Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Aromatherapy…The Why

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Chamomile…The Why

She knew about its health because she loved to read and had learned that chamomile tea had been used way before the book Peter Rabbit was written…for thousands of years before…mainly to treat anxiety and digestive problems—such as upset stomach, gas, and diarrhea.

So let’s take a look at why she was so smart…and why we all would also be smart if we started drinking chamomile tea more often.

 

 

 

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Cancer

The antioxidants found in chamomile tea serve as an anti-inflamatory and reduce the risk of several types of cancer….particularly the following…

  • breast
  • cancer of the digestive tract
  • skin cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • thyroid cancer
  • uterine cancer

 

 

 

 

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Controlling Your Blood Sugar Level

Drinking chamomile tea daily with meals for at least eight weeks has been shown to lower blood sugar levels significantly….prevent blood sugar spikes…and prevent damage to the pancreas, the organ that is responsible for producing insulin, the hormone responsible for removing sugar from your blood.

 

 

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Digestive Health

Chamomile tea has been shown to reduce the acidity in your stomach and is soothing to the stomach.

Because chamomile tea is both an antispasmodic and an anti-inflammatory properties, chamomile tea relaxes the muscles that line your stomach and intestines and helps keep your digestive system healthy…meaning that you are less likely to get or improve problems related to digestion—such as diarrhea, stomach ulcers, nausea, heartburn, IBS, and gas,

 

 

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Heart

Chamomile tea contains high levels of flavones, a class of antioxidants that is important for lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels…both of which are important for lowering your risk of getting heart disease.

Drinking chamomile tea with meals can greatly improve your total cholesterol, triglyceride and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.

 

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Skin

When used topically as a wash, lotion, bath agent, or compress, chamomile can speed the healing of certain  skin conditions…such as eczema, minor burns, rashes,  and sunburn.

 

 

 

 

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Sleep

Drinking chamomile tea right before you go to bedtime can help you fall asleep more easily, improve the “quality” of your sleep, and keep you from waking up during the night for at least two reasons…

First of all…as we probably all can figure out from reading Beatrix’s Potter book…is the fact that chamomile has a mildly sedating and muscle-relaxing effect…just what you need when fears of Mr. McGregor or the Big Bad Wolf or life in general keep you awake at night.

Next, chamomile contains certain antioxidants…including apigenin…that are affect your ability to sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

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Other Health Issues 

Other health issues that chamomile tea have supposedly had an effect on include…

  • allergies
  • anxiety and restlessness
  • asthma
  • back aches
  • common cold
  • depression
  • morning sickness
  • osteoporosis
  • PMS
  • sore muscles and tight joints
  • sore throats

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Raspberries…The What

Now let’s move on to raspberries, a member of the rose (Rosaceae) family of plants— which also inclues apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, loquats, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries, and almonds.

Raspberries are the third most popular berry here in the United States…right after strawberries and blueberries.

There are over 200 species of raspberries, but these typically belong to one of three basic groups…

  • Red raspberries
  • Black raspberries
  • Purple raspberries

 

 

Raspberries are “aggregate fruits”…which meas that they are actually composed of many small individual fruits….drupelets, and each one has its own seed….and “brambles” which means that they are prickly or thorny.

The countries that produce the most raspberries are Russia, Mexico (14.8%), Serbia (13.5%), the United States (13.0%), and Poland (12.8%).

Okay, enough is enough…right?!

So let’s now talk about the WHY we should include rasperries in our diet.

