6 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally this Flu Season

Flu season is here. Are you ready?

Even as health officials promote the flu vaccine, they know there’s a small chance it will help. We’re not saying you shouldn’t get it – you should always work with your doctor or health care provider to decide what’s best for you. What we are saying is protecting yourself against the flu involves more than rolling up your sleeve.

The good news is that boosting your immune system against the flu is just as simple and can be a whole lot more enjoyable! Eating a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and fiber is both tasty and a great way to get the vitamins and minerals like zinc and magnesium that you need to keep your immune system strong.

Many people turn to blue-green algae supplements like Algae Infused during flu season for the big nutrient boost of vitamins, minerals and amino acids they supply.

Diet isn’t the only way to do it though. Here are 6 simple ways to boost your immune system naturally and beat the flu this season.

Get Enough Sleep

Work. Family. Your smartphone![i] These and more can steal precious hours of sleep every night leaving your immune system weakened. Dr. John Park of the Mayo Clinic noted in a WebMD article:

“We know that our immune response is suppressed when we are sleep deprived…”[ii]

He’s not basing his comment on what mothers have known for ages though. Research has shown getting enough sleep is essential for a strong immune system. It’s especially important for immune cells like the T-cells which are necessary to fight and protect you against flu. Lack of sleep also increases your body’s inflammatory response which increases your risk of getting sick.[iii]

So, how much sleep do you need?

Experts agree adults should get 7-8 hours of sleep. Children need at least 9-12 hours, with younger children needing more including naps as needed.

Exercise

If you’re in good health, exercise is a great way to stay in shape and boost your immune response. Researchers have studied the benefits of exercise on immune response for decades and continue to come to the same conclusion – exercise keeps your immune system active and strong.[iv]

Recently, researchers at the University of California – San Diego noted that it doesn’t take a lot of exercise either. Their study found incredible benefits for your immune system – as well as your heart and nervous system! – with only 20 minutes of moderate exercise every day.[v] That’s the equivalent of a brisk walk, making exercise very do-able for anyone of any age!

Get Plenty of Vitamin D

When you start feeling sick, you might turn to vitamin C. If you’d like to skip the whole getting sick thing, then make sure you get plenty of vitamin D every day.

Studies show vitamin D is vital to your immune cells. Without it, they won’t respond to viruses like flu. Here’s how it works…

You have immune cells constantly in your blood and throughout your body on the look-out for viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. When they encounter one, a receptor (think of it like an antenna) gets active and starts looking for a vitamin D molecule. If it finds one, the immune cell gets active and attacks the invader. However, if there’s no vitamin D around, the immune cell does nothing, and the virus goes about its business making you sick![vi]

Fortunately, getting vitamin D is easy. Spending 20-30 minutes in the sun produces about 10,000 IUs of vitamin D. Of course, for those who live in northern climates, this can be a challenge during flu season. The answer then is to find a good vitamin D3 supplement and take it daily.

Try Immune-Boosting Herbs

Herbal medicine has been practiced for thousands of years and in that time has identified many herbs that provide immune-boosting effects. Some of the most popular include:

  • Astragalus: An herb known as an adaptogen which has been shown to boost T-cell response.[vii]
  • Reishi mushroom: This mushroom popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine contains beta-glucans, a polysaccharide which increases immune cell production for a heightened immune response.[viii]
  • Echinacea: This herb has been popular for years and has been shown to help stimulate and regulate many different elements of the immune system.[ix]

You can find these three herbs in supplements and often as teas. Frankly, there are many herbs known for great immune-boosting properties via their antioxidant power and other plant compounds. You may find many herbal teas contain them.

When working with herbs, however, always make sure to get them from a trusted source to ensure the best quality and limit your exposure to heavy metals and other potential contaminants.

Probiotics

Beneficial bacteria, we commonly just call them probiotics, play a big role in your immune response. Nearly 80% of your immune response takes place in your digestive tract. This makes it essential to maintain stable levels of these beneficial bacteria in your gut. When you do, they keep “bad” bacteria like E. coli and others under control and prevent them from disrupting your immune response.

Taking a daily probiotic supplement like Flora Infused is one (easy) way to maintain good levels of essential beneficial probiotics. Eating natto, sauerkraut, kefir and miso are other good dietary approaches to maintain healthy probiotic levels.

