April 4, 2016

Amazing Benefits of Vitamin C Rich Foods for Relieving Stress and Weight LossMost everyone knows that Vitamin C is great for the immune system but new, exciting research shows it’s also helpful for relieving stress and even helping reducing weight as a direct result (1). Vitamin C works against C-Reactive Proteins that cause inflammation in the body, which can create tension and even cause weight gain. C- Reactive Proteins have been linked to heart disease due to the way they put chronic stress on the body and Vitamin C helps directly counteract the effects these proteins have (2).

Vitamin C works against C-Reactive Proteins That Lead to Stress and Weight Gain

But first, where does CRP come from and how does one prevent them from occurring? CRP’s occur in the body anytime the body senses it’s under stress, injury, inflammation, or infection. The immune system throws out defenses that are meant to protect the body but end up causing pain and inflammation as a result. C-Reactive Proteins are both a cause and marker of inflammation and often occur as a result from health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic stress or fatigue (2).

Anytime you’re constantly exposed to chronic stress, the adrenal glands that are housed near your kidneys become fatigued, which lead to adrenal burnout. Adrenal fatigue has been linked to weight gain, diabetes, chronic yeast overgrowth, and a weakened immune system (3, 5). Many people with adrenal fatigue crave sugar, fat, and caffeine because the body is crying out for a quick source of energy (5). Since Vitamin C lowers stress in the body, along with insulin sensitivity, it also lowers the stress hormone linked to weight gain, known as cortisol, as direct effect. Over time, a diet rich in Vitamin C can directly help you keep weight off or lose weight when eaten in conjunction with a healthy diet (3).

What’s are the best sources of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C-rich foods such as: kiwis, oranges, berries, apples, leafy greens such as spinach and kale, romaine lettuce, lemons, limes, and superfood berries such as goji, camu-camu-, mulberries, and goldenberries, are all some of the best sources of Vitamin C you can eat to protect your body against C-Reactive Proteins since they’re richer in Vitamin C than other food sources (4). Fermented sauerkraut and kimchi are also great sources (5).

The highest source of Vitamin C in the world is camu-camu berries and these tart, tangy berries are commonly used in the form of a superfood powder in smoothies or other raw dishes (6).

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April 4, 2016

Heroic Dogs Save Owner’s Life by Snuggling

Home alert systems and pendants are increasingly popular among older adults who live alone, but Judy Muhe says that when she took a tumble in her kitchen, her survival depended on a couple of furry, flesh-and-blood heroes — her two Golden Retrievers, Higgins and Dodger.

“The main thing is they let me know I was not alone,” an emotional Muhe tells KABC News’ Leo Stallworth.

With Higgins snuggling up against her back and Dodger curled over her legs, Muhe, who is 76 years old and has Parkinson’s disease, was able to stay warm for 48 hours while she was trapped on her kitchen floor, unable to get up due to a shattered shoulder and bruised skull.

“My guardians, yep. And I have no doubt they would do it again,” Muhe says of her two golden guardian angels.

The health benefits of animals

Canines may carry the moniker of being “man’s best friend” but animals of all kinds can provide physical and mental health benefits to people both young and old.

Lower blood pressure, decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduced depression risk, and increased amounts of the feel-good hormones, serotonin and dopamine are just a few of the advantages experienced by pet owners. One study even indicated that aging individuals with pets went to the doctor 30 percent less frequently than their non-pet-owning counterparts. Many different species–from horses, to geese, to rabbits–have been used as therapy animals for men and women in senior living communities.

Older adults especially derive great advantages from pet ownership, but there are a few complicating factors that can arise. For instance, people who have trouble walking or whose strength isn’t what it used to be may not be able to safely handle a larger pet. And the memory loss that accompanies Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia could unintentionally cause an older adult to forget to feed or care for their pet.

The good news is that such limitations can be dealt with, enabling aging men and women to find the ideal animal companion, as Amy Kracht, Vice President of 4 Luv of Dog Rescue shares in the article: How to Pick a Pet for an Older Adult

Image credit: Screen shot from KABC News report

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April 4, 2016

The Scent that Stops Cravings in Their Tracks

Can you believe there is a natural scent that when inhaled eliminates some junk food cravings? It’s true. During my research for my book 60 Seconds to Slim I discovered a study in which overweight participants inhaled this scent and lost an average of 4.5 pounds in four weeks without making any special dietary effort. The scent? Vanilla. The natural smell of vanilla stimulates the release of the brain chemical serotonin, a hormone that promotes feelings of satisfaction and happiness.

