortlessly:

Tip #1: Get to know your greens first. For first-timers, we usually recommend starting your greens journey with something mild in flavor, so it doesn’t completely catch you off guard. Take a small taste of each green before you add it to your blender. If anything seems completely off-putting to you, you can take it out. Spinach, for example, is a great, mild-tasting green that is perfect for first-timers…the same goes for cucumbers as well. You can always work your way up to stronger flavors like kale.

Tip #2: Add some fruit to the mix. We don’t mean you should throw just any fruit into the blender, we’d recommend one that is low in sugar, and high in antioxidants, such as berries (we recommend starting with half a cup). Doing this will add some sweetness to your green drink, and can offset the bitterness of some raw greens.

Tip #3: Texture matters. People often focus so much on the ingredients that are going into the smoothie, they neglect to think about how all the items they are adding in will affect the texture. Sometimes, an extremely chunky/thick smoothie is what truly sets people over the edge, causing them to give up on their smoothie. It is important to play around with different types and quantities of greens to get a texture that works for you. If you like a creamy smoothie, try adding half an avocado or half a banana, and blend on high.

Another easy way to get your quota of greens if your diet falls short, is by incorporating a nutrient-dense powdered drink mix (this can even be added to your smoothie for even greater health benefits!). Green drink mixes are a great addition to a healthy lifestyle because they not only help you meet your daily veggie intake, they support almost every system in the body and can even boost energy levels. Chlorella, kelp, wheatgrass, barley grass, and other powdered greens are packed with an array of concentrated vitamins and minerals essential for optimal health. Just be sure to check the ingredients in a pre-mixed powder and make sure you are not getting any added sugar or artificial flavors. If you would like to try an excellent and nutritious greens powdered drink mix, we recommend starting with the Kyo-Green® line.

Brimming with organic and naturally sourced ingredients, the Kyo-Green® Powdered Drink Mixes give you a much needed edge by providing a high-quality, balanced source of bioavailable nutrients that are rapidly absorbed by the body. These drink mixes aren’t just an easy way to help you meet your daily greens quota, each Kyo-Green Powdered Drink Mix gives you a unique blend of superfoods that offers a powerhouse of balanced nutritional benefits for the whole body. Go green to better fuel your active life!

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Eat Well to Live Well: Eating for Preventative Care

People are bored, anxious, and stressed, so many of us have turned to food to provide some relief. In fact, by mid-April, popcorn sales rose almost 48%, pretzel sales were up 47%, and potato chip sales rose 30% compared to the same period last year, Bloomberg reported.1 So how are we supposed to reign in these cravings, what foods should we be reaching for instead, and if we think we are still missing healthy nutrients in our diet, what can we do? Let’s take a look.


Cravings

Spending more time at home means food is more easily accessible right now. *Ahem* we’re looking at you, fridge stocked with meats, cheeses, and ice cream bars. Snacking is more accepted because it’s something that gives us comfort. We are stressed because of uncertainty of what’s next, and bored because we are not engaging with friends and family like we used to. When we are anxious, stress hormones are released into the body and the flight-or-flight response is triggered. When we experience this response, our body thinks it is in danger, and needs fuel (food) for the extra tasks it may have to perform. The body can’t differentiate what is a real threat or a perceived threat. And so, we walk to the fridge.

One craving that many of us are most likely dealing with right now are sugar cravings. Instead of your usual oatmeal in the morning, maybe you are reaching for some chocolate chip toaster waffles instead. But then you reach for something else an hour later, something equally as sugary, because you weren’t necessarily full from just those toaster waffles. It’s a vicious cycle. But there are things you can do to curb these cravings a bit.

Give in (a little): Eat a bit of what you’re craving, maybe a small cookie or one chocolate chip toaster waffle instead of three. Enjoying a little of what you love can help you avoid feeling denied.

Grab some gum: If you want to avoid giving in to a sugar craving completely, try chewing a stick of gum. Research has shown that chewing gum can reduce food cravings.2

Reach for fruit: Keep some fruit on hand for whenever your sugar craving strikes, you’ll get some sweetness from the natural sugar found in fruit, but you’ll also get added fiber and nutrients.

