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Naturopath Dr. Natasha Turner tells us how to incorporate health boosting herbs and spices into our everyday lives.

Boost Your Health with Herbs & Spices

Balance blood sugar with a little cinnamon: A little cinnamon in your smoothies or topping your oatmeal can go a long way towards balancing insulin levels. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care (2003) showed that cinnamon may cause muscle and liver cells to respond more readily to insulin, and therefore improve weight loss. Better response to insulin means better blood sugar balance and, therefore, less insulin in your body. Cinnamon also seems to reduce several risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. Just a 1/2 teaspoon a day for 20 days is enough to improve your insulin response and lower blood sugar by up to 20 percent.

How to Use : Add ½  - 1 teaspoon to your smoothies or sprinkled on your oatmeal daily.

Beat inflammation with Ginger: Ginger is another fabulous herb proven to prevent and treat nausea from motion sickness, pregnancy and chemotherapy. It’s a potent antioxidant that works by blocking the potentially nauseating effects of serotonin on the gut. Like turmeric, ginger also possesses natural anti-inflammatory benefits and may improve blood flow. A study conducted at the University of Miami showed ginger extract also had a significant effect on reducing the pain of osteoarthritis. Similarly encouraging results were found in a 2006 study at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. These researchers found powdered ginger killed ovarian cancer cells just as well or better than traditional chemotherapy. Slice up gingerroot and add it to stir-frys or simply boil it and drink it as a tea a few times a day.

How to Use: Slice up gingerroot and add it to stir-frys or simply boil it and drink it as a tea a few times a day.

Add a little colour with Curry: Curry is a rich source of curcumin (also called Tumeric) which naturally reduces inflammation, pain and swelling. In one clinical trial, participants who consumed 1200mg of cucuminoids (the antioxidant pigment found in turmeric) for two weeks found reduced morning stiffness and joint swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis. A study from Tufts University in Boston suggest that curcumin may help with fat metabolism and weight loss. The researchers studied the effect of curcumin both in mice fed a high-fat diet over a period of 12 weeks. They found that curcumin did not affect food intake but reduced body weight gain, fat accumulation, and density of fat tissue. Curcumin also increased expression of key enzymes involved in fat oxidation. Blood cholesterol levels were also lowered by curcumin treatment.

How to Use: For reducing inflammation take 1,200 milligrams of curcumin, divided into three doses daily, or add ½ - 1 tsp of curry while cooking, according to taste preference.

Boost immunity with Garlic. Not just for staving off vampires, garlic is well known for its ability to fight off a cold or flu. The substance in garlic called allicin has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties, according to University of Maryland Medical Center.

How to Use: Add 1-2 cloves of raw garlic daily to stir frys or entrees or take 300mg of dried garlic powder tablet 2-3 times per day with food.

Rosemary is another one of the healthy herbs on the super list of spices that may help protect blood vessels. Like the antioxidant OPC, the protection and strengthening of blood vessels naturally helps to lower high blood pressure. When you read about herbs for high blood pressure, you're really finding out which ones reduce the chance for blockage and constriction from inflammation. On a separate note, Rosemary is also great for vision and has been shown to help prevent cataracts.
How to Use: Use 1 – 2 tablespoons daily, added to meat entrees, cold dishes or salads.

Oregano has the highest antioxidant levels of the 39 various types of spices. Recently it has gained popularity as a bacterial killer and an anti-fungal agent - but remains one of the most powerful anti inflammatory herbs available.

How to Use: Add ½ tsp  - 1 tsp to an entrĂ©e. If you feel a virus coming on, or are plagued with candida, you can get Wild Oil of Oregano. Take 3-5 drops in water every few hours for the first few days or until symptoms pass.

Aid Digestion with Caraway. It is probably one of the best digestive aids. People often take it for gas, bloating, and indigestion, and you can easily make an infusion by using 1 ounce of caraway seeds to 1 pint of water. Then steep the seeds for twenty minutes. Usual dosage is 1 to 2 tablespoons every half hour until symptoms disappear.

How to Use: As a digestive aid, you can easily make an infusion by using 1 ounce of caraway seeds to 1 pint of water. Then steep the seeds for twenty minutes. Usual dosage is 1 to 2 tablespoons every half hour until symptoms disappear or add 1 teaspoon to dishes while cooking. 

Spices: Club House Canada  www.ClubHouse.ca
 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011