Monthly Archives: April 2022

Amazing Antioxidants

The prefix ‘anti’ means against, in opposition to, or corrective in nature. In this case, the ‘anti’ in antioxidant describes the effect these chemicals have against oxidants.  

Oxidants, usually referred to as ‘free radicals’ are produced as a natural by-product of the millions of biochemical processes undertaken by the body every minute. The same life-giving oxygen that supports all the functions of the body creates these harmful by-products which cause cell damage, usually to DNA, fats and proteins.  

Free radicals also enter the body through external influences such as exposure to the sun, pesticides and other kinds of environmental pollution. In addition, their levels are increased by mental and physical stress, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, unhealthy foods, and cigarette smoke. 

In much the same way as oxidation causes rust on cars, oxidation inside the body causes a breakdown of cells. If the amount of free radical oxidation in the body is allowed to rise to an unhealthy level, it can result in extensive damage to cellular components and can accelerate the aging process.  

More importantly, it may contribute to a wide range of degenerative illnesses and reduce the body’s ability to deal with other problems, including cardiovascular malfunction, eye disease, and cancer. 

Additionally, it may result in a compromised immune system, leading to immunological disorders and a lessening of the body’s ability to heal wounds and overcome infections. Some studies indicate possible links to arthritis and similar chronic conditions.  

Antioxidants counter these effects by binding with free radicals before they can cause damage. They then convert them into non-damaging biochemical substances, assisting enormously with the reparation of cellular damage.  

Certain antioxidant enzymes are produced within the body. The most well known of these are catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione: 

Catalase converts hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen.  

Superoxide dismutase breaks antioxidants down into hydrogen peroxide. 

Glutathione is a detoxifying agent, changing the form of toxins so that they are easily eliminated by the body.  

This is a lot of science and proof that we need these vitamins and minerals daily for optimum health and wellness. And yes – carbs are where the antioxidants are! Yet another reason to include the “smart” carbs into your daily nutrition.

Other antioxidants can be consumed through the diet. Some of the better known include the antioxidant vitamins beta-carotene, vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin E.  

Minerals such as selenium, zinc, glutathione and co-enzyme Q10 may also have antioxidant properties, and so may flavonoids such as cranberry, some amino acids, plus organic extracts from milk thistle and the tree known as ginkgo biloba.  

A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables provides a large supply of these antioxidants, to help eliminate damaging free radicals. The highest concentrations are found in fruits and leafy green vegetables, such as carrots, orange and red peppers, spinach and tomatoes.  

Cooking can destroy some antioxidants and interfere with the body’s ability to absorb them, so eating raw vegetables and fruit, and including sprouts in the diet can help. Steaming vegetables as opposed to frying, microwaving or boiling is also a good idea. 

Antioxidants are best taken in combination, since single antioxidants, such as vitamin E, need other vitamins in order to work as an effective antioxidant. Food and natural supplements may therefore provide the most bioavailable source of antioxidants. Natural products from the rainforests of the world are some of the best sources of natural antioxidants ever found. Fruits like the acai berry are amazing in the health world because of the wide range and high number of antioxidants they contain, making them a perfect source of antioxidants. It’s no wonder that the acai berry has been dubbed one of the top 10 “superfoods” in the world.


Antioxidants are all the rage today.  And, justifiably so.  Remember, antioxidants help neutralize free radicals which cause cell damage, which ultimately can lead to diseases of the heart and cancer.  It seems everywhere you go it’s blueberry this and blueberry that.  You have your choice of wild blueberry juice, blueberry-pomegranate juice, blueberry-cranberry juice and so on and so on.  

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love blueberries.  But, in our rush to embrace the latest antioxidant food craze (blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates) we’re ignoring some very high-antioxidant foods that are probably sitting ignored in our cupboards.

“What?”  You ask, “What could possibly be higher in antioxidants than my beloved wild blueberry?”  Well, how about the small red bean?  That’s right, I said “bean.”  The small red bean actually has more antioxidants per serving size than the wild blueberry.  And the red kidney bean and pinto bean have more antioxidants per serving size than a serving of cultivated blueberries.  

What other foods are high in antioxidants?  For starters, there are artichoke hearts, blackberries, prunes, pecans, spinach, kale, russet potatoes and plums.  And, no, that’s not a mistake.  Russet potatoes are on the list of foods high in antioxidants.  

