Do You Know What Beta Glucans Are?

Medical experts have routinely stated that having a strong immune system is important for all people, especially for those more vulnerable to illness, that is, the elderly, chronically ill and immune-compromised. Consumers are looking for products and ingredients that help immune systems and beta glucans are one of the newest. They’re well-grounded in science with more than 1,000 published articles in the scientific literature attesting to their efficacy.1

Beta glucans are chains of glucose molecules that are naturally present and act as storage depots and structural components in bacteria, fungi, algae and cereals. Their chemical structure and composition as well as their molecular weight affect the extent to which they can stimulate and support the immune system. Beta glucans exert a prebiotic effect on the GI tract: they specifically fuel beneficial GI microbiota, enabling them to flourish and compete against pathogenic bacteria for space and food.

 While we think of the digestive tract primarily as the organ for digesting food and absorbing nutrients, it is also the body’s largest immune organ. Approximately 70% of immune cells reside in the human intestine.3 Feeding and maintaining the health of intestinal cells maintains GI tract integrity so it can act as a physical barrier to invading pathogens.

Because beta glucans are a type of soluble fiber, it can slow down the process of food moving through the intestines. By slowing down the digestive process, the body doesn’t absorb sugar as quickly and this helps stabilize blood sugar levels, an important benefit especially for diabetics. As beta glucans travel through the entire digestive tract, it can help transport cholesterol out, helping to lower levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a heart-healthy label for foods that have high amounts of beta glucan, based on this evidence.4

Like many fibers, beta glucans are available in supplement form. They are also found in various types of fungi, such as maitake and reishi mushrooms. Less known ingredients such as inulin and spirulina are also sources of beta glucans. More commonly, beta glucans are found in whole grains, oats, bran, wheat and barley.

Dietary fiber is sourced from plant-based foods, another good reason to incorporate them into an Active Wellness regimen. Many Nikken nutritional supplements contain an assortment of beta glucans. Check out Kenzen® Immunity, Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox, Kenzen Lactoferrin® 2.0, Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix, Kenzen® Jade GreenZymes®, Kenzen® Digestion 4-20 and Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix.

 

1, 2, 3 Nutraceuticals World, April 2020, pp.24-25

4 https://www.healthline.com/health/beta-glucan-heart-healthy#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1

Are You Gaining Weight While Staying Home?

Nobody has yet done an assessment of how COVID-19 has impacted the nation’s weight—in fact, there are reports that some people are losing weight. But John Morton, MD, MPH, MHA, medical director of bariatric surgery at Yale New Haven Health System, says he has seen patients in telehealth appointments who have gained five, 10, and even 30 pounds.1

In fact, the global pandemic has disrupted life in major ways: Gym and park closures have upended exercise routines, parents have had to work at home while teaching their children, and elective medical checkups have been postponed, whereas updates on blood pressure, AC1 and cholesterol numbers would have been motivation to think about weight.

WebMD readers in the U.S. cited a number of reasons for their weight gain in a poll conducted on May 17. About 72% reported a lack of exercise. About 70% said they’ve been stress eating. An overwhelming 59% said both a lack of exercise and stress eating were a problem, and 21% attributed it to extra alcohol consumption. The same poll conducted among international readers on May 18 found 73% cited lack of exercise, 35% stress eating, and 17% to drinking more alcohol.2

Purpose gives direction, and it helps when it comes to weight management. A few pounds short term may not make a difference. It could be fluid. It might be just a little weight gain while we establish new routines. Obviously, the more weight we gain and the longer it’s maintained, the more it affects our health.

According to the Mayo Clinic, for example, it’s been shown that children’s weight tracks to some extent. If children establish those habits, or lack of healthy habits when they’re young and they gain weight, that might persist as they go into adolescence and adulthood.3 This is a great time to role model healthy eating habits. In fact, cooking can be a family affair and a source of quality time.

