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Posts tagged ‘Arthritis’

7 Winter Vegetables that Boost Your Health

7 Winter Vegetables that Boost Your Health
We rarely think of vegetables in the winter but it is important to eat your veggies this time of year to keep your immune system strong.
Beets Beets are one of the most overlooked superfoods.  They lower blood pressure, increase exercise endurance, and reduce inflammation.  They contain potent phytonutrients called proanthocyanidins which give beets their brilliant purple color.  Proanthocyanidins are proven anti-cancer compounds.  They are packed in nutrients like folate which is important to prevent birth defects, potassium which is critical for healthy muscles and nerves, manganese which helps build strong bones, and vitamin C for a strong immune system.  
Carrots – Just one carrot contains 13,500 IU of beta carotene which translates into a tremendous amount of nutritional power against free radicals.  Beta carotene is anti-cancerous, prevents cellular damage and premature aging, and is important to prevent cataracts.

Ginger—Ginger is one of the best natural anti-pain remedies.  Technically it is a spice but it is ideal for winter since it reduces joint pain that plagues so many people with arthritis this time of year.  It also adds warmth to foods and beverages making freshly minced garlic a welcome addition to most soups, stews, and curries.

Rutabaga—Contrary to popular belief, rutabagas are not turnips.  The most common rutabagas are larger than turnips, have purple and cream-colored skins, and tend to have a cream to yellow-colored flesh.  It is high in anti-cancer compounds, immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin B6 which is needed for a healthy nervous system. They are great in soups, stews, curries, and other places you’d use hardy winter veggies.  I love them cut into small cubes, tossed with a bit of olive oil and sea salt and roasted in the oven on 350 for about an hour.

Squash—Squash is rich in beta-carotene, the nutrient that gives squash its brilliant orange-colored flesh.  Enjoy it cut in half, seeded, and roasted.  Add roasted squash to soups, salads, stews, or in wraps and on sandwiches.  Use grated, raw squash in muffin recipes, in place of zucchini in zucchini bread recipes, or in other baked goods to increase their nutritional value.

Sweet Potatoes—Like squash, sweet potatoes are also high in beta carotene.   They also contain vitamins C, B6, and minerals like blood-building iron, energy-boosting potassium, and Nature’s relaxant, magnesium.  Enjoy them chopped into French fry-shapes, tossed in a little olive oil and sea salt and baked in the oven for about 45 minutes on 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Turnips—Turnips are a good source of fiber which helps to keep blood sugar levels steady and stabilize energy and moods.  They are also a rich source of glucosinolates—the precursors of isothiocyanates that are proven anti-cancer powerhouses.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 15-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: 60 Seconds to SlimWeekend Wonder DetoxHealing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body DetoxThe Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.

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11 Ways to Boost Your Lymphatic System for Great Health

11 Ways to Boost Your Lymphatic System for Great Health

 

The lymphatic system, or lymph system as it is also called, is a system made  up of glands, lymph nodes, the spleen, thymus gland and tonsils. It bathes our  body’s cells and carries the body’s cellular sewage away from the tissues to the  blood, where it can be filtered by two of the body’s main detoxification organs:  the liver and kidneys. This sewage is made up of the byproducts of our bodily  processes, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, illicit drugs, cigarette  toxins, other airborne pollutants, food additives, pesticides and other  toxins.

The Fat Flush Plan author Ann Louise Gittleman,  PhD, estimates that 80 percent of women have sluggish lymphatic systems and that  getting them flowing smoothly is the key to easy weight loss and improved  feelings of well-being.

If you are suffering from injuries, excess weight or cellulite, or pain  disorders like arthritis, bursitis, headaches or others, a sluggish lymphatic  system may be playing a role.  Here are 11 ways you can get your lymph  flowing smoothly.

1.  Breathe deeply. Our bodies have three times more  lymph fluid than blood, yet no organ to pump it. Your lymph system relies on the  pumping action of deep breathing to help it transport toxins into the blood  before they are detoxified by your liver. So breathe in that sweet smell of  healing oxygen. Breathe out toxins.

2.  Get moving. Exercise also ensures the lymph system  flows properly. The best kind is rebounding on a mini trampoline, which can  dramatically improve lymph flow, but stretching and aerobic exercise also work  well.

3.  Drink plenty of water. Without adequate water,  lymph fluid cannot flow properly. To help ensure the water is readily absorbed  by your cells, I frequently add some fresh lemon juice or oxygen or pH  drops.