The truth is, there are many common foods high in antioxidants and you should not just restrict yourself to one particular food source.  Why?  Well, have you ever heard the expression, “eat your colors?”  That refers to the fact that foods are in different color “families” containing different types of antioxidants which have different benefits.  For example, the yellow-orange color family of peaches and nectarines help our immune systems.  The purple-red color family of foods (pomegranates, plums, berries) helps reduce inflammation.  It’s important to eat foods from all color groups to reap the full benefits of antioxidants.

The good news is that you can eat healthy foods high in antioxidants (by eating them raw, cooking them, or juicing them yourself) without having to pay a high price for the “flavor of the month” antioxidant juices being peddled in the supermarkets.  

So, give your blueberries some company at the dinner table.  Invite some beans, spinach, potatoes and artichoke hearts and enjoy your antioxidants!

Faith & Fitness

Never forget that investing in your health and wellness is not selfish, and can actually be an investment in your loved ones.  Love is not only a feeling, it’s also very much a verb.  Making healthy choices nutritionally and physically are actions you can take to insure you will be healthy and able to take care of your loved ones.   On this holiest of weekends, remember that our bodies are His temple.  After the resurrection and ascension, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us, and He lives in our hearts.  What we do with our bodies and what we put into our bodies – we do to His Temple.  

By making healthy choices, we protect and strengthen our immune systems, our mobility, our stamina – our overall wellness.  Being our healthiest enables us to take care of our families and friends!  Are you fit to serve?  On His last day with the disciples, Jesus served them; He washed their feet, fed them, and prayed for them.  We can follow His example in the simplest of ways in our communities. 

  • Practice random acts of kindness to strangers!  Just hold the door for someone to enter or exit after you.  Let another driver turn out of a store into the gap in front of you.  Give your smile to someone who seems grumpy.  Offer to return someone’s buggy to the store as you walk in.  Compliment another person; if you think to yourself that someone has pretty hair or a beautiful smile – TELL THEM! 
  • Take a turn to serve in your church service!  Even if it means getting out of your comfort zone.  Greet visitors.  Hold babies.  You can make another person’s visit, and possibly their worship experience better!  Allow someone who always serves to sit and truly worship!  You just might realize that you’re blessed above and beyond what you expected.
  • In the gym!!  Encourage someone you see that is a new member or seems to be struggling.  If someone inspires or motivates you – tell them!  Re-rack weights that someone else leaves laying around (yes it’s annoying!  But maybe it helps someone coming after you who might not be as strong as you, AND it sets a great example!)
  • Make your families’ favorite meal randomly.  Have a movie night with your family without needing an occasion.  Leave encouraging or loving notes hidden around the house for your family to find.

For ourselves, we can set such a strong example for our families and friends!  Easter is very much a sweet season, and treats abound.  Moderation is key!  We all know that alcohol consumption is dangerous and should be at a minimum.  Did you ever consider that sugar is every bit as intoxicating and addictive as any alcoholic beverage or drug?   Just take cupcakes and/or donuts into any classroom for the children, then sit back and watch their behaviors change.  The same holds true for adults.  Remember the earlier blog about sugar?  It hides in SO many foods and drinks!  Even spaghetti sauces and other canned products.     Taking in too much sugar consistently is so toxic to our bodies and detrimental to our health and wellness.  It increases inflammation in our guts and in our joints, causes brain fog, increases blood sugars, increases body fat, suppresses our immune systems, and contributes to cardiovascular problems and diabetes.

The Old Testament gives us plenty of reminders of what God intended for us.  The Garden of Eden was all perfect, natural fruits and vegetables and animal proteins.   Even Daniel and his cousins ate vegetables rather than the richer foods offered and were rewarded for it!    Choose your nutrition wisely, and look for clean, natural foods over enriched, processed foods.  Shop around the outside of the grocery store, selecting fresh produce over canned.  Frozen from fresh without preservatives is a great option.  Always check the ingredients list – the fewer ingredients, the better!  If you’re buying frozen green beans, all you want is green beans, not a lot of ingredients that you can’t pronounce!  

Easter is only one weekend – celebrating THE MOST INCREDIBLE event in a believer’s life.  Celebrate what Jesus has done, every single day.  Enjoy your family and friends.  Enjoy an occasional treat, for sure.  Just don’t fall back into that sugar and processed foods hole, and don’t ever stay there.  I promise you that you will feel better if you’re getting clean, healthy, whole foods into your body.  Food is fuel, remember?  If you don’t believe me, then prove me wrong.  Cut out the fast foods, processed foods and junk foods.  Eat healthy for one week.  Most people honestly have no idea how good our bodies are designed to feel!  Remember – God designed our bodies.  He created us with a purpose!  We need to be healthy enough to fulfill that purpose!

