brain health

CLEANING HOUSE – BY REGULARLY DETOXIFYING

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

An effective detoxification program will not ask you to make any dramatic lifestyle and dietary changes. Healthier food and lifestyle choices are generally made on a subconscious level. Once the body begins to eliminate toxins, it will naturally start craving foods that will nourish it at an optimum level. That said, there are undoubtedly many things you can do to maximize the benefits of the cleanse you’re on from day one, and certain foods will help maintain the benefits of the detox for much longer.

A detox diet is a short-term diet, often 3- to 21 days, focused on removing toxins from the body. Although detoxification is ongoing in the body, toxins and stress prevent us from doing it optimally, which eventually affects our health. A detox diet allows our bodies to focus on self-healing, with the goal being to raise energy levels, stimulate digestive health, clear headaches, remove bloating, improve concentration and mood, avoid getting allergies, regain our natural ability to ward off colds and flu and prevent premature aging and disease.

In natural health writings from the 1900’s, it was common to see articles on digestive cleansing with tonics, enemas, fasting, and herbs. Detoxification has been practiced for centuries by many cultures around the world — including Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

The sad but undeniable truth is many are living in an environment toxic to their bodies, take a look at the following information:

How does detoxification work?

Basically, detoxification means cleaning the blood. It does this by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph, and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered, and every cell in the body is adversely affected.

Many health ailments–headaches, exhaustion, and muscle cramps–are coming from toxicity. Toxins have been implicated in everything from increased risk of Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease to mental retardation and cancer.

A detox program can help the body’s natural cleaning process by:

  1. Resting organs through fasting;
  2. Stimulating the liver to eliminate toxins;
  3. Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys, and skin;
  4. Improving circulation;
  5. Refuel the body.

10 ways to detoxify

  1. Eat plenty of fiber, including brown rice and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed.
  2. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking dandelion root, burdock, milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
  3. Vitamin C helps produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
  4. Drink at least two quarts of filtered water daily.
  5. Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.
  6. Think positive thoughts.
  7. Practice hydrotherapy by taking a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on your back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Do this three times, and then get into bed for 30 minutes.
  8. Sweat in a sauna to eliminate wastes through perspiration.
  9. Dry-brush your skin or try detox foot spas/foot baths to remove toxins through your pores.
  10. Exercise, yoga, qigong, mini-tramps or jump-roping are good. One hour every day.

Don’t forget

Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined and artificial sugars, fake fats found in margarine, and unfiltered tap water all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to detoxifying. Also, minimize use of chemical-based household cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants, and toothpastes), and substitute natural alternatives.

Stress triggers your body to release stress hormones into your body affecting every metabolic pathway necessary for detoxification. While these hormones can provide the “adrenaline rush” to win a race or meet a deadline, in large amounts, they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. Consider cutting out the news at dinner and bedtime add music that is around 60 beats per minute to calm the central nervous system throughout the day, all these are simple and effective ways to relieve stress.

People who are exhausted with low blood pressure may have adrenal weakness or fatigue. A detox diet is usually done after the adrenal glands have been replenished.

 

Eat Your Nuts

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

One of my favorite nuts is pecans for baking and cooking. They are softer and do not cause canker sores in the mouth like walnuts can. The buttery rich flavor of pecans makes them one of the most popular nuts native to American. They are rich in nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for health.

For over a millennia, pecans have been an important staple in the Native American food supply. Indigenous Americans are who taught early European colonists how to harvest, utilize, and store pecans as a vital source of nourishment through harsh winters.

Health Benefits of Pecans

Pecans offer unique benefits to the human diet; pecans are the top 15 foods known for their antioxidant activity, according to the USDA. Pecans are an excellent source of vitamin-E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.

A 2012 study reported eating a handful of pecans every day can help protect your nervous system by delaying age-related motor neuron degeneration, including ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

According to a study released in 2010 – “Epidemiologic studies have associated nut consumption with a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease and gallstones in both genders and diabetes in women. Limited evidence also suggests beneficial effects on hypertension, cancer, and inflammation. Interventional studies consistently show that nut intake has a cholesterol-lowering effect, even in the context of healthy diets, and there is emerging evidence of beneficial effects on oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular reactivity. Blood pressure, visceral adiposity and the metabolic syndrome also appear to be positively influenced by nut consumption.”

Pecans are very rich sources of important B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. Together, these vitamins work as co-factors for the enzyme metabolism inside the human body.

Another phytochemical contributing to its antioxidant activity found in pecans is ellagic acid, which keep several carcinogenic properties from proliferating. Beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin in pecans contribute to reducing the effects of free radicals, protecting from disease, cancer, and infection. These American nuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants. Regular addition of pecan nuts in the diet helps to decrease total as well as LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

Pecans are rich sources of minerals. Manganese is excellent for your heart. Pecans contain copper, critical for energy production in your cells, magnesium (helping to maintain a healthy immune system, nerve function, heart rhythm, and muscle and bone strength) and zinc (for optimal immune function, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, cell division, and wound healing). The phosphorus, iron, calcium, and selenium content in pecans hold their own as nutritional assets.

Candied Maple Pecans

4 cups raw pecans

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon filtered water

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground clove

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pinch of Celtic sea salt

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roast the pecans for 8 to 10 minutes, until slightly crispy and fragrant.

In a skillet over medium heat, warm the maple syrup and spices for about 5 minutes, until warm and slightly bubbling.

Stir in the warm roasted pecans and filtered water. Fold through for 3 to 4 minutes constantly stirring until the nuts caramelize.

Spread the pecans back on the lined baking tray, and allow to cool and harden for about 20 minutes.

Store in a sealed container.

 

Happy Holiday Season filled with real food, laughter, and love.

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/pecans.html#_edn1

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-nuts-linked-to-healthier-longer-life-201311206893

http://www.alz.org/research/science/alzheimers_prevention_and_risk.asp

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