What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a bright yellow-orange spice. It is from the stem of a plant that grows in Asia. Some curry powders are made with this spice. Turmeric is used to add color and flavor to a variety of dishes, and for its medicinal properties. The Indian culture has consumed it for thousands of years in its cuisine and as an herbal medicine. However, in recent years, the scientific community has begun to provide evidence-based health benefits of this remarkable spice. Read on to learn more!
What science says about this spice
According to a review in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, “has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses.” Another study cited that “Curcumin, the main bioactive compound in turmeric, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.” Some animal studies suggest that it can increase lifespan.
Everyday Health reported, in a small 1989 study, supplements made from the turmeric plant were found more effective at curbing heartburn and indigestion symptoms than a placebo. Possibly because of the plant’s known powers to fight inflammation. This data supports what the Indian culture has known for a long time, and that is that turmeric has positive health effects.
Here’s a list of some of the benefits of turmeric:
- Studies show turmeric can lower artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.
- Relieves the inflammatory soreness of people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Improves how insulin regulates blood sugar.
- Enhances the ability of the body’s natural immune system to kill cancer cells.
- Protects the brain cells from toxins.
- This spice can increase your lifespan.
How to use turmeric and where to buy it
Do not use turmeric by itself for it will offer little to no benefit. However, to increase its absorption, you must add black pepper. Thus, its absorption is enhanced over a thousand times. So, how much should you use? There is no standard dosage, however, Dr. Sears recommends this ratio: 1 teaspoon of turmeric to ¼ teaspoon black pepper for daily use.
Also, look for the following certifications to ensure the turmeric you buy is of high quality. Otherwise, you could buy one that is of poor quality.
- Safe Quality Food (SQF)
- Hazards and Critical Control Points (HACCP) – issued by WHO
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2000
- Orthodox Union (OU) Kosher
- International organic certifications such as: USDA, QAI, EU, and NSOP (India)
How to include turmeric in your meals
You don’t need to worry about how to include it, rather use these ideas.
- Add it to salad dressing.
- Stir it in soups and sauces.
- Sprinkle it over salads.
- Blend it in smoothies.
In conclusion, turmeric has more scientific evidence on its health promoting benefits than any other spice. Moreover, it has been used by the Indian culture for thousands of years for its medicinal properties and is considered safe. Therefore, if you are looking to improve your health, add this spice to your diet.
Prime-Time Health book, William Sears, MD & Martha Sears, RN
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5 Simple, Yet Effective Tips to Help You Achieve Better Health!
Every New Year, many Americans resolve to achieve better health. This is evident in the increase of gym and weight loss program memberships every January. Unfortunately, by the end of January many have already given up. To achieve better health, you don’t have to spend hours in the gym or eat a very restrictive diet. It doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Rather, here are 5 simple, yet effective, tips that can help you jump-start your health and wellness goals to achieve better health. You don’t have to wait until another January, you can achieve better health now!
Achieving better health could be as simple as drinking the right amount of water. What’s the right amount of water to drink? A good rule of thumb is to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for every pound you weigh. For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink anywhere from 100 ounces to 200 ounces of water every day. If you are physically active, your intake should be at the higher end of the range.
In the 80s, Health Guru and Activist, Dick Gregory successfully helped many obese people lose weight and achieve better health by having them increase their water intake according to their size.
Additionally, water helps to naturally detox your body by purifying your system, and keeps healthy all your organs. Therefore, drinking the right amount of water, makes it easier to eliminate waste and toxins from your body. How do you know if you are drinking the right amount of water? Check your urine. If it is clear to light yellow, then you are probably drinking the right amount of water. Conversely, if it is dark yellow or brown, and has an odor, odds are you are not drinking the right amount of water.
#2 Get Your Sleep to Achieve Better Health!
Lack of sleep could be depriving you from achieving better health. According to most sleep experts, the average adult (including senior adults) needs at least 7.5-8 hours of sleep per night, though many people can function with 6 hours of sleep, and there are also some people who need 9 hours or more. However, getting less than 6 hours of sleep can be detrimental to your health-over time.
Research suggests that people who are sleep deprived are at a higher risk for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. Therefore, getting the right amount of sleep lowers your risk of these conditions and helps you achieve better health.
Most fitness and health experts agree that physical activity is a must for overall good health. Moreover, physical activity is essential for all ages and necessary for healthy aging. Did you know the most beneficial physical activity you can do is walking? According to the American Council on Exercise, even brief walking breaks, throughout the day, can provide numerous health benefits to achieve better health. In addition to the numerous health benefits walking provides, it helps to prevent many of the health conditions that seem to come with age.
In his book, Prime-Time Health, Dr. Sears recommends, at least, 60 minutes of exercise a day. In order to achieve better health, he suggests incorporating all three of the following exercises or physical activities into your fitness program, at least twice a week:
- strength-building exercises for strong muscles and bones. You can use either dumbbells or plastic bands to build and strengthen your muscles.
