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Spice It Up.

What if you were told you could prevent inflammation, burn more fat, stop infections…all simply by spicing up your life? The health benefits associated with adding spices to your foods spices
are immense and have received a lot of traction lately in the health industry. Some spices have been known to benefit your heart, provide anti-bacterial and antiviral properties and are high in vitamins and trace minerals. Not to mention they can help boost the taste of so many meals without adding extra calories.

Some of the most common spices and their benefits include the following:

Cayenne pepper – “hot” due to its capsaicin content, a substance that helps heat up your body and fire up your metabolism to burn extra calories and fat. It has also been known to relieve aches and soreness. Other benefits may include improved circulation, heart health and fighting some cancers and ulcers.

Ginger – commonly known to treat upset stomachs, ginger may also help gas and bloating, sore throats, colds, arthritis and motion sickness.  It has also been known to lessen workout induced soreness and inflammation and may even be attributed to higher memory. It can be ingested in multiple ways and is readily available.

Cinnamon – has one of the highest antioxidant values of any spice and has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar and triglyceride levels, help with nausea and help the body in burning fat. It is also a great source of manganese, iron and calcium…and can reduce risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. Oh…and it kills bacteria! I add cinnamon to my coffee every day.

Fennel – high in calcium and rich in niacin, fennel is also high in vitamin C and can help promote a strong immune system and is an excellent source of dietary fiber and iron – helping to boost your metabolism and keep your digestive tract healthy. And, it’s a natural appetite suppressant and can help detoxify and exfoliate the skin.

Turmeric – a common ingredient in mustard, butter and cheese to add to their yellow hue. Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory and has been known to provide pain relief and may have benefits to treating Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and breast, stomach and colon cancer. It also contains anti-bacterial properties and helps digest fat quickly.

Oregano – has been known to have antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer, antioxidant and antibiotic properties. It contains vitamin K, which has bone-building properties, and can help fend off the stomach flu. The oil and leaves of the plant have been used medicinally to body aches and illnesses.

Basil – known for it’s powerful antioxidant properties that can protect the body from premature aging, skin issues and some types of cancer. The plant pigments are said to protect your cell structure from oxygen and radiation damage and can also be applied to wounds to help prevent bacterial infections.

Cumin – super rich in iron, cumin helps keep your energy level high and your immune system strong. It has also been associated to boosting brainpower, especially memory.

It’s especially important to keep your spices fresh and use them before the expiration date. Your best option is to buy the plant source and use it directly to spice up your meals.

Experiment with your recipes and add a little extra spice to your life.

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The Power Of Lemon Water

The following benefits of lemon water are extracted from an email sent to Debra from her sister-in-law, Marie – an avid trainer and nutrition buff (go figure!).

When life gives you lemons, make lemon water.

Supports Immune Function

Lemon-Water1

Citrus fruits like lemon are high in vitamin C, which helps play an important role in immune function. Lemons also contain substances with antimicrobial properties that keep cold and flu viruses away. Ascorbic acid (found in lemon juice) also helps iron absorption which plays a role in immune function.

Alkalizes The Body

Though lemons seem acidic, they are one of the most alkalizing foods for the body. The citric and ascorbic acid found in lemons helps reduce your body’s acidity when it is metabolized.

Helps With Digestion

The pectin fiber found in lemons helps fight hunger cravings and keeps you full longer. The fiber also aids in digestion to help flush out unwanted materials.

Natural, Gentle Diuretic

Lemon juice helps move unwanted waste through an increased rate of urination. This in turn, helps boost your kidney’s detoxifying function.

Energizer

Lemon water helps to feel hydrates and oxygenates the body – leaving you revitalized and refreshed!

Speeds Up Metabolism

Personal training pro Jackie Warner swears by lemon water on a daily basis. “Adding the lemon helps to detoxify the liver and metabolizes fat, so this can speed up metabolism by 33%.”

Thanks, Marie, for the great advice!

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Weight Loss Tips You Will Enjoy!

Most of us are aware of the basics when it comes to keeping our weight in check:  drink water, exercise, eat less calories than you burn, enjoy whole foods and avoid junk food laden with added fats and sugar.  However, below are some fun and interesting tips that you can add to your arsenal to fight off unwanted weight gain.

imagesSnack Before Dinner.  Eat ½ ounce of healthy fat such as nuts or avocados eight minutes before dinner.  You will feel fuller longer and eat less.  One study showed a 4-pound weight loss per year with this simple trick.

Eat Mint.  Mint has been shown to be a natural appetite suppressant and can even improve digestion.  It can be eaten or inhaled.  It could be a cup of mint tea, mint flavored toothpaste (don’t eat it), mint infused room scent or a simple mint leaf in your water.  One study found that people who inhaled a peppermint scent every two hours ate 2,700 fewer calories per week—that’s nearly a one-pound loss!

Personally, I swear by a cup of mint tea at night.  I started drinking it a couple years ago whenever I got hungry at night and it did the trick.  Now it is my go to whenever I want to munch (Tazo Refresh is my favorite.)

Add Don’t Subtract.  If you are getting depressed thinking of all those foods you are not supposed to eat, then instead concentrate on what you should add to your diet.  For example, find a way to add 1 or 2 different healthy foods to your diet each day.  Plan your meals around it, and your focus will go from depriving to thriving.  Some examples: add kale to your scrambled eggs, add spinach to a juice or make a dessert with three different kinds of berries.

Eat Vitamin C.  It inhibits the production of cortisol, a hormone that essentially tells your body to store fat.  One simple way is to eat grapefruit or orange slices with breakfast. Or use it as your afternoon snack.

Shoot Your Food.  We have all heard about writing down everything you eat, well instead of pen and paper, record what you eat with a photo.  Sound complicated?  Not with today’s ever present cell phones.  Simply snap a picture before you pick up that fork.   When you look back and see that healthy salad covered in blue cheese dressing and croutons, it may give you a pause the next time you hit the salad bar.

Eat Breakfast.  A recent study in the journal Obesity found that women who ate a 700-calorie breakfast and 200-calorie dinner shed more than twice as much weight over 12 weeks as those whose meal sizes were reversed. 

Drink Wine. A 2010 study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, which followed more than 19,000 women for an average of 13 years, found that those who had one to two alcoholic drinks daily put on fewer pounds than non-drinkers and heavy drinkers. Weight gain was lowest among wine drinkers. While the researchers can’t definitively explain this, they say that the subjects who sipped a glass or two ate fewer calories—and that women burn more calories after drinking than men do.

Stand up!  Standing burns 1.5 times more calories than sitting. Stand when you’re at the doctor’s office or when you watch TV.  My favorite tip is to set my computer on the bar height counter in my kitchen – this way it is perfect height to stand and work.

Sleep in a Cold Room. A somewhat chilly bedroom could improve both your sleep and your metabolism. An article in Obesity Reviews noted that the average indoor temperature has ticked upward during the past few decades. What’s more, most of us keep the thermostat steady throughout the house, preventing the body from experiencing dips in temperature to stoke its own calorie-burning furnace. Sleeping in a chillier room is a great way to force your body to heat itself up for hours and you will burn calories all night long while keeping yourself warm.

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