Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


3 Comments

6 Health Reasons To Eat Spicy Foods More Often

Many people from different cultures and backgrounds worldwide have a special place in their hearts for spicy foods, and it turns out that these foods don’t only taste great, but provide wonderful health benefits as well.

Although everyone prefers a different level of spice in their foods, it doesn’t actually matter how much your food burns your tongue, but what type of spice you use in your cooking. Spices can serve as wonderful alternatives to medicines and other conventional healing modalities, and have been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments, including aches and pains. Many spices have antimicrobial properties, which explains why they make wonderful alternative remedies.

“Studies show that many different herbs and spices offer health benefits,” says David Heber, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, and director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Much of the existing evidence supports use of cinnamon, chili peppers, turmeric, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary, Heber tells WebMD.

According to Heber, a compound in chili peppers called dihydrocapsiate increased fat-burning capacity in a study where people ate the spice three times a day. Furthermore, a study in Cell Metabolism showed decreased blood pressure in lab animals that consuming capsaicin, the component in chili peppers that makes them spicy.

If you don’t know which spices to add to your food, start out with the simple ones we’ve listed above. Thousands of spices exist in the world, but if you don’t use spices often, it’s best to begin with “safer” spices that you might be more familiar with. You can easily replace salt, sugar, or other additives with spices, which have no added calories or salt.

If you need more convincing to add spices to your food, read on for more of the benefits you can expect to receive.

6 HEALTH REASONS TO EAT SPICY FOODS MORE OFTEN

1. SPICES CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT.

Many spices have properties that increase body heat, which will help to boost your metabolism, and therefore lose weight. Others, such as cinnamon, help to balance your blood sugar so that you stay full longer.

Furthermore, as we mentioned above, spices can serve as a substitute for other additives such as sugar, which contains calories but no nutrients. More commonly, people use a spice to replace salt, which can pack on the water weight due to bloating.

Spices will help to make your food more satisfying, which means you won’t need as much to feel full.

spicerack

2. SPICES CAN INCREASE YOUR METABOLISM.

According to Better Nutrition, the capsaicin in chili peppers increases your body heat, which therefore amps up your metabolism. This goes along with our first point, but it’s still worth mentioning. Eating spices can serve as an easy way to increase your energy and metabolism, plus make your food taste better. Sounds like a win-win, right?

3. SPICES CAN PREVENT HEART DISEASE.

Garlic, ginger, and cinnamon specifically have been proven to help prevent heart disease. According to Dr. Sinatra, an integrative cardiologist, “Garlic, one of the most healthy herbs and spices in the world, is both a powerful antioxidant and blood thinner. It is commonly recommended as a cholesterol-lowering agent, and has been shown to help lower triglycerides – blood fats that are closely linked to heart disease. Garlic can even lower blood pressure as effectively as some drugs (as shown in studies where subjects supplemented with daily dosages ranging from 600 – 900 mg over a period of 3-6 months.”

He also lists cinnamon as one of the best healing herbs and spices for increasing antioxidant levels in the blood, and ginger as a natural blood thinner.

4. SPICES CAN ALSO ALLEVIATE SINUS TROUBLE.

This one seems pretty self-explanatory, as we’ve all had spicy food at one time or another, and had to run for the tissues in the middle of our meal. Because of the incredible heat present in spices, they cause the sinuses to become unclogged, which explains the runny noses and watery eyes.

If you ever have sinus issues, just reach for your favorite spice to add to your cooking, and you’ll see some relief in no time.

5. EATING SPICES COULD HELP YOU LIVE LONGER.

According to a study done by Time, people who ate spicy foods 1-2 times per week had a 10 percent reduced risk of death, compared to those who ate spicy food once or fewer times a week.

You can see why spices might make you live longer, as they decrease your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and other life-threatening issues.

6. SPICES CAN SERVE AS A NATURAL REMEDY FOR ANXIETY AND STRESS.

According to Dr. Cynthia, a holistic doctor, passionflower, kava kava, turmeric, and lavender have the potential to decrease anxiety and stress in a healthy, nonaddictive way. L-theanine, an amino acid found mostly in green and black tea, can reduce anxiety as well.

