Week 7 – Day 7

From Dr. Oz’s site, an article really peeked my curiosity about this wonderful spice. According to Mao Shing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., PhD, Cinnamon is considered one of the top five spices to invigorate energy and health.

Cinnamon for Healing Properties

In the US, cinnamon is usually thought of as the delicious spice in apple pie filling, but in other parts of the world, especially India and Asia, cinnamon has been used as a healing herb for centuries. Research is finally catching up to the wisdom of the East; many clinical studies have linked cinnamon consumption to lowered blood sugar. Both in vitro and human studies show improvement in insulin sensitivity with cinnamon polyphenols, as well as total and LDL cholesterol.

Cinnamon is also thought to detoxify the system and stimulate brain function. Its antiseptic properties give it the ability to fight bladder infection, and if taken in the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, a cup of strong cinnamon tea might just nip a bladder infection in the bud.

Organicauthiority.com lists 11 benefits of cinnamon –

* 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower your bad cholesterol (or LDL).
* Cinnamon may help treat Type 2 Diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels and increasing the amount of insulin production in the body.
* Cinnamon has antifungal properties, and it’s been said that candida cannot live in a cinnamon environment.
* Cinnamon can reduce the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
* Cinnamon has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.
* Honey and Cinnamon combined has been found to relieve arthritis pain.
* When added to food, cinnamon inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
* Just smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.
* Cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.
* Cinnamon has been found to be an effective natural remedy for eliminating headaches and migraine relief.
* Cinnamon can also help stablize blood sugar (which is great for weight loss). A couple of dashes in your morning tea or cereal is all it takes!

Please take care when adding cinnamon to your diet – don’t go overboard since too much cinnamon can be toxic to your system. I add cinnamon to coffee, oatmeal, my lowfat banana bread and in yogurt.

Week 7 – Day 6

cashewsMy mouth waters even just by reading the word CASHEWS! I really enjoy cashews… and as part of his 24 hour energy boost, Dr Oz suggests to Boost Your Fruits With a Cashew Crumble.

“Fruits make delicious and healthy snacks, but if you want to pack on a real energy punch, try adding a cashew crumble. Cashews, sometimes called “nature’s vitamin pill,” are high in protein and essential minerals like magnesium. Just grind the nuts into a crumble using a coffee grinder or mini blender, then dip your fruit in the crumble in for a healthy, energy-packed crunch.”

Health Diaries website identifies 7 health benefits of cashews. MY top two favorites are the following:

Cancer Prevention
Cashews are ripe with proanthocyanidins, a class of flavanols that actually starve tumors and stop cancer cells from dividing. Studies have also shown that cashews can reduce your colon cancer risk. Their high copper content also endows the seed with the power to eliminate free radicals and they are also good sources of phytochemicals and antioxidants that protect us from heart disease and cancer.

Heart Health
Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts and most of it is in the form of oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. Studies show that oleic acid promotes good cardiovascular health by helping to reduce triglyceride levels, high levels of which are associated with an increased risk for heart disease. Cashews are wonderfully cholesterol free and their high antioxidant content helps lower risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases. The magnesium in cashews helps lower blood pressure and helps prevent heart attacks.

Cashews are rich in magnesium and copper, and are dense in energy and high in dietary fiber, making them a very valuable snack for managing weight gain. So next time you are picking nuts for your snacks, consider the beautiful tasty cashew!

Week 7 – Day 5

Things happen…. notice I did not say “%%^& happens” although it could fit! Even our best intentions sometimes are challenged by unexpected events. This could be a cold, flu, sprain, event in the family that requires our time (limiting workout times) etc.

In my case, my situation was self-inflicted although unplanned. Since I knew I was going to be standing for many many hours during the 10 day craft fair, I went out and bought really comfy shoes with a nice insole, rubber sole, and cushioned – and I bought 1/2 size larger thinking this would be more comfortable if my feet ended up swelling by the end of the day.

At around day 5 of 10, I started feeling pain in my heel, especially when getting out of bed. I didn’t pay much attention figuring it was simply due to the amount of standing I was doing throughout the day. And I was right, but the smart thing would have been to strap on my runners instead of what I thought were perfect standing shoes.

By the end of the craft fair, my left underfoot was burning. I did some research and determine, based on the symptoms, that I had developed plantar Fisciitis.

