Help to prevent colds and flu this winter with this 5-flavoured Herbal Tea.
|World of Wellness||
Autumn Wellness Tea
Help to prevent colds and flu this winter with this 5-flavoured Herbal Tea.
What you need to know about leg ulcers and some natural ways to treat them.
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Foods that may help to lower Blood Pressure - Lauren Venosta
Blood pressure is a term most people are familiar with, but what exactly is it? Blood pressure is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the pressure of the blood circulating through your vessels. Simple, right? But blood pressure is extremely important to your overall heart health.
According to the American Heart Association, your blood pressure is measured in two ways:
What Is a Normal Blood Pressure Reading?
Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. These numbers can read lower than 120/80 mm Hg, which is called hypotension (low blood pressure). Hypotension is diagnosed when your blood pressure is lower than 90/60 mm Hg. When blood pressure numbers are elevated over 120/80 mm Hg, that’s known as hypertension (high blood pressure).
High blood pressure is common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every three American adults suffers from hypertension. Unfortunately, there are rarely any signs or symptoms that you have it. This is why hypertension is often known as “the silent killer.” Many people go for years without realizing their blood pressure is high.
How Do You Know If You Have High Blood Pressure?
Get your blood pressure checked by a medical professional. A doctor or other medical professional will diagnose you with hypertension if your reading is more than 120/80 mm Hg. It’s typical for a doctor to prescribe blood pressure medications to help lower it. Chronic hypertension, when left untreated, can be a large risk factor for more serious issues like heart attack and stroke. It is important to know how to lower blood pressure.
The CDC recommends the following to maintain a healthy blood pressure:
1. Leafy GreensKale, spinach, beet greens, mustard greens, bok choy, collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard—the list of leafy greens is lengthy. Leafy greens and vegetables should be included in everyone’s diet, but specifically those trying to lower blood pressure. Leafy greens like the ones listed above contain potassium, which research shows is an important regulator of blood pressure. Potassium and sodium must maintain a proper balance in your body—too much sodium, with too little potassium, leads to elevated blood pressure. The research shows that a diet low in potassium created elevated blood pressure in patients.
It’s crucial to consume adequate levels of potassium every day. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that adolescents and adults consume 4,700 mg of potassium each day. Leafy greens all provide some potassium so they can contribute to your daily intake. For example, 1 cup of cooked spinach contains 839 mg of potassium. Adding lots of leafy greens to your daily diet is a healthy way to lower blood pressure and fight hypertension.
How to enjoy: You can put greens in your smoothies, salads, and wraps!
2. BananasBananas are also a great source of potassium, providing 487 mg of potassium in just one large banana. In fact, researchers in one study took hypertensive patients and gave them two bananas a day for 20 days. The results of this study showed that eating bananas led to significant reduction of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
How to enjoy: Eating bananas in their pure and natural state is amazing, but you can also add them to your smoothies for a creamy texture, bake them into bread, or eat them sliced with almond butter.
3. GingerAnother food that naturally lowers blood pressure is ginger! This spicy and peppery root is more than just a flavorful addition to food. Research shows that ginger expands the blood vessels, which has a beneficial domino effect on blood pressure. The vasodilation (expansion of blood vessels) that happens with blood vessels increases circulation throughout the body and reduces blood pressure levels. And going back to the potassium conversation, raw ginger contains potassium, too (415 mg per 100 g). Ginger not only aids in circulation but its potassium can help reduce blood pressure.
How to enjoy: Fresh ginger root is delicious grated into stir-fries or warm water for tea! Ground ginger is useful in your favorite baked goods or when used to liven up a sauce. Ginger also comes in capsule form if you aren’t a fan of the flavor. Ginger tea is available in convenient bags for a warm, spicy beverage to naturally lower blood pressure.
4. GarlicGarlic has a reputation for keeping vampires away, but what about its effect on blood pressure? Part of the onion family, garlic is used as a pungent flavor in cooking and also therapeutically for the immune system. But when it comes to lowering blood pressure, garlic is a champion there, too! Research shows that garlic lowers blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide synthase in your cells. This is important because research shows that nitric oxide plays a large role in lowering and regulating blood pressure. One study points out that there is a direct correlation between impaired nitric oxide bioactivity and hypertension. Thus, increasing nitric oxide synthase with garlic consumption is a natural way to reduce blood pressure. Luckily, garlic is a flavorful ingredient and is easy to incorporate into your meals.
How to enjoy: Mince a clove or two of garlic in your cooking, use garlic powder as seasoning, or add garlic to your favorite sauces and dressings. If you can’t stand the taste, garlic capsules are also an option.
If you haven’t pulled out your grocery list yet to start making additions, now is the time. There are still five foods to lower blood pressure on this list!
5. FlaxseedFlaxseeds, also called linseeds, are tiny seeds but big powerhouses when it comes to lowering blood pressure. One study found that “flaxseeds induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects achieved by a dietary intervention.” That’s a bold statement! How is this so? Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and lignans (a chemical that acts like an antioxidant) that have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system—including blood pressure levels. The same study reported a decrease in both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure in patients with hypertension who consumed milled flaxseeds. Based on this study, it’s safe to say flaxseeds are extremely helpful in lowering blood pressure!
