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Category Archives: flavinoids

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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Herbal Steam Your Cold and Flu Away

Well it is officially cold and flu season and despite the zinc , elderberry and vitamin D, many of my colleagues and patients are still getting the flu or are complaining of cold symptoms.

Inhaling steam can help loosen congestion and offer relief from coughing as well. Steams are a wonderful natural way to alleviate cold symptoms and I love to add herbs to my steams for the delicious aroma and also for their medicinal virtues.

Here is one of my favorite recipes if you are congested. It is easy to make, it smells fabulous and it works!

Herbal Face Steam Ingredients

  • a large pot
  • 1 tablespoon each of desired herbs, for congestion, my favorite is  eucalyptus. But feel free to roam your kitchen and add whatever else you may have like; rosemary if you want to feel more alert, or lavender , if you want to feel more calm. Garlic can also be added to the steam mixture for additional antibacterial benefit.
  • 2 large towels

How to prepare

Put about an inch of water in the bottom of a large pot and boil.

Fold a towel in half and place on a sturdy, heat-proof, flat surface like a counter or table. Place the pot or bowl on top of this towel.

Add any dried herbs, stir well and cover with a lid for 1-2 minutes.

Herbal Face Steam Instructions

Remove lid and cautiously check the temperature of steam to make sure it isn’t too hot for your face.

Steam is hot and caution should always be used when handling and breathing it.

Once you have determined that the temperature is ok, lean over the pot and cover head with a towel to create a tent. Try to let as little air escape as possible, this will maximize the benefits of your steam.

Slowly breathe in the steam for 5-10 minutes. Initially you can breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Eventually try to breathe in and out through the nose to loosen up all the congestion.

When finished, pour out the liquid and herbs in the pot and thoroughly wash your pot.

The beauty of this steam is that it also has skin benefits. When you are done, your pores are open so you can wipe your face with a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water after your face steam to tone your skin and remove anything that has loosened from the pores.

Steam is often used in spas as part of a facial treatment. Facial steams are touted for their ability to open pores, soften skin and improve circulation.

So steam your congestion away and get a mini facial all in one! How fabulous right?

Enjoy and stay well…

 

 

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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