Health Benefits of Cardamom

Health Benefits of Cardamom

10 Health Benefits of Cardamom, Backed by Science

**DISCLAIMER** I did not write this article but it was borrowed from HealthLine

 

I have recently had a love affair with cardamom.  This time of year it gets a lot of attention in my drinks, pies, stuffing, you name it.  It is a spice I go for a great deal.  I’ve recently been putting it in my coffee.  Since then I’ve noticed a reduction in overall body inflammation and GI stimulation I and many others get when drinking coffee.

 

The article below does a great job explaining the health benefits of cardamom a spice that many Americans don’t think about when cooking…add a little something different to your recipes…I promise you won’t be sorry!

Enjoy!

Dr. Dave

Cardamom is a spice with an intense, slightly sweet flavor that some people compare to mint.

It originated in India but is available worldwide today and used in both sweet and savory recipes.

The seeds, oils and extracts of cardamom are thought to have impressive medicinal properties and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries (12).

Here are 10 health benefits of cardamom, backed by science.

1. Antioxidant and Diuretic Properties May Lower Blood Pressure

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Cardamom may be helpful for people with high blood pressure.

In one study, researchers gave three grams of cardamom powder a day to 20 adults who were newly diagnosed with high blood pressure. After 12 weeks, blood pressure levels had significantly decreased to the normal range (Trusted Source).

The promising results of this study may be related to the high levels of antioxidants in cardamom. In fact, the participants’ antioxidant status had increased by 90% by the end of the study. Antioxidants have been linked to lower blood pressure (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Researchers also suspect that the spice may lower blood pressure due to its diuretic effect, meaning it can promote urination to remove water that builds up in your body, for example around your heart.

Cardamom extract has been shown to increase urination and decrease blood pressure in rats (Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Cardamom may help lower blood pressure, most likely due to its antioxidant and diuretic properties.

2. May Contain Cancer-Fighting Compounds

The compounds in cardamom may help fight cancer cells.

Studies in mice have shown that cardamom powder can increase the activity of certain enzymes that help fight cancer (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

The spice may also enhance the ability of natural killer cells to attack tumors (Trusted Source).

In one study, researchers exposed two groups of mice to a compound that causes skin cancer and fed one group 500 mg of ground cardamom per kg (227 mg per pound) of weight per day (Trusted Source ).

After 12 weeks, only 29% of the group who ate the cardamom developed cancer, compared to over 90% of the control group (Trusted Source).

Research on human cancer cells and cardamom indicate similar results. One study showed that a certain compound in the spice stopped oral cancer cells in test tubes from multiplying (Trusted Source).

Even though the results are promising, these studies have only been conducted on mice or in test tubes. Human research is needed before stronger claims can be made.

SUMMARY

Certain compounds in cardamom may fight cancer and stop the growth of tumors in mice and test tubes. Human research is needed to validate if these results apply to humans as well.

3. May Protect from Chronic Diseases Thanks to Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Cardamom is rich in compounds that may fight inflammation.

Inflammation occurs when your body is exposed to foreign substances. Acute inflammation is necessary and beneficial, but long-term inflammation can lead to chronic diseases (10 Trusted Source11 Trusted Source12).

Antioxidants, found in abundance in cardamom, protect cells from damage and stop inflammation from occurring (13 Trusted Source).

One study found that cardamom extract in doses of 50–100 mg per kg (23–46 mg per pound) of body weight was effective in inhibiting at least four different inflammatory compounds in rats (14 Trusted Source).

Another study in rats showed that eating cardamom powder decreased liver inflammation induced by eating a diet high in carbs and fat (15 Trusted Source).

Though there are not as many studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of cardamom in humans, research shows that supplements may increase antioxidant status by up to 90% (Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

The antioxidant compounds in cardamom may help protect cells from damage and slow down and prevent inflammation in your body.

4. May Help with Digestive Problems, Including Ulcers

Cardamom has been used for thousands of years to help with digestion.

It’s often mixed with other medicinal spices to relieve discomfort, nausea and vomiting (1).

The most researched property of cardamom, as it pertains to relieving stomach issues, is its possible ability to heal ulcers.

In one study, rats were fed extracts of cardamom, turmeric and sembung leaf in hot water before being exposed to high doses of aspirin to induce stomach ulcers. These rats developed fewer ulcers compared to rats that only received aspirin (16 Trusted Source).

A similar study in rats found that cardamom extract alone could completely prevent or reduce the size of gastric ulcers by at least 50%.

In fact, at doses of 12.5 mg per kg (5.7 mg per pound) of body weight, cardamom extract was more effective than a common anti-ulcer medication (17 Trusted Source).

Test-tube research also suggests that cardamom may protect against Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria linked to the development of most stomach ulcer issues (18 Trusted Source).

More research is needed to know if the spice would have the same effect against ulcers in humans.

5. May Treat Bad Breath and Prevent Cavities

The use of cardamom to treat bad breath and improve oral health is an ancient remedy.

In some cultures, it’s common to freshen your breath by eating entire cardamom pods after a meal (1).

Even the chewing gum manufacturer Wrigley uses the spice in one of its products.

The reason why cardamom can lead to minty fresh breath may have to do with its ability to fight common mouth bacteria (19 Trusted Source).

One study found that cardamom extracts were effective in fighting five bacteria that can cause dental cavities. In some test-tube cases, the extracts prevented the growth of the bacteria by up to 0.82 inches (2.08 cm) (20).

Additional research shows that cardamom extract can reduce the number of bacteria in saliva samples by 54% (21).

However, all of these studies have been conducted in test tubes, making it unclear how the results may apply to humans.

SUMMARY

Cardamom is often used to treat bad breath and is a component of some chewing gums. This is because cardamom might be able to kill common mouth bacteria and prevent cavities.

