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M AY 2017

for LIFE

time to

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Vitamins for beauty Treat UTIs naturally Healthy babies

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Women’s wellness

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May 2017 vol.13 no. 5

16 departments 6 From the Editor’s Desk

stop the UTI 12 merry-go-round feature

Cranberry may help fight bladder infections.

8 Health Pulse

Yoga may ease back pain, depression • Vitamin D-rich dairy aids bone health • Green tea may improve cholesterol levels • More

16 Supplement Spotlight

Magnesium for heart health and more.

19 Sports Nutrition

Hydration is essential for warm-weather workouts.

20 In Focus

Nutrients play a key role during pregnancy.

22 Women’s Health

Herbs to support women of all ages.

26 Healthy Glow

Vitamins for beauty.

28 The Goods 30 Everyday Remedies

Natural solutions for sunburn.

Cover: Red Clover

A source for news, information, and ideas for your healthy lifestyle. www.remedies-and-recipes.com


@RemediesRecipes May 2017

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from the editor ’s desk

remedies for LIFE

Pondering complexities “To say women’s bodies are complex would be an understatement. Our bodies ebb and flow on a near-monthly cycle, which can act as a megaphone for anything going wrong in the body.” That’s the opening line from “Women’s Health,” this month’s feature by herbalist Maria Noël Groves (page 22). Maria focuses on hormonal issues throughout a woman’s life, particularly during transitional times such as adolescence and perimenopause. She offers herbal recommendations to help ease those transitions. National Women’s Health Week begins on May 14 (which happens to be Mother’s Day), so this issue of remedies pays special attention to all things female. Be sure to read “Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby” (page 20) for nutritional advice that can keep a pregnant mother in top shape while ensuring that her developing baby gets a head start in the womb. There’s plenty more in this issue. We look at the benefits of cranberry extracts for UTIs (page 12), vitamins for skin support (page 26), and natural treatments for sunburn (page 30), to name a few. Our Health Pulse section (page 8) brings you the latest news on lifestyle and supplements. Back in February, we asked readers to share their 2017 Heart Health goals for a chance to win a gift basket of heart-healthy products. The entries were inspiring! We chose two winners. J. Thomson of California shared his post-surgery plans, which included healthy eating, increased exercise, and research on dietary supplements. R. Bell of Missouri wrote about her commitment to her heart through running and swimming, a balanced diet, and “giving love to others.” Happy spring!

Rich Wallace, guest editor


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Chief Content Officer and Strategist Lynn Tryba Managing Editor Donna Moxley Contributing Editors Lisa Fabian, Rich Wallace Editorial Assistant Kelli Ann Wilson Art Director Michelle Knapp Custom Graphics Manager Donna Sweeney Business Development Director Amy Pierce Customer Service customerservice@tasteforlife.com Client Services Director—Retail Judy Gagne 800-677-8847 x128 Client Services Director—Advertising and Digital Ashley Dunk 800-677-8847 x190 Western Brand Promotions Director Shannon Dunn-Delgado 415-382-1665 Group Brand Promotions Director Bob Mucci 978-255-2062 Executive Director of Retail Sales and Marketing Anna Johnston (Anna.Johnston@TasteforLife.com) Retail Account Managers Kim Willard, Ola Lau Founder and Chief Executive Officer T. James Connell EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, CNS, professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and director, Antioxidants Research Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University; Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director, American Botanical Council, editor/publisher of HerbalGram, senior editor, The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs; C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD, research geochemist, author, Natural Asthma Relief and Prevent, Treat, and Reverse Diabetes; Steven Foster, photographer, herbalist, and senior author of three Peterson Field Guides, author of 101 Medicinal Herbs, A Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine and more, associate editor of HerbalGram, the journal of the American Botanical Council; John Neustadt, ND, founder of Montana Integrated Medicine, coauthor, A Revolution in Health Through Nutritional Biochemistry; Lisa Petty, RHN, RNCP, holistic nutrition consultant, author of Living Beauty and host of the health talk radio show Lisa Live; Dana Ullman, MPH, author of The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy and other titles on homeopathy; Marc Ullman, partner at Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, chairman, Legal Advisory Counsel, Natural Products Foundation; Amber Lynn Vitse, CN, is certified in Integrative Nutrition, a fusion bodyworker, and an Ayurvedic practitioner, and writes on health issues. remedies is published monthly by Taste for Life, 149 Emerald Street, Suite O, Keene, NH 03431, 603-283-0034 (fax 603-283-0141); ©2017 Connell Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. This magazine is not intended to provide medical advice on personal health conditions, nor to replace recommendations made by health professionals. The opinions expressed by contributors and sources quoted in articles are not necessarily those of the editor or the publisher. Advertisers and advertising agencies assume liability for all content of advertising and for any claims arising therefrom. Information appearing in remedies may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express permission of the publisher.