Take Metabolic (aka Systemic) Enzymes

Metabolic enzymes also called systemic enzymes, play an important part in the immune system. With all the talk about immune health, the reality is immune cells rely on enzymes to attack and break down bacteria and viruses like the flu.

Specifically, immune cells use the metabolic or systemic enzymes known as proteases. They get their name “protease” for the way they break down protein, which is essential for immune response. Flu viruses – bacteria and fungi too – are protected by a protein shell. Immune cells use these protein-busting enzymes to break down these shells and kill the virus.

Supplementing with metabolic enzymes like Metabolic Infused during flu season gives your body, especially your immune cells, the tools it needs to attack a flu virus early. And, unlike a flu vaccine which only works on a select number of flu viruses, the presence of a variety of protease enzymes gives your immune cells quick access to the enzymes they need – when they need them.

 

 

 

 

[i] https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2014/nighttime-smartphone-use-zaps-workers-energy/

[ii] https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/immune-system-lack-of-sleep#1

[iii] Besedovsky L, Lange T, Born J. Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Arch. 2011;463(1):121-37.

[iv] Pdersen, Bente Klarlund and Hoffman-Goetz, Laurie. Exercise and the Immune System: Regulation, Integration and Adaptation. Physiological Reviews. Vol. 80, No. 3. July 2000.

[v] https://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/index.php/pressrelease/exercise_it_does_a_body_good_20_minutes_can_act_as_anti_inflammatory

[vi] Aranow C. Vitamin D and the Immune SystemJournal of investigative medicine : the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research. 2011;59(6):881-886. doi:10.231/JIM.0b013e31821b8755.

[vii] Chen SM1, et al. Astragalus membranaceus modulates Th1/2 immune balance and activates PPARγ in a murine asthma model. Biochem Cell Biol. 2014 Oct;92(5):397-405. doi: 10.1139/bcb-2014-0008. Epub 2014 Sep 2

[viii] Akramiene D1, et al. Effects of beta-glucans on the immune system. Medicina (Kaunas). 2007;43(8):597-606. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17895634

[ix] Zhai Z, Liu Y, Wu L, et al. Enhancement of innate and adaptive immune functions by multiple Echinacea species. J Med Food. 2007;10(3):423-34.

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Metabolic Enzymes: Your Body’s Natural Anti-inflammatory

Inflammation afflicts so many people today it might be hard to believe that your body naturally produces the best anti-inflammatory in the world. They’re called enzymes – specifically metabolic enzymes. Of course, this prompts the question:

If my body produces these anti-inflammatory molecules, why do I suffer from it?

Frankly, researchers are still studying the many complexities of our inflammatory response. These causes, however, don’t change the fact that enzymes provide the best and most complete relief. To understand why is to understand the basics of inflammation. Let’s take a closer look…

Why Inflammation Occurs

As big a pain as inflammation is (literally, right?), it’s also the mechanism by which the body protects itself from harm and infection. A 2013 Nutrition Review article explains that inflammation is important as it is your body’s natural response to injury or infection. The article notes five symptoms of inflammation[i]:

  • Redness – indicating increased blood flow to the area
  • Heat – due to the presence of more blood
  • Swelling – resulting from the build-up of fluids in the surrounding tissue
  • Pain – which happens as swelling increases pressure in the area
  • Limited mobility – again due to the swelling, especially in joints

Each of these is an essential part of recovery from injury and infection. For example, if you cut yourself while preparing dinner, you’ll bleed. Apply pressure and wrap it and soon the bleeding stops (assuming of course that the cut’s not too bad).

What happened was that as soon as the body recognized the injury, fibrin, a protein used for clotting was released to the area. This fibrin helps to form a barrier to stop the blood loss. Once the bleeding stops, you might notice the area is red, hot, swollen and tender.

This happens as the area is flooded with lymphatic fluid and white blood cells to stop infection. Other molecules needed to remove the dead and broken cells arrive. Their removal allows new cells to take the place of the damaged ones.

This is the same process that takes place for insect bites and stings, infection from germs, sunburns and yes, it’s the same process that’s at the source of joint pain. While necessary for healing, this process can also become problematic as we’ll see in a moment.