With adults, it’s more important for some people than others to manage weight. Weight gain of a few pounds can hurt people who have diabetes or high blood pressure, as the extra weight can increase their blood glucose and blood pressure.4 So, it’s important to establish new habits that help maintain a healthy weight even when we are sequestered at home.

Here are a few tips on keeping unwanted poundage off by practicing Active Wellness:

• Create a daily routine. Include wake-up time, bed time and meal times. Even if you are working at home now, adhere to a schedule.

• If you are home more than usual, take the time to learn about healthy foods and do more cooking. Restaurant food is generally higher in calories but when you’re the cook, you can focus on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.

• Control your portions. Practice eating until you’re 70% to 80% full.

• Eat proteins first, because they will make you feel full. Too many carbohydrates can cause swings in blood sugar.

• If you simply do not cook and have no interest in it, resist ready-made processed foods. Instead choose a healthy meal replacement drink like Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix at least once daily. It’s high in plant protein, MCTs and sweetened with all-natural, zero-calorie monkfruit.

• For those with finicky children, keep offering fruits and vegetables but don’t add more stress if they refuse them. Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix is a yummy alternative that delivers four recommended daily servings of vegetables and fruits with a single scoop.

• Schedule regular exercise. Exercise is not the main factor for weight loss, but it plays a role in keeping weight off as well as helping loosen stiff joints. Remember the simple rule that fewer calories consumed than expended is what produces weight loss. There are many ways to exercise at home.

• Get a good night’s sleep. Those who do not get restful sleep tend to gain weight!

• Decide how to manage stress. Meditation, prayer, yoga, listening to soothing music, playing a musical instrument, reading, etc. It all depends on what relaxes you best. Enjoy the time you have at home and stay healthy and active!

1 https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/quarantine-15-weight-gain-pandemic/

2 https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200518/webmd-poll-many-report-weight-gain-during-shutdown

3,4 https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/packing-on-pounds-during-covid-19-and-how-to-turn-it-around/

Monitoring Health is Key to Men’s Physical and Mental Well-Being

Did you know that men are 80 percent less likely to use a regular source of healthcare, like a primary care physician, than women? In fact, a lot of men go to the doctor only if they’re sick or have a medical emergency.1 Although men’s lifespans are gradually catching up to women’s, not monitoring one’s health is partially to blame for the discrepancy.

The five biggest health risk factors for men are heart disease, stroke, suicide, prostate cancer and lung cancer.2 Prostate cancer is the most common type found in men and the American Cancer Society recommends a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test annually for healthy men starting at age 50 or older.3 Men who eat large quantities of red meat and high-fat dairy products and inadequate amounts of fruits and vegetables have a higher risk for prostate cancer.

Men 50 years and older are also at the highest risk for developing skin cancer, more than twice as likely as women, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. The risk is attributed to more frequent sun exposure and fewer visits to the doctor.4

Although it is not listed on the top five health risk factors, diabetes presents a unique set of complications for men: it increases the risk for lower testosterone levels that can lead to sexual impotence, depression and anxiety.5 Untreated diabetes may lead to a whole range of physical dysfunctions, including kidney damage, heart disease, stroke and vision problems.

Mental well-being is overlooked by many segments of the population, but especially with men. Men experience depression differently than women, in that they report symptoms of fatigue and irritability more often than actual anxiety or depression. They also are less apt to seek help or treatment. Ironically, even though more women attempt suicide, more men actually die by their own doing.6 This is compounded by unintentional deaths resulting from men’s higher rates of smoking and drinking.

If you’re an adult man who hasn’t had a preventative care checkup in more than a year, now is the time to visit your doctor, even if it’s only a phone consultation. Many conditions do not have obvious symptoms and may put you at risk for heart attack or stroke. Some basic tips for men’s health maintenance are to:

  • Protect yourself from injury by wearing helmets, safety glasses, seatbelts, sunscreen and insect repellent when needed.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Pay attention to prostate health. Kenzen® Mega Daily 4 for men addresses men’s health issues, including prostate health. To lower risk of prostate problems, eat a nutritious, balanced, low-fat diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Manage stress by getting restful sleep. Take time for yourself and use meditation, yoga and other ways to maintain a positive mental attitude.
  • Seek help when feeling anxious, unusual fatigue or sadness. Find at least one person you feel comfortable confiding in, even if you don’t speak to a professional therapist.
  • Get regular checkups and screenings from a healthcare practitioner.