4.  Forget the soda, trash the neon-colored sports drinks, and  drop the fruit “juices” that are more sugar than fruit. These sugar-, color- and preservative-laden beverages add to the already overburdened workload  your lymph system must handle.

5.  Eat more raw fruit on an empty stomach. The enzymes  and acids in fruit are powerful lymph cleansers. Eat them on an empty stomach  for best digestion and maximum lymph-cleansing benefits. Most fruits are  digested within 30 minutes or so and quickly help you feel better.

6.  Eat plenty of green vegetables to get adequate  chlorophyll to help purify your blood and lymph.

7.  Eat raw, unsalted nuts and seeds to power up your  lymph with adequate fatty acids. Choose from walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts,  macadamias, Brazil nuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.

8.  Add a few lymph-boosting herbal teas to your day,  such as astragalus, echinacea, goldenseal, pokeroot or wild indigo root tea.  Consult an herbalist or natural medicine specialist before combining two or more  herbs or if you’re taking any medications or suffer from any serious health  conditions. Avoid using herbs while pregnant or lactating and avoid long-term  use of any herb without first consulting a qualified professional.

9.  Dry skin brush before showering. Use a natural  bristle brush. Brush your dry skin in circular motions upward from the feet to  the torso and from the fingers to the chest. You want to work in the same  direction as your lymph flows—toward the heart.

10.  Alternate hot and cold showers for several  minutes. The heat dilates the blood vessels and the cold causes them to  contract. Avoid this type of therapy if you have a heart or blood pressure  condition or if you are pregnant.

11.  Get a gentle massage. Studies show that a gentle  massage can push up to 78 percent of stagnant lymph back into circulation.  Massage frees trapped toxins. You can also try a lymph drainage massage. It is a  special form of massage that specifically targets lymph flow in the body.  Whatever type of massage you choose, make sure it is gentle. Too much pressure  may feel good on the muscles, but it doesn’t have the same lymph-stimulating  effects.

There are countless benefits of getting your lymphatic system moving more  efficiently, including more energy, less pain, and improved  detoxification.  Adapted from The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox  Plan.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 14-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: 60 Seconds  to Slim, Healing Recipes, The  Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The  Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan,  and The Phytozyme Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

 

14 Foods that Fight Inflammation and Pain

14 Foods that Fight Inflammation and Pain

Some of the best healing remedies to overcome inflammation also taste  fabulous (I can’t say that about any prescription medications). Plus, foods  won’t cause the nasty side effects common to most pain medications.

1. Blueberries: Blueberries are also excellent  anti-inflammatory foods. They increase the amounts of compounds called  heat-shock proteins that decrease as people age.  When heat-shock proteins  are in short supply inflammation, pain and tissue damage is the result.

2. Cayenne Pepper: Ironically, cayenne pepper turns DOWN the  heat on inflammation due to its powerful anti-inflammatory compound  capsaicin.

3. Celery and 4. Celery Seeds: James Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy, found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in  celery and celery seeds in his research, including a substance called apigenin,  which is powerful in its anti-inflammatory action.  Add celery seeds to  soups, stews or as a salt substitute in many recipes.

5. Cherries: While many people opt for aspirin as their  first course of action when they feel pain, Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, professor  of natural products and chemistry at Michigan State University, found that tart  cherry extract is ten times more effective than aspirin at relieving  inflammation.

6. Dark Green Veggies: Veggies like kale and spinach contain  high amounts of alkaline minerals like calcium and magnesium.  Both  minerals help balance body chemistry to alleviate inflammation.

7. Fish: According to Dr. Alfred D. Steinberg, an arthritis  expert at the National Institute of Health, fish oil acts directly on the immune  system by suppressing 40 to 55 percent of the release of cytokines – compounds  known to destroy joints and cause inflammation.

8. Flax seeds and Flax Oil: Flax seeds are high in natural  oils that convert into hormone-like substances in the body to reduce  inflammatory substances. Add ground flax seeds to smoothies, atop pancakes or  French toast, and many other foods.  Do not heat.

9. Ginger: Dr. Krishna C. Srivastava at Odense University in  Denmark found that ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  (NSAIDs) like Tylenol or Advil at alleviating inflammation.

10. Raspberries, 11. Blackberries, and 12. Strawberries: In  Dr. Muraleedharan Nair’s later research she discovered that these berries have  similar anti-inflammatory effects as cherries.