How Metabolic Enzymes Reduce Inflammation

Enzymes can generally be divided into three categories.

  • Digestive enzymes, essential for digestion
  • Food or dietary enzymes, like those that naturally occur in plants; bromelain from pineapple and papain from papaya are two well-known examples
  • Metabolic enzymes, which are used to fuel every metabolic process in the body

These metabolic enzymes are responsible for every chemical reaction you need to live. They control your metabolism, keep your immune system going and cleanse the body of toxins and waste. Part of this body cleansing function includes keeping the inflammation response moving along.

Some ways enzymes work is to clear the blood of fibrin. They’re needed to break down and remove neutralized germs in the form of antigen-antibody immune complexes which form when your white blood cells bind with germs to stop infection. These two simple processes alone have a huge effect on inflammation and how you feel, including:

Improved Circulation

By clearing away fibrin, enzymes help reduce and prevent blockages in blood vessels. This is especially important in the arteries and in the joints. In arteries and veins, fibrin can restrict blood flow and put strain on the heart. A recent study has observed that metabolic enzymes protect blood vessels and the heart from damage by improved blood flow and even contribute to healing.[ii]

Circulation affects joints too. Joints have fewer blood vessels and less blood flow. A build-up of fibrin in the blood vessels reduces blood to the joint. What you experience, however, is swelling, limited mobility, aches and soreness as your body heals more slowly since the delivery of essential nutrients and molecules needed for recovery has been reduced.

Metabolic enzymes help keep the blood clear of fibrin to keep blood flowing.

Better Lymphatic Circulation

The lymphatic system is responsible for the delivery of white blood cells. These white blood cells use metabolic enzymes to break down the germs that cause infection.[iii] When there aren’t enough enzymes, those large antigen-antibody complexes form, and like fibrin, can clog and block lymphatic flow.

This slows the removal of fluid that contributes to swelling. It also slows the ability of new white blood cells to arrive to quickly deal with the infection.

Reduced Pain

Researchers have found that metabolic enzymes work as well to relieve pain as over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, just without the side effects.[iv]

Faster Recovery from Injury and Illness

How long it takes you to recover from injury and illness has a lot to do with blood flow and your body’s ability to complete the many metabolic processes needed to –

  • Isolate the area, i.e. stop blood loss or further damage to nearby cells
  • Remove damaged tissue or infectious germs
  • Deliver the nutrient building blocks needed to rebuild the cells in the area

This is how inflammation works whether you’re recovering from an awesome workout, physical injury, or infection.

Researchers have known metabolic enzymes play an essential role in physical recovery. In one study, they decided to see if supplementing with metabolic enzymes would improve recovery time. They tested the metabolic enzymes against a placebo, which just let the body recover without any additional help. The athletes who took the enzymes enjoyed a faster recovery.[v]

So, If I Make These Metabolic Enzymes, Why Do I Suffer from Inflammation?

While researchers continue to explore inflammation, there are several known factors why inflammation can get out of control.

  1. You produce fewer enzymes as you get older. Some experts suggest by age 50 you produce half the enzymes you did at age 20.
  2. One organ produces the majority of your enzymes. The pancreas is responsible for making enzymes. It can only produce so many (which is frankly a lot), but other factors can make those it can produce too few. For example, without enough enzyme rich foods in your diet – raw fruits and vegetables – it has to spend time making more digestive enzymes, instead of metabolic enzymes.
  3. A diet high in sugar, starches and processed foods. A carb heavy diet and one that includes nutrient and enzyme-deficient processed foods can quickly overwhelm your ability to break down all the sugars and starches you eat.
  4. Eating too much food. Even a healthy diet can tax your system if you overeat.
  5. Sports and exercise. Your body needs time to recover. If it doesn’t get enough rest and recovery time, it can wear down, especially the joints.
  6. Injury. A physical injury can leave a joint damaged or weakened. Even when it heals, it may not be 100%.
  7. Digestive injuries. Constant inflammation in the digestive tract like that which causes irritable bowels, indigestion, acid and more, floods your body with inflammatory-molecules. Inflammation like this may overwhelm your body’s ability to produce enough metabolic enzymes to control it.

These are several common reasons the enzymes you produce may not be enough. Fortunately, you can help.