It’s important to remember that little boys grow up to be men, so teach them good habits early on! Nikken Active Wellness supports both men and women, and now, there’s Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix that helps boys and girls achieve a good dietary regimen as early as two years old!

 

1 https://mypvhc.com/ways-improve-mens-health/

2, 3 https://www.webmd.com/men/features/mens-top-5-health-concerns#1

4, 5, 6 https://www.clinicaladvisor.com/slideshow/slides/top-10-mens-health-issues/

 

Do You Have Finicky Eaters in Your Family Who Don’t Like Vegetables?

Grandma always said, “Eat your vegetables.” Turns out, Grandma was right. The importance of vegetables to Active Wellness is irrefutable. One of life’s mysteries is why some children simply do not like or refuse to eat vegetables. What’s a parent to do? (Or, are you an adult who doesn’t eat vegetables willingly and regularly?)

Nikken has the solution with Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix. It not only helps you and your kids get your daily allowance of vegetables, but it also helps to keep your digestion working at full blast! With the ratio of one daily serving of fruit to three daily servings of veggies per scoop, it’s designed to be a green superfood for kids but “grown-ups” will be tempted, too!

Organic vegetables in KTVDM come from land and sea: Barley grass, Carrot root, Spirulina, Beet root, Spinach leaf, Watercress leaf and Parsley leaf. Organic fruits in the powder come from Acerola berry extract and Banana, and natural flavors come from organic Cacao and Coconut sugar! There are only 20 calories per delicious serving.

Each of the organic vegetables and fruits are incorporated for specific reasons. For example, organic Barley grass is known by many as “Nature’s perfect food” and the primary ingredient in the flagship Nikken nutritional, Kenzen Jade GreenZymes®.

Organic Acerola berry extract is a superfruit that is known to be one of the richest sources of vitamin C and is considered by the National Institute of Health as a “functional food.”1 A functional food promotes optimal health and is considered helpful in reducing the risk of disease. The acerola berry extract in this formula not only contributes to the recommended daily allowance of fruit but it also helps to provide Kenzen Total Vegan Drink Mix with 210% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.

Organic Spirulina powder is a blue-green algae with 60% protein content, a richer source than most vegetables. It’s also a source of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid, as well as a source of beta-carotene. The organic Spirulina adds marine-sourced nutrients to the powder.

If you didn’t know that watercress is known as a powerhouse vegetable, you’re not alone. However, the Center for Disease Control places it at the top of its list of nutrient-dense vegetables!2 It’s a green, leafy vegetable you don’t hear much about and you may not be able to convince your little ones to crunch down on it, let alone take a bite of parsley—something many people think of as a garnish rather than as a nutritious vegetable! But the truth is, both watercress and parsley are natural sources of vitamin K that benefits bone health, vital in growing children. And of course, our formula only uses Organic Watercress leaf and Organic parsley leaf powders.

Organic Carrot Root and Beet Root powders add naturally sourced vitamin C and fiber and are valued for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Both contain phytonutrients that help stimulate the metabolic and digestive systems. They work in tandem with the Probiotic Blend to enhance gut health. Each serving contains 3.5 billion CFUs of probiotics to get the digestion working at capacity plus naturally-occurring ionic trace minerals help to improve the body’s pH balance.

Kenzen Total Vegan Drink Mix 003Your kids won’t care about all the benefits of this naturally-flavored beverage. They’ll care that it’s yummy and tastes like chocolate. You can worry less about getting vegetables and fruits into their diets and feel confident knowing they’re getting a head start with an Active Wellness lifestyle!

 

 

 

1 ncbi.nim.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6098779

2 cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2014/13_0390.htm#table2_down