By Lori Bosworth
We at Torontonicity love to cast the spotlight on natural or organic products, food, cosmetics, clothing or supplements. Recently, I received a package of natural health products from the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) in order to highlight Natural Health Products Week, which took place November 3-9, 2014. I haven’t taken an aspirin in over 20 years and when colds or flu hit, I disregard over-the-counter prescriptions in favour of natural cures. So I was thrilled to receive the natural health products to sample and as (bad?) luck would have it, I was just getting over a virus that I had picked up a few weeks ago.
The products in the package included:
- Botanica Organic Oregano Oil
- Prairie Naturals Vitamin D3
- Herbalife Tri-Shield with Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- New Roots Children’s Omega 3
- Honibe Honey Lozenges
- A. Vogel Echinaforce Sore Throat Spray
- Bio K Probiotics
- Four O’Clock All-In-One Cold & Cough Herbal Tea
- St. Francis Herb Farm Stop It Cold Throat Spray
- Rev3 Energy Surge Packs by Usana
I tried the Four O’Clock Herbalist All in One Cold and Cough Herbal Tea for my cough. The tea, which is made from passionflower, echinacea and eucalyptus, acts as an expectorant for upper respiratory infections and is used as a sleep aid. It also has a very pleasant taste.
Honibe Honey Lozenges, made by Island Abbey Foods in Prince Edward Island, are 99.9% honey, with menthol and eucalyptus. These lozenges are good for diabetics and people on low carbohydrate diets.
Bio K Plus Probiotics are a source of good bacteria. It is recommended to take probiotics after having the flu or a food-borne illness, particularly when diarrhea or vomiting is involved, since the good bacteria in the gut becomes depleted. People with Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome also benefit from probiotics. Foods that contain naturally-occurring probiotics include yogourt, miso, tempeh, soy beverages and fermented and unfermented milk. The Bio K Plus Probiotics Travel Protection variety I received are comprised of capsules that can be taken on vacation, when intestinal upsets may be caused by foreign foods or water.
As part of Natural Health Products (NHP) Week, natural health retailers across the country invited Canadians to stop in and talk to experts about how to stay healthy by eating right and supplementing with nutrients. It seems that more and more Canadians are turning to natural health products to protect their health. A national survey commissioned by the CHFA revealed that:
- 55 per cent of Canadians are likely to take Natural Health Products this winter to help keep them happy and healthy
- 50% of Canadians prefer to use Vitamin D to help keep them healthy and happy during the winter months
- Omega-3 Fats and Calcium are preferred by one-third of Canadians as a method of maintaining their health and happiness.
According to the research, children require Omega 3 supplementation as well.
Vitamin D is a hormone that is produced in the skin as a response to exposure to direct sunlight; particularly, UVB rays.
Research has shown that Vitamin D has been linked to reductions in some types of cancer, helps to improve the immune system, and has even shown benefits for improving and maintaining good mental health.
It is important to use a Vitamin D supplement during the winter months because the UVB rays needed by the skin to produce vitamin D do not reach Canada. Also, an indoor lifestyle in the winter has resulted in chronically low levels of Vitamin D within the Canadian population. Some estimates suggest that 70 to 97 per cent of Canadians have insufficient levels.
There are few natural, dietary sources of Vitamin D. Fish, like mackerel, or certain mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight contain Vitamin D, but the actual amount varies dramatically, making it difficult to reach your daily recommended dosage of this vital nutrient. Because of this, supplementing with vitamin D is almost universally recommended.
Probiotics are living microorganisms (e.g. bacteria) that provide a health benefit when taken in sufficient doses. Good bacteria can be destroyed by antibiotics and other factors. By increasing good bacteria, probiotics reestablishes the balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut.
New research suggests that probiotics are beneficial to mental health, immune system support and skin health.
Omega-3s are fatty acids that are essential to proper functioning of many of the body’s cells. They are found in high amounts in the brain, nerves and retina. Because the body cannot make Omega-3s efficiently, they must be obtained from diet and supplements. Omega 3s relieve inflammation and dry skin to support heart health.
DHA found in Omega 3 fatty acids has also been shown to support the maintenance of a more balanced mood.
In adults, the anti-inflammatory properties of EPA and DHA have also been shown to reduce the risk and symptoms of cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis. These benefits are seen when we consume 500 to 3,000 mg per day of EPA and DHA.
Look for @cdnhealthfood and #NHPWeek on Twitter and Instagram.