How to enjoy: Add flaxseeds to smoothies, sprinkle on salads, or use ground flaxseed in baked goods or mixed into oatmeal.
6. Beetroot JuiceThese colorful beauties are another food that’s beneficial for lowering blood pressure. Beets and beetroot juice contain something known as dietary nitrate. In one study, researchers found that healthy volunteers who consumed dietary nitrate in the form of a single serving of 500 ml in the form of beetroot juice experienced a significant reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels (note: long-term results have yet to be studied). Another study concluded that beetroot juice will lower blood pressure when it’s consumed regularly as part of a heart-healthy diet.
How to enjoy: Drink up! Evidence is clear that drinking beetroot juice is the proven way to lower blood pressure levels.
7. Pomegranate JuicePomegranates, specifically pomegranate juice, is known for its tart yet sweet flavor. But this delicious juice isn’t just a benefit to your taste buds. Pomegranate juice has been shown to provide a significant reduction in blood pressure. Both systolic and diastolic pressures were reduced in healthy, middle-aged men and women after adding 330 ml of pomegranate juice to their daily diets for four weeks. Talk about a tasty way to help lower blood pressure!
How to enjoy: Pomegranate juice can be enjoyed on its own or added to smoothies. Make sure you check the labels on your juice—you want 100 percent pure pomegranate juice.
8. Celery/Celery SeedCelery is a fibrous green stalk that you may have enjoyed in the form of “ants on a log” (typically cream cheese or peanut butter spread on a celery stalk and topped with raisins) as a child. But celery is also beneficial for lowering blood pressure. Water-rich in nature, celery provides hydration to the body. Dehydration is a trigger for hypertension. In fact, when cells lack water, the brain releases a hormone known as vasopressin that signals the body to constrict blood vessels. As discussed earlier, constricted blood vessels equals increased blood pressure. Therefore, the more hydrated you are, the less constricted your blood vessels will be.
Since celery is water-rich and naturally hydrating to the body, it can naturally reduce blood pressure. One pilot study found that celery seed extract decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressures in patients with mild to moderate hypertension after six weeks. Celery seed extract contains 3-n-butyl phthalide (3nB), which is the key to helping lower blood pressure in the study. Both the seed and the mature plant are beneficial in lowering blood pressure.
How to enjoy: Celery seed can be consumed as a tea, in soups and broths, or sprinkled on your favorite foods. Celery stalks can be enjoyed as a snack, chopped up in salads, blended in a smoothie, or juiced.
9. PistachiosPistachios are a filling snack, but also a heart-healthy one. Pistachios are a member of the cashew family and have a rich and creamy taste. One study found that eating pistachios daily lowered systolic blood pressure in adults with abnormal blood lipid levels. A review of clinical trials also concluded that nut consumption (specifically pistachios) lowered systolic blood pressure levels. Whether you like them already shelled or enjoy breaking apart the shell on your own, pistachios make a great, blood-pressure–lowering snack any day.
How to enjoy: You can eat them as they are, grind them to make pistachio butter, or add them to pesto!
Which foods lower blood pressure? You have nine in your pocket! Incorporating the foods listed above into your diet will help to benefit your blood pressure. Meet your healthcare providers halfway by making food choices that can help lower blood pressure. Food can positively affect your blood pressure, so whether you have normal levels or suffer from hypertension, your dietary choices are important!
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The Importance of a Morning Breathing Practice - Rachelle Williams
Do you consistently wake up in the morning feeling tired or a bit out of sorts? We each have our ways of coping, such as grabbing a cup of coffee or pushing your way through it to prepare for the day.
How you start the morning easily sets the trajectory of the day, and it doesn’t help if it starts off a bit rocky. If you want to feel energized and refreshed in the morning, try something new the next time you wake up and breathe!
The Importance of BreathBreath is your primary life-giving impulse that can often be taken for granted. Since it is part of your autonomic nervous system, it performs its function dutifully during your entire life without your awareness (for the most part). However, it’s possible to bring this function of your body under conscious control through the yogic practice of breathing exercises known as pranayama. These exercises can enhance your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Martial artists, yogis, and Buddhist monks (to name a few) have long known the power of controlling the breath, utilizing many different types of breathing techniques. According to Ayurveda, your mind and breath mirror each other. A quiet mind leads to a quiet breath. A turbulent mind leads to disturbed breath. The same can be said for the effect of the breath on the body as a whole and vice versa. Thus, when you learn to regulate your breath, you can influence both your physical and emotional states.
Research also shows that changing breathing patterns restores balance to your stress response system in the following ways:
Importance of a Morning PracticeEarly morning is a special time of day. The air is still and sweet, and the birds are singing; all of nature is priming for a new day. Your nervous system is built to respond to the qualities of morning in the same way—ready for renewal. Even if you live in the city, you can still feel that there is something pure about this time of day. The more you tune into the energy of morning, the more it can help you set the tone for a better day. Start your morning on the right foot by developing a routine that includes some breathing exercises, or pranayama, to help enliven your spirit.
The Philosophy behind PranayamaPrana is a Sanskrit word referring to the vital life force that animates all living things. It nourishes and supports every cell and tissue in the body and aids in the circulatory processes of the body.
