Sunday, May 31, 2015

Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods, Herbs, and Spices

By Dr. Mercola
Herbs and cooking spices contain a wide variety of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, and help maximize the nutrient density of your meals. Every time you flavor your meals with herbs or spices you are literally "upgrading" your food without adding a single calorie.
In fact, on a per gram fresh weight basis, herbs rank even higher in antioxidant activity than fruits and vegetables, which are known to be high in antioxidants. Many studies have also shown that most spices tend to have unique medicinal qualities.
In the featured study,1 researchers from three Universities devised an experiment to evaluate the “true world” benefits of herbs and spices, by feeding them to people in quantities that are typically consumed simply by spicing up your meals. As noted by Dr. Michael Greger MD, who produced the video above:2
“The researchers could have taken the easy route and just measured the change in antioxidant level in one’s bloodstream before and after consumption, but the assumption that the appearance of antioxidant activity in the blood is an indication of bioavailability has a weakness.
Maybe more gets absorbed than we think but doesn’t show up on antioxidant tests because it gets bound up to proteins or cells. So the researchers attempted to measure physiological changes in the blood.
They were interested in whether absorbed compounds would be able to protect white blood cells from an oxidative or inflammatory injury—whether herb and spice consumption would protect the strands of our DNA from breaking when attacked by free radicals.”

 

Four Spices That Pack a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Punch

For one week, 10 to 12 subjects in each of 13 groups consumed a small amount of a particular spice each day. For example, those in the oregano group ate just half a teaspoon of oregano daily for seven days. Blood samples were drawn one hour prior to consumption, and at the very end of the experiment.
The participants’ blood was then analyzed for antioxidant capacity. The researchers also analyzed how well the blood could dampen an induced inflammatory response in white blood cells.
This was done by placing the participants’ blood onto white blood cells that had been damaged by oxidized cholesterol (commonly found in fried foods). Even at the “everyday” dosage amounts given, four spices were found to be significantly effective at quelling the inflammatory response:
  1. Cloves
  2. Ginger
  3. Rosemary
  4. Turmeric
As noted in the featured article: “[T]he results represents what might happen when cells in our body are exposed to the levels of spices that circulate in our bloodstream after normal daily consumption—not megadoses in some pill. Just the amount that makes our spaghetti sauce, pumpkin pie, or curry sauce taste good.”

 

Other Potent Anti-Inflammatory Spices

An earlier study published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods3 found a direct correlation between the antioxidant phenol content of spice and herb extracts and their ability to inhibit glycation and block the formation of AGE compounds (advanced glycation end products), making them potent preventers of heart disease and premature aging.
Here, cloves were ranked as the most potent of 24 common herbs and spices found in your spice rack. In all, the following were found to be the top 10 most potent anti-inflammatory herbs and spices:
  1. Cloves
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Jamaican allspice
  4. Apple pie spice mixture
  5. Oregano
  6. Pumpkin pie spice mixture
  7. Marjoram
  8. Sage
  9. Thyme
  10.  Gourmet Italian spice

 

Inflammation Is at the Heart of Most Chronic Diseases

It’s important to realize that chronic inflammation is the source of many if not most diseases, including cancer, obesity, and heart disease, which essentially makes it the leading cause of death in the US.
While inflammation is a perfectly normal and beneficial process that occurs when your body's white blood cells and chemicals protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses, it leads to trouble when the inflammatory response gets out of hand. Your diet has a lot to do with this chain of events.
While among the most potent, ounce for ounce, herbs and spices are certainly not the only anti-inflammatory ingredients available. A number of foods are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and making sure you’re eating a wide variety of them on a regular basis can go a long way toward preventing chronic illness.

