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10 Super Herbs and Spices for Ultimate Health Benefits
Many spices hold cultural meaning to them in households throughout the world. Did you know, these same herbs and spices can improve your well-being in countless ways? The addition of herbs and spices to your diet is the simplest way to boost your immune system and fight off diseases and conditions such as inflammation.
Ginger is used to treat nausea caused by morning sickness, chemotherapy, and even sea sickness. Ginger can also be used as a pain management remedy as 2 grams of ginger a day fights colon inflammation the same way as aspirin.
Other research found that a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, mastic, and sesame oil decreased pain and stiffness experienced by those with osteoarthritis.
Rosemary been shown to suppress allergic responses and nasal congestion due to an active ingredient called rosmarinic acid.Rosemary is considered a cognitive stimulant and can help improve memory performance and quality. It is also known to boost alertness, intelligence, and focus.
Peppermint is known for its aromatherapy benefits however, this spice also has benefits when consumed through food. Many studies have shown that peppermint oil can improve pain management in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Peppermint helps to relax the colon and reduces abdominal bloating.
Cayenne Pepper is a type of chili used in many dishes around the world. Known for its spicy taste, cayenne pepper is also a remedy for those looking to reduce their appetite and increase fat burning.
Garlic has an in-depth history for its medicinal uses. Garlic supplementation is well known for combatting sickness, including the common cold. It is advised that those who experience symptoms relating to the common cold should increase their intake of garlic.
Studies have also found garlic to cause significant reductions in blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
Turmeric is a good source of curcumin, an antioxidant that eases inflammation. Research suggests that curcumin may help ease pain. And other research shows that eating even small amounts of turmeric regularly may help prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s disease, possibly by helping prevent the brain plaques that lead to dementia.
The cocoa bean is chock-full of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that have been shown to boost heart health. Flavonoids seem to play a role in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and helping keep your coronary (heart) arteries healthy, among other things. Also, studied suggest that daily intake of cocoa flavanols can improve mental performance in people with and without mental impairments.
Nutmeg is found to have health benefits, including its ability to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, alleviate oral conditions, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function, and prevent leukemia, and improve blood circulation.
This sweet, pungent spice is in many pumpkin spice mixes. It’s known to soothe an upset stomach, and lab studies show it may also help fight inflammation. Cardamom may help fight bacteria in the mouth, a common cause of bad breath, cavities, and gum disease.
Oregano has many nutrients, including vitamins K and E, calcium, iron, manganese and fiber. Also, oregano is high in antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, helping fend off heart disease, stroke and cancer. Plus, oregano has phytonutrients that help fight infections.
The Incredible Edible Apple
An apple is a fruit that you can prepare a number of ways. Grown on apple trees, the apple originated in Central Asia. Unlike many other fruit, apples are around every season.
Types of Apples
Apples come in many varieties and can be found at most grocery stores. There are at least 25 different types of apples. A few are listed below:
- Granny Smith
- Red Delicious
When selecting apples, be sure to have a keen eye for those plump and bruise free apples. The heavier the apple, the fresher and juicer it may be.
Sweet apples are generally the following types: Honeycrisp, Fuji, or Gala. Sour tasting apples are the following types: Granny Smith, Empire, or a Braeburn.
Health Benefits of Apples
Apples are low in sodium and high in fiber. They have pectin, a fiber that breaks down in your gut.
Apple peels protect against blood vessel and heart damage. Apples are also known to lower your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Research and medical doctors have also given apples credit for increasing lung strength, bone health, aid in weight loss. Apples are high in fiber and water — two qualities that make them filling when it comes to weight loss.
In one study, people who ate apple slices before a meal felt fuller than those who consumed applesauce, apple juice, or no apple products.
Apples are made up of fiber, sugar, and carbohydrates. One apple is about 100 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber. Although apples contain many health benefits, be aware that too much fruit can result in weight gain due to sugar.
Ways to Prepare Apples
Benefits of Exercising
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Exercising plays a major role in your overall well-being including happiness. Exercise is known to increase your mood and decrease anxiety and depression. Exercise increases endorphins and help produce positive feelings and reduce perception of pain. Exercise also improves mental health by improving relationships.
Exercising Releases Good Chemicals
Exercise causes the body to produce endorphins and trigger happiness.
Exercising can improve brain function and protect memory and thinking skills. Physical activity increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain. Exercising has shown to increase the functions within the hippocampus part of the brain which serves as the vital component in memory and learning. Studies have shown that physical activity can create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance.