How to Reduce Inflammation in Your Body with Metabolic Enzymes

Regardless of your condition, you can take steps today to address inflammation. This is not to say your condition may be more complex and require greater attention, but rather, you can take steps to get it under control immediately. Here’s what to do:

First, eliminate processed foods and those with added sugars.

Second, eat more raw fruits and vegetables.

Now, sometimes this can pose a challenge for you, which is totally understandable, you might want to consider taking a plant-based digestive enzyme [INSERT LINK TO PRODUCT PAGE] with meals. By doing this, you’ll support your body’s own digestive enzymes and improve digestion even of sugars and carbs.

Third, if you exercise, set a routine that gives your muscles and joints a chance to recover. Taking a day off between workouts is highly recommended by most physical trainers.

Finally, take metabolic enzymes. By taking them, you supply your body with the enzymes it needs to support circulation, keep your immune system going strong and reduce the achy, soreness of inflammation.

 

 

 

[i] https://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/controlling-inflammation-proteolytic-enzymes/

[ii] Gonzalez EA1, et al. Cathepsin B inhibition attenuates cardiovascular pathology in mucopolysaccharidosis I mice. Life Sci. 2018 Mar 1;196:102-109. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2018.01.020. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

[iii] https://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/controlling-inflammation-proteolytic-enzymes/

[iv] Bolten WW1, et al. The safety and efficacy of an enzyme combination in managing knee osteoarthritis pain in adults: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis. 2015;2015:251521. doi: 10.1155/2015/251521. Epub 2015 Jan 31.

[v] Marzin T1, et al. Effects of a systemic enzyme therapy in healthy active adults after exhaustive eccentric exercise: a randomised, two-stage, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2017 Mar 12;2(1):e000191. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2016-000191. eCollection 2016.

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Almond Cream Cheese Recipe

It’s very important that all types of nuts are germinated before using, in that way you can absorb better the digestive enzymes in them, amino acids and you eliminate the inhibitory enzymes that can cause inflammation.

To germinate any nut, you simply have to soak them in clean water for 8-12 hours and dispose the water.

If you are looking to maximize protein in your diet, you can add Life Infused probiotics to this recipe. This will cause a positive fermentation. Fermented food aids the intestinal tract and provides high amounts of amino acids and B complex.

 

Ingredients:

½ cup germinated almonds

¼ cup of hemp seeds

1 lemon

½ jalapeño or serrano pepper

½ celery stick

½ orange pepper

1 tsp of salt

1 small piece of ginger

½ cup of water

 

Put in the blender all the ingredients and blend until completely mixed, once the mixture is ready serve in a glass bowl and add 1 capsule of Flora Infused. Let the mixture rest at room temperature for 2 o 3 hours.

 

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Recipe smoothie almonds and coconut with algae

Ingredients:

1 cup of coconut water
1/3 cup of soaked almonds
1/3 tablespoon of cinnamon powder
1 Date (optional)
2 Stevia packet
1 Capsule of algae infused.

Directions:

1. Add 1 cup of coconut water to the blender.
2. Add 1/3 of previously soaked almonds.
3. Sweeten with 2 stevia packets
4. Add a date (optional) your children will love this.
5. Open an Algae Infused capsule and add the powder to the blender.
6. Mix perfectly.
7. Serve in a glass and add a little cinnamon powder.
8. Enjoy it.

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10 Benefits of Plant-based Digestive Enzymes

The Importance of Plant-based Enzymes


Plants are unique. They contain the enzymes needed to break them down for digestion. If you take an apple fresh from the tree and start chewing, it releases enzymes that go to work breaking down its sugars and fibers.

These plant enzymes work together with the ones you naturally produce to digest your food. Of course, this leads to the next question…if I produce digestive enzymes, why would I need more?

For years, the answer has been you don’t. Of course, over those same years, the rates of chronic disease have risen, and obesity has become a problem. Perhaps the better question is, were the digestive enzymes we produce ever supposed to carry the entire load of digestion?

Research suggests no. For example, archaeologists have discovered that centuries ago the typical hunter-gatherer consumed about 135 grams of prebiotic fiber daily! That’s raw fiber from enzyme-rich plants. The 135 grams figure is also really important as –

  • Today, the average adult only gets about 15 grams of fiber[i];
  • The recommended daily average is 25-30 grams of fiber[ii]; and,
  • That 135 grams was only prebiotic fiber, not the entire fiber consumption of the individual!

