Health and Wellness Fridays – Tomatoes

Welcome back to Health and Wellness Fridays! Today we’re going to be looking at tomatoes scientifically known as Solanum lycopersicum. Tomatoes originated in South America and can now be found all over the world.  It is the berry of a plant that comes from the Nightshade family that belong to a scientific family of plants called Solanaceae .

As a member of the nightshade family, tomatoes contain glycoalkaloids, toxic substances that act like a natural pesticides or fungicides in the plant. While glycoalkaloids are poisonous to humans, their levels are quite low in tomatoes making them safe to consume according to Food Safety Watch .

The tomato is technically a fruit but it is also categorised as a vegetable.  Tomatoes are juicy, soft and have many seeds. They vary in shape, size , colour, texture and flavour. The most common colour is red but it can also be yellow, orange or green.

Image Credit: Pixabay.com

According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, biotin and molybdenum. They are also a good source of iron, zinc, potassium, copper, manganese, fibre, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E, niacin, folate and phosphorus just to name a few.

Tomatoes have large amounts of the antioxidant known as lycopene which  some studies revealed was good at fighting and preventing cancer associated with the prostate, breast, lung, bladder, ovaries, colon and pancreas.

According to some of the studies done here are some of the health benefits of including tomatoes in your diet:

  • Protects the skin against sun damage
  • Prevent kidney stones and gallstones
  • Counters the effect of cigarette smoke
  • Prevents urinary tract infections
  • Support a healthy pregnancy
  • Regulate blood pressure
  • Cancer prevention
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Protects the heart
  • Strong and shiny hair
  • Stronger bones
  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Help with constipation
  • Support vision health
  • Reduce chronic pain
  • Aid in depression

Some Possible Risks:

  • Chemical-based tomato farming involves spraying tomatoes with large quantities of pesticides and insecticides. Hence, organically grown tomatoes are recommended to reduce pesticide exposure.
  • Tomatoes are high in potassium and should be consumed in moderation especially when taking beta-blockers.  Consuming too much potassium can be harmful for those whose kidneys are not fully functional.
  • Persons who suffer from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) may experience an increase in symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation. However, reactions vary from person to person.
  • Although tomato allergy is rare, they can cause allergic reactions in people allergic to grass pollen causing itching in the mouth, scratchy throat or swelling of the mouth or throat.  This condition is called pollen-food allergy syndrome or oral-allergy syndrome .

How to use tomatoes:

  • Tomatoes should always be washed before eating.
  • Tomatoes can be eaten raw or cooked.

There are simple and easy ways to add more tomatoes to your diet.  Add a few slices to your sandwiches, add them to your salad, make a tomato soup, make guacamole, drink it in a vegetable juice, chop them up and add them to your egg omelet.  Be creative.

Remember, not because something is reported as good for you means you should abuse it – so use in moderation.   Always consult your doctor.

Being healthy is a lifestyle and it requires discipline and some research from time to time.  I am working on improving my health one day at a time.

It is your health, your body and your life so take care of it.  I believe in the saying, “prevention is better than the cure” and this is why I started Health and Wellness Fridays to bring to your attention foods that we sometimes overlook and take for granted.

  Thanks for stopping by.  See you next week.  🙂

Sources:

  • https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/tomatoes/
  • http://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/health/9-surprising-health-benefits-of-tomatoes.aspx?p=12
  • https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/tomatoes.html
  • http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=44
  • http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=62
  • http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/273031.php?page=2

Difficult People

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Difficult people we can’t escape them

Sometimes they are our friends and even members of our family

These people we accept and even show empathy

However, there are some difficult people we work with that force us to ask,

“Why me, Lord? Life is tough enough already.” 

It seems difficult people can’t help it sometimes

It’s just who they are, maybe even their purpose in life

……………………………………………………………………………………….

How would our lives be without them?

Happy? Stress free?  Who knows for sure, not me!

Some of them force us to stop and think

Others can just make us get really stink

…………………………………………………………………………….