Creative and Sales Offices: 149 Emerald Street, Suite O, Keene NH 03431 603-283-0034 Printed in the US on partially recycled paper.

The inks used to print the body of this publication contain a minimum of 20%, by weight, renewable resources.

Products advertised or mentioned in this magazine may not be available in all locations.

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back pain? consider yoga

About 80 percent of Americans will have back pain sometime during their lives, and treatments can be frustrating and expensive. A new analysis of a dozen studies determined that yoga can offer relief. “For some patients suffering from chronic non-specific low back pain, yoga may be worth considering as a form of treatment,” said researcher L. Susan Wieland, PhD, of the University of Maryland. Participants showed small reductions in pain and small to moderate improvements in back function from yoga practice. “Low Back Pain? Relax, Breathe, and Try Yoga” by Robert Preidt, HealthDay, 2/10/17


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yoga can ease


Participants in a weekly yoga program saw significant easing of symptoms of depression in a new study. The researchers determined that yoga practice may be an effective therapy for tough-to-treat cases. “Hold That Pose: Yoga May Ease Tough Depression” by Mary Elizabeth Dallas, www.MedlinePlus.gov, 3/9/17

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D and dairy boost bone health

Eating specific dairy foods can help prevent bone loss in older adults, but only when combined with a vitamin D supplement. That’s the conclusion of a group of Boston researchers who identified milk, yogurt, and cheese as bone-mineral boosters in the spine and hip. The study found that vitamin D stimulates absorption of calcium, which is crucial for bone growth and maintenance. “This study clarified that the association of dairy foods with bone density is dependent on adequate vitamin D intake,” said lead researcher Shivani Sahni, PhD, of the Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research. The study may lead to better care for older Americans with osteoporosis. “Dairy and Vitamin D Supplements Protect Against Bone Loss,” Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research, 3/1/17

did you know?

Older adults are not the only ones who may benefit from a vitamin D supplement. More than half of the participants at a recent National Football League scouting event for college players were found to have inadequate levels of the vitamin. The deficiency can leave athletes susceptible to muscle injuries, since the vitamin is essential for muscle structure, strength, and function. “More Than Half of College Football Athletes Have Inadequate Levels of Vitamin D,” Hospital for Special Surgery, www.ScienceDaily.com, 3/17/17

fiber may soothe

gout pain

If you’re dealing with the painful inflammation of gout, increasing your fiber intake may help. A recent study found that fiber can trigger micro-organisms in the gut to produce shortchain fatty acids, which in turn ease inflammation specific to gout. “High Fiber Diets May Alleviate Inflammation Caused by Gout,” Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 1/4/17

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tea extract cuts


Taking a green tea extract for 12 months significantly improved cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women. The 936 participants in the study saw drops in circulating total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and non-HDL cholesterol. The women received a daily placebo or a supplement containing 1,315 milligrams (mg) of catechins from green tea, including 843 mg of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Their blood lipid levels were tested at the beginning of the study, after six months, and after a year. Those who took the supplement saw a 2.1 percent average reduction in total cholesterol and a 4.1 percent drop in LDL, while those who received the placebo saw small increases. The effects were stronger in women who had higher average levels of those blood lipids at the start. The supplement increased triglyceride levels by about 3.6 percent, but the increase was seen mostly in obese women who used statins.

4 Superheroes for Health In the fight for health, it’s the good guys (like fruit) against the bad

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“Effects of Green Tea Catechin Extract on Serum Lipids in Postmenopausal Women . . .” by H. Samavat et al., Am J Clin Nutr, 11/2/16

May 2017  

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l remedies  11 3/29/17 10:30 AM

By Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH

stop the UTI Merry-Go-Round Cranberry fights recurrent bladder infections


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If you are experiencing urinary urgency and painful urination, you are not alone. Upwards of 60 percent of women develop urinary tract infections (UTI) at least once in their lives. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for women to get several UTIs—also known as bladder infections—each year as some women develop yet another UTI shortly after their course of antibiotics ends. Natural medicine offers relief. The key player here? Cranberries. It turns out cranberries have far more to offer than just playing a supporting role at Thanksgiving dinner. When it comes to urinary health, cranberries take center stage.

Historic uses of cranberry Cranberries are native to the US; Native Americans shared their knowledge of these berries with the Mayflower Pilgrims and subsequent European colonists. Several Native American tribes put cranberries to use in the form of cranberry sauce, but they also used the berries as a component of medicinal poultices, as well as relying on cranberries for the treatment of bladder infections. Modern research confirms the bladder-friendly qualities of cranberry, making this role the principal health application of this colorful berry. Cranberry—in juice or supplement form—is the best-known natural preventive option for frequent UTIs.

