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Natural Health Tips

Is Your Cinnamon Healthy?

3/17/2017

It’s been a while since I’ve sent out my blog, but I wanted to start sharing again with Cinnamon as my subject.  I was not aware until recently, that there are two kinds of cinnamon.  The first is Ceylon Cinnamon and the second is Cassia Cinnamon.  The second is the most common that we find at the grocery store.  Most cinnamon from the grocery story is manufactured with an industrial grinding process according to Kristen Michaelis, which tends to dilute the value of the nutrients. Sometimes even flour is added to prevent caking. The Wall Street Journal reported that a study published last year in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry tested Cinnamon commercially available in the U.S. and found “substantial amounts” of coumarin, a naturally occurring organic compound that can cause liver damage if consumed in excess. 

Because Cinnamon is so good for so many things in our lives, it’s possible that we could be using it daily and therefore, it’s important to choose the best type of Cinnamon for us to use.  Ceylon Cinnamon is stated to be better according to the assistant director for the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi’s School of Pharmacy. Ceylon Cinnamon comes from a small tree native to Sri Lanka.  It’s lighter in color than the typical Cassia Cinnamon, which comes from Indonesia, China and other countries.

Some of the benefits of Cinnamon daily according to Dr. Joseph Mercola are:

- Calming Inflammation because Cinnamon is a potent anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory compounds that may help relieve pain and stiffness of muscles and joints

- It can Boost Brain Function through the Scent

- It can Help with Weight Loss

- It can Help with Blood Sugar Control by Improving the Glycemic Status

- Cinnamon Sticks in Water can help to Soothe Sore Throat or Cough

- It can Help to Relieve Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Cinnamon can also help to treat vomiting, diarrhea, infections, loss of appetite and erectile dysfunction.  Prof. Michael Ovadia of Tel Aviv University discovered that Cinnamon may also help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. Evidently, the Cinnamon bark contains properties that can inhibit the development of the disease.  And Laura Johannes, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, states that Cinnamon can improve cholesterol.

With all of these healthy applications for Cinnamon, we may want to think about incorporating this great spice into each meal or snack.  I’ve actually started sprinkling a little on the coffee grinds before brewing.  Since Ceylon Cinnamon is stronger, I use less and we both enjoy the flavor!

Here’s to a healthier life for all of us!  I love it when you share your comments with us, so keep them coming!

This is Jean giving you “Food” for thought!

Inflammation - What to Avoid & What to Eat

4/7/2016

Hi Everyone, Happy Spring!! We hope you’re all doing wonderful! I was just speaking with a doctor about inflammation and he said that inflammation is most often the root cause for disease.  That got me thinking … what are we exposing ourselves to that may be causing some inflammation and what can we change to prevent as much inflammation in our bodies as possible. 

The number one culprit of inflammation is SUGAR!

No surprise, but you may want to think about using organic Stevia.  I just began experimenting and it does take some time to get the taste exactly where you want it, but there is now no aftertaste, which is great. Some of the other culprits are listed below:

Saturated Fats (e.g., meats, full fat dairy products, cheese)

Fried Foods

Hydrogenated Oils (margarine, shortening, partially Hydrogenated oil in store bought baked goods, etc.         

Processed Foods

Refined Carbohydrates (e.g., white bread, white rice, white potato)

MSG

Wheat Gluten

Aspartame (artificial sweetener)

Alcohol

Some of the great choices that are anti-inflammatory would be:

Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Green Leafy Vegetables, Almonds, Walnuts, Salmon that is not Farm Raised, Tuna, Strawberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Pineapple, Oranges, Celery, Beets and Broccoli.

As always, I welcome your helpful comments and appreciate any suggestions that will help us all to live long, strong and healthy! I’ll look forward to hearing your good reports too!

This is Jean giving you Food for Thought!

Are You Eating These GMO (genetically modified) Foods?

10/15/2015

This is not a debate as to whether foods that are Genetically Modified (GMO) are healthy for us or good for a world where people are starving, but rather this is to inform you that these foods below are Genetically Modified, according to Caroline Young, who authors Healthy Eating Tips and Nutrition articles on builtlean.com. 

    Corn, Soy, Yellow Crook Neck Squash and Zucchini, Alfalfa, Canola, Sugar Beets and Milk.

GMO Apples are currently under review by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Now, in the United States, our government does NOT allow companies to label products “100% Certified Organic” if those products contain Genetically Modified foods. So, if you do want to avoid GMO’s, then buy 100% Certified Organic or UADA Organic products. 

My next Blog will be to discuss the potential health risks of eating Genetically Modified foods. 

This is Jean giving you “Food” for thought!