Despite the negative emotions they can sometimes get into motion

They can sometimes force us to be better

Even motivate us to work harder

I know sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture

As we take deep breaths to keep our composure

………………………………………………………………………….

We must not lose self-control

We must continue to show restraint

Because if we were to get loose, those around us might faint

Not ready for the picture our words might paint

So we often conceal our feelings and quietly seek self-healing

As we accept that difficult people are everywhere

Placed in our lives for a reason and will only endure for a season

So face them like any test and let perseverance do the rest

……………………………………………………………………………..

If however, you find the pressure becomes too much

Then dear friends you should speak up

With a clear head and not emotion led

Speak your piece and hopefully it brings peace

Just take it one day at a time and in the end you’ll be fine.

By: Cherylene Nicholas

 

Find and develop your own talents

Once upon a time there lived two sisters Sarah and Samantha both in their early twenties who lived in the country side.  Sarah was a very quiet person and did not have many friends but she was happy. She found joy in her paintings and writing poetry. She loved her sister and often wished she could be more like her fun and outgoing with lots of friends.

Image Credit: Pixels.com

Samantha was the total opposite.  She always liked being the centre of attention and was very popular.  She was secretly angry and jealous of Sarah because she did not have her talents.  She would always be negative with Sarah in hopes of discouraging her.

Their mother always told them growing up to love and support each other but Samantha always feared that if she did that Sarah would just get better and better at her talents and would eventually go off to the big city and leave her there all alone.

Sarah felt most creative near the water – the river was her favourite place to paint and write her poetry.  Today was no different as Sarah set off to her favourite place.  The birds were chirping, the bees were buzzing and the air was fresh and clean.  Sarah found her spot under the huge cherry blossom tree and began painting taking periodic deep breaths trying to take in the beauty of the place and centre her mind as inspiration was everywhere.

She was half way into her painting when she heard a car pull up and stop on the road behind her.  When she looked up she noticed a tall, handsome young man waving to her as he approached her.  She had never seen him before and was a bit concerned.  As he got closer she could hear his deep, strong voice, “Hello Miss, can you please tell me where Sarah Joline lives?”

“Sarah Joline, why do you want to know?” asked Sarah even more concerned that he was looking for her.  “It’s a private matter, do you know where I can find her it is urgent? My name is Adam, by the way.”  Sarah smiled and replied, “I am Sarah Joline, what is this about?”

Adam was happy that he had found her so easily and was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful she was.  He reached into his coat and handed her a white letter sized envelope.  “What is this about ?” Sarah asked again holding the envelope in her hand convinced that Adam had the wrong person. He then said, “You’ll see. It was a pleasure meeting Miss Joline I look forward to seeing you again soon.” He then turned and walked back to his car and drove off with a smile on his face.

Sarah was scared, nervous and excited all at the same time.  She was too scared to open the envelope herself and quickly packed up and headed home.  When she got home the first person she saw was her mother.  Her mother took one look at her and knew something was troubling her.  “What’s wrong Sarah?” asked her mother same time Samantha walked in from spending time with her friends.

“I met this really handsome guy down by the river and he gave me an envelope because he was looking for me.  Can you believe it?” said Sarah.

“Yeah right, it’s just her crazy imagination again?” said Samantha. “Be quiet Samantha. Let me see the envelope Sarah,” said mother.  Sarah handed her the envelope and sat on the step anxiously waiting for her to read it.  Samantha walked off toward the kitchen pretending not to be interested but stood behind the door listening attentively as her mother read out the letter.

” Dear Miss Sarah Joline,

You’ve been selected to take part in the National Art Scholarship Programme based on your submission and recommendation from your teacher Mrs. Jane Oliver.

Should you choose to accept please be advised that this is a two-year programme and you would be required to move to New York city.  We will be providing room and board for you.  You would be given an internship opportunity that would allow you to earn a stipend while here.

Please note that we must receive your decision within the week.

We look forward to meeting you and working with you.

