Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Posts tagged ‘Food & Recipes’

10 Food Swaps to Lower Blood Pressure

10 Food Swaps to Lower Blood Pressure

 

While blood pressure raises and lowers naturally, sustained elevation — otherwise known as high blood pressure, or hypertension — can damage your heart, kidneys, and even brain.

More than 65 million Americans have the condition — caused by stress, aging, a poor diet, not enough exercise, obesity, smoking, or just plain genetics — and which can be managed in part by cutting back on sodium, according to the American Heart Association.

The recommended daily allowance of sodium is no more than 2,300 mg — about 1 teaspoon of table salt — which adds up fast. These switches — also good for those who want to maintain low blood pressure — can help you cut your salt intake without sacrificing flavor.

1. Say No to Pre-Packaged Frozen Dinners
They’re quick and easy to prepare, but many frozen meals also pack a huge sodium punch — as much as 1,800 mg in one dish, according to MSNBC.com — and many of them don’t have enough vegetables to help you meet your daily requirements. For fast meals on busy nights, freeze leftovers or try make-ahead casseroles that go from freezer to oven to table with a minimum of effort (like Emeril’s Mexican Chicken Tortilla version) to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients.

Worst case: Look for low-sodium, organic frozen meals.

2. Trade Salt for Spices, Vinegar, or Fruit Juice
Start by adding fresh or dried herbs and spices — like rosemary, basil, dill, oregano, hot peppers, thyme — lemon or lime juice, flavored vinegars, and garlic in place of salt in your favorite recipes.

3. Try Oil and Vinegar For Salads
Salads, sandwiches, and stir-frys are often healthier than other dinner options, but you can inadvertently add too much sodium by pouring on ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, and salad dressings. Try simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar on your greens, use fresh tomatoes on your burger, and look for low-sodium versions of other condiments — or just make sure to watch your portions (one tablespoon of regular ketchup has a whopping 160-190 mg of sodium). Some companies do the work for you, though: This spring, according to the Huffington Post, Heinz announced that it tweaked its classic ketchup recipe to cut the sodium by 15 percent in response to new FDA salt limits.

4. Trade Canned Soup, Broth, and Vegetables For Homemade
Canned goods are notoriously high in sodium — one serving can have as much as half your daily allowance — so you might be paying for the convenience. Soups and broths are easy enough to make yourself once you realize that they pretty much require two things — water and time — and you can flavor them with vegetables, herbs, and spices for low-cost meals that feed a crowd. Many companies also offer low-sodium or no-salt-added versions of popular soups, broths, and vegetables (but check the sodium levels on your frozen vegetables, too, especially if they come with seasonings or sauces: sodium often sneaks into those).

Try canning or freezing your own vegetables during the summer to eat all winter.

5. Avoid the Brine
Pickles, olives, sauerkraut, and just about any other vegetables that come in a brine may not feel unhealthy, but those brines were designed to preserve the food — which means there’s plenty of sodium floating around. Limit your indulgence in these foods, and try your hand at canning your own pickles from fresh cucumbers to be sure you know exactly how much salt you’re eating.

6. Cut Down on Cured Meats
Bacon, ham, salami, and other cured meats are another sodium obstacle: According to the NIH DASH eating plan, 3 ounces of lean meat, fish, or poultry contains between 30 and 90 mg of sodium, while the same amount of roasted ham contains 1,020 mg. Eat cured meats sparingly and replace them with fresh chicken, pork, fish, or even no-salt-added canned tuna. Watch out for smoked and processed versions, too — they’ll also increase your sodium levels.

7. Reach for Unsalted Popcorn Over Salty Snacks
It doesn’t take a dietitian to realize that salty snacks are higher in sodium than sweet ones — that’s something your tastebuds can probably tell you all by themselves. In a perfect world, you’d replace all those cravings for crackers, chips, and pretzels with fresh fruit slices and carrot sticks — but when you just can’t resist a snack attack, look for healthier versions, like no-salt popcorn, low-sodium crackers, or unsalted chips.