Eggs are Awesome But Wash Them First

6/11/2015

Eggs are one of the most beneficial foods you can eat according to Mercola.com and Authority Nutrition and many more!  They are loaded with high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats as well as various trace nutrients.  They are classified as a superfood and they’re inexpensive! The suggested best eggs are Omega-3 enriched or pasteurized eggs because they are much more nutritious than eggs from factory-raised chickens.  Eggs are also rich in antioxidants, especially Lutein and Zeaxanthine, which protect against eye disease (Macular Degeneration & Cataracts) and dramatically lower risk of age-related eye disorders.

 Another surprise to me was the fact that eggs score high in the satiety index and makes you feel full so you eat less, so if you eat them for breakfast, they can help you to lose weight!  Because eggs only contain trace amounts of carbohydrate, they will not raise blood glucose levels. 

It’s been proven that eggs and dietary cholesterol do not adversely affect cholesterol levels in the blood.  In fact, eggs raise the HDL (good cholesterol).  They also change LDL (bad cholesterol) from small and dense to large LDL, which is benign.  Eggs were found through a study done in 2013 that there is no association with either heart disease or stroke in otherwise healthy people.

So now that we have covered why we should eat them, it’s important to know why we also need to wash them before we crack and eat them or boil them. 

According to “A Guide to On-Farm Processing for Organic Producers – Table Eggs”, detergents and other chemicals used for “wet cleaning” eggs must either be non-synthetic or among the allowed synthetics on the National List of allowed non-agricultural substances.  These synthetics include chlorine, sodium carbonate, ozone, hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid (vinegar and hydrogen peroxide).  There are different Federal and State regulations based on the use of the egg. 

So, understanding that the eggs we eat whether they are organic or not, receive some type of “wash” prior to market and could have had  a chlorine bath, mineral oil coating (petroleum based) or rinsed in lye,  it is important to wash your eggs before you use them.  Clean your eggs with plain vinegar and three parts water and then enjoy all their great benefits!!

This is Jean giving you “Food” for Thought!

Basil - It's More Than An Herb!

4/30/2015

I really enjoy articles I’ve read by Fahad Khan, who’s a student and has done immense amounts of research on various topics.  Basil is one of them.  He says that although we may just think of Basil as being tasty in our pasta sauce, it can also provide various surprising health benefits.  It strengthens bones, it has lots of Vitamin K, which builds bones and protects our bodies from blood clotting.  It has Potassium for our hearts and brain, Vitamin B6 for our nerve function, Vitamin A, C and E – great for our overall health, it has Niacin, which is good for lowering cholesterol levels, Folate or Folic Acid – an excellent B vitamin,  Iron, Phosphorus, Copper, Manganese and Calcium.  It’s a powerhouse of great nutrition for us!  So, the next time you think about Basil, don’t just add it to your pasta sauce, add a little taste to many dishes for greater health!

 

This is Jean giving you “Food” for Thought!

Quercetin and It's Affect on Colds/Viruses!

2/26/2015

If you’re looking for something to help reduce susceptibility to viral illnesses, you may want to consider Quercetin.  It’s a naturally occurring, powerful antioxidant found in red apples, red wine, red grapes, green tea, onions, berries, sweet potatoes, kale and broccoli.  There are many more benefits of this flavonoid, as researched by Ray Sahelian, M.D., including help with allergies, asthma, blood pressure, blood vessel health, cancer, exercise, heart disease and others.

A study done at Cornell University in New York found that tested brain cells exposed to the antioxidant Quercetin resisted damage much better than those not treated.  “On the basis of serving size, fresh apples have some of the highest levels of Quercetin when compared to other fruits and vegetables and may be among the best food choices for fighting Alzheimer’s,” says study leader C.Y. Lee, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the department of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University.

Also, the North Carolina Research Campus, with more than 15 academic institutions, companies and health care outlets maintains that Quercetin can reduce the risk of catching a cold after heavy physical exercise as well. 

I’ve been taking Vitamin C for many years and I find it very effective against viruses and colds.  However, after reading about Quercetin, I think it’s worth consideration and it’s easily available.  Seems like there is worthwhile added protection for many areas of our bodies!  I’ll look forward to hearing your comments too!

This is Jean giving you “Food” for Thought!

Jean's Blog/Natural Replacements for Sugar in Baking

1/30/2015

Today I’m sharing some good alternative ingredients to using sugar in your baking.  Our daughter Lindsay inspired me to do this research.  So, although I’ve used several of these suggestions below, I haven’t used all of them yet.   As you experiment with them in your baking, please share your results with all of us on my facebook so we can all make nourishing but tasty treats.  It’s no fun when you’ve spent lots of time making something homemade and the taste is disappointing!