Kind Regards,

Mr. John Hamshire
Director”

Sarah was speechless.  She knew that her teacher was very fond of her work and always encouraged her to explore and develop her talents further but she did not believe her work was good enough.  This letter however, was proof that her work was more than good enough.

Her mother cried tears of joy and began hugging and kissing her on her cheeks so much that her face was now red and numb. Her mother looked at her with so much pride and told her that she always knew she would be great in whatever she did.  “We have to prepare there is so much to be done before you leave,”  said her mother.

“You’re going to let me go?” asked Sarah. Her mother looked at her confused and asked, “Don’t you want to go?  This is an opportunity for you to do what you love.”  Sarah sighed and responded, “What about you and Samantha? Samantha is the only sister I have.  I would be alone in New York.  I know our relationship is not ideal lately but I love and forgive her. I know deep down she loves me too.”

Samantha heard everything. At first when she heard the acceptance letter she was furious that Sarah was leaving and that her talents were not just good but excellent.  She also heard what Sarah said and for the first time in a long time she felt sad and ashamed at how she had treated her sister who despite everything she had done loved her still and was genuinely concerned about her.

She saw her reflection in the stainless steel cookie jar on the counter and realised that she did not recognise who she had become because she had allowed jealousy and envy to consume her.  She wept uncontrollably as she sank to her knees in the kitchen.

Both her mother and sister heard this and ran in to see what was wrong. They hugged her and she looked Sarah in the eyes and apologised for being mean and jealous of her and asked for her forgiveness.  Sarah forgave her and told her that she loved her.  Samantha knew it was true and confessed that she loved her also.

She also went on to tell her the truth about how wonderful her paintings and poetry were and that she should go to New York.  “Sarah you are a great sister and talented artist and I am proud to call you my sister.”

This brought tears to both Sarah and her mother’s eyes. After that day, Samantha and Sarah grew closer and became the best of friends always supporting and encouraging each other to be their best.

Samantha eventually found her own talent.  All this time she thought she was not good at anything – turns out she was a great musician and eventually went on to do great things.  She realised that she was wasting time being angry and jealous of her sister’s talents when she had her own talent that she was not developing because she was too busy being envious and almost lost her opportunity to find happiness within herself.

Sarah learnt that she needed to believe in herself and her abilities more.  She was also grateful that she did not give up on her sister because now they have a beautiful relationship.  Sarah was happy with who she was and who she was becoming and allowed herself to explore other opportunities for happiness outside herself and her work as she and Adam eventually became very close.

In the end, both sisters agreed that sometimes you need to create your own happiness. Don’t waste time comparing yourself to others, focus on developing your own talents because it is there you will find true happiness.

Image Credit: Pixabay.com

 

Health and Wellness Fridays – Cinnamon

Welcome back to Health and Wellness Fridays! Forgive me for this obviously late post but it could not be helped.  Today we are going to be talking about some of the possible health benefits of cinnamon.  Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the inner brown bark of the Cinnamomum trees and is brown in colour.  It has a distinct smell and flavour that comes from cinnamaldehyde.

Image Credit : Pexels.com

Did you know that there are hundreds of types of Cinnamon? However, only four types of Cinnamon are used for commercial purposes: Ceylon Cinnamon, Cassia or Chinese Cinnamon, Saigon Cinnamon and Korintje Cinnamon.

Cassia, Saigon and Korintje Cinnamon are all classified under the Cassia Cinnamon category because they are very similar to each other with only slight variations in  shape, colour, taste, and Coumarin content.

Characteristics:

  • Ceylon Cinnamon is soft, brittle, lighter in colour, has a mild smell and is slightly sweeter with low Coumarin levels.
  • Cassia type Cinnamon however is hard, darker in colour, spicy,  has a stronger smell and has high levels of Coumarin. 

Origins:

  • Ceylon cinnamon  is produced in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Brazil, India, and the Caribbean.
  • Cassia cinnamon is produced largely in Indonesia, China and Vietnam.