So, there you have it, six science backed reasons to eat more spicy foods; remember, incorporate spices into your foods slowly, so that you don’t overwhelm your taste buds. Then, once you feel comfortable, you can experiment with bolder spices that also make your food taste great!

source: Power of Positivity     July 15, 2016
Advertisements


2 Comments

7 Foods to Boost Your Good Gut Bacteria (That Aren’t Yogurt)

One of the most astonishing recent health discoveries is how much our gut microbiome impacts our health. But when it comes to growing good gut bacteria you have plenty of delicious probiotic foods to choose from.

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen

Cold potatoes
Cold potatoes—that is, taters that have been washed, cooked, and cooled—are one of the best sources of resistant starch. Resistant starch is a prebiotic, a type of indigestible carbohydrate that acts like food for gut bacteria, encouraging the good bugs to grow and flourish. While resistant starch has many health benefits, one of its most promising aspects is its ability to increase insulin sensitivity, helping people reduce diabetes risk and even lose weight.

Kefir
Think of kefir as yogurt’s tangier but more powerful cousin. The drink is made by seeding milk with kefir “grains,” which are tiny bundles of yeast and bacteria, and letting it sit. Over time the grains ferment the milk, producing a tart drink full of probiotics, or healthy bacteria. A 2013 study found that Kefir can help relieve gastrointestinal problems, allergies, and may even have a positive effect on heart health. One caveat however: Many commercial kefir drinks contain very high amounts of added sugar, which feeds bad bacteria in your gut, so make sure you’re reading the label and ingredient list before buying. These are sneaky signs you might be eating too much sugar.

Green bananas
Most people go out of their way to avoid green bananas but there’s good news for people who just can’t wait until they’re fully ripe. Green bananas are a rich source of prebiotics, particularly resistant starch. They also have a healthy dose of both soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The combo provides a feast for good gut bacteria and helps protect your heart and bones. Can’t get past the taste? Try them boiled or fried or sub some green banana flour in place of regular flour. Here’s how sniffing bananas could help you lose weight.

Kimchi
Don’t let the name throw you—this Korean dish is not only tasty but a health superstar. Kimchi is made by fermenting vegetables with probiotic lactic acid bacteria, which gives it the same boost of healthy bacteria as other fermented foods, like yogurt. Plus, since it’s made from cruciferous veggies like bok choy and cabbage along with healthy spices like garlic and peppers, it’s provides a mega dose of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. One study found that kimchi helps protect against cancer, obesity, and constipation while lowering cholesterol, boosting brain and immune function and even providing some anti-aging benefits. Here are other proven cancer-fighting foods.

Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut is kimchi’s German cousin, a lacto-fermented brine filled with cabbage, carrots, and spices—not to mention plenty of healthy bacteria for your gut. And not only does it have similar benefits as other fermented veggies but a study done by William & Mary college found that eating a daily serving of sauerkraut helped significantly reduce social anxiety. The researchers believe it’s because more than 80 percent of the calming hormone, serotonin, is manufactured in our guts (not our brains!) and the good bacteria boosted serotonin production.

Chocolate
Yes, it’s true! Chocolate can help encourage the growth of healthy gut bacteria. A study published in the International Journal of Food Biology found that combining chocolate with probiotics magnified the benefits of both. The chocolate protected the bacteria as it passed through the stomach, making sure it was absorbed in the small intestine while the bacteria helped the body properly digest the chocolate, enabling it to extract all the micronutrients and antioxidants. Talk about a win/win! Here are more healthy reasons to eat chocolate.

Garlic

Garlic
Everyone’s favorite way to get bad breath also has powerful gut-bacteria boosting properties. Garlic is not only Americans’ number-one favorite spice (after salt) but is also beloved by bacteria thanks to its rich supply of prebiotics, their preferred food. Raw garlic is the best source but for those who don’t like the burn (or who feel like kissing someone later), cooked garlic also works well—so well in fact that a study published in Food Science and Human Wellness found that eating it is an effective way to prevent many gastrointestinal illnesses.

source: www.rd.com


4 Comments

5 Foods are Essential for Longevity

110-Year-Old Man Says These 5 Foods are Essential for Longevity

Secrets to a long, healthy life

A man named Bernardo LaPallo is over 110 years old, although most would think he is younger. Like many living to be his age, LaPallo credits his long life with eating a lot of organic fruit and vegetables, while avoiding other foods like the plague. He especially recognizes these 5 foods, a secret passed down to him by his father which he believes is the key to his longevity.