- endurance exercises (also called aerobics or cardio) to improve stamina. You might try brisk walking , elliptical training, jogging or swimming.
- stretching to improve flexibility. As you age, the muscles become shorter and tighter so you need to stretch those muscles. Try Yoga or Pilates.
#4 Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables to Achieve Better Health!
Did you know that you should eat, at least, 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily? That might sound like a lot of calories, but vegetables are nutrient dense. That means they provide a lot of nutritional value for the few amount of calories they have. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber. Fiber is very filling without being fattening. Therefore, these are foods you can consume as much as you want and not worry about overeating.
Because all fruits and vegetables don’t supply the same nutrients, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure you are providing your body with the nutrients it needs. You might be wondering how you will ever eat nine servings in one day?
Here are a few quick tips to help you incorporate 9 servings of fruits and vegetables into your daily meal plan:
- Include a serving of fruit and/or vegetables at each meal and snack.
- Add a variety of fruits and vegetables in smoothies and Juices.
- Add a variety of fruits and vegetables in salads.
Proteins are the main building blocks of the body and provide many health benefits. The body uses protein to grow, build and repair tissues. Protein satisfies the appetite most quickly and with less than half the calories of fat. Protein keeps your insulin levels steady so that your blood sugar does not spike. Insulin levels that are not stable mean an increase of glucose in the blood. Over time, this could lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
Protein burns more calories than fat. For those who are looking to lose some weight, go protein, because it boosts your metabolism making it easier for you to burn more calories, even at rest. Protein is not stored as fat, and you cannot overeat it because whatever your body doesn’t need, it will eliminate as waste. The right amount of protein is necessary to achieve better health and optimal health.
Do you know how much protein you should eat daily? The amount of protein you need, depends on several factors such as age, activity level, dietary and/or medical needs. The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man and 46 grams for the average sedentary woman. However, studies show that this amount is not sufficient for optimal health.
According to Dr. Sears, founder of the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, adults should eat 1/2 gram of protein for every pound you weigh. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds you should consume 75 grams of protein per day. Below are some good sources of protein:
- seafood, (wild caught salmon, tuna)
- lean chicken breast, turkey and beef
- Greek yogurt
- nuts or seeds
- kidney beans or lentils
Incorporating these simple, yet effective tips, into your lifestyle, can put you on the road to Better Health!
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), Type 2 Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are above normal. When a person has Type 2 Diabetes, their body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin made by the body. It is the most common type, and accounts for about 90%-95% of diagnosed diabetes in U.S. adults. It usually begins as insulin resistance, a disorder in which cells, primarily within the muscles, liver, and fat tissue, do not use insulin properly.
A person who has type 2 diabetes is twice as likely to have a heart attack and/or stroke than a person who doesn’t have it. Other major complications associated with diabetes are amputations of legs and feet, end-stage renal disease, and death due to high blood sugar (hyperglycemic) crisis.
According to Dr. Sears, founder of the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, as we get older, our cells become less sensitive to insulin, which leaves a higher level of glucose in the bloodstream. This higher level of glucose in your bloodstream could lead to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Additionally, according to the CDC, people who don’t make lifestyle changes to address prediabetes could develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years of being diagnosed with prediabetes. However, there is good news. This type of diabetes is preventable. Making small changes to your lifestyle could significantly lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Who is at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?
*Age over 45
*High blood pressure (0ver 130/85)
*Lack of physical activity
*Family history of diabetes
*History of diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
*African-American, Latino, Asian, Native American, or Pacific Island ethnicity
The only way to know if you have type 2 diabetes (or prediabetes) is to take a blood sugar test. Your primary care physician can order one for you. If you don’t know your status, don’t delay, schedule a test today.
Learn how Prime-Time Health can help prevent and/or reverse type 2 diabetes.
Your partner in health and wellness,
What to Eat for a Stronger, Healthier Brain
Whether you’re looking to combat brain fog or wish to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia, consuming a healthy diet should be your first line of defense. In recent years, research has revealed a host of powerful “superfoods” which both improve everyday brain function and protect against age-related cognitive decline, such as the 10 foods listed below:
Not only are walnuts packed with heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory nutrients, they are high in alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which promotes blood flow to the brain, keeping it oxygenated and healthy. A preliminary study on mice with Alzheimer’s disease suggests that ALA may help to ease symptoms of the condition.
2. Olive Oil
Olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which help to protect the brain against the effects of aging.
Berries, especially blueberries, are essential to good brain health. According to a recent study published in the Annals of Neurology, a diet high in blueberries, strawberries (and other berries) was linked to a slower mental decline in memory and focus in a large sample group of middle-aged women.
4. Fatty fish.
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines have become renowned for their brain-boosting benefits thanks to their high concentration of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Omega 3s, which are also excellent at lowering “bad” cholesterol and protecting against cardiovascular disease, have been linked to a lower risk of dementia, improved memory and focus, and are even useful in treating depression.
Artichokes are an excellent source of vitamin K, which has been found to protect neurons in the brain against damage, possibly helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Artichokes also help improve blood flow to the brain.