Typically if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, I’ll reduce it by half immediately.  Then, I’ll split that ½ cup up with some honey, some fruit juice and some turbinado sugar.  In addition, even if the recipe doesn’t require pure vanilla, I always add that for extra taste.  Have fun with your experiments and we’ll look forward to hearing all about them!  Here’s the list from Laura Schwecherl at Greatest.com:

Pure Maple Syrup

Honey

Raisins (can puree as well)

Cinnamon

Organic Powdered Stevia

Cranberries (can puree) and Dried Cranberries simulate Jelly

Dates (substitute 2/3 cup for 1 cup of sugar)

Coconut Sugar – comes in block, paste or granulated

Brown Rice Syrup

Pureed Bananas

Turbinado Sugar

Frozen Juice Concentrate (I use the 100% fruit juice in the refrigerated section (Jean)

Barley Malt Extract – perfect for Pecan pie or Pumpkin pie

Molasses – great for Cookies

Apricot Puree

Fresh Squeezed OJ

Xylitol – Substitute for ½ of the sugar called for in the recipe

Yacon’ Syrup – like molasses and has a hint of apple flavor and is sweet like honey

Yogurt is tasty and adds moistness

I also found some great recipes at Sugar Free Baking  The Huffington Post.  Enjoy and we’ll look forward to hearing all your good and not so good results!!

This is Jean giving you “Food” for Thought!

 

Amazing Body/Mind Benefits of Water - Part II

11/7/2014

Helps Build Muscle – water carries oxygen to the cells of your body, including muscles. Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance, because drinking plenty of water enables your muscles to work harder and longer before they feel tired and this can help to build muscle. This is especially important as we age because we lose muscle. Drinking water also helps keep your joints strong, healthy and lubricated by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated and muscles more elastic. This is actually how glucosamine helps reduce joint pain, by aiding in cartilage’s absorption of water. Our joints need moisture to maintain strength and flexibility so that movements are smooth and pain free.

Supports Nerve Function – water insures that the electrolyte levels in your body remain high enough to allow your nerves to relay messages to and from the brain in the way they were meant to be.

Prevent Cancer - Various research says that staying hydrated can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50% and possibly reduce the risk of breast cancer as well.  This is because water has the ability to dilute the concentration of cancer-causing agents in the urine. A study conducted at a University in California, involving 20 men and women ranging in age from 38 to 100 years old, concluded that those who drank enough water throughout the day were less likely to have a heart attack (41% in women and 54% in men).

Headaches and Migraines – In a study published in the European Journal of Neurology, researchers found that increasing water intake helped reduce the total number of hours and intensity of headaches in the study participants. Headaches and migraines are often caused by dehydration.

Skin – Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the color and texture of our skin by allowing it to build new cells properly. Drinking enough water can also combat skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, wrinkles and spots. Water moisturizes your skin and keeps it fresh and glistening thereby enhancing its overall appeal. Certain toxins in the body can cause the skin to inflame, which can result in clogged pores and acne. Water flushes out these toxins.

Weight Control – When we increase our water intake, it naturally speeds up our metabolism and allows our body to better assimilate nutrients from the foods and nutritional supplements we consume, the result being natural and healthy weight loss. Water suppresses your appetite, so you don’t eat as much. Drinking plenty of water also prevents fluid retention, because your body won’t try to retain water if it’s getting enough. Drinking water also helps your body burn stored fat. If you’re not drinking enough water, your liver will be forced to help your kidneys detoxify your body. When you drink plenty of water, your kidneys don’t need any extra help, so your liver will be able to metabolize stored fat more efficiently.

Some Possible Signs of Dehydration - weakness, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, electrolyte imbalance, sickness, disease, conditions in your body, cancer, joint problems, skin issues, digestion problem, moodiness, weight gain, etc.

From my heart, I want to give each of you a challenge to make a commitment to start drinking water or drinking more water. Maybe you can only start with two glasses a day and build up. Others may jump right in and begin to drink 8-10 glasses a day. Wherever you are in your health journey, just do it – and stick with it. You will reap the miraculous benefits because of the role that water plays both in our bodies as well as in our minds. We not only want to be healthy and running strong and sharp today, but we want to be running strong and sharp until the day we pass.

I’d really be encouraged if you would post a comment on this facebook page or send me an email and let me know that you have accepted the 30 day water challenge. I think it makes a difference when you actually tell someone that you’ve made a good decision. It keeps us accountable. I can’t wait to hear all of the amazing results from all of us making this commitment to a better mind and body. I’ll look forward to receiving your emails and we’ll keep each other encouraged!

