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Fitness/ Diet

Fast Facts on How These Top 6 Spices Can Strengthen Your Health

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We mostly focus on fruits and vegetables to gain proper nutrition, but how about placing our focus on herbs and spices? Instead of looking for food options which are less in calories or for “organic food”, it could be a useful game changer if there is an addition of spice onto your dish. Not only does it contribute for additional flavoring, but it can also boost your health at the same time!

Here are some delicious herbs and spices that have powerful health benefits, supported by research:

Turmeric

Turmeric, also known as Curcuma longa, is a yellow-colored spice that is founded in most Asian foods such as curry. It contains a chemical called curcumin that has anti-inflammatory responses and can ease pain. This spice is a member of the ginger family and is a major ingredient for curry.

 

Positive health benefits for turmeric include:

  • Reduces aggravation in arthritis patients
  • Eases headaches and itching
  • Reduces colds and fevers
  • Relieves pain on skin and bruising
  • Anti- Inflammatory properties
  • Digestive healing agent
  • Reduces high cholesterol

Other positive skin benefits include:

  • Clears acne scars
  • Reduces oil secretion
  • Heals cuts and skin irritation
  • Whitens teeth
  • Fights aging and wrinkles

Turmeric currently has no known harmful side effects and is safe to consume by mouth or skin. One tablespoon is about 29 calories and is one of the most nutritionally rich herbs that contain protein, vitamin C, calcium, iron, sodium, and other nutrients. It is rich in antioxidants and accelerates metabolic rate.

It is highly versatile and there are several ways to eat and drink turmeric, such as tea, smoothies, or eggs. You can just add it for a touch of flavor and also for good health! There are special precautions for taking turmeric during pregnancy; in those specific cases, it is best to consult a doctor beforehand.

Cardamom

Cardamom, also known as Elettaria cardamomum, is both a herb and a spice used in foods and medicine. It is originally from India and  is ranked third from being one of the most expensive spices. This is found as a small pod with black seeds inside and can be used in desserts, beverages, and spicy dishes.

 

Positive health benefits for cardamom include:

  • Relief of cardiovascular tissue
  • Protects gastrointestinal tract
  • Controls cholesterol levels
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Alleviates throat problems
  • Helps with teeth and gum infections
  • Reduces high blood pressure
  • Helps with congestion

Cardamom is rich in vitamins, thiamine, copper, iron, zinc, and other micronutrients. It protects heart health and is believed to possess anti-depressant properties. It could help to get rid of hiccups and is used also as a breath freshener!

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has existed for thousands of years and is a highly delicious spice with lots of medicinal properties. It is made by cutting the stems off cinnamon trees and is then grounded into a powdery form. It is loaded with antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties too.

Positive health benefits for cardamom include:

  • Lowers risk of heart disease
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Improves sensitivity to the hormone insulin
  • Has an anti-diabetic effect
  • Inhibits the loss of neuronal cells
  • Fights against bacterial and fungal infections
  • Fights against HIV virus

An effective dose is usually 0.5-2 teaspoons per day. It is a very popular spice found in all sorts of recipes and baked goods. Cinnamon has a proven effect to help in lowering the blood sugar levels by 10-29% in diabetic patients, but make sure it is not taken in excess! Although it is healthy, there are possible side effects from consuming too much cinnamon and could be toxic.

Ginger

Ginger is a flowering plant from China and is one of the healthiest spices loaded withnutrients and other bioactive compounds. It has an extensive history of aiding with digestion and reducing nausea, along with other medicinal properties.

Positive health benefits for ginger include:

  • Prevents nausea and moving sickness
  • Reduces muscle pain and soreness
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Treats chronic indigestion
  • Reduces menstrual pain
  • Lowers cholesterol level
  • Contains anti-cancer properties
  • Protects against Alzheimer’s disease
  • Fights against infections and growth of bacteria

It could be consumed in a dried, powdered, oil, processed foods and cosmetic form. In 100 grams of ginger, there are 79 calories and contains lots of iron, sodium potassium, and vitamin C. There are no known side effects from consuming too much ginger, but is recommended not to take more than 4 grams a day. It is possible to obtain acid reflux or diarrhea due to high intake, and people who are pregnant should refrain from excessive consumption as well.

Cumin

Cumin, also known as Cuminum cyminum, is a flowering plant where the seeds are used as a condiment or spice in Indian and Asian countries. It has a highly strong aroma, so only a small amount of its essential oils are needed to keep you healthy.