How cranberry works Cranberry juice first earned scientific scrutiny in the early 1900s. Researchers then suspected that the acidity of cranberry juice could account for why UTI bacteria didn’t prosper when cranberry was on the scene. Current

understanding of how cranberry fights UTIs relates not to its acidity, but rather to compounds in this tart fruit called proanthocyanidins. These compounds block bacteria from being able to stick to the wall of the bladder. Because the bacteria can’t attach, they are washed away in the urine before an infection develops. When women who suffer from recurrent UTIs take cranberry extract in daily pill form, their risk of a new UTI goes down dramatically compared to women not taking cranberry pills. In a study of women plagued with recurrent bladder infections (a disheartening six or more in the prior year), supplementing with cranberry extract brought that number to zero, and women who continued supplementing remained infection-free during the next two years. Similar benefits were noted in a study of children with recurrent infections. Taken preventively, cranberry pills have nearly the same effectiveness as antibiotic use in keeping UTIs at bay. Although antibiotics worked slightly better in this regard than cranberry, cranberry gets bonus points for not causing the many downsides of antibiotics: diarrhea, stomach upset, yeast infection, or even potentially fatal superinfections.

Cranberry—in juice or supplement form—is the bestknown natural preventive option for frequent UTIs.

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continued from page 13

Pills v. Juice

Cranberry cocktail juice is heavily sweetened and contains a very small amount of cranberry juice. However, cranberry juice and pills containing cranberry juice extract are both effective choices for preventing UTIs. Price can be an important part of the equation for choosing a product. A cost effectiveness study determined that cranberry extract in pill form cost less than half as much as the juice form of cranberry. This cost can add up as cranberry needs to be taken daily to prevent UTIs. Compared to drinking 16 ounces of unsweetened, 100 percent cranberry juice every day, pill taking is a more affordable choice. Another concern for some people is the added calories from consuming large quantities of juice.

Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH, a health journalist for more than two decades, is the author of Life After Baby: Rediscovering and Reclaiming Your Healthy Pizzazz (Basic Health Publications, 2012).

“Can a Concentrated Cranberry Extract Prevent Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Women? A Pilot Study” by D.T. Bailey et al., 4/07; “Cranberry Juice for Prophylaxis of Urinary Tract Infections— Conclusions from Clinical Experience and Research” by R. Nowack and W. Schmitt, 9/08, Phytomedicine ● “Cranberry Juice for the Prevention of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Children” by P. Ferrara et al., Scand J Urol Nephrol, 2009 ● “Cranberry or Trimethoprim for the Prevention of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections? A Randomized Controlled Trial in Older Women” by M.E. McMurdo et al., J Antimicrob Chemother, 2/09 ● “Cranberry Supplementation in the Prevention of Non-severe Lower Urinary Tract Infections: A Pilot Study” by A. Ledda, Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci, 1/15 ● “Effect of Oral Extract (Standardized Proanthocyanidin-A) in Patients with Recurrent UTI by Pathogenic E. coli: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Research Study” by I. Singh et al., Int Urol Nephrol, 9/16 ● “A Randomized Trial to Evaluate Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Naturopathic Cranberry Products as Prophylaxis Against Urinary Tract Infection in Women” by L. Stothers, Can J Urol, 6/02 ● “Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Management in Women” by A. Al-Badr and G. Al-Shaikh, Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J, 8/13


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supplement spotlight

magnificent magnesium this mineral is a multitasker

Magnesium is one of the unsung heroes of the mineral family. It is crucial to many of the body’s most important functions—it keeps our blood pressure in the normal range, our bones strong, and our heart rate stable. It also helps keep inflammation in check, which can help stave off major health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and even some cancers. Given magnesium’s importance to our overall health and well-being, it might surprise you to learn that many US adults do not eat enough magnesium-rich foods to keep their levels up. Still others suffer from magnesium deficiencies due to chronic health conditions like kidney disease, Crohn’s and other digestive ailments, and thyroid problems. Some medications—including antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors, and drugs used to treat diabetes and cancer—are also tied to lower magnesium levels.

Matters of the heart Magnesium appears to boost heart health. A recent meta-analysis of 40 studies with more than one million total participants determined that increasing dietary magnesium intake by just 100 milligrams (mg) per day was associated with a 22 percent decrease in the risk of heart failure, as well as a 7 percent reduction in the risk of stroke. Researchers in the Netherlands followed a cohort of participants for nine years, hoping to learn 16

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more about the connection between low blood serum magnesium levels and cardiac problems. They found that older men and women with the lowest levels were 36 percent more likely to die from coronary heart disease and more than 50 percent more likely to experience sudden cardiac death than those with moderate levels. A similar study followed middle-aged Finnish men for 25 years and found that those with lower serum magnesium levels had a higher risk of heart failure. Clinical studies have also shown that people receiving 368 mg per day of magnesium via supplementation for three months experienced reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

The diabetes link Multiple studies have found links between magnesium intake and Type 2 diabetes. A metaanalysis of seven studies found that for each 100 mg of magnesium consumed per day there was a 15 per-

cent decrease in the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Magnesium supplements may also help boost insulin sensitivity. One study found that people with both low serum magnesium levels and prediabetes were helped by taking a liquid supplement containing 382 mg of magnesium daily. More than half of the participants taking the supplement achieved an improved glucose status.

