Archive for March, 2011
There are many great tasting foods and spices that contain high levels of manganese. Some of the best sources include cinnamon, pineapple, spinach, turmeric, kale, garlic, strawberries, etc. You are probably wondering, what can manganese rich foods do for me? There are several important functions in the body that rely on manganese. This trace mineral participates in many enzyme systems throughout the body. Here are a few other functions that are more common to most of us:
- Helps protect our cells from free radical damage (cellular oxidation)
- Keeps bones stronger and healthier
- Maintains normal blood sugar levels
- Promotes optimal function of your thyroid gland
- Maintains the health of our nerves/nervous system
- Enhances the body’s ability to synthesize cholesterol
Manganese is found widely in nature, but occurs only in trace amounts in our tissues. While only little is found in our body, it plays a huge role in maintaining our health through being a vital cofactor of very important enzymes. Like other minerals, the body cannot make manganese. Therefore, we must select foods to eat that contain this important mineral.
How do you know if you might need more manganese rich foods in your diet?
Blood tests can confirm if you are deficient in such minerals or other nutrients. Other indications of being deficient in manganese could include:
- High blood sugar levels
- Excessive bone loss
- Low cholesterol levels
- Loss of hair color
- Skin rash
- Reproductive system difficulties
Don’t be afraid to get your blood tested to check for nutritional deficiencies. Keep in mind, it is much easier to correct a problem if it is caught earlier than later.
Live your best,
As allergies to wheat become more prevalent, many people, including myself, find themselves looking for healthy wheat flour alternatives. One of the most versatile flours that I have recently began to use more in my own baking is buckwheat flour. Buckwheat flour is gluten-free which makes it a good choice for anybody with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. It is packed with nutrients, readily available, easy to work with and has a nice nutty flavor.
While many people think that buckwheat is a cereal grain, it is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat is a very hardy plant that thrives in difficult conditions even without the use of pesticides and herbicides. It also matures quickly and is quite nutritious.
Benefits of Buckwheat Flour
The nutritional profile of buckwheat is quite impressive. It is high in fiber, protein, niacin, amino acids and vitamin D. It is also rich in potassium, phosphorus, iron and calcium. The protein in buckwheat is said to be one of the best sources of protein available from plants and it contains all of the essential amino acids.
It is good for the cardiovascular system and is linked to lower blood pressure and a lowered risk of developing high cholesterol. This is because it is rich in flavonoids which are phytonutrients that help protect against many diseases by acting as antioxidants.
Buckwheat contains high levels of magnesium which helps relax blood vessels to improve circulation throughout the body. It can help control blood sugar levels as well, a significant benefit to people who are diabetic.
How is Buckwheat Flour used?
If you don’t have any wheat or gluten sensitivities, you can blend buckwheat flour with wheat flour to boost both nutrition and flavor. For people who do not eat gluten, buckwheat flour can be used on its own or combined with other types of gluten free flour.
How to Select and Store Flour
Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the buckwheat are covered and that the store has a good product turnover to ensure its maximal freshness. Whether purchasing buckwheat in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure there is no evidence of moisture.
Place buckwheat in an airtight container and store in a cool dry place. Buckwheat flour should be always stored in the refrigerator, while other buckwheat products should be kept refrigerated if you live in a warm climate or during periods of warmer weather. Stored properly, whole buckwheat can last up to one year, while the flour will keep fresh for several months.
Live your best,
Every time our crock pot is ready to be filled with its contents, the last thing that goes in is the bay leaf. The leaf gives the chili, soup or whatever is being cooked, a bit of a flavor that is just right.
Bay leaves come from the Bay Laurel tree (Laurus nobilis), a Mediterranean evergreen. For centuries, laurel and/or bay leaf has been used in herbal medicine due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties. While there hasn’t been much research done specifically on the benefits of bay leaf itself, many of bay leaf’s compounds and phytonutrients have demonstrated various health benefits.
The bay leaf has been used for years as a natural remedy for various digestive disorders. It can settle the stomach and lessen the severity of issues like celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It improves digestion in general and can minimize flatulence. There are also enzymes in the leaf that help break down proteins which aids in meat digestion.
A bay leaf compress will help relieve chest or respiratory troubles such as bronchitis, coughing, flu and chest infections. Drinking bay leaf tea will help to induce sweating therefore reducing a fever.
Bay leaves contain the phytonutrient Parthenolide. It has anti – inflammatory properties and can be used for joint and muscle pains or pain from arthritic joints. Simply apply the bay leaf oil to the affected areas.
It is difficult for some to control their insulin to do genetics or poor lifestyle choices. Diabetes is one condition that can significantly affect the body in an adverse way. There are compounds in bay leaves that help to regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin can be processed more quickly, meaning elevated and depressed sugar spikes are prevented.
The most common trigger of immune system failure is usually due to stress. Whether it be chemical, physical, emotional, etc, stress is usually behind sickness. Linalool, a compound not only found in bay leaf but also others herbs like thyme and basil, has been used as a relaxing fragrance in aromatherapy. This calming aroma also has protective effects on our immune system warding off the negative effects of stress.
Additionally, bay leaf’s phytonutrient catechins, eugenol, parthenolide and quercetin help to protect the body from many different kinds of cancer.
Try adding a bay leaf to your next dish to experience the flavor and benefits is has to offer.
Live your best,