Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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This ONE Ingredient Can Reduce Pain and Inflammation

Ginger has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain. – WebMD

“Research shows that ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level.”

A positive development in the world of medicine is the willingness of medical professionals to experiment with natural remedies. Despite technological advancements and cutting-edge pharmaceuticals, some of the most effective medicines can be found right in our local grocery store.

The typical American diet disproportionally includes sugar, sodium and other additives that wreak havoc on our body. This is partially due to the fact that, through advances in food science, we’ve accepted convenience at the expense of what our body really needs: a natural, healthy diet.

Fortunately, enough research now exists that proves the effectiveness of everyday foods. One of those foods is ginger – a sweet and spicy ingredient that also happens to benefit our health in a number of ways. In addition to the great taste, ginger is a nutritious and exceptionally versatile ingredient.

Arthritis is one of the most prevalent ailments in society today. A painful and degenerative condition, arthritis is caused by inflammation in the joints. This inflammation adversely affects mobility and causes often debilitating physical pain. The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, has a tendency to get worse with age as natural wear and tear of the body takes its toll.

It’s this inflammatory response where ginger truly demonstrates its medicinal properties. One of the leading arthritis organizations, the Arthritis Foundation, promotes ginger as a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient. The organization’s website cites a study by the University of Miami that suggests ginger supplementation as a natural substitute for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). In the study of 247 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, those given a highly concentrated dose of ginger extract “reduced pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40 percent over the placebo.”

One of the study’s lead researchers states that “Ginger has anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and antioxidant activities, as well as a small amount of analgesic (pain reduction) property.” In other words, it is ginger’s ability to counteract inflammation and pain that makes the spice a particularly potent medicinal alternative. This is certainly positive and welcome news for the millions of people who suffer from pain and inflammation from arthritis and other ailments.

ginger

As mentioned, ginger is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be consumed in a number of different forms. The Arthritis Foundation notes that choosing an effective form of ginger is essential to experiencing the most powerful effects from its medicinal properties. Specifically, the organization recommends choosing supplements that use “super-critical extraction,” a process that results in the purest ginger. This process also provides the greatest medicinal effects of any ginger delivery method.

That said, there are a number of ways to incorporate ginger into your diet. Many people add ginger to fresh juices and everyday food. Favorite foods and beverages to include ginger as an ingredient are: carrot ginger lentil soup, stir fry, ginger berry smoothies, salad, split pea soup, kale juice, homemade ginger ale, ginger cookies and candy ginger.

Aside from ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties, the spice also serves other medicinal purposes. Research has shown that ginger can relieve the pain caused by headaches, menstrual cramps, and other injuries. Some research has even documented that the potency of ginger’s anti-inflammatory and pain reduction benefits exceeds that of painkillers and other drugs.

GINGER ALSO HELPS:

– Fight cancer. Studies show that ginger may help to kill cancer cells. Promising research exists that specifically shows ginger’s powerful counteractive effects in breast cancer patients.

– Aid digestive processes and reduce bloating. Ginger tea and ginger ale drinkers have known this for quite some time. The ingredient contains certain compounds that counteract digestive discomfort while improving digestive processes – both of which help to ward off and reduce bloating.

– Prevent and aid motion sickness. A plethora of research exists that notes ginger’s counteractive effects on nausea and vomiting. For this reason, ginger ale and other ginger beverages are a favorite for those that suffer from motion sickness.

– Prevent sickness. As an anti-viral, ginger is effective in reducing the likelihood of illness. At minimum, consuming ginger during cold and flu months should be considered as a viable alternative.


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8 Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger Health Benefits: 8 Reasons Why This Root Rules Winter

The Huffington Post Canada    By Arti Patel    03/11/2016

Ginger may only be an option when you’re sick, but there’s good reason to get a dose of it every day.

Ginger has a long list of health benefits from fighting indigestion to boosting immunity, and since the cold and flu season seems to be sticking around, it’s time to learn about what this root can do for you.

Although fresh ginger can be a little intimidating (and spicy!), there are easy ways to consume it says registered dietitian Selena Devries of Kelowna B.C..

“You can simply grate it, skin and all, into recipes,” she tells The Huffington Post Canada. “And to keep it fresh, store it in the freezer with the skin on and take out as needed.”