According to Wkiipedia, Plantar fasciitis (PF) is a painful inflammatory process of the plantar fascia, the connective tissue on the sole (bottom surface) of the foot. It is often caused by overuse of the plantar fascia or arch tendon of the foot. It is a very common condition and can be difficult to treat if not looked after properly. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue originating on the bottom surface of the calcaneus (heel bone) and extending along the sole of the foot towards the toes. It is commonly associated with long periods of weight bearing.

According to the Mayo clinic, Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners. In addition, people who are overweight, women who are pregnant and those who wear shoes with inadequate support are at risk of plantar fasciitis.
foot issue
Fortunately, this is reversible with stretching exercises and taping of the foot and othotics. I’ve been stretching multiple times a day and the symptoms have noticeably reduced in the past few weeks. I’ve inserted a soft gel heel pad and that also seemed to help for some time.

I’ve still done some kettlebell work and will re-incorporate my elliptical and treadmill workouts little at a time. This may have curtailed my workouts, but it is NOT a reason to forfeit ALL workouts. Here is where my trusty kettlebells come in to account.
It’s a set back, but one I can manage – so YES, %^&* happens, but our ability to find alternate things to do will ensure I don’t fall behind on my personal quest to get healthier!

Week 7 – Day 4

Sweet sweet potatoes!
sweet potatoes

Part of Dr. Oz’s Longevity Grocery List, Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene, which helps to build heart-healthy vitamin A within the body. Microwave or steam vegetables with as little water as possible to retain the maximum amount of nutrients.

Here are 9 reasons to include sweet potatoes in your diet (from the site Care2.com)
1. They are high in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks.

2. They are a good source of vitamin C. While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essen­tial to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.

3. They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year. Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.

4. Sweet potatoes contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.

5. Sweet potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.

We eat sweet potatoes occasionally but these will become more frequent in our daily meals.

Week 7 – Day 3

We’ve often been told that carrots are good for our eyesight but what other benefits can we get from carrots?

According to the UK Carrot Museum site, the benefits are many…

* Carrots are rich in Beta carotene which is a powerful antioxidant which helps in maintaining a healthy skin and also keep one away from many diseases.
* Carrots are rich in alkaline elements which purify and revitalize the blood.
* They balance the acid alkaline ratio in the body.
* Carrots have Potassium in it which helps to balance the high levels of sodium associated with hypertension and keeps blood pressure under control.
* The high soluble fibre content in carrot, it reduces cholesterol by binding LDL, the bad cholesterol, and also increases the HDL which helps in reducing blood clots and heart diseases.
* Carrots are great for dental health as they kill harmful germs in the mouth and prevent tooth decay.
* Carrots aid digestion by increasing saliva and supplying the minerals, vitamins and enzymes required for it.
* Regular consumption of carrots helps in preventing gastric ulcers and digestive disorders.
* Raw carrots are used as a home remedy for treating worms in children.
* Raw or grated carrots can be used for wounds, cuts and inflammation.
* Carrots are rich in Carotenoids which are beneficial to blood sugar regulation.
* Carrots contain a phyto-nutrient called falcarinol which helps in promoting colon health and a reducing the risk of cancers.

I steam carrots on a weekly basis for our dinner meals, and I often add them to my salads. In the summertime I really enjoy going to our local markets to get the freshest and tastiest carrots available to us.

Week 7 – Day 2

“Double double” is an very common order at our local Tim Horton’s coffee shops. We love our coffee but is coffee good for you?

According to Dr. Ian Smith, coffee has been documented to lower occurrence of colon and rectal cancer, improve digestion and stabilize blood sugar.

According to a Japanese study of more than 76,000 participants, men consuming one to two cups of coffee daily reduced their risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease by as much as 38%.

Drinking a few cups of coffee a day could lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by as much as 25 percent, according to a study published last year in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

In that review of studies, which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers examined 26 studies that involved 125,000 British people, to find that two or three cups of coffee seemed to have the optimal effect, The Telegraph reported.

So whether your coffee order requires a lexicon or you simply like yours black, coffee does have loads of benefits to you. I’m happy to hear that and will continue to enjoy my morning coffee!

Week 7 – Day 1

The history of the onion is an interesting story. The onion is believed to have originated in Asia, though it is likely that onions may have been growing wild on every continent. Dating back to 3500 BC, onions were one of the few foods that did not spoil during the winter months. Our ancestors must have recognized the vegetable’s durability and began growing onions for food.

