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Archive for March, 2013

cinnamonLet’s take a look at some of the properties of cinnamon, one of my favorite spices! I love the flavor and smell.  As I am writing this for you I am sipping on a cup of hot chocolate infused with ½ teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon and raw honey.  Yum!!

Cinnamon can be used in sweet dishes and in savory dishes.  It is very versatile and has a very profound and enticing smell.  In the winter it evokes the power of the Holiday spirit.  However, I use cinnamon year round.

Cinnamon has been used as a spice and in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Did you know in the Bible, Moses was directed to use cinnamon to make Holy Oil for anointing the sick.  Cinnamon has very powerful antioxidant benefits.

Cinnamon comes fro the bark of a tree. Although there are four main varieties of cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon are the most popular.  Ceylon cinnamon is not as aggressive in its flavor and can be used in larger quantities providing greater antioxidant potential.  The cinnamon from Ceylon is slightly sweeter, more refined and more difficult to find in local markets. If you are going to use and consume a lot of cinnamon I would only recommend you use the Ceylon variety.  The level of naturally occurring coumarins in the cassia cinnamon appears to be higher and may pose a risk to some individuals if consumed in substantial amounts on a regular basis.

A few of the health benefits of cinnamon:

  • May support lower blood sugar
  • Powerful antioxidant
  • May be Anti-bacterial
  • May be Anti-fungal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • May support better and healthier digestion
  • May improve blood flow and circulation
  • May help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
  • May support lower cholesterol

Just the smell of cinnamon may help you think better. Research led by Dr. P. Zoladz and presented April 24, 2004, at the annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences, in Sarasota, FL, found that chewing cinnamon flavored gum or just smelling cinnamon enhanced study participants’ cognitive processing. No wonder I love the smell of cinnamon!

Recent studies have found that cinnamon may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar. One of the first human studies was published in 2003 in a medical journal called Diabetes Care. Sixty people with type 2 diabetes took 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon in pill form daily, an amount roughly equivalent to one quarter of a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. After 40 days, all 3 amounts of cinnamon reduced fasting blood glucose by 18 to 29%, triglycerides by 23 to 30%, LDL cholesterol by 7 to 27%, and total cholesterol by 12 to 26%.

Some of the health benefits of cinnamon are not conclusive particularly those surrounding blood sugar control.  More research is needed.  You can find more info regarding the confusion of studies at this site.

I use Ceylon cinnamon a few times each day. I use it with honey and raw apple cider vinegar twice a day and in my hot chocolate twice a day.

Enjoy your cinnamon and try using it in a variety of ways. It doesn’t take much to add a flavorful impact.

Healthy Wishes

Wally Bishop C.N.C.

WebND

References:

Orally Administrated Cinnamon Extract Reduces β-Amyloid Oligomerization and Corrects Cognitive Impairment in Alzheimer’s Disease Animal Models http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0016564

Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes.  Department of Human Nutrition, NWFP Agricultural University, Peshawar, Pakistan. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14633804

A comparison of chemical, antioxidant and antimicrobial studies of cinnamon leaf and bark volatile oils, oleoresins and their constituents. Chemistry Department, DDU Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur 273 009, India. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17408833

Cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis. Department of Nutrition, University of California-  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21480806

http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21672

The contents of this blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.

 

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The American Diet is Rich In Calories!

The American Diet is Rich In Calories!

Maybe, maybe not! There are differing opinions on the subject and truthfully there is no wrong or right answer.  The answer is subject to what works best for the person needing or wanting to lose weight.

I will say this however; it is very hard to become overweight or obese if 80% to 90% of your diet is healthy and vegetable based. Nutrient dense foods do not cause weight problems.  All the overweight and obese people I know did not get overweight eating healthy. No, they were all on the Standard American Diet (SAD) menu and didn’t move much.  Unfortunately, the overweight and obese don’t eat healthy.

If you need to lose say 15 to 20 pounds or do not have a weight problem then calorie counting probably isn’t an issue. So, if that is you, there is no need to count calories.  You should eat a wide variety of very healthy foods.  I say eat every color available every day as much as your wish!