Some of the nutrients found in cinnamon include:  manganese, calcium and fibre.  Cinnamon can be acquired in its stick form, in a powder form, capsule form or as an oil.  Regardless of the form you choose it does not take away from its effectiveness.  It is popular in both sweet and savory dishes.  It’s usefulness are not just limited to the kitchen but outside of it as well. Let’s take a look.

Some studies done on cinnamon suggests the following benefits:

  • High source of antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Anti-clotting agent
  • Anti-diabetic
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-bacteria
  • Anti-viral properties
  • Lower bad cholesterol
  • Boost immunity
  • Protects against heart disease
  • Protects brain function
  • Lower cancer risks
  • Protects and support good dental health
  • Improve colon health

The potential benefits to be gained from using cinnamon are not only limited to its consumption but can also be gained through just smelling it in the form of cinnamon scented candles, homemade toothpaste and even in the form of an acne mask.

Possible side effects:

The high levels of Coumarin found in Cassia cinnamon can be potentially toxic to the liver so if you must use it please use very small amounts. For this reason some researchers recommend Ceylon cinnamon because it has lower levels of Coumarin. Like I always say, everything needs to be used in moderation so do not exceed the recommended dosage.

Some experts also warn against incorporating too much cinnamon into your diet if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do your research and be sure to consult your doctor to avoid any potential complication.

Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Sources:

  • https://www.cinnamonvogue.com/Types_of_Cinnamon_1.html
  • http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266069.php?page=2
  • http://foodfacts.mercola.com/cinnamon.html
  • http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=68&tname=foodspice
  • http://www.organicauthority.com/health/11-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html

 

Helplessness

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For the past two days I have experienced some technical difficulties with my blog that had me going through a phase of helplessness.  This feeling  triggered other emotions such as frustration, annoyance and anger.

Some of you may know the feeling, that sense of there’s nothing you can do to fix the problem you’re facing no matter how hard you try.   That feeling you get when the people around you can’t seem to understand or fix the problem you’re going through.  The feeling of helplessness can pop up at any time and at any stage in your life leaving you stressed.

In my most recent dilemma, I sought technical support from various avenues because I was not sure where the problem I was facing had originated from – talk about frustrating! At one point, I was locked out and unable to use my blog and this had me very concerned to say the least.

I was eventually reconnected and this made me happy again.  I did not realise just how much this blog meant to me until the fear of possibly losing it.  It is an extension of myself that I am now able to share with people all over the world and I am very grateful for it.

That feeling of helplessness that I experienced humbled me because it reminded me that I do not have control over everything no matter how hard I try.  The good news is, I don’t give up easily!  At various points during this period of restlessness, uncertainty and fear – I had to talk myself down emotionally.

I had to take a deep breath okay a few deep breaths 🙂 to calm my thoughts and my emotions so I could think straight and not let my emotions continue to run wild.  After all, behaving like a crazy woman would not have resolved my technical issues so I had to be analytical, diplomatic and do some trouble shooting of my own until I got the results I needed.

Thankfully, it paid off but it was not easy.  I had to be patient, I had to trust and rely on someone else to do their job and do it well.  This experience if nothing else has reinforced for me a couple of things:

    1. Helplessness can only be overcome with perseverance.
    2. I will continue to back up my data regularly.
    3. Knowledge is power – where you don’t have the answers – look for it!  Seeking to understand the various aspects of my blog prior to these events made it easier for me to understand and follow the instructions given.
    4. Patience is key and thus doing things in anger and hastiness should be avoided when possible.
    5. Be your own emotional coach. Take deep breaths and clear your mind don’t let your negative emotions drive your actions. When no one else is around the only person you have is YOU.
    6. Don’t focus too much on the problem –focus your efforts and energy on finding solutions.
    7. It’s okay to not have all the answers.
    8. It’s wise to get help.
    9. Sitting back and doing nothing is definitely NOT the answer.
    10. See the situation as an opportunity to learn.

