Foods, Uncategorized

Turmeric Lemonade

turmericlemonade

Turmeric is a versatile spice that I use often and it is also a great natural remedy. It can be used externally to improve skin, can help whiten teeth, and in poultices to soothe rashes. Internally, it supports digestion, the liver, and is high in beneficial antioxidants. You have heard me talk about turmeric before and now you hear about it again, with a twist.

 

This power spice is a cornerstone of Indian cuisine and used in curry powders, mustards and more. Doctors and naturopaths often recommend turmeric as a way to help lower inflammation in the body. Thousands of studies show its benefits in promoting heart health, mental health, reducing inflammation and ensuring balanced blood sugar.

How to Use Turmeric

 

I love to add turmeric to skin scrubs and other beauty recipes. I also put it in many of my homemade spice blends and add it to many recipes.

 

Unfortunately, many of the foods I love adding turmeric in, like soups and stews, aren’t good summer recipes. I find it harder to consume foods and drinks with turmeric in warmer months. But, you can always add turmeric to scrambled.

 

My favorite turmeric recipe of all time is this Turmeric Tea (also called Golden Milk). I make that warm and savory drink with coconut milk and other spices and love it in cooler months.

 

Turmeric Lemonade

 

Unfortunately, when the outside temperatures start hitting 90+ degrees, hot drinks lose some of their appeal. I’ve been experimenting with ways to use turmeric in cooler foods and drinks and come up with a few recipes we love.

 

This iced turmeric lemonade is a delicious summer favorite for our family as I’ve been making it often for the kids while they are playing outside. It is incredibly easy to make and tastes great!

The earthy taste of the turmeric provides gorgeous color but is mostly hidden by the tang of the lemon. Personally, I like to use liquid stevia to sweeten this, though any natural sweetener would work.

 

Iced turmeric lemonade combines earthy and bright turmeric with fresh lemon and natural sweetness for a delicious summer drink.

 

Serves: 4 cups

 

Ingredients:

 

2 cups water

1.5 cup of ice

½ cup fresh lemon juice (or more to taste about 2-3 lemons)

1-2 teaspoons turmeric powder

½ teaspoon stevia drops (or more to taste)- Can substitute other natural sweetener but will need to add more

Tiny pinch of black pepper (increases benefits of turmeric)

Instructions:

 

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend for 60 seconds or until ice is completely blended in.

Let rest for about 30 seconds before pouring. Pour into cups to serve. I prefer to serve over more ice.

Consume immediately.

Notes:

 

If you won’t consume all of this at once, make smaller batches by cutting the recipe in half or even fourths. I prefer to use stevia to keep the sugar content down, but any natural sweetener like maple syrup or honey will work well in this recipe. You can also make this with lime juice (same amount as lemon juice) or orange juice (double the juice and reduce the water by ½ cup).

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Add Years to Your Life by Reading

reading

“Reading books may add years to your life”

 

Past studies have shown that reading books can benefit people in a multitude of ways, physically, mentally, and intellectually. Now in a new study, people who read a book for about 30 minutes a day were found to live approximately 2 years longer than those who didn’t read at all.

In previous research, curling up with a good book has been shown to improve people’s social skills by improving their ability to read the thoughts and feelings of others.

 

Researchers at the University of Sussex in England found that reading was “the most effective way to overcome stress” – even better than listening to music, having a cup of tea, or going for a walk.

 

Reading has also been proven to be a great way to keep the mind sharp, and may reduce mental decline by 32%, helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Still not convinced you should put down your smartphone and go grab a book? Well, cracking open the cover of one makes you smarter. In a 1993 study published in the journal Advances in Child Development and Behavior, researchers wrote:

“Certainly, our data demonstrate time and again that print exposure is associated with vocabulary, general knowledge, and verbal skills even after controlling for abstract reasoning abilities…”

By “smarter,” the researchers meant “having a larger vocabulary and more world knowledge in addition to the abstract reasoning skills encompassed within the concept of intelligence…”

 

What the New Study Says About Reading

 

For the new study, researchers from Yale University analyzed data on 3,635 people age 50 and older. The participants were divided into 3 groups – those who didn’t read at all, those who read up to 30 minutes a day, and those who read for longer than 3.5 hours per week.

 

Those who read the most tended to be women with college educations and high incomes. The researchers said that book readers appear to have a “significant survival advantage” over people who don’t read books. The study didn’t address whether reading on a Kindle or other tablet device counted, but it did find that book readers in general lived an average of 2 years longer than non-readers.

Specifically, the researchers found that people who read up to 3.5 hours a week were 17% less likely to die over the study’s 12-year follow-up period than participants who read no books. This was after accounting for the participants’ age, race, self-reported health, depression, employment, and marital status.

 

Compared with those who didn’t read books, those who read for more than 3.5 hours a week were 23% less likely to die overall.

 

A similar association was found among those who read newspapers and periodicals, but it was weaker.

 

The newspaper-readers tacked an average of 23 extra months onto their lives. Becca R. Levy, senior author of the study and a professor of epidemiology at Yale, said:

“People who report as little as a half-hour a day of book reading had a significant survival advantage over those who did not read.”

