Seasonal allergies and their symptoms are caused by the immune response your body has when exposed to pollens in the air. Pollen is very fine and can be carried far distances making it easy for it to come in contact with your body through the mouth or nasal passages. When your body senses a foreign substance (in this case pollen) it releases Immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody that defends the body in two key ways. It first wants to prevent the allergens from further entering the body and does this by traveling to cells in the nose, lungs, sinuses, and ears and on the lining of the skin to release chemicals that cause an allergic reaction. This causes the side effects you get from allergies that include itchy eyes, nose, throat, and ears, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, runny nose, hives, fatigue and irritability. The second way it defends the body is by the release of histamine. Histamine causes an immune response in your body by dilating blood vessels so white blood cells can find, attack and detox the allergen out of your body. Histamine can also cause your airways to constrict, leading to allergy-induced asthma. In reality your allergies are a result of your body’s immune system over-reacting to pollen, which truly is not dangerous. Currently in Idaho because of warm air and wind we are experiencing high pollen levels from Poplar Trees, Juniper Trees, and Ash.
A build up of histamine in the body also comes with its own symptoms and complications. Histamine travels through your blood stream and can affect your digestive system, lungs, skin, brain, and heart. Symptoms of excess histamine or histamine intolerance include headaches/migraines, vertigo or dizziness, hypertension and arrhythmia, difficulty regulating body temperature, flushing, abdominal cramps, hives, and fatigue. Besides allergies, a bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), leaky gut, and a deficiency in diamine oxidase can cause elevated histamine levels. Diamine oxidase (DAO) is the enzyme in your digestive system responsible for breaking down excess histamine. The same causes that raise histamine levels also destroy DAO. The best ways to restore DAO is to take a probiotic high in Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc or Escherichia faecium strains, avoid alcohol, eat protein at every meal, and eat fats in high oleic acid such as olive oil or coconut oil. Keeping excess histamine from building up in your body can significantly reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
There are amazing herbs and nutrients that help kick your seasonal allergies to the curb. Many do this by reducing inflammation in your body, which prevents the over-reaction caused by the release of histamine. Treating allergies requires a well-rounded, versatile approach that requires you to optimize nutrients and avoid triggers.
Yerba Santa Leaf: Yerba Santa Leaf supports immune health on the cellular level, making it excellent for treating infections caused by allergic reactions. Primarily used as a decongestant it is optimal for treating mucus build up in the lungs or sinus cavaties as it slows down the production of mucus by the body. Yerba Santa reduces inflammation in the lungs, sinuses and bronchial tubes.
Nettle Leaf or Stinging Nettle: The best time to start taking nettle is about a month or two before allergy season begins, as it greatly reduces the amount of inflammation directly associated with an allergic response. Nettle helps your body release excess histamine meaning you have less stored in cells to respond to an allergen. It also stimulates the lymphatic system to boost immunity and significantly reduces the symptoms and occurrence of allergy-induced asthma.
Quercetin: A natural antioxidant, Quercetin is a potent antihistamine and can significantly reduce inflammation. It is found in high concentrations in apples, red onions and green tea and may also be found in red grapes, citrus fruits, tomato, broccoli, leafy greens, and many berries. It helps to stabilize the mast cells that release histamine and other immune responses making it very effective at preventing and reducing allergic reactions.
Butterbur: This flowering herb has been clinically shown to be as effective as leading allergy drugs Zyrtec and Allegra, but without the negative and damaging side effects. Butterbur contains rosmarinic acid that reduces inflammation and normalizes the immune response reducing and preventing allergic reactions. Phytochemicals in butterbur relax swollen nasal membranes to clear nasal congestions and improve breathing while reducing all other effects of histamine. It is also effective at treating allergy-induced asthma and other respiratory conditions. Butterbur is a member of the ragweed family so if you are allergic to ragweed, marigold, daisy or chrysanthemum do not use. It also is toxic if used raw. Alkaloids that damage the liver and kidneys must be removed.
Osha Root: This sacred Native American root will be life changing for those with allergic bronchitis, chronic allergy-induced asthma, and all types of allergic coughs. It significantly reduces inflammation in the tissues and membranes of the respiratory system. Osha Root increases circulation to the lungs which increases dilation and prevents constriction due to an allergic reaction. This helps significantly increase lung function and the amount of oxygen that is available to the body. This helps you take deeper breaths. Osha Root has a numbing effect that can soothe a sore throat. It is a more effective cough syrup than Echinacea and Goldenseal.
Goldenseal: The anti-inflammatory properties of goldenseal reduce swelling and irritation in the mucous membranes helping to prevent allergy symptoms. As a natural antibiotic it prevents secondary infections caused by an allergic reaction that often occur in the lungs. Goldenseal is also a great source of Berberine.
