Health and Wellness Fridays – Raw Garlic

Hello and welcome back to Health and Wellness Fridays!  I know for me  Fridays are extra special.  Are they for you too? 🙂

Today we’re going to be talking about the possible benefits of raw garlic.    Garlic is good for so much more than just adding flavour to our dishes. Stick around to learn more. 🙂

Background

Garlic is a member of the Allium Sativum family of vegetables which includes onion, chive, leek, and shallot.  Garlic is a herb that has been around for many years.

It is made up of many small separate cloves arranged in a head, called a “bulb”.  The cloves as well as the entire bulb are encased in paper-like sheathes that vary in colour ranging from white, off-white to  a purple hue.

There are many varieties of garlic. Garlic can differ in size, colour, shape, taste, number of cloves per bulb, pungency and storability. Some garlic can be stored for as little as 6 months to as much as 1 year.

Most of the garlic varieties can be classified under hard-necked or soft-necked.   Soft-necked being the most common.  They are usually the ones  you will find braided in the supermarket. Soft-necked garlic typically has several layers of cloves surrounding the central portion of the garlic bulb. Its papery skin, or sheath, is creamy white in colour.  Silverskin and artichoke are two popular varieties.

Hard-necked garlic unlike soft-neck garlic do not have a flexible stalk.  This type of garlic, will typically have an extremely firm stalk protruding an inch or two from the top of the bulb.  Three popular varieties include: Rocambole, Porcelain and Purple stripe.

Nutritional Profile of Raw Garlic

Some of the nutrients that can be found in raw garlic include: manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C,  copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B1, and calcium as well as sulfur compounds.

Did you know?

  • Garlic is a laxative plant.
  • The fresher the garlic, the higher the concentration of its active ingredients.  Green shoots are a sign of age.
  • Wide range of health and beauty benefits.

Some Possible Health and Beauty Benefits include:

Possible Side Effects

Although garlic is likely safe for most people when taken appropriately.  Some people have reported the following side effects after consuming garlic such as bad breath, a burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, heartburn, gas, nausea, vomiting, body odour, and diarrhea.

Additionally, anyone with any of the under mentioned conditions should be cautious when or if using garlic especially in its raw form.  Let’s take a look.

Bleeding disorder: Garlic, especially fresh garlic, might increase the risk of bleeding.

Stomach or digestion problems: Garlic can irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Use with caution if you have stomach or digestion problems.

Low blood pressure: Garlic can lower blood pressure. In theory, taking garlic might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.

Surgery: Garlic might prolong bleeding and interfere with blood pressure. Stop taking garlic at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Don’t take garlic if you take isoniazid (Nydrazid, INH). Garlic might reduce how much isoniazid (Nydrazid, INH) the body absorbs. This might decrease how well isoniazid (Nydrazid, INH) works.

All in all, garlic is a herb full of promise. I know eating raw garlic is not for everyone.  I’ve eaten it and I can tell you it does create a burning sensation in the mouth as you chew it but it does not last too long thankfully.

Garlic is added to the majority of the meals I prepare because I love the smell and the flavour of it gives my meals.

     

Talk to your doctor and do some research of your own.

Living healthier is a lifestyle decision and it does not happen overnight.  Take it one day at a time. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great weekend.

Health and Wellness Fridays -Apples

Welcome back to Health and Wellness Fridays!  I hope that your Friday has been well thus far and that it just gets better as you move into the weekend. 🙂

Today we’re going to take a bite out of apples.   Apples originated from  Eastern Europe and Central Asia and were brought to North America by European colonists.  They can now be found in most of the temperate regions of the world.   Did you know that there are more than 7000 varieties of apples grown throughout the world? I was amazed to learn that something that appears so simple had so many varieties.

Apples are a crisp, white-fleshed fruit that can come with a red, yellow or green skin. The apple tree is a deciduous tree in the rose family best known for its sweet fruit, the apple.  They can be eaten raw or cooked.