6. May Have Antibacterial Effects and Treat Infections

Cardamom also has antibacterial effects outside of the mouth and may treat infections.

Research shows that cardamom extracts and essential oils have compounds that fight several common strains of bacteria (22 Trusted Source23 Trusted Source24 Trusted Source25 Trusted Source).

One test-tube study examined the impact of these extracts on drug-resistant strains of Candida, a yeastthat can cause fungal infections. The extracts were able to inhibit the growth of some strains by 0.39–0.59 inches (0.99–1.49 cm) (26Trusted Source).

Additional test-tube research found that essential oils and extracts of cardamom were just as, and sometimes more effective than standard drugs against E. coli and Staphylococcus, bacteria that can cause food poisoning (23 Trusted Source).

Test-tube studies have also shown that cardamom essential oils fight the bacteria Salmonella that leads to food poisoning and Campylobacter that contributes to stomach inflammation (24 Trusted Source25 Trusted Source).

Existing studies on the antibacterial effects of cardamom have only looked at isolated strains of bacteria in labs. Therefore, the evidence is currently not strong enough to make claims that the spice would have the same effect in humans.

SUMMARY

The essential oils and extracts of cardamom may be effective against a variety of bacterial strains that contribute to fungal infections, food poisoning and stomach issues. However, research has only been conducted in test tubes and not in humans.

7. May Improve Breathing and Oxygen Use

Compounds in cardamom may help increase airflow to your lungs and improve breathing.

When used in aromatherapy, cardamom can provide an invigorating odor that enhances your body’s ability to use oxygen during exercise (27).

One study asked a group of participants to inhale cardamom essential oil for one minute before walking on a treadmill for 15-minute intervals. This group had a significantly higher oxygen uptake compared to the control group (27).

Another way that cardamom may improve breathing and oxygen use is by relaxing your airway. This may be particularly helpful for treating asthma.

A study in rats and rabbits found that injections of cardamom extract could relax the throat air passage. If the extract has a similar effect in people with asthma, it may prevent their inflamed airways from restricting and improve their breathing (28).

SUMMARY

Cardamom may improve breathing by stimulating better oxygen uptake and relaxing air passage to the lungs in humans and animals.

8. May Lower Blood Sugar Levels

When taken in powder form, cardamom may lower blood sugar.

One study found that feeding rats a high-fat, high-carb (HFHC) diet caused their blood sugar levels to remain elevated longer than if they were fed a normal diet (15 Trusted Source).

When rats on the HFHC diet were given cardamom powder, their blood sugar did not stay elevated for longer than the blood sugar of rats on a normal diet (15 Trusted Source).

However, the powder may not have the same effect in humans with type 2 diabetes.

In a study in over 200 adults with this condition, participants were divided into groups that took only black tea or black tea with three grams of either cinnamon, cardamom or ginger every day for eight weeks (29 Trusted Source).

The results showed that cinnamon, but not cardamom or ginger, improved blood sugar control (29Trusted Source).

In order to better understand the effect of cardamom on blood sugar in humans, more studies are needed.

SUMMARY

A study on rats suggests that cardamom may help decrease high blood sugar levels, but more high-quality human studies are needed.

9. Other Potential Health Benefits of Cardamom

In addition to the aforementioned health benefits, cardamom may be good for your health in other ways as well.

Studies in rats have found that the high antioxidant levels in the spice may prevent both liver enlargement, anxiety and even aid weight loss:

  • Liver protection: Cardamom extract may decrease elevated liver enzymes, triglyceride and cholesterol levels. They may also prevent liver enlargement and liver weight, which reduces the risk of fatty liver disease (3031Trusted Source
    32Trusted Source
    33Trusted Source
    ).
  • Anxiety: One rat study suggests that cardamom extract may prevent anxious behaviors. This may be because low blood levels of antioxidants have been linked to the development of anxiety and other mood disorders (34Trusted Source
    35Trusted Source
    , 36Trusted Source
    ).
  • Weight loss: A study in 80 overweight and obese prediabetic women found a link between cardamom and slightly reduced waist circumference. However, rat studies on weight loss and the spice have not found significant results (15Trusted Source
    37Trusted Source
    )

The number of studies on the link between cardamom and these potential benefits is limited and mostly done on animals.

Furthermore, the reasons why the spice may help improve liver health, anxiety and weight are unclear.

SUMMARY

: A limited number of studies suggests that cardamom supplements may decrease waist circumference and prevent anxious behaviors and fatty liver. The reasons behind these effects are unclear but may have to do with the spice’s high antioxidant content.

10. Safe for Most People and Widely Available

Cardamom is generally safe for most people.

The most common way to use cardamom is in cooking or baking. It’s very versatile and often added to Indian curries and stews, as well as gingerbread cookies, bread and other baked goods.

The use of cardamom supplements, extracts and essential oils is likely to become more common in light of the promising results of research on its medicinal uses.

However, there is currently no recommended dose for the spice since most studies have been on animals. The use of supplements should be monitored by a health professional.

Furthermore, cardamom supplements may not be suitable for children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Most supplements recommend 500 mg of cardamom powder or extract once or twice a day.

The FDA does not regulate supplements, so be sure to choose brands that have been tested by a third party if you’re encouraged to try cardamom supplements by a healthcare provider.

If you’re interested in trying cardamom, remember that adding the spice to your foods may be the safest way.

SUMMARY

Using cardamom in cooking is safe for most people. Cardamom supplements and extracts have not been thoroughly researched and should only be taken under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

The Bottom Line

Cardamom is an ancient remedy that may have many medicinal properties.

It may lower blood pressure, improve breathing and aid weight loss.

What’s more, animal and test-tube studies show that cardamom may help fight tumors, improve anxiety, fight bacteria and protect your liver, though the evidence in these cases is less strong.

However, little or no human research exists for a number of the health claims associated with the spice. More studies are needed to show if or how the results of preliminary research apply to humans.