The site Care2.com highlights the benefits of onions:
The phytochemicals in onions improve the working of Vitamin C in the body, thus gifting you with improved immunity.
Onions contain chromium, which assists in regulating blood sugar.
For centuries, onions have been used to reduce inflammation and heal infections.
Raw onion encourages the production of good cholesterol (HDL), thus keeping your heart healthy.
A powerful compound called quercetin in onions is known to play a significant role in preventing cancer.
Got bitten by a honeybee? Apply onion juice on the area for immediate relief from the pain and burning sensation.
Onions scavenge free radicals, thereby reducing your risk of developing gastric ulcers.
Those bright green tops of green onions are rich in Vitamin A, so do use them often.

Today, onions are a staple in many types of cuisine around the world. According to Dr Ian Smith MD, a guest of Dr. Oz’s show, onions contain flavonoids called quercetin, known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Cooking onions increase the potency of these flavonoids; ideally sautéing onions for no more than 5 minutes will optimize their properties.

We eat onions at least 3 times per week, although I will admit I cannot tolerate raw onions. I add them to my stir fry, my spaghetti sauce, chili and other meals. Long live the onion!

Week 6 – Day 7

We use it in apple and pumpkin pies, we sprinkle it on toast, we add it to coffee or oatmeal… and it smells wonderful! I’m talking about cinnamon.

According to the dictionary, cinnamon is the aromatic inner bark of any of several East Indian trees belonging to the genus Cinnamonum, of the laurel family, especially the bark of C. zeylanicum (Ceylon cinnamon) used as a spice, or that of C. loureirii (Saigon cinnamon) used in medicine as a cordial and carminative.

Mao Shing Ni, a guest researcher for Dr. Oz wrote about the 5 Spices to Invigorate Energy and Health. Amongst those five spices is cinnamon. Many clinical studies have linked cinnamon consumption to lowered blood sugar. Both in vitro and human studies show improvement in insulin sensitivity with cinnamon polyphenols, as well as total and LDL cholesterol.

Cinnamon is also thought to detoxify the system and stimulate brain function. Its antiseptic properties give it the ability to fight bladder infection, and if taken in the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, a cup of strong cinnamon tea might just nip a bladder infection in the bud.

Healthdiaries.com indicate that studies have found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory. it is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium and has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.

I like to sprinkle it on my oatmeal, on my fresh apples and include it in some of my teas.

Week 6 – Day 6

Dr. Oz’s guest Dr. Andrew Weil spoke of his ultimate eating plan. He states that amongst the 5 foods for better health, cruciferous vegetables belong to the cabbage family. What’s great about these greens is that they protect against cancer. Look for cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, kale and brussels sprouts.

Some of the its health benefits include:

* Vitamin A, cabbage is said to be very good for your eyes as well as your skin.
* Contains phytonutrients that help the body in fighting against the free radicals responsible for damaging the cell membranes. At the same time, phytonutrients aid the production of enzymes that help in detoxification.
* Associated with lower incidence of cancer, especially lung, stomach and colon prostate cancer.
* Is very good for building of muscles; this is because it is rich in iodine, which is necessary for proper muscle development.
* Fresh cabbage juice helps in the healing of stomach ulcer.
* Fresh cabbage juice comprises of sulfur and is thus, very effective in the treatment of fungus infection. Gastritis is also effectively treated by cabbage juice.
* Has been related to lowering of serum cholesterol.
* The vitamin B in cabbage helps in sustaining veracity of nerve endings as well as boosting of energy metabolism.

I typically use cabbage in my soups however I do want to learn how to incorporate this vegetable more often in our meals.

Week 6 – Day 5

Sweet potato

Ah sweet potatoes – those weird looking orangey potatoes are loaded with fat-fighting benefits. When eaten with the skin on (roasted whole or cut up into oven fries), a sweet potato has as much fiber as half a cup of oatmeal, for about 100 calories, says dietitian Joan Salge Blake, author of Nutrition & You.

One medium sweet potato (often called a yam, although they’re not the same thing) is rich in beta-carotene and meets your daily need for vitamin A. It also provides nearly a third of the vitamin C you need each day.

Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids that appear to help stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance, making cells more responsive to insulin. This can ultimately help with your metabolism.

Sweet potato provides a good amount of vital minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium that are very essential for enzyme, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism.

Next time you are reaching for the white potatoes, consider reaching a bit further down the aisle and bring a few sweet potatoes home with you. Your body will thank you for it!