Just for women Magnesium has been linked to several beneficial outcomes for women. Painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea) affects many women. Experts recommend a dose of about 360 mg per day to keep uterine muscles in top shape and reduce painful cramps. For women suffering from the emotional effects of their monthly period, magnesium combined with vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce premenstrual stress. Research also points to a positive relationship between magnesium intake and bone mineral density

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(BMD). A reduction in BMD can be a problem for women as they age, as it increases their risk of osteoporosis. One study found that getting the Recommended Dietary Allowance of magnesium (320 mg/day) was positively linked with higher BMD. Magnesium supplements may interact with some medications, and they may be contra-indicated for some health conditions. Always consult with your healthcare provider before adding any supplements to your diet. —Kelli Ann Wilson “Can Magnesium Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes?” by Joseph Mercola, DO, http://articles.mercola.com, 3/30/15 ● “Dietary Magnesium Intake and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and AllCause Mortality . . .” by X. Fang et al., BMC Med, 12/8/16 ● “Dysmenorrhea (Holistic),” Michigan Medicine at University of Michigan, www.UofMhealth.org ● “The Impact of Essential Fatty Acids, B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Zinc Supplementation on Stress Levels in Women: A Systematic Review” by D. McCabe et al., JBI Database System Rev Implement Rep, 2/17 ● “Magnesium,” www.WebMD.com, 7/12/16

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sports nutrition


Your plan for warm-weather workouts

Is there anything more exciting than a glass of water? You can probably think of a couple of things. But there may be nothing more important. As temperatures rise, staying hydrated becomes more difficult. Even mild dehydration can hurt your performance in an athletic event or a workout, according to Penn State physiology professor Larry Kenney, PhD. Dr. Kenney told WebMD that a drop of 2 percent in the body’s water levels can lead to “performance detriments in sports.” A 3 to 4 percent decrease can cause increased heart rate and an elevated body temperature.

Eight Glasses. Really? According to the Cleveland Clinic, signs of dehydration include fatigue, headaches, flushed skin, cramping, and lightheadedness. If you wait until you feel thirsty before getting a drink, you’ll already be dehydrated. Conventional wisdom says we need to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. But remember, water can come from a variety of sources, including other beverages and foods like fruits and vegetables. Exercise causes us to sweat, which increases our need to replace fluids. “For every pound of sweat you lose, that’s a pint of water you’ll need to replenish,” said sports medicine physician John Batson, MD. He recommends that you drink water before exercising or going out in the sun. “Otherwise, you’re playing catch-up and your heart is straining.”

On the Go For normal hydration, drink enough so you’ll need to urinate every two to four hours. Urine should be clear or light in color. A darker stream indicates dehydration.

Whether you’ll be running a marathon or walking to the corner, here are a few drops of advice for staying hydrated in the summer heat. Sports drinks provide an added boost for sessions of an hour or longer. They contain electrolytes such as potassium and sodium, which can prevent muscle cramping. Aloe vera juice is an excellent hydrator—in fact, it’s 99 percent water. It also provides vitamins A, B12, C, and E, and has antiinflammatory properties. Tart cherry juice is loaded with antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation. It may help you recover faster from a workout. Exercise blunts the signals that tell us we’re thirsty, so drink frequently during workouts. A home water filter or a distiller will help purify your water, reducing exposure to toxins. If you aren’t sweating while exercising on a hot day, stop the workout and drink some fluids. You might be on the verge of heat exhaustion. It’s important to exercise year-round, so don’t curtail your workouts in summer. Get out there in the morning or evening when the temps are lower, and make an extra effort to stay hydrated. —Alan Siddal

“Avoiding Dehydration, Proper Hydration,” http:// my.ClevelandClinic.org ● “Montmorency Cherry Juice Reduces Muscle Damage Caused by Intensive Strength Exercise” by J.L. Bowtell et al., Med Sci Sports Exerc, 8/11 ● “The Quest for Hydration” by Heather Hatfield, www.WebMD.com ● “Should You Be Sipping Aloe Vera Juice This Summer?” by Mattie Kahn, http://ABCNews.go.com, 2015 ● “Staying Hydrated, Staying Healthy,” American Heart Association, www.heart.org

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in focus

healthy mom, healthy baby these nutrients are essential

Pregnancy generally lasts about nine months, but the months before and after can have a significant impact on a mother’s health—and that of her baby. Prepare for pregnancy by reaching your ideal weight, eating lots of fruit and vegetables, exercising regularly, and getting a medical exam that includes tests for iron deficiency and cholesterol levels. Supplements can play a key role in ensuring a healthy pregnancy, but don’t overdo it. When pregnant, “start taking prenatal vitamins, and stop taking your daily multivitamin,” write Glade B. Curtis, MD, and Judith Schuler, authors of Your Pregnancy Week by Week. “More is not better in this situation.”

