TURMERIC is often labeled “powdered Gold” for its incredible health benefits. It has been scientifically proven to exhibit powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and has the potential to fight off various malignant diseases such as diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Here are our 5 favourite ways to add Turmeric to your diet.
This is one I fell for myself a few years back. So many vegans and raw foodists rave about agave that I didn’t really stop and think it could be too good to be true. Agave is a super sweet liquid that is often touted as the “healthy” or “low GI” alternative to sugar. A lot of research has confirmed that it’s hardly any better than high fructose corn syrup. Agave is also mostly highly processed, and super high in fructose.
What should we eat instead? Raw Honey, Maple Syrup, Date paste, Stevia, Coconut sugar, Yacon and Molasses...These are all great alternatives, make sure they are pure and good quality with no added ingredients.
Do not let this humble grass deceive you! It is packed with so much goodness that it can help improve many chronic conditions. Nutrition-wise, it is a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese, with minute traces of B vitamins.
From the leaves and stems, citronella oil is obtained for making insect repellent, soap, perfumery and flavorings.
Lemongrass has long been used in Asian countries for its medicinal properties. What makes it so effective in many medical condition is that it contains anti-septic compounds that effectively kill the harmful micro-organisms (bacteria, yeast, fungus and parasites) in the digestive tract, whilst still preserving the good bacteria. It helps to improve digestive-related problems like indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal bloating, flatulence, stomach spasms, vomiting and cramps.
Thanks to its high iron content, which is essential for the synthesis of hemoglobin (the protein in red cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body) lemongrass is helpful for people with Anemia.
Studies have shown that lemongrass contains citral, an anti-cancer compound that could cause cancer cells to die, while preserving the healthy tissues.
Its anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties have been found to be effective in treating arthritis, gout and inflammation of the urinary tract.
Lemongrass has been found to have a beneficial, balsamic action on the respiratory tract and so can be used to relieve the symptoms associated with flu, cold and hay fever.
The anti-oxidant, anti-septic and diuretic effect of lemongrass make it an important ingredient to be included in your diet when detoxifying. It helps to cleanse and purify the liver, kidneys, bladder, pancreas and increases blood circulation. The diuretic effect helps carry out the toxins to be eliminated effectively. This process also helps to cleanse/detoxify the pancreas and improve its functions, thus lowering blood sugar level in diabetics.
Lemongrass helps regulate intestinal function and motility due to its anti-microbial properties. A warm mug of lemongrass tea can be very soothing when having gastritis or acid indigestion. Drinking the tea therapeutically will gradually reduce the recurrence of both gastritis and heartburn.
Lemongrass has an anti-cholesterol and anti-atherosclerosis action. It helps reduce both the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine, as well as the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol in the blood.
As with all grasses, lemongrass is very fibrous and cannot be eaten as it is. You can juice it using a masticating juicer, or make tea of it. Try this great Lemongrass-Ginger tea recipe and drink it regularly for a super-boost to your immune system!
An ancient relative of wheat, Spelt is a wonderfully nutritious and ancient grain with a deep nut-like flavor. It has a higher water solubility that helps your body easily absorb its protein, vitamins and minerals. It offers a broader spectrum of nutrients compared to many of its relatives from the wheat family. It is an excellent source of manganese, and a good source of protein, copper, and zinc.
Spelt is better tolerated in the body then any other grain. Allthough it contains gluten, some Celiac patients and most wheat intolerant people find it non-problematic.
You can cook the grain like risotto, toasting then adding stock, then simmering until completely cooked. There are also lots of different spelt pastas on the market (you will find them in Organic food stores) . You can also use Spelt flour to replace wheat flour in all your baking recipes. It is much lighter on the digestion and the taste is very similar so your recipes won't taste very different.
SUGAR CRAVINGS is one of the most common problems that people deal with daily. Most people with a sweet tooth substitute sugar with artificial sweeteners to save on calories.
One of the major problems with artificial sweeteners is that they constantly stroke your cravings for sweetened foods and drinks. But there are more serious drawbacks to aspartame.
Aspartame has been linked to a variety of health problems including birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders, epilepsy or seizures and migraines. Recent research from Japan has indicated that very low doses reduce sperm count quite considerably in mice. Artificial sweeteners are one of the worst things you can put in your body.
Sugar itself contributes to diabetes, obesity, heart disease and probably cancer, and artificial sweeteners aren’t much better. If you are addicted to eating something sweet, my advice is to wean yourself off both sugar and artificial sweeteners, and sweeten cereal and desserts with fruit instead for example. One great way to reduce your cravings for sugar (and I can vouch for this) is to add sweet vegetables to your diet. Most people report having cravings in the afternoon so you must make sure that you've eaten well throughout the day to avoid this...Add reasonable portions of foods like carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato and beetroot to your meals and you’ll find your cravings and sweet tooth will disappear in no time!