8. Substitute Whole Wheat Flour For White Flour
Choosing whole wheat pasta, rice, bread, cereal, and snacks can help lower blood pressure in several ways: You’ll be skipping a lot of processed and salted foods by default (since many of them are made with white flour), and they can help you lose weight, which lowers your risk of developing many health conditions (including high blood pressure). Make oatmeal, rice, and pasta without adding salt to the cooking water, and you could end up with as little as 5 mg of sodium per serving.

9. Say No to Buttermilk
Buttermilk has more than twice as much sodium as a cup of its less-flavorful cousin, low-fat milk, which means you could be adding a lot more than just taste to those pancakes. Stick with regular milk and natural (not processed) cheese as part of a low-sodium diet, since they also contain blood-pressure-lowering potassium.

10. Stock Up on Dark Chocolate
Okay, here’s one piece of good news: Dark chocolate doesn’t need to go on your list of foods to avoid, since some studies have shown that the flavanols it contains can help lower blood pressure by helping dilate blood vessels. As with any treat, you don’t want to eat too much of it — but in small amounts, it can have health benefits that go beyond a sugar rush.

By Blythe Copeland, TreeHuggerPlanet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, planetgreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

Advertisements

15 Reasons to Eat Organic Food

15 Reasons to Eat Organic Food

1. In study after study, research from independent organizations consistently shows organic food is higher in nutrients than traditional foods. Research shows that organic produce is higher in vitamin C, antioxidants, and the minerals calcium, iron, chromium, and magnesium.

2. They’re free of neurotoxins–toxins that are damaging to brain and nerve cells. A commonly-used class of pesticides called organophosphates was originally developed as a toxic nerve agent during World War I. When there was no longer a need for them in warfare, industry adapted them to kill pests on foods. Many pesticides are still considered neurotoxins.

3. They’re supportive of growing children’s brains and bodies. Children’s growing brains and bodies are far more susceptible to toxins than adults. Choosing organic helps feed their bodies without the exposure to pesticides and genetically-modified organisms, both of which have a relatively short history of use (and therefore safety).

4. They are real food, not pesticide factories. Eighteen percent of all genetically-modified seeds (and therefore foods that grow from them) are engineered to produce their own pesticides. Research shows that these seeds may continue producing pesticides inside your body once you’ve eaten the food grown from them! Foods that are actually pesticide factories…no thanks.

5. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that pesticides pollute the primary drinking source for half the American population. Organic farming is the best solution to the problem. Buying organic helps reduce pollution in our drinking water.

6. Organic food is earth-supportive (when big business keeps their hands out of it). Organic food production has been around for thousands of years and is the sustainable choice for the future. Compare that to modern agricultural practices that are destructive of the environment through widespread use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers and have resulted in drastic environmental damage in many parts of the world.

7. Organic food choices grown on small-scale organic farms help ensure independent family farmers can create a livelihood. Consider it the domestic version of fair trade.

8. Most organic food simply tastes better than the pesticide-grown counterparts.

9. Organic food is not exposed to gas-ripening like some non-organic fruits and vegetables (like bananas).

10. Organic farms are safer for farm workers. Research at the Harvard School of Public Health found a 70 percent increase in Parkinson’s disease among people exposed to pesticides. Choosing organic foods means that more people will be able to work on farms without incurring the higher potential health risk of Parkinson’s or other illnesses.

11. Organic food supports wildlife habitats. Even with commonly used amounts of pesticides, wildlife is being harmed by exposure to pesticides.

12. Eating organic may reduce your cancer risk. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides potentially cancer-causing. It is reasonable to think that the rapidly increasing rates of cancer are at least partly linked to the use of these carcinogenic pesticides.

13. Choosing organic meat lessens your exposure to antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and drugs that find their way into the animals and ultimately into you.

