Au Naturel

cinnamon

I want to share with you a few of the foods and spices I consume on a regular basis, as I truly believe in their potential and proven health effects. I believe in natural medicine and avoid using over the counter drugs. Below are some of my favourites with information regarding how they may help the human body.

Garlic – Can be used as a natural antibiotic and antibacterial agent. It has also been suggested that it may help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels; but the results are not conclusive. It may be due to the fact garlic is also an antioxidant; this property may prevent cholesterol from building up in the arteries.

When buying garlic, make sure the heads are dry and have plenty of white papers covering it. If there are green shoots growing from the garlic, it is likely old. However if you have some at home with shoots beginning to grow you can still use it – just cut them off and remove it from the middle of the bulb.

Onion – Very similar to garlic, as they are both part of the Allium vegetable family. This family of vegetables are rich in sulfur-containing compounds which give them their distinct odors. They are a packed full of polyphenols (anti-oxidants), including flavonoid polyphenols. This is important to human health as they have been reported to have antiviral, anti-allergic, antiplatelet, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant activities.

When picking out onions, choose ones that are clean and well-shaped with no openings around the neck. Avoid ones with mold, soft spots, moisture around the neck, and dark patches. Onions should be stored in a well-ventilated space and do not need to be refrigerated.

Tumeric – Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a strong antioxidant. It may also help boost brain power though the increase of a type of growth hormone called Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF) which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain. Other claims include: prevention of cancers, lowers risk of heart disease, and possible benefits against depression.

The curcumin levels in turmeric are unfortunately low. It may be a better idea to supplement with a curcumin extract to experience its full effects. Taking it with a fatty meal is also a good idea, since curcumin is fat soluble. Keep using turmeric though!

Cinnamon – It is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree and can be bought ground or in “quill” form. Cinnamon can help control blood sugar levels, reducing the rise of blood sugar after eating. In humans with type II diabetes, consuming as little as 1 gram of cinnamon per day was found to reduce blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol, in a study published in the December 2003 issue of Diabetes Care. It may also improve their ability to respond to insulin, thus normalizing their blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has anti-clotting actions due to the cinnaldehyde found in cinnamon which helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets. It is also considered anti-microbial since it has the ability to stop the growth of bacteria and fungi.

Cinnamon powder has a stronger flavor while the sticks can be stored for longer. Cinnamon should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a dark, cool and dry place. Ground cinnamon will keep for about six months, while cinnamon sticks will stay fresh for about one year stored this way. You can extend their shelf life by storing them in the refrigerator.

ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER BEFORE SUPPLEMENTING WITH ANYTHING NEW. SUPPLEMENTING WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE FOODS MAY HAVE ADVERSE EFFECTS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY TAKING MEDICATION(S).

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Water – Drink Up!

Importance of Water

I came across this awesome picture highlighting the many reasons why water is the most important substance you need to consume on a regular basis. Our bodies need water – no if, ands, or buts about it!

In reality, most people do not drink nearly enough, some even claim to go full days without a sip of water! This blows my mind, no wonder why so many people feel like crap!

As you can see from the above depiction, adequate water consumption is vital for basically every bodily function. Blood, organs, joints, skin, bones, and muscles all need water in order to function efficiently.

Aim to consume at least 8 glasses of water every day. Drink a big cold glass upon waking, as well as before and after meals. If you are one of those people who claim to not like water, I recommend that you get over it and drink it anyways. If you find that difficult, adding some fruits to your water jug may help – stawberries, oranges, cucumbers, and lemons all taste great.

Yes, you will pee more often, but thats a good thing! Your pee should be as clear as possible, never dark yellow. Water soluble vitamins (B&C) will cause your pee to be bright yellow, so if you take a multivitamin and drink plenty of water, that is likely the cause.

If you are having a hard time reading the facts in the picture above, heres what is has to say:

  1. Dehydration causes enzymatic activity to slow down, resulting in tiredness and fatigue
  2. Blood is normally 92% water when the body is fully hydrated.  When dehydrated, the blood becomes thicker causing resistance to blood flow resulting in elevated blood pressure.
  3. When dehydrated the body will restrict airways as a means to conserve water.
  4. Dehydration impairs the elimination of toxins through the skin and makes it more vulnerable to all types of skin disorders.
  5. When dehydrated, the body produces more cholesterol to prevent water loss from cells.
  6. A shortage of water can result in digestive disorders, including ulcers and acid reflux.
  7. When dehydrated, the body accumulates toxins and acid waste. This creates an environment where bacteria can thrive resulting in the bladder and kidney to be more prone to infection, inflammation, and pain.
  8. Without adequate water, waste moves through the large intestine much more slowly, or sometimes not at all, resulting in constipation.
  9. People tend to confuse dehydration with hunger, causing them to eat more when the body really just needs water.
  10. When chronically dehydrated, the bodies organs, especially the skin, begins to wrinkle and wither prematurely.

Drink Up!