Did you know that over 60% of people are Vitamin D deficient and they don’t even know it? I was very surprised to find out last month that I fit right into that category. The main source of Vitamin D is sunlight and it was one of those things I never worried about as I live in one of the sunniest places on the planet!
In the past, Vitamin D was thought to be mainly responsible for bone health, research in this field has been growing rapidly over the years and the consensus is that Vitamin D is important for just about every organ in our bodies. Nutrition experts like Harvard's Walter Willet say adequate vitamin D may help prevent disease. A daily dose of vitamin D could cut the risk of cancers of the breast, colon and ovary by up to a half, a 40-year review of research has found. The evidence for the protective effect of the "sunshine vitamin" is so overwhelming that urgent action must be taken by public health authorities to boost blood levels, say cancer specialists.
Growing evidence in recent years has also shown that lack of vitamin D is linked to Heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, depression and the list is rapidly growing. The vitamin is also essential for bone health and protects against osteoporosis.
Symptoms of deficiency are many and range from bone fractures in extreme cases to depression or low mood, fatigue, hair loss, insomnia, unexplained aches and pains in the body and breathing problems ranging from mild (feelings of not being able to take in a deep breath at times) to asthma.
I recommend getting yourself tested at your Dr’s clinic as Vitamin D deficiency is a lot more common then you think and can affect your health if left untreated. You may finally find an explanation for all those niggly little health issues that you just live with! Treatment for deficiencies is very simple and done with supplements. People start to feel much better after just a few weeks of treatment. The recommendation is also that you expose yourself to the sun for 15 minutes mid-morning or mid-afternoon when the sun is still high up and emitting the most UVB’s (avoid midday sun), with face and arms exposed without sunblock. Do not put sunblock on your children before they go out to play. Let them round around outdoors and at the beach for about 30 minutes before you apply sunblock, assuming there is a need for it. It’s all about creating the right balance between allowing your body to receive what it needs from the sun, and protecting it from the potential harmful effects.
Sea Vegetables, the forgotten amazing Superfood!
The incredible plants from the sea often referred to as seaweed, have increased somewhat in popularity over the past several years due to health trends such as the Macrobiotic diet.
People wanting to feel and look better, lose weight and have more energy are looking for alternative foods that satisfy that category and they don’t come better then this!
Nutrient dense sea vegetables contain vitamin A, D, E, B1, B2, vitamin C, phosphorous, potassium, plenty of calcium, iron, iodine, fiber, sodium and small amounts of protein (the potassium is responsible for the salty flavor BTW and not the sodium as many people think!)
The regular consumption of these food in reasonable quantities, helps to give you beautiful hair and skin, stabilize blood sugar levels, cleanse the intestinal tract, purify and alkalize the blood, cleanse the lymphatic system, re-balance hormones and help bind and remove heavy metals from the system.
The Organic Food and café has a big selection of sea vegetables that come dry in packets. The first time I went to buy them, I spent about half an hour staring at shelves full of products with Japanese names, confused as to which one I should try! Based on your taste preferences, I would suggest Wakame, Agar, Nori and Arame for a milder flavor. If you enjoy a stronger taste Kombu and Dulse for example will be better for you.
How do we cook sea vegetables? They are great in salads, stews and soups such as Miso.
Most of them are just soaked in water until they soften and then thrown into salads. The water they are soaked in can be used for cooking too as its full of nutrients. If you want to use them in soups or stews, you can throw them in dry and they will soften as they cook.
Click on this link for more in depth information on each individual type of sea vegetable and get some inspiration from the listed recipes:
Cinnamon is the oldest spice known to man and has been used as a botanical medicine since 2700BC with many of its healing properties attributed to its special essential oils.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Cassia cinnamon is used for colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea amongst other things. It's also believed to improve energy, vitality, and circulation.
In Ayurveda, cinnamon is used as a remedy for diabetes, indigestion, and colds. It's a common ingredient in Chai tea, and it is believed to improve the digestion of fruit, milk and other dairy products.
What is the Scientific Evidence for Cinnamon's Health Benefits? Recent studies have found that cinnamon has a beneficial effect on blood sugar, which is great news for people Living with Type 2 Diabetes. One of the first human studies was published in 2003 in a medical journal called Diabetes Care. Sixty people with type 2 diabetes took 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon in pill form daily, an amount roughly equivalent to one quarter of a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. After 40 days, all 3 amounts of cinnamon reduced fasting blood glucose by 18 to 29%, triglycerides by 23 to 30%, LDL cholesterol by 7 to 27%, and total cholesterol by 12 to 26%.