Vanilla is the seed pod from a Central American orchid. Pure vanilla extract and vanilla essential oil is made by extracting the lovely aromatic scent. The former is an alcohol extract that is frequently used in baking. Vanilla essential oil is made through the arduous task of extracting only the oil from the vanilla seed pods. However, most of the “vanilla extracts” available for baking are synthetic and likely do not offer the therapeutic benefits of natural vanilla extract.

Alan Hirsch, M.D., Director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, indicates that the tendency to overeat is governed by the satiety center in the brain. By understanding the effects of smell on this area, he suggests that cravings can be eliminated by simply sniffing certain scents, especially when you feel a tendency to overeat. The smell of vanilla is one of the best scents to reduce cravings.

Research at St. George’s Hospital in London, England, conducted a test of an aroma patch that adheres to the skin, releasing the aroma of vanilla and other scents. They attempted to determine whether the patch worn on the back of the hand would reduce cravings for chocolate, and sweet foods and beverages.

For the study, 200 overweight participants were divided into groups and received either a vanilla patch, a lemon patch, a dummy patch or no patch at all. After only four weeks, the weight loss in the other groups was a fraction of the weight lost by people wearing the vanilla patches.

According to Catherine Collins, the hospital’s Chief Dietician who led the study, not only did the participants consume fewer sugary foods and beverages, they cut their chocolate consumption in half. What’s more: the participants in the study lost an average of 4.5 pounds simply from wearing the aroma patch. The patch, however, did not affect participants’ taste for savory foods or alcohol.

Heres How to Reap the Benefits:

Inhale only pure vanilla extract or vanilla essential oil. You can smell it directly out of the bottle or place a few drops on a handkerchief and smell it throughout the day.  Ideally, smell the scent at least three times a day for 30 seconds each time; however, more often is fine too.  If you’re experiencing any cravings that is the ideal time to inhale the wonderful scent of vanilla since it can reduce your feelings of hunger.  Be aware, however, that truly natural vanilla essential oil is usually thick. If it is thin, it has typically been diluted with a solvent and should be avoided. Don’t worry if you can’t find a good quality essential oil. You can get all the weight loss benefits from a 100% pure vanilla extract, which is available in most health food stores and grocery stores.

Safety Suggestion:

You are probably familiar with vanilla-scented candles, vanilla fragrance oil used for potpourri and other household purposes, and vanilla perfume, all of which are typically made from synthetic vanilla and have no therapeutic purpose. Instead, they may actually be damaging to the body.  Pure vanilla essential oil or vanilla extract will stain a handkerchief so be sure to use one you don’t mind staining.

Super Health Bonus:

The fragrance of vanilla may help you cope with stress. Of study participants who smelled vanilla oil, 45 percent reported feeling relaxed while another 27 percent said they felt happy, according to research results published in the January 2005 supplement of Chemical Senses.

Adapted with permission from book 60 Seconds to Slim by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, DHS, ROHP.  Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, DHS, ROHP.

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April 4, 2016

Halloween Herbs for Year-Round Health

Double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble,” chanted the witches of Shakespeare’s Macbeth as they added ingredients to their brew. While an eye of newt and tongue of frog may not interest you, there are a few other herbs that are fitting for both Halloween and great health. Adapted from my book Arthritis-Proof, here are a few of my favorite Halloween herbs (based on their names) that are great year-round:

Devil’s Claw—With a name like that, pain wouldn’t dare mess with this herb. And that’s a good thing for anyone suffering from it.  Devil’s claw is one of the most effective pain remedies I’ve used. It is effective for both joint and muscle pain, making it a good option for people suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, or other type of pain disorder.

Witch Hazel—Small twigs of this North American shrub are distilled to create a witch hazel solution that is effective for cleaning cuts and wounds. Some herbalists recommend it as an application for varicose veins or diffused into the air to aid nasal congestion.

Witch’s Aspirin—more commonly known as willow bark. The effective ingredient in aspirin was originally found in willow bark, which is also sometimes called white willow bark. The plant version offers excellent pain relief when prepared as a tea or tincture (alcohol extract). It is a natural blood thinner so check with your doctor if you’re taking prescription blood thinners.

