Elderberries
Growing up on the farm, we had a huge elderberry bush in the front yard. My sisters and I would climb it in the late summer and pick giant purple bouquets of elderberries for my parents, who would somehow turn the tiny, bitter and unpalatable berries into quarts of delicious, dark purple sticky sweet syrup which was our favorite pancake topping year-round. 

This was long before elderberry syrup became one of the hottest natural health aids around. Touted for helping to prevent and fight off colds and influenza, reduce inflammation, and soothe coughs and respiratory illnesses, humble elderberry syrup has recently reached "superfood" status. 

Driving down the road the other day, I spied some big elderberry heads beginning to turn purple. It reminded me of the purple-handed late-summer task of my childhood, and it inspired me to share this recipe with you, so you can see just how easy it is to make your very own delicious and immune-boosting elderberry syrup - and you'll save a ton of money on those pricey commercial versions! 


 
 
Immune system
As we have discussed in the past, your immune system is by far the most important factor in good health. Unfortunately, our allopathic medical system focuses more on treating symptoms than on preventing disease in the first place, so the immune system is often ignored by most modern medical treatments.

However, there are numerous things that you can do on an individual level to help make sure your immune system is healthy and functioning properly. The first step is becoming aware of what behaviors and lifestyle habits may be causing problems for your immune system. Most people do these things without even realizing the harm they are causing to their health!

Here are 5 ways that you may be harming your immune system, and some positive changes you can make today to reduce your risk of disease, and improve your odds for living a long and healthy life.


 
 
Fat for Fuel
Modern medicine wants you to believe that it holds the answer to disease, but if this is true, why aren't we healthier? In fact, today we suffer more chronic and debilitating diseases than ever before. More than half of all Americans struggle with chronic illnesses, and 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. today are obesity-related.

So what is the key to this problem?

Many researchers now believe that the increase in chronic modern illness and disease over the past several decades is
largely the result of an inappropriate diet. (Surprise, surprise, right?) Most of us eat far too much sugar (and other simple carbs), and far too little healthy fats and fruits and vegetables.

Part of the problem is that we have been told for years that our bodies should run on glucose for fuel, so we need to make sure to consume plenty of carbs.

However, in the interesting video below, Dr. Joseph Mercola discusses some fascinating findings that suggest that fats are actually the preferred fuel of the human metabolism. By correcting our carb/protein/fat ratio in our diet, he contends that we can maintain long-term good health, especially when it comes to avoiding or even curing modern diseases such as diabetes and cancer.


 
 
Diabetes risk
Diabetes kills thousands of people every year, and the rate of adult onset diabetes (type II) has skyrocketed in recent decades, despite the mainstream assumption that cutting fats out of our diet reduces the risk of diabetes and other weight-related modern diseases, and the resulting widespread reduction in consumption of most kinds of fat. (By the way, this theory has been debunked hundreds of times - check out some of our previous posts on this topic here and here.)

So what's going on?

If we really are eating healthier, why are we getting sicker?

Below we explore 4 common habits that have been proven to drastically increase the risk of developing Type II diabetes. You may think these habits are totally innocent, but you will be shocked to learn that studies have shown these seemingly innocuous behaviors can actually double your risk of developing this deadly disease...


 
 
The vaccination debate
Few health debates have raged more fiercely in the past several years than the vaccine debate. Even well-known celebrities and late-night talk show hosts have debated the topic on both sides - and with good reason.

While the mainstream medical establishment asserts unequivocally that vaccines are completely safe, and every child should be fully vaccinated, a growing number of concerned parents and natural health experts have warned against various health issues that may be caused or worsened by vaccines - particularly the rise in the incidence of autism. There are literally thousands of anecdotal stories of children showing autistic symptoms immediately after receiving a battery of vaccines - though medical science denies these claims. Other citizens simply don't wish to feel forced by the government or medical establishment to medicate their children.

Whatever the reason is, there are a growing number of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children - and some health officials are becoming concerned about the potential risks to public health, such as the resurgence of diseases that have been mostly eradicated by widespread vaccination, including polio and others.