So What Are the 5 foods?

1. Garlic – If you aren’t already a fan of garlic, you will likely load up your kitchen with the food after reading all it has to offer. From preventing cancer to detoxifying the body, to treating ailments like a toothache or cough, here are some of the health benefits of garlic.

2. Honey – Honey has long been among the top superfoods used to treat countless health conditions and boost overall health. This amazing bee-product possesses antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties – making it one of the most beneficial foods to consume.

3. Cinnamon – Particularly rich in fiber, manganese, and calcium while being used for thousands of years as a flavorful spice and medicine, cinnamon truly has made it’s mark in numerous cultures. It can be especially helpful in aiding with diabetes, preventing cancer, and halting arthritis.

4. Chocolate – The real, unadulterated form of chocolate, derived from the Theobroma cacao tree, is a heaven-sent super food that can keep us healthy even as we indulge in its delectable taste. Real chocoalte is packed full of plant-derived flavanols, full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory constituents and health-boosting ingredients that do all sorts of amazing things for our bodies and minds.

5. Olive oil – Olive oil is rich in beneficial fats which keep both your heart and brain healthy, preventing cognitive decline and risk of cardiovascular disease.
Of course there are other longevity secrets shared by the most elder. Lifestyle is the most important factor in determining not only how long you live, but the quality of your long life. It turns out the people from a small island off the coast of Japan, Okinawa, have figured out a secret recipe for living to be more than 100 years old. Some of their secrets:

vitamin-e

 

8 Other Longevity Secrets

1. Exercise both physically and mentally.

2. Consume a diet low in salt, high in fruits and vegetables, and contain plenty of fiber and antioxidants.

3. Don’t overeat. Practice what is called hara hachi bu, which means “8 parts out of 10, full,” and never eat so that they are stuffed, but just mostly sated.

4. Consume a diet high in vitamin E, which helps keep the brain vital.

5. Drink Herbal Tea. The Ikarians, who also live long, fruitful lives, love herbal tea. The health benefits of green tea are amazing, so this may be your first choice.

6. Take a Nap. Something as simple as an afternoon siesta can reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems including heart attack, and it can help you feel more energized and well-rested in the afternoon.

7. Eat fresh Vegetables. Among the obvious secrets of longevity, consuming vegetables is key, whether they be full vegetables or the more healthful microgreens. Ikaria boasts over 150 varieties of greens.

8. Relax. Reducing stress is becoming more well known among the secrets of longevity and good health. Stress can greatly increase your risk of numerous diseases as well as dangerous behavior. Ask Ikarians what time it is. They probably won’t know—or care.

Mike Barrett       DECEMBER 23, 2014

About Mike Barrett:
Mike is the co-founder, editor, and researcher behind Natural Society. Studying the work of top natural health activists, and writing special reports for top 10 alternative health websites, Mike has written hundreds of articles and pages on how to obtain optimum wellness through natural health.


2 Comments

Men Who Eat Garlic Make Women Take Notice – In A Good Way

Men and women generally agree, garlic on the breath isn’t pleasant. But according to a new study, men who eat garlic actually smell more pleasant and attractive to the opposite sex—not their breath, but their body odor. And if that finding isn’t counter-intuitive enough, it’s made all the stranger by the fact that only men in the study who consumed a lot of garlic—the equivalent of four bulbs a day—enjoyed the effect.

The study had three phases in which the amount and type (bulbs or capsules) of garlic given to 42 male participants were varied. The researchers collected their body odor with pads worn for 12 hours, which were subsequently sniffed by 82 women who rated their pleasantness, attractiveness and intensity.

In the first phase, the men ate 6 grams of garlic (about two cloves worth) with bread and cheese. The women who sniffed their pads didn’t rate their odor any differently than they rated the odor of men who ate only bread and cheese. In the next phase researchers doubled the amount to 12 grams, or four cloves. In this case the women judged the odor as significantly more pleasant, attractive and less intense than the non-garlic odor. In the final phase the men consumed 12 grams in capsules and the women again rated their odor as more attractive and less intense.

