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Yesterday I touched on a few herbs and spices that have health benefits, and I realized that I forgot my favorite! This little Mediterranean beauty is the first medicinal herb I ever used! Introducing my friend oregano! I can remember a time in life where things were rough and I had gotten sick and just couldn’t get to the doctor. Looking for a home remedy became my first priority. After much research I found that this little beauty could help me battle the ill feelings.
The use and love of oregano goes back to the Greek and Roman days. It is thought to be the symbol of happiness, thus many brides and grooms would be crowned with a laurel of Oregano. As well, it has has been revered for its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It has been used to treat food borne pathogens, MRSA, cold and flu, asthma, bronchitis, arthritis, and as a topical insect repellant. There are many more uses as well. For easy use make sure you search for that little bottle labeled ‘oil of oregano’ if you want the potent form. Most health food stores carry it. However cooking with it, or eating it fresh in dishes will give great benefits as well. The oil form is obviously just more concentrated. Oregano contains vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, calcium, and potassium. It has many positive attributes, don’t you think?
Take advantage of those attributes, because oregano can be enjoyed in many dishes. The most common use we think of is slow cooked into a magnificent pasta sauce. To add a refreshing pop, sprinkle fresh oregano on your next slice of pizza. Its as good or better on top than it is blended into a pizza sauce. Fresh forms can also be sprinkled on garlic bread, in salads and onto omelets for a flavor twist. I unfortunately do not have fresh growing at home right now, however, I still make the most of the dried on hand. The tomato sauce I canned over the summer. now in my pantry, gets a little help transforming into an amazing pasta sauce, with the help of my oregano (and some other spicy friends). Any way you try it, its delicious in my book! With all of these great health benefits, well, just consider those as bonus points! Enjoy getting to know this wonderful herb!
Looking for a way to spice up your life? Well let’s get it on, in the kitchen. Yes I said the kitchen…this is where the spices are stored. Here is a quick look at the health benefits of a few of my favorite spices. Just a few reasons to eat at home, eat fresh and healthy. Food as medicine. But remember to always consult your physician before using these spice remedies.
Popular in Chinese medicine for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It will help fight a bad stomach bug, candida yeast infections. Some researchers claim that cinnamon is effective in improving memory and cognitive development. Sprinkle cinnamon in your oatmeal, in your coffee, on sweet potatoes fries, squash…really anything that sounds good!
For me the most common benefit of turmeric is its anti-inflammatory properties. The active ingredient is curcumin, which can have antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties as well. Use turmeric on cauliflower, in salad dressings, rice, and curry dishes. Another favorite way to consume it is through a glass of tea with honey and lemon. You can find many recipes online.
An ingredient in cayenne called Capsicum is responsible for its health benefits. Capsicum has been shown to increase circulation and contribute to weight loss. You can use cayenne to flavor beans, chili, tacos, and really anything you want to spice up with some heat.
This beautiful green herb has had its claim to health fame since the early days of the Romans. Parsley’s health benefits include anti-oxidant nutrients, high folic acid content, and Vitamin C. These benefits can help fight against arthritis, keep the heart healthy, and fights against bad breathe. Parsley can be used in marinades, added to soups and sauces, meats, fish…the list can go on!
The oil of this plant has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Recent studies suggest it is effective in killing MRSA bacteria strains. My most common use for thyme is in marinades, soups and in roasted beef, chicken or turkey.
Of course these are only a few of the many herbs and spices that provide health benefits. Add some spice to your life and some real health benefits!
Your mom has always told you to eat your vegetables. Whether you listen or not, could be affecting your health. The reason why vegetables are so important to have in your diet is highlighted in a recent article by the Hippocrates Health Institute.
Vegetables are a good source of vitamins and fiber, but the tiny compounds that scientists are most interested in are the phytonutrients. These specific plant compositions allows a plant to protect itself from fungi, disease, and bugs. Research is showing that those phytonutrients help your body protect itself in similar ways, when included in your diet.
The Hippocrates Health Institute reports “Organic fruits and vegetables have far more phytonutrients than nonorganic plants. This is because nonorganic plants become dependent upon the artificial, chemically-synthesized pesticides and fungicides farmers spray on them to help them grow. Consequently, the plants stop producing many of the antibodies needed to naturally deal with these challenges. Phytonutrients are also very sensitive to heat and are destroyed by the cooking process. Therefore fresh, ripe, raw, organic, and whole fruits, vegetables, and sprouts are the best source of these powerful defenders for your immune system.” There are 5 key benefits the body is rewarded with when consuming fresh, organic, raw vegetables:
Antioxidant: Phytonutrients work to rid our bodies of damaging free radicals. If left to roam in the body, free radicals can cause damage to cells, proteins, and even your DNA.