Pranayama, one of the eight limbs of yoga, refers to breathing techniques designed to master your vital life force in order to expand awareness and increase integration between mind and body. Ultimately, the purpose of pranayama is to help ease suffering and achieve self-realization. While self-realization might not be your end game, it’s helpful to know a bit about the philosophy when starting a morning breathing practice. Just knowing that by connecting with your breath you are also connecting to a universal energy can bring a sense of awe and deep respect for the practice.
The Practice of BreathingThere are many different types of pranayama exercises, all with various benefits—some calm, some stimulating, and much more. Depending on how you feel in the morning will determine which exercise to use. Here are a few common ones:
meditation practice, it’s best to perform pranayama first. It begins to focus attention inward and reduces the scattered thoughts of the mind. Upon completion, it’s a comfortable transition into meditation. Here are some other tips to keep in mind:
Morning Breathing ExerciseThis is an easy exercise to get you started. It’s called the Complete Belly Breath.
Staying Cool With Herbs - Jill Davies
We generally love hot weather don’t we…but for some staying cool and ‘heat safe' can be tricky but vital. The obvious might be those carrying some extra pounds but not so obvious is anybody with an existing inflammatory disorder, which by its very nature is ‘hot’. Or those with an infection. Or some who have heart problems or liver and gallbladder conditions which can ultimately be ‘heating’ overall. There are a lot of situations in fact where knowing you’re going to be more vulnerable to excessive heat will help you take extra precautions. For instance, herbs that lower or reduce heat aim to cool and preserve body fluids, and these can be used alongside plenty of fluids and wiser food choices.
It’s also true that in the hot weather we tend to get more het up or irritable even ‘hot-tempered’, so choosing herbs to keep our emotions less volatile will be useful, more calming and gift us more serenity.
With Best Wishes
Co-Director & Herbal Practitioner at Herbs Hands Healing
Advice Line: (+44) 01379 608201 Mon – Fri 9.00-1.00pm except Thursday 11.30-1.00pm
Some Herb Ideas
Ashwagandha (Withania somniferum) slows down the circulation of adrenaline, the stress hormone that can literally tear heart muscle fibres. Scientists also now know that Ashwagandha also reduces plasma cortisol which impairs heart health. It will also help to maintain or improve physical effort as it is in the category of ‘adaptogens’, helping us to adapt to our ‘heat’ environment. A few people (5%) can be ‘allergic’ to it, reacting with opposite reactions to those it is supposed to offer, so should this occur simply stop taking. Another similar-ish adaptogenic herb is Siberian Ginseng root (Eleutherococcus senticosus) it will cool and reduce inflammation and will safely ‘stimulate’ more energy for those drained and slowed by the heat. By its very nature, Siberian ginseng will seek to cool you and help you adapt better both physically and mentally to heat excesses.
Calm the Liver and drain the Fire
The next category of herbs are the ‘bitters’, these work because they ‘cool and clear’. Try our ‘Milk Thistle and Dandelion formula’ or our ‘Lemon and Artichoke blend’; both fit the bill for cooling down, relieving and regulating the liver and gallbladder which if hot and congested will make summer heat hard to bear. Turmeric, with its anti-inflammatory and bitter bio-chemistry, is also a good choice, so try using it whenever you can, fresh and dried.
Food Choices in the Kitchen
Onion- blood thinning and clearing.
Ginger- heat regulatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-cholesterol.
Garlic- Cardiovascular, cholesterol reduction.
Cinnamon (true cinnamon, not cassia)- may lower cholesterol, lowers inflammation, balances blood sugar (worse in hot weather)
Beetroot- High in nitrates (dilates blood vessels) helps blood pressure, stamina, protects artery walls.
Heat will ‘push’ the heart and so hawthorn berries can help regulate this. Hawthorn helps increase blood flow to the heart and is an official ‘drug’ in France, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, China and Russia. Lack of blood flow to the heart muscle itself can be fatal and so the leaves, flowers and berries can counteract this. It will ‘steady’ the heartbeat and make you feel calmer.
Caution- DO NOT combine Hawthorn with heart medications.
Hot or Cold Drinks
Hot drinks in the summer will make us sweat and importantly help us to lose heat when it evaporates, according to a Loughborough University study. But there’s no doubt about it that a long cold drink instantly cools us and if you use the right herbs you can let the herb ‘diaphoretic’ qualities (make us sweat) work while sipping something cooling.
Naturally cooling, fragrant and tasty herbal teas
Herbal teas will be your cooling allies. Try cooling mint (see below for why it cools!), green tea, lemon verbena, lavender and hibiscus. Sage (Salvia officinalis) is also a good choice; drunk hot it induces sweating and drunk cold it eases and reduces sweating so you can choose when and which version you prefer. It’s a favourite with menopausal women whose hot flushes further increase the hot and sweaty burden in heating weather. You can also try Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), which is often called “the master of fever” and is thus used for sweaty colds and flu times. But used for summer heat it regulates fluids in the body, cooling (or heating) as needed by moving blood towards or away from the skin surface. Clever eh? Yarrow can be a great double choice as it helps digestion and is also anti-inflammatory. [Achillea millefolium, such a wonderful Latin name ‘the foliage of a million leaflets!’] It’s a wildflower you may well have on your lawn or be able to pick (away from environmental toxins) in the wild.