Berberine: Berberine in an alkaloid found predominately in Goldenseal, Oregon Grape and Barberry. It helps prevent the overgrowth of bad bacteria (SIBO) that deplete the body of DAO needed to digest histamine. It has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the lungs helping to reduce allergic reactions and allergy symptoms.
Bromelain: Derived from pineapple, Bromelain addresses the root cause of seasonal allergies and sinus infections by regulating the entire immune system and reducing mast cells that release histamine. Bromelain will help you build a natural defense to effectively prevent and reduce symptoms of allergies and sinus infections.
Hot Peppers: Chili peppers, horseradish, and hot mustards are excellent, and quick to work, natural decongestants.
Vitamin C: A natural anti-histamine, Vitamin C is able to destroy the molecular structure of histamine and decrease the amount you have in your blood. Taking bioflavonoids with Vitamin C enhances its ability to relieve and prevent allergy symptoms.
Locally Produced Honey: Raw honey contains bee pollen, which helps to fight infection, prevent allergies and boost the immune system. Ingesting pollen from the area in which you are suffering helps you build a natural immunity to the air-borne pollen you are exposed to.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): ACV contains fermented enzymes that help fight infection, balance PH, and prevent allergies. Mix with 1 Tbsp. ACV with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and ½ Tbsp. of raw honey in your water and drink at least 3 times a day to build a natural immunity to all types of allergies.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: A potent anti-inflammatory, studies have shown that people who have diets rich in Omega 3’s have fewer allergy symptoms. They also help to prevent the onset of allergies in children.
Probiotics: There are fermented probiotic strains that help reduce levels of the antibody that induce an allergic reaction. Studies have shown that giving probiotics to mothers and newborns may help to prevent childhood allergies.
Chaga, Reishi & Cordyceps: These mushrooms each have potent nutrients that significantly increase the function of the immune system. Chaga has been used in Eastern Europe, Russia and Siberia to support respiratory health, and strengthen lung function. Reishi has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to promote easier breathing, treat chronic asthama, and build endurance. Cordyceps is a potent lung tonic used in Tibet and Nepal and to support breathing and energy in those that climb Mt. Everest.
Echinacea Root: Echinacea helps treat seasonal allergies by boosting and balancing the immune system. Echinacea stimulates the lymphatic system, promoting drainage and elimination of toxins, and helps to prevent and fight potential infections by stimulating phagocytosis (the consumption of invading organisms by white blood cells).
Orange Peel: Orange peels are rich in flavonones, powerful antioxidants that help reduce oxidative damage and fight free radicals. Orange peel is also loaded with natural histamine suppressing compounds. Orange peel provides effective support against respiratory distress. It helps to cleanse the lungs and reduce irritation caused by an allergic reaction. Orange peel is a great source of Vitamin C.
Eyebright: With both astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, Eyebright reduces the degree to which the mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, throat and ears react and become irritated due to an allergic response.
Red Clover: Red Clover gives your immune system an immediate boost. For people who have suffered from allergies for many years, Red Clover improves your resistance to allergens and prevents your immune system from reacting strongly when exposed to pollens. It can be used in ointments to topically treat rashes or hives that accompany seasonal allergies.
Horehound: Horehound can quickly clear up mucus and remedy post-nasal drip. Rich in Vitamin C it has been used to help colds, chronic cough, asthma, bronchitis and allergies. The tea relaxes the muscles of your lungs while promoting mucus production and phlegm expulsion. The active ingredient in Horehound is marrubium, a throat expectorant. Marrubium is released when horehound is cooked or steeped in tea.
Mullein: Mullein is an excellent respiratory tonic, acting as an expectorant and decongestant. It can have a mild sedative effect on the lungs, helping to soothe a cough. It reduces inflammation and increases the moisture needed in the tiny air sacs in the lungs, which helps to alleviate and treat long-term allergy-induced asthma. By encouraging mucus production, Mullein protects the membranes from absorbing allergens and helps detox them out of the body. The leaves and flowers activate lymph circulation in the neck and chest.
Elecampane: During constricted breathing the lining of the bronchial tubes become swollen and red making it harder to breath. Inulin, an active component of Elecampane, coats and soothes the lining of the bronchial passages and also acts as an expectorant to clear congestion from the lungs. It has antibacterial properties that prevent secondary infections from allergic reactions.