14. Organic food is tried and tested. By some estimates genetically-modified food makes up 80% of the average person’s food consumption. Genetic modification of food is still experimental. Avoid being part of this wide scale and uncontrolled experiment.

15. Organic food supports greater biodiversity. Diversity is fundamental to life on this planet. Genetically-modified and non-organic food is focused on high yield monoculture and is destroying biodiversity.

by Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and eleven-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: 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 free e-newsletter at www.WorldsHealthiestDiet.com.

13 Foods that Fight Pain

13 Foods that Fight Pain


While many foods taste great, they are also powerful healers in a vibrant multicolor disguise. The best healing remedies also taste fabulous (I can’t say that about any prescription medications). Plus, foods won’t cause the nasty common side effects that most drugs cause.

1. Cherries
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. Only two tablespoons of the concentrated juice need to be taken daily for effective results. Sweet cherries have also been found to be effective.

2. Blackberries 3. Raspberries 4. Blueberries and 5. Strawberries
Dr. Nair later found the same anti-pain compound in berries like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.

6. Celery and Celery Seeds
James Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy, found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and celery seeds, 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.

7. Ginger
Ginger reduces pain-causing prostaglandin levels in the body and has been widely used in India to treat pain and inflammation. A study by Indian researchers found that when people who were suffering from muscular pain were given ginger, they all experienced improvement. The recommended dosage of ginger is between 500 and 1,000 milligrams per day. If you’re taking medications, check with your health practitioner for possible herb-drug interactions.

8. Turmeric
Turmeric (curcuma longa) is the yellow spice commonly used in Indian curries. In research it has been shown to be a more effective anti-inflammatory than steroid medications when dealing with acute inflammation. Its main therapeutic ingredient is curcumin. Research shows that curcumin suppresses pain through a similar mechanism as drugs like COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors (without the harmful side effects). Choose a standardized extract with 1500 mg of curcumin content per day.

9. Salmon 10. Mackerel and 11. Herring
Many fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring also contain these valuable oils. Omega-3s convert in the body into hormone-like substances that decrease inflammation and pain. According to Dr. Alfred D. Steinberg, an arthritis expert at the National Institute of Health, fish oil is an anti-inflammatory agent. Fish oil acts directly on the immune system by suppressing 40 to 55 percent of the release of cytokines, compounds known to destroy joints. Many other studies also demonstrate that eating moderate amounts of fish or taking fish oil reduces pain and inflammation, particularly for arthritis sufferers.

12. Flax Seeds and Flax Oil
Freshly-ground flax seeds and cold-pressed flax oil, contain plentiful amounts of fatty acids known as Omega-3s. Do not cook with flax oil otherwise it will have the opposite effect-irritating the body’s tissues and causing pain.

13. Raw Walnuts and Walnut Oil
Raw walnuts and walnut oil also contain the same powerful Omega-3 fatty acids that fight pain and inflammation in the body.

When it comes to pain, food really is the best medicine.

by Michelle Schoffro Cook

Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and eleven-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: 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 free e-newsletter at www.WorldsHealthiestDiet.com.

8 Benefits of Spinach: The First Superfood

8 Benefits of Spinach: The First Superfood

Spinach was a powerfood even before there was the term powerfood.

We’re referring of course to Popeye the Sailor Man. “TOOT TOOT!” One can of the green stuff and he turned into muscle popping tornado of energy.

Even without Popeye’s recommendation, spinach contains more nutrients per calorie than any other food on the earth.

8 Benefits of Spinach:

1. Loaded with Vitamins: like A, K, D, and E and a host of trace minerals.

2. Good Source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids: the kind most of us need in North America.

3. Anti-Cancer and Anti-Inflammatory Antioxidants: Researchers have identified more than a dozen different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. In a recent study on the relationship between risk of prostate cancer and vegetable intake (including such healthy vegetables as broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts) only spinach showed evidence of significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer.