Nutritional Profile

Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin C.  Some of the other nutrients we would find in smaller amounts include: potassium, vitamin K, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and vitamins A, E, B1, B2 and B6.

Some popular varieties include: Red Delicious, McIntosh, Golden (or Yellow) Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, BraeburnPink LadyHoneycrisp and Empire

Is an apple a day enough to keep the doctor away?  Let’s take a look at some of the possible health benefits of adding apples to our diet below.

Possible Health Benefits include:

Please note that some of the benefits highlighted above require you to eat both the flesh and the skin of the apple to get maximum benefits of this fruit.

Some possible side effects

It should be noted that no serious side effects have been linked to apple consumption.

  • Apple seeds contain cyanide, a powerful poison.  Eating too many apple seeds can potentially be fatal. As such, it is recommended that you remove the apple seeds before juicing or  consuming the fruit.
  • Apple may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Rosaceae family. Members of this family include apricot, almond, plum, peach, pear, and strawberry. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking apple.
  • According to Professor David Bartlett at the King’s Dental Institute – “Snacking on acidic foods throughout the day is the most damaging, whilst eating them at meal times is much safer. It’s not what you eat it’s how you eat it – an apple a day is good, but taking all day to eat the apple can damage teeth. “
  • Non-organic apples typically have their surfaces coated with a wax that helps to protect them during storage and shipping.  Some suppliers tend to use more natural waxes such as Carnauba wax (from the carnauba palm tree), beeswax, or shellac (from the lac beetle) while others might opt for the petroleum-based waxes which then to contain solvent residues or wood resins.

How to buy apples?

When you buy apples, make sure they are firm.  Avoid buying apples that have wrinkles, since they have lost most of their health benefits and nutritional value.

In conclusions, apples are a healthy fruit that promise many benefits regardless of age.  I for one need to increase my consumption of apples – whether it is through eating more of the fruit, drinking more apple juice maybe even juicing it – I could be doing more.  Do you eat apples daily?

Are apples on your list of favourite fruits?   Hope you all enjoyed today’s topic. Have a wonderful weekend.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Health and Wellness Fridays – Salmon

Pixabay.com

Welcome back dear friends to Health and Wellness Fridays! Your support for this segment is acknowledged and appreciated. Today we’re having fish, fresh wild-caught salmon to be exact. 🙂

Salmon is a delicious and truly a versatile fish. It can stand up to various cooking methods such as baking, steaming, poaching, smoking even grilling just to name a few.  It can also be served raw in dishes like sushi and  sashimi .

Pixabay.com

Nutritional Profile

Salmon has an abundant source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that add great value and benefit to the overall body.   It is rich in vitamin B12, vitamin D and selenium. It is a good source of  omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, protein, vitamin B6 and phosphorus. It is also a good source of biotin , pantothenic acid, choline and potassium.

Types of Salmon

Salmon are native to either  Atlantic (Salmo genus) salmon or Pacific (Oncorhynchus genus).   They are typically anadromous: they are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to reproduce. The Atlantic salmon is native to the north Atlantic all the others species listed here are found in the north Pacific.

Atlantic salmon

Chinook  salmon

 Sockeye salmon

Coho salmon

  Masu salmon

Pink salmon

  Chum salmon.

Let’s take a look at some of the various findings some studies have highlighted as some of the potential benefits to be gained from consuming wild-caught salmon.

Some of the benefits of consuming this amazing food include:

  1. Reduce inflammation
  2. Antioxidant
  3. Lower blood pressure
  4. Protect bone health
  5. Prevent muscle loss
  6. Support and protect the heart
  7. Support and protect the brain
  8. Reduce cancer risk
  9. Support nervous system
  10. Support weight loss
  11. Prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s symptoms
  12. ADHD Prevention in children
  13. Improve vision
  14. Promote healthy skin
  15. Joint protection

Some possible concerns include:

  1. Unhealthy levels of contamination such as mercury, dioxins and more especially in farmed raised salmon as opposed to wild-caught salmon. Where the fish comes from plays a big role in the quality of the fish.  Dr. Axe went so far to say, “Farmed salmon is on my list of fish you should never eat.”
  2. The Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of genetically engineered salmon  which does not require any labeling, leaving consumers in the dark. Really? Persons wishing to avoid genetically engineered (GE) salmon intake will need to avoid any farmed salmon products not providing a GE-free label.