13. Turmeric: Research shows that the Indian spice  frequently used in curries suppresses pain and inflammation through a similar  mechanism as drugs like COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors (without the harmful side  effects).

14. Walnuts: Like flax seeds, raw, unsalted walnuts contain  plentiful amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids that decrease pain and  inflammation.

Adapted from Arthritis-Proof:  The  Drug-Free Way to Beat Pain and Inflammation by Michelle  Schoffro Cook, PhD.

By  Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

10 Ways to Alkalize Your Body Today

10 Ways to Alkalize Your Body Today

 

Acidity has been linked to pain, excess weight and many other health issues. Fortunately, making your body more alkaline (the opposite of acidic) is easy.  Here are 10 ways to alkalize your body for more energy and vitality:

1. Start your day with a large glass of water with the juice of a whole, freshly-squeezed lemon. While lemons may seem acidic, they have the opposite effect on your body as it metabolizes them.

2. Eat a large green salad tossed in lemon juice and olive oil. Greens are among the best sources of alkaline minerals, like calcium.

3. Snack on raw, unsalted almonds. Almonds are packed with natural alkaline minerals like calcium and magnesium, which help to balance out acidity while balancing blood sugar.

4. Drink an almond milk and berry smoothie with added green powder like spirulina, chlorella, or other greens. Choose almond milk over cow’s milk, since the latter is acid-forming.

5. Go for a brisk walk or some other exercise. Exercise helps move acidic waste products so your body can better eliminate them.

6. Breathe deeply. Ideally, choose a spot that has fresh, oxygen-rich air. And, sorry Febreze, Glade, and all the other so-called “air fresheners”: air filled with these scents is not what I’m talking about here.

7. Go meat-free for a day… or longer if you like. During the metabolism of meat, there is an acid residue left behind.

8. Skip the sugar-laden dessert or soda.  Sugar is one of the mosyogt acidic foods we consume. You need over 30 glasses of neutral water just to neutralize the acidity of ONE can of soda.

9. Add more veggies to your diet. No, potatoes don’t count. But sweet potatoes are a good choice (provided you’re not slathering them in sweeteners or butter).  Asparagus, squash, peppers, and other vegetables are also excellent choices.

10. Sprout it out. Add more sprouts to your daily diet. They are extremely alkalizing and supercharged with nutrients and energy-boosting enzymes.

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.

Top 10 Spring Superfoods

Top 10 Spring Superfoods

Spring is finally here and along with it starts the cascade of vibrant  superfoods.  Obviously, some take a little longer than others, but here are  my picks for the top 10 spring superfoods.  Enjoy!

Artichokes—A medium-sized artichoke is loaded with fiber (about 10 grams) and vitamin  C. It also contains plentiful amounts of the heart- and muscle-health minerals  magnesium and potassium.  It’s also high on the ORAC list of foods that have  high antioxidant values.  High amounts of antioxidants translate into reduced free radicals linked to aging and disease.

Asparagus—An excellent source of nutrients like vitamin K  which is necessary for bone health and folate, asparagus also contains good  amounts of vitamins C, A, B1, B2, niacin, B6, manganese, potassium, magnesium,  and selenium.  Its high folate content makes it especially good for pregnant women who have higher folate needs than most  people.

Chives—Potent in antibacterial, anti-yeast and  antifungal compounds, chives has many similar properties to its  relatives garlic and onion.  Chives also help boost glutathione levels in the  body.  Glutathione is a powerful detoxifier and anti-cancer compound.

Collards—Research shows that collards are among the best  foods for lowering cholesterol levels due to its superior ability to bind to  bile acids in the intestines.  Collard also shows excellent anti-cancer  properties thanks to its naturally-occurring components, including:  glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin.

Kale—Proven to lower the risk of bladder,  breast, colon, ovary, and prostate cancer, kale is among the best superfoods  available.  Great for building healthy bones largely due to its high calcium  content, kale also improves the body’s detoxification systems by increasing  isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from the vegetable’s glucosinolates.  Researchers  have identified over 45 phytonutrients in kale, including  kaempferol and quercetin, giving it impressive antioxidant and  anti-inflammatory properties.

Rhubarb—High in fiber, vitamins C and K, rhubarb stalks (not  the leaves which are poisonous), rhubarb is an excellent spring food but most  people don’t know what to do with it.  Sorry, dumping cups of sugar into it for  jams and pies wrecks any superfood qualities this food might otherwise have.  I  enjoy it stewed or added to chutneys.