Wolf Berry—More frequently referred to as goji berries, wolf berries are superfoods full of disease-fighting antioxidants. They are used in Chinese Medicine to improve eyesight, skin, and the kidneys and liver. They also have anti-cancer and anti-aging compounds, including:  zeaxanthin, physalien, cyptoxanthin, sesquiterpenoids, triterpenes, and beta sitosterol. Like witch’s aspirin, wolf berries may thin blood so check with your doctor if you’re taking prescription blood thinners.

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April 4, 2016

The Spice That Can Strengthen Your Brain

What if there was something sitting in your pantry that had the potential to naturally boost your brain power?

Turmeric, the golden-orange spice commonly used in curries, may play a role in enhancing the brain’s ability to build new cells—a process called neurogenesis—according to a group of German researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine. The key appears to be a compound found in turmeric, aromatic turmerone, that previous studies have shown can reduce inflammation in the brain.

This most recent study expands aromatic turmerone’s benefits to include new cell growth. In fact, the compound was capable of enhancing neural stem cell growth in rats by as much as 80 percent, in some cases.

Study authors admit that, while their results underscore the potential brain benefits of turmeric, there’s still a long way to go before any science-backed argument for suggesting the spice as a therapy for those with conditions that kill brain cells, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke.

An ancient remedy

Turmeric contains another potentially beneficial component: curcumin.

The health advantages of curcumin are perhaps the world’s worst kept therapeutic secrets. The compound has been used for millennia by Indian, Middle Eastern and Asian cultures for a variety of purposes, from alleviating inflammation and other aches, to cooking, to ceremonial rituals.

More recently, scientific studies have identified curcumin—an antioxidant—as being potentially beneficial for people with arthritis, atherosclerosis, depression, different forms of cancer, dementia (including Alzheimer’s) and high cholesterol.

Despite these positive reviews, the formal evidence regarding curcumin and turmeric is not yet strong enough to warrant a formal dosage recommendation, but it certainly can’t hurt to use the tangy powder to spice up some of your dishes.

Since the amount of curcumin in turmeric is relatively small, try choosing a recipe that also contains black pepper and fat, two ingredients that can enhance the curcumin’s bioavailability—your body’s ability to absorb the compound

Spicy Scrambled Eggs with Leafy Greens

Ingredients

2 eggs
Salt and pepper
Dash of smoked paprika
2 tsp turmeric
1 ½ cups of spinach or kale
1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions

  • Melt coconut oil in medium saucepan.
  • Add spinach/kale and cook until wilted.
  • In a separate bowl, combine eggs, salt and pepper, paprika and turmeric. Whisk vigorously.
  • Pour egg/spice mixture into saucepan and mix until greens and eggs are thoroughly cooked.
  • (People with sensitive taste buds can add a few ounces of feta cheese to cut the heat of the dish.)
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April 4, 2016

Fruit is a great refreshing meal when it’s hot and humid outside.

You can make fresh fruit flower for all occasion, and also you can use chocolate like decoration for strawberries and bananas.

Here are some unique ways to serve it.

20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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20 Great Ideas for Fruit Decoration

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April 4, 2016

Not only “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is true, but also eating large amounts of fruit and vegetables daily improves mental health, new research finds.

The University of Queensland study revealed that eating at least eight portions a day of fruits and vegetable has an impressive on a person’s well-being.

fruitsandvegetables

For the study, Dr. Redzo Mujcic, researcher at the University of Queensland, gathered data from 12,000 Australian adults go analysize how their intake of fruit and vegetables corresponds to their level of mental health.

“The current guidelines for five vegetables and two fruits per day are based on physical health. We wanted to look at the effect fruit and vegetables have on life satisfaction, distress and overall vitality,” he said. “The existing guidelines need to be reviewed. Our research found that eating five fruits and vegetables a day is ideal, and less than ten per cent of Australians are eating this amount.”

Even though following this advice sounds expensive, Dr. Mujcic said the study considered many socio-economic factors and used information from household studies.

According to his statement, international studies confirm the study’s claim. “There was one study from the UK and one from New Zealand which found that people are at their happiest with eight portions of fruit and vegetables,” he said.