Happy Easter!  

Navigating the World of Supplements, Part Two

There are SO many herbs and supplements to aid in boosting immunity, aid in digestive health, and boosting overall wellness.  

Digging into part two!  Let’s look at four more supplements. . . Flax seed, Glucosamine, Vitamin B12, and Collagen. Read below for more about each one!

  1.  Flaxseed and flax oil:  I’ve done a blog earlier all about flaxseed and the multiple benefits.  I researched several resources – WebMD, Cleveland Clinic, HealthLine, BetterMe, and Women’s Health to find that they all agree on the top benefits.  These are:
  • Omega 3 essential fatty acids:  These are the “good” fats that have been proven to improve heart health.
  • Prevent cancer:  Many recent studies show that flaxseed may have protective effects against certain cancer cells.  The plant omega 3 fatty acid found in flaxseed inhibited tumor growth in some studies.
  • Lignans:  These have both antioxidant and estrogen properties.
  • Helps prevent Cardiovascular disease:  The plant omega 3 fatty acids are at work again!  Flaxseed also has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in normalizing the heart beat.  Newer research shows that flaxseed also can aid in lowering blood pressure AND cholesterol.  There have also been studies showing that diets which include flaxseed omega 3’s aid in preventing the hardening of arteries!
  • Helps decrease inflammation:  Two components in flaxseed, ALA and lignans, may help reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses. 
  • Helps decrease hot flashes:  Many studies have proven that the addition of flaxseed decreases not only the occurrence of hot flashes, but also the severity.  I can attest to this personally.  I am post menopausal, but recently I felt “under siege” with hot flashes.  My personal research and discussions with dieticians and nutritional experts convinced me to add flaxseed into my daily diet.  It may take up to two weeks to feel the full result, but it definitely works!  Initially I added 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed into my protein coffee.  I’m now using flaxseed oil.  I have seen a definite decline in how often the hot flashes occur, as well as in how severe and how long they last.  I definitely recommend the use of flaxseed – if for no other reason than help with these!
  • Boosts immunity:  Flaxseeds are a great source of magnesium, which is a mineral essential for the proper function of our nervous system.  It also helps regulate our blood sugar levels, and can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and even migraine headaches.  If you’re experiencing any of the following, you may have a magnesium deficiency – diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, insomnia, and migraines.  Try adding in some flaxeed!
  • Promotes weight loss:  Due to the high fiber content of flaxseed, it can help improve your gut health and help you feel fuller when you eat.  This also helps prevent constipation and keep your digestive system working properly.

2. Glucosamine:  I’m sure everyone has at least heard a little about glucosamine, so lets’s look at why it’s one of my favorites (based on more research from WebMD, Mayo Clinic and! It is produced naturally in your body and found mostly in cartilage and helps create the proteins and fats that repair our cartilage when it’s damaged.  Taking glucosamine supplements offers many benefits (particularly in our joints)!  

  • Glucosamine can reduce inflammation.  Studies have proven that regular use of glucosamine and chondroitin lowers levels of inflammation.  Regularly taking this supplement can also help lower your risk of a number of chronic conditions.
  • It may improve bone health.  Some studies have shown, specifically, that it may lower the risk of osteopororis in post menopausal women.

3. Vitamin B12:  This vitamin is essential for our bodies, but our bodies do not produce it naturally.  B12 has many roles in our bodies, such as supporting the normal functioning of nerve cells and is needed for the formation of red blood cells.  Researching I found that Vitamin B12 provides many benefits!

  • Boosts energy;
  • Improves memory;
  • Aids in preventing heart disease;
  • Prevents fatigue and weakness;
  • Aids in preventing birth defects;
  • Supports bone health and may help prevent osteoporosis;
  • Aids in reducing risk of macular degeneration;
  • Aids in improving mood and in preventing symptoms of depression;
  • May benefit your brain by preventing loss of neurons (early studies show that B12 may prevent brain atrophy, and that B12 with Omega 3’s slowed mental decline);
  • Supports healthy hair, skin, and nails;

4. Collagen:  For starters, collagen is a form of protein, and it is one of the most common protein in our bodies.  It has many functions that include providing our skin with structure and strengthening our bones.

The benefits of taking collagen supplements are:

  • Improve skin health – it strengthens skin, aids in elasticity and hydration;
  • May relieve joint pain;
  • May prevent bone loss;
  • Can boost muscle mass;
  • Can promote heart health;
  • Increase strength of hair and nails;

There are SO many supplements available to us with SO many benefits! It can definitely be overwhelming. Read over these benefits and see if any, or maybe all, of these supplements will be helpful to you.  I personally use Flax oil and collagen daily in my protein shakes or coffee first thing every morning.  I also take extra Vitamin B12 in my favorite drink, Spark.  Glucosamine is one that I’ll be adding daily to help protect my joints as I age and continue to train hard.  