While this is important in regard to the prebiotics-probiotics discussion (covered in this article, it also reveals that hunter-gatherers would have also consumed a lot of plant enzymes every day!

Now, today the term “plant-based enzymes” refers to two types of enzymes:

  • Enzymes like bromelain and papain that come from plants (pineapple and papaya respectively)
  • Enzymes grown in microbial plants specifically for supplements

Both of these come with a lot of benefits, especially when compared to animal-based enzymes, also known as pancreatic enzymes. Here are 10 of them.

#1. All-Natural.

Enzymes grown in plants come from a natural source. It could be said animal-based enzymes come from the pancreases of animals, which would make them natural. There is, however, one problem with this. Animal-based enzymes are so delicate and fragile, that they require extra care and preparation, often introducing other elements and factors into production.

#2. Safe.

With plants, manufacturers have complete control over the growing environment, harvesting, preparation and manufacture. You also don’t have to wonder what the animal used as sources of the enzymes ate, or if they were kept healthy with antibiotics or other chemicals.

Now, when evaluating a plant-based digestive enzyme, you should always look for certifications to validate the product. GMP, or Good Manufacturing Practice, for example, is one any reputable product will have – and one you should look for at a minimum to ensure the best possible product.

#3. Survives in Lower pH Environments

Plant-based enzymes can survive and do their work in acidic environments, even those as acidic as the human stomach.

Animal-based enzymes need the more neutral pH of the small intestine to work. They would break down if exposed to stomach acids. This is why most animal-based enzymes are covered in an enteric coating; it protects them on their journey through the stomach. It also means they don’t start working until they reach the small intestine, where undigested food could cause inflammation if that area is already highly sensitive, a problem for anyone who suffers from irritable bowels or other types of indigestion.

#4. Provides Better Nutrient Digestion and Absorption

Since plant-based enzymes start working in the stomach, more food gets broken down even before it reaches the small intestine. This means better digestion and a reduced digestive effort that might cause indigestion. It also means more nutrients for your body, nutrients that support a strong metabolism, healthy body weight, and better heart, liver and brain health.

#5. Sustainable.

Plant-based enzymes are good for the environment. Plants are grown, harvested, and then grown again. They require sunlight, water and “plant food.” Animals require more time to grow and require more care.

#6. Can Handle a Wider Range of Temperatures.

Plant-based enzymes can also thrive in a wider range of temperatures. Now, that doesn’t mean you can cook them. All enzymes break down when heated above 120 degrees F. But it means they’ll last.

#7. Travels Better.

Animal-based enzymes need to be kept cool, meaning traveling with them can be a challenge. While we encourage refrigeration of our enzymes, for example, they will still work even if they’re not. This makes it easier for you to get their benefits when you go to work, on business trips, out to dinner or on vacations.

#8. A Greater Variety Promotes Better Overall Health.

Animal-based enzymes, coming from an animal’s pancreas, come in a specific percentage of proteases (for protein digestion), amylases (for carb digestion), and lipases (for fat digestion).

Plant-based enzymes provide these and more. With plants you can get protease, amylase and lipase. You can also get:

  • Lactase, for digestion of milk sugars
  • Peptidase, to digest milk proteins (casein) and gluten
  • Cellulase, which digests plant fibers
  • Hemicellulase, again plant fibers
  • Xylanase, plant fibers
  • Beta-glucanase, which digests special fibers used by yeasts, grains and fungi
#9. Keeps Beneficial Bacteria Balanced.

Probiotics, those beneficial bacteria in your gut, get a lot of attention. Yet, they need digestive enzymes to keep their environment stable.

For example, Candida albicans is a fungus that lives in the gut. In small quantities, it helps with digestion and absorption of nutrients. However, if the balance in the gut gets disrupted by illness, antibiotic use, consumption of added sugars and enzyme-deficient foods, Candida can get out of control and makes the gut an unfriendly environment for your beneficial probiotic bacteria. When out of control, it also forms a hard, outer fiber shell that only plant-based enzymes can break down.