 

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Uncategorized

Five Good Reasons to Eat More Cherries

cherries

Five Good Reasons to Eat More Cherries

 

Don’t you love cherries! Dried, fresh, frozen, tart or sweet…in smoothies, on salads, even in main courses. They are an excellent sweet healthy snack full of antioxidants, and fat burning ingredients. In this article we are talking about tart cherries!

 

Cherries contain some unique and pretty awesome bioactive components that can help prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other inflammatory diseases—as well as prevent muscle soreness, and help you sleep. Not only that, cherries are an extremely effective treatment for arthritis pain, gout, hemorrhoids, and allergies.

Cherries have boatloads of antioxidants in them that fight free radical damage and protect our cells’ DNA. Free radicals are linked to many diseases including cancer, heart disease, and dementia. Cherries also contain the super-nutrients quercetin, hydroxycinnamates, potassium, carotenoids and melatonin. Even sweet cherries have a healthy low glycemic index of 22, making them a healthy food for people trying to keep their blood sugar stable.

 

Anti-Inflammatory

Cherries are one of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can eat. These little red powerhouses contain phytochemicals called “anthocyanins” that give them their deep red color. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University found that the powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins in tart cherries were as effective at decreasing inflammation as the anti-inflammatory drugs Ibuprofen, aspirin and Tylenol. Another study published in the Journal of Natural Products showed that anthocyanins and cyanidin isolated from tart cherries worked better than aspirin. And many studies have shown that Tylenol and Ibuprofen can be extremely harmful to the liver and very toxic, so eating foods that are anti-inflammatory is far better for your health.

 

In fact, cherries can even help your workouts. Cherries have been proven to get rid of the aches and pains from an intense workout. They can actually reduce muscle soreness as well. This study  published in Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition looked at cherries’ power to reduce muscle damage and soreness from working out.  54 runners ran a 16 miles race, while drinking tart cherry juice or a placebo. The group drinking the cherry juice reported a significantly smaller increase in pain compared to the placebo group, which was attributed to cherries’ anti-inflammatory effect.

 

Arthritis and Gout

Over 33 million Americans have osteoarthritis. Arthritis can physically affect the joint, creating friction and lots of pain when the cartilage wears down. In one study done at the Osteoarthritis Research Center with 58 osteoarthritic patients who drank two 8-ounce bottles of tart cherry juice for six weeks, Western Ontario McMaster Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scores decreased significantly after the tart cherry juice treatment. The WOMAC index is standardized questionnaire used by health professionals to evaluate patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and hip, including pain, stiffness, and physical functioning of the joints.

 

Gout is another type of arthritis that is extremely painful, usually affecting the big toe. Uric acid crystals build up in the toe joint, causing major inflammation, swelling, redness and serious pain. High uric acid levels in the body can also be associated with diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease. A large study of 633 people with gout were treated with cherry extract over a two-day period showing a 35% lower risk of gout attacks. When cherry intake was combined with allopurinol, a prescribed medication for gout and kidney stones, the risk of gout attacks was 75% lower.

Anti-Cancer

Anthocyanins from cherries, especially sour cherries have such strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, they inhibit tumor development in mice and the growth of human cancer cells. On a study done with mice with a genetic risk of colon cancer, a diet of tart cherries and anthocyanins helped prevent colon cancer and tumor growth. This study also showed that these two compounds from cherries reduced the growth of human colon cancer cells as well.

 

One other study done on humans with cherry extract showed a reduction in the growth of colon cancer cells and human breast cancer cells as well.

 

Sleep Soundly with Cherries

Cherries also help you sleep more soundly because they are one of the only foods that contain a natural substance called ‘melatonin’. Melatonin is a hormone in the body that regulates sleep cycles and helps you sleep deeply. Tart cherries contain the highest levels of melatonin. It only takes two tablespoons of concentrated tart cherry juice to promote good quality, deep sleep necessary for healing and repair of the body.

 

Melatonin contains powerful antioxidants that helps reverse aging as well. What’s more, a good night’s sleep helps to reduce cortisol which helps you burn fat better as well! In a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, 20 volunteers consumed either a placebo or tart cherry juice concentrate for seven days. As a result of this treatment, total melatonin content was significantly elevated in the cherry juice group.

Healthy Hearts

Tart cherries can also protect the heart and reduce the risk of strokes. Research done at University of Michigan shows tart cherries activate something called PPAR (peroxisome proliferator activating receptors) in the body. These receptors are connected to glucose and fat metabolism and can help reduce heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. There are prescribed medications that do the same thing, but they come with serious side effects, such as increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke!

 

While sweet cherries are effective, tart cherries contain even more of the powerful antioxidants that burn fat, help with muscle aches and soreness and help you sleep more soundly. Enjoy cherries in your next smoothie, on top of your breakfast oatmeal, throw in a salad, or just plain for a sweet, satisfying snack! One of my favorite snacks is frozen organic cherries mixed with raw almonds, and sprinkled with a little bit of cinnamon.  Give it a try!

 

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