Spinach—Not just for Popeye anymore, spinach is high in  iron, calcium, beta carotene (which turns into vitamin A in your body), and  vitamin K, which is important for bone and blood health.  The chlorophyll gives  spinach their green color and is a powerful blood cleanser.  High in neoxanthin,  which is proven to aid prostate health, spinach also contains the phytonutrients  lutein and zeaxanthin which strengthen the eyes and help prevent macular  degeneration and cataracts.

Spring greens—Spring greens contain high amounts of calcium  and magnesium needed for strong bones, muscles, and a relaxed nervous system.   Like spinach, they also contain the blood cleansing  phytonutrient chlorophyll.

Strawberries—Just eight strawberries pack more vitamin C  than one orange.  Whether you want to evade heart disease, arthritis,  memory loss, or cancer, these berries have proven their ability to  help.

Watercress—If ever there was a vegetable made for smokers,  watercress is it.  In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical  Nutrition, researchers found that eating raw watercress daily increased the  ability of cells to resist free radical damage to DNA, which reduces the  risk of cell changes linked to cancer.  Their research showed that this protective benefit was pronounced in smokers.  But, anyone can  benefit from this spring nutritional powerhouse.  It is also high in beta  carotene (essential for skin and eye health), B-complex vitamins (important for  nerves, energy, and mood balance), and vitamin E (critical for skin and immune  system health).

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and twelve-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com.

 

15 Ways to Boost Your Liver for Great Health

15 Ways to Boost Your Liver for Great Health

So, it’s no surprise that the liver can become sluggish, making it a factor  in many health conditions, including: allergies, arthritis, asthma, bad breath,  chronic fatigue syndrome, cravings for sweets,  depression, environmental  illness/multiple chemical sensitivities, fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches and  migraines, hepatitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels,  hypoglycemia, hormone imbalances, immune system disorders, irritable bowel  syndrome, overweight or obesity, poor digestion, recurring nausea and/or  vomiting, skin diseases, and ulcerative colitis. Of course there are other  factors involved in these conditions so it is important to see a physician if  you suffer from any of them.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the liver is its ability to  regenerate itself.  When it is given the critical nutrients, a healthy  whole foods diet, and herbs to help it function, it can be restored to health in  most circumstances.  Strengthening the liver is one of the ways to boost  energy, balance weight, and strengthen overall health.

Here are 15 ways to give your liver a boost:

1.  The liver requires high amounts of vitamins and minerals to perform  its many functions.  Your diet should be high in fruits and vegetables and  fibrer-rich foods.

2.  Your liver must filter food additives.  Eliminate processed  foods, artificial food additives, colors, and preservatives from your diet to  give your liver a break.

3.  Eat plenty of fresh carrots and beets, both of which are powerful  liver cleansing and rebuilding foods.  In addition, eat plenty of green  foods.  The chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color, helps  cleanse the liver.

4.  Try to eat two heaping tablespoons of ground flaxseeds.  They  bind to hormone receptor sites, preventing excess hormones including synthetic  xenoestrogens from plastics and other chemicals, from floating around your  bloodstream.  One of the liver’s five hundred jobs is to filter excess  hormones.  By eating flaxseeds and flax oil you are helping it function  more effectively.  Flaxseeds can be sprinkled on cereal, toast, salads, or  blended into smoothies.

Keep reading to learn about the best liver-boosting herbs and  nutrients…

5.  There are many great herbs that help strengthen the liver,  including: milk thistle, dandelion root, globe artichoke, turmeric, slippery  elm, greater celandine, balmony, barberry, black root, blue flag, boldo,  fringetree bark, vervain, and wahoo.  I regularly use turmeric and milk  thistle to help strengthen the liver.  If you are pregnant, have a serious  health condition, or are taking medication, consult a qualified health  practitioner before using herbs.

6.  Significantly reduce refined sugar and avoid synthetic sweeteners  altogether.

7.  Lecithin helps the liver metabolize fats and reduce  cholesterol.  It contains a substance called phosphatidylcholine and  essential fatty acids that help keep liver cells healthy and help prevent fatty  deposits from building up in the liver.  Lecithin also helps reduce high  blood pressure by allowing the blood vessels to relax to allow better blood  flow. You can get lecithin in organic soyfoods like soy milk, tofu, and miso, as  well as organic eggs.  Alternatively, take 4000 mg of lecithin in capsule  form daily.