If you’re new to ginger (or just can’t handle the taste), try a powdered form and mix it into teas or your meals. You can also start adding ginger to the meals you eat on a regular basis — like oatmeal, stir-fry or sauteed veggies.

“Ginger can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. Eating it traditionally pickled will also provide a good dose of probiotics helping to boost your immune system,” she adds.

Eight reasons why ginger should be considered winter’s best superfood

ginger-root-sliced

Reduce Nausea
One of the most well known benefits of ginger is to help with reducing nausea, says registered dietitian Selena Devries of Kelowna B.C.. “Try making ginger tea by steeping a one-inch root in one to two cups of hot water for about 10 minutes,” she says. “Sweeten with a dash of honey.”

It Can Help With Indigestion
Upset stomach? Try chewing on candied or crystallized ginger. According to author Gerard E. Mullin of The Inside Tract, ginger helps the stomach to efficiently empty it’s contents.

Ginger Is Anti-Inflammatory
Devries says if you’re suffering from any type of inflammatory disease, ginger is a great root to add to your diet. “It is packed with gingerols and volatile oils which help to decrease inflammation in the body.”

Goodbye Flatulence
Are you always gassy, bloated or burping? Ginger has a carminative effect, Devries says, meaning it is able to break up and reduce intestinal gas. “Sprinkle fresh ginger on oatmeal, stir-fry and veggie side dishes.”

Sooth Your Muscle Cramps
“Because of ginger’s powerful anti-inflammatory effect, it helps to relieve muscle cramping,” Devries says. If you develop muscle cramps after workouts, try drinking a smoothie with frozen bananas, pineapple, turmeric, hemp hearts, ginger and a milk of your choice.

It’s A Natural Immune Booster
There’s a reason you’re told to drink ginger tea when you’re sick. “Lacto-fermented ginger is a great source of good gut bacteria which will boost the immune system, and help to prevent you from getting sick,” Devries adds. Try fermenting ginger at home or buy a ginger-flavoured kombucha at your local supermarket.

It’s High In Antioxidants
“Antioxidants, which are found in a variety of plant-based foods, help to repair the damage done by harmful, free radicals in the body,” she says. For a high dose of antioxidants, try a ginger tonic.

Reduce Menstrual Pain
One study found ginger was effective as ibuprofen in relieving pain during your period, Devries notes. “Although this is just one study, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to up your intake of ginger during your period.”


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Why You Should Have Ginger Every Day

by Jonathan Galland   October 19, 2015

Ginger is a treasure in Asian cuisine, where it’s cherished for its unique ability to bring a touch of tanginess to dishes. Its distinctive lemony aroma and touch of spiciness can awaken the flavors of favorite recipes.

But ginger’s amazing role in cooking is just the start — the spice is also well-known for its many medicinal benefits. For centuries, ginger has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat colds, stomachaches, nausea, indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea.

In traditional Chinese medicine, sliced or grated ginger is boiled in water as a soup to help fend off early signs of a cold. And it’s often the last resort for those who suffer motion sickness when pills won’t work. (A freshly cut ginger slice is either placed in the mouth or on the belly button with a Band-Aid.)

Right into the modern age, ginger is still the go-to herbal remedy for those who believe in natural healing.

And science is now catching up. Here are some of the research-backed revelations about the powerful benefits of this exotic spice:

1. It’s anti-inflammatory.

Ginger contains dozens of the most potent natural inflammation-fighting substances, like gingerols. The ability for food to reduce inflammation is important, as inflammation contributes to many chronic conditions including obesity, diabetes, pain, and heart disease.

2. It’s anti-aging.

Ginger also has powerful antioxidant effects. It raises levels of the master antioxidant glutathione in the body. And by fighting oxidative stress, ginger helps control the process of aging.

3. It reduces pain from exercise.

One study found that eating ginger before cycling reduced quadriceps muscle pain, likely thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects.

4. It assists with weight loss.

Research shows that ginger tea helps prevent metabolic disorders and reduces the feeling of hunger, meaning it plays a role in weight management.

ginger

5. It helps treat anemia.

Ginger and its bioactive components, such as gingerols and shogaols, stimulate the production of blood cells in the body and can improve anemia symptoms.

6. It can help manage diabetes.

One study showed that ginger can improve fasting blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients. And scientists have discovered that combining honey and ginger reduces oxidative stress as well as the complications of diabetes.

