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Category Archives: anti-inflammatory

Eating for a Rainbow of Health Benefits

Beige and black may be all the rage in many wardrobes but when it relates to a healthy diet, color is the way to go. Why? One word: phytochemicals. The more colorful your plate the more phytonutrients in your food and the more phytonutrinets on your plate the more health benefits you will be eating. I always say that the best form of health insurance is prevention. As I tell all of my patients, a beige diet may be cheap, taste good to you and fill you up, but it also may cost you more later as they tend to be high in unhealthy fats, highly processed and usually nutrient depleted foods. This puts your health at risk. So choose to eat wisely now and there is no better time then the beginning of summer with the abundance of produce and healthy fresh choices.
Phytochemicals act as antioxidants, can protect your cells from injury, aging and cancer. They can help regenerate essential nutrients and they can also help in the detoxification of certain chemicals that are in our environment and help to inhibit and deactivate cancer-causing substances. WOW! All that in a little color on your plate. And the beauty is that these potent substances occur naturally in plants and because its summer, they are everywhere! Summer time means sunshine, greenery, longer days and warmer evenings, more time to savor all the beauty of the outdoors. Plants are in abundance, beauty abounds, and nature gloriously shares all of its incredible fresh healthy bounty with us. In my healthy world, summer is all about the amazing abundance of healthy, fresh, whole foods and there’s no better time to eat well, be well and feel fabulous.

So what exactly is behind the color of your food?

phytochemical

Green:

The natural plant pigment chlorophyll colors green fruits and vegetables. Green foods are rich in isothiocyanates, which induce enzymes in the liver that assist the body in removing potentially carcinogenic compounds. For example, cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cabbage contain the phytochemicals indoles and isothiocyanates, which may have anticancer properties.

Green vegetables are also an excellent sources of vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, as well as carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids. Folic acid is needed to prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy, and vitamin K is essential in blood clot formation. Diets high in potassium are associated with lowering blood pressure, and there is an inverse relationship between cruciferous vegetables and cancer, especially colon and bladder cancers. In addition, sulforaphane, a phytochemical present in cruciferous vegetables, was found to detoxify cancer-causing chemicals before they do damage to the body.

Yellow/Green:

A variation of the green color category, these foods exhibit a richness in lutein. Lutein is particularly beneficial for eye health. There are lutein receptors in the macula of the eye, and lutein helps protect against age-related macular degeneration.

Another reason to grab some yellow/green kiwifruit at the grocery store is its high amount of vitamin C, a super powerful natural antioxidant that is essential for collagen formation in the skin and improving the immune system. Sources of these potent antioxidants include; Avocado, kiwifruit, spinach and other leafy greens, pistachios

Relish Ruby Reds:

Lycopene is the predominant pigment in reddish fruits and veggies and this carotenoid, lycopene, is a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with a reduced risk of some cancers, especially prostate cancer, and protection against heart attacks. Look for tomato-based products for the most concentrated source of this phytochemical. Tomatoes also help to support the health of prostate and breast tissue.

And although some nutrients, such as vitamin C, are diminished with the introduction of heat, the benefits of eating produce are not dependent on eating raw foods. In fact, cooking enhances the activity of some phytochemicals, especially lycopene. Cooked tomato sauces are associated with greater health benefits compared with the uncooked version because the heating process allows all carotenoids, especially the lycopene, to be more easily absorbed by the body.

In addition to vitamin C and folate, red fruits and vegetables are also sources of flavonoids, which reduce inflammation and have antioxidant properties. Cranberries, another red fruit whose color is due to anthocyanins, not lycopene, are also a good source of tannins, which prevent bacteria from attaching to cells.

Yellow/Orange:

Orange foods are rich in beta-carotene, which are particularly wonderful antioxidants. They also contain beta-cryptoxanthin and vitamin C. Beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene, and alpha-carotene are all orange-friendly carotenoids and can be converted in the body to vitamin A, a nutrient integral for optimal vision, healthy immune function, as well as skin and bone health.

Since eyesight is dependent on the presence of vitamin A, it is considered the optimal vision vitamin. Other phytochemicals typically found in yellow/orange fruits and vegetables help to protect the eyes from cataracts and have anti-inflammatory properties. The beta-carotenes in some orange fruits and vegetables may also play a part in cancer prevention; lung, esophagus, and stomach. They may also reduce the risk of heart disease and improve immune function.

Examples: Carrots, mangos, cantaloupe, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, apricots

The beauty of these colorful fruits and vegetables is far more than skin deep. These colors are nature’s way of advertising the phytonutrients, or special, healthy chemicals that they contain. The more color, the better!

Indulge, enjoy and stay healthy!