Plantain Leaf: Known as a body purifier, it helps reduce congestion and eliminate toxins from the body. It produces mucilage that helps protect the respiratory system and the mucus linings in the sinus and nasal cavities from inflammation. Plantain helps to calm muscles contractions that induce asthma attacks and chronic, brutal coughs. Plantain soothes topical allergic reactions and rashes, including poison ivy, eczema and mosquito bites. Consumed as a tea, plantain provides natural relief for allergies, bronchitis, asthma and emphysema.
Marshmallow Root: Marshmallow Root helps form a soothing film over mucous membranes to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It helps to eliminate toxins from the body, shortening the duration of an allergy reaction.
Dandelion: By supporting liver function, it helps the liver break down histamine and prevents it from circulating in the blood stream. Drink in tea form to help prevent unnecessary allergic reactions.
Peppermint & Spearmint: These cooling herbs contain menthol that help open up airways, reduce congestion, and promote better breathing. In tea form or as an essential oil just the aroma will help you breathe more easily.
Garlic: Garlic is one of the most potent antibacterial herbs and protects the body from allergies and chronic sinus infections. Garlic helps to break up mucus, easing congestion. Eat or juice raw garlic for maximum and immediate benefits.
Sage: The leaves of sage help to sooth a sore throat and treat chronic sinus infections. It has drying and antibacterial properties that make it very effective when used as a nasal rinse in a neti-pot. Burning white sage helps to reduce mucus and reduce bacteria or virus that may be in the air.
Nasal Sprays & Neti Pots: Medicated nasal sprays are made to treat symptoms. They block histamine, interfere with mucus production, and constrict blood vessels to help decrease inflammation. However, they go against your body’s natural defense system to ward off allergies. They allow allergens to stay in your system so that when the medication quits working the side effects come back. This can make your allergic reactions more severe, chronic, and you can start to experience secondary infections. They are also habit forming. Use nasal sprays that contain xylitol, grapefruit seed extract and saline. These nutrients help create moisture on the surface of tissue and in the throat and lungs, which helps build mucus and trap allergens. Xylitol also can pull extra moisture from the sinus tissues to reduce congestion and swelling. Grapefruit seed extract is nature’s most potent antibiotic and helps to fight and prevent infection.
Neti Pots help clean and protect the nasal passages from allergens and have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to alleviate sinus and allergy symptoms. Neti Pots help keep the mucosal lining in the nasal passages moist and clean and help to keep allergens out of the body.
Homeopathic Remedies for Allergies
Allium cepa: Use for hay fever, headache and cough; Eyes that burn, sting, are swollen and stream watery discharge; Frequent sneezes; Nasal discharge that burns and makes nose and upper lip sore; Post-nasal drainage that makes the throat raw.
Arsenicum Album: Use for allergy induced asthma; Eyes that tear and tears are hot and sting the face; Extreme sneezing; Heavy watery mucus drainage that alternates with nasal blockage; Upper lip irritated from discharge; Labored breathing; Chills
Arseniucum lodatum: Use for constant desire to sneeze with irritated and tickling nose; Watery, irritating discharge from nose and also runs down back of the throat; Feeling of blockage in the head and ears.
Euphrasia officianalis: Use for hay fever and inflammation of the mucous membranes; Eyes watery constantly, causing itching and burning and can be accompanied by a sticky mucus removed by winking or wiping the eye; Eye discharge is burning and often thick; Nasal discharge is profuse and water but does not irritate the nose or upper lip; Frontal headache; Frequent sneezing that gets worse at night.
Nux vomica: Use for prolonged sneezing spells, especially upon waking; Nasal discharge is runny during the day but the nose is stuffed up at night; Throat itches through to the larynx and trachea; Chilly and irritable.
Sabadilla: Use for excessive sneezing with a runny nose that can cause nosebleeds and severe headaches; Severe front sinus pain; Eyes have water discharge and nose itches; Eyelids are hot, red and burning; Ears are blocked; Chilliness and sensitive to cold air.