Exercising Helps With Sleep Quality
Since exercising requires a certain level of energy, the quality of sleep increases as the body seeks to replenish the energy lost. Some studies have shown where exercising at night can have a reverse effect on sleeping for early birds but not night owls.
Exercise and Chronic Pain
When someone exercises, it is found to reduce their chronic pain. Physical activity can increase overall pain tolerance and decrease ones perception of pain.
The act of exercising is also known to improve skin health by increasing the body’s natural antioxidants that help protect cells. Physical activity stimulates blood flow and this can help delay the appearance of skin aging.
For those that are outdoorsy, exercising allows you to enjoy nature when you choose to exercise outside. Outdoor exercises can range from running, hiking, rock climbing, and canoeing. It is advised to remember to protect your skin and eyes when exercising outdoors.
Creating a Stable, Structured, and Supportive Home Environment for Children
“Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.” ― Dr. Seuss
Children thrive in consistency, predictability and follow through. Creating a stable, structured, and supportive home environment is the goal. Stable homes produce successful children.
Safe, stable, nurturing relationships and
environments are essential to prevent
early adversity, including child abuse and
neglect, and to assure that all children
reach their full potential.– The CDC
If you want to raise a child who is caring, organized, goal-oriented, and successful, you must provide a stable environment in which he can experience a childhood filled with both love and bonding experiences. –Dr. Gail Gross, Human Behavior, Parenting, and Education Expert, Speaker, Author. Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed.
Dr. Gross provides insight on how parents can focus on providing a stable and supportive home environments. As parents, centering on the child helps promote wellbeing and positive experiences in the child’s life. The CDC states that child abuse and neglect are top public health problems being faced in the United States. Child abuse ranges from physical, emotional, sexual and neglect. Providing a safe, stable, and supportive environment prevents these types of abuse from happening in the home. According to science, children who experience instability in the early years are under stress. When a child experiences stressors relating to poverty, abuse, divorce, or insecurity, he or she produces stress hormone cortisol. This changes the architecture of the child’s brain and affects their impulse control. These same stressors also have a profound effect on a child’s ability to navigate through school successfully and the ability to interact with peers positively. In fact, stress can be a central cause for both emotional and physical illness, impacting your child’s overall health, school attendance and school performance.
What Are Safe, Stable, and Nurturing Relationships?
All definitions are provided by the CDC.
Safety: The extent to which an individual is free from fear and secure from physical or psychological harm within their social, physical, and work environments.
Stability: The degree of predictability and consistency in one’s relationships as well as the social, emotional, and physical environments.
Nurturing: The extent to which parents and children have access to individuals who are able to sensitively and consistently respond to and meet their needs.
The experiences of children are centered around the three elements listed. Moreso, children experience the world through their relationship with nurturing and caring adults. Parents that are looking to strengthen the relationship between themselves and their children are encouraged to focus on understanding, helping, and enjoying them. Parents are also encouraged to devote uninterrupted attention to their children, everyday. This allows for serve and return interactions and for the child share their new ideas, thoughts and feelings. When children experience their feelings being validated, they are more comfortable with sharing with the adults in their life. Children need to know that their parents will respect, accept, and not minimize their feelings. As a result, children are more prone to demonstrate healthy serve and return interactions with their parents.
Raising a Healthy and Happy Child is The Ultimate Goal
“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” — Dr. Seuss
Yes, that’s right. I don’t know one parent that does not want their child to be happy and healthy. This is the ultimate goal for most parents. Many times, parents focus on providing a home and the other elements (nurture and support) are overlooked. Children who consistently receive stability, support and structure are more likely to grow into successful adults. Parents are encouraged to focus on follow through when considering the aspect of consistency. For parents seeking to establish consistency, predictability and follow through, see the definitions of each below:
Consistency means that you respond to your child’s behavior the same way every time no matter what is going on or how you’re feeling. Consistency is doing the same thing every time.
Predictability means your child knows what will happen and how you will respond. Predictability is expecting or knowing what is going to happen.
Following through means that you do what you say you will do in response to your child’s behaviors. This is often called the “say what you mean and mean what you say.”
Parents can create structure and predictability at any age with their children. However, it is advised to start in the early years. Parents can begin with routines for important activities of the day, like meals, bedtime, or in the morning. Structure allows children to feel safe and secure, simply because they know what to expect. Children are able to be within the established rules and routines.