Nevertheless, adding cardamom to your cooking may be a safe and effective way to improve your health.

Cardamom extracts and supplements may also provide benefits but should be taken with caution and under the supervision of a doctor.

Integrative Prevention and Treatment of COVID 19

 FOUNDATIONAL PREVENTION:

Diet/Glycemic control

Sleep

Stress reduction

Vit D3 10000IU daily help maintain epithelial barrier

Vit A 5-10000IU help maintain epithelial barrier

Zn 60mg

Vit C 1000mg daily you can divide this dose in half if bowel intolerance

Quercetin 500mg 3x daily

Fish Oil 1-3g daily

High potassium diet (avocados, bananas)

Microbiome balance

ANTIOXIDANT SUPPORT:

NAC 600-900mg 2x daily for prevention

Infection: triple this and 4x if the disease in an advanced stage

*Improves integrity of tight junction signaling in GI tract

CONTACT CLINIC FOR CUSTOM HERBAL FORMULA OR COMPOUNDED NEBULIZED GLUTATHIONE.

SUGGESTED DURING INFECTION BUT CAN BE TAKEN 1x Daily for PREVENTION!

SUPPORT NK cells:

Astraglus 500mg 2-3x daily,

Andrographis 300mg 2-3x daily,

Reishi 400mg 2-3x daily (capsules or custom tincture blend)

SUPPORT TH1 IMMUNE SYSTEM

Berberine 500mg 2-3x daily alternative Goldenseal, Coptis, Cryptolepsis, Mahonia, berberis

Baicalin found in Skullcap variety 300mg 2-3x daily

Echinacea 500mg 2-3x daily

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SUPPORT:

Curcumin 500mg as prevention 2-3x daily, if inflammation is elevating in CRP then increase to 1g Curcumin 3-4x daily

Bromelain take if inflammation is elevated via CRP 600mg between meals

Reserveratrol 2-400mg 2-3x daily

Sulforaphane 200mg 2-3x daily

Boswellia 400mg 2-3x daily

Nebulized Glutathione 3-4 ml 2-4x daily (call or email to order as it is compounded)

Oral Glutathione or NAC both stimulate anti-inflammatory cascade

Source:

Yanuck SF, Pizzorno J, Messier H, Fitzgerald KN. Evidence Supporting a Phased Immuno-physiological Approach to COVID-19 From Prevention Through Recovery. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2020;19(Suppl 1):8-35. PMID: 32425712; PMCID: PMC7190003.

General Immune Boosting and Anti-viral/bacterial Protocol

 

General Immune Boosting and Anti-viral/bacterial Protocol

 Vitamin C with Quercetin: 1000mg 2 caps 2-3x daily to help with mucous membranes, inflammation, etc

 NAC 500mg daily for prevention 1-3x daily for congestion and inflammation (natural mucolytic)

Elderberry Syrup -1tsp up to 6x daily for sore throat, anti-viral, immune support.

Vitamin D3 -20,000IU adults, 10,000IU for kids for 10 days Or prevention 4-6,000IU daily

Zinc 10-15mg daily

 Cold and Flu Formula

Ingredients:

Sambuccus spp., Usnea spp., Sarracenia purpura, Tanacetum parthenium, Rosa spp, Ligusticum porteri, Echinacea angustifolia, Andrographis paniculata, Physalis peruviana, Inula helenium, Uncaria tomentosa

1-2 droppers full 3x daily for 10-14 days

—————-

 ELDERBERRY:

Elderberry contains several healthful immune boosting properties, including antioxidants, tannins, vitamins A, B, and C, and flavonoids, just to name a few.

Vitamin A – 50,000IU for adults 25,000IU for kids for 3-4 days

Is crucial for maintaining vision, promoting growth and development, and protecting epithelium and mucus integrity in the body. VitA is known as an anti-inflammation vitamin because of its critical role in enhancing immune function.

 Vitamin D 20,000IU adults, 10,000IU for kids for 10 days

Tied to Lower Risk of Colds, Infections. — There’s preliminary evidence that adequate amounts of vitamin D might help lower rates of respiratory infections. These infections include colds, bronchitis and pneumonia.

It modulates the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection

 Zinc is a trace element that the cells of our immune system rely on to function. Not getting enough zinc (Harvard Medical School researchers recommend 15-25 mg of zinc per day) can affect the functioning of our T-cells and other immune cells. But it’s also important not to get too much: an excess of the supplement may actually interfere with the immune system’s functioning and have the opposite of the intended result.So instead of chugging fizzy drinks loaded with vitamin C, stick to getting the nutrient from food. Strawberries and many other fruits and veggies are a great source. And if you aren’t getting enough zinc in your diet, try a zinc supplement. Chickpeas, kidney beans, mushrooms, crab, and chicken are all rich in zinc, and zinc-rich lozenges may also help boost your intake.

Naturopathic Approach to COVID-19

NOTE: COVID-19 is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.

 

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

It is now clear that human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 is possible and is occurring. Transmission is mainly through respiratory droplets and close contact – similar to how influenza is spread. The CDC defines close contact as being within 6 feet or within a room or care area for a prolonged period without personal protective equipment OR having direct contact with secretions of a person with COVID-19 infection. There is some evidence that fecal-oral or blood transmission may be possible, even when COVID-19 is not detected in oral swabs (3). Investigation is underway to determine how long COVID-19 can survive on various surfaces and possibly be transmitted through “fomites” (a fancy word for objects or materials that can carry infection, such as tabletops, keyboards, clothes and utensils).  

The incubation period is thought to be 2-14 days, with a median incubation period of 4 days. Patients are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic. However, a recent report (4) found that an asymptomatic woman who transmitted COVID-19 to 5 other people may have had an incubation time of 19 days. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

What is important to remember is that the majority of infected people appear to have mild infections – with mild cold-like symptoms and fever, and likely many who have no symptoms. As noted above, there are case reports of asymptomatic carriers. However, most people who contract COVID-19 do seem to develop symptoms of some sort. 