Folic acid is key Curtis and Schuler recommend adding 400 micrograms of folic acid per day, and to begin taking it up to a year before getting pregnant. “Taking folic acid before pregnancy gives you protection during the first 28 days of pregnancy, which is very important.” Folic acid is the synthetic form of the B vitamin folate. It’s been shown to reduce neural-tube defects, which are birth 20

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defects of the spine and brain. In her book Life After Baby, Victoria Dolby Toews writes that folic acid may help prevent some miscarriages. She adds that four-year-olds whose mothers took folic acid during pregnancy were more attentive in preschool and had better social skills. Folate can be found in many foods, including dark-green leafy vegetables, brewer’s yeast, orange juice, and fortified cereals. Still, most healthcare professionals advise taking a folic-acid supplement before and during pregnancy. A 2017 study showed that higher intake of folic acid during pregnancy may lower a child’s risk for developing high blood pressure. The mothers in the study had high cardiometabolic risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, or diabetes.

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Consider omega 3s Unfortunately, a new study found that most American women do not eat well enough while pregnant. A healthy diet can lower the risk of obesity, pre-eclampsia, fetal growth restriction, and preterm birth. “Unlike many other pregnancy and birth risk factors, diet is something we can improve,” said lead researcher Lisa Bodnar, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. She examined reports on eating habits from more than 7,500 women during the three months surrounding conception. A lack of awareness of healthy eating appeared to be the biggest factor in the poor diets. In addition to vitamins and minerals, make sure you’re ingesting omega-3 fatty acids from fish, plant sources, or supplements. Omega 3s are essential for brain development. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are excellent choices, while flaxseeds and walnuts are among the many good plant sources. Omega-3 supplements come in many forms.

Need more iron? Your prenatal supplement may include iron, but few women have enough iron

stores to meet the demands of pregnancy. Prior to getting pregnant, an iron-rich diet can help ensure adequate levels for the mother and her developing baby. “If iron is low, then energy levels decrease, possibly leading to a less active lifestyle . . . which would affect general health and well-being,” write registered dieticians Daina Kalnins and Joanne Saab in Better Food for Pregnancy. Meats and seafood are the best sources of heme iron, while vegetarian sources of nonheme iron include beans, seeds, enriched cereals, and nuts. Discuss with your healthcare practitioner whether you need additional iron from supplements.

Post-pregnancy nutrition Toews identifies several superfoods for new moms, including chia seeds, which provide protein, fiber, and a vegetarian source of omega 3s, among other nutrients. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts; wild salmon and other fatty fish; flaxseeds; green foods such as algae, barley grass, and wheat grass; live-culture yogurt; mushrooms; and sweet potatoes are also high on Toews’s list. —Cameron Hendrix

Prenatal essentials Look for these nutrients in your prenatal vitamin/mineral supplement. Calcium for teeth and bones Copper for bone formation Folic acid for blood-cell production and prevention of birth defects Iodine for metabolism control Vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, B12, and E for general health and metabolism Vitamin C for absorption of iron Vitamin D for bones and teeth Zinc for nerve and muscle function Your Pregnancy Week by Week, 7th ed., by Glade B. Curtis, MD, and Judith Schuler ($15.95, Lifelong Books, 2011)

“Association of Maternal Plasma Folate and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Pregnancy . . .” by H. Wang et al., Am J Hypertens, 3/6/17 ● Better Food for Pregnancy by Daina Kalnins, RD, and Joanne Saab, RD ($19.95, Robert Rose, 2006) ● The Holistic Baby Guide by Randall Neustaedter, OMD ($18.95, New Harbinger, 2010) ● Life After Baby by Victoria Dolby Toews ($18.95, Basic Health, 2012) ● Your Pregnancy Week by Week, 7th ed., by Glade B. Curtis, MD, and Judith Schuler ($15.95, Lifelong Books, 2011) ● “Racial or Ethnic and Socioeconomic Inequalities in Adherence to National Dietary Guidance in Large Cohort of US Pregnant Women” by L.M. Bodnar et al., Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 3/17

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By Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG)

women’s health

herbs that can help To say women’s bodies are complex would be an understatement. Our bodies ebb and flow on a near-monthly cycle, which can act as a megaphone for anything going wrong in the body. Natural transition times like adolescence and perimenopause can be challenging when the body is out of whack. Even if you’re in your prime reproductive years, you may experience menstrual cramps and PMS or more serious conditions like fibroids, infertility, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). While each woman deserves an individualized approach—ideally with a skilled holistic practitioner— herbs can lend a hand.