8.  Take a high quality multivitamin and mineral supplement to avoid any  deficiencies.  The liver depends on many nutrients to detoxify  properly.  Even a single nutrient deficiency can be harmful.

9.  In addition, take 1000 to 2000 mg of vitamin C daily, even if there  is vitamin C in your multivitamin.

Keep reading to learn about the foods that ensure toxins are neutralized, not  made more dangerous…

10.  Eat lots of garlic, onions and broccoli since these foods contain  sulfur that is required to increase enzyme activity that boosts  liver  cleansing. Without adequate levels of sulfur, the phase 2 of liver  detoxification cannot keep pace with level 1, meaning that many toxins can  become MORE dangerous in your body.

11.  Avoid eating large meals.  Instead, eat small meals made up of  plenty easy-to-digest foods.

12.  Eat steamed vegetables, raw salad greens, raw fruits, and bitter  greens.  The bitter greens, especially, help to cleanse the liver.

13.  Eat whole, raw, unsalted nuts and seeds for their essential fatty  acids as well as their usable protein.

14.  Avoid eating heavy, fatty foods since they just create more work  for the liver. Avoid margarine, shortening or commercial oils or any foods made  with them.

15.  Avoid eating for at least three hours before bedtime to allow the  liver adequate time during the night to perform its many functions, unimpeded by  other bodily processes like digestion.

Adapted with permission from The 4-Week  Ultimate Body Detox Plan by Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, PhD, RNCP,  ROHP.

15 Ways to Boost Your Liver for Great Health

15 Ways to Boost Your Liver for Great Health

15 Ways to Boost Your Liver for Great Health

 Your liver must perform over 500 functions, making it potentially one of the  most overburdened organs in your body.  Our modern lifestyle, replete with  air pollution, food additives and high amounts of stress ensure that the liver  has plenty to do.

So, it’s no surprise that the liver can become sluggish, making it a factor  in many health conditions, including: allergies, arthritis, asthma, bad breath,  chronic fatigue syndrome, cravings for sweets,  depression, environmental  illness/multiple chemical sensitivities, fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches and  migraines, hepatitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels,  hypoglycemia, hormone imbalances, immune system disorders, irritable bowel  syndrome, overweight or obesity, poor digestion, recurring nausea and/or  vomiting, skin diseases, and ulcerative colitis. Of course there are other  factors involved in these conditions so it is important to see a physician if  you suffer from any of them.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the liver is its ability to  regenerate itself.  When it is given the critical nutrients, a healthy  whole foods diet, and herbs to help it function, it can be restored to health in  most circumstances.  Strengthening the liver is one of the ways to boost  energy, balance weight, and strengthen overall health.

Here are 15 ways to give your liver a boost:

1.  The liver requires high amounts of vitamins and minerals to perform  its many functions.  Your diet should be high in fruits and vegetables and  fibrer-rich foods.

2.  Your liver must filter food additives.  Eliminate processed  foods, artificial food additives, colors, and preservatives from your diet to  give your liver a break.

3.  Eat plenty of fresh carrots and beets, both of which are powerful  liver cleansing and rebuilding foods.  In addition, eat plenty of green  foods.  The chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color, helps  cleanse the liver.

4.  Try to eat two heaping tablespoons of ground flaxseeds.  They  bind to hormone receptor sites, preventing excess hormones including synthetic  xenoestrogens from plastics and other chemicals, from floating around your  bloodstream.  One of the liver’s five hundred jobs is to filter excess  hormones.  By eating flaxseeds and flax oil you are helping it function  more effectively.  Flaxseeds can be sprinkled on cereal, toast, salads, or  blended into smoothies.

Keep reading to learn about the best liver-boosting herbs and  nutrients…

5.  There are many great herbs that help strengthen the liver,  including: milk thistle, dandelion root, globe artichoke, turmeric, slippery  elm, greater celandine, balmony, barberry, black root, blue flag, boldo,  fringetree bark, vervain, and wahoo.  I regularly use turmeric and milk  thistle to help strengthen the liver.  If you are pregnant, have a serious  health condition, or are taking medication, consult a qualified health  practitioner before using herbs.

6.  Significantly reduce refined sugar and avoid synthetic sweeteners  altogether.

7.  Lecithin helps the liver metabolize fats and reduce  cholesterol.  It contains a substance called phosphatidylcholine and  essential fatty acids that help keep liver cells healthy and help prevent fatty  deposits from building up in the liver.  Lecithin also helps reduce high  blood pressure by allowing the blood vessels to relax to allow better blood  flow. You can get lecithin in organic soyfoods like soy milk, tofu, and miso, as  well as organic eggs.  Alternatively, take 4000 mg of lecithin in capsule  form daily.