Did you know that roughly 80% of all salmon consumed worldwide is farmed. How messed up is that?

What can we do?

Some suggest that we stop eating it.  Personally, I think that is a bit drastic.  I love having an occasional fish lunch or dinner from time to time.  However, with the concerns of contamination we need to make wise decisions. I totally agree with purchasing wild-caught salmon when possible.

However, with farmed salmon being the most readily available source in most countries Pritikin.com suggests removing the skin and the layer of fat just beneath the skin before or after cooking because these are the two places where the chemicals tend to concentrate. That sounds doable! 🙂

Even with some of the eyebrow raising information I learned today, salmon is still one of my favourite fish. Information is power people this type of knowledge just means we need to be more vigilant.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend.  See you guys next.

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Note: Salmon species pictures above are credited to Wikipedia.org

Health and Wellness Fridays – Oats

It’s Friday so you know what time it is – Health and Wellness Fridays, of course !!!!  Today, I’m bringing centre stage, oats.

Oats or  (Avena sativa) are a cereal that is commonly eaten in the form of oatmeal or rolled oats.   When I think of oats, it always takes me back to my childhood when my dad would make porridge.  It was delicious and we could not get enough.  Over the years however, I’ve learnt that oats has more to offer than just a bowl of delicious porridge.

We can use it in our baked goods like bread and cookies, some even add oats to smoothies and snacks. Oats are even added to non-food items like bathing soap and skin care products like facial mask and other skin treatments.  Not only are oats versatile but they are inexpensive and good for you.

Nutritional Benefits

Oats are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  They are an excellent source of manganese and molybdenum and are a very good source of phosphorus.  If you’re looking for a good source of magnesium, dietary fiber, biotin, vitamin B1, copper, chromium, zinc and protein with smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin B3 then you’re in the right place.

Let’s take a look at some of the possible health benefits of using oats below:

  1. May reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  2. Lower blood pressure
  3. May reduce the risk of colorectal cancer
  4. Relieve constipation
  5. May help prevent diabetes
  6. Boost energy levels
  7. Lower cholesterol
  8. Assist in hemoglobin formulation
  9. May reduce risk for breast cancer
  10. Help with weight loss
  11. Decrease the risk of asthma in children
  12. Promotes good vision
  13. Assist with estrogen balance
  14. Enhance immune response to infection
  15. Ward off muscle disorders
  16. Help prevent migraines
  17. Fights anemia
  18. Treatment of acne
  19. Treatment of PMS
  20. Soothes eczema
  21. Reduce risk of stroke
  22. Assist in brain function

Now, who would have thought something so simple could offer so many benefits to the human body. You are probably wondering what type of oats or oatmeal to buy and if there is any difference.  Well, yes there are some differences.

Some popular oat varieties include:

Rolled Oats: they are large, round and flat in appearance. They cook faster than steel-cut oats.  This is most commonly used in baked goods and porridge.

Instant oats: they cook faster than all the other varieties because they have been pre-steamed and cut into tiny pieces.   They often appear mushy in texture once cooked. 

Steel-cut oats: are small and almost resembles rice.  This type of oat has a longer cook time but they keep their shape.

So with that said, the type of oats you buy would depend on how you plan to use it because different oatmeal carry different shelf lives, different cooking times and different nutritional value. I can’t stress enough how important it is to read the labels of the products you buy.  For a healthier option, it is recommended that you avoid prepackaged, flavoured oatmeal and opt for the organic, bagged oatmeal.

Possible Side Effects

  1. Although oats don’t contain gluten, in rare cases they are grown in the same fields as wheat or barley and these crops can sometimes contaminate oats with gluten.   Thus, anyone with a gluten intolerance may as a result respond poorly to oats.
  2. Some have cited bloating and intestinal gas as a side effect of taking oatmeal.
  3. Flavoured, prepackaged oatmeal may contribute to an increased risk of diabetes (due to high volumes of sugar).

