Turmeric: Turbo Charged Turmeric

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Turmeric

If you’re a fan of curry, then you’ve most likely had the pleasure of eating turmeric. Turmeric gives curry its vibrant yellow-golden color. A member of the ginger family this spice has been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both Chinese and Indian medicine for centuries to treat a wide variety of conditions. Western scientists are now paying a lot of attention to this amazing compound.
Turmeric and its most important active ingredient, curcumin is one of the most extensively researched spices with hundreds of lab studies published in the last few decades.
A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin has a wide variety of anti-cancer effects. It seems to be able to identify potential cancer cells, kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing – LOVE! Studies have been conducted on several types of cancer including breast cancer. Another important way that turmeric and curcumin help prevent cancer is by reducing inflammation in the body. Inflammation can lead to many different diseases including cancer so reducing inflammation is an extremely important factor to maintaining good health. Everyone needs a best friend and Curcumins is Black Pepper! There is a special relationship between curcumin and a compound called piperine, found in the black pepper. Piperine slows down the absorption of curcumin making it more available and effective in the body. The bioavailability of curcumin skyrockets when eaten with black pepper! (I told you it was turbo charged :) Special Note: It is not advised to eat Turmeric while you are undergoing chemotherapy.   The strong antioxidant properties of turmeric can make the chemotherapy less effective. Always ask your doctor about adding in anything new to your diet, especially when going through any type of treatment.

Added Benefits

There are SO many other health benefits of turmeric, but I’ll highlight just a few. Turmeric can help lower cholesterol, offer cardiovascular protection, balance blood pressure, help balance blood sugar, soothe stomach irritations and offer relief of depression. Turmeric has been found to improve liver function and help remove toxins from the body. The anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric also make it your friend when it comes to offering relief from arthritis. Perhaps one of the best-known benefits of turmeric is as a brain boosting spice. Growing evidence suggests that turmeric offers protection against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Studies of the elderly population in India whose diet regularly includes this spice, show very low levels of neurological diseases. Don’t be intimidated by turmeric if you’ve never tried it. Just because it looks exotic to us westerners, doesn’t mean it’s complicated to use. You can buy it in a jar like any other spice or if you want to feel more “at one” with it, you can find it whole at certain markets, and peel and grate it yourself. I do both, depending on how much time I have. The one warning I’ll pass on is that the bold yellow color can stain light surfaces! Living with an all white kitchen, I know all about this :) There are so many ways to include it in your diet. An easy one is to include it in a smoothie, which I do every morning. You can include it in salad dressing or add it to your brown rice or quinoa. It’s also great on sautéed or steamed veggies. Turmeric goes hand-in-hand with lentils, so if you’re a fan of these this is a great place to use it. Having grown up in Scotland and having lived in Birmingham and Manchester, England, eating curry was the norm and I absolutely love it! When I arrive back in the UK for a visit, it’s one of the first things I crave. Luckily there are many Indian restaurants to choose from and there are so many healthy vegetarian dishes available. During the time between college and starting my first “proper job” I lived in Glasgow with my friend Jane. Our across the landing neighbor was an Indian lady who brought us a plate of food almost every night…whatever she had cooked for her own family. Wow – we were so spoiled and so grateful. How nice is that?! I know some of you may not be as into curry as I am, so here are some other ways to cook with turmeric.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Smoked Paprika and Turmeric

A simple, seasonal recipe from Katie at Healthy Seasonal Recipes www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com. http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/roasted-butternut-squash-smoked-paprika-turmeric/ smoky-roasted-butternut-squash-024-682x1024

Cauliflower Steaks with Ginger, Turmeric and Cumin

A fun variation on cauliflower from Emily at The Kitchn www.thekitchn.com. http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-cauliflower-steaks-recipes-from-the-kitchn-195541 2015-03-09-Cauliflower-Steak-1

Red Curry Lentils

OK, I had to include a yummy curried dish :) This one is from Lindsay at Pinch of Yum www.pinchofyum.com. http://pinchofyum.com/red-curry-lentils lentils3 Are you also a curry lover? If you have a favorite place to eat curry or have enjoyed a curry in some exotic place, please share below. We'd love to hear! email_signoff1

Apples: It’s True What They Say…

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Apples

It’s true what they say… an apple a day keeps the doctor away! This old phrase still has merit! Apples are a delicious, thirst-quenching, health promoting sweet treat that are easy to eat “on the go”, no wonder they’re one of the most popular fruits around.
The nutrients are found in both the skin and the flesh of the apple. The real magic of an apples antioxidant powers, come from its phytochemicals and flavonoids.
Quercetin and epicatechin are flavonoids, which contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Quercetin has been shown to promote apoptosis (programmed cell death) in breast cancer cells. Anthocyanins are another important flavonoid found in the skin of red apples giving them their rich color and triterpene is found in the apple peel. Triterpene has proven anti-tumor action has been shown to slow breast cancer cell growth. The role of apples in the prevention of several different cancers has been studied for some time with the highest benefit being seen in breast cancer and colon cancer but the most significant discoveries has been its effect on lung cancer. Apples show a capacity to reduce lung cancer and slow its spread if it does develop. The exact reason for this is still not clear, but what a fabulous thing it is!

