Spring Cleaning from Head to Toe
The springtime provides us with an opportunity for rebirth. Jump into the season feeling brand new with nourishing and energizing tips for ‘spring cleaning’ your health.
Brain Gain When sweeping out the cobwebs from the cracks and crannies in your home, remember to do the same for your noggin! Research from the Human Nutrition Research Centre on Aging shows that toxic buildup in the brain can accelerate aging. Even though the body has detoxification mechanisms in place, sometimes it needs a little boost. Luckily for fruit lovers, the phytonutrients in berries can help clear toxic accumulation in the brain. The antioxidants in berries also protect against oxidative damage, which has been linked with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s (Perry, et al., 2002). Stocking up on superfood berries such as açai, goji, and blueberry will provide you with brain-boosting antioxidants.
Immunity Boost Now that the days are getting longer and the sun rays are stronger, your immunity is already getting a boost with higher levels of vitamin D. On top of soaking up the delightful sunshine, you can bolster your immune system in complementary ways.
To prevent springtime cold and flu, ensure you’re getting plenty of greens for a whopping dose of vitamin C. But if you find yourself the unlucky host of a virus that’s clogging up your chest or sinuses, try taking a systemic enzyme like serrapeptase to break down the mucus and clear congestion. The anti-inflammatory action of serrapeptase also helps you breathe easier when dealing with seasonal allergies.
Joint Points A spring stroll is no walk in the park if your knees are painful and swollen. Along with its benefits for colds and allergies, serrapeptase is excellent for arthritis and joint pain. This enzyme works by breaking down scar tissue in the body, and it also targets inflammation by inhibiting the release of a pain-inducing chemical called bradykinin (Redfern, 2014).
Serrapeptase also reduces the pain, redness and swelling experienced from injuries to muscles, tendons and ligaments, making it a great thing to have in the medicine cabinet if you’re picking up a new sport this season! Look for a product that uses delayed release capsules, which protect the enzyme from stomach acid; so, it can be maximally absorbed in the intestines.
You can also prevent against joint pain by eating plenty of greens rich in vitamin C. This vitamin is involved in the synthesis of collagen, which is essential in the structure of joints.
Gut Feeling The health of the gut is crucial to the functioning of the entire body. Poor gut health has been linked with fatigue, mood disorders like depression and anxiety, and a variety of conditions associated with nutrient deficiencies, such as anemia. By optimizing your gut, you can nourish your cells and boost your energy so you can fully dive into your favourite springtime activities!
Fibre is a great way to keep things regular and increase the elimination of toxins and waste from your digestive tract. Eat a variety of vegetables such as broccoli and brussels sprouts, fruits like raspberry and blueberry, and whole grains and grasses like alfalfa, kamut, and barley. If reaching the recommended 10 servings of vegetables per day seems unattainable, consider adding in a greens powder to your daily routine to make things easier. Look for a product that is cold-pressed, as this maintains enzymes which improve the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Probiotics also assist in digestion and absorption. Known as the “good bacteria,” probiotics play an important role in immune function, mental health, and energy levels. Sauerkraut, plain yoghurt, and kimchi are rich in probiotics, but if you’re not a fan of fermented foods, supplements work very well. Most products require refrigeration, but some are formulated to be shelf-stable, making them better to take along on weekend trips. To make things easy, look for a greens powder that contains probiotics too!
Originally written for Healthy Directions magazine.
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References: Perry, George, et al. “Alzheimer Disease and Oxidative Stress.” 2002. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology.
Redfern, Robert. “The ‘Miracle Enzyme is Serrapeptase’: Giving the Answer to Pain, Chronic Inflammation and Clogged Arteries”. Page 280. 2014. Naturally Healthy Publications.