However, if you need to lose 30 pounds or more, then I believe counting calories is a must, at least until you have established a healthy dietary and lifestyle foundation.

I see a lot of people with weight and obesity issues and there are some common things they share.  For the sake of this discussion, when I say overweight I am talking about people that need to lose a minimum of 30 pounds.

Every overweight or obese person I have counseled in the past seven years had the following traits;

  • They had no clue how many calories they should be eating or were eating.
  • They over consumed or under consume calories.  (yes, too few calories and your metabolism will stall preventing weight loss)
  • They had sedentary lifestyles.
  • They ate from the SAD menu.
  • They tried dieting multiple times with no permanent success.
  • They wanted a quick fix or a solution without having to change much in their life.

All of these points drastically affect the way we burn calories.  If you don’t know how many calories you actually should be eating you will never take charge of losing the weight.  Calories from nutrient poor foods equal substantial weight gain.

The mind-set of the obese or overweight person must change. For them every diet approach has been a failure for one reason. It was not a healthy approach they could center their life on forever.  They must accept that this isn’t about dieting or even their weight, it’s about living a healthy lifestyle.

They must erase bad habits that have been ingrained in them for years and teach them new approaches that can become ingrained healthy habits over time.  Once they have a good grasp of what a healthy diet and lifestyle is and they are living it comfortably, then calories aren’t so much of a concern.

And I know, some people say it stresses them to count calories.  However,

for them knowing their calorie budget may be a big part of the solution.

Focus on living a very healthy lifestyle and in most cases the weight issues will take care of themselves. (this does not account for medical conditions, see your doctor)

Just my opinion.

Healthy Wishes

Wally Bishop C.N.C.

WebND

The contents of this blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.

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The beginning of Chocolate!

The beginning of Chocolate!

Chocolate comes in many forms and truthfully I am a chocoholic. I eat dark chocolate and raw cocoa powder several times per day. The taste is awesome and the benefits are huge.

Raw cocoa added to your NutriBullet can supercharge your body in many ways. Be creative with it.

Warning- not all chocolates are healthy! Milk chocolate or other candies in which chocolate is added does not have the health benefits of dark or raw chocolate. They most likely have milk and lots of sugar in them. Even healthy dark and raw chocolate is high in calories so limit your amount so you do not gain weight. It only takes 1 to 2 ounces of dark chocolate or raw powder once a day to get the health benefits of chocolate.

To make sure I eat the healthiest chocolate I use only 85% dark or higher and when I make hot chocolate I use the healthiest, which is raw (uncooked or unprocessed) cocoa powder.  Chocolate is one of the highest antioxidant rated foods. Chocolate is rich in powerful antioxidants like resveratrol and epicatechin, is rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and Vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Folate, B2, B5, B6, and Vitamin K. Chocolate also contains brain and heart healthy fats and other healthy phytonutrients.

Health Benefits

  • Helps reduce blood pressure
  • Provides great energy
  • Boost metabolism
  • Improves bone health
  • Protects cells from free radical attacks
  • Reduces premature aging
  • Helps reduce stress
  • Improves vascular wall health
  • May reduce blood clots
  • Can improve both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Improve insulin function
  • Reduces platelet stickiness
  • Improves immune response
  • Improves our mood
  • Improves our sleep
  • Can improve heart health

How Chocolate Improves Our Mood!

Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate a few times a week can help lower your blood pressure and improve blood flow and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. It helps increase our uptake of serotonin, which improves our mood. Chocolate also has Phenylethylamine (or PEA), which is a natural chemical produced by our brains to produce endorphins (mood elevating hormones that are attributed to the feeling of love). And you guessed it right! Dark chocolate is full of it! This creates a euphoric feeling in our brains and can help with depression, irritability, grief, and much more!

Another substance found in chocolate is anandamide. A fatty substance that is naturally produced in the brain, anandamides makes us feel relaxed and improve our mood.

Immune Function

It’s also good when your sick, if you can’t get the rest you need or your dieing of the flu just try a bit of dark chocolate. The Xantheose, an ingredient in dark chocolate, has been proven to suppress a cough and help with symptoms and inflammation. This effect is attributed to the antioxidants present and likens this food to blueberries, acai berries and many more super foods.