Added Benefits

Apples are a wealth of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6 and riboflavin, as well as minerals like potassium, manganese and magnesium. They are also a very good source of dietary fiber. The many other health benefits of apples include improved digestion, better eye health, lower cholesterol, balanced blood sugar which helps manage diabetes. They are also helpful in treating anemia, they’re great for your teeth and gums and have been shown to speed up your metabolism and aid with weight loss. A special note here about buying organic versus conventionally grown. Apples are #1 on the 2015 “not so hot” list of the Dirty Dozen.   For those not familiar with this list, please check out the Environmental Working Group. Please try to eat organic apples if possible. Even washing them doesn’t remove all the pesticides. Sadly, they’re not #1 on the list for no reason :( Also when buying apples, be sure to pick the nice firm ones. If they already have wrinkly skin they have already lost most of their health benefits and nutritional value.

Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad

The perfect autumn salad from Tiffany at Crème de la Crumb www.lecremedelacrumb.com.

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Apple and Sweet Potato Bake

A perfect cozy dish for the season and starring another of my fav’s – the sweet potato! Apple and Sweet Potato Bake from Kristin at Live Simply www.livesimply.me http://livesimply.me/2013/11/11/apple-sweet-potato-bake/ applebake

Apple Almond Energy Bites

I just had to include this super quick and easy snack from Melissa at My Whole Food Life www.mywholefoodlife.com. http://mywholefoodlife.com/2015/01/02/apple-almond-energy-bites/#oKb35UAyK00G9M0J.32

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What’s your favorite variety of apple and how do you enjoy them? Share below. email_signoff1

Carrots: Beta Believe It

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Carrots

"Eh... What's up, doc?" Bugs Bunny may have encouraged generations of children to eat carrots, and that’s a truly wonderful thing! Carrots are one of the most popular vegetables in the world, and apparently one of the most recognizable to children. Carrots are probably best known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient that was actually named for them: beta-carotene, which is also what gives them their vibrant color. However, these delicious root vegetables offer so much more, including a wide variety of antioxidants and other health promoting nutrients. The most extensive research conducted on the effect of dietary intake of carrots on our health, is in cardiovascular benefits and anti-cancer benefits.
Eating carrots has been associated with reduced risk for several types of cancer including breast cancer. The high amounts of antioxidant carotenoids in carrots can reduce precancerous cell changes that may lead to the development of breast tumors.
Scientists believe that the alpha-carotene and beta-carotene in carrots reduce oxidative stress and free radicals in the body and therefore, reduce your cancer risk.  It is worth including here that carrots have been found to be very beneficial in reducing the risk of lung cancer (among the top 3 cancers in women) probably due to their extremely high vitamin A content, which is vital to lung health. Taking supplements of beta-carotene and vitamin A are not as beneficial as eating the carotenoid rich foods, nor nearly as delicious :) When possible, opt for organic carrots as conventionally grown carrots are among the most contaminated vegetables in terms of pesticides. If organic isn’t available to you, wash them thoroughly or peel them.

Added Benefits

Carrots are also an excellent dietary source of fiber and contain some vitamin C and B vitamins, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese. As well as their antioxidant properties they have antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects. Their many other health benefits include reduced cholesterol, prevention from heart attacks, improved vision and reduced signs of premature aging. They can also boost your immune system, improve digestion, detoxify the body and improve oral health. Whew! Something I learned recently, is if you buy those pretty carrots with the green leafy tops, you should remove the tops before storing them in the refrigerator, because they will cause the carrots to wilt, as they pull moisture from the roots!

Time to cook!

We’ve all enjoyed a crunchy carrot stick with hummus or dip. Another super easy way to prepare them is to steam them. Simply fill the bottom of the steamer with 2 inches of water and bring to a rapid boil. Slice carrots ¼-inch thick and steam for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. To add a little pizazz, toss the carrots with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and your favorite herbs.