Positive health benefits for cumin include:

  • Regulates digestion
  • Improves blood flow for a healthy menstrual cycle
  • Boosts immunity
  • Treats asthma and bronchitis
  • Protects skin against fungal infection
  • Treats insomnia
  • Lowers cholesterol

It provides an excellent source of iron, manganese, vitamin B1, calcium, and phosphorous. One teaspoon would suffice for your daily nutrient requirements and has shown to be useful for weight maintenance. It’s mostly used in curries, stews, and soups, and even used as a scent!

Excess intake of cumin could have severe side effects such as blood clotting and heartburns. Nausea, stomach pain, and dizziness are also other possible side effects. Though cumin has powerful health improvements, just a teaspoon a day will suffice!

Rosemary

Rosemary is an herb from the Mediterranean that is used for culinary and cosmetic purposes. This is a perennial plant that can live for 2 years and is mostly used to aid in digestion and prevents brain aging. It is packed with iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6 and is typically used as a powder or dried leaves.

Positive health benefits for rosemary include:

  • Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds
  • Improves digestion
  • Protects against brain damage
  • Prevents brain aging
  • Protects macular degeneration

Rosemary should be taken in low doses because higher intake may have some serious side effects. It is generally not advised for pregnant women and can affect the activity if taken with other medications.  

The bottom line is that whichever herbs or spices you decide to use, they all come with excellent health benefits. Most of them are found to have anti-inflammatory responses while packed with antioxidants and nutrients but should be taken at a reasonable amount. They are completely versatile and could be used in most forms such as beverages, flavoring, and cosmetics!


Image Source:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Curcuma_longa_roots.jpg
  2. https://www.maxpixel.net/Capsule-Spoon-Wood-Cardamom-Shell-Spice-White-2251874
  3. https://pixnio.com/food-and-drink/cinnamon-bark-spice-brown-natural-food-texture-dry
  4. https://pixabay.com/en/ginger-vegetables-food-1960613/
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cumin-spice.jpg
  6. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rosemary_white_bg.jpg

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Asad

    September 8, 2018 at 4:01 am

    Good article

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Fitness/ Diet

How to Get Your Kids to Exercise More

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In this day and age, we see more and more kids sitting on their computers playing video games or watching television shows. The increase in electronic devices has permeated to children’s lives, so much so that fewer kids are playing outside. Therefore, they are getting less excersize and increase their risk of preventable diseases. By motivating your kids to do regular exercise, you can help them in maintaining a healthy weight and assist them in avoiding diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. The role of parents is very important in encouraging kids to exercise more, as kids pay attention to their daily routines and mannerisms. Here are some tips to keep in mind!

Walk with your kids to school, roller skate to the park, or bike to go to their friend’s place. You can also park your car at the parking area and use stairs rather than elevator. This will help boost the child’s energy and will foster a positive feeling toward excercize.

Try to include everyone in different activities. You can be the coach of your child’s soccer team and motivate your children to play. Or you could plan an outdoor adventure involving the whole family and include activities such as running or swimming. You can also take a flying disk or a ball whenever you go out to beach or park with family.

Children usually like to have a lot of fun, so through any exercise, engage in a fun activity. You can do this by playing music and starting a dance party. Or plan trips to parks and pack in lots of walking. Also make sure that the activity is social and engaging by including your childrens’ friends.

Having a friendly competition will help make kids feel excited and integrated in the physical activity. Moreover, to encourage participation, you can award a prize to the winner that has to do with physical activity. For example, you can gift them a basketball, tennis racket, or roller blades to prioritize the importance of physical activity.

Provide your kids extra active options, such as an after-school program, local recreation center, or giving them lessons for a sport they like. Instead of engaging them in television, give your kids other activities that promote physical activity.

Source:

The information used in this article is from https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/tips-to-get-kids-to-exercise.h17-1589046.html

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Fitness/ Diet

What is Water Fasting all About?

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People are generally familiar with the concept of fasting, but did you know that something such water fasting exists? Water fasting is the act of only drinking water and eating no food at all. Though there is not a set time established for the duration of water fasting, medical advice says that a person can go without food from 24 hours to maximum 3 days. People have waterfasted for spiritual or religious reasons, but in recent times, waterfasting has surged in popularity in natural health and wellness movements. While water fasting can be critiqued in terms of its safety and long term health, it has various benefits as demonstrated below.