 

 

 

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Per Half Cup Fresh Raspberries

  • Calories…53
  • Dietary fiber…6.5 grams
  • Fat…0.65 g
  • Protein1.2 g
  • Sugar…4.2 grams
  • Calcium…(25mg…3% RDA)
  • Manganese… (62.7mg…32% RDA)
  • Magnesium…(22 mg…6% RDA)
  • Vitamin B1…(.-032 mg…3% RDA)
  • Vitamin B2…Riboflavin….(.038mg…3% RDA)
  • Vitsamin B3…Niacin…(.598mg…4% RDA)
  • Vitamin B5…Pantothenic acid…(.067 mg…% RDA)
  • Vitamin B9…Folate…21 μg…5% RDA)
  • Vitamin C…(26.2mg…32% RDA)
  • Vitamin E…(6%…0.87 mg)

Raspberries also contain biotin and omega-3 fatty acids…and have been proven to help prevent and treat diabetes, obesity, and arthritis….(don’t worry…this gets more exciting the next several posts)…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Grapes…The Why

Like all other fruits, grapes contain several beneficial nutrients—such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

For example, one cup of grapes provides more than a fourth of the RDI for vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin vital for blood clotting and healthy bones…as well as vitamin C, necessary for bone and connective tissue health.

Another nutrient that you find in grapes are polyphenols, the antioxidants that give grapes and certain other plants their vibrant colors and give added protection against disease and environmental damage.

Below are some of the ways in which the nutrients in grapes may boost your health.

But before we get started, let’s look at the nutritional value of one cup of grapes…

  • Calories: 104
  • Carbs: 27.3 grams
  • Copper: 10% of the RDI
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Fiber: 1.4 grams
  • Manganese: 5% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 8% of the RDI
  • Protein: 1.1 grams
  • Riboflavin: 6% of the RDI
  • Thiamine: 7% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 6% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 27% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin K: 28% of the RDI
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Anti-Bacterial

Eating grapes boosts your immune system and protect you from certain diseases—such as the flu, chicken pox and yeast infections—because grapes contain “stuff” that helps fight against harmful bacteria and viral infections.

For example, grapes are a good source of the vitamin C that most of us already know is great for your immune system..

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Anti-Inflammatory

Inflammation defends the body against cell injury, irritation, pathogen invasions, and helps rid the body of such damaged cells.

However, having too much inflammation can lead to serious side effects—such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and pulmonary disease,

Grapes are one of the foods containing polyphenols that you can add to your diet to keep this from happening.

Antioxidant

Grapes contain hundreds of antioxidants such as vitamin C, manganese, beta-carotene, melatonin, resveratrol, quercetin, lutein, lycopene and ellagic acid.

These antioxidants are primarily found in the seed and the skin of the grape…and have been shown to do such great things as…

    • helping protect cell membranes from free radical damage
    • increasing our blood levels of glutathione, a critical antioxidant
    • increasing the ratio of reduced-to-oxidized glutathione
    • lowering biomarkers of oxidative stress.
    • lowering the levels of oxygen reactive molecules in our blood
    • preventing certain oxygen-related enzymes—such as xanthine oxidase and catalase—from becoming overactive
    • protecting against chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
    • reducing oxidation of fat
    • repairing the damage to your cells caused by free radicals, harmful molecules that cause the oxidative stress that can lead to several chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease

Red grapes, more specifically contain higher numbers of antioxidants because red grapes contain anthocyanins, the antioxidant that gives them their bright color.

Another important antioxidant found is grapes is resveratrol, another antioxidant, that protects against heart disease, lowers blood sugar and protects against the development of cancer.

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Blood Pressure

Grapes have as a low glycemic index which means that it has great blood sugar benefits—such as helping to control your blood sugar balance, insulin regulation, and insulin sensitivity.

In addition, one cup of grapes contains 288mg of potassium, 6% of the RDI, which is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and preventing your risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Potassium also help reduce the negative effects of having too much sodium in your diet.

If you’re considering adding grapes to your diet in order to improve your blood pressure, it’s probably best to choose either Concord or red grapes because their rich color indicates that they contain many flavonoids, such as resveratrol, which help lower your blood pressure, improve the fluidity of the blood, and relax the arterial walls.

 

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Bones

Grapes contain many nutrients necessary for maintaining bone health—including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, vitamin K, and vitamin C. In fact, one cup of grapes contains over 25% RDI for vitamins C and K.

