Do You Know how Prebiotics & Probiotics Help the Gut?

In the past decade, word has gotten out more and more consistently that good bacteria helps us digest food and keep the gut healthy and happy. Simply put, a happy gut is responsible for overall health in a big way—both physically and mentally.

Probiotics are the good bacteria that are found naturally in the gut. Probiotics are actually live cultures, which means they’re active and functional, allowing them to help boost immunity, gastrointestinal health and overall wellness.1 Probiotic bacteria can also be found in yogurt and fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi. Since what we eat and drink passes through our gastrointestinal tract every day, it’s no surprise that our diets affect the gut microbiome. In fact, studies have shown that even a single day of a strict animal-based diet or plant-based diet can alter the composition of the gut microorganisms—but that we typically revert to our regular microbiome once our diets go back to normal.2

Newer research shows that probiotics work more efficiently when assisted by prebiotics. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are not found naturally in the gut. Instead they are found in non-digestible carbohydrates and fibers that stimulate the growth of good bacteria.3 Prebiotics are found in fibrous components of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Bananas, onions, garlic, leeks asparagus, artichokes, soybeans and whole-wheat grains are examples of foods containing prebiotics. Prebiotics work by supporting the good bacteria that are naturally present in the gut and help them proliferate.

According to the World Health Gastroenterology Organization, one in three people around the world struggle with gut-related symptoms. These symptoms include flatulence, bloating, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, food allergies, incontinence and abdominal pain.4 Though not necessarily life-threatening, these digestive discomforts can significantly alter our ability to practice Active Wellness.

Since some prebiotics are indiscriminate and feed both good and bad bacteria, it makes sense to incorporate the right prebiotics to support both natural and ingested probiotics. Well-established prebiotics like inulin, oligofructose (FOS), and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) help fuel the human gastrointestinal tract, which contains trillions of microbes.5

The synergistic effect of prebiotics with probiotics has led to the emergence of a category referred to as “synbiotics” to promote digestive health and overall wellness. When the correct prebiotics are provided in the exact proportions necessary to maximize the desired health effects of the specific probiotic strains through stimulating the growth and activating the metabolism of health-promoting bacteria, symbiosis occurs.6 Eating whole foods is the best way to obtain prebiotics and add probiotics to the diet.

Nutritional supplementation is also helpful. Take a look at Kenzen Lactoferrin® 2.0Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox and Kenzen Vital Balance®. All three of these Nikken nutritional supplements contain prebiotics and/or probiotics. Sharing these products can help you take advantage of the July promotion, so call your Nikken Consultant or Nikken Customer Service for details. Incorporate them into your daily regimen and help your gut do a happy dance!

1 https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/prebiotics-and-probiotics-creating-a-healthier-you

2 https://foodinsight.org/nutrition-101-prebiotics-probiotics-and-the-gut-microbiome/

3, 5, 6 https://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/issues/2019-04/view_features/flora-amp-fiber-for-a-healthy-microbiome/1931

http://www.worldgastroenterology.org/UserFiles/file/WGOHandbookonDietandtheGut_2016_Final.pdf

 

Boost Your Energy Levels During the Summer Months

When temperatures go up, energy levels go down. Air-conditioning helps, but it can be expensive and gives the body more extreme temperature fluctuations to contend with. Fortunately, there are a few easy things that can be done to conquer the heat and boost your energy levels.