 

It feels good to be back. Thanks for stopping by.  🙂

The Power of Love

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Let’s talk about ‘love’.  The kind of love that actually grows with the couple over time and not diminishes. The kind of love that keeps people together especially during the tough times; through uncertainty and despite  imperfections.   The kind of love that transcends distance and time.

The kind of love that keeps you so focused on your loved one and the happiness you want for each other that you don’t allow distractions like other people to steal your joy.  The kind of love that can forgive, regroup and truly move forward together by mutual choice as ‘one’ learning from mistakes to build a better, brighter and stronger future together.

This type of love is a powerful thing and it should never be taken for granted.  I recognise that we can’t help who we fall in love with but sometimes we meet people who do not reciprocate that kind of love and they tend to take advantage of our love for them.   They may abuse it and their actions can sometimes drain us in every sense of the word and can sometimes leave us feeling angry, resentful, depressed and unhappy with them, the world and ourselves.

So, what do we do?  Choose not to love another human being for as long as we live? Be overly cautious and keep everyone at arm’s length never allowing them to get too close to us?  I respect these self-preservation tactics but I also know that “when it’s your time, it’s your time” there’s no escaping love.

I have learnt that love can and will find you no matter how good you think you’re hiding.  No matter the obstacles and walls you put up to protect your heart from the influence of another.  Love is unpredictable and it will find you when you least expect it hence you’re never ready when it comes.  It can knock you off your feet. It can be intoxicating and overwhelming – feeling good and scary all at the same time.  It is known to consume your thoughts and effect your behaviour in ways you could not imagine.

When and if you find that special someone who melts your heart and you melt theirs – treasure each other, the moments and the memories you share.  Love although unpredictable is also beautiful and special because it is not something you experience everyday so cherish it.

Thanks for stopping by.   🙂

 

What is real beauty?

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What is real beauty?  It seems everywhere we turn we’re bombarded with images and perceptions about what signifies or identifies as ‘beauty’ and this is largely based on how someone or something looks.

However, over time I have come to realise that real beauty is sometimes deeper than just the physical attributes of someone as well as it can be based on personal preferences of the person doing the assessment that is to say, what might be beautiful to me may not be beautiful to you and vice versa.  Hence the popular saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

How many couples have you looked at and thought, “What an interesting combo?” or “How did he or she end up with him or her?”   How many people have you met that did not meet up to your standards of beauty or attractiveness that turned out to be great people who you now have beautiful friendships or relationships with?  Or rather how many people have you not allowed yourself the opportunity to interact with because they did not meet your standards based on their appearance?

If we limit ourselves to just what our eyes can see then we can potentially be missing out on many beautiful things and people out there in the world around us. 

I am not advocating that we stop admiring or complimenting people based on their appearance. What I am suggesting however, is that we not limit or avoid interactions with others because of their outward characteristics because sometimes “what you see is not necessarily what you get” and this can prevent us sometimes from learning and experiencing someone or something truly special.

I for one have met and interacted with all types of people and there have been times when I met people who I deemed beautiful or attractive in their outward appearance and later found out that they lacked inward beauty – that is, their character, personality or values did not match up with their outward beauty and I suddenly did not find them as beautiful after that.

As children through stories like “The Ugly Duckling” and “Beauty and the Beast” we’re taught “you should not judge a book by the cover.”  We all know the stories so  ask yourself this, who really loses in scenarios where we make assumptions or judgements about others based on their appearances – the person being judged or the person making the judgement?

A diamond is a diamond whether we think it is beautiful or not.  Our like or dislike for it does not change what it is.  This is how we must see ourselves and others as well.  We are all beautiful and special and this is how we need to see our differences because whether people like us or not would not change or take away from what makes each and every one of us special, unique and beautiful.

Real beauty to me is not limited to just the physical attributes of someone or something but the non-physical attributes that compliment that person or thing.  It is what makes it truly special and beautiful giving those that come into contact with it a sense of joy, happiness and pleasure to be around.

Thanks for stopping by.  🙂