Vitamin K is important because it increases the effectiveness of osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone mineralization, and promotes healthy calcium balance. One study shows that women who consume at least 110mg vitamin K each day are 30% less likely to break a bone than women who consume a lesser amount.

Copper found in grapes is essential for enzymes involved in the synthesis of bone components.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Dark Chocolate…The Why

Dark chocolate, especially any 70% dark chocolate or higher, contains many nutrients—such as antioxidants, fiber, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium that may help lower your risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, and improve brain function, alleviate stress, and lower your risk of diabetes.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Best Smoothies for Antioxidants…Alfalfa Sprout Smoothies

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Alfalfa Sprouts

The What...alfalfa is a legume, actually a member of the pea family.

The Why...rich in beta-carotene and vitamin E

Other Reasons Why...great source of many vitamins and minerals—such as calcium, folic acid, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc, and many vitamins.

The Ingredients…

  • 2 cups fresh alfalfa sprouts
  • 3 cups kales leaves, packed
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup water
  • organic celery stalks
  • 1 small apple, cut into large chunks
    1 small frozen banana, broken into chunks
  • 2 teaspoons hemp, chia, or flax seeds
  • stevia to taste
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

18 Reasons to Start Drinking

    • IMG_4473-1

    Production Foods

 

 

So now that we’ve gotten off the detour of using organic body and skincare products, let’s once more begin our journey up the Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land–type game called the Raw Foods Pyramid…first by looking at the bottom tier of the pyramid—water.

 

 

 

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WHY

Water is one drink that you’ll want to consider the next time you’re feeling thirsty. It not only helps genuinely hydrate the body, it can help you feel better overall, and even look better. Here are some of the benefits you’ll reap, and some recipes to help you along.

Our bodies contain about 55-60% water…so the more hydrated, the healthier you will be.Water does such important things—such as transporting nutrients and flushing toxins out of our system…, so getting an adequate amount of water each day is very important.

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Let’s take a closer look…

1. Aging...Due to the antioxidant content of water, water helps your body fight free radicals, promotes healthy aging, and enhances your body’s ability to fight disease.

2. Antioxidants...Water contains the antioxidants that are needed to ward off free radicals and help the body flush out built-up toxins. Detoxing the body doesn’t have to be a one time or once a year event, you can help your body stay clean with daily attention to the foods that you’re taking in, as well as avoiding foods that are known as being toxic to the body. This sort of regular maintenance keeps you feeling great all year long.

3. Appetite…Eating when you’re not actually hungry can lead to weight gain and sluggishness,,,and can throw you off your natural eating cycle. Drinking a glass of water when you’re hungry instead of raiding the refrigerator or vending machine can help you make it until your next meal if it’s not quite mealtime.

4.Asthma and Allergies…helps keep your air passageways open because the body closes up these passageways in an effort to minimize water loss whenever we are dehydrated

5. Blood Pressure…Keeping your blood pressure in check is important because it will help keep you away from debilitating diseases like stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, or vision loss. Saying hydrated helps prevents your blood from becoming so thick that it increases your blood pressure,

6. Bone Health…Water may reduce the risk of osteoperosis and bone fractures in post-menopausal women. 

7. Body Temperature…cooling the body whenever you sweat by making you sweat more

4. Brain Function…protects brain structure and function, as well as producting hormones and neurotransmitters. Drinking water promotes clearer thinking and reasoning

8. Cancer…A healthy lifestyle gives you a better chance at staying healthy long-term and perhaps preventing serious conditions, such as cancer….especially cancer involving the urinary tract system.

9. Headaches...may help relieve the intensity and duration of headaches.

10. Hangovers…,Alcohol is dehydrating and toxic to your system, so you need plenty of water and nutrients to start healing.. Water can help prevent the unpleasant symptoms from drinking too much—such as thirst, fatigue, headache and dry mouth—because it is a diuretic. In fact, many people claim that drinking one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage that you drink is great in preventing your having a hangover in the first place.

