Archive for the ‘Food/Nutrition’ Category

If you are trying to improve your health or drop a few pounds, think beyond superfoods and supplements, because this “super-drink” deserves your attention. The things we chew are not the only dietary factors that contribute to weight management, disease fighting, energy boosting and stress reducing. Consumed for thousands of years, tea has provided delicious medicinal benefits to many cultures around the globe. Studies show that the components found in such a small little teabag can do wonders for your health. Drink up – your overall health is about to get a lot better!

Tea can help you in maintaining a healthy weight. A 2011 study in the Journal Obesity found that mice fed a high fat diet and given compounds found in green tea gained weight at a slower rate than mice that were not fed the same compounds. The findings from this study suggest that green tea extracts may actually interfere with fat formation in the body. As a side note: green tea extracts should not be confused with bottled green tea drinks that may be full of added sugar. To get green tea extracts, opt for the real deal — boiling water with a good old-fashioned teabag or loose tea!

Green tea may help you see better. The eye, like any part of the body, can suffer oxidative stress — making it more prone to disease. What if you could just add some green tea to your daily diet regimen to combat this? A 2010 study found that components in green tea positively affected the tissues of the eyes, especially tissue related to the retina. Drink on green tea lovers and protect your precious eyeballs!

White tea can help you look younger! White tea has a very high polyphenol count (that means it’s really good for you), which deliver fabulously gorgeous benefits! A recent studydemonstrated that tea drinkers may have already found their fountain of youth — in their mug! In the study, extracts in white tea inhibited wrinkle production by strengthening elastin and collagen — two important factors in your chances of developing what both men and women fear the most — fine lines and wrinkles. White tea can keep your joints younger too according to this 2011 study.

Black tea can help to reduce stress levels. Stressed out? A cup of black tea may be just what you need. One study found that black tea actually helped in reducing levels of the stress hormones in study participants. The fun does not stop there — black tea showed yet another benefit related to stress: blood pressure. As stress goes up, blood pressure does too, putting us at risk for developing a heart attack or stroke. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that six months of black tea consumption lowered systolic blood pressure.

It may help you fight diabetes. A 2010 study reviewing a variety of caffeinated teas found that the caffeine in tea may help in reducing the overall risk of diabetes.

Tea can make your ticker stronger! One study found that green tea helped to improve endothelial function rather quickly after consumption but resist the urge to add milk to your tea if you are drinking for better cardiovascular health! That’s because the caseins in milk may actually decrease the cardioprotective benefits you get from tea according to one study.

The tea-takeaway. You can use tea bags or go loose, drink it hot or drink it cold. Either way, tea is fabulous — and so are all of its benefits. For all the tea veterans, keep drinking your way to good health! For those that have not yet embraced a tea-drinking habit, it’s never too late to start brewing a batch! Explore the various types, flavors, and brands to find your tea-mate.

Herbal teas are renowned for their benefits but what benefits do herbal teas actually have and why are they so advantageous to our health?  Read on to find out more.

What is Herbal Tea?

Herbal tea looks like tea and is brewed in the same way as tea, but it not actually a tea at all.  This is because they do not come from the Camellia Sinensis bush, the plant from which all teas are made.  Herbal teas are actually infusions, and are properly called tisanes.  Tisanes are made from mixtures of dried leaves, seeds, grasses, nuts, barks, fruits, flowers, or other botanical elements that give them their taste and provide the benefits of herbal teas.

Unlike other forms of tea, herbal teas contain no caffeine.  They also taste great and are easy to drink.  Your herbal tea may consist of one main herbal ingredient or it may be a blend of herbal ingredients, designed to bring about a specific purpose, such as relaxation, rejuvenation, relief from a specific condition, amongst other things.

Noted Benefits of Herbal Teas

Firstly, it is important to note that there is a huge array of herbal teas available on the market – each one designed to have a specific therapeutic or medicinal benefit.  However, there are some general benefits that can be obtained from herbal teas, and these include:

achieving a more calm and relaxed state of mind supporting heart health aiding with stomach and digestive problems providing cleansing properties for the body promoting energy and wellness nourishing the nervous system strengthening the immune system providing antioxidants to the body boosting energy levels and invigorating the body relieving stress helping to avoid colds stimulating the internal organs promoting a good night’s sleep it is caffeine free and tastes great Some Common Herbal Tea Ingredients

There are many different herbs that can be found in an herbal tea, each with a different use.  Some common ones include:

Allspice – helps to soothe the common cold and relieves upset stomachs Anise seed – aids digestion and freshens the breath.  It can also soothe a cough and improve bronchitis. Chamomile – is renowned for its calming properties and is also said to be anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic Chrysanthemum – is sweet-tasting and is able to reduce body heat resulting from fever.  It also helps protect against liver damage and neutralises toxins. Cinnamon – is calming and helps to support healthy circulation and digestion. Ginseng – stimulates vitality and helps the body stay healthy. Ginger root – is excellent for improving circulation, and is one of the best herbs for improving digestion, nausea, lung congestion, and arthritis. Hawthorne – strengthens the heart and increases blood flow. Lemongrass – is frequently used due to its calming properties. Parsley – is a diuretic and helps with kidney function. Pau d’arco – has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity against a wide variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, yeasts (including Candida albicans), viruses (including herpes simplex types I and II, influenza virus, poliovirus and retroviruses) and parasites. Peppermint – is good for stress relief.  It also helps with stomachs and digestive issues and helps to freshen the breath. Red Clover – use as a medicine for menopausal symptoms, cancer, mastitis, joint disorders, asthma, bronchitis, psoriasis and eczema. It is not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women. Rose hips – are a natural source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.  They are a liver, kidney, and blood tonic, and are a good remedy for fatigue, colds, and cough. Sarsaparilla – promotes energy and healthy skin. Slippery elm – helps to relieve stomach cramps and other gastrointestinal problems. Making Herbal Tea

When you are making your herbal tea, use fresh, cold water.  Do not use aluminium cookware as it can affect the taste.  Use glass, cast iron, or stainless steel where possible.  A tea strainer is very helpful as it lets you create your own blends of teas or herbs, and stops the leaves and flowers from escaping into the drink.

Once the water has boiled, add one heaped teaspoon of herbs for every cup of water.  Cover and let the herbs steep for ten minutes.  Do not over-steep the herbs as the flavor may become too strong and taste more medicinal rather than pleasant.  If you want to enhance the flavor of your tea, honey or lemon can be great choices.

By Heidi Fagley, Natural News

With all the delicious foods to choose from during the holidays, and in spite of our best efforts to keep food indulgences to a minimum, there are times when we find that it’s nearly impossible to resist an extra helping of treats.

To deal with our temporary lack of constraint that can produce an upset tummy, here are some natural and inexpensive remedies to jump start your digestive system back into high gear.

The Facts

Our digestive system is an important key to living a long and healthy life. Digestive function is made up of numerous organs working together to break down, absorb, and process nutrients in the food we eat. Without healthy digestion, the body can become malnourished and toxins may build up, leading to degenerative diseases.

Using herbs and whole foods is a simple way to support the natural detoxification organs of your body.

Below are some simple tricks to turn foods you already have in your cabinets into goldmines for the digestive system.

Herbal Elixir

Caffeine-free herbal teas can reduce an uncomfortable, bloated system.

Warm and soothing, these medicinal leaves become digestive support upon contact.

Peppermint – Used for centuries to ease the digestive system. Assists with dissipation of gas and indigestion. Chamomile – With anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties, the calming effects of this tea also help relieve stress, which is often linked to digestive problems. Lemon grass – Soothes the digestive system and calms the nerves. Go Green

Green juices are packed with nutrition. Drinking emerald sunshine enables the release of stored toxins throughout the system. Green juices can cleanse your digestive system, helping to move things along while providing an extra dose of readily available nutrients.

Start with vegetables that are gentle on your system like celery and cucumbers, adding a little apple to sweeten things up.

Natural Enzymes

Pineapples contain the digestive enzyme bromelain, and papayas contain papain.

These natural enzymes support the digestive system in breaking down and absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat.

Consuming the fresh juice from these fruits can help relieve gas, upset stomach and occasional constipation and diarrhea.

Pucker Up

Warm lemon water is used in many ancient remedies to alleviate digestive distress, support liver detoxification, normalize digestive juices, and reduce intestinal bloating. Lemon activates the liver to release toxins and helps to cleanse and move any roughage that stays behind in the intestines.

Mix half of a juiced lemon with eight ounces of warm water. Drink upon waking on an empty stomach.

Spice It Up

Ginger stimulates digestion by speeding up the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine.

Widely used all over the world for many digestive disturbances, ginger has been found to soothe the digestive lining and balance gastric juices, making it a great remedy for overeating.

Peel and slice a two-inch piece of fresh ginger. Add to three cups of boiling water. Brew for five minutes, strain and sip the tea slowly. You may add some natural sweetener to taste.

Naturally Fermented

Naturally high in probiotics, foods such as raw sauerkraut provide beneficial enzymes that increase the digestibility of any food. This enhances lactic acid which in turn promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestines as well as preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and increasing nutrient absorption.

Even though the temptation to indulge may be more likely to occur during the holidays, these simple, natural remedies can promote healthy digestion any time of the year.

Do you have any of your own  natural remedies or tips for managing seasonal overindulgences? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.

Source Link: http://www.naturalnews.com/038188_holiday_food_detox_tips.html

By David DiSalvo, Forbes

Overeating, poor memory formation, learning disorders, depression  – all have been linked in recent research to the over-consumption of sugar. And these linkages point to a problem that is only beginning to be better understood: what our chronic intake of added sugar is doing to our brains.