  • If you’re able, simply run cold water over your wrists to cool off. You don’t actually need to take a whole body cold shower. The arterial pulse points in the wrist help cool off the body, because arterial blood flows away from the heart and the cold water will circulate cooler blood throughout the body and ultimately lower your core temperature. 1
  • Do the same thing with cold water on your feet. Arterial pulse points are located in areas where the blood vessels come closest to the surface of the skin. 2
  • Appetites generally dip when the weather is hot, but eating small amounts every few hours is important for keeping energy levels up. Try hydrating fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, celery, green peppers and radishes.
  • Stay away from heavy foods, such as fatty meats and desserts. They take a lot of energy to digest and the effect is sluggishness.
  • Drinking hot beverages may actually help you cool down. The hot liquids enhance circulation and cause you to perspire freely and expel heat. Once the perspiration evaporates, your body cools down. Drinking hot beverages to cool down is effective in dry desert-like heat, not in humid, tropical weather, where perspiration doesn’t easily evaporate. 3
  • Hot spicy foods act the same way as hot beverages. That may be why chili peppers are so popular in hot continents, such as Asia and Africa. The spicy chilis activate nerve receptors in the tongue, which tell the brain to turn on the body’s cooling mechanism: sweating. 4
  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, and save the caffeinated beverages for later. Contrary to popular belief, according to a study in 2013, drinking coffee first thing in the morning depletes energy levels.5 Try Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix with its superior blend of matcha green tea that provides 80 mg of natural caffeine for smooth energy support at the suggested times of 10 am and 4 pm. It’s delicious hot or cold.
  • Use ice in a bucket in front of a fan to provide a quick cool down. When the fan blows air over the ice, the surrounding air cools down.
  • Breathe in deeply. When the body doesn’t obtain enough oxygen, energy levels dip drastically. No matter how heavy the air may feel, make a conscious effort throughout the day to breathe in and out as fully as possible. Use your hands to push your belly in as you exhale to release your breath.
  • Clean out your system by keeping your liver functioning at full capacity. “Regular” or not, everyone carries excess waste all year round, which results in lethargy. Cleanses are popular because by lightening the load, you can boost your energy level and temporarily lose weight. Unfortunately, many bodies cannot take the harshness of those 7-14 day cleanses. Using Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox is far more convenient and gentler to your system. With organic natural ingredients, Cleanse & Detox will help your liver function optimally so you feel more energetic.

Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix and Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox are two of the best selling Active Wellness nutritional supplements included in the Nikken July promotion to celebrate Canada Day and U.S. Independence Day. Be sure to take advantage of your choice of gifts. For details, call Customer Service at US 800-669-8859 or CN 800-669-8890.

 

1, 2 https://www.prevention.com/health/a20480309/beat-the-heat-and-boost-energy/

3 https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/a-hot-drink-on-a-hot-day-can-cool-you-down-1338875/

4 https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/07/11/156378713/cool-down-with-a-hot-drink-its-not-as-crazy-as-you-think

5 https://www.whitewaternow.com/tips-boosting-energy-heat-summer/

 

Do You Eat Right and Stay Hydrated During Summer Heat?

As temperatures rise, our bodies have varying needs in order to function optimally. Everyone is aware that high temperatures require more liquid intake, but sometimes it takes the symptoms of dehydration to remember to grab the water bottle! It’s far safer to drink water throughout the day, since thirst is already a sign of dehydration.

Overheating is especially easy for children and family dogs that we transport frequently in cars. It only takes 10 minutes for a car to heat up by 19 degrees; and since children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s, it renders them far more susceptible to heat stroke. 1 By the same token, a dog’s normal temperature is about 101.5, and a degree up or down is fine; however, once a dog’s internal temperature reaches 105, its life is in danger. 2 Never leave a child or a dog (or any other pet) in a car in the summer, even if the windows are cracked open.

In addition to staying hydrated, what we eat can also affect how our bodies cope with the summer heat. Meats and other high protein foods need to utilize more water during digestion, and food poisoning reaches its annual high during the summer. According to the Center for Disease Control, anything that has mayonnaise, dairy, or eggs in it and any meat products can develop some pretty nasty bacteria after only a couple of hours unrefrigerated.3

To prevent food poisoning, the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises us to “Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.” This refers to washing hands and surfaces where we prepare foods, wrapping raw meat and keeping it separated and stored away from other food, cooking meats to a minimum of 145 to 165 degrees internally (poultry requires the highest heat), and keeping everything chilled in the refrigerator as long as possible, then transported in an insulated cooler.4

If drinking enough water proves challenging, there are certain foods that are easy to eat and prepare. Since they’re composed mostly of water, they help us hydrate.

  • Broccoli and cauliflower are composed of more than 90% water, as are radishes.
  • Eggplant is a great source of hydration and fiber and can serve as a versatile meat replacement, minimizing the need for much liquid during digestion.
  • Bell peppers are more than 92% water, with the green variety containing the most.5
  • Melons such as honeydew, cantaloupe, casaba, Crenshaw, hami, golden, Korean, and so many more, are natural hydrators and packed with sweetness and antioxidants.
  • Watermelon is the universally loved summer fruit that contains lycopene, an antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables with red pigmentation. Lycopene offers the added benefit of protecting against sunburn.6

Take advantage of the sunny weather to participate in outdoor activities but remember that hydration is part of Active Wellness. Keep your PiMag® Sport Bottle handy as you go to picnics, barbeques and summer outings.