11. Hydration...When you meet your specific water needs you’ll enjoy the benefits of staying hydrated,…which is important for maintaining the right body temperature, helping your cardiovascular system, assisting in the cleansing of toxins, and having more energy to help each of your organs do its job better.

12. Joint Pain…maintains the ability of the joints to absorb shock

13. Kidney Stones…makes you have to pee more often, which prevents minerals from consolidating, crystallizing and becoming kidney stones

14. Muscles...Whether or not you’re trying to put on muscle, helping your muscles stay strong is a good idea.  Water makes a great contribution to the overall health of your muscles, and your body in general.

15. Nuttritonal Value…Drinking water will provide more vitamins and minerals., such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

16. Skin...Water helps your skin from the inside, as well as the outside. Staying hydrated will help your skin stay supple and smooth. Water makes your skin look healthy and vibrant…prevents your skin from becoming dry, flaky and tight…and helps prevent skin disorders and premature wrinkles..

17.  Tooth Decay…Water keeps the mouth clean and reduces your chance of having tooth decay.

18. Weight Control…Water will naturally quench your thirst and make you forget about mindlessly reaching for drinks loaded with sugar, so it’s an easy way to cut calories from your diet. Water can also act as a natural mild diuretic…helping you get rid of that excess water and bloating.

 

 

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HOW

In order to enjoy the complete benefits of water listed above, you should be drinking eight or more cups of water per day….or half your body weight in ounces.

Think that this will never happen…I did also when I first started trying to get a handle on my weight and my health…

But I’ve been drinking two liters of water per day for the last three years.

In the next post, I’ll show you how I mastered this habit…and how I maintain it.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Baking with Applesauce

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Being the wife of a type 2 diabetic makes you reconsider the old ways that you have learned to cook, not only in WHAT you cook, but also in HOW you cook.

You become more aware of the amount of saturated fats, sugar, and calories contained in your baked goods.

For example, check out these facts about the nutritional value of Paula Deen’s Sour Cream Pound Cake found in my last post. I’ve been making this cake for about thirty-five years my self and eating it for about fifty, but never stopped to really think about the ingredients until here lately.

But still, being from the Deep South, I absolutely love to bake and would gladly put my sour cream pound cake in competition with anyone else’s at any upcoming state fair this fall.

But how do I still manage to make moist, delicious baked goods that will rival any competitors while also keeping my type 2 diabetic husband’s blood sugar and cholesterol levels in line?

One way is by replacing some of the fat called for in cookie and cake recipes with applesauce.

So this holiday baking season, I plan on making at least some of my traditional recipes using applesauce so that at least some of my offerings will contain less sugar and perhaps even healthy(?!)…since apples have been shown to have great health benefits.—such as helping to prevent cancer, reducing your risk of cardiovascular difficulties, acting as an antioxidant, and diminishing the effects of bad cholesterol.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Honey—The Why?!

Now for the most important question about monofloral honey—or at least to me and my family at this time as we rethink our diet and learn more about nutrition…

Do we add/keep monofloral honey on our Grocery IQ app or not?!

Just like I did in previous posts on why we should all be eating avocadoes and blackstrap molasses, let’s look at the nutritional benefits of honey in a way that corresponds to the nutrition labels.

  1. Serving Size…Honestly how much honey you eat at one time is totally up to you—how sticky do you want your toast to be—how sweet do you want your hot tea to be…but for our purpose, we’re gonna look at the nutritional value of 1Tbsp.
  2. Calories…Each tablespoon of honey contains about sixty-five calories.
  3. Basic Nutrients…Now as for those specific nutrients contained in monofloral honey—such as carbohydrates, fat, protein, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar—that all of us typically eat in adequate amounts….honey contains little fat (zero grams), dietary fiber (.2grams), or protein(.3grams).
  4. Vitamins and Minerals…Monofloral honey actually contains very few vitamins and minerals, but let’s take a look at how much honey does contain…
    • Folate (B9)…1%…2 μg
    • Iron…3%…0.42 mg
    • Calcium…1%…6 mg
    • Magnesium…1%…2 mg
    • Niacin (B3)…1%… 0.121 mg
    • Pantothenic acid (B5)…1%…0.068 mg
    • Phosphorus…1%…4 mg
    • Potassium…1%…52 mg
    • Riboflavin (B2)…3%…0.038 mg
    • Sodium…0%…4 mg
    • Vitamin B6…2%…0.024 mg
    • Vitamin C…1%…0.5 mg
    • Zinc…2%…0.22 mg