Carrot Apple Ginger Soup

I LOVE this soup recipe from Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows www.ohsheglows.com! In fact, I LOVE just about everything Angela Liddon makes. Her book “Oh She Glows” is one of my absolute fav’s and is one of my go-to gift giving books! http://ohsheglows.com/2011/05/03/carrot-apple-ginger-soup/ IMG_5301

Garlic Roasted Carrots

Colorful and delicious! This recipe for Garlic Roasted Carrots from Chungah at Damn Delicious www.damndelicious.net is simple, quick and easy. http://damndelicious.net/2015/01/17/garlic-roasted-carrots/ IMG_7146edit

Baked Carrot Fries

I just had to include a little healthy fun with this wee treat fromHannah Healy at Healy Eats Real www.healyeatsreal.com! The better fry... give them a try! http://healyeatsreal.com/baked-carrot-fries-paleo-vegan/ IMG_3094-1 Did you grow up watching Bugs Bunny! Did he make you a carrot fan? Share below. email_signoff1

Brown Rice: Wholey Grains!

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Brown Rice & Whole Grains

Why brown is better than white... It’s not just about the color - the fact is brown rice IS better than white rice. Brown rice is unrefined, unpolished and only has the surrounding hull of the rice kernel removed which means it retains its nutrient-dense bran and germ layer. White rice on the other hand is milled and polished and stripped of all its healthy nutritional value :( Brown rice is brimming with goodness and flavor unlike its shiny white competitor.
Brown rice is abundant in powerful antioxidants and fiber that protect against those pesky free radicals. It is also helpful in the prevention of various types of cancer, including breast cancer. The potent antioxidants in brown rice have the ability to bind to harmful cancer-causing toxins in the body.
It is worth highlighting here this a particular benefit in colon cancer prevention (one of the top 3 cancers that affect women). This prevents the toxins from attaching to the lining of the colon and helps the body to eliminate these offenders. A study done in the UK (35,792 women) found that a diet rich in fiber from whole grains, such as brown rice offered significant protection against breast cancer for pre-menopausal women. Young women – eat up! There are several other great sources of whole grains. I’m including a wee list of a few of them below and have noted if they are Gluten-Free (GF).
  • Amaranth (GF): Amaranth has a high level of very complete protein.
  • Barley: Hulled barley is the true whole grain. However, pearled barley, still retains most of its whole-grain nutrients and fiber.
  • Buckwheat (GF): Despite its name, Buckwheat is actually wheat free.
  • Millet (GF): Very nutritious and easy to digest.
  • Oats: Easily digested, oats provide B vitamins. Oatmeal and oat bran are excellent for lowering cholesterol.
Oats are inherently gluten-free, but are frequently contaminated with wheat during growing or processing. Several companies currently offer pure, uncontaminated oats.e.g. Bob’s Red Mill, Cream Hill Estates and GF Harvest
  • Quinoa (GF): (keen-wah) A high quality protein.
  • Rice (GF): Choose brown rice or black, purple, red or wild rice for healthful benefits.
  • Wheat: Whole-wheat bread and pasta are widely available.
When choosing whole-grain products, make sure the word “whole” is on the label. Multi-grain, seven-grain and bran breads are not necessarily whole-grain products. If the ingredient list on a wheat bread lists only “wheat” and not “whole wheat,” it’s not a whole-grain product.

Added Benefits

Brown rice is an excellent source of manganese, and a good source of selenium, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, and niacin (vitamin B3). The fiber rich content in brown rich has been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels and help keep blood sugar levels under control. Its also been shown to help control your weight, boost the immune system and is rich in anti-depressant qualities. Since brown rice still contains its oil-rich germ, it is more susceptible to becoming rancid than white rice, therefore be sure to check the expiration date and once opened, store it in an airtight container. To extend its shelf life, you can always store it in the refrigerator. Like all grains, before cooking rice, especially that which is sold in bulk, rinse it thoroughly under running water and then remove any dirt or debris that you may find. After rinsing brown rice, add one part rice to two parts boiling water or broth. After the liquid has returned to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Lentil Brown Rice Soup

It’s soup season and this soup includes so many of the healthy ingredients I love! This Lentil Brown Rice Soup is from Christine at First Home Love Life www.firsthomelovelife.com http://www.firsthomelovelife.com/2014/01/lentil-brown-rice-soup.html LENTILSOUP1-680x1024

Brown Rice Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

This colorful salad fromfrom Vianney at Sweet Life www.sweetlifebake.com would also make a fabulous side to any meal! http://sweetlifebake.com/2014/03/12/brown-rice-salad-cilantro-lime-dressing/#axzz3pX3mg6fV salad-brown-rice-recipe-VianneyRodriguez-sweetlifebake Do you have a favorite go-to whole grain? We’d love to know what you use and how you prepare it. Share below. email_signoff1