Garlic

The results suggest that something about garlic in body odor is attractive to the opposite sex, but what and why? While the study doesn’t provide solid answers, the researchers speculate that the health-boosting benefits of eating garlic may be discernable in body odor, producing an olfactory marker of good health for the opposite sex to home in on.

According to study co-author Craig Roberts, Professor of Psychology at the University of Stirling, UK, “From an evolutionary perspective, formation of preferences for diet-associated body odors was possibly shaped by means of sexual selection. Previous research indicates that many animal species use diet-associated cues to select mates in good physical condition.”

Again, this is speculative, but there’s decent evidence linking garlic to a few notable health boosts, and it’s conceivable that one or more of them could be identifiable in human sweat.

Roberts adds, “As the health benefits of garlic consumption include antioxidant, immunostimulant, cardiovascular, bactericidal and anti-cancer effects, it is plausible that human odor preferences have been shaped by sexual selection.”

Or it’s possible that once garlic is digested, it simply produces a chemical reaction evidenced in male sweat that is, for whatever reason, appealing to women. At least some women.

Either way, the results are intriguing and eating more garlic from a health standpoint isn’t a bad idea, side benefits notwithstanding.

The study will be published in the journal Appetite.

David DiSalvo , CONTRIBUTOR        Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

You can find David DiSalvo on Twitter @neuronarrative and at his website daviddisalvo.org.


15 Comments

Top 12 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Diana Herrington    May 3, 2015

Inflammation is an important immune system function. But, when out of control, it can cause serious damage. Inflammation has been linked to major diseases such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and signs of aging. (To learn more about inflammation, read Inflammation: The Slow Silent Killer.)

There’s good news: many foods are naturally anti-inflammatory. Antioxidants found in foods protect your cells from the effects of free radicals and can help reduce an overabundance of inflammation in your body.

12 Natural Anti-Inflammatory Foods

1. Beets, with their wonderful red color, are a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Beets can boost your energy and lower your blood pressure. A single serving of 500 ml. beetroot juice has been shown to reduce blood pressure by 10.4/8 mm. Beets are high in nitrates; this study showed that a serving of beetroot juice boosted athletic performance by 1-3 percent.

2. Blueberries have been found to reduce inflammation in many studies on animals; there are yet to be more studies done on humans. Studies do indicate that blueberries are good for brain health. It is best to eat organic berries since pesticides on berries are hard to wash away due to their size.

3. Broccoli is loaded with detoxifying antioxidants. Broccoli is a particularly rich source of kaempferol and isothiocyanates, both anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. Broccoli even has a significant amount of omega 3 fatty acids, which is a well known anti-inflammatory.

4. Flaxseed oil has a balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.  The omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation. Research studies show lignans can slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. It was also found that lignans may play an important role in increasing breast cancer survival. Three studies following thousands of women diagnosed with breast cancer were published at PubMed Central®.

Tea

5. Green Tea contains many  anti-inflammatory flavonoids.  A 2002 study found the most abundant catechin of green tea (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) to be a potent anti-inflammatory compound with therapeutic potential. The antioxidant properties of green tea are so effective that studies have shown a 22 percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer, a 48 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer and an amazing 57 percent reduced risk of colorectal cancer.

6. Garlic can help reduce inflammation. At Washington State University they found garlic to be 100 times more effective than two antibiotics at fighting the Campylobacter bacterium — one of the causes of intestinal illness.

7. Ginger: Ginger helps reduce inflammation and control blood sugar. Ginger tea is a great addition to any diet. A study published in the National Library of Medicine compared ginger extract to common pain killers and found ginger to be very effective in reducing pain.

8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil helps fight inflammation.

Olive oil is full of polyphenols which protect the heart and blood vessels from inflammation.

9. Onions contain quercetin, a potent antioxidant that can help your body fight inflammation.

Onions stimulate the respiratory tract and help expelling sputum (phlegm). The onion is also a proven antioxidant and may be helpful in treating certain cancers. To learn more about the supporting research done on onions, read: Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research.

10. Seaweed contains a complex carbohydrate called fucoidan that studies have shown to reduce inflammation. Seaweeds contain 14 times more calcium by weight than milk. Kelp, kombu, wakame and arame are good sources of seaweed.