Cinnamon also provides powerful anti-inflammatory protection. It contains a substance called cinnamaldehyde, which has been researched for its ability to prevent unwanted blood clumping and help with cardiovascular health.
Cinnamon’s essential oils qualify it as an ‘antimicrobial’ food: it has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi.
In addition to its amazing healing properties, cinnamon is a concentrated source of bone building calcium and manganese, heart healthy dietary fibre and energy-producing iron.
You can add Cinnamon to just about anything! It comes in powder form or sticks (powder has a stronger flavour). I personally sprinkle it on my children’s porridge and my oats in the morning, I include it in most of the stews and soups I cook at home, when making broth, and in cakes. I even add a small piece of Cinnamon stick in my black tea (I find it delicious!) and sprinkle it on top of my Starbucks Cappuccino on the rare occasion that I have one! You’ll find its very easy to incorporate the minimum 1 gram dose into your daily diet as recommended above and the benefits are many! The good news is that children love it too because of its sweet taste, so don’t hesitate to include in their diets as well.
TURMERIC is a culinary spice being labeled as “powdered Gold” for its incredible health benefits.
Used as both medicine and food for centuries, accumulating evidence suggests that this relative of ginger is a promising preventive agent for a wide range of diseases, due largely to its chief active component, Curcumin.
Turmeric has long been used as a powerful and potent anti-inflammatory in both the Chinese and Indian medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions. In numerous studies, curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents. Clinical studies have substantiated that curcumin also exerts very powerful antioxidant effects. This is important in many diseases such as arthritis, and explains why many people with joint disease find relief when they use the spice regularly. In a recent study Curcumin was compared to Phenylbutazone and astonishingly produced comparable improvements in morning stiffness, and reduced joint swelling.
The BIG Buzz with Turmeric though is with its incredible anti-cancer properties. Tests by a team at the Cork Cancer Research Centre show it can destroy cancer cells and experts said the findings in the British Journal of Cancer could help doctors find new treatments. Dr Sharon McKenna and her team found that Curcumin started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours. Rodent studies at the University of Texas indicate that Curcumin inhibits the growth of a skin cancer, melanoma and also slows the spread of breast cancer into the lungs. Researchers from the University of South Dakota have found that pretreatment with curcumin makes cancer cells more vulnerable to chemo and radiotherapy.
The therapeutic advantages of turmeric and Curcumin are almost too numerous to list. An overview published in Advanced Experimental Medical Biology in 2007 states that, "Curcumin has been scientifically shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease and other chronic illnesses. There are many ways to add turmeric to your diet. Add a teaspoon or two to a pot of soup or stew, add it to rice or other grains when boiling, add it to scrambled eggs. Adding black pepper to turmeric enhances absorption significantly so be sure to add that in too! Most Indians religiously mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric with water and drink it every morning. This is definitely an acquired taste and you may prefer to try this recipe for turmeric tea instead:
Bring four cups of water to a boil, add one teaspoon of ground turmeric and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, strain through a fine sieve into a cup, add honey and/or lemon to taste. Some people like to add a teaspoon of ginger or cinnamon along with the turmeric, experiment until you find your favorite. I will leave you with an Interesting fact: Okinawa is the island nation with the world's longest average life span of 81.2 years, and this has been linked to the regular quantities of turmeric tea that they consume. Enjoy!
Some of you may have already heard of this little berry or even come across it at your local health store as its popularity rises.
Studies have shown that this little berry is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world! Goji is the high-energy berry of a special Himalayan tree. It is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. The pulp contains:
- A remarkable concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
- A synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help
promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
- An almost perfect essential amino acid complex in conjunction with valuable trace minerals, vital for proper muscle contraction and regeneration.
- The fatty acid content in Goji berries resembles that of olive oil, and is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid, which aids in keeping the cell membrane supple so that all hormones, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently.
Consuming Goji berries also:
-Protects the liver (less fatigue)
-Supports kidney function
-Increases metabolic activity — burns fat and aids digestion
-Boosts immune function
-Promotes longevity — brings life support to the blood and all internal organs
-Test studies are showing that Goji berries may prevent the growth of cancer cells, reduce blood glucose, and lower cholesterol levels.
Savor each berry individually or add to hot and cold cereals (I add mine to my oats porridge in the morning), add a handful to your water bottle and eat them as you drink, use in soups, baked goods, tea and fruit juice blends. They are also delicious in salads!
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