1 https://www.care.com/c/stories/3357/summer-safety-tips-a-guide-to-protecting-kids-from-heat/

2 http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/heatstroke-summer-days-can-turn-deadly-quickly-for-overheated-dogs

3, 4 https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/top-7-summer-health-hazards#2

5 https://blog.memd.me/hydrating-foods-to-eat-this-summer/

6 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lycopene

 

Active Aging is Part of Active Wellness

The beauty industry has inundated the marketplace with a slew of “anti-aging” products. But “anti” means against and is also more than skin deep. A more positive approach to aging is with grace, discipline and common sense.

In the United States, baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are reshaping the population. The number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to more than 98 million by 2060. That translates to nearly 24 percent of the population, a substantial increase from 15 percent today. 1

One of the key approaches to address the aging revolution is known as “active aging,” crystalized by the World Health Organization in 2002 by three pillars: participation, health, and security. The active aging policy has financial and economic aspects and affects both men and women as older adults are working longer. 2 As more people live to be centenarians, counteracting the onset of age-related degeneration becomes increasingly important.

Here are 10 head-to-toe tips for Active Wellness and active aging:

  1. Keep challenging your brain. Learn a new language, sport or anything out of your comfort zone. Do puzzles and crosswords.
  2. Play and listen to music. Branch out and try a different instrument if you already play one and listen to something new.
  3. Did you know leafy greens also deliver lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help the retina’s ability to break down harmful compounds from stressors such as sunlight, junk food and smoke? 3 Incorporate them into your daily diet together with carrots and other colorful fruits and vegetables.
  4. Use sunscreen on your face and all exposed areas of the body to protect from UV rays.
  5. Cut back on sugar. It contributes to wrinkles and dehydrated skin, as well as causing inflammation and pain. 4
  6. Hug people who welcome it. A University of North Caroline study found that those who got more frequent hugs had lower blood pressure and healthier resting heart rates compared to those who weren’t hugged often. Scientifically speaking, hugs trigger the release of feel-good hormones like oxytocin, while lowering stress hormones like cortisol. 5
  7. Muscles become less pliable after age 40, so performing a stretching routine daily helps the body remain flexible and more able to prevent injuries and even rebuild atrophied cells. 6 A supple spine is key to being limber, so include forward and backward bends.
  8. Sleep well. Not only does it help keep you alert, but it also affects your skin. One study showed that women who reported sleeping well were found to have fewer fine lines and more even pigmentation and skin elasticity compared with those who reported sleeping poorly.7
  9. Stand up straight. Aging often causes posture to suffer in the form of breathing problems, joint pain and walking difficulties. Research from the Mayo Clinic shows that proper body alignment can help prevent excess strain on joints, muscles and spine, and can also boost mood. 8
  10. Soak your feet regularly in warm water and Epsom salts. Sore feet lead to inflammation and pain. Comfortable feet help you stand tall, walk and exercise consistently. 

    Kenko Sleep Products, NikkenWellness nutritional supplements  and True Elements® Marine Organic Skin Care help take care of your Active Wellness needs every day.

     

    1 https://www.prb.org/aging-unitedstates-fact-sheet/

    2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28368781

    3, 4, 5, 7 Taylor, Marygrace, Your Total Body Anti-Aging Plan, Spry Living, March 2017.

    6, 8 https://bestlifeonline.com/anti-aging-tips-for-men/

     

Men Need to Pay Attention to Bone Health

Osteoporosis causes the skeleton to weaken and become brittle, making it easy to fracture or break. Too often, osteoporosis is a disease that is attributed only to women because men tend to have larger skeletons with bone loss starting later in life and progressing more slowly. Nevertheless, in just the United States, millions of men suffer from osteoporosis.1

Because osteoporosis often goes undiagnosed, it is especially important to prevent it. Known as a “silent disease,” osteoporosis may not exhibit any symptoms until a fracture actually occurs. Men in their fifties do not experience the rapid loss of bone mass that women do in the years following menopause; however, by age 65 or 70, men and women lose bone mass at the same rate as well as the decrease in ability to absorb calcium.2

There are two main types of osteoporosis: primary and secondary. The primary type is caused by age-related bone loss. The secondary type is caused by bone loss related to unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol, lack of exercise and a diet low in calcium. Although men of any race can develop osteoporosis, Caucasians seem most at risk as well as men who have chronic diseases that affect the kidneys, lungs, stomach and intestines.3

Since osteoporosis is often asymptomatic, both men and women need to be self-aware and see their physicians if they notice a change in posture, height or the onset of back pain. These are all signs of possible osteoporosis and a bone mineral density test can confirm whether the disease is present or in the precursor stages.