This is especially important, given that the number of people with diabetes across the world is predicted to increase from 171 million in 2000 to 552 million by 2030.

7. It helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Since ancient times, natural compounds of ginger have been appreciated for their use in preventing various age-related ailments, including brain aging and neuro-degeneration. Recent studies have emphasized ginger’s benefits in treating Alzheimer’s disease.

8. It can ease symptoms of osteoarthritis.

In traditional Indonesian medicine, red ginger has been prescribed to relieve arthritis pain.

Now, an unprecedented study has found that topical ginger treatment using either a traditional manually prepared ginger compress or a standardized ginger patch could relieve symptoms for people with chronic osteoarthritis.

9. It can prevent liver disease.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common liver disease that’s quickly turning into an epidemic. Insulin resistance is a major feature in patients with NAFLD.

But research has shown that gingerols, the active component of ginger, could help improve insulin resistance, serving as a natural way to prevent NAFLD.

How to Spice Up Your Life with Ginger

Shop for whole ginger root in the vegetable aisle, looking for ginger that is firm to the touch and not wilted, dried out, or moldy. To use fresh ginger, remove the skin and cut a section of the yellow root. Finely chop the ginger, and it’s ready to use.

You can also make fresh ginger tea by adding finely chopped ginger to boiled water, letting it steep for two to three minutes, and then straining out the ginger.


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Foods That Fight Heartburn

By R. Morgan Griffin         WebMD Feature Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD

You’ve heard about the foods that can make your heartburn worse, from coffee to chocolate to tomatoes. But what about foods that could make your heartburn better? Check out some key eats you should add to your diet.

Eat More Low-Acid Foods

When acid and other liquids in your stomach back up into your esophagus, you get heartburn. The acid that’s already in your stomach isn’t the only problem, though.

The natural acids in foods you eat – like many fruits, vegetables, and drinks — play a role, too, says Bani Roland, MD. She is a gastroenterologist and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University. To curb heartburn, build your meals around naturally low-acid foods like:

Melons and bananas. While most fruits have a high acid content, these don’t. Bananas are always handy as a snack food. All sorts of melons are good, like watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew.

Oatmeal. It’s a great way to start your day. Oatmeal doesn’t cause reflux, it’s filling, and it has lots of healthy fiber.

Bread. Choose whole-grain – it will be the first ingredient on the label – which is made with unprocessed grains. Other healthy-sounding breads – like wheat, whole-wheat, or 7-grain – may be made with refined grains, which are stripped of natural fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients.

Rice and couscous. These healthy complex carbs are great if you have reflux. When choosing rice, go for brown rice, which has more fiber.

Green veggies. Broccoli, asparagus, green beans, celery, and cauliflower are all low in acid.

Lean poultry and meats. Prepare chicken and turkey grilled, broiled, baked, or steamed. Just remove the skin – and don’t fry it, Roland says. Even ground beef and steak can be fine, as long as they’re lean.

Potatoes. Other root vegetables are good, too – just not onions.

Fish. Grilled, poached, and baked fish are all good choices. Just don’t fry it or use fatty sauces. 

Egg whites. They’re a good source of protein and are low in acid. Just skip the yolk, which is more likely to cause symptoms.

You can’t tell how acidic a food is by looking at it. It’s not on the nutrition label either. But you can research a food’s pH, which is a score of its acid content. The lower the pH number, the higher the acid — lemon juice has a pH of 2.0. If you aim for foods with a pH of 5 or above, you may have fewer symptoms. You can find the pH level of foods on some government sites and in low-acid diet cookbooks.


More Foods to Soothe Heartburn

Other foods and herbs have long been treatments for reflux and upset stomach. But keep in mind that while they may provide relief for some, “they won’t work for everyone,” says gastroenterologist Jay Kuemmerle, MD, of Virginia Commonwealth University. You might want to try:

Fennel. This crunchy vegetable with a licorice flavor makes a great addition to salads. There’s some evidence that fennel can improve your digestion. It has a pH of 6.9, so it’s low in acid, too.

Ginger. A long-standing natural treatment for upset stomach, ginger does seem to have benefits for reflux.

Parsley. That sprig of parsley on your plate isn’t only for decoration. Parsley has been a traditional treatment for upset stomach for hundreds of years. And there’s some evidence that it can help with acid reflux.