The interesting video below explores both sides of this debate in detail, and sheds light on the pros and cons of vaccinations.


 
 
Miracle of Garlic
Whew! Things have been pretty serious around here for the past couple of weeks (if you haven't checked out the last 2 posts, I highly encourage you to do so - it's a very important topic for everyone), so I thought we'd take a little break this week with a fun giveaway!

This free gift actually ties in quite nicely with the new model of health we've been discussing over the past two weeks, in which individuals will play a greater role in their own healthcare through learning about and using more natural and traditional means of healing.

You probably use garlic in the kitchen quite often (I know I do!), but did you know that garlic has many healing properties, including the ability to help boost your immune system and fight off infections like colds and the flu?

Learn more below, and grab your FREE copy of this awesome e-book today!


 
 
Aging
We all get old. It's just a fact of life.

But aging is a little different. Why? Because aging is something that we actually can have some control over. While you can't help the fact that you are going to get older, you can influence how the symptoms of aging will affect you - at least to some degree.

There are 3 main factors that cause you to look and feel older (sometimes even older than you actually are), but the good news is, all three of them can be slowed by making the right healthy choices as you age.

Here is what you should know about why you may be experiencing symptoms of aging, and what you can do about it.



 
 
Holistic health
It seems crazy that we are living in the 21st century, with some of the most advanced technological innovations known to man, and that the U.S. spends more per capita on healthcare than any other nation in the world, yet we continue to become sicker and sicker  instead of healthier.

Yet it's true.

Over the past decade or so, the U.S. has made headlines - not for its advanced healthcare system, but for the fact that we now rank lower than almost every other developed country when it comes to a number of health and longevity factors.

In the World Health Report 2000, the U.S. healthcare system was ranked 37th in the world! In 2006, the United States was number 1 in terms of health care spending per capita, but ranked 39th for infant mortality, 43rd for adult female mortality, 42nd for adult male mortality, and 36th for life expectancy (New England Journal of Medicine, Jan. 14, 2010).

And it's not getting any better! In 2014, Time magazine reported that in the 2014 Commonwealth Fund survey, the U.S. healthcare system ranked dead last in "efficiency, equity and outcomes" out of 11 countries including France, Australia, Germany, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the U.K..

And in 2015, the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) stated in their annual Health At A Glance Report that "Life expectancy in the United States is lower than in most other OECD countries for several reasons, including poorer health-related behaviours and the highly fragmented nature of the US health system."

How can this be? How can a country that spends more than any other country in the world on healthcare be so unhealthy?


 
 
Cancer quiz
As you might expect, I'm subscribed to a LOT of health newsletters. Not only so I can keep abreast of the latest in natural health news (and bring it to you), but I also have a great (almost insatiable) love of learning, and I know there is always more out there for me to learn - especially when it comes to the growing field of natural health!

Lately, I kept seeing emails promoting this "cancer quiz" over and over. At first I just deleted them, thinking it was some sort of scammy promotion. But eventually, curiosity got the better of me, and I checked it out - especially since one of the senders is someone whose materials I normally really like and trust.

It turns out that it is actually being sponsored by a really cool organization called "Quest for the Cures," and their cancer-related website and informational video, The Truth About Cancer, which provides all sorts of interesting information and resources about cancer, the search for a cure, and natural cancer treatments that show potential.



 
 
Butternut squash
This time of year it's hard to miss those inevitable colds and flu that always seem to plague us as we head into the cold, dark days of mid-winter. If you're a parent, you may be particularly prone to picking up the germs the kids seem to bring home from school on a weekly basis.

But if you find yourself getting sick over and over, it's probably more than just simple exposure. We are all exposed to hundreds (if not thousands) of bacteria and viruses on a daily basis, but if your immune system is in good shape, your body should be able to fight most of them off before you ever come down with anything.

If it seems like you're sick practically all winter long, it's probably time to take a good look at your immune system and find out why this is happening, and what you can do about it.

Here are 6 reasons why you may be getting sick on a regular basis - and some tips for staying healthy!