Are there really any health benefits to turmeric? Umm, yeah, there is.
In fact, there is more scientific evidence for all the awesome health effects of turmeric than for ANY other spice! So, here it is:
1. Studies have shown that turmeric can lower artery-clogging LDL cholesterol
2. It's good for your gut because it increases the flow of bile that breaks down fats, thereby helping digestion.
3. Turmeric lessens stomach acid production, so it can be used for heartburn (reflux) issues. However, some people may find that spices in general make reflux worse; others find that it helps with digestion. (so, still listen to your doctor)
4. It can relieve the inflammatory soreness of people with rheumatoid arthritis and improve how insulin regulates blood sugar.
5. Alzheimer's researchers call turmeric the "smart spice" due to its neuroprotective properties. In fact, Curry-loving cultures, such as India, have the lowest rates of Alzheimer's disease.
6. Turmeric is a top anticancer spice that helps the body's natural ability to kill cancer cells.
PRO TIP: Combine your turmeric with black pepper
Unfortunately, turmeric eaten alone is very poorly absorbed. But, combined with black pepper and the health benefits of turmeric are enhanced more than 1,000 times!!! So, for example, you can make a salad and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, which even further enhances absorption.
When we eat a variety of healthy foods, we are also eating a variety of healing foods. The list below contains real foods that are scientifically proven to prevent illness and stay healthy. What you feed your kids can really make a difference in how often AND how severely they get sick.
Phytonutrients are immune-boosting substances only found in fruits and vegetables. Phyton is the Greek word for plant, so photonutrients are what gives fruits and veggies their rich color. Phytos help your body fight germs and they prevent wear and tear on your cells and organs, and help the body repair itself.
Here are 5 ways to prepare your family for flu season by getting in plenty of "phytomins" into your daily diet:
1. Teach kids about phytos. Become Phyto-Mom and Phyto-Dad. Your kids will get more excited about eating these colorful foods IF they first know why they are so good for them. Dr. Sears, a renowned pediatrician for over 30 years, explains it to kids like this. "Germs are like tiny bugs that are so small you can't even see them. Germs are what make you sick. They get inside your body and cause colds and earaches and many other kinds of sickness - even tooth decay! You can do things to keep germs out of your body. You wash your hands before eating and after going to the bathroom. You stay away from kids with colds (and, if you have a cold, you cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough to keep from spreading germs to your friends). Yet no matter how careful you are to keep germs out of your body, some are going to get in. So, it's important to have a strong army inside you to fight these germs.
"The germ fighting army inside you is called your immune system. The soldiers in this army can actually chase down germs and gobble them up. If your army is strong, it will catch the germs and beat them up, but if it is tired and weak, the germs might win - and, in that case, you will get sick. Your immune system army needs the good stuff in fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods to stay strong."
2. Eat a variety of foods - Different foods contain different phytos, which have different functions in the body. Some help the eyes and skin, while others are antioxidants that protect rapidly growing cells from becoming cancerous. The list is endless.
3. Eat phytos as close as possible to their natural state - Most raw fruits and veggies have more phytos when consumed raw, but tomatoes, for example, is an exception. When tomatoes are cooked, they release more phytos, including lycopene. If you do cook, be sure to lightly steam them as boiling in water for a long time can destroy many of their nutrients.
4. Choose deep colors and strong flavors - Think tomatoes, blueberries, red grapes, Brussels sprouts, chili peppers, garlic, onions, and curry. These are all great sources of phytos.
5. Feed your family fish and flax - These foods are good for your immune system and your nervous system. The nutrients in fish and flax help injured tissues repair themselves and fight inflammation.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition defines health coaching as "a wellness authority and supportive mentor who motivates individuals to cultivate positive health choices. Health coaches educate and support clients to achieve their health goals through lifestyle and behavior adjustments."
As a Certified Health Coach, I work with families, adults, and seniors to achieve greater health with a strong focus on Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, and Nutrition. All four elements affect our health, not just one or two. I use trusted, science based education along with positive encouragement and support to help people become a healthier version of themselves.