Ginger is also a great choice in any drink form or food and you can make your own in a Nutri-bullet or blender. Ginger is ‘thermo-regulatory’, warming us in the cold and cooling us in the heat.
This is a ‘diaphoretic’ which means it allows fluid to move more easily around the body, opening up pores and clearing everything out. It flowered in May and June so if you missed making your own teas and drinks go and buy some dried flowers for teas or some pre-made cordials (sweetened without sugars and sweeteners) and dilute with plenty of water. I talked about this in relation to excess heat in my July newsletter so this is a reminder to seek it out.
Mint Tea, But why is it so Cooling?
It is naturally soothing and will alleviate inflammation and temperature rises. Be it tea or toothpaste we associate mint with tasting cool or cold. This is because the receptors in our mouth respond to menthol, eucalyptol and icilin. They act like a key to unlock a door allowing ‘a perception of cold’. Mint also increases sweating and urine flow and will thus cool down our internal organs. So it’s a good choice for physically cooling us down, but also mentally. [Mint juice will cool down burns if applied topically so could be useful for sunburns (internally it also helps heartburn)].
Summer ice cubes
Whizz up some fresh mint (peppermint is usually the most ‘minty’) with a little spring water and pour into ice-cube trays. Pop into summer drinks for contrast e.g. With Elderflower cordial or fresh lemonade.
Cooling Rose Petal Tea
Rose tea naturally cools the body and goes as far as to reduce fever-related rashes.
Collect these early in the morning (after dew) or after rain as it is best not to wash the petals to preserve their benefits.
2 handfuls of Rose Petals (ideally pinks to rose-red colouring, garden variety or our wild ones).
250mls (or cup full) of Hot Water.
Leave to infuse for 10 minutes then drink.
If you don’t grow roses then buy some organic dried petals online and give yourself a truly summer treat. This tea really cools on hot days and you can also add them to green teas, peppermint tea or even black teas. Do buy organic ‘tea’ quality and not those intended for weddings or potpourri etc..
Roses and the Skin
While we are on roses…….the cold pressed oil from rosehip seeds is rich in compounds that are favourable for the skin, galactolipids, vitamin c, vitamin e, zinc, lycopene.lotein and many more, all helping re-generate the skin especially after excessive sun.
Antioxidants will help to protect the skin
Whether you spend only 10 or 15 minutes in the sun, or longer with or without sunscreen, some UV damage can occur to the skin. One additional way to help protect your skin is to have a good intake of antioxidants in your diet-vitamins, minerals and other natural plant chemicals that, when digested and absorbed, can help to combat free radical damage in the body. Include plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, especially orange, yellow and red ones for the carotenoids: beta-carotene, in particular, has been found to reduce the risk of sunburn and skin redness in some individuals through its antioxidant action. Dr Schulze’s Superfood Plus is a blend of foods rich in antioxidants including beta-carotene and other carotenoids- a ‘great’ extra to boost your levels, as well as a nutritious addition to your daily diet.
Antioxidant herbs and Anti-inflammatory
Herbs can also have potent antioxidant properties and may offer additional protection. Some of the most antioxidant-rich herbs (hawthorn, beetroot, olive etc) are contained in our ‘PumpBeet’ capsules. While the primary emphasis of this formula is on the heart and circulatory health, the wonderful herbs and their properties make it ideal for daily antioxidant protection whether or not heart health is a concern.
Any inflammation, anywhere in the body will make you feel hot. It can occur in the gut or equally in the big toe and the causes will be varied but inflammation really does equal heating up. But heat and your heart can really be affected by the summer. In fact, a new study has proved that inflammation has a huge impact on the heart and that reducing levels of excessive inflammation will be really important. Inflammation of the lining around the heart can either cause no sensations whatsoever of course or could cause chest pains and an accumulation of fluids around the heart. Equally, arteries can become inflamed. As I’ve said already, a good herb and food program is, of course, vital (especially removing sugar) and herbs can and will/also really help enormously and specific ones for the heart will be important like olive leaves, ginkgo leaves, hawthornleaves, flowers and berries and my favourite heart food, beetroot. The nitrates in beetroot help improve blood flow as it expands blood vessels. Its naturally occurring nitrates help to make another vital substance in the body called nitric oxide, again very protective overall for inflammatory levels.
To hydrate and cool ourselves we naturally gravitate towards melons, cucumber etc but equally steer away from heavy foods rich in carbs, sugar and fats. Potassium-rich foods can be important on very hot days and help to avert heatstroke. Other choices can include coconut water, also rich in electrolytes. Also, eat bananas; and include apple cider vinegar in summer salads etc. Try and avoid alcohol as it dehydrates us very quickly but if you have some be sure to remember the glasses of water to go with it.
Finally, if your overheating and storing water, as a result, try our ‘Parsley and Cornsilk tea’ to help reduce the water retention. Equally, do call and ask for a sample of our ‘Lemon and Artichoke Formula’ alongside our ‘Parsley and Cornsilk Tea’, ‘PumpBeet Capsules’ and our ‘Evening Peace Tea’.
Lorna Driver Davies BA (Hons), HD, DHNP, Member of FNTPLorna is a fully qualified Holistic Nutritional Practitioner (nutritional therapy), herbal medicine dispenser and is the Director of Feel Better Nutrition.