As I mentioned in my first blog, I’m just a woman with no medical degrees who has a passion to live a healthier and happier life and wants to share what I’ve read and learned to make your lives happier and healthier too! I’m so grateful to all of those who have written articles with such great information that we can all benefit from their efforts.

This is Jean giving you “Food” for Thought!

Water - Don't Underestimate the Amazing Body/Mind Benefits - Part I

10/16/2014

I’ve been passionate about a lot of the information that I’ve passed along to you since I began these blogs, but after doing extensive research on the affects that water has on our bodies and our minds, I may be convinced that this blog is the most important that I may ever write. It’s certainly my longest and I apologize for that, but every word can be an opportunity to live a much healthier, happier more rewarding life. My prayer is that you take my challenge seriously for 30 days and see the difference in your own body and mind. I’m excited for you to read this and embrace the challenge of drinking plentiful amounts of water daily! I’m making this a Part I and a Part II Blog so that you can take time to ponder all of this information.

In a world saturated with countless supplements and products claiming to be beneficial to the human body, nothing can compare to the original and best nourishment for the body, which is water. Being adequately hydrated provides a person with an overall sense of well-being, according to Jackie Johnson, who formed Water for Health (www.water-for-health.com) a couple of years ago.

Becca Borawski Jenkins, who found her way to health and fitness through martial arts and CrossFit, says that your body is composed of approximately 60% water (varies depending on body size). That means when we are dehydrated – and most of us spend our days dehydrated to some degree, we are affecting the performance of the majority of our body. Every cell in our bodies needs water to absorb nutrients and expel waste. Nearly all of our systems do not function as well without the proper water intake. Fahad Khan of Iraq University mentions that the human body needs a neutral Ph7 range in order to function properly. Drinking enough water throughout the day helps maintain this balance.

So how much should we drink?

The amount of water we need is an ongoing debate. Some have suggested drinking between 8 and 12 glasses a day and other suggest that you take your body weight and divide it in half and that number in ounces is what you should be drinking daily. We decided to do the latter. If you prefer a little taste to your water, you can add a squirt of lemon, a squeeze of lime, a sprig of fresh mint or a slice of cucumber or orange.

John and I found it easier to make a simple guide for drinking our water. We drink a large glass of water when we wake up. Chris Bailey’s article said that if you drink water first thing in the morning, it boosts your metabolism by 24% for 90 minutes -- great time to exercise!! Then we have another large glass of water mid morning, another mid afternoon and then another with dinner. It’s important to know that alcohol depletes the body of water, so if you have a glass of wine with dinner, drink an extra glass of water to make up for the water loss of the wine. Like anything else, it’s a habit. Knowing that there is a time line for drinking each glass or bottle has really helped us to stay on track. FYI - PureHealthMD advises to transport water in stainless steel or glass bottles. If you have plastic bottles, don’t allow them to sit in the sun, as it might increase chemical leeching.

There is, however, also some concern about drinking too much water. On the Top 10 Home Remedies website, there is a warning to be careful not to drink too much water (although uncommon) because it could reduce your kidney’s ability to filter out waste. So, pay attention to your body and consult your doctor if you are experiencing any negative effects from drinking water.

So what does this mean? Why should we drink more water? After researching multiple articles from various authors including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Laura Schwecherl, a Growth Director for a Health and Fitness company, The FitDay.com Website, Chris Bailey, who did a personal experiment for 30 days, Abby Phon, Author of the Mind/Body/Green Newsletter, Kathleen M. Zelman of WebMD, and, those I’ve mentioned in text, I’ve learned that drinking plenty of water could do the following:

Chronic Pain Reliever – PureHealthMD states that patients with chronic pain need to seriously evaluate their water intake. Clinically, patients have noticed improvements in treatments they were already pursuing, such as chiropractic work, acupuncture or massage, just by being better hydrated. Be aware of what is depleting water in your body – Do you drink more than 3 six ounce cups of coffee a day? Do you drink multiple cans of diet or regular soft drinks a day? Are you working out extensively? Do you have a job that frequently puts you outside in the heat? All of these deplete the body of water. The need for water is so great in the body that a physician wrote an entire book on how those with chronic neck and back pain need to consider the amount they are getting. High coffee intake could also cause losses of minerals and calcium. One of the biggest problems those who drink a lot of coffee or soft drinks run into is that those beverages can replace water as the daily form of hydration. Ultimately this dehydration could cause nagging pains that do not respond to conventional therapy.

