Blog2017-04-20T08:40:49-04:00

Most powerful spice on the planet

With nearly 7,000 peer-reviewed studies published on its medicinal properties and countless benefits for the body, turmeric may be the most powerful spice on the planet!

 

Turmeric is a perennial plant and a member of the ginger family. This pungent, bitter herb can be ground into a standalone spice or combined into other spices like curry powder. In fact, it’s turmeric that gives curry spice it’s bold, yellow color.

 

Turmeric has been used in ancient Asian and Indian medicines to treat inflammation and other conditions.

 

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, and it’s this chemical that gives turmeric it’s strong, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Some inflammation is fine, as it helps the body fight pathogens, but chronic, long-term inflammation plays a major role in the development of diseases like cancer, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. Any additional help you can give your body, like adding spices like turmeric to your diet, is important!

 

Turmeric provides a number of health benefits for nearly every system throughout the body, including:

 

  1. Powerful levels of antioxidants: The antioxidants in turmeric have been proven to fight oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Oxidative damage is one of the major causes of premature aging and many chronic diseases.
  2. Cancer prevention: There are more than 700 citations noting curcumin’s role in cancer prevention. Preliminary studies suggest that turmeric can lower the risk of prostate, breast, colon and lung cancer. Laboratory studies have shown that turmeric, or curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can even kill certain cancer cells.
  3. Detoxifier: Countless studies have examined turmeric’s ability to aid in body detoxification. Recent clinical trials have shown that turmeric can detoxify the liver and protect it from the toxic effects of heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury.
  4. Lowers Cholesterol: Turmeric not only detoxifies the liver, but it also increases the number of LDL receptors in the liver, which aids in the breakdown of LDL cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, this is important for your cardiovascular health, given LDL cholesterol is the unhealthy type of cholesterol that’s responsible for clogging and thickening of the arteries.
  5. Antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial: There is strong evidence supporting curcumin’s natural, non-toxic ability to kill viruses. Curcumin supercharges the immune system and heals wounds by clearing chronic inflammation and enhancing the body’s absorption of good, quality nutrients.
  6. Arthritis: Some studies have found that turmeric reduces joint inflammation and has other anti-arthritic benefits.
  7. Alzheimer’s: There is evidence that turmeric may prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease. One neurological study has uncovered evidence showing that turmeric may suppress amyloid deposits, or brain plaque that leads to the formation of Alzheimer’s disease.
  8. Digestive Health: Turmeric has been shown to enhance the gallbladder’s ability to produce bile, thus aiding in digestion. This colorful spice may also help an upset stomach and reduce bloating and gas. Recent studies have shown that turmeric might alleviate ulcerative colitis symptoms too!

 

Now, here are just a few words of caution.

 

The FDA does NOT regulate dietary supplements the same way it regulates food and OTC and prescription medications, so not all supplements are created equal.

 

According to the National Institutes of Health, turmeric consumption may slow platelet activity, so if you are taking an anticoagulant, consult with your doctor before adding turmeric to your diet. Additionally, if you’re prone to kidney stones, you should always consult your physician before taking any supplements along with your medication.

 

According to the American Cancer Society, there is no standard recommended dose for turmeric, though one-teaspoon of turmeric a day is a common dosage.

 

Adding turmeric to your diet is easy! Here are some simple suggestions:

 

  1. Add turmeric to milk (any type you drink) or to tea.
  2. Mix in a teaspoon with applesauce.
  3. Add to rice, quinoa, or sweet potatoes.
  4. Add to chicken, tofu, or curry dishes.

To Your Amazing Health,

Kendra

* This information should not be seen as medical advice and is not meant to take the place of seeing a licensed health professional. You should discuss any dietary supplement use and should not discontinue any prescription medication without first consulting your doctor.

 

Staying on Track when you Travel

Airplane (or Car Travel) – Most airport food is generally pretty bad (especially at Logan), so bring your own delicious food and snacks. On my last flight to LA, I packed small bags of roasted sweet potatoes, protein pancakes, carrot sticks, apple slices, grilled chicken and a PB&B sandwich. Ok, that might seem like a lot, but it’s about 9 hours of travel time. Plus, I was flying JetBlue and they walk around with the basket of chips and cookies the whole time. Guess what? I had zero desire to reach my hand in for a bag of cookies (a peanut butter and banana sandwich is kind of like a dessert, right?).