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Estrogen Support

What Estrogen Does: Estrogen takes center stage during our reproductive years, with the favored form (estradiol) produced by follicles in the ovaries, stimulated by the brain’s release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Healthy amounts of estrogen generally boost your mood, protect your bones, support the immune system, and help lay down a thick uterine lining in preparation for a potential pregnancy.

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Estrogen Issues: Estrogen deficiency can lead to long cycles and spotty, scant periods. In menopause, dwindling estrogen causes FSH levels to surge (your brain yelling at the ovaries to step up), which can trigger a hot flash. Postmenopause, we see dwindling bone health, lack of tone in the vagina, and a loss of fertility. Estrogen dominance—which can occur in perimenopause, if you’re overweight, and from endocrinedisrupting xenoestrogens in plastic, fertilizers, and other petroleum products—can cause heavy periods and an increased risk for estrogen-dependent cancer. Phytoestrogens can help in either scenario because they bind to estrogen-receptor sites, bumping out more potent estrogens produced by the body or from xenoestrogens, yet they have a much weaker estrogen effect. While soy is the most researched (though controversial), phytoestrogens are present in all beans, red clover blossoms, flaxseeds (not the oil but the fiber), shatavari (which also has stress-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and sex-enhancing, lubricating properties), and some mint-family herbs. Most studies show that phytoestrogens have a protective effect when taken or consumed regularly, although they remain controversial in estrogen-dependent cancers. Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa, syn Cimicifuga racemosa), sometimes called a phytoestrogen, doesn’t contain any estrogen, yet it helps balance and improve the brain-ovary communication and levels of both FSH and estrogen. The herb—especially the standardized extract called Remifemin—can help control hot flashes. It can take several months for the herb to effect change. As a uterine relaxant, anti-inflammatory, and hormonebalancing herb, black cohosh has been shown to shrink uterine fibroids by 30 percent (twice the response rate of medications), and decrease PCOS symptoms while increasing fertility as effectively as the drug Clomid, and better when the two are combined. The Remifemin dose is generally 40 milligrams (mg) daily, often divided into two doses. Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis), sometimes called “female ginseng,” appears to synergize estrogen to increase the effects of your natural estrogen without actually providing

it. It’s believed to relax and improve circulation to the uterus, increasing reproductive vitality and easing cramps. It’s traditionally used by women showing symptoms of estrogen deficiency, anemia, scanty periods, anxiety, PMS, perimenopause, and infertility. In traditional Chinese medicine, dong quai is rarely used solo and is instead combined with chi tonic and adaptogenic herbs such as ginseng and rehmannia. It can thin the blood and increase bleeding and is likely not as useful post menopause.

Progesterone Support

What Progesterone Does: If you ovulate mid-cycle, the brain will begin to send luteinizing hormone (LH) down to the ovaries, which prompts the corpus luteum (the empty throne that month’s egg left behind) to produce progesterone. Progesterone also boosts the mood (although not in all women) and immune function as well as the specialization of tissue in the uterus to facilitate a pregnancy or easy period. Progesterone Issues: Your body can turn progesterone into the stress hormone cortisol when your body is in flight or fight mode, which—with the finite amount of progesterone in the corpus luteum—can result in a shorter progesterone phase. This drop in both estrogen and progesterone for a few days before your period can cause mood swings, PMS, decreased immune function, and infertility. Another issue with progesterone occurs if you don’t ovulate or ovulate erratically, as in perimenopause. Without ovulation, you don’t have a corpus luteum to produce progesterone—nor do you get the benefits of this hormone—during the last half of your cycle. You may notice cycle irregularities, depression, fatigue, and mood swings. Because your uterus has been under the influence of estrogen but not progesterone and its specialization skills, you may have a heavy period (when you eventually ovulate) or fake period and risk anemia. Although some hormone wobbles are normal during perimenopause, we can sometimes lessen the severity of progesterone issues naturally. These are subtler than the effects of progesterone cream or bioidentical hormones,

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which supply progesterone to the bloodstream. Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus), also called chaste tree berry, does not contain progesterone, but it seems to improve the brain-ovary communication to enhance and regulate the production of progesterone by your body. It can help lengthen short cycles, ease symptoms when you “run out” of progesterone prematurely, and encourage more normal hormone cycles in general. You can take it all cycle long or only from day 14 to 28, one milliliter to one teaspoon of the tincture daily or in formula. Vitex often improves mood, PMS, and perimenopause symptoms; however, some women find it makes them cranky and depressed. If you’re not ovulating, especially post-menopause, vitex’s effects may be minimal. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) may support healthy progesterone and stress hormone production while nourishing the body with protein, iron, and other nutrients. It appears to improve libido, energy, overall vitality, and mood. You can add a spoonful or two to smoothies or take it in capsules or tinctures. If you’re concerned about the potential anti-thyroid and digestive upset side effects of this turnip-family root, seek gelatinized powder/pills or use the tincture. Damiana (Turnera diffusa) has minimal research but appears to support brain-ovary communication and progesterone as well as estrogen production. This highly aromatic herb is most famous in Mexico for uplifting the mood, easing anxiety, and gently lifting libido for both sexes. Stress support is crucial for healthy progesterone management. This can come in the form of adaptogenic herbs such as schisandra or ashwagandha, a good vitamin B complex or daily multi, adequate sleep, exercise, and lifestyle techniques like daily breathing exercises.