Mango: Mango Tango

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Mangoes

Just the word mango conjures up images of a tropical paradise! According to the National Mango Board (Yes, there is such a thing) studies found that people who ate mango regularly had healthier diets than those who didn’t.
Mangoes are not only delicious but they’re a nutritional powerhouse, containing over 20 vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Mango is popular for its luscious taste and texture, but now you can feel good about eating it more regularly and not just as a treat!
Mangoes contain numerous compounds with suspected or demonstrated cancer-fighting properties, including beta-carotene, quercetin, catechins (remember them) and more! These powerful antioxidants have the ability to neutralize free radicals throughout the body preventing them from causing cell damage, and therefore reducing your risk for cancer. The polyphenols in mango have been shown to have an impact on several different cancers, but are most effective on breast cancer and colon cancer. Research is ongoing studying the ability of bioactive components in mangoes to reduce cancer-promoting cells, specifically in breast cancer. Scientists have determined that despite the fact that each variety of mango contains slightly different concentrations of antioxidants, they are all good sources of beta-carotene and polyphenols, so you can feel good about eating whatever variety is available to you. SPECIAL NOTE: Mangoes should be avoided during radiation treatment, as they have been shown to protect the cells against cell death caused by radiation damage, increasing the possibility that you will lesson the impact of radiation on breast cancer cells.

Added Benefits

Mangoes are a good dietary source of vitamins A and C and contain some B vitamins, as well as calcium magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Researchers found that adults who ate mango had lower body weight, higher intake of fiber and lower intake of fat, all of which are associated with better cardiovascular health. Mangoes contain certain enzymes, which promote efficient digestion, can help with indigestion and have stomach-soothing properties. The high amounts of vitamins A and C helps build and maintain collagen, which is particularly fabulous for your skin and hair! Yay!!

Mango Quinoa Salad

Mango is delicious on its own, or popped in a smoothie, but if you’d like to create your own tropical paradise right at home try this quinoa salad from Olivia at Primavera Kitchen www.primaverakitchen.com http://www.primaverakitchen.com/mango-quinoa-salad-recipe/ Mango-Quinoa-Salad

5-Ingredient Mango Salsa

This simple salsa from Ali at Gimme Some Oven www.gimmesomeoven.com can be eaten with chips or makes a delicious topping for fish or fish tacos! Ali also includes directions on how to select, peel and dice a mango, for anyone who’s new to this luscious fruit! From Ali at Gimme Some Oven www.gimmesomeoven.com http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/5-ingredient-mango-salsa-recipe/ Mango-Salsa-11 Do you have a memory of enjoying mango in an exotic location? Share below so we can all live vicariously through you. email_signoff1

Green Tea: Catcha-What?

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Green Tea

What could be simpler than making a cup of tea? Having grown up in Scotland, making tea was an ongoing event. Everyone is always “putting the kettle on” and I love that! I’ve always been a big fan, but I no longer take my tea the way I used to (with a hefty splash of milk). Now that I’ve discovered the virtues of Green Tea, I’ll never go back! Green tea has been well studied for its cancer-fighting and cancer prevention properties. All edible plants have some antioxidant activity, but green tea is a superstar in this arena.
Green tea is rich in these naturally occurring plant compounds (polyphenols) and within the group of polyphenols are flavonoids, which contain catechins. The most well studied and seemingly powerful of these catechins is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to have a positive effect on many different diseases and health issues, including several types of cancer.
Laboratory studies have shown that EGCG slows the growth of breast cancer cells and can also be extremely effective at protecting cells against DNA damage caused by free radicals. EGCG can also discourage the growth of the blood vessels that feed the tumors. Pour me another!

Added Benefits

Green tea helps fight inflammation in the body and has been shown to have neuroprotective, antioxidant, and antihypertensive properties and may reduce the risk of stroke. Green tea may also improve glucose metabolism and has been shown to support weight loss. I’m always looking for ways to help protect my bones and green tea consumption has been found to be associated with increased bone mineral density. I’ll take it! When I’m at home I like to use loose-leaf green tea. I’m hooked on the Jasmine Green Tea from Rishi, thanks to Mandy Reckers, my amazing naturopathic doctor for turning me on to it! I have a glass mug with its own built in infuser and lid that makes the job easy peasy! Plus the tea looks so pretty through the glass. This happens to be the one I use, but there are others out there. Another thing I love is the “ceremony” around tea. It’s like a special little break in your day…a time to pause and catch your breath! In case you’ve never been into making hot tea, and as simple as it sounds, just don’t quite know where to start, I’m including a link to a short and sweet video that shows you how. A great point that is mentioned in the video is that you can reuse the tea from your infuser and have another cup, and another….

Preparing Green Hot Tea

Preparing Green Hot Tea from Maya Tea Co. on Vimeo.

Whipped Coconut Green Tea Moisturizer

Now for something completely different! Stephanie Gerber from Hello Natural www.hellonatural.co explains some of the beauty benefits of green tea in her wonderful Whipped Coconut Green Tea Moisturizer. http://hellonatural.co/whipped-green-tea-coconut-oil-moisturizer/ 402f4e3a5c254a0c6831a8b5f8fd9954 Do you drink green tea? Do you have a special way you prepare it or a favorite time of day you enjoy it? Share below. email_signoff1