Super Sinus Juice
Detox & Cleanse Juice
The Allergy Bomb
The American Psychological Associates defines stress as any “uncomfortable emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioral changes”. Often it is accompanied with the belief, or even the reality, that you have no control over the situation causing the stress. When your central nervous system perceives or experiences stress it instantly sends a message through the hypothalamus in the brain to tell your adrenals glands to release two hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol tells the body to stop storing energy. Your cells immediately become unresponsive to insulin so that any sugar available in the blood can go to the muscles for energy. The body also begins to break down stored fat for energy, the liver starts to produce more glucose, and muscle cells begin to break down its protein into amino acids that the liver can use to make more glucose. The adrenalin increases your heart and breathing rates. This is exactly how the body should act under true moments of stress or danger. However, our brain is unable to tell the difference between real danger or stress- being attacked by a lion, and perceived danger or stress-psychological stress. Studies have shown that perceived stress is more damaging to your body than true physical danger. Chronic stress and feelings of anxiety mean that your body is constantly and unnecessarily releasing cortisol that is referred to as highly catabolic cortisol. At the same time your body has reduced the amounts of anabolic hormones it is secreting like DHEA, testosterone, and human growth hormone. This combination causes you to store fat, lose lean muscle mass, your metabolism will slow way down while your appetite increases. Adrenalin contributes to high blood pressure (because of stress hormones that constrict blood vessels), digestive issues, and a suppressed immune system. Other side effects of stress include issues with mood, anger, and depression and can cause or increase anxiety and panic attacks; insomnia, troubles falling or staying asleep; increased risk for heart attack and stroke; decreased nutrient absorption, lowered metabolism, and insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes; low levels of testosterone and estradiol which both cause fertility issues and loss of sex drive; aches and pains in the muscles and joints and tightness in the shoulders and back; high, chronic inflammation; skin problems like acnes, psoriasis and rashes.
Your adrenal glands are responsible for the fight or flight response to stress. The adrenal glands work directly with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain. It is critical to understand this connection. The pituitary gland is the essential link between the nervous system and the endocrine system. The pituitary gland releases hormones that affect growth, sexual development, metabolism, and the hormones necessary for reproduction. These pituitary hormones are received by the adrenal glands, which in turn create hormones to meet growth and development requirements and to stimulate your fight or flight response. It is important to note that most thyroid dysfunction is a result of poorly functioning adrenal glands. When the adrenal glands become fatigued it puts your body in a state of catabolism, meaning your body is starting to break down. Your thyroid controls metabolism. When you are in a state of catabolism, your metabolism slows down in an attempt to slow down the catabolism process. Adrenal fatigue occurs when you are continually exposed to acute or chronic stress and your adrenal glands can no longer meet the demands of stress. Other factors that contribute to adrenal fatigue are environmental toxins, too much caffeine, a diet high in carbohydrates and refined sugars, processed foods and artificial sugars, not getting enough sleep, and low amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol in your body. Your adrenal glands only have so many stores of hormones, and the more you rely on them, the more overwhelmed and low functioning they become.
Modern society and a change in perceived stress has prevented the adrenal glands from a much needed recovery period. Most people do not practice meditation or yoga, which promotes relaxation and peaceful thoughts that enable the adrenals to heal and rest and bring stress levels down. Adaptogens are herbs that help your body cope and heal from the damaging side effects of stress and recharge the adrenal glands. They can improve memory and cognition and promote feelings of perseverance. They encourage strength and energy. Adaptogens can increase the resistance to infection and disease and improve healing and recovery. To qualify as an adaptogen, an herb must be non-toxic and safe while having comprehensive health benefits beyond reducing physical and mental stress. There are essential oils that act as powerful adaptogens.
Anise: It acts a sedative to promote balance and calm, restful sleep. Anise stimulates the secretion of enzymes and hormones giving metabolism a boost. It also stimulates the nervous system and the brain to increase alertness.
Lavender: It is very effective at reducing anxiety and helping your body cope with deep emotional stress. It is therapeutically superior at improving the quality and duration of sleep. It can also help alleviate headaches.
Peppermint: It can relax the smooth muscles in your digestive tract, helping to reduce pain or discomfort during times of stress. It helps to provide relief from stress and anxiety, depression and mental fatigue. It clears the mind and improves the ability to focus on cognitive tasks. It helps relieve headache symptoms and reduces the pain from migraine headaches. Peppermint boosts the immune system and improves blood circulation, which also increases the amount of oxygen in the brain.
Holy Basil: Also known as Tulsi, this powerful oil has been used for centuries and stands alone in its ability to protect the body from stress and supports uplifting feelings of radiance and joy to the mind, body, and spirit. With the ability to purify and detox the body it boosts vitality and immune health.
Lemon: This oil helps restore and improve dopamine levels to improve mood and fight depression. It contains a powerful antioxidant that greatly improves the function of the immune system and helps to detox the lymphatic system. Lemon helps boost metabolism for weight loss and also supports digestion.
Every time you inhale any airborne odor molecules they interact immediately with your olfactory organs (all organs or cells related to smell) and then the brain. Odor molecules affect the brain through a variety of different receptor sites, but most importantly they stimulate the limbic system. The limbic system is the emotional center of your brain and is directly connected to other areas of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory and concentration, stress levels, and even the release of hormones. This is why smells have a powerful control over memory and the emotions we associate with different moments in our life. It also explains why smells are able to have a powerful physiological effect on our body. In one drop of essential oil there are 40,000 odor molecules, enough to cover every cell in the body! Essential oils can help regulate hormones, decrease aches and pains, and reduce stress and anxiety, and much more. Even though each essential oil has its own complex aroma, they can be blended and integrated together to create potent synergistic blends. “Syn” means together and “ergon” means work, so the meaning of synergistic is literally to work together.