 

Top Seven Anti-Inflammatory Foods

The following foods and nutrients deserve special mention for their ability to quell inflammatory responses in your body:
1.  Animal-based omega-3 fat Animal-based omega-3 fats—found in fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon and fish- or krill oil—help fight inflammation throughout your body. It’s particularly important for brain health. Research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology4 in 2012 confirmed that dietary supplementation with krill oil effectively reduced inflammation and oxidative stress.
2.  Leafy greens Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard contain powerful antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C—all of which help protect against cellular damage. Ideally, opt for organic locally grown veggies that are in season, and consider eating a fair amount of them raw. Juicing is an excellent way to get more greens into your diet.
3.  BlueberriesBlueberries rate very high in antioxidant capacity compared to other fruits and vegetables. They are also lower in sugar than many other fruits.
4.  TeaMatcha tea is the most nutrient-rich green tea and comes in the form of a stone-ground unfermented powder. The best Matcha comes from Japan and has up to 17 times the antioxidants of wild blueberries, and seven times more than dark chocolate.

Tulsi is another tea loaded with anti-inflammatory antioxidants and other micronutrients that support immune function and heart health.
5.  Fermented vegetables and traditionally cultured foods Optimizing your gut flora is important for a well-functioning immune system, and helps ward off chronic inflammation. In fact, the majority of inflammatory diseases start in your gut, as the result of an imbalanced microbiome. Fermented foods such as kefir, natto, kimchee, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, olives, and other fermented vegetables, will help ‘reseed’ your gut with beneficial bacteria.

Fermented foods can also help your body rid itself of harmful toxins such as heavy metals and pesticides that promote inflammation.
6.  Shiitake mushrooms Shiitake mushrooms contain strong compounds with the natural ability to discourage inflammation, such as Ergothioneine, which inhibits oxidative stress.

They also contain a number of unique nutrients that many do not get enough of in their diet. One is copper, which is one of the few metallic elements accompanied by amino and fatty acids that are essential to human health. Since your body can't synthesize copper, your diet must supply it regularly. Copper deficiency can be a factor in the development of coronary heart disease.
7.  Garlic Garlic has been treasured for its medicinal properties for centuries. It’s also one of the most heavily researched plant foods around. Over 170 studies5 show it benefitting more than 150 different conditions. Garlic exerts its benefits on multiple levels, offering anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and antioxidant properties.

It's thought that much of garlic's therapeutic effect comes from its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. Research6 has revealed that as allicin digests in your body it produces sulfenic acid, a compound that reacts faster with dangerous free radicals than any other known compound.

 Your Diet Is Key for Reducing Chronic Inflammation

The running thread linking a wide variety of common health problems—from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and cancer—is chronic inflammation. The key to reducing chronic inflammation in your body starts with your diet, and being liberal in your use of high-quality herbs and spices is one simple way to boost the quality of your food. They're an inexpensive "secret weapon" that just about everyone can take advantage of. Spicing up your meals is not enough, however, if processed foods comprise the bulk of your diet.
It's important to realize that dietary components can either prevent or trigger inflammation from taking root in your body, and processed foods do the latter, courtesy of pro-inflammatory ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, soy, processed vegetable oils (trans fats), and other chemical additives. Besides adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, you’ll also want to avoid the following pro-inflammatory dietary culprits as much as possible:
  • Refined sugar, processed fructose, and grains. If your fasting insulin level is three or above, consider dramatically reducing or eliminating grains and sugars until you optimize your insulin level, as insulin resistance this is a primary driver of chronic inflammation. As a general guideline, I recommend restricting your total fructose intake to 25 grams per day. If you’re insulin or leptin resistant (have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, or are overweight), consider cutting that down to 15 grams per day until your insulin/leptin resistance has normalized
  • Oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked, scrambled eggs)
  • Foods cooked at high temperatures, especially if cooked with vegetable oil (such as peanut, corn, and soy oil)
  • Trans fats
Replacing processed foods with whole, ideally organic foods will automatically address most of these factors, especially if you eat a large portion of your food raw. Equally important is making sure you’re regularly reseeding your gut with beneficial bacteria, as mentioned above. To help you get started on a healthier diet, I suggest following my free Optimized Nutrition Plan, which starts at the beginner phase and systematically guides you step-by-step to the advanced level.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Garden update 5/29/15