#10. More Flexibility in Combining Enzymes to Meet Different Needs

Plant-based enzymes can be mixed and matched. This means they can be combined for a complete digestive enzyme. Or, they can be combined to form metabolic enzymes to cleanse the blood of excess proteins like fibrin. They can also be used to enhance other products like:

  • Probiotics to make them more effective
  • Blue-green algae supplements to boost nutrient absorption and aid detox
  • Natural cleanse products to improve waste breakdown and detox
  • Protein powders to improve protein digestion to prevent stomach upset and for better results.

Animal-based enzymes can’t do this. They will always be a specific combination of proteases, amylases and lipases. This is the reason plant-based enzymes have become so popular.

It’s also why plant-based enzymes will continue to grow in popularity as more and more people use them. They work. They’re safe. They’re easy to take and can make up for a lack of enzymes in the diet, and you can find the one that meets your specific need.

 

 

[i] Ibid.

[ii] https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/increasing_fiber_intake/

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Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Steps:
  1. Serve cooked beans (germinated) with nopal and grilled onion with a pinch of salt.
  2. Grill or marinate strips of sweet pepper of various colors with garlic, tamari sauce, dill and coriander.
  3. Marinate Portobello mushrooms in squares with salt, tamari sauce and pinch of cayenne pepper.
  4. Mix cooked and germinated Quinoa with a mix of letucces and avocado.

 

Vegan mayo with chipotle dressing:

Blend ½ cup of pinions with a pinch of turmeric, ½ dried chipotle chile, ½ piece of celery, 3 tablespoons of water and ½ teaspoon of salt.

 

Serving:
  1. Put at the bottom of a bowl the beans with nopal and onions.
  2. In another bowl mix all the other ingredients
  3. Serve the mixed ingredients on top of the beans and enjoy!
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Recipe Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream

Ingredients:

½ cup of coconut water

1 ½ cup of ice

1 cup of pinions

Maple honey or stevia to taste

A pinch of vanilla powder

A pinch of cinnamon

1 tbsp. of Matcha green tea.

 

Directions:
  1. Blend all the ingredients together except for the pinions
  2. Once the mixture is well incorporated, add the pinions and blend again until you have a good ice cream consistency.
  3. Put it in container for freezing and freeze until solid.
  4. You can add Carob Chips on top of the ice cream before freezing (Instead of chocolate chips)
  5. You can soak the pinion in clean water for an hour before putting them in the blender, this will help reduce the fat in them.
  6. Enjoy!

*Remember to eat this before 5pm, since Matcha Green Tea gives you lots of energy.

 

 

7 Benefits of Plant-based Protein

To say plant-based protein is good for you would be an understatement. Plant-based proteins offer a highly nutritious source of protein. Better yet, every person on the planet can get great benefits from them – even those who enjoy eating BBQ, steak and other meats.

Plant proteins have incredible benefits for everyone, including:

  • Men
  • Women
  • Weightlifters and athletes looking to build muscle and gain weight
  • People who want to lose weight
  • Vegetarians
  • Self-proclaimed “carnivores”
  • Those who want to live a healthy lifestyle

Now, we know plant-based proteins have had a little of a reputation problem. Critics call them incomplete. It’s said they can’t provide enough protein for a diet and that you need animal protein to build muscle. It’s nonsense.

  • Some plants like hemp seed have as complete a protein profile as animal protein.
  • Others like nuts, peas and beans are loaded with protein – the same ones your body needs to build muscle.
  • Plus, plants supply a wide variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and more.

Quite simply, plant proteins are an excellent source of nutrition. Here are 7 additional benefits plant-based proteins offer.

Fewer Allergens

Some people have allergies to animal-based proteins. Dairy is a big allergen for some people, especially whey proteins in a lot of protein powders used in muscle-building. A “seafood” allergy, which really only involves shellfish, is another type of protein allergy.

And that doesn’t even include the newest meat allergy, the red meat allergy. It’s caused by a bite from the Lone Star Tick. One bite from that little bug and eating red meat can become deadly![i]

Supports the Human Body’s Natural pH

The human body is naturally a little alkaline. In fact, all of the body’s chemical processes only work in a very small range which is strictly maintained. Animal meats (and sugary foods too!) increase acids in the body requiring extra energy be expended to neutralize them.