Reported symptoms include:

  • Fever (which may not be present in the very young or very old, or immunocompromised)
  • Uncomplicated upper respiratory symptoms (Cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, malaise, headache, muscle aches)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mild pneumonia
  • Severe pneumonia (the severe pneumonia caused by COVID-19 is now named severe acute respiratory infection (SARI))
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
  • Sepsis and Septic shock
  • Death

How and who do you test for COVID-19?

COVID-19 is detected by testing nasopharyngeal swabs (basically a q-tip up the nose), oropharyngeal swabs (a throat swab), and sputum for genetic material of COVID-19 by polymerase chain testing (PCR). The test kit is called the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Panel.” In the US, these test kits are NOT available currently through doctor’s offices, community clinics, or hospitals  (i.e. I do NOT have test kits). If I were suspicious that a child or parent in my office could have COVID-19, I would send them to the public health department for testing.

Currently, the recommendations are to test patients with fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath) who have had close contact with: 1) a person with confirmed COVID-19; or 2) history of travel from affected geographic areas with 4 days of symptoms; OR anyone with severe acute lower respiratory illness that requires hospitalization and does not have another diagnosis like influenza, eve without any known source of exposure. Remember, the CDC defines close contact as being within 6 feet or within a room or care area for a prolonged period without personal protective equipment OR having direct contact with secretions of a person with COVID-19 infection.

This is the protocol that was emailed to me by my local health department (8):

How do you treat COVID-19?

There are currently no specific antiviral medications known to treat COVID-19, Treatment is supportive with rest, fluids, oxygen, and more intensive care if needed. Scientists are actively researching possible existing or new antiviral medications that may have activity against COVID-19, and vaccines that may help to prevent COVID-19. Tamiflu will not work. While these efforts are critically needed, the manufacture and testing of a new pharmaceutical agents or vaccines is likely several months to over a year in coming.

Stat Source:

https://healthykidshappykids.com/2020/02/27/coronavirus-covid-19/?fbclid=IwAR2F1UgcRJz0UDZ14G52aQml22jtp3ZTdO0otRlD6rWiK6LPRiVirxzbN90

Natural Anti-Viral treatments.

HERB LIST CLIFF NOTES:

Sambucus spp: Anti-viral, antioxidant

Lomatium dissectum: Anti-viral, helps break up mucous

Grindelia spp: expectorant, reduce mucous

Astragalus spp: immune system support, anti-viral

Glycyrrhiza (Licorice root): antiviral, mucolytic, anti-inflammatory.

 Saracenia purpurea: anti-viral, reduce fever, diuretic

Ligusticum porterii: Antiviral, reduce sore throats, coughs, can improve various lung ailments. 

THIS IS A SHORT LIST THERE ARE MANY OTHERS

 

SPICE CABINET ANTIVIRALS: Oregano, Ginger, Lemon balm, Sage, Garlic, Fennel, Basil, Rosemary.

 OTHER SUPPLEMENTS:

Vitamin A

5,000IU infants; 10,000-20,000IU for children; 50,000IU for adults do this for 3 days.  This improves natural killer cells response, reduces inflammation, and antiviral activity, improves epithelia integrity. 

Vitamin D3 

2,000-5,000IU for infants; 10,000IU children, 20,000-50,000IU adults for 10 days then reduce dosing to 25%

has been called a “pro-survival molecule.” In this review of the literature on Vitamin D and immunity (19), the authors conclude that: 

“… vitamin D not only helps the immune system to be dampened during an excessive or chronic reaction (anti-inflammatory potential) but also to rapidly reach its completion or exhaustion, helping innate cells to kill bacteria or viruses. In this sense, vitamin D maintains its pivotal role as a pro-survival molecule.”

Cathelicidin produced by Vitamin D can neutralize LPS (lipopolysaccharides) that are responsible for so much of the damage that we see in sepsis, and also has antimicrobial and immunomodulatory effects. (20) Vitamin D deficiency may actually be considered a risk factor for sepsis and inflammatory disorders, so please ensure that your and your child’s vitamin D levels are optimized as I discuss below in how to protect your child.

Vitamin C

500-1000mg 2-3x daily for children, 1000mg 3-4x daily for adults

Antioxidant properties, improve integrity of mucosal membranes. 

Glutathione/NAC

Natural mucolytic, can be taken orally or nebulized, natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. 

Quercetin 

has also been found to inhibit the NF-kB pathway (23), and to improve survival and decrease cellular damage in a mouse model of sepsis  

COMMON SENSE!

There are commonsense measures to protect yourself from COVID-19 that you should be practicing regardless of whatever virus is circulating at the moment. The only unique recommendation with COVID-19 is to avoid unnecessary contact with non-domesticated animals due to presumed animal-human transmission. Other commonsense measures to protect yourself and prevent spread of illness include: 