4. Alkalizes the Body: All those minerals helps to balance off the highly acid diet which most of us subject our bodies to and which drains our energy, increases obesity and a creates host of other health problems.

5. Nourishes the Eyes: The carotenoids found in spinach protect against eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

6. Strengthens the Bones: One cup of fresh spinach (or 1/6 cup of cooked spinach) contains TWICE your daily vitamin K needs. This along with the calcium and magnesium in spinach is essential to maintain healthy bones.

7. Perfect for Green Smoothies and Salads: Organic pre-washed spinach is now readily available in most grocery stores. If you haven’t yet tried a green smoothie yet and think they might taste yucky then try one with the main ingredient as spinach. Spinach is so sweet, we guarantee you will be impressed. To see Diana make her own special brand of green smoothie click here: Diana’s Green Smoothie

8. Spinach is FRESH! Studies have shown that even the artificial light in the grocery store shining on those plastic tubs of spinach can actually help keep the leaves from spoiling. This indicates the spinach is still metabolically active and fresh.

Tips and Cautions:

Tip #1: Make sure you only choose organic spinach. Non-organic spinach is on the list of top foods with lots of chemical pesticides. You can assume that canned spinach is NOT organic. I can’t imagine anyone eating canned spinach anyway but since we mentioned Popeye I thought I had better mentions that. (Leesa agrees!)

Tip #2: Choose the GREENEST looking spinach you can find. Probably you would have anyway, but studies have shown that the greenest spinach has the most vitamin C.

Tip #3: Because spinach contains high levels of so many nutrients it also has significant levels of oxalic acid. This has been associated with kidney problems and interference with absorption of other minerals.

There is much debate whether the oxalates in spinach would have this kind of effect but just to be sure, if you have a pre-existing kidney problem, it’s better to consult your doctor before eating too much.

At Real Food For Life, we recommend that a person balance their body enough so that they can use their own bodies as a gauge on how much or little to eat of a particular food.

For example, I usually crave spinach but sometimes I just don’t want it in my body. I suspect that perhaps I have reached my limit for something, (like the oxalates) within the food.

This personalized approach to your nutrition is the easiest and ultimately the most powerful approach to nutritional choices. We explain this more in our “Three Secrets” report.

Recipes with Spinach:
Power Spinach Salad: You just HAVE TO know how to make a good spinach salad. This one is great.
Miso Soup with Spinach and Mushrooms: This is fast, tasty, and contains at least three powerfoods.
Diana’s Green Smoothie With a Difference: Watch video to learn how to make a green smoothie.

This article was co-authored with Randy Fritz

Related:
Eat Your Spinach
Go Gorgeous Greens
Brown Rice vs. White Rice

by Diana Herrington

Diana Herrington, now living in Northern Canada, turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar free, gluten free, eating and cooking. After testing and researching every possible healthy therapy on her delicate system she has developed simple powerful principles which she shares in her recent book Eating Green, Clean and Lean, and as host to Care2 groups: Healthy Living Network and Healthy Cooking. Check out her blog Real Food for Life or follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DancinginLife.
 

10 Foods That Promote Brain Health

10 Foods That Promote Brain Health

Who doesn’t want to become smarter? Who wants to look better or feel healthier? Many recent studies have shown how certain nutrients can positively affect the brain, specifically in areas of the brain related to cognitive processing or feelings and emotions. Generally speaking, you want to follow a healthy diet for your brain that will lead to strong blood flow, maintenance of mental sharpness and reduce the risk of heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

We know that foods play a great role in our brain, as concluded in several studies led by a phenomenal neuroscientist at UCLA, Gomez Pinilla.

According to one study, the super fats your brain needs most are omega-3 fatty acids. Your brain converts them into DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which enhances neuronal communication and promotes neuronal growth.