Antibiotic: Phytonutrients are known to boost your immune system to help prevent bacterial infections.
Cancer preventative: Some of the phytonutrients studied, specifically in broccoli and tomatoes, are thought to have cancer preventing properties.
Anti-inflammatory: Many are known to have properties to reduce inflammation within the body.
Immune support: Phytonutrients have qualities to support your immune function. This is done in partnership when inflammation in the body is reduced, encouraging tissue support and protection.
According to The Hippocrates Health Institute, scientists have identified more than 25,000 phytonutrients in plant foods. Many phytonutrients give plants their distinctive colors such as the green, orange, and red in spinach, carrots, and bell peppers. Here are just a few:
Chlorophyll – wheatgrass, spirulina, chlorella, barley grass, and in all leafy greens. Good for healthy blood, brain, all bodily tissues, detox, lowers blood pressure, glowing skin.
Beta-carotene – carrots, yams and green leafy vegetables. Good for Healthy eyes, skin, hair, bones, teeth and sex.
Lycopene – tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruits and apricots. Good for boosting the immune system and cancer of the mouth, esophagus, lung, stomach, intestines, prostate, cervical and colon.
Selenium – brazil nuts and walnuts. Boosting the immune system especially for people dealing with colds, flus, AIDS/ HIV, and tuberculosis. Excellent for the thyroid and it is anti-aging!
Diindolylmethane – broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and collard greens. Strengthens the immune system.
Allyl Sulfides – garlic, onions, and shallots. Strengthens the immune system, good for allergies, colds, and flu.
Curcuminoids – Turmeric. This phytonutrient has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, pro-digestive, and anti-infectious activities.
Listen to your mother, and eat those vegetables!
Here is a delicious superfood breakfast recipe to make sure you get a boost of the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that our bodies need. I found myself falling in love with steel cut oatmeal this week. Well that love actually started after the previous blog on the different types of oatmeal. I had never wandered outside the world of flattened oatmeal. You just cannot do a segment without really trying the foods right? Sounded like a delicious chore to me! I did just that, and now every morning I start my day with steel cut oatmeal. To keep it interesting, and to make sure I cram as many healthy benefits into the meal, I made myself a superfood version. My version provides antioxidants, an anti-inflammatory boost and plenty of fiber. So many endless possibilities with steel cut oatmeal.
Pumpkin Spice Steel Cut Oatmeal Topped with Walnuts and Apples
1 C steel cut oatmeal, cooked according to package directions
1/4 pumpkin puree
1 T honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C chopped walnuts
1/4 C chopped apples
Cook the steel cut oatmeal according to package directions. Add pumpkin, honey, cinnamon and stir. Top with the walnuts and apples. ENJOY!!
Foods That Cleanse The Body: Lemons
There are many health benefits in the lemon. Full of Vitamin C, the lemon has strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers. Lemons contain many other substances like, citric acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene, that promote immunity and fight infections. These key components of a lemon, make this sour yellow fruit, nature’s powerful little antioxidant.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is needed to produce glutathione in the liver. Glutathione neutralizes the toxins in the liver, aiding detoxification of the body. This makes the lemon a partner in fighting free radicals in the body, reducing the risks of certain cancers. At the first sign of a cold, you should get your body the vitamin C boost it needs to bounce back faster. You can add the juice of one lemon to a glass of warm water and drink that every two hours. The vitamin C will be absorbed by your mucous membranes, if you gargle with the juice of a lemon too. As well, the antibacterial and antiviral properties of lemons can accelerate the healing of canker sores in the mouth, and freshen your breath.
Lemons are applauded for their multiple uses. When fatigue sets in, drinking lemon water or using lemon oil as aromatherapy gives your brain and senses a boost, making you more alert and able to concentrate. Lemons have a powerful alkaline affect on the body and the lemon acid will actually help stimulate stomach acid and aid in digestion. Drink a glass of warm water, with the juice of one lemon, after each meal to benefit from this. If you suffer from high cholesterol, don’t forget that the pectin power in lemons, along with its other metabolism and circulation boosting nutrients, can help lower cholesterol.
Does your complexion need some help? Well the citric acid in lemons work as a powerful antiseptic, and are effective in treating acne. Pairing the citric acid with the vitamin C, boosts the immune system, and are vital for that healthy glowing skin and production of collagen. That collagen helps keep skin, blood vessels, tendons and ligaments healthy, making you beautiful inside and out!
Our body can be affected by everything we ingest. The body needs to be fed healthy foods that keep it working at its prime. Adding inexpensive lemon water to your daily diet has so many whole body benefits. This refreshing beverage is a must for everyone!