Aloe vera. This is another old treatment for GI problems that seems to help with reflux. You can buy aloe vera as a plant or as a supplement — in capsules, juices, and other forms. It works as a thickener in recipes.Just make sure it’s free of anthraquinones (primarily the compound aloin), which can be irritating to the digestive system.

Fight Heartburn With Healthy Food

Add the right foods to your diet. They could really help with your heartburn. But there are limits to what they can do.

Remember that good foods can’t counteract the effects of trigger foods. “Eating a little ginger won’t stop you from getting heartburn after a big dinner of a fatty steak, a salad with tomatoes, a couple of glasses of wine, and a coffee,” Kuemmerle says.

And while eating a low-acid diet is a good strategy, it may not be enough on its own. For some people it’s not so much the acids in the stomach, but the reflux of other stuff in gastric juices – like bile – that trigger heartburn, he says.

“The specific causes of heartburn vary a lot from person to person,” Kuemmerle says. “That’s why treatment always needs a personalized approach.”

 


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Spices and Herbs With a Huge Impact

Medicinal herbs and spices have been used with great effectiveness from ancient times.

Find out how these seven spices & herbs can make a huge impact on your daily health.

Cloves – Found to have the highes
t antioxidant content of all spices an be used as a painkiller and has been used for centuries to treat tooth aches and gum pain. Eases cold and allergies, and oil of clo
ves is useful as antiseptic in mouthwash.

Oregano – 1/2 tsp has the same amount of antioxidants as a quarter cup of almonds and four times the antioxidant activity of blueberries…Go greek make a greek salad and sprinkle on the oregano Oregano is rich in Vitamin K, iron, maganese, and kills e.coli, salmonella, and virtually all food-borne pathogens.

Ginger – Over 50 antioxidants have been found in ginger. It helps increase circulation, calms digestive problems. Ginger has also been used to treat food poisoning, shown to lower cholesterol, treat arthritis, reduce inflammation, and can be used to help increase insulin sensivity in diabetics.


Cinnamon – Plays an important role in regulating blood sugar in people with diabetes. Clinical studies have shown a consistent intake of cinnamon daily help reduce glucose, triglyceride, and LDL cholestrol with type II diabetics.

Tumeric – The bright neon yellow color comes from the phytochemical Curcumin and can eliminate cancer cells, help reduce obesity, and metabolic diseases. Scientists have found by creating a new molecule from curcumin, called CNB-001, this molecule triggers the mechanisms that safeguard and restore brain cells after a stroke.

Rosemary – Blocks HCAs or carcinogenic compounds found your favorite grilled meats. Rosemary oil can improve cognitive performance and fight off free radical’s that cause Alzheimer’s, stroke, and dementia.

Mustard – The compound AITC compound found in mustard seed is known to be an anti-cancer compound – this plant compound is also found in wasabi & horseradish. Studies show that AITC, stopped the growth of bladder cancer by 33%.

source: www.foodlve.com


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5 Simple Ways to Live a Healthier Lifestyle

Dr. Neala Peake, selected from AllThingsHealing.com  September 16, 2013
by Drew Kobb, Contributor to Integrative Medicine on AllThingsHealing.com

We all want to improve our lives, to feel better — so why don’t we make the necessary changes to improve our lives? Probably because it seems a little daunting, especially when we compare our current lifestyles with where we want to be. It would be a huge adjustment for most of us to start eating as healthily as Gwyneth Paltrow or become as proficient in the practice of hatha yoga as Nina Dobrev. But you don’t have to get to that level of any healthy practice to live a healthy lifestyle. Healthy lifestyles are built and enhanced day by day, one healthy practice at a time.

Eat Fresh First

You don’t have to start eating completely clean and organic this very minute. That’s too big of a change and will be a shock to your body. Instead, make a gradual change and ease into a healthier diet. One of the easiest ways to start doing this is by making the majority of what you eat fresh rather than pre-packaged or processed.

When you prepare your own food and snacks from fresh ingredients, you have more control over what is going into your body. Processed, pre-packaged food is more likely to contain harmful additives and preservatives, and far less likely to have natural, healthy organic compounds and nutrients.

So make sure that, as much as is possible, you make and eat fresh food.

Take the Active Road

This is not to say you have to get up with the sunrise every morning to practice your yoga asanas, or never use a car again. Some places, such as for long grocery trips or an errand on the other side of town, are just not practical to walk or bike to. But if you’re just headed for one little thing at the corner store, it wouldn’t kill you to walk there, so you should. Whenever possible, take stairs as opposed to escalators or elevators.