Food and nutrients represent fuel to our bodies the same way that when we use our car we need to fill the gas tank. Unfortunately, we generally take better care of our cars than our bodies. Why is that? We are hearing frequently that consuming the right nutrients can help our health, aging process, and more efficient brain-body functioning.

With that said, I want to share with you ten foods you must keep in your diet to maintain brain health:

1. Apples: Eating an apple a day protects the brain from oxidative damage that causes neurodegenerative diseases such Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This magical nutrient that acts as protection is quercetin, which is a phytonutrient.

2. Asparagus: Asparagus is rich in folic acid, which is essential for the metabolism of the long chain fatty acids in your brain.

3. Lean Beef: Lean beef is rich in vitamin B12, iron and zinc. These vitamins and minerals have been shown to maintain a healthy neural tissue.

4. Blueberries and strawberries: Studies show that people who eat berries improve their memory and their motor skills. In addition, their antioxidant properties can protect your brain from the oxidative process.

5. Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate offers incredible concentration powers. It is a very powerful antioxidant containing natural stimulants that increase the production of feel-good endorphins. Trick: you need to find dark chocolate with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving for optimal benefits.

6. Salmon: Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have shown to be essential for brain function.

7. Dried oregano: Certain spices have powerful antioxidant properties. In several studies, this powerful spice has shown to have 40 times more antioxidant properties than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and 4 times more than that of blueberries or strawberries.

8. Walnuts: Walnuts are rich in protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E and B6 which all promote healthy neural tissue.

9. Whole grains: Whole grains deliver fiber and vitamin E that help promote cardiovascular health, which helps improve the circulation to the brain.

10. Yogurt: Yogurt and other dairy foods are filled with protein and vitamin B that are essential to improve the communication between nerve cells.

Make sure that from now on you select and plan a great menu that include these brain foods. Life is about choices and selecting the right nutrients can play a key role in your health.

Written by Michael Gonzalez-Wallace, who is the author of Super Body, Super Brain. You can read more from him at www.superbodysuperbrain.com or pick up his book Super Body, Super Brain.

Leesa recommends choosing organic and local as well as wild and grass raised (beef) when possible!

You’ve Come a Long Way, Kombucha

You’ve Come a Long Way, Kombucha

You’ve Come a Long Way, Kombucha

Years ago I was told about a mushroom shaped fungus that people in the health food “know” were calling Kombucha, and using for medicinal purposes. At the time I was working with a pioneering medical doctor who insisted that we find some of this elixir and make it ourselves. Having the right connections brought this slimy little bugger to my kitchen where I placed it in a bowl of water with some sugar and bags of tea and let it do its thing. Not only did it ferment the water, but it grew another baby Kombucha, and therein lies the dilemma of making home brewed Kombucha, what to do with all the babies?

Needless to say, I spread the word to my friends and family, who, by now, knew my unorthodox interest in all things odd and alternative where food and medicine was concerned. At the time there was very little information as to how Kombucha worked, just that it was a great blood detoxifier that had emigrated from Russia and could heal a multitude of ills in a small amount of time. One unproven claim was that this odd looking mass of gelatin could heal cancer, which would only elicit a succession of raised eyebrows and unbelieving groans. Undeterred I continued to soak the Kombucha, drink the elixir, and give away the babies.

Having already spent years dancing around the media hype of the just-blossoming-health-food industry, I knew to take it all with a grain of sea salt and do my own research. Which usually means, to first try it out on myself in order to test the claims. The good doctor happily offered his body for additional research and for several months we soaked and sipped Kombucha until, seeing little or no results, we just could not take another sip of the vinegary solution. Alas, the last remaining baby was laid to rest in the woods and we all returned to drinking elixir from the green tea family.

Now, some 20 years later, and Kombucha appears to be one of the most popular health drinks on the market to the tune of $295 million dollars last year. Naturally, this means that the taste has to have greatly improved with the addition of cranberry, mango, ginger or berry flavors; but what hasn’t changed is that people still claim that they feel much better after drinking the Kombucha elixer. Even with that sharp vinegar taste devoted Kombucha fans find relief from a number of ailments, in particular digestive, intestinal issues.