Some of my clients are in what I call the "preventive" mindset. These clients are currently not experiencing any pain or chronic illness or injury, and are looking to improve their health and wellness or to maintain good health for as long as possible.
Other clients are in the "repair" mindset. These individuals may be battling chronic pain and inflammation, illness or disease, and are looking for ways to feel better and learn the skills needed to improve their day to day living. For these clients, I try to bridge the gap between what doctors ask their patients to do and patients actually doing it and getting the results they need.
As a health coach, I know that you, the client, are the expert of yourself. For this reason, you steer the ship, so to speak. We look at the goals you want to achieve and break those down into small chunks that you can accomplish. Our goal is to become just a little bit better everyday.
What health coaching is definitely NOT about is treating, prescribing, diagnosing, nor advising you in any way to eat according to a certain diet plan, or to take certain supplements, or to change your medications. This is outside the scope of practice for ANY health coach. We are not doctors. We are coaches. We are not therapists. We are coaches. We are not registered dietitians. We are coaches.
Health coaches motivate, encourage, support, and educate clients on good health practices. We help you find your "why." We help you take a look at your current lifestyle exercise, attitude, and nutrition and help you improve those areas. We go with you every step of the way.
To learn more about having me as your health coach, please click here.
When people first hear that I love to do pantry makeovers, I can see a look of dread come over their faces. It's a look of "Oh, heck naw, she ain't coming all up in MY pantry! Forget that!"
So, allow me to explain what a pantry makeover actually looks like. If you invite me into your home, I can absolute assure you that there will be zero judgment. Zero. I'm not there to rummage through your things and then proceed to tell you that you've wasted your hard-earned money and that you should throw everything out. That would be a horrible mistake on my part, and one that I would never consider making.
So, what EXACTLY happens when I come to your home for a pantry makeover?
First, I take a very brief look at your pantry.
Then, we sit down at your kitchen table.
We will go over the Traffic Light Eating Method (or review it if you have already attended one of my L.E.A.N. workshops.). Then, we will go over how to read and analyze all the parts of a nutrition label. We look at everything from serving sizes to protein, fat, carbs, sugar, fiber, and end with the all-important ingredients list.
We will then review 12 ingredients that we especially want to look for and why. And, don't worry. You will get to keep the list because some of them are hard to remember!
After you have a clear understanding of traffic light eating and food labels, we will get started in your actual pantry. If you have kids at home, get them involved in the process and let them help out too! I have stickers that they can use to label items as either a green, yellow, or red light food (and don't worry - "red" does not mean "banned" or "bad" food.
After we have identified a number of traffic light options in your pantry, we will then look at the Healthy Substitutions Handout and talk about some possible substitution strategies that you can try.
It's important to remember that change is a process. You do not need to throw food away! As you work toward replenishing the items in your pantry, you will have the tools you need after our pantry makeover to know what to look for the next time you head to the grocery store.
Nuts are the perfect snack, assuming you don't have a nut allergy, of course! What constitutes a great snack?
Make sure you are mixing it up, too. Different nuts give us different nutrients so be sure you are eating a variety of them. Here's a short summary of their nutty nutrients:
Almonds - Top heart nut: highest in calcium, vitamin E, and lowest in saturated fats
Walnuts - Top brain nut: most Omega-3s and melatonin
Peanuts - Technically, a legume, I know, BUT: highest in protein and arginine, a vital nutrient for a healthy endothelium (go for the pricier Organic on this one)
Pistachios - Vision-enhancing lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin E
Brazil nuts - Anticancer, antioxidant selenium; one or two a day gives you all the selenium you need!
Pecans - Top in vitamin E
Chestnuts - Lowest in fat
Cashews - Highest in copper (highest percentage of saturated fat)
Don't forget that a great way to increase the satiety feeling of a morning smoothie is to add some nut butter! Just be sure to read the ingredients and look for nut butters that only contain nuts! Don't buy peanut butter, for example, that lists the word hydrogenated on the label.