  • Wash hands frequently, especially before eating or touching your face. Washing hands with warm soap and water for at least 30 seconds is the best option. This study found that washing hands even with plain running water without soap was more effective than ethanol-based hand disinfectants at killing the Influenza A virus! (36)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth! Do your best to keep those little fingers away! 
  • Stay home when you’re sick, unless you need urgent medical attention. You may be increasing your possible exposures to COVID-19 if you don’t have it, or exposing others unnecessarily if you do.
  • Cover your cough with your elbow or tissues. Teach your kids proper cough etiquette. And if you use a tissue, immediately throw it into the trash and wash your hands.
  • Keep your distance. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who is obviously sick with fever and/or respiratory symptoms.
  • Irrigate your nose. While we do not know if nasal irrigation makes a difference for prevention of COVID-19, I believe that one of the MOST preventive things you can do for any viral respiratory illness is to irrigate your, and your children’s, nasal passages with Xlear nasal spray at the end of every day and after any potential exposure (work, school, playgroups, plane travel, etc.). This is a saline nasal spray with xylitol and grapefruit seed extract, both of which have antimicrobial properties. You cannot overdo it, and will not get “addicted” to it. Other options for nasal irrigation are a regular saline spray, Neti pot, and other sinus rinses like Neilmed.
    **Apart from regular hand washing, I believe that daily and frequent nasal irrigation is one of the MOST important things that we can do to prevent influenza and other viral respiratory infections from taking hold.** This is because after exposure to a virus, the influenza virus tries to invade and multiply in your nasal passages for at least 1-2 days before you develop any symptoms. Nasal irrigation can wash away viral particles before they have the opportunity to take hold, and thereby prevent many infections from happening in the first place!
  • Load up on foods and spices with antiviral properties. These include coconut oil, raw garlic, oregano, ginger, kimchi and other fermented foods, walnut, pomegranate, green tea, apple cider vinegar, and medicinal mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, reishi, cordyceps, turkeytail).
  • Eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. They are full of antioxidants which will destroy the free radicals that weaken our immune system and are responsible for making us feel sick when we catch a bug. Each color provides different antioxidant power – so be sure to eat a rainbow every day. If you’re kids aren’t the hugest vegetable eaters yet, give them their antioxidant dose with a smoothie packed with fruits AND veggies, use that smoothie to make jello with grass-fed gelatin or popsicles, sneak pureed vegetables into your spaghtetti sauce, soups, chilis, or whatever other way you can think of – be creative!
  • Stay well-hydrated. Stick to water, coconut water, herbal teas, and bone broth. No soda or sugary drinks, please! What’s a good estimate for how much water you need at a minimum? Divide your body weight (in pounds) in half and drink that number in ounces! Do you come close?
  • Drink your bone broth! Bone broth has amazing immune-supporting properties. See Amazing Bone Broth to get started easily making your own.
  • Eat fermented foods. The probiotics contained in fermented foods have tremendous immune boosting powers. In fact, the fermented Korean cabbage, kimchi, was found to have significant effects in preventing and fighting the H1N1 influenza virus! Other examples of delicious fermented foods to try include sauerkraut, pickles (try “real” pickles without added vinegar like Bubbies), miso, kefir, and kombucha.
  • Avoid simple sugars and processed/junk food. Did you know that your blood shows lab evidence of a lowered immune system within 30 minutes of eating simple sugars (like glucose, refined sugar, and fructose), and causes a 50% reduction in your white blood cells’ abilities to kill germs? White blood cells are our “army” cells that fight off germs. This effect is most noticeable 2 hours after ingestion, but is still present 5 hours later! Keeping blood sugar levels healthy has been shown to improve immune system activity.
  • Get fresh air and moderate daily exercise. Moderate exercise can boost the production of macrophages, the kind of white blood cells that “eat” bacteria and viruses. However, intense exercise can actually temporarily decrease immune function – so don’t overdo it!
  • Get adequate sleep. An increase in sleep actually increases the number of your white blood cells. On the other hand, loss of sleep even for a few hours at night, increases inflammation in our body which makes us more susceptible to catching the flu and having more severe symptoms. So make sure your whole family is getting enough zzzz’s. For tips on getting a good night’s sleep, 

 

 

 

 

January Newsletter 2020

January Newsletter 2020

January 2020 Edition

What's New

Colder temperatures may help reduce allergies and inflammation and research has shown that it can help you think more clearly and perform daily tasks better.

Planning for Your Best Health in 2020

Welcome to 2020. A new year and new - or renewed - resolutions. Whether you're determined to manage weight, reduce stress, strengthen relationships, or volunteer your services, the first step in choosing what to tackle is understanding your values and priorities. Visualize how the change would look for you.

Ask yourself: If I make this change . . .

  • What positive effects will I experience: (example, if you choose to focus on volunteer work, you are likely to create new friendships; if you volunteer as a family, you'll strengthen family ties).
  • What resources or support do I need?
  • How will I feel emotionally? Physically? Spiritually?

Changing behavior is tricky: it takes time, patience, good planning, and the willingness to accept setbacks even as you move forward. It takes at least 30 days to establish a new habit and become comfortable with your new routine, time requirements and available resources. Plan for success and be realistic about outcomes by anticipating how you'll handle challenges that pop up, whether its time constraints, external obligations, or lack of support from family and friends.

The following strategies can help you succeed.

Know Your Why. Why do you want to make this change? Motivation is an important predictor of behavior and, ultimately, success, so be honest about your why. How will success feel to you? Connecting emotion to your why strengthens your willingness to stick to the goal when things get challenging. I'll feel less stress because I will have more space around the house if I clean out the rooms and closets. Write down your 'why' and post it somewhere visible.

Set Goals and Have a Plan. Anything you want to achieve isn't about finding the time, it's about making the time - and that choice is always in your power. If you're unsure about forming goals and plan, ask your holistic health practitioner for assistance. Depending on what you are striving to change, you might set weekly or monthly goals.

Pull Together Resources. Sometimes the people we typically count are less than supportive of our goals, wondering how your commitment to change will affect them or your relationship. If you can't find support in your immediate circle of influence, seek out a like-minded group, an accountability buddy, a life coach or counselor. Your health practitioner can assist with resources and make suggestions for keeping you accountable for your progress.

Celebrate Success! In your plan, note the markers at which you will celebrate success. Rewards need not be expensive, just meaningful for you. Keep in mind that some rewards might be a natural consequence of your lifestyle change: A smile from someone you have helped through volunteer work, donating clothes that no longer fit after weight loss, or having room for a new desk in a cleared out space.

References

Food for Thought. . .

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

Wild about Winter Greens!