But I make no claims here, only that if you are a Kombucha drinker you might like to know that you can make that four-something-a-bottle health soda into a delicious summer drink by adding:

  • a few ice cubes, and sparkling mineral water for a Kombucha Spritzer.
  • a few scoops of non-dairy ice cream for a delicious Kombucha Ice Cream Float.
  • 1-2 ounces of botanically infused Gin or requisite Vodka with a splash of flavored Kombucha for a liver bracing Kombucha Martini.

As the Irish are want to say when raising a glass or two, Slainte, “To Your Health!”

 by Delia Quigley

Delia Quigley is the Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Delia’s credentials include author, holistic health counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker. Follow Delia’s blogs: brcleanse.blogspot.com and brokenbodiesyoga.wordpress.com. To view her website go to www.deliaquigley.com

Leesa’s favorite is GT Dave’s Multi~Green Organic Raw Kombucha!  Which is your favorite flavor?

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

5 Fruits and Veggies for Fresh Summer Skin

5 Fruits and Veggies for Fresh Summer Skin

With the summer sun shining you might be tempted to tanning in order to give your skin a glow. However, it’s no secret that sun exposure increases your risk for skin cancer. That’s why we want to recommend a safer way to give your complexion a healthy glow this season.

We know that water flushes toxins from the skin cells to give that glowing complexion we all yearn for. In addition to water, there are many fruits and vegetables you can eat to achieve that look, too.

We spoke with Dr. Brooke Jackson, a board certified dermatologist and founder of The Skin Wellness Center of Chicago, who says fresh fruits and vegetables found at farmers markets not only taste delicious, but are ideal for improving your skin’s condition and overall appearance.

Making these five fruits and vegetables part of your daily routine can improve your complexion, but also be a simple way to control your diet, meet daily requirements for fruits and vegetables, and keep a beauty regimen budget under control.

Berries: Blueberries, black currants, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries help the body produce collagen, responsible for giving skin that supple and smooth look. “Berries, especially blueberries, are loaded with antioxidant compounds that are very effective in neutralizing damaging free radicals,” said Jackson. “Free radicals are generated in the skin by excessive UV exposure and lead to skin cell damage, premature skin aging.”

Try this: Raw Blueberry Cream Pie

Carrots: It’s no secret that carrots improve vision, but less known is that carrots can prevent dry skin. They contain beta-carotene, which the body uses to produce vitamin A, which moisturizes the skin. Carrots are also a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant removes free radicals, such as those produced by too much sun exposure, which can lead to premature aging. Vitamin C also aids in skin collagen formation, which declines as we get older.

Try this: Curried Baby Carrots

Sweet Potatoes: A favorite at Thanksgiving dinners, sweet potatoes should be enjoyed throughout the year. Sweet potatoes provide vitamin E, which the body uses to regenerate and maximize the effectiveness of vitamin C, very effective antioxidants for skin protection.

Mangoes: Per the National Mango Board, this tropical fruit contains more than 20 varieties of vitamins and minerals. Mangoes have a fruit acid enzyme profile and contain Beta-C and vitamin A derivatives that activate cell regeneration.

Try this: Mango Banana Soup with Cardamom

Mushrooms: Mushrooms are one of the only food sources for vitamin D, contain antioxidants, and have anti-inflammatory properties. All of this helps the skin remain strong and youthful, as inflammation plays a role in aging and may increase risk for some skin cancers.

Try this: Spring Greens-Stuffed Mushrooms

By Maris Callahan for DietsInReview.com

(Leesa recommends buying local and organic food whenever possible! )

Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101

Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101

One year it’s this diet trend, the next year it’s that diet trend. The funny thing is that, aside from the all-celery and 8-grapefruits family of diets, all the smart diets end up saying pretty much the same thing: Eat bushels of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, less animal fat, and cut out refined foods. Genius!