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Popcorn Cauliflower

If you know me well, or even slightly well, you know that I love, love, love popcorn.  So when I came upon this healthy, yummy alternative, I got super excited…

Popcorn cauliflower is now my new favorite low calorie, healthy, yummy, delicious snack.

3 amazing reasons to eat cauliflower include:

Cauliflower is a member of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family of vegetables

Cauliflower is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich, and may boost both your heart and brain health

Eating cauliflower will provide your body with impressive amounts of vitamin C, vitamin k, beta-carotene, and much more while supporting healthy digestion and detoxification

Need I say more? And cooking it this way tastes fabulous….let me know what you think and Enjoy!

cauliflower popcorn

Ingredients
4 teaspoons coconut sugar or truvia or a dab of stevia
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 heads organic cauliflower, cut into mini bite-size pieces
coconut oil
Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Whisk sweetener, salt, paprika, turmeric, onion powder, and garlic powder together in a bowl.
Spread cauliflower onto the prepared baking sheet; spray or whisk liberally with coconut oil or oilve oil, can use spray, organic oil version if you like as well. Season cauliflower with spice mixture.
Roast in the preheated oven until cauliflower is tender, 30 to 35 minutes. You can also do a quick broil to make them crispier
once out of the oven, may sprinkle with nutritional yeast and cayenne pepper if you like a little heat
Enjoy

 

 

My herbal travel rescue kit

We have all been there; traveling in a developing country and suddenly you do not feel so great. Whether its stomach issues, cuts and bruises, insect bites or a nasty flu,
smart travelers should pack a good first aid kit, full of all those things you may need in case of an emergency.

Sadly, I have no travel plans this month but my girlfriend J is on her way to Thailand and asked me to share with her my traveling secret remedies. Of course, I want you all to stay healthy too, so I am forwarding my list of remedies to her and to all of you as well. This list of wonderful remedies is also in my medicine cabinet at home so if you are stuck here this summer like me, no worries, this list may still end up coming in handy.

Here is the list and it includes some great natural remedies that I love and that can help prevent many travel related ailments.

13698228_10153783644511705_3225095798230110961_o.jpg(This amazing photo is courtesy of my ex neighbor in Minneapolis, the talented Edward Bock. You can learn more about him and his work on http://www.edwardbock.com .)

By the way, this list is a work in progress and so if you have any remedies that you love, please feel free to share them with mesince my list is always evolving

1. Good Quality Probiotic

This is probably the single most important natural remedy you can carry in your first aid kit. Traveller’s diarrhea is one of the biggest issue most of us face when travelling through developing countries.

Probiotics increase the number of friendly bacteria in your gut and these little guys can help keep the not so nice ones in check. Be mindful that your immune system is closely tied to the health of your gut flora, so having a happy gut, will keep you strong and healthy as well.

The best kind to bring with you are ones that do not need to be refrigerated. So read the label carefully on the product that you choose and at least try and get one with 1 billion live strains.

2. Oil of Oregano

This is another great remedy that I always include in my travel kit. Oil of oregano has many different uses that can help you on your trip. Oil of oregano contains antimicrobial, antiviral, anti parasitic, anti allergenic and anti fungal properties. A study from the US Department of Agriculture showed that oil of oregano was effective against Salmonella and E. Coli bacteria. So if you find yourself coming down with something, whether its a stomach bug, flu, cold like symptoms or sore throat , take 3-5 drops under your tongue, 3 times a day until you are feeling better.

Just a reminder that oil of oregano is potent, so this remedy is not recommended for everyday use. Just use it when you think you need it. And brace yourself, the taste is quite strong.

essential oil.jpg

3. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is a concentrated blend of pink pulp, orange skin and seeds of the grapefruit. Like oil of oregano, it is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal. I always carry a little bit of this stuff while travelling to disinfect suspect food and water. Sometimes you may find yourself somewhere with no clean water to buy. You can put a few drops of this into questionable water to kill anything in there that could make you sick. Sometimes while travelling on long bus rides, your only choice for food may be street vendors. I have put this stuff directly onto sketchy looking food to make it safer for consumption.

When buying grapefruit seed extract, make sure to find a good quality brand. Some products have been found to contain synthetic additives which could cause you harm. Visit your local health food store and talk with someone in the know.

4. Magnesium

Magnesium has a couple different applications that can be useful during travelling. Taken orally, magnesium has the ability to relax the intestines and colon. This is a great thing to take if you are experiencing constipation. There is nothing worse than being on some remote backcountry trek and being all blocked up. It can make you bloated and irritable. Magnesium can clear this issue up within 24 hours.

Since magnesium is a relaxant, it is also great to take at night before bedtime. So if you ever experience insomnia while travelling, magnesium can calm you nerves and help you get that much needed rest.