 

Here are a few other ideas of food that travels well (bring a small cooler that fits in your carry on or a big cooler if you’re traveling by car):

 

  1. Cut-up veggies (carrot, celery, string beans, cucumbers – what ever is your favorite)
  2. Fruit – apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, etc.
  3. Hard-boiled eggs or egg muffins
  4. Hummus or nut butters
  5. Pancakes, yogurt, cheese sticks
  6. Homemade trail mix, mixed nuts, kale chips
  7. Sandwiches – PB&B, Chicken sandwich, etc.
  8. Pack a regular dinner

 

You’ll feel so much better if you eat “real food” then if fill up on chips and bars. If you can’t bring yourself to pack a sandwich then look up your food options in the airport terminals. You’ll make much better decisions and feel more satisfied if you plan ahead!

 

Always eat a good Breakfast – Breakfast sets the stage for the rest of the day. Even if you’re staying in a hotel, you can have a decent breakfast. You don’t have to eat every meal out. Pack a Blender Bottle and have a protein shake and some fruit. If you’re eating all three meals outside the hotel, then stick to something healthy. Go for something similar to what you would have at home—hard-boiled eggs and multigrain bread, oatmeal (hold the dried fruit and brown sugar), or an egg white omelet loaded with veggies (see if they can go light on the oils). Just skip the bagels, cinnamon buns, and donuts – you get my point.

 

Stay Hydrated – make sure you’re drinking enough water (at least 8 cups a day). Drink more if you’re flying! If you’re staying at a hotel, the first thing you should do when you get to your room is make sure you have enough water. Or bring your re-useable water bottle with you.

 

Mindful Meal – This is a great opportunity to slow down and eat to 80% fullness at EVERY meal. If you’re on vacation, hopefully you’re not in a rush and you can enjoy the company of the people you’re with, so put your fork down between bites and enjoy the taste and texture of the food you’re eating. Try to eat outside if it’s possible!

 

Prioritize your indulgence – You’ve heard this one before, but it’s important. If you’re going to indulge at dinner, then order a salad for lunch—use olive oil and lemon for the dressing. If you want a burger, then skip the bun and fries and ask for a side salad. Decide if you want the unhealthy meal, a cocktail, or the dessert; but don’t pick all 3, and certainly don’t indulge at every meal. Try to eat healthy and pick the indulgence you want the most!

 

Cocktails – Stick with sparkling water at lunch. When it comes to ordering cocktails, avoid the sugary drinks and reach for a light bottle of beer (100 calories) or a 5-ounce glass of wine (120 calories). Vodka, rum, and tequila are around 100 calories per 1.5 oz. shot. Get soda water over tonic water. Soda water has zero calories and tonic water has 80 calories, crazy right? Avoid the juice – most likely it will add another 60 calories.

 

Exercise – try to exercise everyday. When you consume restaurant food you are consuming a lot more calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. Move your body in some way; use the hotel gym, bike, hike, or walk the city.

 

Staying in a hotel – Call ahead and ask if they have a refrigerator in the room. If they don’t, sometimes they’ll add one. If you’re driving, bring a cooler and use the hotel’s ice to keep it cool.

 

Healthy Snacksbring healthy snacks or call ahead to see if there is a market near your hotel. Bring snacks you like and commit to eating them (don’t raid the mini-bar). If you’re bringing protein bars make sure you look at the labels, and try to find ones with few ingredients—less than 5 grams of sugar; and make sure you can pronounce all the ingredients—if you can’t pronounce it you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

 

Meal planning – You do meal planning at home, so why wouldn’t you do it when you’re traveling? Find the healthier restaurants near your hotel and look at the menu before arriving at the restaurant to map out your meal.

 

Recovery – If you’re traveling for pleasure or work, then most likely you will indulge a little. That’s ok; if you made good choices and enjoyed it then don’t feel guilty! Just be ready to get things right back on track when you get home. Try to have some healthy food in your fridge or freezer for the day you return. Sometimes it takes people a few days to get back on track because they don’t think past the trip. When planning for your trip, make sure you include your recovery day—this way you’ll have healthy options available until you have time to get to the grocery store. Have some frozen soup or frozen vegetables on hand to make a stir-fry. Onions, carrots, potatoes, winter squashes, apples, and eggs can keep for a long time, so they are good to have in the house to make a healthy meal the day you get home.

 

No Guilt Zone – In the end, give yourself a break. Vacations aren’t the time to be on your best behavior. Please – NO GUILT! If you’re traveling for pleasure, this is your time to unwind from your everyday routine and enjoy the place you’re visiting and people you’re with. Don’t get wrapped up in eating perfectly. If you have chocolate cake, savor every bite; order champagne at lunch, then cheers to you; miss the morning run because you stayed up all night dancing, then don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world; I promise it won’t derail all of your progress, and the memories will be worth it!

 

To Your Amazing Health,

Kendra

 * This information should not be seen as medical advice and is not meant to take the place of seeing a licensed health professional. You should discuss any dietary supplement use and should not discontinue any prescription medication without first consulting your doctor.

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