Lately there’s been a flood of diet books based on the anti-inflammatory concept. The gist is that constant or out-of-control inflammation in the body leads to illness, and that eating to avoid constant inflammation inspires better health and can fend off disease. We generally think of inflammation as the painful part of arthritis, but inflammation is also a component of chronic diseases such as heart disease and strokes. Which is why proponents of the diet say it can reduce heart disease risk, keep existing cardiac problems in check, reduce blood triglycerides and blood pressure, and soothe sore and stiff arthritic joints.

Specifics vary from one anti-inflammatory diet to another, but in general, anti-inflammatory diets recommend:

  • Eat plenty and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat little saturated and trans fats.
  • Eat omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish or fish oil supplements and walnuts.
  • Limit your intake of refined carbohydrates such as white pasta and white rice.
  • Increase your consumption of whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat.
  • Limit (or quit) your consumption of red meat and full-fat dairy foods, increase lean protein and plant-protein source.
  • Avoid refined foods and processed foods.
  • Generously use anti-inflammatory spices.

By incorporating these herbs and spices into your diet, you get great flavors with healing properties. Researchers from the University of Michigan have found, for example, that basil has anti-inflammatory activity compared to ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin!

Top anti-inflammatory herbs and spices:

Ginger
Turmeric
Black Pepper
Cinnamon
Rosemary
Basil
Cardamon
Chives
Cilantro
Cloves
Garlic
Parsley

Ready to tame the inflammation? Try these:
Parsley, garlic, and superfood walnuts: Parsley & Walnut Pesto
Double yummy whammy!: Ginger & Turmeric Tea
The all-star anti-inflammatory round-up: Vegetarian Curry

by Melissa Breyer

Natural Remedies for Radiation and Toxic Overload

Natural Remedies for Radiation and Toxic Overload

Our three sources of oxygen — food, water and air — are polluted and bound with toxins. All forms of pollution starve our bodies of essential oxygen.

When it comes to nuclear radiation, we are all guinea pigs in a risky experiment. Here are a few ideas that may help us adapt and survive radiation and toxic exposure. We need to remember that nothing is 100 percent guaranteed, and supplies of many of these foods and supplements may already be in short supply.

There are a number of foods that can better help our bodies tolerate the effects of pollution and radiation. Keep in mind that the kidneys are one of the first organs to suffer from radiation damage. Eating lower on the food chain minimizes our chemical intake.

The seed buckwheat is high in rutin, helps to protect against radiation and stimulates new bone marrow production. The mucilaginous fibers in seaweed (such as kelp, kombu, arame, nori, sea lettuce, dulse, wakame and hiziki) help to prevent the reabsorption of radioactive strontium 90, barium, cadmium and radium by binding with them and carrying them out of the body. Sea vegetables are also high in natural iodine, which can load the thyroid, so that radiation is not absorbed. Eat two tablespoons daily for protection and be careful of overdoing. Be sure seaweeds are from clean waters like http://www.seaweed.net, or http://www.seaveg.com.

Following the bombing of Nagasaki, a group of surviving macrobiotic doctors and their patients avoided radiation sickness by eating brown rice, miso soup, seaweed Hokkaido pumpkin, and sea salt and were told to avoid sugar and white flour products. These patients did not get leukemia, though the hospital was only one mile from the bombsite!
High chlorophyll foods like wheatgrass, spirulina, chlorella and barley grass strengthen cells, transport oxygen, help to detoxify the blood and liver as well as helping to neutralize polluting elements and stimulate RNA production. One can take 3-5 grams daily of these superfoods. Sulfur-rich vegetables in the Brassicceae Family like broccoli, cabbage, kale, radish, Brussels sprouts, arugula, rutabaga, turnip, Bok Choy and mustard greens combine with toxins and help to prevent free radical damage. Also rich in protective sulfur include garlic, onions, and beans.