8.  Take a high quality multivitamin and mineral supplement to avoid any  deficiencies.  The liver depends on many nutrients to detoxify  properly.  Even a single nutrient deficiency can be harmful.

9.  In addition, take 1000 to 2000 mg of vitamin C daily, even if there  is vitamin C in your multivitamin.

Keep reading to learn about the foods that ensure toxins are neutralized, not  made more dangerous…

10.  Eat lots of garlic, onions and broccoli since these foods contain  sulfur that is required to increase enzyme activity that boosts  liver  cleansing. Without adequate levels of sulfur, the phase 2 of liver  detoxification cannot keep pace with level 1, meaning that many toxins can  become MORE dangerous in your body.

11.  Avoid eating large meals.  Instead, eat small meals made up of  plenty easy-to-digest foods.

12.  Eat steamed vegetables, raw salad greens, raw fruits, and bitter  greens.  The bitter greens, especially, help to cleanse the liver.

13.  Eat whole, raw, unsalted nuts and seeds for their essential fatty  acids as well as their usable protein.

14.  Avoid eating heavy, fatty foods since they just create more work  for the liver. Avoid margarine, shortening or commercial oils or any foods made  with them.

15.  Avoid eating for at least three hours before bedtime to allow the  liver adequate time during the night to perform its many functions, unimpeded by  other bodily processes like digestion.

Adapted with permission from The 4-Week  Ultimate Body Detox Plan by Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, PhD, RNCP,  ROHP.

 

5 Foods Every Woman Should Eat More Of

5 Foods Every Woman Should Eat More Of

For busy women of all ages, five foods boast high scores in essential nutrients — iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, folate, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids, in particular. Best of all, these foods are easy to find at practically every grocery store, no matter where you live, and each of them takes less than 15 minutes to prepare.

1. Broccoli
Broccoli is practically unrivaled among all foods when it comes to protecting against cancer. Its powerful phytonutrients not only help neutralize carcinogens, but they also stimulate detoxifying enzymes that help the body rid itself of cancer-causing and other harmful toxins. Indole-3-carbinol, another compound found in broccoli, is particularly healthy for women; it’s been shown to reduce the risk of breast and cervical cancers and helps suppress the spread of existing cancer. This green vegetable also happens to be one of the richest food sources of the flavonoid kaempferol, which has shown protective benefits against ovarian cancer.

What’s more, broccoli is a superior source of folate, a B vitamin that’s needed for making and protecting DNA, producing new blood, forming new cells, and synthesizing protein. Folate has also been tied to a decreased risk of some cancers in adults.

But there are a couple of reasons why this nutrient is crucial for women’s health in particular. First, folate is one of the most essential nutrients for pregnant women. It supports proper development of the fetal nervous system and protects against neural tube (birth) defects. Second, research shows that women are twice as likely as men to experience depression, and numerous studies have linked folate deficiency with depression. The good news: There’s also evidence showing that boosting folate levels can increase serotonin levels and improve symptoms of depression.

An added bonus: As a natural diuretic, broccoli helps reduce bloating and water retention associated with premenstrual syndrome.

Broccoli is an excellent source of dietary fiber and of vitamins C, K, and A, and it’s a good source of manganese, tryptophan, potassium, B vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein. It’s also high in calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin E. Many of these nutrients work in partnership: Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron; vitamin K anchors calcium to the bone; dietary fiber promotes better absorption of all nutrients.

Quick and healthy tip: For optimal taste and nutrition, steam broccoli florets for no more than five minutes, or until they turn bright green. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon, and sea salt to taste.

2. Onions
Onions have many healing and health-promoting properties: They’re anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and a natural blood thinner. Rich in chromium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber, onions are also a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, tryptophan, folate, and potassium.

This bulbous vegetable is used to combat cancer, arthritis, and osteoporosis, and it helps fight infections, colds, fevers, and asthma. Onions also help prevent constipation, increase blood circulation, improve gastrointestinal health, promote heart health, and are thought to help lower blood pressure and triglycerides.