If a diagnosis of osteoporosis is made, the treatment plan may include calcium and/or vitamin D supplements, exercise and a change in diet. There are also medications that may be prescribed, but this is a source of much continuing controversy as there are risks of negative side effects, even though the drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.4

There have been fewer research studies on osteoporosis in men than in women; however, the consensus is that both genders should take steps to preserve bone health. Here are some preventative measures:

  • Ensure a daily calcium intake that is adequate for your age. For example, recommended calcium intake for those 9-18 years old is 1,300 mg daily but it decreases to 1,000 mg for men 19-70 years old and women up to 50 years old. At 51 years for women and 70 years for men, the recommended calcium intake increases to 1,200 mg.5
  • Ensure an adequate intake of vitamin D. 600 IU daily is recommended, while men over age 70 should increase intake to 800 IU daily.6
  • Participate regularly in weight-bearing exercises in which bones and muscles work against gravity. An Active Wellness regimen is easy to start simply with walking, jogging and climbing stairs.
  • Incorporate resistance exercises into your daily routine. Start with lifting small weights and work up to heavier ones. Or use the resistance machines at a gym.
  • Some medications are known to cause bone loss, for example, those known as glucocorticoids.7 If you take them or other medications, check with your doctor for known side effects that affect bone loss.

Check out the Nikken Bone Health Pack. Composed of Kenzen® Calcium Complex and Kenzen BDZ™, these partner products deliver maximum support for the body’s skeletal system. Bone buddies are your best friends for life.

Remember to Celebrate Father’s Day with our special Limitless Energy Pack—with the purchase of a KenkoTouch®, you also receive two Kenzen Ten4® and two black KenkoTherm DUK® Tape—available only through June 14!

 

1,2 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/men

3 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/men#c

4 https://www.naturomedica.com/blog/news/osteoporosis/what-are-the-controversies-surrounding-osteoporosis-medications

5, 6, 7 https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/men#e

Do You Drink Bottled Water?

Most of us drink bottled water at one time or another. It’s sold everywhere—in supermarkets, corner stores, concert venues, theaters, etc. Can we even imagine not drinking bottled water? Realistically, it’s important not only to imagine it, but also imperative to start practicing it. Planet Earth depends on us.

Bottled water marketing campaigns have been so successful in making people suspicious of tap water that sales skyrocketed 700 percent between 1997 and 2005.1 With this growth in sales, environmental degradation, landfill waste and other abuses associated with bottled water also grew exponentially.

Although most people think of bottled water as being healthier than tap water, bottled water is not subject to the same high level of scrutiny and regulation that the federal government mandates for tap water. In fact, the chemical pollution standards for bottled water and tap water are nearly identical—most brands of bottled water are simply filtered tap water. In the U.S., while public water utilities are required to disclose their testing results, bottled water companies are not required to release testing data, except in the state of California, where a minimum of information is required. Essentially, when we buy bottled water, we can never be sure of what we’re getting—research done by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found 38 contaminants in 10 popular brands of bottled water, including disinfection byproducts, industrial chemicals, arsenic, fertilizer residue and pain medication. 2

Water is life and an Active Wellness lifestyle requires drinking lots of water to maintain a healthy body. We also owe it to ourselves and future generations to minimize waste in order to save the environment. Producing less plastic waste by breaking the bottled water habit is key to this effort. Here’s why:

  • Every year, the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil are used to produce plastic water and soda bottles in the U.S.—not including transportation. Bottling water produces more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.3
  • Next to plastic bags, plastic bottles are the most prevalent source of pollution found on our beaches and shores. Each year, over 500 billion disposable bottles and cups end up littering our soil, rivers, lakes and oceans, killing countless fish and animals.4
  • Once you add in the water needed to manufacture paper labels and transportation fuel, it actually takes closer to six bottles of water to produce one liter of bottled water.5
  • From creation to disposal, plastic water bottles contribute to air pollution. And many of the chemicals that go into their production continue to leach out into the air and into the water they hold.