video
Little bunny and humming bird spotted in the garden at 6am ^_^

video
Garden Update



Friday, May 29, 2015

Garden update 5/28/15

 5/27/15 - Tomatoes super tall and more than ready for the garden!
 5/27/15 - Tomatoes and Peppers ready for transplant!
 5/27/15 - Extra tomato plants!
 5/27/15 - extra pepper plants!
 5/27/15 - Loaded up and ready to transplant!
 5/27/15 - Time to transplant!
 5/27/15 - Row 4
  5/27/15 - Row 3
  5/27/15 - Row 2
 5/27/15 - Row 1
 5/27/15 - Garden update
 5/27/15 - Two chocolate cherry tomato plants
 5/27/15 - Two Gold Berries tomato plants and Snap peas
 5/27/15 - Four Cossak Ground cherry tomatoes

5/27/15 - Red Russian kale, Chinese cabbage, Beef Steak and Cherokee Purple tomato
 5/27/15 - Chocolate large, chocolate cherry and Ox Heart tomatoes
 5/27/15 - Ox Heart, Gold Berries tomato, and Chocolate cherry
 5/27/15 - Beef Steak Yellow Pear tomato, and Ananas Noire
 5/27/15 - 2 Chinese 5 color peppers, 2 mini red bell peppers, 2 Giant Szegedi sweet peppers, and 1 Tabasco Pepper

Papaya

Health Benefits

Papayas offer not only the luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics, but are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium, copper, and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer. In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which is used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple, to treat sports injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies.

 

Protection Against Heart Disease

Papayas may be very helpful for the prevention of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Papayas are an excellent source of the powerful antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin A (through their concentration of pro-vitamin A carotenoid phytonutrients). 

These nutrients help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Only when cholesterol becomes oxidized is it able to stick to and build up in blood vessel walls, forming dangerous plaques that can eventually cause heart attacks or strokes. One way in which dietary vitamin E and vitamin C may exert this effect is through their suggested association with a compound called paraoxonase, an enzyme that inhibits LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol oxidation. 

Papayas are also a good source of fiber, which has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels. The folic acid found in papayas is needed for the conversion of a substance called homocysteine into benign amino acids such as cysteine or methionine. If unconverted, homocysteine can directly damage blood vessel walls and, if levels get too high, is considered a significant risk factor for a heart attack or stroke.

 

Promotes Digestive Health

The nutrients in papaya have also been shown to be helpful in the prevention of colon cancer. Papaya's fiber is able to bind to cancer-causing toxins in the colon and keep them away from the healthy colon cells. In addition, papaya's folate, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E have each been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. 

These nutrients provide synergistic protection for colon cells from free radical damage to their DNA. Increasing your intake of these nutrients by enjoying papaya is an especially good idea for individuals at risk of colon cancer.

 

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Papaya contains several unique protein-digesting enzymes including papain and chymopapain. These enzymes have been shown to help lower inflammation and to improve healing from burns. In addition, the antioxidant nutrients found in papaya, including vitamin C and beta-carotene, are also very good at reducing inflammation. This may explain why people with diseases that are worsened by inflammation, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, find that the severity of their condition is reduced when they get more of these nutrients.

 

Immune Support

Vitamin C and vitamin A, which is made in the body from the beta-carotene in papaya, are both needed for the proper function of a healthy immune system. Papaya may therefore be a healthy fruit choice for preventing such illnesses as recurrent ear infections, colds and flu.

 

Protection against Macular Degeneration

Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit is even more important for keeping your sight. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily. In this study, which involved over 110,000 women and men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants' consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neovascular ARMD, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss. While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARMD, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease. Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but papaya can help you reach this goal. Add slices of fresh papaya to your morning cereal, lunch time yogurt or green salads. Cut a papaya in half and fill with cottage cheese, crab, shrimp or tuna salad. For an elegant meal, place slices of fresh papaya over any broiled fish.

 

Protection against Rheumatoid Arthritis

While one study suggests that high doses of supplemental vitamin C makes osteoarthritis, a type of degenerative arthritis that occurs with aging, worse in laboratory animals, another indicates that vitamin C-rich foods, such as papaya, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.