Creating a Positive Home and Positive Atmosphere
Alright, I’m not saying be overly positive. That’s not genuine and your children will be able to tell the difference. However, creating a positive home does allow for genuine and supportive interactions. Parents set the tone. Here are a few tips for parents looking to create a positive home and positive home environment:
Provide Praise and Encouragement
Children need to know when they have done something good! Praise them! Reward their efforts. Balance is needed with providing praise, as children need to feel supported when they struggle. Maintaining positivity is one way to support children during this time.
Instill a Positive Mindset
Build the mindset of your children up through positive affirmations. Children quickly learn “I” statements by doing so. “I CAN”, “I WILL,” “I AM”
Model the Behavior You Would Like to See
Using soft words and demonstrating soft actions demonstrates positive behaviors for your child. Children should not witness harse language and tones as this makes it okay for them to use.
When children see their parents acting in a confident manner, they are likely to pick up the behavior. Parents are also encouraged to support your child’s confidence.
Surprising Health Benefits of Coffee
Coffee is one of the worlds top rated beverages. For many, coffee is viewed as a guilty pleasure due to perspectives on sugar and caffeine intake. However, did you know coffee holds many positive health benefits for those who choose to consume this beverage? Yes, that’s right! We are going to dive into the major health benefits on your health that can happen from drinking a cup of coffee.
The statements within this post are for factual purposes, only. If you are interested in changing your diet, consult with your medical provider.
Vitamins and Minerals
One cup of coffee holds a significant amount of vitamins and minerals. Black coffee contains a number of micronutrients, potassium, magnesium and niacin. The sodium level is very low. The data below provides the micronutrient nutritional profile of 100ml of medium strength black coffee.
In fact, the type of water used in preparation of coffee can determine the number of nutrients in a cup. This is due to hard and soft water having different effects on coffee once prepared.
Coffee and Energy Levels
One well known fact about coffee is its ability to shift your energy levels. Coffee is known to help people feel less tired and increase overall energy levels due to a main ingredient, caffeine. Once a cup of coffee is consumed, the caffeine absorbs within your blood stream and travels to your brain. This stimulant (caffeine) blocks adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that makes you sleepy.
Coffee has been shown to improve overall brain function. Most of these functions include memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times, and overall mental function. Some studies have found that caffeine may enhance short-term memory. There is not a definitive answer regarding the effects of caffeine and long term memory functions.
Lowers Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Research has shown where coffee drinkers have a lowered risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes. Studies observe that people who drink the most coffee have a 23–50% lower risk of getting this disease. One study showed a reduction as high as 67%.
Researchers with Harvard University tracked over 100,000 people for over 20 years. The results were that people who reduced their coffee drinking by one cup cup developed an increase in developing diabetes by 17%.
It’s not clear why coffee has such an impact on the development of diabetes.
Coffee Makes You Happier
Yes, a caramel macchiato can make you happier in the morning. However, research shows that drinking coffee daily can lower your risks for developing depression and can also cure depression symptoms. As of today, coffee, cocoa and tea are being actively investigated because they contain polyphenolic compounds that may have beneficial effects on mental health, including behaviour, mood, depression and cognition.
Another study with Harvard found that participants who drank 20 cups of coffee a day had a 20% chance of becoming depressed. Research into coffee and depression has found that people tend to experience less severe symptoms when they drink coffee. Coffee appears to lower your risk of developing depression and may dramatically reduce suicide risk.
Lowers Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease is a condition that impacts the central nervous system and impacts movements and causes tremors. In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time. It typically occurs due to low levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that plays an important role in movement and coordination. Coffee consumption appears to reduce or delay the development of Parkinson’s Disease and caffeine is most likely the causal factor.
“A 2010 review of previous research found that the more caffeine people regularly consumed, the lower their risk of developing Parkinson’s”- Medical News Today
During another study, those individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s had lowered caffeine levels of 76%. It is suggested that coffee does in fact, lower the risk of Parkinson’s Disease, given the findings.
Coffee Manages Weight and Speeds Up Metabolism
Are you still looking for a reason to drink coffee? Coffee aids in weight management and speeds up overall metabolism. As mentioned above, coffee contains stimulants. These stimulants are caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, and chlorogenic acid. The most effective stimulant is once again, caffeine. Caffeine fights to make you stay awake and controls energy levels.
Caffeine increases your metabolic rate making it easier to lose weight. The higher your metabolic rate, the easier it is for you to lose weight and the more you can eat without gaining weight. Caffeine increases your resting metabolic rate. This increases the number of calories you burn while resting.
There is a potential downfall to this concept. The body can become immune to the effects of caffeine, causing it to have a reverse effect.