How Much Sugar Are We Consuming? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar per year. That’s five grocery store shelves loaded with 30 or so one pound bags of sugar each.  If you find that hard to believe, that’s probably because sugar is so ubiquitous in our diets that most of us have no idea how much we’re consuming.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) puts the amount at 27.5 teaspoons of sugar a day per capita, which translates to 440 calories  – nearly one quarter of a typical 2000 calorie a day diet.The key word in all of the stats is “added.”  While a healthy diet would contain a significant amount of naturally occurring sugar (in fruits and grains, for example), the problem is that we’re chronically consuming much more added sugar in processed foods.   That’s an important clarification because our brains need sugar every day to function.  Brain cells require two times the energy needed by all the other cells in the body; roughly 10% of our total daily energy requirements.  This energy is derived from glucose (blood sugar), the gasoline of our brains. Sugar is not the brain’s enemy — added sugar is. BNDF Explained Research indicates that a diet high in added sugar reduces the production of a brain chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Without BDNF, our brains can’t form new memories and we can’t learn (or remember) much of anything. Levels of BDNF are particularly low in people with an impaired glucose metabolism–diabetics and pre-diabetics–and as the amount of BDNF decreases, sugar metabolism worsens. The Side Effects In other words, chronically eating added sugar reduces BDNF, and then the lowered levels of the brain chemical begin contributing to insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which eventually leads to a host of other health problems.  Once that happens, your brain and body are in a destructive cycle that’s difficult if not impossible to reverse.Research has also linked low BDNF levels to depression and dementia. It’s possible that low BDNF may turn out to be the smoking gun in these and other diseases, like Alzheimer’s, that tend to appear in clusters in epidemiological studies. More research is being conducted on this subject, but what seems clear in any case is that a reduced level of BDNF is bad news for our brains, and chronic sugar consumption is one of the worst inhibitory culprits.Other studies have focused on sugar’s role in over-eating.  We intuitively know that sugar and obesity are linked, but the exact reason why hasn’t been well understood until recently.  Research has shown that chronic consumption of added sugar dulls the brain’s mechanism for telling you to stop eating.  It does so by reducing activity in the brain’s anorexigenic oxytocin system, which is responsible for throwing up the red “full” flag that prevents you from gorging.  When oxytocin cells in the brain are blunted by over-consumption of sugar, the flag doesn’t work correctly and you start asking for seconds and thirds, and seeking out snacks at midnight.

What these and other studies strongly suggest is that most of us are seriously damaging ourselves with processed foods high in added sugar, and the damage begins with our brains.  Seen in this light, chronic added-sugar consumption  is no less a problem than smoking or alcoholism. And the hard truth is that we may have only begun to see the effects of what the endless sugar avalanche is doing

Source: http://www.forbes.com/…

A whopping 91 percent of the soy grown here in the U.S. is genetically modified, and the easiest way to ensure that a soy product isn’t GM is to stick with organic. USDA certified organic foods, by definition, cannot contain GM ingredients.

Do you have a tough time finding organic soy milk in the store? Does the recent hubbub over Silk soymilk have you concerned that the carton of soy milk at the grocery store might not actually be organic? Here are some milk alternatives that skip the soy while staying dairy free.

1. Nut Milks

Almond is the most common nut milk that you’ll find in the grocery store, but there are others out there. I’ve seen hazelnut and cashew milks on the shelf. If you’re feeling ambitious, it’s not too hard to make nut milks at home. This recipe for raw almond milk from Happy Foody is simple and delicious.

2. Rice Milk

Rice milk is a bit sweet, so it’s probably best for cereal or baking. It’s normally made by processing brown rice, and the sweetness comes from the grain and usually not from added sugar.

3. Oat Milk

Like rice milk, oat milk is slightly sweet. It’s on the thin side, so it’s not great for coffee unless you like your coffee a bit dark. For cereal and for cooking, though, this is a great alternative. You can even make your own oat milk at home, if you like!

4. Hemp Milk

Thick and creamy, hemp milk holds up really well in coffee and cooking.

It can have a mild hemp aftertaste, but it’s something you get used to, much like soy milk’s aftertaste. Hemp milk can vary quite a bit from brand to brand. I’ve had friends tell me they can’t stand the stuff while others swear by it. If your first taste of hemp milk doesn’t do it for you, you might look into trying a different brand before giving up.

5. Coconut Milk

For cooking and baking, plain old canned coconut milk is a delicious soy-free dairy alternative. My favorite use for coconut milk is in the ice cream maker.

If you’re looking to lighten your coffee or pour something onto cereal, brands like So Delicious make boxed coconut milk that you can use just like regular milk.

Do you have a favorite non-dairy, soy-free milk that you purchase or make at home? Share away in the comments!

Despite its considerable medicinal uses, however, apple cider vinegar — which is made by fermenting the sugars from apples — has more uses than most people realize. Its cosmetic benefits are especially impressive and give us even more reasons to stock our shelves with this gold-colored tonic. → Read more

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