The findings, presented in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases were drawn from a study of more than 20,000 subjects and focused on subjects who developed inflammatory polyarthritis and similar subjects who remained arthritis-free during the follow-up period. Subjects who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C-rich foods were more than three times more likely to develop arthritis than those who consumed the highest amounts.

 

Papaya and Green Tea Team Up to Prevent Prostate Cancer

Choosing to regularly eat lycopene-rich fruits, such as papaya, and drink green tea may greatly reduce a man's risk of developing prostate cancer, suggests research published the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Jian L, Lee AH, et al.) 

In this case-control study involving 130 prostate cancer patients and 274 hospital controls, men drinking the most green tea were found to have an 86% reduced risk of prostate cancer compared, to those drinking the least. 

A similar inverse association was found between the men's consumption of lycopene-rich fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, apricots, pink grapefruit, watermelon, papaya, and guava. Men who most frequently enjoyed these foods were 82% less likely to have prostate cancer compared to those consuming the least lycopene-rich foods. 

Regular consumption of both green tea and foods rich in lycopene resulted in a synergistic protective effect, stronger than the protection afforded by either, the researchers also noted. 

Practical Tips: Get in the habit of drinking green tea and eating lycopene-rich foods.
  • Take a quart of iced green tea to work and sip throughout the day or take it to the gym to provide prostate protection while replenishing fluids after your workout.
  • Pack a ziploc bag of apricots and almonds in your briefcase or gym bag for a handy snack.
  • Start your breakfast with a half grapefruit or a glass of papaya or guava juice.
  • Add papaya to any smoothie or fruit salad or use as a delectable garnish for fish.
  • For a delicious summer lunch, cut a papaya in half, scoop out the seeds, sprinkle with lime juice and top with cottage cheese, a fresh mint leaf, and roasted almonds.
  • Begin lunch or dinner with some spicy tomato juice on the rocks with a twist of lime. Snack on tomato crostini: in the oven, toast whole wheat bread till crusty, then top with tomato sauce, herbs, a little grated cheese, and reheat until the cheese melts.
  • Top whole wheat pasta with olive oil, pine nuts, feta cheese and a rich tomato sauce for lunch or dinner.

 

Description

Papayas are fruits that remind us of the tropics, the regions of the world in which they are grown. Once considered an exotic fruit, papayas' rise in popularity has made them much more available. 

Papayas are spherical or pear-shaped fruits that can be as long as 20 inches. The ones commonly found in the market usually average about 7 inches and weigh about one pound. Their flesh is a rich orange color with either yellow or pink hues.
Papaya has a wonderfully soft, butter-like consistency and a deliciously sweet, musky taste. Inside the inner cavity of the fruit are black, round seeds encased in a gelatinous-like substance. Papaya's seeds are edible, although their peppery flavor is somewhat bitter. 

The fruit, as well as the other parts of the papaya tree, contain papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins. This enzyme is especially concentrated in the fruit when it is unripe. Papain is extracted to make digestive enzyme dietary supplements and is also used as an ingredient in some chewing gums.

 

History

Papayas, native to Central America, have been long revered by the Latin American Indians. Spanish and Portuguese explorers brought papayas to many other subtropical lands to which they journeyed including India, the Philippines, and parts of Africa. 

This revered tropical fruit was reputably called "the fruit of the angels" by Christopher Columbus. In the 20th century, papayas were brought to the United States and have been cultivated in Hawaii, the major U.S. producer since the 1920s. Today, the largest commercial producers of papayas include the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

 

How to Select and Store

If you want to eat them within a day of purchase, choose papayas that have reddish-orange skin and are slightly soft to the touch. Those that have patches of yellow color will take a few more days to ripen. 

Papayas that are totally green or overly hard should not be purchased, unless you are planning on cooking them, or unless you want to use green papayas in a cold dish like an Asian salad, as their flesh will not develop its characteristic sweet juicy flavor. 

While a few black spots on the surface will not affect the papaya's taste, avoid those that are bruised or overly soft. Papayas are more available during the summer and fall; however, you can usually purchase them throughout the year.
Papayas that are partially yellow should be left at room temperature where they will ripen in a few days. If you want to speed this process, place them in a paper bag with a banana. Ripe papayas should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within one or two days, so you can enjoy their maximum flavor.