There are a variety of forms of magnesium available out there and they are all not absorbed equally in your system. The best forms are magnesium glycinate and magnesium taurate.

5. Activated charcoal

This supplement is good for relief from food poisoning, gluten exposure if you need it, stomach bugs, gas, bloating and diarrhea. It reduces toxicity by adsorbing chemicals in the GI tract. Be sure to take with plenty of water and stay very well hydrated with clean filtered water while taking this supplement.

charcoal

6. Ginger capsules or ginger chews
Great remedy for tummy upsets, including motion sickness, morning sickness and gas.

7. Echinacea and Goldenseal

Echinacea helps support a healthy immune system, and has antibacterial and antibiotic properties. If you start to feel an illness coming on, dosing yourself with a tincture of echinacea is a good way to help you stay healthy.

Goldenseal is a powerful antibacterial, antibiotic, and antiparasitical potion. In powdered form, it can be applied to open cuts to help them from getting infected. You can also take this internally for infections as it acts as a natural antibiotic.

8. Lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil is my favorite essential oil because it smells divine but also because it can be used topically on the skin for irritations, wounds bites and burns and also can be used to help with insomnia, anxiety and headaches. For most people, it can be applied directly to the skin. One drop takes the swelling and itch out of mosquito bites. It is an anti-inflammatory and has antiseptic properties.

9. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a great natural moisturizer. This stuff can be incredibly hydrating if you are travelling in a country with a dry climate. You can rub this stuff all over your body and it makes your skin soft, smooth and shiny. Using this product is truly the best thing you can do for your skin. It can offer protection against a number of harsh weather conditions including wind, sun and snow. I often put coconut oil on my lips when they are chapped and in need of some TLC. Aside from being a great natural lubricant, coconut oil also contains a little SPF and it does have some antimicrobial and antifungal properties as well so can also be used for calming a number of skin conditions including rashes, eczema and acne.

Of course, you shouldn’t just stock your first aid kit with natural remedies. It is always good to have some good backups, just in case, especially if you are travelling to remote areas with little access to emergency services.

If you stock your first aid kit with these things, and make sure to take your probiotic everyday, your chances are high of having the healthiest trip you have had yet.

Safe travels and namaste!

 

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A Dab of Apple Cider Vinegar a Day May Keep the Doctor Away

I remember when I first started working as a holistic doctor, Carol, a sweet patient of mine gifted me a handbook called Health and Healing with Apple Cider Vinegar. She had a severe case of arthritis and told me that just by adding a little bit of apple cider vinegar into her water every day, helped to heal her from years of pain.

apple cider vinegarCurious about this natural amazing remedy, I began to do more research and naturally I also started to drink some of this golden nectar daily to see what effects it would have on me.

First let me start by saying that a little apple cider vinegar goes a long way. There is definitely a point where too much of this good thing is truly too much and quite overwhelming for the palate. So ease into this by starting with maybe 1/4 tsp in a glass of water daily, with the goal of reaching one tsp in a glass of water 3-4 times a day. Aside from the acidic taste however, which is actually the basis of most of its medicinal qualities, eventually you can become quite accustomed to this powerful natural remedy’s taste, and it is worth it. Apple cider vinegar is a potent healing remedy, a gem that I have grown to love and have discovered is amazing for so many different things.

As a folk remedy, apple cider vinegar has been credited with curing everything from  the flu, arthritis, aches, pains, dandruff, diabetes event warts. Many of its supposed benefits are unproven, but some experts, aka my patients, think that adding a little of this sour liquid to your life has many health benefits and no side effects, so why not give it a try?

In fact, I believe in this remedy so much that I actually added apple cider vinegar to the recipe for Flackers (www.drinthekitchen.com). Not only does it actually add a great flavor to the cracker but the medicinal benefits are overwhelming.

In case you were wondering, the following are just a few of the reasons to drink a sip of apple cider vinegar daily.

Apple cider vinegar may aid in weight loss

Apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight. Here’s why: The acetic acid suppresses your appetite, increases your metabolism, and reduces water retention. Scientists also theorize that apple cider vinegar interferes with the body’s digestion of starch, which means fewer calories enter the bloodstream

Apple Cider Vinegar and Blood Sugar

While apple cider vinegar is touted for its incredible weight loss abilities, I would have to say it probably won’t make you skinny, but taking it daily does appear to help with diabetes and blood sugar regulation. Its effects on blood sugar are similar to certain medications and apple cider vinegar’s antiglycemic effect is very well documented in the medical literature.