Plants, especially green ones, support the body’s natural alkalinity.

Plant-proteins Contain Fewer Calories

Protein has become exceptionally popular for weight loss. People who eat more protein than carbs have higher metabolisms and lose more weight.[ii],[iii]

Plant-proteins are ideal for this type of diet. Their proteins and fats have fewer calories, which means you get the protein you need – and a feeling of being full – without the extra calories you don’t need.

You’ll Digest Plant-proteins Easier

The protein in plants comes with a host of other nutrients which support digestion. Fiber, for example, helps with the break down of food and keeps your digestive tract healthy. Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals also support the processes of digestion and absorption which are critical to getting the maximum nutrition from what you eat.

Plant-proteins Promote a Healthy Heart

Research shows plant-proteins protect the heart. They help to limit and reduce factors that contribute to atherosclerosis and heart disease.[iv] And according to European studies, plant-proteins work as well as animal proteins to control blood sugar, an important factor in heart and vascular diseases.[v]

An Excellent Source of All Essential Amino Acids

There are 22 amino acids. Your body can produce 11 of them but needs to get the remaining 9 from dietary sources. These 9 amino acids are known as essential amino acids. They are[vi]:

  • Histidine
  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan

Some plants (like the hemp seed noted above) provide all 9 amino acids. Of course, you don’t have to only eat these to get all the essential amino acids you need. Eating a variety of different plant sources like peas, brown rice, nuts and more is an easy way to supply all essential amino acids, plus supplement your body with several of the other 11 too.

Plant Protein May Be the Easiest Protein for Anyone to Add to the Diet

Animal proteins require some degree of preparation prior to eating. For years weightlifters and athletes turned to whey-based protein powders to get the protein they needed after workouts. Whey can work, but allergies, common challenges with protein digestion and the potential for exposure to contaminants like growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides increase the potential for stomach upset and other health concerns.

Plant-based protein powders offer a safe, organic and natural alternative. Plus, most will advertise whether they provide all essential amino acids, so it won’t be hard to find one that meets all your dietary needs. Most plant-based protein powders also supply other nutrients like antioxidants, minerals and enzymes to aid digestion.

[i] NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. “Allergen in red meat linked to heart disease.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 June 2018

[ii] Pesta DH, Samuel VT. A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveatsNutrition & Metabolism. 2014;11:53. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-11-53.

[iii] Astrup A, Raben A, Geiker N. The role of higher protein diets in weight control and obesity-related comorbiditiesInternational Journal of Obesity (2005). 2015;39(5):721-726. doi:10.1038/ijo.2014.216.

[iv] Krajcovicova-Kudlackova M1, et al. Health benefits and risks of plant proteins. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2005;106(6-7):231-4.

[v] M. Markova1 , et al. “Metabolic and molecular effects of a high-protein diet in subjects with type 2 diabetes.“ Diabetologia (2015) 58 (Suppl 1):S1–S607 DOI 10.1007/s00125-015-3687-4

[vi] http://aminoacidinformation.com/how-many-amino-acids/

How to Identify If You Have Candida Overgrowth

There’s a growing awareness that Candida may be a much bigger problem than previously thought. We’re not talking about the Candida that causes yeast infections or thrush. No, this is the Candida in your digestive tract. If it gets out-of-control, called Candida overgrowth, you’ve got problems.

In a previous post, we shared 5 ways Candida can destroy your health. Again, it’s not the Candida you can see; it’s the Candida you can’t. And because you can’t see it, you can’t see that it’s becoming a big health problem.

All you have are symptoms. And while symptoms can reflect a wide range of potential health problems, everything about modern life encourages Candida overgrowth and the health problems that come with it. Let’s take a closer look…

 

Modern Living Encourages Candida Overgrowth

Candida is a fungal yeast. It lives everywhere on the body including in the digestive tract. In fact, Candida even helps with digestion and absorption of nutrients, at least it does when it’s under control.

What keeps Candida under control? Basically, it’s a combination of probiotic bacteria, enzymes and your immune system.

Unfortunately, this system can get thrown out of balance easily by modern living. For example, antibiotics may kill the germs making you sick, but they also kill the probiotic bacteria that aid digestion and keep Candida under control. Oral contraceptives also kill probiotic bacteria.