Remove Toxins from our bodies primarily through urination, perspiration and waste elimination. It also promotes healthy kidney function and reduces kidney stones by diluting the salts and minerals in urine that kidney stones can cause. Also reduces the risk of urinary tract infections.

Maintains the balance of body fluids - including increasing our metabolic rate and improves our digestive system, absorption of and transportation of nutrients, circulation, creation of saliva and maintenance of normal body temperature. Inadequate water in the body often results in constipation as the colon pulls water from the stools to maintain hydration, thereby making them difficult to pass.

Increases Focus and Energy – Our brain needs a lot of oxygen and it’s made up of approximately 75% water. So, drinking more water gives your brain more fuel to operate on and thus improves cognitive function - focus, concentration and alertness. Fitday.com says if you drink 8-10 glasses of water a day, your cognitive performance can increase as much as 30%! Your energy levels will also get a boost! Just FYI, one of the most common symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. When there is less water in the body, there is a drop of blood volume which causes the heart to work harder to pump oxygenated blood into the bloodstream, and other major organs also work less efficiently.

A small study conducted on 25 women and published in the Journal of Nutrition found that being dehydrated can take a toll on your mood and cognitive function. The color of urine is a good indicator of the level of hydration. The lighter the color of urine, the better the level of hydration in your body.

Benefits of Using Coconut Oil

8/15/2014

Coconut Oil was ostracized by the medical community for its saturated fat content, but it seems that Coconut Oil might finally be making a comeback in the mainstream health community. Using Coconut Oil is a wonderful way to increase the amount of healthy fats in your diet and is helpful in assimilation of fat soluble vitamins. It also has antioxidant properties and helps in the absorption of other minerals. Find out more at coconutoil.com.

Not all Coconut Oil is the same, so first of all, please be sure that you purchase Organic Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil. Expeller pressed is a chemical free method for extracting oil from the seeds or nuts. I usually buy the jar from Spectrum. I recently purchased a jar from Trader Joe’s and thought… Wow, the price is a “deal” and brought it home and compared it to what I had. It was not as pure, so even if you think you’re buying from a “natural” store, read your labels. I returned it.

Some of the claims that Authority Nutrition makes are:

Coconut Oil contains a unique combination of Fatty Acids with Powerful Medicinal Properties – the medium chain fatty acids in this oil go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into Ketone bodies, which can have a therapeutic effect on brain disorders like Epilepsy and Alzheimer’s and relieve symptoms. Wow!! Isn’t this awesome!!

Populations that eat a lot of Coconut Oil are among the healthiest people on the planet – especially folks in the South Pacific, where coconut is over 60% of their diet and they are in excellent health with no evidence of heart disease.

The Lauric Acid in Coconut Oil can Kill Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi, helping to stave off Infections - the fatty acids and breakdown products in Coconut Oil can kill harmful pathogens, including the yeast Candida Albicans and Staphylococcus Aureus.

Coconut Oil can Kill your hunger, causing you to eat less – the fatty acids in Coconut Oil can significantly reduce appetite, which positively affects body weight. Coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs. A study of 40 women using 1 oz of Coconut Oil per day lead to a significant reduction in waist circumference in 12 weeks. A study with 20 men using 1 oz of Coconut oil per day lost 1.1 inches in 4 weeks. Can you believe that …. 4 weeks for men and 12 weeks for women …. It’s not fair!!!

Coconut Oil can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels and May Lower your Risk of Heart Disease – Coconut Oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like previously thought. Studies in both humans and rats show that Coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total LD and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.

Coconut Oil can protect Hair against Damage, Moisturize Skin and Function as Sunscreen – Coconut oil can be applied topically as well, studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturizer and protecting against hair damage. It can also be used as a mild form of sunscreen and as a mouthwash. I have heard that some men and women rub a dab of coconut oil on balding areas of their head and have seen some results long term – may be worth a shot!!

Some other day to day uses of Coconut Oil are:

Great for Acne, Psoriasis, Rosacea and Eczema

Kills Lice (I remember this nasty thing in elementary school)

Improves Dandruff Condition

Helps with Hypothyroidism, Increases Metabolism and Raises Body Temperature

Use it in making home-made mayo with – mix with olive oil

Use for no-bake cookies (it’s solid at room temperature)

Use to remove your eye make up

Great to use as a Hair Conditioner

Use it in the shower as a shaving soap – rub it on before getting in

Use it as a massage oil

Add a teaspoon to your hot tea or coffee – at least give it a try!

If you’d like even more information about Coconut Oil, the book Virgin Coconut Oil explains even more!

Hope you enjoyed reading this information and will try at least a couple of ways to add Coconut Oil to your daily life!

 

This is Jean giving you “Food” for Thought!

 

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