Vinegar blocks some of the digestion of starch preventing at least some of that starch from being digested and raising blood sugar. I was having dinner with a friend who wisely shared that information with me as we were indulging in sushi. The white rice which is typically high in the glycemic index, he explained, is lowered by the fact that the Japanese bathe it it vinegar first.

Apple cider vinegar for energy

Exercise and sometimes extreme stress cause lactic acid to build up in the body, causing fatigue. Interestingly, the amino acids contained in apple cider vinegar act as an antidote. What’s more, apple cider vinegar contains potassium and enzymes that may relieve that tired feeling. Next time you’re beat, add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to a glass of chilled vegetable drink or to a glass of water.

Apple cider vinegar soothes a sore throat

As soon as you feel the prickle of a employ germ-busting apple cider vinegar to help head off the infection at the pass. Turns out, most germs can’t survive in the acidic environment vinegar creates. Just mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup warm water and gargle every hour or so.

Apple cider vinegar prevents indigestion

Sip before eating, especially if you know you’re going to indulge in foods that are rich and decadent. Try this folk remedy: add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and drink it 30 minutes before you dine.Some folk remedy experts contend that apple cider vinegar contains pectin, which can help soothe intestinal spasms. Try mixing one or two tablespoons into water, or clear juice like apple juice

Apple cider vinegar to clear a stuffy nose

Next time you’re stuffed up from a congestion, consider a tsp of this golden liquid for relief. Apple cider vinegar contains potassium, which thins mucus; and the acetic acid in it prevents bacterial growth which could contribute to nasal congestion. Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink to help sinus drainage.

Apple cider vinegar to ward off dandruff

The acidity of apple cider vinegar changes the pH of your scalp, making it harder for yeast to grow. Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water in a spray bottle, and spritz on your scalp. Wrap your head in a towel and let sit for 15 minutes to an hour, then wash your hair as usual. Do this twice a week for best results.

Apple cider vinegar for acne

Apple cider vinegar makes a great natural toner that can act as  a natural astringent and leave skin looking healthier. Its antibacterial properties help keep acne under control, and the malic and lactic acids found in apple cider vinegar soften and exfoliate skin, reduce red spots, and balance the pH of your skin.
So go ahead and try some today. I suggest a tsp on an empty stomach first thing in the morning and then 20 minutes before each meal. Let me know what you think?
To your Health!

 

 

Super Charge Your Health With This Amazing Yummy Elixir

My sweet friend, I will call her L, is on prednisone, and she asked me what else she can do or take that would work as an anti-inflammatory. This is the first thing that came to my mind; my anti-inflammatory ginger turmeric honey elixir.This super anti-inflammatory booster is amazing, healthy, yummy and I just love it! It tastes incredible in tea or just on it’s own, dissolved in hot water. It would probably also be yummy nice to use in cooking or on a piece of bread. I have been adding a large spoon of this in a cup of my daily green & peppermint tea and am good to go!

I strongly believe that consuming this elixir daily will keep you feeling fabulous, and help you to stay healthy.It is filled with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial ,digestive supportive and detoxification enhancing properties. All in one tsp of yummy sweet goodness.

And so here is the recipe L, and like I said, everyone, everyone should consume this daily.

GINGER TURMERIC HONEY ELIXIR

Notes: this super booster elixir takes only 5 minutes to whip up and will yield about 1/2 cup. You can store it in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for about about one week.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup local, organic raw honey

1 teaspoon organic lemon zest

1 tablespoon ground organic turmeric

1 tablespoon powdered or raw freshly grated ginger

moderate pinch of black pepper to activate the turmeric

2 tablespoons raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Whisk your ground turmeric in a small mixing bowl or with a mortar + pestle to loosen all clumps smooth into a fine powder.

Then add in the honey, GINGER, lemon zest, black pepper and apple cider vinegar and whisk or stir until smooth.

Ginger is a marvelous root that you can purchase raw or dried in almost every supermarket. It has antibiotic effects and can help digestion, detoxification, infections, inflammation, joint pain, circulation, nausea (also pregnancy nausea) and motion sickness.

Turmeric is a known strong antioxidant and has been used as traditional Ayurvedic medicine throughout history for cooking, to cleanse the whole body, especially the liver;  to support digestion, treat fever, wound infections and inflammation. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin and has been proved to have similar effects as anti-inflammatory medicine. Turmeric and black pepper is a great pair to match. The black pepper helps to enhance the bioavailability of curcumin by a thousand times. Turmeric has a slight bitter taste but blends very well with other flavors.

How To consume:

As a warm tonic — mix 1 tablespoon of this elixir with one glass of warm water + ( tea bag of your choice…optional) then sip

On toast or baked goods — a teaspoon or two as a spread on top

In a smoothie — blend in a tablespoon

As is — 1 large spoonful daily

Enjoy!

 
 
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