If you want to liven up your salads, get wild about winter greens! Here's a list of cold-weather hardy greens that are packed with nutrition, flavor, and color:

Belgian Endive. Add kick to your salad with chopped-up endive leaves.Skip the crackers for your hummus or cheese spread by using a sturdy endive leave, raw or baked. Endive provides potassium, fiber, and vitamins B, C and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron and folate.

Beet Greens. With a mild taste similar to kale, beet greens should not be tossed when you chop off the amethyst bulb at the end. The greens provide an abundance of nutrients including vitamins A and C. Look for firm, fresh greens still attached to the root. Beet greens can be enjoyed raw in a salad, sautéed, braised or steamed.

Kohlrabi. A cousin to broccoli, kohlrabi (aka The German Turnip) has purple, pale green, and white varieties. Slightly sweeter than broccoli, it's high in potassium, vitamin B6, manganese, and folate. Use shredded or chopped, add to soups and salads; eat raw or sautéed.

Parsley. Beyond garnish, it's a green worthy of being added to your salad blends. Use parsley in the final steps when preparing soups, sauces, salad dressing, rice or pasta. A cup of parsley provides iron, potassium, vitamins A, C, K and folate.

Radicchio. Abundant in vitamin K and potassium, radicchio is one of the prettiest winter veggies. It adds color and texture to salads and entrees. It's also a great green for digestive health. Don't confuse radicchio with red cabbage; radicchio is a member of the chicory family and has a distinctive, unique flavor that will bring your meals to life.

Watercress. A lovely addition to any salad, watercress is a great source of nutrition, containing fiber, antioxidants and minerals. It contains a high amount of Vitamins K, A and C. One of the more delicate winter greens, it makes for a lovely garnish to any dish.

These powerhouse veggies are loaded with antioxidants, which are associated with reduced risk for chronic disease. Check with your health practitioner for more healthy dietary advice during the winter months.

References

Vibrant Winter Greens with Walnuts, Dried Cranberry and Lemon Vinaigrette

A healthy start to dinner, this winter salad is robust in flavor, color, and nutrition. Cranberries add color and sweetness against the vibrant dark greens and purple radicchio. Walnuts and raw broccoli slaw bring on the crunch and provide nutrition for the mind. The entire salad is complemented by a lemon vinaigrette dressing. The result is super-delicious!

Ingredients for Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 3 – 4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, and fine sea salt, whisking until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is well blended. Season with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. If desired, whisk in the remaining oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly. DO AHEAD: The vinaigrette can be prepared ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Salad Ingredients

  • 2 oz. chopped baby spinach leaves
  • 2 oz. finely shredded radicchio
  • 3 oz. chopped Belgian Endive
  • 3 oz. chopped savoy cabbage
  • 1/3 package of organic shredded broccoli slaw
  • 1/2 cup walnuts halves and pieces (or your favorite nut)
  • 2 oz dried, unsweetened cranberries (or currants, or diced apple pieces if you prefer)

Salad Preparation

  1. In a salad bowl, gently mix greens, cranberries, add nuts with dressing. Divide among plates.
  2. If using apple, dice and sprinkle over the top of each salad plate.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad plates.
  4. Garnish with a sprig of parsley, if desired.

References

Ashwagandha: Herbal Support for Stressful Times

For more than 4,000 years Ashwagandha has been a staple botanical treatment in Ayurvedic Medicine. Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogenic herb: one that helps the body adapt to physical and emotional stress. It's also regarded as a strengthening tonic to support the immune system and promote healing during and after illness.

Though Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has potent effects on its own - including mild sedative and calming effects that can help with nervous tension and insomnia - it's often used in conjunction with other herbs carefully selected for each individual. Botanical scientists and Ayurvedic practitioners believe the synergistic effects produced when other herbs are used in combination with Ashwagandha would not occur with a single herb. Research is examining these effects as well as the role Ashwagandha plays in decreasing inflammation and treating certain forms of dementia. Ashwagandha also has been used for some forms of arthritis, anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Various forms of ashwagandha (tincture, extract, tea, liquid capsules) are selected depending on the health concern to be treated.

Ashwagandha, a small, woody shrub with tiny garnet berries, is a member of the nightshade family of herbs. If there is an allergy to other nightshade plants, then Ashwagandha may not be suitable for you. Ashwagandha can interact with other herbs and prescription medication; it is important to consult with a holistic physician who has training in botanical pharmacology before taking this herb.

References

Siberian Ginseng: Botanical Remedy for Immune & Stress Support

Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a botanical medicine distantly related to the more well-known Panax Ginseng. For a time, it was mistakenly believed to have the same properties as Panax Ginseng and promoted it as a less-expensive substitute.

Like Ashwaganda, Siberian Ginseng is an adaptogen. It has most commonly been used to support the immune system and adrenal glands when the body is under stress (such as after surgery, or during emotionally challenging times). A recent area of research on Siberian Ginseng is its use for upper respiratory infection. In studies to date, Siberian Ginseng has been used in combination with other botanicals, so more research is needed to determine how much of the healing process can be attributed to the ginseng.

In China and Russia, Siberian Ginseng is used to stimulate the immune system, for prevention of infectious diseases, and to enhance stamina and performance. Some research shows that it may help strengthen the immune system.

It's always best to obtain a Ginseng supplement from your holistic practitioners. This will ensure that you have a high-quality product that is the proper variety for your particular health concerns.

References

Keeping a Diet Diary

Whether you need to monitor eating habits to manage a health condition or because you want to lose weight, keeping a Diet Diary is a powerful tool for gaining insight about what, when, and why you are eating.

To often, we eat mindlessly, leading to poor choices and over indulgence, raising the risk for developing heart disease, obesity, diabetes, allergies, colds and food sensitivities. A Diet Diary shows how to improve food choices and helps create a foundation for good health.