High pectin foods like carrots, sunflower seeds and apples help to keep pollutants from being assimilated. High beta-carotene foods (like green leafy vegetables, carrots, winter squash and sweet potatoes) help promote healthier immunity and cellular protection. Unpasteurized sauerkraut helps promote healthy intestinal flora. Garlic keeps radioactive isotopes from being absorbed.

Radiation sickness can also contribute to the development of anemia, so green foods and beets can all help build the blood. Nutritional yeast, high in B vitamins binds, absorbs and carries heavy metals out of our systems. After the fact, foods that are rich in nucleic acids can help us to rebuild and include spirulina, chlorella, nutritional yeast and bee pollen. Learn to identify and eat some of the wild edible plants from unpolluted areas such as chickweed, dandelion, malva and violets.

Aloe vera gel (Aloe vera) has been found to help heal radiation burns more quickly by its content of biogenic stimulators that encourage skin repair.

Burdock root (Arctium lappa) helps to neutralize and remove toxins from the body. During the Industrial Revolution, burdock was recommended as medicine to help people cope with the increased pollution.

Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) improves the function of our body’s organs elimination process. Consider how this plant has done a good job for itself adapting to environmental pollutants..

Eleuthero herb (Eleutherococcus senticosus) can help alleviate fatigue, ameliorate symptoms from chemical and radiation exposure and lessen the effects of stress.

Ginseng root (Panax ginseng) helps one to decrease the side effects of radiation and recover more quickly its exposure.

Green and black tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) are antioxidant, immune stimulant, and contain radioprotective agents.

Milk thistle seed (Silybum marianum) helps protect the body from chemical exposure, environmental illness and liver damage.

Nettles herb (Urtica dioica) cleanses and strengthens the kidneys as it builds the blood.

Peppermint leaf (Mentha piperita) can reduce nausea from radiation exposure.

Red clover blossom (Trifolium pratense) improves health in general, helping all the organs of elimination function more optimally.

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) have been found to bolster the immune system after radiation exposure.

Yellow dock (Rumex crispus) improves the function of the kidneys, liver, lymphatic system, intestines and skin thus aiding the body’s natural cleansing process.

Supplements to help one better cope with environmental pollutants include antioxidants. Vitamin A and beta-carotene improve tissue strength and decrease wound healing time. The B complex can improve stress and fatigue. Vitamin C gives protection against a wide range of pollutants, reduces allergy symptoms, improves healing time and promotes detoxification. Strontium-90 competes with calcium in the body and depletes vitamin D supplies in the body, so vitamin D supplementation may be helpful. Selenium, helps protect one from heavy toxicity (and is found in Brazil nuts, garlic, green and black tea). Zinc is needed for B and T cell production. It also helps in the elimination of aluminum, cadmium, copper and lead. Glutathione is very protective against environmental pollutants. L-cysteine helps the liver breakdown chemicals. Calcium helps protect the body from absorbing radioactive materials and magnesium helps prevent the uptake of strontium 90. Bee pollen is extremely nutritive and reduces the side effects from radium and cobalt 60. Zeolite clay helps to remove heavy metals and radiation, binding to toxins in the bloodstream and helping them to be eliminated.

Epsom salt baths (1 pound per bath) can also be used to help draw radiation and toxins out of the body. Get a water filtering system for the entire household. Houseplants that are used to reduce indoor pollution include Chrysanthemum, Golden Pothos and Mother-In-Law Tongue, English Ivy, Gerber Daisy, Peace Lily, Spider plants, and Janet Craig.

(Leesa recommends Chews4Health!  Chews4Health contains 4 seaweed/sea vegetables – Dulse, Kelp, Bladderwack, and Nori!   Plus it tastes great and it is so convenient!  Learn more at www.chews4health.com/Leesa)
 

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: