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Spicing your way to health with Garlic!

15 Mar

Welcome to the third post of my blog series, “Spicing your way to Health.”  In this series, we will focus on spices with documented health benefits and discuss easy and delicious ways you can add these spices to your everyday eating.  So far, we have  talked about curcumin and cinnamon.  Today, we are going to talk about garlic! 

What is garlic?

Allium sativum, garlic, is a member of the onion genus, Allium. It is closely related to the onion, shallot, leek and chive.

What are the health benefits of garlic?

Garlic has tons of healthy phytochemicals in it to help prevent and treat disease.  Lots of peer-reviewed articles have been written about the health benefits of garlic.

Here is a sampling of those studies:

  • Garlic supplementation reduced the accumulation of cholesterol in  animals (source)
  • Garlic extract has shown to improve blood lipid profile and decrease blood pressure (source)
  • Garlic inhibits platelet aggregation and, thus, may help prevent cardiovascular disease (source)
  • Garlic has favorable effects on cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and HDL-cholesterol (source)
  • Garlic has been used by herbalists for  hoarseness and coughs (source)
  • Garlic plus an anti-diabetic remedy improved glycemic control  (source)
  • A garlic based  mouthwash proved to be antimicrobial (but left the subjects with bad breath!) (source)
  • Garlic is anti-fungal (source)

Toxicity

Some people are allergic to garlic.

As a general rule, it’s never a good idea to take a herbal supplement for the same condition you are taking a pharmaceutical for, unless you are being supervised by a physician.

Question?
There are so many ways to eat garlic.  What’s your favorite way?  Have you ever tried to roast garlic?

Spicing your way to health with Cinnamon

8 Mar

Welcome to the second post of my blog series, “Spicing your way to Health.”  In this series, we will focus on spices with documented health benefits and discuss easy and delicious ways you can add these spices to your everyday eating.  Last week, we talked about curcumin.  Today, we are going to talk about Cinnamon!

What is cinnamon?

Cinnamon is obtained from the bark of trees from the genus Cinnamomum.  These trees are native to South East Asia (source)

Actually, several species are sold as “cinnamon.”  From Wikipedia:

  • Cinnamomum verum (“True cinnamon”, Sri Lanka cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon)
  • C. burmannii (Korintje or Indonesian cinnamon)
  • C. loureiroi (Saigon cinnamon or Vietnamese cinnamon)
  • C. aromaticum (Cassia or Chinese cinnamon) (source)

The flavor of cinnamon is due to is essential oil which makes up about 1% of its composition (source)

What health benefits does cinnamon have?

Several studies have been carried out in vitro and in vivo concerning cinnamon.  Cinnamon has shown to:

  • Have activity against HIV-1 and HIV-2 (source)
  • Have some cancer preventing activity in colon cancer cells (source)
  • Impair melanoma cell proliferation, invasiveness, and tumor growth (source)
  • Improve fasting blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes(source)
  • Perhaps have some role in neuroprotection (source)
  • Have effects against obesity and insulin resistance (source)

How can you eat cinnamon?

I don’t think you need any suggestions on how to eat cinnamon.  Although you can buy it in pill form, why not just sprinkle some on your coffee:

put some in pumpkin pie:

make a satay sauce:

add some to oatmeal:

or try the cinnamon challenge:

Question?

What is your favorite way to eat cinnamon?  Did you know it had so many health benefits?

New Blog Series-Spicing Your Way to Health!

3 Mar

Spicing Your Way to Health with Curcumin

Here are Naturally Healthy and Gorgeous, we are going to start a new blog series called “Spicing your way to Health.”  In this series, we will focus on spices with documented health benefits and discuss easy and delicious ways you can add these spices to your everyday eating.  Today, we are going to talk about Curcumin.

What is curcumin?

Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid of the popular Indian spice turmeric.  Tumeric is part of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) (source).

Curcumin has been used since 700 AD by Indian and Chinese traditional medicine doctors for numerous diseases such as bronchitis, colds, parasitic worms, leprosy, arthritis and inflammations of bladder, liver, kidney and skin, and to help fever and diarrhea (source)

What health benefits does curcumin have?

A surpurising number of health benefits ahve been linked to curcumin:

  • It has shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative effects
  • It has shown in vitro and in vivo to potentlaly target pathways involved in creating Alzheimer disease thus having the potential to halt its progression or initiation (source)
  • It has shown to lower plasma and hepatic cholesterol and halt early atherosclerotic lesions similar to the drug lovastatin (source)
  • It has shown to prevent several cancers in cell lines (source)
  • It has suggested that it may help digestive diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, Crohn’s disease and bacterial and parasitic diseases (source)
  • It has shown to help patients with Ulcerative Colitis maintain remission (source)
  • It has shown to inhibit HIV replication in vitro (source)

Safety issues

Studies using 2-12 grams of curcumin have shown limited side effects such as mild nausea or diarrhea.(source)

Curcumin has shown to potentially cause iron deficiency in susceptible patients(source)

How can I eat curcumin?

Spicy Chicken Marsala from Sunday Mercury.net   They actually talk about the health benefits too!

Tumeric Roasted Cauliflower from Huffington Post

Shrimp with Tumeric and Mustard Seeds from Jane Spice

Chili Red Lentil Soup from The Real Nutritionista

Question?

Do you like curcumin?  What is your favorite way to eat it?