6. Red onions.
Not only are onions (along with garlic and chives) full of nutrients and antioxidants, red onions have been shown to help the brain heal after a stroke by reducing brain edema and promoting blood flow.
According to a research study from Cornell University, quercetin, a particular apple flavonoid, has been shown to protect brain neurons against oxidative damage. Oxidative damage, wear and tear, to the brain can contribute to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Spinach is rich in the antioxidant lutein, which has been shown to stall cognitive decline, according to research conducted at Tufts University and at Harvard Medical School. These studies revealed that women who regularly ate leafy greens like spinach had a markedly lower rate of cognitive decline, compared to those who seldom consumed them.
Like olive oil, avocados are full of monounsaturated fats that improve vascular health and blood flow to the brain, keeping it well supplied with life-giving oxygen.
10. Wheat Germ
Wheat germ is extremely rich in choline, which the body requires to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter needed for proper memory function.
What do you eat to strengthen your brain?
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Your partner in health and wellness,
Simple Lifestyle Choices Can Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
In the United States, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women and men. According to the CDC, about 600,000 Americans die of heart disease annually. This represents almost 25% of all U.S. deaths. To raise awareness of this disease, February has been recognized as “American Heart Month” since 1963. While much progress has been made in the last 53 years, with fewer Americans dying from heart disease and stroke since the 1980s, too many Americans are still dying from this preventable lifestyle disease. This February and every day of the year, you can lower your risk for heart disease by making simple lifestyle choices, and following these 8 heart-healthy tips.
Eight Heart-Healthy Tips to Follow all Year Long
1. Eat Healthy Fats: Yes, you can get healthy by eating fats-the right fats. According to Dr. William Sears, the biggest scientific breakthrough in the prevention of cardiovascular disease is that the type of fat in your diet is more significant in maintaining a healthy heart than the amount of fat in your diet.The healthiest fats to consume are fish fats due to the high concentration of omega 3s.
Omega 3s provide amazing benefits for the heart: a. can lower your blood pressure, decreasing the pounding pressure on your heart. b. increase nitric oxide which relaxes your arteries and improves blood flow by dilating blood vessels. This results in lower blood pressure. c. can reduce the stimulating effects of increased stress hormones. This means less wear and tear on the heart. d. can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL). Also, it can lower triglycerides, which are considered the most artery clogging fats. Heart-healthy oils you should include in your diet are fish oils (seafood, especially salmon), flax oils, olive oil, Nut oils.
2. Eat More Plant-Based Foods: Experts agree that plant eaters outlive animal eaters. Eating more plant-based foods and less meat can help to lower high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and high blood sugar. To blunt the effect of a high-fat meal from affecting your heart, eat more plant-based foods during or while you eat, especially fruits and salads.
3. Decrease Sodium; increase potassium: According to a 2008 study from Harvard Medical School, people who ate twice as much potassium than sodium could cut their risk of cardiovascular disease in half. This balance helps to lower blood pressure. Some foods rich in potassium are: Salmon, medium potato with skin, figs, cantaloupe, artichokes, avocados, yogurt, and bananas. You can reduce your sodium intake by using sea salt; it is lower in sodium than regular table salt.
4. Get Lean/Stay Lean: If you are overweight or obese, you are at greater risk for heart disease that someone who is lean. The fatter you are, the more wear and tear on the heart. A lean body promotes a longer life. Losing weight and getting lean is one of the best things you can do for your heart.
5. Relax: The cardiovascular system and the nervous system are closely connected. Uncontrolled stress or chronic stress causes the brain to pour out stress hormones that stimulate the nerves around the vessels to constrict, resulting in high blood pressure and eventually causing the heart to wear out. Some effective ways to reduce stress are: listening to soothing music, deep breathing, exercise, laughter, and meditation.
6. Move: Physical activity or movement helps to increase nitric oxide which lowers blood pressure, and relax your arteries. Engage in activities that get your heart rate up and pumping. Your heart will thank you for more nitric oxide.
7. Graze: What does it mean to graze? According to Dr. William Sears, when you eat more often, in smaller mini-meals-a pattern called grazing-you won’t feel hungry or uncomfortably full. Follow Dr. Sears’ rule of twos for heart-healthy eating: Eat twice as often, eat half as much, and chew twice as long.
8. Quit Smoking: According to the 2014 Surgeon General Report on smoking and health, smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and causes one of every 3 deaths from CVD. Chemicals in cigarette smoke cause the cells that line blood vessels to become swollen and inflamed. This can narrow the blood vessels and can lead to many cardiovascular conditions, but smoking damage is repaired quickly for most smokers who stop smoking. Even long-time smokers can see rapid health improvements when they quit.
For more information about the benefits of quitting, see the American Heart Association’s Web page entitled “Why Quit Smoking?” This page provides information about smoking and coronary heart disease.
William, Sears, MD, “Prime Time Health,” Chapt.3-pgs. 31-60