In closing, the potential benefits to be derived from oats are amazing.  My preference is definitely rolled oats because I like the consistency.  As always, I recommend using in moderation and not in isolation.  Remember, it is our overall diet and eating patterns that will help us prevent disease and achieve optimal health.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great day and a wonderful weekend.  🙂

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Health and Wellness Fridays:Wheatgrass

Welcome back guys to Health and Wellness Fridays!  Wheatgrass is the star of the show today. How many of you are familiar with wheatgrass? Today, we’ll explore some of the benefits of what some have called a powerful superfood.

What is wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass is a chlorophyll-rich herb that’s acquired from the cotyledons of the young grass of the common wheat plant called triticum aestivum.   Some other names it is known by include but are not limited to: Agropyre,  Blé en Herbe, Brote del Trigo, Couch Grass, Cutch, Dog Grass, Durfa Grass, Elymus repens, Graminis Rhizoma, Quack Grass, Quitch Grass, Scotch Quelch, Triticum, Twitchgrass and Witch Grass.

History of wheatgrass

The hype about the benefits of wheatgrass may be new to some of us but back in the 1930’s  Charles F. Schnabel Sr.  thought to be the “Father of Wheatgrass” through his experiments showed how beneficial wheatgrass was both to humans and animals. In the 1940’s Ann Wigmore reportedly healed herself of cancer from the weeds she found in vacant lots in Boston.  Wheatgrass has been doing its thing since then that says something.

Nutritional Properties

Wheatgrass nutritional composition is very impressive.   It is an excellent source of chlorophyll.  It is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12.  It also provides zinc, copper, phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, manganese, potassium and even amino acids.

The benefits of this edible grass can be acquired through either juice, capsule or tablet form or as a fine green powder once it is milled down.  Since the 1930’s researchers and scientists over the years have continued to research some of the possible benefits of wheatgrass and some would argue even more research is needed.

However, I won’t discount or discredit what some have highlighted as possible benefits to be obtained from using wheatgrass.  Let’s take a look.

  1. Supports brain health
  2. Stimulate circulation
  3. Boost metabolism
  4. Alkaline the body
  5. Antibacterial
  6. Antimicrobial
  7. Antioxidant
  8. Anti-inflammatory
  9. Lower cholesterol
  10. Prevent cancer
  11. Detoxifies the body
  12. Purifies the liver
  13. Regulate blood sugar
  14. Helps prevent tooth decay
  15. Improves digestion
  16. Improves vision – particularly night vision
  17. Boost immune system
  18. Treat arthritis
  19. Treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
  20. Restore fertility and balance hormones
  21. Slow aging
  22. Help heal wounds
  23. Reduce food cravings
  24. Helps with mental well-being
  25. Lose Weight
  26. Fight acne
  27. Fight depression
  28. Fight the common cold
  29. Rebuild blood
  30. Reduce fatigue
  31. Clear sinus congestion

Although wheatgrass is generally considered safe I still like to mention any possible side effects I find.  We all respond differently to different things so it pays to be safe than sorry.

Some possible side effects include:

  • Excessive consumption of wheatgrass may cause nausea or headaches in some people.
  • Some possible allergic reactions include throat swelling, digestive discomfort and hives.
  • Persons who have a wheat or grass allergy, celiac disease or gluten intolerance should consult a physician prior to consuming wheatgrass, since this could cause complications when ingested in high amounts.

How I use it

I use wheatgrass in the powder form and mix it in my bottled water.  I try to drink it on an empty stomach when possible.  It is an acquired taste but you get used to it.  I try to focus on the possible benefits.   I do not drink it everyday but rather I drink it two to three times per week.  That works for me so no complaints thus far.  🙂

Always do your research about the products you are using or considering using. Be sure to read and follow the directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or healthcare professional before using.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great weekend! 🙂

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