Synergistic Stress Busting Essential Oil Blends
Great to use as roll-ons! Add denoted amounts of each essential oil to 1/3 oz roll-on bottle with your favorite carrier oil.
Adrenal Fatigue Fighter
Female Hormone Balance
Peace & Calm:
Reduce Frustration & Negativity
Control Appetite & Emotional Wating
Increase Memory & Focus
Increase Feelings of Self-Worth
The key to better health is always to be creating a lifestyle based on moderation. It is critical to eat a balanced and nutrient rich diet, exercise and manage your daily stress.
Diabetes occurs in the body when cells that typically respond to insulin become insulin resistant. Insulin is a hormone that communicates with cells, telling them to allow glucose (blood sugar) to enter. If glucose cannot enter the cells, it builds up in the blood stream and begins to damage tissues and organs throughout the entire body. This type of damage leads to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, vision damage, nerve damage, amputation and neuropathy.
Insulin can either be used by the body for energy, or it can become stored as fat for later use. What is amazing about the chemistry in your body is that it reflects and mimics your daily habits. This is the key to understanding that living a sedentary life creates a sedentary environment in which your body is trying to function. If you are unable to manage stress, neither can your body. It begins to produce excess levels of cortisol to help your body manage the effects of stress. Cortisol causes your body to store extra amounts of fat for energy during these times of distress. This is the fat that is found in the belly, the most dangerous kind of fat you can carry. This type of belly fat is directly related to heart disease.
You can reverse your Type 2 diabetes diagnosis!! In as little as one week, you can make the lifestyle changes necessary to promote the pancreas to start working efficiently, to begin to normalize your blood sugars, and to increase your body’s cells to become more insulin sensitive.
Weight Loss: Losing just 5 to 10 percent of body weight can drastically lower blood sugar levels while improving insulin resistance. Losing weight also lessens the risk of developing complications related to diabetes including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and neuropathy. If you have a family history of diabetes is it critical that you manage your weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 70-90%!
Exercise: This is one of the very best things you can do for diabetes. Exercise encourages your muscles and liver to take in glucose, lowering the blood sugar levels in your body. Exercise will decrease insulin resistance, regulate your blood pressure, reduce stress and help you sleep! Find something you love to do! Go for a brisk walk, ride your bike, put on a fun DVD workout dance video. Get excited about building muscle and becoming fit! You have the power to change your body! Get moving today!
Manage Stress: Stress hormones increase blood sugar levels. This is the time to mediate, breathe, try yoga, and get out in the garden, read a book, or exercise. Take time in your day to unwind and do something just for you. Feed your soul! You can also take herbs like Ashwagandha or Holy Basil that act as adaptogens and help protect your body from the the harmful side effects of stress while lowering levels of cortisol.
Nutrition-Eat More High Quality Food
All calories are not equal. Diets equal in total caloric content will not produce identical changes in weight. What you have been taught about nutrition the majority of you life is simply not true and is NOT backed by science. Theromogenesis is the extra heat you generate during a meal due to digestion or metabolism. The biological system, the laws of thermodynamics, and numerous studies have shown that protein and healthy fats (think coconut oil, avocado, nuts) increase thermogenesis and the efficiency and rate at which you burn fat significantly greater than carbohydrates. Diets low in carbohydrates consistently prove to be substantially more effective at lowering body fat, increasing lean muscle mass, reducing visceral fat, lowering cholesterol, reducing triglycerides and regulating blood sugar levels than diets low in fat.
Gunnars, K., BSc. (2013). 23 Studies on Low-Carb and Low-Fat Diets - Time to Retire The Fad. Retrieved April 08, 2016, from https://authoritynutrition.com/23-studies-on-low-carb-and-low-fat-diets/
This following list is not exhaustive. Looks for diets and foods lists that are low glycemic and high in protein and healthy fats. The Paleo/Caveman Diet is a great base but make sure you get a lot of servings of vegetables and watch for calorie heavy desserts.
