Tag Archives: Food

Food Can Be A Powerful Medicine

Depending on the types of foods you choose such as processed vs. whole, fried vs. baked and sugar and salt laden vs. naturally spiced; food can be the best medicine or a health hazard.
Turmeric is a spice that falls into the ‘healthy-for-you’ category.  Well known for delivering a distinctive flavor to Indian foods, it is believed that Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and has traditionally been included for arthritis holistic therapies. Although acute (short-term) inflammation is beneficial to your bodies systems, it can become a major problem when it is chronic (long-term). At that point it actually turns against the body’s own tissues?  It is now believed that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in many diseases.  This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions.  If adding spices and foods that are known to reduce inflammation helps in addition to a medical regime, why wouldn’t you?
 The medicinal compounds in Turmeric are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.  Unfortunately, it is difficult for the body to absorb.  It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperin, a natural substance that increases the absorption of curcumin.

According to WebMD, “Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn, stomach pain,diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, liver problems and gallbladder disorder.

It is also used for head aches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, fever, menstrual problems, and cancer. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, water retention, worms, and kidney problems.”

Healthline suggests basil is a delicious herb that might help lower your blood pressure. Extract of basil has been shown to reduce blood pressure, although only briefly. Adding fresh basil to your diet is easy and certainly can’t hurt. Keep a small pot of the herb in your kitchen garden and add the fresh leaves to pastas, soups, salads, and casseroles.
If you are thinking of trying herbs for medical reasons, whether that means using the whole herb or a supplements, speak to your doctor first. Some herbs, especially in large quantities, it may produce undesirable side effects or interfere with other medications.

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Stevia, Monk Fruit Extract, or Aspartame- Are There Any Healthy Sweeteners?

We are all becoming more educated about reducing the total quantity of sugar in our diet for our better health, but are the sweetener -alternatives any better?  According to EatingWell.com, the artificial and sugar substitute industry is growing, topping $18 billion in 2019!  But do the artificial alternatives to sugar cause more sugar addiction and health problems?

You will find artificial sweeteners in the most inconspicuous packages products.  You expect them added to diet sodas, flavored yogurts, low calorie ice cream, and diet candies but would you expect them in fat free salad dressings, high fiber cereals, ketchup or breads? When you add it up in this product, that lunch, this snack; it turns out to accumulate.

It’s important to know the names that artificial sweeteners go by: aspartame, acesulfame potassium, saccharin, supra lose, neotame. The names of ‘natural’ sweeteners such as Stevia leaf extract, monk fruit extract and sugar alcohols such as erythritol and xylitol.  When looking at the ingredient listing of a product, look for these ingredients.  All of these sweeteners have been FDA-approved, but there is some controversy from organizations such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)which question the impact all these additives on a bodies’ long term health.

Do they help you lose weight or crave sugar more?  One study will prove that in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle they do help you reduce your overall sugar intake.  Then there are opposing studies that say that those who consume sugar substitutes aren’t leaner, and are sometimes heavier!  What’s the solution?  Many nutritionist recommend utilizing sugar for sweeter swaps moderately and include more whole, unprocessed foods to your diet.  Many people with gut sensitivity may increase their health symptoms if they consume aspartame, Sucralose or saccharin. I personally had an doctor recommend this to me to improve my chronic digestive symptoms.

According to Joyce Hendley, states that American ingest a staggering 140 pounds of sugar substitutes annually. Any effort to improve reducing that number is health-beneficial.

Paula Maier
www.paulashealthyliving.com

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Food Related Ideas to Help You Meet Your Goals

Making healthy changes to achieve weight or fitness goals or due to health concerns can be paralyzing for many people. I encourage the people that I consult with in one-on-one counseling to look for small changes that you can make on a weekly basis. Most people do not succeed with their New Year’s resolutions, because they create unattainable goals.

Let’s come up with food-related ideas that are reachable and doable for the typical person:

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Perfect Paella!

The Perfect Paella

Food means more to me than filling my stomach. Food should be chosen because of nutrition, taste and ‘experience’.

Taste and the experience of enjoying that food helps you manage portions and increase the pleasure of food. It’s helpful not to eat in front of your computer, the TV or in your car. That sets you up for mindless eating. Continue reading

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Are There Any Real Benefits In Buying Organic Produce?

The controversy continues over the nutritional and health supremacy of organic fruits and produce over conventionally grown.  

Every week a new ‘definition’ point of view is established.  

Paula Maier - OrganicThese are some facts to take into account.

It has been found that in about 60% of studies that organic food is higher in some nutrients than conventionally produced food.  

These statistics can be refuted by other studies, but you need to look if the studies that are being compared are done on the same physical area over-time.  Otherwise you are comparing apples to oranges because the soil being tested is not the same.

Polyphenols are antioxidants and may be one of the main reasons fruits and vegetables are healthy for us.  

One issue to consider is what the organic growing process filters versus conventional growing.  

Plants grown organically have to grow stronger from the start because they have to fend off a range of insects and growth disease on their own.  

This ‘defensive compound’ they create may help to keep us healthier according to Charles Benbrook, a researcher at Washington State University. He is with the National Academy of Sciences as chief science consultant for the Organic Center.  

He states. “If you keep putting on more and more nitrogen fertilizer the way conventional farms do, you drive yields up and produce bigger plants.  But, this dilutes the plants’ levels of vitamins, minerals and polyphenols.”

Shelf-life and sugar content

Apples, celery, pears, potatoes, strawberries, sweet bell peppers and sweet potatoes are higher in pesticides on the Dietary Risk Index (DRI), and lower on the Organic Risk Index (ORI).  This affects their shelf-life, and sugar content.  Also to be considered is if the plants are grown domestically (where they are subject to our mandates and regulations about growing procedures) or abroad.

Bottom Line?  Seek out the information in DRI from the EPA and other agencies, and imported vs. domestic statistics when you are making decisions about whether you want to buy organic or domestic fruits and vegetables.  

Make informed decisions with all of the facts.

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