Friday, March 30, 2012

Healthy Hair Starters

While strands of hair are actually just life-less protein fibers, the hair follicles under your skin are very much alive. Hair follicles need a supply of nutrients like other parts of the body.  Some of these nutrients critical hair nutrients include: protein, carbohydrates, EFAs (fatty acids), vitamins B6 and B12, biotin, and iron.

Stress, illnesses and hormone imbalances can also affect your hair in a negative way, which is why some women do tend to lose their hair in times of high stress. Female hormones (progesterone and estrogen) promote thick, healthy hair, while male hormones can cause hair loss or thinning hair.  So, if you needed yet another reason to eat better and stress less, keep in mind that your hair health is affected by what goes in your body, too.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Herbs and Spices With Real Health Benefits

Not only do herbs and spices give a blast of flavor to bland foods, they can also provide many health benefits as well. Try adding one (or more) to your recipes:

  1. Black pepper can boost immune health. Almost any dish will benefit from a sprinkle of pepper.
  2. Cinnamon may help lower your blood sugar. Try adding to tea, fruit or sweet potatoes.
  3. Ginger can help soothe the stomach, reduce cholesterol, diminish blood clots, and reduce inflammation, among other things. Fresh ginger is best - add to stir-fries or chicken for a punch of flavor.
  4. Oregano features 42 times more antioxidants than apples and is easy to add to most Italian dishes.
  5. Parsley is often overlooked as a garnish, but it can help with fresh breath, as well as protect the prostate. It can be added to rice, salads or main dishes.
  6. Rosemary may help boost immunity. Add it to meats, sweet drinks or steamed vegetables.
  7. Saffron features compounds than may decrease depression and anxiety, and also might help you snack less. Soup and seafood are delicious with added saffron.
  8. Thyme has been used as an antiseptic, but can also have anti-inflammatory compounds. Savory dishes are best with a little thyme added.
  9. Turmeric has curcumin which can help your cardiovascular, mental and muscle health. Yellow mustard or curry with turmeric are good ways to add a little extra.

Monday, March 19, 2012

5 Heart-Healthy Foods

Add these heart-healthy foods to your diet to improve your cardiovascular health.
  1. Salmon: Eating fatty fish like salmon twice a week provides your body with omega-3 fats, which can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce plaque build-up and arrhythmias.
  2. Olive Oil: Replacing butter with olive oil, and using it in moderation, can help lower your cholesterol levels.
  3. Nuts: Instead of red meat in your recipes, try nuts. They are a lean source of protein and the unsaturated fat can help reduce cholesterol.
  4. Berries: Not only do berries have a high polyphenol content, which can lower blood pressure and increase your “good” HDL cholesterol, they also contain anthocyanins that can protect against high blood pressure.
  5. Oatmeal: This simple breakfast staple contains soluble fiber, which reduces your body’s absorption of “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Three Teas for the Belly

Suffering from common stomach ailments? These three teas are easy ways to ease some of your discomfort.

Peppermint is a fresh tasting tea that older children won’t mind drinking. Peppermint improves the flow of bile so that food may pass through your digestive system quickly, and it calms your stomach muscles. It may help with digestion, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea and gas. Avoid peppermint if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, however.

Ginger contains chemicals that stimulate the production of saliva, bile and other gastric secretions to aid your digestion. Ginger may calm an upset stomach, nausea, and motion sickness.

Chamomile helps relax muscle contractions in your intestinal tract, and is used to help ease stomach cramps, diarrhea, indigestion, and gas.