If you feel that getting assistance with your nutrition or workouts will help you reach your goals, please reach out to me.  I would love to help you!!

Navigating Supplements (Part 1)

There is SO much buzz on every media outlet about supplements.  Honestly, the most important thing to know is that supplements should, well supplement your existing nutrition.  No supplement should take the place of real food; your body needs the nutrients from natural, real foods.  

Which supplements are the most important?  How do I know which ones I should take?  Believe me, it can definitely be overwhelming!  And there is no one set answer for every person.  Adding supplements to your plan will depend solely on YOU – your goals, current health condition, current fitness level, etc.  Let’s look at a few basic supplements that everyone should consider adding, according to the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Health, just to name a few!   

1. Multi Vitamins:  Obviously these are most important for everyone to insure that we are making the most of our nutrition and getting all the vitamins and minerals needed.  It can get complicated due to so many brands and variations of vitamins out there.  Be sure to look at reviews and to select the formula best suited for your personal needs (age, energy level, nutritional needs).

Remember that the main purpose of a vitamin is to fill in any nutritional gaps.  There are several reasons to take a multivitamin every day:  

* They promote healthy aging;

* They are good for your heart; 

* They reduce cancer risk;

* They boost your immune system;

* They support eye health;

* They support healthier hair, nails, and skin

2. Omega 3 Fish oils:  You’re likely asking what’s all the fuss about Omega 3 fish oils? What do they do for my body?

Well, here you go!  Omega 3 fish oils are a substance that can be found in the bodies of fish. However, eating fresh fish is no longer recommended. The mercury levels that are prevalent in almost all fresh fish these days can be very detrimental to your health. However, companies have manufactured fish oil that is mercury free by processing the oils that naturally occur in the fish. Omega 3 is a type of fat that is essential for human health. Omega 3 contains two fatty acids that benefit the human body greatly, which are known as DHA and EPA. 

These fatty acids have been linked to helping prevent heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. DHA is also required by the human brain. Low levels of DHA in the brain have been linked to depression, schizophrenia, memory loss, and an increased chance of being stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the regular and repeated consumption of Omega 3 fish oils can greatly help affect the quality of your life for the better. 

The American Heart Association recommends the use of fish oils to help your hearts performance as long as you keep your dosage under 3 grams per day, suggesting an amount roughly between 0.5 to 1.8 grams per day. Clinical trials conducted have shown that Omega 3 fish oils can reduce cardiovascular events including heart attacks, strokes, and even death.

 Also, research has shown that fish oils can help decrease the risk of arrhythmias, decrease triglyceride levels, decrease the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and even slightly lower blood pressure! With all these facts, there is no doubt that the regular and responsible use of Omega 3 fish oils from supplements can be of great benefit to your health.

3. Probiotics:  These are foods or supplements that actually contain living microorganisms that either improve or maintain the “good” bacteria in our bodies.   The benefits of probiotics are amazing!  Remember, gut health is essential to our overall health and wellness.

* Probiotics can help prevent or treat diarrhea caused by infections or antibiotics

* Probiotics can improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome;

* They can boost our immune systems;

* They can reduce allergies and inflammation

If you suffer from any of the following, try adding a probiotic into your daily regimen:  

* allergies and asthma

* you’ve had food poisoning

* one or more mood disorders

* you’ve recently been on antibiotics

* you get sick often

* chronic skin conditions such as eczema or acne

4. Vitamin D:  Of course, we would all love the opportunity to linger outdoors and soak up all the natural Vitamin D from the sun!  Depending on our jobs, where we live, seasons and weather, this isn’t always possible.  And certainly not possible to the extent that we can absorb the amount our bodies need.  This vitamin is needed for building and maintaining healthy bones, and our bodies can only absorb calcium when Vitamin D is present.  Vitamin D also regulates many cellular functions.  A deficiency of this vitamin can cause fatigue, nausea, muscle weakness, and depression.

Always check with your physician, get a full physical and have a full panel of bloodwork done to check for deficiencies. It is a very wise investment to hire a nutitionist or personal trainer to help you figure out exaclty how best to help you reach your goals and match your nutrition and supplements to an exercise plan. I would love to help you! Please reach out to me via the Contact Me link on this site!