Benefits

People with risk factors for certain diseases can benefit from short-term fasting. Some of these risk factors include:

●     Being overweight

●     Heart disease

●     Diabetes

●     High cholesterol

●    High blood pressure

The way in which water fasting works is that once the body is depleted from carbohydrates due to lack of food consumption, it will then use fats as the source of energy. This results in weight loss overtime.

Safety

As everything has positive and negative aspects, so is the case with water fasting. Along with possible health benefits, there are some risks if the water fast is carried out for more days, or by a person whose age or health make their body vulnerable to damage. If a person is facing health problems or is planning to do the water fast for more than a day, then he or she must take the advice of a professional doctor and do the fast under medical supervision.

Who should not fast?

Again, not everyone can do water fasting. People who ought not to do fasting, or who must take the doctor’s advice before water fasting include those under age 18, older adults, and those who:

●     Are on some medication for any disease

●     Are underweight

●     Have some eating disorder

●     Are breastfeeding or pregnant

●     Are going to have a blood transfusion

●     Have type 1 diabetes

●     Have some heart issues

●    Have uncontrolled migraines

Tips

If a person has never water fasting before, then he must start with 1-day fast as a try and ensure there are no harmful effects. If one wants to fast for more than 3 days, then obtaining a medical consultation is absolutely neccessary.

Fasting can be draining both physically and mentally, so everyone who is planning to fast should prepare themselves carefully by:

●     Considering to start the fast slowly, such as by minimizing the number of meals

●     Avoiding heavy exercise.

●     Avoiding fasting if very tired or unwell

●     Selecting that time in which you can easily take rest

●    Eating a good quantity of food which is rich in energy

During the water fast, it is necessary to drink more quantity of water and to keep drinking all through the day.  When the water fast ends, a person ought not to eat too much right after it, but should instead eat slowly and gradually to avoid feeling sick or experiencing a stomach ache.

Conclusion

Overall, water fasting comes with its benefits and detriments. While it is effective in helping a person lose body weight and burn fat, the commitments that are attached to this fast are extremely large. If for any reason, you experience any negative health effects or have uncertainties, consult a physician immediately.

Source:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319835.php

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Fitness/ Diet

Kombucha: The Drink that Will Revolutionize your Health

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You might have seen your friends carry a mysterious, colorful drink enclosed in a glass case with a white hue on the surface of the bottle. This drink is known as Kombucha, and it is currently gaining prominence amongst millennials for its various health benefits. Kombucha is a fermented-mushroom tea drink that contains bacteria, yeast, and sugar. Here are a few benefits of drinking Kombucha.

  1. Improves Digestion: The white component of the drink forms during the fermentation process when bacteria and yeast combine together to form a “mushroom like film,” which is extremely rich in probiotic bacteria that can aid in digestion, inflammation, and weight loss.
  2. Increases Antioxidant Levels: Kombucha is known to have quite a few antioxidants that help the liver. On studies with rats, those who drank Kombucha reduced the toxicity of their liver by at least 70%.
  3. Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease: Research demonstrates that drinking Kombucha can influence cholesterol levels, specifically LDL and HDL. Low density lipoprotein cholesterols (LDL) is typically known as the “bad cholesterol” because cholesterol is taken into the arteries, leading to plaque building up in the artery walls. On the other hand, HDL is known as the “good cholesterol” because higher levels of it are known to reduce risk of heart diseases. Kombucha is known to increase HDL levels by promoting its absorption through the body.
  4. Promotes Cancer Prevention: Kombucha is known to “strengthen our natural defences” that help prevent cancer. Specifically, the lauric acid found in the drink and the Lactobacillus microbes help reduce cancer risks by stimulating natural cancer killing cells.
  5. Improves Mental Health: The vitamin B component of Kombucha helps balance mood and enhances concentration. It also inhibits the release of the stress hormone cortisol. In addition, drinking Kombucha can alleviate the leaky gut which is often thought to be a symptom of depression. The leaky gut means that there is decreased permeability in gut regions, and this problem can manifest itself through inflammation, and ultimately depression.

Thankfully, you don’t always have to go to the store to get Kombucha; you can make it at home!  Watch this video by HGTV that shows you how to make different flavors of Kombucha at home. Give us your take on Kombucha in the comments below!

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