Health Benefits of Quinoa - Lauren Venosta
Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is known as an ancient Andean grain, but it’s not a grain—it’s a seed! Quinoa seeds originated and is cultivated in South America along the Andes mountains. It comes from a stress-tolerant plant known as an Amaranthacean and has been cultivated for 4,000–5,000 years. It has become a staple in many modern diets.
Is Quinoa Healthy?
Because quinoa is a seed and not a grain, it has an ideal composition of nutrients. The balance of oils, protein, and fat in quinoa has led it to become what’s known as a functional food. This means that quinoa provides the body with a good source of important vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants to protect the brain and cell membranes, and boost overall nutrition for the body. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what those nutrients are and the roles they play in your health.
Quinoa stands out in the world of food because although it mimics a grain in its uses, it’s much more nutrient-dense. It packs a powerful punch of macro-nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Protein: Unlike most plant-based foods, quinoa is a complete protein. A complete protein means that it contains all the essential and non-essential amino acids. Since amino acids are the building blocks of protein, this makes quinoa a fantastic choice to help those who are following a vegan or vegetarian diet get adequate amounts of protein. Dietary protein is needed to build muscles and tissues in the body, as well as protect the immune system by creating antibodies to fight infection. But unlike animal-based proteins, most plant-based sources of protein are not complete proteins. Quinoa stands out in that sense. In just one cup of cooked quinoa, you get 8.14 g of protein and all the amino acids!
Fibre: Fibre, both soluble and insoluble, is helpful for keeping you fuller longer and regulating the digestive system. Quinoa contains 5.2 g of fibre per cup, so you’re getting a good amount of dietary fibre to help improve your digestive system overall.
Fat: You may not think quinoa can provide healthy fats, but according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), there is 3.55 g of fat per 1 cup of cooked quinoa. This is because quinoa is a seed, so it has the ability to provide unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids like omega-3s are important for the health of cell membranes and for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamins and minerals: Beyond the simplicity of protein, fiber, and fat, quinoa supplies the body with the following vitamins and minerals that all play a role in the proper functioning of the human body. In just 1 cup of quinoa, you get:
Health Benefits of Quinoa: Gluten Free
As a seed, quinoa is naturally gluten free! This makes quinoa ideal for those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease or someone following a gluten-free diet. Quinoa is superior to other gluten-free grains like rice or corn because it provides a higher nutrient profile.
For some people with celiac disease, grains like rice or corn can be irritating to the gut, but studies show that quinoa is more easily tolerated by those with celiac disease and does not trigger any inflammation or digestive distress. It can be a staple in a gluten-free diet. But quinoa doesn’t benefit only those people following a gluten-free diet—it can be enjoyed by anyone!
Health Benefits of Quinoa: Weight Loss
Quinoa has insoluble fibre, which helps keep you fuller longer. It increases satiety, so you experience a feeling of fullness without overeating. Between the fibre content of quinoa and the amount of protein it provides, quinoa has been associated with reducing weight gain. Substituting traditional grains like wheat or rice with quinoa can be one small change that will provide more fibre and protein that can help you reach your weight-loss goals.
One study found that simply consuming 50 g (approximately 1/4 cup) of quinoa per day can lower serum triglyceride levels in an individual who is overweight or obese. Triglycerides are a type of fat that circulates in your blood. The calories that you consume in your diet that aren’t used by the body immediately are stored as triglycerides in your fat cells.
That same study also showed that eating 50 g of quinoa daily reduced the incidence of metabolic syndrome by 70 percent! Metabolic syndrome is described by the Mayo Clinic as a “cluster of conditions—increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels—that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.”
Health Benefits of Quinoa: Heart Health
Any time you can support a healthy heart with food, you should. Heart disease is rampant in the U.S., and quinoa helps reduce risk factors like elevated cholesterol levels and high blood pressure because of the specific nutrients it contains. As mentioned above, quinoa contains healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids like alpha linolenic acid (ALA). One study has found that ALA has a positive effect on cardiovascular disease by helping to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These are important aspects to keeping your heart healthy and taking steps to prevent heart disease.
Quinoa also contains potassium, which is important to consume given that the standard American diet is high in sodium. The body needs a proper balance of sodium and potassium to keep blood pressure levels in check. Researchers have found that potassium greatly reduces blood pressure, which in turn reduces chances of encountering more serious issues like stroke and coronary heart disease.
Health Benefits of Quinoa: Bone Health
Quinoa contains high levels of manganese—1.2 mg per 1 cup of quinoa. What does manganese have to do with bone health? Manganese is an essential nutrient, which means your body needs it to perform necessary functions. For manganese, that means assisting in bone formation. It is important to help build up your bones to prevent osteoporosis.
Manganese isn’t the only superstar for bone health; magnesium is also found in quinoa and is good for the bones. Studies show that magnesium is helpful for increasing bone mineral density. The density of your bones is crucial for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Quinoa provides 118 mg of magnesium per cup, which is 28 percent of the recommended daily intake for women 31–50 years of age and 37 percent of the recommended daily intake for men aged 31-50. Good news, vegans, you can support your bone health without dairy—just eat more quinoa!