Diet Diaries are easy to use. You can opt for paper-and-pencil journal formats or you can use an app from sources such as My Plate, MyNet Diary, My Fitness Pal, Yazio, or See How You Eat. Keep in mind, the apps provide superior data capture and long-term tracking so you can more easily spot pitfalls and see your success. Regardless of the format, track your eating habits during weekdays and at least one weekend day for at least two weeks, but ideally for a month. If you're striving to manage a health condition, your holistic doctor will have additional suggestions for you.

What to Track in a Paper & Pencil Diet Diary

Food Factors

What did you eat? What time of day?

Portion size (measure food or estimate: "palm-full of granola"); include # of grams of fat, carbohydrates, protein and calories

Why did you eat? (physically hungry? have a craving?)

Mind Factors

What was your overall mood? Stress level?

How did you feel after eating? (satisfied, guilty, ill)

Were you distracted or attentive/mindful about your meal?

Social & Environmental Factors

Who were you with for the meal?

Did you eat in a rush or were you relaxed?

Were you doing another activity while eating? (working, watching TV, cooking)

Physical Factors

Did you have any physical symptoms during or after eating? (indigestion, reflux, gas, bloating)

Did you have headaches, or mental/emotional fatigue?

Review your journal at the end of each day and summarize your habits. Note the key factors for why you chose to eat at the times you did, whether you made healthy or unhealthy choices, and what were the key triggers for eating at different times.

References

Guiding Principles

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.
December Newsletter 2019

December Newsletter 2019

December 2019 Edition

What's New

The average person eats more than 7,000 calories on Christmas day, research carried out by Associated British Foods recently found. That's more than three times the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily caloric intake.

Holidays: The Healthy, Homemade Way

You've heard the saying, "it's the thought that counts." This year, make your thoughts count with healthy homemade gifts. Do-it-yourself (DIY) gifts allow you to avoid the toxins that lurk in most store-bought products, save money, and promote the wellbeing of friends and family. As an added bonus, making gifts is a fun way to exercise creativity and relieve stress. In the spirit of the season, here are DIY gift ideas that are sure to boost the health and mood of everyone on your list.

Infused Oils. The cooks in your life will devour these infused oils, bottled with love. Place dried herbs of your choice in a sterilized, dry jar and cover with olive oil. Place the jar in a saucepan and fill the pan about a quarter full of water. Gently heat the herbs over very low heat, between 100° and 120° F for one to five hours, until the oil takes on the color and scent of the herb. Remove the jar and cool completely before labeling. Get creative with your label; be sure to date the mixture and list the ingredients.

Aromatherapy Bath Salts. Mix together one cup Epsom salt, a half-cup natural sea salt, 20 to 30 drops of your favorite essential oil and two to three tablespoons of dried herbs or botanicals. Transfer into a glass jar. Decorate the jar with paint markers or attach a creative label. Include directions: add a half-cup of bath salts to warm running bath water, submerge body, and relax!

Healthy Homemade Granola in a Jar. For people on-the-go, give a gift that will keep them energized and running at peak performance. There are tons of homemade granola recipes on the internet, and you can pick any one of them. Be sure to use organic, additive-free ingredients. All this gift takes is a trip to your local natural grocery store, a mixing bowl, an oven, and a jar to put it in. Suggested mix: Dried cherries, pineapple, and cranberries, almonds and cashews, toasted oats, and cacao nibs.

Natural Skin Care Mask. Help the women in your life beat dull winter skin with an all-natural skin care mask made of cranberries and yogurt. Simply puree a half-cup of cranberries in a food processor, transfer the puree into a bowl and mix with a half-cup of yogurt; blend by hand until you have a creamy mixture. For a thicker mask, mix in a little green clay or honey. Bottle the mixture and add a label with instructions to let the mask sit on the face for 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. High in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, B3 and B5, cranberries not only lend moisture for the skin, they also aid in cell turnover and protect from free radicals, giving an anti-aging effect.

Herb Garden Markers. Perfect for the gardeners - and wannabe gardeners - in your life, these stones are super simple and inexpensive to make. Collect a variety of smooth riverbed stones, clean thoroughly, and on each rock paint the name of a garden herb or vegetable. Feeling extra-creative? Paint little garden-themed designs on them as well.

References

Food for Thought. . .

"The holidays are only holy if we make them so." - Marianne Williamson

Ancient Grains, Modern Health Benefits

We've all heard about the health benefits of eating whole grains - those that have been minimally processed and are void of added sugars and preservatives. You also may be hearing about Ancient Grains. For clarity, most grains have been around since the dawn of time. What makes a whole grain an "ancient" grain is the fact that they have remained unchanged, i.e. have not been genetically modified by humans, over centuries. Modern wheat, then, is not an Ancient Grain.

There are many types of Ancient Grains and none are native plants of North America, though these "supergrains" are gaining popularity for their unique flavors and specific nutrient profile. Here are a few:

Amaranth is gluten-free, rich in fiber, potassium, calcium, iron and protein (9 grams per cup). It's often prepared like oatmeal or can be prepared like rice. Amaranth flour is often used in baking bread.

Farro is a form of wheat (so it contains gluten), rich in B-vitamins, protein, and high in fiber but low in calories. It's great to use in risotto style dishes.

Kamut packs 11 grams of protein in a cup. It contains gluten and resembles whole grain rice, but is more nutrient rich, containing fiber, polyphenols, and minerals.

Millet is a gluten-free yellow grain that resembles cous-cous (which is not gluten-free). Packed with magnesium, it can be steamed like rice or prepared the same as a pastina.

Teff is gluten-free, often used in making polenta. The grain is tiny, like poppy seeds, but more nutrient dense, containing iron, fiber, and calcium.