The study also found that fruits have a larger impact on mental health than vegetables, women having a greater mental health benefit from eating fruits and vegetables than men.

#plantogram #eathealthy #organic #mangos

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April 4, 2016

How to Cook With Persimmons

Persimmons are a lesson in patience, since some varieties are just downright inedible — until they are fully ripe, that is. Once they’re ready, though, they taste better than candy — and, if you close your eyes, you might wonder if you’re actually eating fruit or some kind of delicious spiced pudding. The Latin name for the fruit, Diospyros, translates to “food of the gods” — do you really need any more incentive?

For me, persimmons completely embody all the flavors of fall I love so much. With a flavor similar to dates, but with hints of spice, persimmons are well-suited for all your autumnal baked goods. Not all persimmons are made equal, however. Some varietals are better suited to baking while others are best used in dishes where they hold their shape, like in salads. Here’s our primer on different persimmon types, and, of course, some recipe for inspiration as well.

PERSIMMON TYPES

Hachiya: The jewel-tone flesh of the Hachiya persimmon is super-soft, so you can just scoop it right out and add it to your batter for cakes, breads, and puddings. Try swapping the flesh in any recipe that calls for pumpkin purée. Note: This is an astringent variety so make sure you wait until it is completely ripe, or else you’re in for a mouthful of unpleasant bitterness. You will usually find them unripe at the market, since they can be very delicate. Take them home and keep them in a brown paper bag until they get soft at the tip.

Cinnamon: A sub-variety of Hachiyas, cinnamon persimmons are not astringent so you can eat them firm or soft. When you cut them open they have speckly brown spots, as if they have been sprinkled with cinnamon.

Fuyu: These persimmons have a firmer, crispier flesh than the hachiyas, which makes them great for slicing into salads, chopping into salsas, or even adding to stews. You don’t even have to peel them first. Store them in the fridge to preseve the cripsness.

Organic Sweet Pumpkin: These smaller sub-types of Fuyu persimmons are small and crisp and you can eat them just like you would an apple, skin and all.

Chocolate Persimmons (Black Sapote)

A little harder to find, chocolate persimmons are definitely worth seeking out. The are native to Mexico, Colombia, and Guatamala but are also cultivated in Florida, Hawaii, and Cuba. The texture and flavor is similar to chocolate pudding which is fitting since another nickname for the black sapote is “chocolate pudding fruit.” The flesh is extremely pudding-like which makes this variety perfect for moist cakes, milkshakes, or any recipe where you want to get that chocolatey flavor.

All of the varieties listed above can be found on www.PlantOGram.com

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April 4, 2016

Persimmons with Greek Yogurt and Pistachios recipe
Lett prefers Hachiya persimmons for this fabulously simple dessert (they're the ones with the pointy shape). But don't use them until they're super soft and completely ripe; they taste unpleasantly tannic otherwise.
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 ripe Hachiya persimmons, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted, shelled raw pistachios
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat or clover honey
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Preparation

Divide yogurt among plates or bowls. Top with persimmons and pistachios, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with salt.

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April 4, 2016

Persimmon Bread recipe
Use very soft, ripe, heartshaped Hachiya persimmons rather than the smaller, firmer Fuyu variety. If you can't find Hachiyas, substitute 1 cup of canned pumpkin. Stir any leftover purée into yogurt for a sweet breakfast.
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large, very ripe Hachiya persimmons
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 lar

    Preparation

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9x5x3" loaf pan. Tap out excess flour.

    Combine raisins and 2 tablespoons hot water in a small heatproof bowl. Let steep for 20 minutes to plump raisins (or microwave for 15 seconds).

    In a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

    Scoop persimmon flesh from skins into a blender. Purée until smooth. Transfer 1 cup purée to a medium bowl (reserve any remaining purée for another use). Whisk in buttermilk and orange zest. Set aside.

    Using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter in a medium bowl until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes longer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until mixture is well combined. Gradually add persimmon mixture; beat until well combined. Add dry ingredients in 3 batches, beating just until incorporated. Fold in strained raisins.

    Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake until a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

    Let bread cool in pan for 20 minutes. Unmold and let cool completely on a wire rack.

    361 calories, 13 g fat, 58 g carbohydrates

    ge eggs

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