Health Benefits of Quinoa: Diabetes-friendlyDiabetics have to be very mindful of their sugar intake, which means grains aren’t always the best choice since they break down into sugars during digestion. Since quinoa is a seed, it’s a healthy and nutritious option for those with diabetes. Quinoa provides an arguably ideal ratio of protein to carbohydrates (1 g of protein per 4.3 g of carbohydrates). A study showed that for adult women, increasing the proportion of protein to carbohydrate aids in feeling more full after meals, which has a positive effect on weight loss. And quinoa’s fiber content of 5.2 g per 1 cup of quinoa slows digestion and absorption of sugars into the bloodstream.
Not only is quinoa a safe option for diabetics, but one study has found that it also can help improve glucose tolerance, meaning the effect that glucose consumption has on overall blood sugar levels.
Types of Quinoa
There are three varieties of quinoa. They all have different textures and are all fairly neutral in taste, meaning they take on the flavor of other ingredients in the dish.
Although quinoa is a seed, it cooks similarly to grains like rice. It’s most commonly cooked in a pot on the stove. When cooking quinoa, you want to use a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to liquid. If you’re using 1/2 cup dry quinoa, you would use 1 cup of liquid.
When it comes to choosing a cooking liquid, remember that quinoa is bland in flavor so using a flavorful liquid to cook it in will make it more flavorful and interesting to your palate. You can use vegetable, chicken, or beef broth. Or use water and add spices to the water as it cooks. If you’re making a quinoa breakfast cereal, you can cook it in almond or coconut milk. The great thing about cooking quinoa is that it takes on any flavor you put with it, so the possibilities are endless!
Quinoa as a Base
Quinoa is useful as a base for cold salads, stir fries, in soups, stews, or even used in meatballs instead of breadcrumbs. It’s also delicious baked in the oven with almond milk, cinnamon, and topped with fresh berries. Because its flavor is neutral, it can be used in both savoury and sweet preparations.
There are lots of products on the market that use quinoa because it is nutrient-dense. Gluten-free pastas are made with quinoa flour, as well as other gluten-free items like cookies, baking mixes, and protein bars. It’s versatile and a more nutritious option than items made from regular white flour or even another gluten-free flour like rice flour.
Because of quinoa’s nutrients, the health benefits it provides, and the versatility it offers in its cooking preparations, it’s clear that quinoa is a front runner in the food world. If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, pick some up the next time you’re grocery shopping, and begin cooking quinoa to reap its myriad of benefits!
10 Anti-Ageing Foods to add to Your Diet - Sue Van Raes
Your outer beauty and radiance are a direct reflection of your inner health. The foods you eat unequivocally influence your personal fountain of youth down to a cellular level. One essential quality to include in your quest to look and feel your best is food high in powerful antioxidants. Anti-aging products can only take you skin deep, you must begin your journey from food within. Here are 10 anti-aging foods to include in your diet.
1. Coconut OilThere are few substances on the planet that stand up to coconut oil. This versatile superfood has beneficial uses that span skin care, hair health, and anti-inflammatory properties—benefitting you inside and out. Coconut oil is antibacterial and antimicrobial, making it a wonderful addition to your menu (and to your bathroom cabinet) to fight signs of aging.
Notably, research shows that eating coconut oil regularly can support and heal your digestion as it positively influences the delicate balance of good and bad flora, making the plethora of antioxidant-rich foods you eat easier to absorb.
How to Enjoy:Coconut oil is tasty when used in cooking and stable to light and low heat. Try using coconut oil when you sauté, stir-fry, or bake in place of other oils.
Put a dollop of coconut oil in your morning smoothie to add a smooth texture and flavor of your smoothie. Amongst all of the anti-aging foods for skin, coconut oil is one of the few that you can use both internally and topically.
Coconut oil has many anti-aging benefits when used topically. Apply coconut oil to your skin for moisture.
2. TurmericYou might know of turmeric as the yellow spice in your curry, but there is so much more to this potent antioxidant rich, anti-aging food. Turmeric is known for having an astounding ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value––a popular scale that measures the antioxidant value of foods.
Turmeric has been used historically in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory healing benefits—a study suggests that turmeric may decrease arthritis symptoms, although further research is needed. In addition, turmeric may promote anti-ulcer activity, supporting the digestive system, and can help fight cancer. These anti-aging benefits keep you feeling young, spry, and full of vitality.
How to Enjoy: Adding turmeric to your diet is easy, inexpensive, and highly effective. Use turmeric powder in your favorite curry recipe, add fresh turmeric to soups and stews, or try a teaspoon of ground turmeric with a teaspoon of raw honey in a cup of warm water for a medicinal turmeric tea.
3. AvocadoNative to South America, avocado is grown in almost every tropical climate around the world. This super-fruit is chock full of healthy fats (mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated), vitamin E, and chlorophyll––facilitating its heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering, blood-sugar stabilizing, and skin-rejuvenating properties. Avocado is high in antioxidants you want to feature in your diet. Avocados are versatile and contain both internal and external anti-aging benefits.
How to Enjoy:Try making a simple avocado toast topped with your favorite goodies. Or add avocado slices to your cooling summer salads, blend with raw cacao powder and raw honey for a delicious dairy-free chocolate mousse, or mix half an avocado with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil for a soothing anti-aging face mask.