Additional Support

Nutrition: Outside of the realm of hormone-balancing support, we can enhance the body’s access to good nutrition with nutrient-rich herbs. Stinging nettle leaf is high in calcium, magnesium, and iron, while raspberry leaf has calcium, iron, and vitamin C. Both are astringent herbs that tighten and tone the uterine lining and muscles, and ease excessive menstrual bleeding. Raspberry leaf is stronger and is most often used to prepare the uterus for birth. Both stinging nettle and raspberry leaf are best as teas. Of course, a daily multi, omega-3 supplement, vitamin D, calcium-magnesium, and a healthy diet are useful. Adequate nutrients can improve mood and resistance to stress, improve fertility, and increase energy. For anemia, yellow dock root, blackstrap molasses, and iron-rich foods can help in borderline to moderate cases. Pain and Inflammation: This can take the form of endometriosis, cysts, fibroids, and menstrual cramps. Consider ginger, cinnamon, black cohosh, angelica root, or cramp bark for acute pain. Shatavari, black cohosh, and/or fenugreek taken daily can decrease inflammation while improving hormone production. Magnesium, a B complex, and omega-3 fish oil taken daily can help relax muscles and ease inflammation dramatically. Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), is a registered clinical herbalist and freelance health journalist nestled in the pine forests of New Hampshire. She is the author of the book Body into Balance. Learn about herbs, distance consults, online classes, and more at www.WintergreenBotanicals.com.

“Adding the Phytoestrogen Cimicifugae racemosae to Clomiphene Induction Cycles . . . ” by A.Y. Shahin and S.A. Mohammed, Gynecol Endocrinol, 7/14 ● “Beneficial Effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on Psychological Symptoms and Measures of Sexual Dysfunction in Postmenopausal Women . . . ” by N.A. Brooks et al., Menopause, 2008 ● “Comparison of Effects of Ginger, Mefenamic Acid, and Ibuprofen on Pain in Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea” by G. Ozgoli et al., J Altern Complement Med, 2/09 ● “Effect of Isopropanolic Cimicifuga racemosa Extract on Uterine Fibroids . . . ” by S. Xi et al., 2014; “Efficacy of Oral Ginger (Zingiber officinale) for Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” by C.X. Chen et al., 2016, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med ● “Herbal Medicine for the Management of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) . . . ” by S. Arentz et al., 2014; “Maca (L. Meyenii) for Improving Sexual Function: A Systematic Review” by B. Shin et al., 2010, BMC Complement Altern Med ● “Lepidium meyenii (Maca): A Plant from the Highlands of Peru—From Tradition to Science” by G.F. Gonzales et al., Forsch Komplementmed, 12/09 ● “Role of Phyto-Oestrogens in Ovulation Induction in Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome” by H.H. Kamel, Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol, 5/13


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To find out more about stocking Bio-Kult. Contact: Protexin, Inc. 1833 NW 79th Avenue, Doral, FL 33126 786 310 7233 *THIS STATEMENT HAS NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THE PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.

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healthy glow

vitamins for beauty enhance your glow, naturally

Vitamins are important for achieving a healthy glow that radiates from the inside out. You are what you eat! Eating healthy foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants will reect a beautiful you in the mirror. Here are some speciďŹ c vitamins and the role they play in beauty from the inside out.

Skin Tips to Remember

If you cannot give your skin all the anti-aging nutrients it needs through diet, consider adding a whole-foodbased supplement to your daily regimen.

When choosing topical products for your skin, choose products and brands that contain the same ingredients as skin-friendly foods. For example, if you’re trying to combat dark spots, pick a cream enriched with vitamin A. If your skin is dry, try a vitamin E oil. With proper diet and organic skin care, you are on the path to a healthy glow!


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Vitamin A: Great for skin overall, but especially if dark spots are your issue. An intake of vitamin A in your diet goes a long way toward anti-aging. Vitamin A–rich foods include sweet potatoes, dark green leafy veggies, carrots, dried apricots, and butternut squash. If you choose to supplement your diet with vitamin A, the US Food and Drug Administration recommends a daily value for adults of 5,000 IU.

Vitamin C: This is a skin superhero! It is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body produce collagen. Collagen is a key factor in beauty and anti-aging. It is the glue that holds the skin together. Collagen production begins to decline after age 25, so it needs all the help it can get. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruit, cauliflower, and red bell peppers (choose organic, if possible).