There are benefits of honey in general—such as being a natural antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and antibiotic—but monofloral honey not only provide these benefits, but also many other benefits and unique properties that make them even more beneficial.

These benefits are related to the following conditions…

    1. Acid reflux…Monofloral honey can help reverse acid reflux damage.
    2. Infection…Monofloral honey often contain strong antibacterial elements—such as hydrogen peroxide and antioxidants.
    3. Cancer…Monofloral honey controls the side effects of radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
    4. Digestive conditions…Monofloral honeys are good for stomach health. They  have prebiotic benefits that help to improves digestive health, such as helping to soothe an upset stomach or constipation. These honeys can also encourage the stomach to regenerate itself, helping heal gastritis naturally.
    5. Fatigue…Monofloral honeys can give you more energy and help you combats fatigue and hypoglycemia.
    6. Immunity…Monofloral honeys, especially those produced from local sources, make your immune system more effective.
    7. Respiratory conditions…Monofloral honey helps you recover from respiratory infections more quickly, as well as helping you deal with seasonal allergies due to pollen.
    8. Skin conditions…Monofloral honeys are good for all skin types. They help prevent acne by reducing bacteria and the excess sebum that these bacteria feed on and by calming skin irritation. As far as dry skin, monofloral honey nourishes, hydrates, and restores radiance.
    9. Sleep…Monofloral honeys can help you fall asleep faster.
    10. Sore throat…Monofloral honey is good for sore throat and cough, common cold and tonsillitis.
Getting Healthy

Fiber—The Why?!

  • Okay, now that we know what fiber is, why do we need fiber in the first place?

 

Fiber, especially soluble fiber, is important for many reasons, including…

 

1. Acne…Fiber—especially psyllium husk, a type of plant seed, can flush toxins out of your body, improving the health and appearance of your skin.

 

2.  Diabetes. A diet high in fiber—particularly insoluble fiber from cereals—can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, eating soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar, regulate your blood sugar levels, and help lower cholesterol.

 

3.  Digestive System…Soluble fiber can also help treat many cases of constipation,

Fiber functions as a prebiotic, feeding the friendly bacteria in the intestine and shifting the balance of bacteria, increasing healthy bacteria, while decreasing the unhealthy bacteria that can be the root of some digestive problems

Fiber also provides bulk in the intestines, while helping balance the pH levels in the intestines. It promotes regular bowel movements and helps prevent or treat problems—such as constipation, diarrhea, diverticulitis (inflammation of the intestine), hemorrhoids, gallstones, kidney stones, irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, and ulcers.

 

4.  Heart Disease…Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, is an important element of any heart-healthy diet. Failing to get enough fiber in your diet will cause your digestive tract to not work efficiently or effectively (not sure which word should be used here)…which in turn could lead to high cholesterol levels and eventually heart disease.

 

5. Immunity and Risks…High-fiber diets may help lower your risk of certain diseases—including diverticulosis, irritable bowel syndrome, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

 

6.  Nutritional Value…Soluble fiber creates a gel in the digestive system because it bonds with fatty acids. This gel causes food to stay in your stomach for a longer amount of time, allowing for better absorption of nutrients.

 

7.  Obesity…Fiber is a key factor in both losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and helps us feel more satisfied with fewer calories.

Also, high-fiber foods—such as fruits and vegetables—tend to be low in calories.

Finally, because fiber works to regulate blood sugar levels, fiber can help you avoid insulin spikes that leave you feeling drained and craving unhealthy foods.