It’s really not that difficult to change. Get used to taking a portable water bottle when on-the-road and using a countertop water filter at home. Filtering tap water at home and from water fountains elsewhere can help remove impurities and make water safer to drink. Pathogens, dirt, chemicals and other contaminants are effectively removed by micro-, ultra- and nano-filters.6

Two young scientists have tackled the problem of plastic waste in a huge way. Jeanny Yao and Miranda Wang have developed a bacterium that may transform plastic into CO2 and water. They have already won the Perlman science prize and obtained financing to begin developing the product.7 As we look forward to other innovations, we can all contribute to the well-being of the environment by drinking filtered water instead of bottled water.

Nikken is a pioneer in water filtration and helps us break the bottled water habit. The PiMag® Sport Bottle and the PiMag® Waterfall feature state-of-the-art filtration that exceed NSF standards. Both feature multiple filtration systems that help remove chloramine, chlorine, cysts, lead and bacteria.

 

1 https://www.greenamerica.org/green-living/facts-about-water-filters?gclid=CjwKCAjw27jnBRBuEiwAdjQXDAfQz_jr881m7-AjKT_B2FwveSZ7K9bQOejrcNIf4PH9pacaC8UPsBoCOIEQAvD_BwE

2, 3, 4 https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/why-do-we-need-to-filter-water

5 https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/10/28/241419373/how-much-water-actually-goes-into-making-a-bottle-of-water?ft=1&f=1007

6 https://www.livestrong.com/article/152739-water-purification-advantages-disadvanages/

7 https://www.thescienceandspace.com/2019/05/the-high-pollution-in-oceans-is-big.html?fbclid=IwAR1xy1xbHd5Rlm0H8Slftnlb5hhXzIAvUeCpHrs1ymD2xSRfVVx3X_XJm0E

 

Fight Seasonal Allergies without Drugs

This is the time of year when the sounds of sneezing, sniffling and nose-blowing reverberate in far too many households throughout the world. Allergies are not contagious, but they are definitely irritating, with reactions ranging from wheezing, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes and more. Many depend on antihistamines, but that may actually aggravate them further or produce side effects of lethargy, drowsiness and other discomforts. Instead of just addressing the symptoms, getting to the root of the allergies may help decrease or get rid of them.

Understanding the cause of allergies is the first step in committing to an Active Wellness regimen that eschews allergy medications. Allergic reactions begin in the immune system. When something like dust, mold or pollen produces an allergic reaction in people, it’s because their immune systems are overreacting to the foreign substance. Those with strong immune systems may not react at all, while others may be mildly to severely irritated. Here are some ways to fortify the immune system and possibly minimize allergies in the long run:

  • Massage: The lymphatic system is the main carrier of the immune system and functions similarly to a sewer system by helping the body drain clogging fluids such as mucous. One way to open up the lymphatic system and to keep it flowing smoothly is through massage.1 The body can then rid itself of excess mucous produced from the allergic response.
  • Turmeric: Lymphatic drainage is blocked when the adrenal gland manufactures too much cortisol, known as the stress hormone. Turmeric is an adaptogenic herb that addresses the stress-lymph connection by helping to naturally lower cortisol levels while increasing antioxidant stress-fighting activity and boosting lymphatic circulation.2
  • Gut health: The connection between a strong immune system and a healthy gut is becoming common knowledge. More than 80% of the body’s immune function is stored in the GI tract, so research continues to link gut health with the reduced risk of allergies.3 When taken together, lactoferrin and probiotics provide a synergistic effect to the immune system by working together to help prevent chronic inflammation, help limit the spread of harmful microbes and help stabilize colonies of friendly bacteria.4
  • Healthy diet: Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce the risk of allergies and many other health problems. Nutrient-dense foods give the immune system the ability to repair itself, bringing it back into balance so it can help fight off common allergies in the environment.5 Beneficial foods include garlic, green leafy vegetables, lemons, fermented foods rich in probiotics (kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, kombucha, etc.), gluten-free grains (flours made from coconut, almond, spelt, oat and rice, etc.), and seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin and sunflower).

Take advantage of the Father’s Day Promotion and get a super deal when you purchase a Limitless Energy Pack. The KenkoTouch® enables you to give and have a portable massage to help keep the lymphatic system humming.

 

1 http://www.navacenter.com/community/blogs/how-to-prevent-allergies-the-holistic-approach

2 https://lifespa.com/rescue-lymph-stress-late/

3 https://draxe.com/8-natural-allergy-relief-remedies/

4 https://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=526

5 https://draxe.com/8-natural-allergy-relief-remedies/