Vitamin D: Sometimes called the sunshine vitamin, it is produced when you are in the sun. Symptoms of eczema and psoriasis have been known to respond well to a daily dose of D. Acne also responds to vitamin D absorption by decreasing oil production in skin cells.

B Complex: B vitamins work together and include niacin, thiamine, folate, riboflavin, B6, B12, biotin, and pantothenic acid. A deficiency can produce unsightly symptoms such as rashes, uneven complexion, wrinkles, dry skin, and cracked lips. B complex–rich foods include dark green leafy veggies, nuts, chicken, fish, eggs, bananas, lentils, and avocados. Niacin (B3) has specifically been shown to reduce redness. It also helps clear up acne and increases hydration. This is a great nutrient for a variety of skin issues, including dry skin and rosacea. Tuna and chicken are packed with B3. Other great sources are parsley, cantaloupe, and kale, so think about adding these to your morning smoothies.

Vitamin E: This antioxidant helps the body reduce the effects of the harmful rays of the sun. It is also an anti-inflammatory that helps with healing wounds and improving dry skin. Consider adding almonds, Swiss chard, kale, and avocado to your diet to get your fill of this important nutrient. Vitamin K: Used to clot blood, K is an antioxidant that helps combat free radicals (a major cause of aging). Vitamin K helps reduce redness and heal bruised skin. Foods rich in K include kale, broccoli, cabbage, and natto (fermented soy). Water: While not a vitamin, water helps your body function properly and can enhance the absorption of vitamins. Aim for at least eight glasses daily. —Karim Orange

“5 Best Vitamins for Beautiful Skin,” www.Prevention.com, 12/11/13 ● “Eczema,” www.VitaminDCouncil.org ● “Skin Protection Effects of Vitamin E” by Robert Goldfaden and Gary Goldfaden, www. LifeExtension.com, 8/12 ● “Vitamin A,” National Institutes of Health, www.ods.od.nih.gov, 6/5/13 ● “Vitamin C and Skin Health,” Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center, Oregon State University, http://lpi.OregonState.edu ● “Vitamin D and the Skin . . .” by W.Z. Mostafa and R.A. Hegazy, J Adv Res, 11/15

consider this Give your body the nutrients it needs to maintain strong hair and nails and healthy skin with NOW Solutions Clinically Advanced Hair, Skin & Nails, from NOW Foods, featuring Cynatine.

NeoCell’s Biotin Bursts offer a tasty alternative to your daily biotin regimen. Each chew is low in sugar and was specially formulated to be as readily absorbable as possible.

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the goods don’t miss these products!

NOW Women’s Probiotic from NOW Foods is formulated with three clinically tested probiotic strains to support immune functioning and women’s health through every stage of life.

Cran-Essence from Flora is a full-spectrum blend of nine herbs in a base of cranberry concentrate that promotes and maintains normal urinary tract health.

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Hair ReVive from Ridgecrest Herbals is a powerful supplement to address female hair loss, combining vitamins and minerals with herbs and bioflavonoids to support hair regrowth and strength.

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SKINprotect Skin Rejuvenation System supplement from BioMed Health provides UV sun protection from within using plant extracts and antioxidants that help reduce wrinkles and promote skin elasticity.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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Natural remedies and tasty recipes to support a healthy way of life.

Don’t Succumb to Cold and Flu

Most of us want to spend the holiday season socializing with friends and family, not spending quality time on the couch with a box of tissues.


e ve r y d a y r e m e d i e s


What is it? Red, tender skin that occurs after overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun; skin may also develop blisters or peel. What causes it? Exposure to UV light exceeds the ability of melanin—the pigment that gives skin its color—to protect skin cells from damage.

Lifestyle: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with

SPF 15 or higher, even on overcast days. Broadspectrum products offer both UVA and UVB protection. Reapply often, especially after swimming or sweating. To soothe burns, apply a cold compress to affected skin or shower in cool water.

Diet: The antioxidant lycopene from tomato-based

Herbal therapy: Lavender essential oil may

Homeopathy: Hypericum gel may help treat

Supplements: Look for supplements containing

foods and drinks may offer some protection against UV damage.


reduce inflammation and help skin heal. Gels made from calendula, stinging nettle, and aloe vera may also be helpful.

vitamins C and E, as well as antioxidants beta carotene and lycopene to help boost the body’s natural skin defenses.

Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self Care by Maria Noël Groves ($24.95, Storey Publishing, 2016) ● The Complete Homeopathic Resource for Common Illnesses by Dennis Chernin, MD ($29.95, North Atlantic Books, 2006) ● “Sunburn,” University of Maryland Medical Center, 2017 ● “Sunburn: Lifestyle and Home Remedies” www.MayoClinic.org, 5/1/14


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Defy aging and let your natural beauty shine.

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