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Why You Should Eat More Purple Fruits and Vegetables

Why You Should Eat More Purple Fruits and Vegetables

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basked filled with luscious blue or dark red fruit and vegetables does much more than look good in still life paintings or on your kitchen counter. It contains a wealth of incredible health benefits.

The top benefactor in purple foods is their antioxidant content. The powerful health benefits of antioxidants are only too well known: they neutralize the agents of aging and disease, and keep you looking younger longer. Now consider this: According to the USDA , potatoes with the darkest colors have more than four times the antioxidant potential than other potatoes.  Remember: The darker the fruit or vegetable, the more antioxidants it has.


Prunes, purple cabbage, eggplant, blackberries, black currants, purple onions, concord grapes: all of these have a natural purple pigment that contains flavonoids, including reservatrol, which keeps blood pressure in control and boosts immunity from certain cancers. The skin of a black grape, for example, has this pigment, called anthocyanin. In cranberries, the purple pigment is seen to benefit those suffering from infections of the urinary tract.

There is evidence that purple foods improve heart healthvision, and brain power. Recent studies found that adults who eat purple and blue fruits and vegetables have reduced risk for both high blood pressure and low HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind); they are also less likely to be overweight.

So, with so many wonderful reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables of the purple family, get more of them into your daily diet. And don’t stop at eggplant and berries. Exciting purple varieties of corn, asparagus, figs, potatoes and such are yours for the tasting and enjoying!

By Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman’s book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

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Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

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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.

 

Big Organic Garden Delivers Georgia’s Best Fruits & Veggies

Big Organic Garden Delivers Georgia’s Best Fruits & Veggies

 

How I wish every city had a fresh, local, and in-season produce delivery  service! Maybe once the word of Big Organic Garden in Georgia spreads we’ll all  be happily awaiting our own fruit and veggie delivery.

The owners of Big Organic Garden are able to source produce from farms across  their state of Georgia and the southeast to offer their customers the freshest  in-season options they can. Big Organic Garden promotes local and in-season produce to support local industry and provide  optimal health, as studies point to benefits of eating from your own local  harvests. Also, by providing in-season options, this cuts down on the carbon footprint that shipping of  out-of-season produce causes.

The customers of Big Organic Garden can choose a box size and price every  week. The boxes are somewhat specified by the customer from their website, but  all contain an assortment of fruits and vegetables. A small box is $20, medium  is $37, and a large will cost $50. If not for yourself, this sounds like an  awesome holiday gift idea!

An example of what you might find in the $50 large box includes 4 Braeburn  apples, 4 Honeycrisp apples, 2 avocados, 2.5 bunches of bananas, 5 oranges, 5  lemons, 1.5 heads of broccoli, 1 head of cauliflower, 2 bunches of collard  greens, 1 bunch of spinach, as well as squash and tomatoes.

All of the products are organic and most are local. Obviously the avocados  are not local, but they only bring in a few items from out of the area and they  are always certified organic. The company offers a few pick-up locations  throughout the week, but they also offer delivery. Big Organic Garden encourages  customers to leave a cooler with ice packs on their porch so the produce can  stay fresh.

What a wonderful idea this is. It’s not too different than CSAs  that are already wildly popular, but it extends the range of who can include and  receive produce. As I wrestle with trying to do the best for my own family and  the earth we live on, it’s hard to compete with the store that’s just minutes  from my home. And furthermore, I can eat strawberries in the winter if I shop in  the store that knows no seasons. But truly, I want to do what’s right. Hopefully  more companies like Big Organic Garden will sprout up all over the country very  soon.

By Lacy J. Hansen for DietsInReview.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! )

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