Organic Fats & Oils: Avocado, Grass Fed Butter, Coconut Oil, Ghee, Macadamia Nut Oil, Olive Oil
Proteins: Grass Fed Beef, Organic Eggs, Organic Chicken, Clams, Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon, Scallops, Tuna, Organic Turkey, Wild Caught Fish
Organic Vegetables: Asparagus, Leafy Green Vegetables, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumbers, Kale, Mushrooms, Olives, Radishes, Spinach, Snow Peas, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips
Organic Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Pecans, Walnuts, Peanuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Flax, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds
Organic Fruits: Blueberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries
Sweeteners: Stevia, Erythritol, Xylitold (from Birch Trees) Lo Han Guo, Monk Fruit
Foods to Avoid:
Always avoid GMO corn, soy and canola as they are now scientifically linked to kidney and liver disease and may encourage type 2 diabetes. Absolutely no hydrogenated oils-vegetable oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, and canola oil.
Refined Sugar: Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Glucose Syrup, and Crystalline Fructose. Even raw honey and maple sugar will spike your blood sugar. Absolutely no agave. Agave is 90% fructose and although it is low glycemic it interferes with the production of hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin.
Grains: Foods that contain grains, especially gluten, are broken down quickly into sugar. Your mouth secretes enzymes that begin breaking down carbohydrates the second you start eating them. You should avoid all grains, even whole grains, for at least 12 weeks as you begin to reverse type 2 diabetes.
Dairy: Watch for natural and hidden sugars in all forms of dairy. Always purchase dairy that is from Organic and Grass Fed Cows.
Alcohol: Most alcohol quickly increase blood sugar levels. Beer and sweet liquors are high in sugar.
Alpha Lipoic Acid: ALA is an antioxidant that protects the body from organ damage caused by free radicals. It uniquely can act in both water-soluble and fat-soluble regions in cells and tissues making it easily absorbed by the body and transported to organs and the nervous system. This characteristic also helps it boost the work of other antioxidants working in the body. ALA works with B vitamins to turn carbohydrates, proteins and fats into stored energy. There is abundant evidence showing that ALA is critical for maintaining blood sugar levels. ALA is a warrior that fights multiple components of metabolic syndrome that include reducing blood pressure, insulin resistance and weight. A recent study revealed that after only four weeks of supplementation ALA greatly improved insulin sensitivity in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes. Because of its exceptional ability to kill free radicals it helps lessen the pain, burning, itching, tingling and numbness in the arms and legs caused by nerve damage from diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Studies have also shown taking 800 mg of ALA reduces the risk and symptoms of diabetic related autonomic neuropathy in which the nerves supporting internal organs are damaged.
Ehrlich, S. D., NMD. (2014, June 26). Alpha-lipoic acid. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/alphalipoic-acid
H. (2007, October). Lipoic Acid. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2007/10/nu_lipoic_acid/page-01
Berberine: Long used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine, berberine is an alkaloid found in herbs like goldenseal, barberry, and Oregon grape. Berberine is incredibly effective at increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This is important as new research shows that having more of these beneficial bacteria strains improves metabolic health and supports normal blood sugar control. Studies have shown taking 500 mg of berberine to be more effective than metformin at regulating blood sugar levels and lipid metabolism. Another study on 116 diabetic patients taking 1 gram of berberine per day saw fasting blood sugars lowered by 20% to normal levels, out of diabetic range. Researchers have described it as a “potent oral hypoglycemic agent” for its ability to significantly improve insulin sensitivity. Berberine works on a molecular level in cells to increase glycolysis, the breaking down of sugar in cells. Berberine is one of the few compounds that can activate adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase or AMPK. AMPK is found in the cells of the brain, muscle, kidney, heart, and liver. This enzyme is called the “metabolic master switch” for its crucial role in regulating metabolism as when activated it boosts fat burning in the mitochondria, which helps to support weight loss and reduces body fat. It can also inhibit the growth of fat cells at the molecular level. Berberine appears to improve the function of fat regulating hormones like adiponectin and leptin. Berberine decreases sugar production in the liver.
Axe, J., MD. (2015). Berberine Treats Diabetes & Digestive Problems - Dr. Axe. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://draxe.com/berberine/
Gunnars, K., BSc. (2015). Berberine - The World's Most Powerful Supplement? Retrieved April 07, 2016, from https://authoritynutrition.com/berberine-powerful-supplement/
Chromium: Chromium is an essential mineral that is critical to the metabolic process that regulates blood sugar. Chromium and insulin move glucose into cells to be used as energy. To properly metabolize carbohydrates, fats and protein you need adequate levels of chromium. Low chromium levels increase blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol putting you at risk for type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that 90% of Americans have a diet low in chromium. People who regularly eat sugary foods are also more likely to be chromium deficient. Foods that contain chromium include Brewer’s yeast, organ meats, mushrooms, broccoli, prunes, romaine lettuce, ripe tomatoes, raw onion, nuts and asparagus. Over the counter or prescription antacids reduce chromium absorption.
Ehrlich, S. D. (2014, June 26). Chromium. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/chromium
Weil, A., MD, & Becker, B., MD. (2012, September 27). Chromium. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02868/chromium.html
Gymnema: Gymnema sylvestre is a tropical woody climbing plant that grows in India. When you chew the leaves gymnemic acids are released that interfere with your ability to taste sweetness. This implies it can work as an appetite suppressant. Gymnema helps signal the pancreas to make and secrete insulin, improving the amount of glucose that is absorbed into cells. Gymnema promotes the regeneration of islet cells helping to keep the pancreas healthy. Gymnemic acids may also reduce the amount of sugar that is absorbed from the intestine as they have a structure similar to glucose. When gymnemic acids lock into intestinal receptors they block out glucose. Gymnema can prevent adrenal hormones from signaling the liver to produce more glucose. Gymnema has also been shown to LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Studies on gymnemic acids suggest that drinking gymnema tea before meals can promote weight loss treating obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Group, E., DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM. (2015, October 21). The Weight Loss Benefits of Gymnema. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/weight-loss-benefits-of-gymnema/
Kanetkar, P., Singhal, R., & Kamat, M. (2007, August 29). Gymnema sylvestre: A Memoir. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2170951/
Bitter Melon: This antioxidant rich tropical fruit has compounds that are similar to those of insulin and have hypoglycemic activities that are beneficial to both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. Studies out of India show that bitter melon is one of the most import Ayurvedic plants for lowing blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Bitter melon helps stimulate skeletal muscles to use glucose more efficiently. Bitter melon prevents glucose absorption in the small intestine. It helps protect and regenerate islets of Langerhans cells in the pancreas that detect high rising blood sugar levels and release insulin accordingly. Studies have shown that extracts of bitter melon inhibit the activities of fructose, and that it slows down cataracts formed as a result of diabetes.
Joseph, B., & Jini, D. (2013, April). Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medicinal potency. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4027280/
Fenugreek: Fenugreek seeds are high in soluble fiber and help to slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, preventing a spike in blood sugar. Studies have shown that taking fenugreek before meals prevents a rise in blood sugar following the meal, and over the long term improves insulin function in those with type 2 diabetes. Fenugreek contains steroidal saponins that inhibit the absorption of cholesterol. Fenugreek is high in amino acid 4-hydroxy isoleucine which has been shown to protect the liver and stimulate the production of insulin.
Kassaian, N., Azadbakht, L., Forghani, B., & Amini, M. (2009, January). Effect of fenugreek seeds on blood glucose and lipid profiles in type 2 diabetic patients. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19839001
Marks, M. (2014, January 19). Fenugreek lowers blood sugar and cholesterol. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.naturalhealth365.com/fenugreek.html/
Cinnamon: Studies on cinnamon have shown that taking as low as 1 gram per day can lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance. A study published in Diabetes Care showed that people given 1g, 3g, or 6 grams of cinnamon over 40 days saw a reduction in their fasting serum glucose levels by 18-29%. Cinnamon also lowered levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Cinnamon slows the emptying of your stomach, which prevents your blood sugar from spiking. Cinnamon contains polyphenols, antioxidants that supports insulin sensitivity. Tuttle, D. (2005, December). Controlling Blood Sugar with Cinnamon and Coffee Fruit. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2005/12/report_cinnamon/page-01
Although black tea originated in China, three of the largest black tea producers today are India, Sri Lanka and Africa. Half of the world’s tea now comes from India. As the culture of tea spread and was processed for export to trade with other regions and countries, it was discovered that the more oxidized black tea retained optimal freshness and flavor over time. Although they come from the same Camellia sinensis plant, black tea differs from green tea in that the leaves are allowed to fully oxidize or ferment. The oxidation/fermentation process impacts the flavor profile of black tea and ultimately determines the quality of the black tea. The flavor profile of black tea is also affected by the environment in which it is grown, the planting methods, surrounding crops, and the amount of sunlight it is exposed to while growing.
Making Black Tea
The Crush-Tear-Curl process is vastly different and was developed specifically for the black tea industry in an effort to save time and money. All five steps of the Orthodox process are followed, but in a limited and less careful manner. CTC teas will take torn, chopped, shredded, and minced leaves. CTC is made on a machine that further macerates the tea leaves. The ground leaves are rolled into small pellets to be oxidized. The entire process is done in as little as two hours. CTC is ideal for the tea bag industry and highly flavored chai blends or iced teas. The flavor from CTC is one-dimensional and is described as bold, powerful and brightly colored with a pungent astringency. Orthodox teas won’t have the same type of color and body, but they have an amazing range of flavors and aromas. Orthodox teas can be stored for up two years in an airtight, glass container. CTC teas lose flavor and quality in as little as six months.