Taking a little time to be active, even if it’s for something like this, will mean that much more work is done to move your muscle groups throughout the day.


Detox Yourself

Your body does the best it can to clean itself out internally, but sometimes it could use a little conscious effort and help to rid itself (ahem: you) of toxins.

Eat diets heavy in fiber, and try to take in substances that naturally work to help your body detox, such as peppermint tea, red pine oil, and ginger. Give yourself a hot steam bath every so often and clean out your pores more thoroughly than you normally do.

Relax and Recharge

Your body needs time to process and take in all the good things you do for it, and repair the damage of a day. So take time every day to just recharge from the stresses you face. Don’t dwell on the things that worry you every minute — take mental time off to relax your brain.

In addition to this, do whatever you can to get adequate sleep. Tests and studies show that your brain starts to lose the ability to concentrate once your nightly sleep time dips below 8 hours, and the average American adult only gets 6.9 hours of sleep each night. So take the necessary time to sleep and rest at night so your body can recharge.

Enjoy the Little Things

What’s the point of making the changes to live a healthier lifestyle if you don’t enjoy your life? Take time to notice and enjoy the small things that brighten your day. Take a moment to just feel the warm sunshine, to savor the food you eat. Relish the simple pleasures of life and allow your brain to release the serotonin that will help you feel healthy and happy. Then sit back and enjoy how much better you feel.

source:  www.care2.com


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Ginger is Better than Drugs for Pain, says Study

Michelle Schoffro Cook     May 3, 2013

A new study published in the journal Arthritis compared ginger extract to the common drugs betamethasone (cortisone) and ibuprofen for the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

While ibuprofen is a popular pain remedy (such as Advil or Motrin), in this study it showed no effect on cytokine production.  Cytokines are immune-regulating substances that can have inflammatory effects on the body, and are therefore linked to pain.  In this study, both betamethasone and ginger extract reduced cytokines in comparable amounts.   The authors of the study indicate that,n “ginger extract was as effective an anti-inflammatory agent as betamethasone in this in vitro model.”

While betamethasone has been used for decades to relieve pain, it is also linked with many serious side-effects, including:  vision problems, weight gain, swelling, shortness of breath, depression, seizures, pancreatitis, heart arrhythmias, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, severe headaches, anxiety, chest pains, sleep problems, acne, slow wound healing, and more.  Ginger, however, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that is safe for use. For more information, consult Arthritis-Proof.

Other research by Dr. Krishna C. Srivastava, a world-renowned researcher on the therapeutic effects of spices, at Odense University in Denmark, found that ginger is an effective and superior anti-pain remedy. In one study, Dr. Srivastava gave arthritic patients small amounts of ginger daily for three months.  The majority of people had significant improvements in pain, swelling, and morning stiffness by eating ginger daily.


Dr. Srivastava also found that ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol or Advil because NSAIDs only work on one level:  to block the formation of inflammatory compounds.  Ginger, on the other hand, blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds–prostaglandins and leukotrienes–and also has antioxidant effects that break down existing inflammation and acidity in the fluid within the joints.

Further research in the Journal of Pain also report that ginger is an effective natural anti-inflammatory that helps reduce pain and inflammation. Both raw ginger and heated ginger were used in the study with similar effectiveness. The scientists specifically explored ginger’s effects on muscle pain.

Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine in India as a natural anti-inflammatory food.

How to Reap the Anti-Pain Benefits of Ginger (adapted from Arthritis-Proof):

-Add chopped, fresh ginger to soups, stews, stir-fries, and other recipes.  Ginger is delicious in many savory and sweet dishes alike.

-Add fresh ginger to a juicer while making juices.  It combines well with many other vegetables and fruits, such as carrots or apple.

-Ginger capsules (Zingiber officinale) are available for supplementation.  Follow package directions.

-Chopped, fresh ginger can be added to water and boiled in a pot for 45 minutes to an hour. Drink warm or with ice, as a tea.  Add a few drops of stevia to sweeten (stevia is a naturally-sweet herb).

-Ginger is available in alcohol tincture form.  A typical dose is 30 drops three times daily.  Avoid the alcohol extract if you are an alcoholic, suffering from liver disease, or diabetic.

Medicine never tasted so good.