Healthy Food Swaps

Here are some simple adjustments you can make to the foods you eat, to make things a bit healthier. You will still be eating delicious foods, but now they’ll also improve your health too:

Instead of chips: Instead of reaching for the bag of chips when you’re craving something salty, try reaching for a handful of nuts instead. That bag of chips is tempting, but it is high in sodium and is often high in saturated and trans fats. So when the urge for something crunchy and salty strikes, reach for those nuts. People who regularly eat nuts are 14 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Just don’t go overboard with them, because even though nuts contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats and fiber, there is such a thing as too much. A one-ounce handful is ideal.

Instead of soda: Instead of getting that caffeine boost from a can of soda, try making coffee or tea instead. A cup of coffee or some green or black tea are more beneficial than soda, because they are naturally sugar free and have antioxidants, which protect against cell damage, all while providing that much needed boost of energy. If you do have coffee though, watch out for the cream and sugar, because they are easy to load up on, and can turn your coffee from healthy to unhealthy very quickly.

Instead of baked goods: Sweets like donuts, Danish pastries, and cookies are delicious, but they get most of their delicious flavor from some not-so-healthy ingredients like sugar and white flour, margarine and hydrogenated oils, which are high in trans-fat. To satisfy your sweet tooth, try a piece of dark chocolate instead, which is high in antioxidants and flavanols, which can help to lower blood pressure.3

Instead of “white” side dishes: Potatoes, noodles, rice, and bread are typical side dishes served with meals. But if you eat these starchy carbohydrates a lot, it can lead to high blood sugar. If you choose to have a starchy side, select brown rice, whole grain pasta, or wild rice, and serve in small amounts. To that end, you can get just as much flavor from a side dish of green veggies, as you can with one of your typical “white” side dishes. Vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach are filled with fiber, low in carbohydrates, and supply vitamins K, A and C, along with other valuable nutrients.

Supplements to Try

If you feel like you are not getting all your necessary vitamins and nutrients in your daily diet, or just feel like you could use a little extra support, here are some key supplements that can come into play.

Aged Garlic Extract: With ample evidence for supporting healthy blood pressure levels and a strong heart (it reduces accumulation of plaque in the arteries), Aged Garlic Extract has a hefty resume for supporting immunity too. Odorless and aged to strengthen its antioxidant properties, this supplement is proven to support killer cell function and reduce symptoms and duration of colds and flus. It is recommended that you take 1,200 mg daily, to achieve the greatest results.4

Probiotics: Your gut microbiome affects everything from brain function to immunity. Your gut comprises about 70% of your immune system. Numerous studies have demonstrated that probiotic supplements that include strains of Lactobacillus and Bifodobacteria can help support the immune system and reduce the risk of infections, such as respiratory infections and ear infections.5 The healthy bacteria of the gut microbiome also impacts things like mood and cognitive function. Your gut contains 500 million neurons, which are connected to your brain through nerves in your nervous system. Your gut and brain are also connected through chemicals called neurotransmitters. Serotonin, for example, contributes to feelings of happiness and also helps control the body’s internal clock.6

When your microflora is imbalanced, your health suffers. Probiotics are important for replenishing and restoring microflora balance. Look for a supplement that is stable (should be fine at room temperature), heat and acid resistant, is suitable for travel, packaged in glass (to avoid antibiotic deterioration), and contains human bacterial strains, which implant more naturally in the intestines and produce better long-term outcomes67

Powdered Green Drink Mix: Many studies over the years have shown that green foods have marked beneficial effects on cholesterol, blood pressure, and immune response. Nutritionally, green superfoods, grasses, to be exact, are close cousins to dark leafy vegetables, and offer far greater levels of nutrient density. In other words, an ounce of these concentrated green foods contain much more of the beneficial phytonutrients that are fond in an ounce of green leafy vegetables.8 Make sure your powdered green drink mix contains certain powerhouse nutrients like barley grass, wheat grass, chlorella, and spirulina, and no sugar, for the best results for your health.

As long as you eat mindfully, make some quick swaps to minimize bad food choices, and supplement with a few quality nutrients, you can ride out this quarantine in the best way possible for your health. Stay at home and stay healthy!

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.