Types & Tastes
A freshly brewed cup of black tea can range in color from light amber, to deep reds and rich dark browns. Black teas can be savory or sweet, and when brewed correctly are smooth and full of flavor. Black tea flavor profiles typically include one or more of the following: malty, smoky, brisk, earthy, spiced, nutty, citrus, caramel, leather, fruity, sweet and honey.
China Black Tea BOP: This black tea is made from broken orange pekoe. Orange Pekoe is the first two leaves from the tip of a branch and is often broken to affect the tea’s taste and body. This tea has a medium body and a rich aroma.
Assam: in 1823 the Camellia sinesis assamica tea plant was discovered in India. This large leafed tea plant creates hearty, bold black teas. The Assam Region in India is currently the largest tea-growing region in the world. The climate here is tropical-warm, rainy, and moist with the perfect balance of sunshine. Assam tea has a dark, robust and malty flavor. The highest quality Assams contain the golden tips that give added depth to the tea with the taste of sweet raisin or honey.
Darjeeling: Grown in the smaller, mountainous regions of India, it has a flavor that will change with seasons. Originally a Chinese tea it gets combined with the flavors of French grapes and the surrounding Himalayan mountain air for a brew that is both delicate and assertive. Known as the “champagne of tea” its flavor has been described as musky-sweet, vegetal, mossy, fruity, citrus and completely unique. Darjeeling teas are consistently less oxidized than typical black teas making it lighter and less astringent, but more layered and complex than green teas. Darjeeling tea will taste different depending on when it is harvested. These harvests are called flushes. The highly prized first flush come after the spring rains and can taste anywhere between light and fresh to lively and full-bodied. The second flush done in the early summer have mellow, and the wine-like muscatel flavors. Darjeeling tea is a great base to create India’s spiced Chai.
Ceylon: In 1867 a Scotsman names James Taylor planted the first tea estate in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka at that time was an independent country in the Commonwealth of Nations that was ruled partly by the British Monarch and was known as the Colony of Ceylon. In 1965 Ceylon become the world’s leading exporter of tea and is known for its unmatched quality and variety. The climate is ideal for growing tea, with abundant sunshine and rain. Ceylon added new dimensions to tea by creating new varieties in taste, quality, character and appearance. It has a strong full-bodied flavor with a hint of spice from the cinnamon grown around the tea plantations. They have beautiful colors ranging from light, bright golden colors to deep reds.
English Breakfast Tea: This Chinese black tea is made from the high grade Keemun leaves. Only the delicate buds are used to make Keemun tea. The buds are twisted into fine gold tipped strands before fermenting. Keemun tea has a rich, slightly smoky flavor and is well bodied with a spiced finish. It has an amazing honey aroma. English Breakfast Tea is now often made from a blend of teas originating from Assam, Ceylon and China. It is one of the most popular and recognized black teas worldwide.
Chai: Chai is a spiced milk tea from India. The most common spices used in Chai are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Each spice has active medicinal properties. Cardamom aids digestion and helps fight respiratory allergies. Cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Ginger is the champion herb for digestion and is a potent anti-inflammatory. Clove has pain relieving properties and also improves digestion. Black pepper changes the way the body stores fat that has a direct effect on metabolism. Its warming properties and soothing aroma promotes a sense of well being.
Pu-erh tea: is the most fermented black tea from the Yunnan province in China. Pu-erh tea can also be aged for several years to allow beneficial bacteria and fungi to break down the tea leaf transforming the compounds and enzymes in the tea. Like wine, pu-erh tea ranges in quality and vintage, being anywhere from 3 months to 100 years old. It is best to either drink a young or old tea, as the middle years of the tea are not as palatable. Used in many Chinese elixirs, the fermentation process creates compounds different from those in green or black tea. Fermentation causes it to lose catechin antioxidants but it gains so much more. Research shows that pu-erh tea has high amounts of gallic acid (a potent anti-microbial), the compound theabrownin, several polysaccharides and enzymes. Theabrownin is found exclusively in pu-erh tea and recent clinical studies show it has cholesterol and fat lowering properties. The high content of gallic acid helps to significantly break down visceral fat after just 12 weeks. The best time to drink pu-erh tea for weight loss, and to lower cholesterol, is one hour after meals as it helps your body quickly digest and eliminate fats. The fermentation process also increases the content of digestive enzymes in pu-erh tea supporting the rapid digestion of food and reduction of gas and bloating.
Brewing the Perfect Cup