Onions are a healthy whole food, there’s no doubt. But they’re particularly good for women, who are four times as likely as men to develop osteoporosis — and who are at even higher risk for osteoporosis during and after menopause. Onions help prevent bone loss by destroying osteoclasts, a type of bone cell that’s responsible for the breakdown of bones. In effect, onions work like bisphosphonates, a type of medication that’s commonly prescribed to treat or prevent bone disease. But unlike those potent drugs, onions bust up osteoclasts without dangerous side effects. And, like broccoli, onions are a potent cancer-fighting food; high onion consumption has been linked to a whopping 25 percent reduced risk of breast cancer and a 73 percent reduced risk of ovarian cancer.

Quick and healthy tip: Keep a container of diced raw onion in the fridge to add to meals all week — it’ll spice up a sandwich or salad, and it’s an easy addition to quick stir-fries. Sautee the onion in a tablespoon of oil, then add the rest of the ingredients in roughly the order of how long they take to cook; the onion-infused oil will add a great flavor to the whole dish.

3. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, watercress, cabbage, turnip greens, collard greens, and arugula share similar nutrient profiles, featuring impressive scores of vitamins K, A, and C; calcium; potassium; beta-carotene; manganese; folate; magnesium; iron; and dietary fiber.

Well-known research tracking 66,940 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study found a 40 percent decrease in the incidence of ovarian cancer in women with the highest dietary kaempferol intake as compared to women with the lowest intake. Along with broccoli, kale is one of the best sources of kaempferol — which has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Kaemperfol is also found in tea as well as in Brussels sprouts and other greens.

Spinach is extremely high in iron, which protects the immune system and helps the body produce energy. It’s especially important for menstruating and pregnant women, who require higher levels of this nutrient. However, iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies for all women. Iron deficiency causes anemia and low energy due to decreased oxygen being delivered to the cells. You can find iron in most leafy greens; other good sources include chard, mustard greens, and romaine lettuce.

Dark leafy greens like Swiss chard, spinach, kelp, and turnip greens are also excellent sources of magnesium, which plays a significant role in many key biological processes. This miracle mineral has been credited with a slew of health benefits, including lowering high blood pressure, strengthening the immune system, strengthening bones, aiding in sleep, relaxing muscles, and relieving stress and anxiety.

Here are a few more good reasons to gobble up magnesium-rich foods: According to womenshealth.gov, migraines plague an estimated 29.5 million Americans, and roughly 75 percent of those affected are women. Magnesium has been shown to reduce the severity and recurrence of migraine headaches. And a study of 60 women with urinary urge incontinence found that magnesium supplementation improved the symptoms of overactive bladder in nearly half of participants. Magnesium also aids in calcium absorption, playing a significant role in preventing osteoporosis; several studies on humans have shown that magnesium helps maintain bone mineral density.

Finally, according to Mental Health America, about 12 million women in the U.S. experience clinical depression each year. It’s estimated that women are twice as likely as men to experience depression. Depression has been linked to low levels of calcium and magnesium, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a study comparing the bone mass of depressed premenopausal women to their nondepressed peers found that the depressed women had reduced bone mass and the most thinning in their hip bones, putting them at higher risk of fractures.

Many leafy greens boast high levels of Vitamin E, which helps stave off menopausal hot flashes. Excellent sources of Vitamin E include mustard greens, turnip greens, and Swiss chard; you can also find it in spinach, collard greens, and kale. Like broccoli, leafy greens are natural diuretics and are great for combating bloat and water retention.

Swiss chard and spinach are two of the most calcium-dense plant foods on earth. Calcium is a particularly important nutrient for women; it’s needed to build healthy bones and to prevent bone loss after menopause. Women who consume diets rich in calcium and vitamin D are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes and to experience premenstrual symptoms. Not only does calcium help build strong bones and teeth, it also plays a role in blood clotting, muscle contraction, and regulating heartbeat.

Magnesium and calcium aren’t the only nutrients that contribute to bone health, though. Vitamin K is vital for bone health and plays a unique role in helping prevent osteoporosis. Just because you have sufficient calcium in your diet doesn’t necessarily mean it will find its way to your bones — and that’s where vitamin K comes in. It helps calcium adhere to the bone, aiding in its absorption. In fact, without adequate vitamin K, calcium can deposit itself in joint and muscle tissue, creating painful problems and preventing absorption in the bone. Calcium deposits in soft tissue are more prevalent in women than men, so vitamin K is especially important for women. It’s found in abundance in most leafy greens, particularly spinach, kale, and Swiss chard.