Enjoy dark and raw chocolate; it doesn’t take much, just an ounce or two every day to get the desired health benefits and pleasurable relaxation it provides.

While writing this for you I am enjoying a delicious cup of velvety rich dark cocoa. I add a little Ceylon cinnamon, almond milk and stevia, the aroma and taste is bliss!

Enjoy your chocolate!

Healthy Wishes

Wally Bishop C.N.C.

WebND

The contents of this blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.

Reference sources

Contemporary Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine-Cocoa and Cardiovascular Health –Circulation. 2009; 119: 1433-1441 doi: 10.1161/​CIRCULATIONAHA.108.827022

[Langer, S. and Marshall, L.J., et.al., (2011) “Flavanols and Methylxanthines in Commercially Available Dark Chocolate: A Study of the Correlation with Nonfat Cocoa  Solids”. J. Agric. Food Chem., 59, 8435]

[Erdman, J.W. and Carson, L., et.al., (2008) “Effects of Cocoa Flavanols on Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease”.  Asia Pac. J. Clin. Nutr., 17, Suppl. 1: 284].

[Allen, R.R. and Carson, L., et al. (2008) “Daily Consumption of a Dark Chocolate  Containing Flavanols and Added Sterol Esters Affects Cardiovascular Risk Factors in a Normotensive Population with Elevated Cholesterol”.  J. Nutr., 138, 725].

[Katz, D.L., Doughty, K, and Ali, A. (2011) “Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease”.  Antioxid. Redox Signal., 15, 2779],

Engler MB, Engler MM, Chen CY, et al. Flavonoid-rich dark chocolate improves endothelial function and increases plasma epicatechin concentrations in healthy adults. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Jun; 23(3): 197-204.

Taubert D, Roesen R, Lehmann C, et al. Effects of low habitual cocoa intake on blood pressure and bioactive nitric oxide: a randomized controlled trial.  JAMA. 2007 Jul 4; 298(1): 49-60.

[Murata, M. and Katagiri, N., et al., (2009) “Effect of Beta-Phenylethylamine on extracellular concentrations of Dopamine in the Nucleus Accumbens and Prefrontal Cortex”. Brain Res., 1269, 40],

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Beautiful Superfoods!

Beautiful Superfoods!

I love fruits and know they can be incredibly healthy. They are rich of antioxidants, vitamins (except B12 and Vitamin D) and minerals. In addition they contain very healthy and important phytonutrients like antioxidants, malic acid in apples and coumarins in citrus fruits. Fruits help prevent aging, and may help prevent many different illnesses and diseases. Plus they taste great!

However in this part of the veggie world too much of a good thing can happen.  Although sugars have fructose, which doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes, they still contain plenty of sucrose and glucose (like table sugar), which do quickly raise blood sugar levels. Too much sugar can cause hormonal imbalances making it difficult to lose or maintain weight.  Sugars, particularly removed from their natural fibers (in the foods) can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, then a rapid decline in blood sugar causing more cravings.

In my opinion, berries offer the lowest sugar and biggest nutritional bang for your calorie. Goji berries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries etc. are super good for us. If you are eating bananas make sure they are green on they tips and bright yellow with no spots. Slightly green bananas have about half the sugar a ripe banana has.  Granny smith apples have less sugar than other apples have. Avocados, limes, lemons, grapefruit, papaya, peaches, plums, and berries are the lowest in sugar. While dates, cherries, apples, bananas, pineapple, grapes and mangos are some of the highest.

Dried fruits are extremely rich in sugars and should be avoided if you are trying to lose weight.

For anyone wanting to lose weight I recommend you consume no more than three (3) servings of fruit per day. And truthfully, I would prefer you only do two (2) servings a day until major progress is made in the weight loss.  Of course I do not recommend any fruit juice, it’s just way too much sugar.

A serving is one medium fruit (think apple, pear, peach, plum) or 1 cup of smaller fruits like berries.

Aim for 3 times more vegetables than fruit in your diet and you will be great.

Healthy wishes

Wally Bishop C.N.C.

WebND

The contents of this blog is not and should not be  considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.

Read Full Post »

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