4. Raw ChocolateThroughout history, raw chocolate (otherwise known as cacao) has been known as food for the gods. The cacao bean is a revered rainforest food, containing an array of individual constituents and antioxidants that boost health. The bean dates back as far as 15,000 years––making raw chocolate ancient superfood medicine.
Raw chocolate is an incredible food for fueling your body with anti-aging antioxidants that decrease inflammation, offer cardio-protective effects, increase immune function, and prevent age-dependent damage.
How to Enjoy:For best results, buy high quality organic fair-trade chocolate (75 percent or greater cacao content) or sugar-free raw cacao powder.
How to Enjoy:
How to Enjoy:Collard greens are traditionally cooked at a low heat with a healthy fat, which aids in the release and bioavailability of their carotenoids (a health-inducing antioxidant). Sauté collard greens in your favorite stir-fry, add to your slow cooked soups and stews, or try them raw as the wrapping for a Mediterranean wrap filled with hummus and veggies rolled up like a burrito.
7. PomegranatesPomegranate, sometimes referred to as the queen of all fruits, is known for being one of the best foods for anti-aging properties and antioxidant-rich nutrient profile. Pomegranate is rich in the flavonoid, known as anthocyanin (the antioxidant responsible for the dark red color in foods such as raspberries, black berries, red cabbage, and red onion). Studies show that anthocyanin has anti-inflammatory health benefits as well as benefits for blood pressure, cardiovascular health, liver function, and cancer prevention.
Studies show that pomegranates contain a specific molecule that, when transformed by the good microbes in your gut, enables your muscle cells to protect themselves against one of the major causes of aging––the degradation of the cells mitochondria. Therefore, pomegranates help prevent conditions such as muscular degeneration and Parkinson’s disease.
How to Enjoy:Pomegranate is a tasty treat on its own, but you can also add the juicy seeds to a salad, on top of your morning oatmeal, or mix part sparkling water and part pomegranate juice for a refreshing antioxidant-rich beverage.
8. Wild SalmonWild salmon is packed with a few powerhouse anti-aging ingredients you will want in your diet. Full of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and collagen, wild salmon is a potent anti-aging food.
Omega-3-fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and hydrating for your skin leaving your skin looking radiant and supple while also helping to maintain elasticity. Vitamin D helps to protect your skin against sun damage and free radical damage. Collagen, known as one of the most abundant proteins in your body, is a powerhouse addition to your diet for anti-aging. As you age, the production of your natural collagen decreases––often seen through the many visible signs of the aging process such as wrinkles, a weakened digestion, and arthritis. Adding a collagen-rich food, such as wild salmon, is a sure way to stimulate more collagen production. When collagen is ingested, it is easily assimilated into the bloodstream and employed by the skin leading to more elasticity.
How to Enjoy:Enjoy wild salmon grilled or baked over a bed of steamed greens or salad. Try wild salmon smoked for a quick and easy snack or meal. If you are a sushi lover, explore the array of delicious wild salmon sushi rolls on the menu of most sushi bars.
9. BeetsKnown for their health-promoting benefits and astonishing nutrient profile, beets have been revered as a healing and anti-aging food in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Not only are beets full of health promoting antioxidants and trace minerals, they are also loaded with dietary nitrates––naturally occurring inorganic compounds––that convert to nitric oxide in the body. Research shows beetroot (the reddish roots known as beets) directly supports heart health, lowers blood pressure, enhances physical performance, and protects brain cells—keeping you feeling healthy and vital. If you like these earthly sweet roots, consider adding them to your anti-aging diet!
How to Use:Try beets roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and sea salt. Order fresh beet juice at a local juice bar or shred them raw for your tossed green salad.
10. Raw HoneyYou may think of raw honey as just a sweetener for your tea, but raw honey’s healing and anti-aging benefits go far and beyond. Studies show that raw honey is antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer. Raw honey is chock full of anti-aging antioxidants called phenolic compounds, which play an important role in cancer prevention, managing diabetes, and preventing cardiovascular disease. Honey has also been shown to stimulate anti-inflammatory cytokine production––small proteins produced in your cells that govern inflammation and wound healing––making it a powerful anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging food to enjoy. Another study similarly shows how honey is a beneficial source for reducing wrinkles.
How to Enjoy:Raw honey is a wonderful substitute for processed sugar and sweeteners. Use as a sweetener in natural desserts, sauces, smoothies, or beverages. Drizzle on top of yogurt or oatmeal for a naturally sweet taste, or use as a dip for a cheese and fruit plate.
Each of these anti-aging foods is beneficial in preventing many health issues associated with aging. From skin care to cancer prevention, from heart health to brain function, anti-aging foods support you in living longer, stronger, and healthier.
Embracing Responsibility - The Gateway to Freedom by Adam Brady
“A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realisation that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.” - Dennis Waitley, motivational speaker and author.
A key milestone in your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth is the cultivation of personal responsibility. As a child you had very little responsibility. Your parents were responsible for you—they tended to your needs, protected you, provided for you, and made sure you had shelter, food, clothing, and other fundamentals for survival. They also gave you varying degrees of financial, intellectual, and emotional support as you grew into adulthood. At some point, however, you have to take the evolutionary step into becoming responsible for yourself.