 

Tips for Preparing and Cooking


Tips for Preparing Papaya
Papayas can be used many different ways. They can be eaten as is, added to a fruit salad or to a host of different recipes. 

One of the easiest (and most delightful) ways to eat papaya is to eat it just like a melon. After washing the fruit, cut it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and then eat it with a spoon. For a little extra zest, you can squeeze lemon or lime juice on top. 

To cut papaya into smaller pieces for fruit salad or recipes, first peel it with a paring knife and then cut into desire size and shape. You can also use a melon baller to scoop out the fruit of a halved papaya. If you are adding it to a fruit salad, you should do so just before serving as it tends to cause the other fruits to become very soft. 

While most people discard the big black seeds, they are actually edible and have a delightful peppery flavor. They can be chewed whole or blended into a creamy salad dressing, giving it a peppery flavor.

 

How to Enjoy


A Few Quick Serving Ideas

  • Mix diced papaya, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and ginger together to make a unique salsa that goes great with shrimp, scallops and halibut.
  • Sprinkle papaya with fresh lime juice and enjoy as is.
  • Slice a small papaya lengthwise and fill with fruit salad.
  • In a blender, combine papaya, strawberries and yogurt for a cold soup treat.

 

Individual Concerns


Papayas and Latex Allergy

Like avocados and bananas, papayas contain substances called chitinases that are associated with the latex-fruit allergy syndrome. There is strong evidence of the cross-reaction between latex and these foods.

 

Nutritional Profile

Papaya is an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids) and vitamin C. It is a very good source of folate. In addition, it is a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, copper, and vitamin K.
For an in-depth nutritional profile click here: Papaya.

 

In-Depth Nutritional Profile

In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, an in-depth nutritional profile for Papaya is also available. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

 

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn't contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food's in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients - not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good - please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you'll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling." Read more background information and details of our rating system.
Papaya, fresh
1.00 medium
276.00 grams
Calories: 119
GI: medium
NutrientAmountDRI/DV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
vitamin C168.08 mg22434.0excellent
folate102.12 mcg263.9very good
fiber4.69 g192.8good
vitamin A131.10 mcg RAE152.2good
magnesium57.96 mg142.2good
potassium502.32 mg142.2good
copper0.12 mg132.0good
pantothenic acid0.53 mg111.6good
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
Rule
excellent DRI/DV>=75% OR
Density>=7.6 AND DRI/DV>=10%
very good DRI/DV>=50% OR
Density>=3.4 AND DRI/DV>=5%
good DRI/DV>=25% OR
Density>=1.5 AND DRI/DV>=2.5%
In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Papaya

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Homemade Pore Strips

BLACKHEAD NOSE STRIPS | HOW TO GET RID OF BLACKHEADS ON NOSE
by Ela Gale
There are a few recipes around for homemade pore strips but none I have come across are as good as these! And excitingly these have no egg whites, milk or gelatin - which means it has a way longer shelf life and is great for vegans. This recipe really grips onto those blackheads and gets rid of them quickly, its kind of uncomfortable..but I guess that’s just because its working.

DIY Vegan Pore Strips Recipe
- 3/4 cup distilled water
- 1 tbsp xantham gum (find in the baking section of most grocery stores)
- 10 drops of eucalyptus oil (anti inflammatory & antimicrobial)
- tissue or single ply toilet paper


Blend mixture. brush over area with makeup brush and add tissue paper, do a top coat of mixture to saturate it. Allow it to dry then gently peel it off.  Once peeled you can rub an ice cube over the area or even better a ice cube with tea tree oil or eucalyptus frozen into it - closing pores and killing microbes. Store it in a clean container in the fridge for up to a couple of months.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Indoor Strawberry update 5/25/15

5/26/15 -  White Carolina Pineberry Strawberry plants
5/26/15 -  Seascape Everbearing strawberry plant - already forming runners!

 5/26/15 -  Seascape Everbearing strawberries
 5/26/15 -  Seascape Everbearing strawberry plants