Diet is also a problem. As a yeast, Candida thrives on sugar. So a diet high in sugars, especially added sugars and processed foods which contain a lot of sugar, feeds Candida. This kind of diet doesn’t help you or your beneficial probiotic bacteria though. It hurts both as probiotic bacteria need fiber, not sugar, and too much sugar taxes your enzymes ability to break it down before the Candida gobbles it up.

In effect, modern living gives Candida plenty of space to grow and plenty of food to eat. And when it does, your health can suffer.

 

Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth in Your Digestive Tract

If you have a Candida overgrowth in your digestive tract, you could experience any of the following symptoms:

 

Sugar Cravings

Do you crave sugar? It could be that Candida is eating up the sugar before your body has a chance to make use of it. Unless you’re on a ketogenic diet, your muscles use glucose for fuel. If Candida gets to it first, you could be craving the fuel your muscles need. Of course, if you eat more, you’ll continue to feed the Candida or if you eat a lot, overwhelm your body’s ability to process it and the sugar will be converted into fat.

 

Weight Gain

Candida produces two toxic poisons – acetaldehyde and gliotoxin – that disrupt your liver’s ability to do its job. These jobs include aiding digestion, keeping hormones balanced, breaking down toxins and much more. While the effects of this are wide-ranging, the inability to efficiently process food, hormones and toxins slows the metabolism and you know what that means…weight gain.

 

Hormone Imbalances

An ineffective liver can’t keep hormones in balance. Poor digestion that occurs as a result of a digestive system that’s not working right also affects the availability of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed by your metabolism to build, break down and regulate hormone levels.

 

Gas, Bloating and Indigestion

When Candida thrives, the probiotic bacteria in your gut that support digestion doesn’t. This leaves a lot of undigested food, but it also results in other harmful bacteria from becoming more prevalent throughout your digestive tract. These “unfriendly” bacteria along with Candida release gases that irritate your intestines and lead to bloating and indigestion and even frequent constipation or diarrhea.

 

Acne, Poor Skin Tone, or Other Skin Conditions

Healthy, good-looking skin depends on a healthy liver. When your liver is working well, it processes toxins and waste and sends them out through the “preferred” channels, your kidneys and colon. When your liver is overwhelmed, well, then it pushes toxins into the skin for storage and release. And what does your liver rely on to work right? A healthy digestive tract!

Candida’s effect on the liver, from the way it interferes with digestion to the toxins it releases that attack the liver cause the skin to suffer too. Regular skin problems like acne, a poor skin tone to other conditions may be a sign of Candida overgrowth.

 

Brain Fog

Do you have trouble focusing? Maybe you find it hard to concentrate or remember? Candida could be the problem.

Years ago, some researchers referred to the gut as the “second brain.” The reason is that your digestive tract has the second largest number of nerve cells – second only to the brain. They also noted that there appears to be a direct connection between a healthy digestive tract and thinking, mood, memory and more.

For example, researchers at UCLA found that when women supplemented with probiotics, not only did their digestion improve, so do their memory and thinking.[i]

 

Frequent Illness

Most of your immune response takes place in your digestive tract. When Candida’s in charge, your immune system is weaker. One of the sugars in the biofilm that forms when Candida gets overgrown actually shuts down immune cells![ii]

Your liver also plays a big role in immune response, supplying antioxidants like glutathione to help attack and break down germs. When Candida interferes with your liver’s ability to do its many jobs, you become more susceptible to illness.

 

Is Candida Overgrowth Possibly You’re Problem?

If you experience any of these symptoms frequently, Candida could be your problem. Adjusting your diet to focus on fresh vegetables and nutritious plant-based proteins is one way to address the issue. For some people, it may be enough. Candida, however, can be a tough fungus to cleanse. Check out our next post in the series How to Cleanse Candida Once and For All for details.

 

[i] Tillisch K1, et al. Consumption of fermented milk product with probiotic modulates brain activity. Gastroenterology. 2013 Jun;144(7):1394-401, 1401.e1-4. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.043. Epub 2013 Mar 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23474283

[ii] Y Nakagawa, et al. Suppression by Candida albicans b-glucan of cytokine release from activated human monocytes and from T cells in the presence of monocytes. J Infect Dis. 2003 187: 710–713.