by Holly Lucille, ND, RN
I think that one of the biggest challenges that people have – and I see this in my practice often – is finding practical, realistic ways to be healthy and happy. That’s not to say that peace of mind and body is necessarily a simple, three-step process that you can do once and be all set for the rest of your life. What I mean by practical and realistic is that there are key steps you can easily apply to your life and truly start seeing results.
Detoxify: A Crucial First Step
Let’s face it: with our modern day environment and the choices we often make, there is somewhat of an everyday “re-tox” going on; so why don’t we employ an everyday “de-tox” to help even the playing field? One of the easiest ways to start detoxifying immediately is to bolster the ability of your liver with curcumin, a compound from turmeric. There are many curcumin (and turmeric) supplements available, but in my experience, the best form is a clinically studied curcumin blended with turmeric essential oil that helps it absorb better and stay in the bloodstream longer.
Although curcumin is often associated with pain relief, it is actually one of the most liver healthy compounds in the world, and that’s a must for detoxification. Curcumin prevents harmful fat deposits in the liver and enhances two key detoxifying enzymes – superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. This makes it easier for the body to rid itself of estrogen mimics and other unhealthy compounds and toxins that could otherwise lead to serious conditions. Additionally, it protects the liver from oxidative damage and allows it to regenerate the cells that keep toxins from getting the upper hand.1
Other investigations of the anti-inflammatory actions of curcumin show that it may stop the accumulation of fat cells in the liver (and elsewhere) that can lead to insulin resistance, elevated blood sugar levels, and unwanted extra pounds.2,3 One of the great things about curcumin is that it works along so many pathways in the body that it helps you stay healthy in a great variety of ways – reducing pain, inhibiting tumor growth, and preserving cognitive function. Another great detoxifier is one that probably everyone has heard of – Epsom salts. Simply adding these to your bath water does wonders. Epsom salts gently remove toxins and help your muscles relax while simultaneously providing a source of muchneeded magnesium, a critical mineral for detoxification. Try it for 20 minutes a few times a week, and I think you’ll notice a big difference.4
Adapt and Recharge: Meet Everyday Challenges
Unhelpful reactions to chronic and compounded stress can fuel all kinds of unhealthy conditions: elevated blood sugar and cortisol levels, adrenal burnout, a buildup of internal and external toxins, and an increase in inflammation throughout the body. However, there’s an herbal ingredient that may not be familiar to everyone – not yet, at least. It’s called ashwagandha, and it has been used in Ayurvedic practice for centuries. It has also been the subject of intensive research regarding promoting healthy energy levels, stress reduction, and better muscle response to exercise.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen – it has an ability to help you to mentally and physically adapt to changing circumstances and more easily get through your day. Natural compounds in ashwagandha called withanolides help you overcome the feeling of depletion. In a clinical test, it was shown to do this in a big way – decreasing cortisol levels (our “fight or flight” hormone) and reducing the feelings of stress and fatigue by over 50 percent. It has also been shown to dramatically reduce feelings of social dysfunction (that powerful urge to avoid people at all costs), epression, and muscle stress and tightness.5
Because ashwagandha helps clear away so much of the distracting “chatter” produced by our minds and bodies when we’re under stress, it can really improve a sense of focus, clarity, and energy. I consider this herb a real jewel. And while it is gaining in popularity among health-minded individuals, ashwagandha is still somewhat “under the radar” and isn’t yet mainstream. But I bet it will be soon.
Unplug: Rejuvenate Body and Mind
It’s easy to get caught up in a rush of schedules, demands, and – let’s admit it – social media. Each conspires in its own way to control our attention and ratchet up our reactions to stress and toxins. Along with any one (or all) of the methods I’ve mentioned here, I would recommend that you unplug as often as possible. Resist the temptation to turn on the TV or check how many “likes” your latest post received. You deserve some peace. It will help you stay healthy and vibrant, and help make your presence to others more beneficial, too.
Dr. Holly Lucille, ND, RN is a nationally recognized and licensed naturopathic doctor and educator in natural products, an author of several books, and national educator for Europharma. As an expert in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Lucille provides lectures on a variety of natural health topics and is regularly quoted in both consumer and peer journals. Her private practice, Healing from Within Healthcare, focuses on comprehensive naturopathic medicine and individualized care.
1. Kadasa NM, Abdallah H, Afifi M, Gowayed S. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015;16(1):103-8.
2. Shao W, Yu Z, Chiang Y, et al. PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e28784.
3. Ejaz A, Wu D, Kwan P, Meydani M. J Nutr. 2009 May;139(5):919-25.
4. Rosanoff A, Weaver CM, Rude RK. Nutr Rev. 2012 Mar;70(3):153-64.
5. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012;34(3):255-62.