 

References

  1. https://www.today.com/health/coronavirus-how-stop-overeating-avoid-weight-gain-self-quarantine-t177113
  2. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/13-ways-to-fight-sugar-cravings#1
  3. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-hearthealthy-food-swaps
  4. https://kyolic.com/7-best-immunity-supplements-for-the-cold-flu-season/
  5. https://probiotics.com/know-more/askexperts-faqs
  6. https://probiotics.com/healthy-living-blog/gut-brain-highway
  7. https://kyolic.com/picking-the-right-probiotic/
  8. https://kyolic.com/forget-smoking-it-here-are-the-grasses-you-need-to-drink-asap/

 

CoQ10 – How It Can Help Your Heart, Energy and Functional Health

Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is an antioxidant that your body produces naturally, that your cells use for growth and maintenance. CoQ10 is present in every cell of your body. However, the highest concentrations are found in organs with the greatest energy demands, such as the heart, kidneys, lungs, and liver.1 This antioxidant is found in most living things and is used by our cells to process energy and function properly.2 Naturally occurring CoQ10 decreases as we age, but luckily, CoQ10 is available in some foods, and also as a supplement. One thing is for certain, plenty of research has revealed CoQ10’s wide range of health benefits.


Why Our Bodies Need CoQ10

Our cells use CoQ10 to help turn the energy we get from consuming carbohydrates into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the form of energy our cells can actually use to carry out their functions in the body. ATP is essential for healthy metabolism, bones, and neurological and muscle functioning. The healthy body naturally produces coenzyme Q10 in quantities sufficient to prevent deficiency, though this production does decrease with age, which we will talk a little more about below. CoQ10 also functions as an antioxidant, and is particularly effective when combined with vitamins E and C and selenium, to help prevent free radical damage to our cells.

It is not an understatement to say that CoQ10 is absolutely essential for life. It helps to metabolize fats and carbohydrates, and maintains cell membrane stability. It is also an effective free radical scavenger that may beneficially affect the aging process. As we age, our body’s production of CoQ10 declines gradually. Because it’s so important to energy production, researchers believe that this decline may be a factor in the effects of aging on the human body, such as heart failure, skin damage, and cognitive health .3

Research on CoQ10 has shown that it can improve these specific conditions:

Heart conditions: CoQ10 has been shown to improve symptoms of congestive heart failure. Some research also suggests that when combined with other nutrients, CoQ10 might aid recovery in people who have had bypass and heart valve surgeries.4

Migraines: Some research suggests that CoQ10 might decrease the frequency of these headaches. Since CoQ10 lives mainly in the mitochondria of cells, it has been shown to improve mitochondrial function and help decrease the inflammation that may occur during migraines.5

Physical performance: Because CoQ10 is involved in energy production, it’s believed that this supplement might improve your physical performance. It can help to decrease oxidative stress in the cells and improve mitochondrial function.6

Foods Containing CoQ10

While you can easily consume CoQ10 as a supplement, it can also be found in some foods, especially meat, poultry and fish. Though it is important to note that the amounts of the antioxidant in these foods are not high enough to significantly boost levels in the body, healthy eating offers a number of benefits to whole body wellness. Here are some foods that contain CoQ10:

Meats: pork, beef, and chicken

Fatty fish: Trout, herring, sardines

Legumes: Soybeans, lentils, and peanuts

Nuts and seeds: Sesame seeds and pistachios

Veggies: Spinach, broccoli and cauliflower

Fruit: oranges and strawberries

Oils: Soybean and canola

Real-Life Example of Benefits of CoQ10

While it’s nice explaining the benefits of CoQ10, it helps to see them in a real-life example. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study, which was conducted at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, looked at the impact CoQ10 had on a group of firefighters who were at moderate risk of heart disease. All of the firefighters underwent testing using Cardiac CT, an imaging technology that accurately measures coronary artery calcium deposits (CAC) and plaque buildup in the arteries. C-reactive protein (CRP) – a marker of internal inflammation that may contribute to a higher risk of heart attack – was also measured.

Once their risk was determined, the firefighters were given either a placebo or a combination of 1,200 mg of Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) and 120 mg of CoQ10 every day for 12 months. AGE was included in this study because it is known to support and strengthen your cardiovascular system by maintaining circulatory function and promoting overall heart health. The UCLA researchers found that the firefighters taking the AGE/CoQ10 supplement had significantly less CAC in their arteries and lower CRP levels than those taking the placebo. And that translated to a lower risk of future cardiovascular issues.7

But the benefits of CoQ10 aren’t just reserved for firefighters. Since both calcification and inflammation are hidden risk factors for heart attack and stroke, taking CoQ10 (especially when paired with Aged Garlic Extract) is a smart and simple way to protect your cardiovascular system.

Whether you get it through your diet, a supplement, or all of the above, this antioxidant can help your cells to process energy, can prevent free radical damage, and can improve certain cardiovascular symptoms too. If these sound like areas of health that you need to improve, be sure to ask about CoQ10 at your local health food store.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.