11. Spinach is one of the highest nutrient-dense foods. It contains a unique mixture of phytonutrients, is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components which help protect against cellular damage.

12. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to be more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, targets multiple steps in the inflammatory pathway at the molecular level.


Leave a comment

Top 5 Foods For Natural Asthma Relief

Nearly 25 million Americans suffer from asthma and it is the most common chronic condition among children. Conventional treatments include steroids and asthma inhalers which can have nasty side effects. Here are some natural foods to ease symptoms.

According to the Asthma And Allergy Foundation of America, asthma accounts for one-quarter of all emergency room visits in the U.S. each year, with 1.75 million visits. In addition it accounts for over 10 million out-patient visits and just under half a million hospitalizations each year.

These figures are staggering and the annual cost of asthma to our economy is estimated to be nearly $18 billion as a result of medical treatment and loss of earnings due to illness or death (i).

It is estimated that 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma and approximately 250,000 deaths related to the disease occur annually. By the year 2025, it’s believed that the number will grow by another 100 million or more (ii).

The usual symptoms are shortness of breath and wheezing. Prescribed medications cost the economy millions and can take a toll on our health as they can have many unwanted side effects.

Fresh organic fruits and vegetables will always be beneficial to our bodies and their function. These natural foods are rich sources of antioxidants, such as beta carotene and vitamins C and E, which can help reduce lung swelling, chest tightness and inflammation caused by cell-damaging chemicals known as free radicals.

Here are five of the most beneficial:

1. BANANAS

Research has shown that children who ate a banana each day had a 34% lower chance of going on to develop asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing. Bananas are one of the best sources of pyridoxine, commonly known as vitamin B6. Pyridoxine goes on to produce compounds which been shown to help relax bronchial muscle tissue.

Kids love bananas and they can be added to cereals, smoothies or just eaten from their skin for a nutritious and energy giving health boost.

The 5 Most Prominent Minerals In The Body and Their Use

2. AVOCADOS

Avocados contain a substance called glutathione which is known to protect cell damage from free radicals. It also works to detoxify the body of pollutants which can lead to breathing problems. They are also a rich source of vitamin E. Avocados can help in stabilizing blood sugar levels, improving cardiovascular health and protect the eyes against age related degeneration.

They are a powerhouse of nutrients and are a fantastic addition to a salad or added to a smoothie, or again eaten straight from the skin.

3. GARLIC

Garlic is another super-food as it has so many health benefits, including maintaining cardiovascular health, preventing cancer, and reducing high blood pressure. It is beneficial for asthma sufferers due to the high levels of vitamin C and it’s powerful antioxidant properties. Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals, unstable molecules that cause contraction of airway smooth muscles in asthma patients.

Raw garlic reduces the amount of histamines produced in the body so easing any allergic reactions in asthmatics which normally promote inflammation.

Garlic can also boost the ability of the body to create prostacyclins. These are lipid molecules that help keep the air passages of the lungs open and thus promote easy breathing in asthma sufferers.

4. SUNFLOWER SEEDS

Asthmas patients will benefit from eating sunflower seeds on a regular basis. They are packed full of nutrients including potassium, magnesium and vitamin E. In addition one cup contains a third of the daily recommended amount of selenium which is a mineral linked with a whole raft of health benefits but in particular is known to help individuals that struggle with asthma by reducing the various symptoms such as shortness of breath and wheezing.

Sunflower seeds are relatively calorific but eating these mild nutty seeds in small amounts regularly will help keep healthy lungs and airways.

5. PARSLEY

Parsley loosens phlegm and will help rid the airways of a build up of mucus. Eating parsley can relieve any tightness across the chest muscles and soothe sore throats that can be aggravated by coughing bouts when the mucus has been expelled.

It is a tasty herb versatile enough to use in many dishes or added to a juice or smoothie. Parsley leaf can also be made into a herbal tea.

These are just some of the natural treatments for asthma which can provide relief without over-reliance on chemical packed inhalers and steroid treatments. However, consult your health practitioner before stopping conventional treatment.

SOURCES

(i) http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=42
(ii) http://www.aaaai.org/about-the-aaaai/newsroom/asthma-statistics.aspx