To learn more about the varieties of Ancient Grains, including those that are gluten-free, visit these resources:

The Whole Grain Council: Ancient Grains

The Whole Grain Goodness of Modern and Ancient Grains (Harvard Health)

9 Gluten-free Ancient Grains

References

Creamy Chicken and Kamut Casserole

Kamut? It might sound like it, but it's not the name of a new Muppet. Pronounced KAH-moot, it is the name of a wonderful Ancient Grain that adds great flavor and texture to this recipe - a unique spin on a basic chicken and rice casserole. Kamut is slightly larger than rice and a bit chewier, with a mild nutty taste. Packed with protein, you can easily use kamut with meatless dishes. It takes a bit longer to cook than long-grain brown rice, but the taste is so worth the wait!

Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked kamut (1 cup uncooked, about 180g; see note for cooking)
  • 1 1/2 cups (355ml) cashew milk (or a dairy-free milk of your choice)
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 8 oz (225g) chicken breast, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large red pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped collard greens, about 6 large leaves
Preparation
  1. Whisk milk, flour, salt, and thyme together until there are almost no clumps left. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a cast-iron or oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and stir constantly. Let them cook for about a minute. Add the chicken and cook it for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add red pepper and collard greens and let cook for a few minutes, until the collard greens have wilted.
  4. Stir the milk mixture into the skillet and reduce the heat slightly (about a medium-low). Cook for a minute or two, until the mixture starts to thicken and bubble. Be sure to stir frequently because the sauce will start to burn at the bottom.
  5. Turn off the heat and mix in the kamut. Enjoy warm.

References

Vitamin C: Support for Strong Immunity and So Much More

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin known for its role in supporting a healthy immune system. However, it's also crucial for many other important biological functions. A deficiency in vitamin C causes scurvy, leaves the body vulnerable to infections, and is an underlying factor in inflammation that can lead to chronic illness.

Several Key Functions That Require Vitamin C:
  • the synthesis of collagen, an essential component of connective tissue and important to wound healing
  • the production of certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals)
  • antioxidant support throughout the body
  • facilitating the absorption of calcium into the bones
Getting Enough Vitamin C

Because our body cannot make vitamin C, it must come from the foods we eat every day. However, many of us are not eating sufficient fruits and vegetables to maintain the levels that optimally support antioxidant activity and immune function. Also, being water-soluble means that vitamin C is quickly excreted from the body. It's important to take a daily vitamin C supplement to ensure the body has the protection it needs.

The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is around 90 mg per day. Some research indicates a daily intake of 100-200 mg for better protection against new infections, such as colds and respiratory tract illnesses. Many experts recommend supplementing with up to 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily. However, when you are already feeling ill, it's best to consult with a holistic physician to determine the right dose and form (liquid, capsule, etc.) for your needs. Even if you are taking a supplement, you still want to eat a variety of organic fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C, such as:

  • acerola cherries
  • cantaloupe
  • black currant
  • lychee
  • kiwi
  • papaya
  • pineapple
  • strawberries
  • red and yellow bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower

To get the most nutrients from your fruits and vegetables, eat them as soon as possible after shopping. Consider buying local to ensure freshness, as nutrients decrease with time on the shelf. When cooking, you can limit nutrient loss by steaming or cooking on low heat for short periods of time.

References

Phenomenal Phytonutrients

Most of us are familiar with macronutrients - protein, carbs and fat - the building blocks of a nutritious diet. But do you know that phytonutrients (chemical substances that give plants their vibrant colors) play an important role in your diet because of the ways they support good health and help prevent illness?

Plants produce phytonutrients (aka phytochemicals) to protect themselves from bacteria, viruses, and even from UV radiation from the sun. When consumed in our diet and assimilated by the human body, these substances work just as hard to protect our health. They're especially important in the diets of athletes, weekend warriors, and those who have physically demanding jobs.

Phytonutrients have a role in:

  • enhancing the health of the immune system
  • counteracting inflammation in the body
  • supporting communication between cells in the body
  • detoxifying cells after exposure to environmental toxins
  • supporting muscle activity while you are exercising, engaging in physically demanding work and during recovery.

Here are some phytonutrients and the foods they can be found in:

Polyphenols: found in berries, tart cherries, and pomegranates, which have a powerful anti-inflammatory action in the body.

Quercetin: found in apples, onions, and potato skins; works to support your immune system.

Carotenoids: found in orange and yellow produce like carrots, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes. Supports the health of eyes, skin and lungs.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: found in green leafy vegetables including kale, spinach, unpeeled cucumber, and kiwi. Supports eye health and may protect against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

Many phytonutrients have more than one effect in the body. Because they help reduce inflammation and protect against disease processes, be sure to include more plant-based foods in your diet. If you have specific health concerns and want to know which phytonutrients should be a focus of your diet or supplement regimen, consult with a holistic health physician or licensed naturopathic doctor.

References

What is Cranial Sacral Massage?

No other structures have as much influence over the human body's ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord, which make up the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is strongly influenced by the craniosacral system - membranes and fluid that surround, protect, and nourish the brain and spinal cord. A therapeutic modality known as Cranio Sacral Massage (CSM) is used to release tension and relieve pain and dysfunction.

Using a soft touch, generally no greater than the weight of a nickel, licensed massage practitioners who are trained in this modality use CSM to release restrictions in the soft tissues around the base of the skull and other regions of the head. A CSM practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

A variety of conditions can be addressed with CSM, including;

  • Chronic headache, Migraine
  • Tension in the neck and back
  • TMJ
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Orthopedic Conditions
  • Stress-related Syndromes
  • Sinus Infection

Research shows that CSM is generally effective for stress and tension-related health problems, but more advanced clinical studies are needed on a wider variety of populations. Individuals who have a diagnosed aneurysm, a tumor in the head or neck, a history of concussion or head injury, or a bleeding disorder should consult their holistic health practitioner before having CSM.

References

Guiding Principles

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.