What does it mean to be truly responsible? In conventional terms, being responsible means you are able to provide for or take care of yourself. This definition often refers primarily to the material aspects of your life. For example, you can fulfil your needs for survival, a home, a car, a career, etc. Responsibility typically amounts to those things you feel you have direct control over and is sometimes considered a duty or an obligation to behave in a responsible manner or a way that upholds a certain set of ideals or morals.
However, a more profound and transformational view is one in which you take full responsibility for everything in your life. This shift in perspective can be a watershed moment of personal empowerment and liberation. When everything you experience is your responsibility, you have enormous power that can be used to accelerate your growth and evolution.
Like a multifaceted jewel, responsibility has many aspects, each of which contributes to the whole. Consider the following as you reflect on taking responsibility in your life.
Responsibility Is an Acknowledgement of the Law of Karma
Karma, the Sanskrit word for action, implies not only the actions you take in the form of thought, speech, and deed, but also the consequences of those actions. Every action you take generates a force of energy that returns to you in kind. The energy you put out into the universe will at some point return to you.
The Law of Karma is a system of checks and balances that manages how that energy is registered and how it comes back into your life. There’s nothing mystical about karma; it is the direct expression of cause and effect.
Becoming responsible is recognising that where you find yourself in this moment is the culmination of all the choices you have made throughout your life. Countless decisions and choices have led you to this very moment. Understanding that you, as infinite choice makers, either consciously or unconsciously, have been sculpting the clay of your experiences into the reality you are now living is an incredibly powerful moment of awakening.
It’s not always easy and can sometimes be uncomfortable to see your life as the result of both good and bad choices, but ultimately you recognise that it’s you; it’s always been you. Once you own that knowledge, you can become the conscious creator of your experience going forward.
Responsibility Gives You the Gift of Accountability
Owning your karmic debt means that you are accountable for yourself. No one speaks for your actions or your lives but you. You alone answer for your choices and actions. This is a powerful insight that helps to keep you honest and cognisant of making evolutionary choices that are nourishing for everyone touched by your actions.
Knowing that you will have to be accountable places the steering wheel of your life squarely in your lap. At the deeper soul level of awareness, shifting responsibility doesn’t exist as an option. In this way accountability is a gift that helps to keep you in your lane—nudging you back to ever increasingly appropriate choices.
Responsible Is Being Able to Respond
Becoming responsible gives you the freedom to have a creative response to every situation as it exists now. When you are trapped in a karmic loop of conditioned behaviour, you are unaware, and therefore unable to make a different choice. When you choose to take personal responsibility for yourself and make conscious choices, you can bypass the unhealthy programs of your past conditioning. As Swami Vivikananda reminds us, “Karma is the eternal assertion of human freedom. . . Our thoughts, our words, and deeds are the threads of the net which we throw around ourselves.”
Expanding your awareness to witness your choices gives you the means to cut the binding net of your old, limiting actions and make a spontaneous and creative new choice.
Responsibility Is the Key to Emotional Freedom
Taking responsibility means that you recognise your feelings are just that--yours. When situations or people cause you to have an emotional reaction, it’s not their fault. Your upset or anger isn’t caused by those situations or people; it’s caused by your feelings about them. You’re not responsible for what someone else says or does; however, you are responsible for how you respond to what they say or do. It’s empowering to realise that no one can make you feel an emotion without your permission. Your feelings are, therefore, your responsibility. By a similar token, you are not responsible for the feelings of others.
One of the most liberating ways to own this aspect is to understand and harness the difference between an observation and an evaluation. As described in psychologist Marshall Rosenberg’s book Nonviolent Communication, recognising that an observation is simply witnessing what is happening with total objectivity and no personal emotional investment in the situation. It is seeing things just as they are, as if you were a detached third-party observer sent to report on an event. An evaluation however, is when you assign an interpretation onto the observation. When you make an evaluation, you’ve made an assumption or jumped to a conclusion about what someone has said or done. In this way you emotionally hijack yourself and allow the situation to control you.
When you observe things as they are, not as you interpret them, you stand at a crossroads where you can take responsibility for your feelings and, thus, consciously respond rather than react out of anger or hurt. This awareness opens the door to owning your emotions and the effect they will have on your life.
Responsibility Means You’re the Victim No More
When you don’t take responsibility for your life, you give up your power and get caught in a cycle of victimisation. Your life feels as if it is predetermined by the erratic whims of people and situations that are beyond your control. You blame your parents, your genetics, your relationships, your educational status, the economy, the political climate, and countless other factors as the cause of your unhappiness. This “victim” or “poor me” mentality is not only unproductive and stagnant, it is unhealthy and damaging to your sense of self.
With the attainment of personal responsibility, however, comes a higher awareness. Responsibility is a declaration that you will no longer be a victim. It implies that you can chart your course rather than being tossed around like a ship without a rudder on a stormy sea. Those outside events no longer determine your destiny. You can focus your intentions to create the life of your dreams. Even in challenging times you can take responsibility for how you will view the situation and see it as an opportunity for growth.
As Austrian psychologist and neurologist Victor Frankl writes in Man’s Search for Meaning, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” This is the power of responsibility, the complete ownership of who you have been, who you are, and who you will become.