Quick and healthy tip: To get the most nutrition out of your leafy greens, you’ll need to add a little healthy fat to help your body absorb the nutrients. Sautee dark leafy greens in coconut oil over medium heat until just wilted. Optional: Add a small handful of golden raisins while saut�ing, or serve with a small handful of raw pine nuts.

4. Beans
No matter what type of bean you choose, each tiny package is bursting with a rich array of nutrients. Beans are an incredibly rich source of folate, fiber, tryptophan, protein, iron, magnesium, and potassium, and they’ve been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast cancer.

Hands-down one of the best food sources of fiber you can find, one cup of cooked pinto beans contains nearly 15 grams of fiber (along with a score of other essential nutrients) — but you’ll find plentiful fiber in all bean varieties. Fiber is a wonder nutrient that fills you up, regulates digestion, lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, helps control weight, and has a preventive effect on diabetes and heart disease. Women’s risk of heart disease increases significantly with menopause.

Potassium is vital to the health of every type of cell in our bodies, and you can find good amounts of this mineral in lima, pinto, and kidney beans. Potassium plays an essential part in bone strength, muscle function, and nerve function. Numerous studies have shown a positive link between dietary potassium intake and bone mineral density in pre-, peri- and postmenopausal women, suggesting an important role in preventing osteoporosis in all women. In addition, the Nurses’ Health Study, which recorded data from 91,731 female participants over a 12-year period, found that women with the highest dietary potassium intake were only 65 percent as likely to develop symptomatic kidney stones as compared to their peers with the lowest dietary potassium intake.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid with several important functions. One of them includes the ability to raise serotonin levels in the brain. For this reason, beans and other foods high in tryptophan can help regulate appetite, improve sleep patterns, and boost your mood.

Like other beans, soybeans are an excellent source of dietary fiber. And just one cup of cooked soybeans also provides a whopping 29 grams of protein. Furthermore, studies have linked the isoflavones found in soybeans with improved bone density in postmenopausal women who previously had low bone mass; researchers believe these compounds may play a significant role in preventing bone fractures. Soy isoflavones have also been credited with easing menopausal hot flashes.

Quick and healthy tip: Although dried beans are the healthiest option since they don’t have added sodium, the canned variety will do just fine as long as you rinse the beans in a colander before using them. For a quick and healthy homemade hummus, combine one can of garbanzo beans; one tablespoon each of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and tahini; half a teaspoon of cumin; and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper in a food processor. Blend until smooth and serve with crudites. (White beans make an excellent substitute for garbanzos.)

5. Wild Salmon
Wild salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and iron, and it’s a high-quality source of protein. A word of caution: Independent studies comparing the nutritional content of wild and farmed salmon showed the farmed variety had drastically reduced levels of protein and healthy omega-3 fats. Farmed salmon were also found to have significant levels of carcinogenic substances and other toxins, as well as higher levels of inflammatory omega-6 fats. If you’re eating for health, opt for the wild variety.

Salmon is one of the few food sources naturally rich in vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium, maintain proper levels of calcium in the blood, and promote normal bone growth. Due to these qualities, vitamin D is regarded as an important nutrient in helping prevent osteoporosis. Sockeye salmon scores the highest in vitamin D; a four-ounce serving of sockeye provides 739 IU of vitamin D — compared to Chinook salmon, which provides 411 IU for the same size serving.

Vitamin D’s benefits extend beyond good bones, however. Medical and health experts now recognize this nutrient as playing an essential role in overall health. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is a widespread problem that has been linked to depression and multiple sclerosis, two conditions that women are at a higher risk for than men. Researchers have additionally linked low levels of vitamin D with obesity and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Our bodies don’t produce essential fatty acids, so we must get them from our diet. Wild salmon is exceptionally rich in heart-healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids, which guard against inflammation, reduce the risk of strokes, lower blood lipids, boost HDL (“good”) cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and help prevent heart disease. Omega-3s might be fats, but — in moderation — they’re actually pretty figure-friendly: Not only do they slow digestion, which means you feel satiated for longer, but they may also help get rid of belly fat. Several studies link consumption of omega-3s with reduced abdominal fat. Other benefits of omega-3s include a reduced risk of breast cancer and improved brain function. Some research suggests that omega-3s may be helpful in treating depression, although further research is needed in this area.

Quick and healthy tip: Sprinkle salmon fillets with fresh chopped rosemary and black pepper, top with lemon slices, and place under the broiler for ten minutes or until it flakes easily. Leftovers work well the next day crumbled into omelets, sandwiches, or salads.

By Nikki Jong, Caring.com

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