Health Benefits of Raspberries

Berries of all kinds are a great and healthy snack that boasts amazing healthy benefits. Rasberries, a smaller and sometimes overlooked part of the berry family-offer their sweet taste and are antioxidant powerhouses.

The antioxidants in raspberries help protect us against free radical damage which causes cancer and other age related diseases. The human body naturally produces free radicals and the antioxidants to counteract their damaging effects. In most cases, free radicals far outnumber the naturally occurring antioxidants. A continual supply of external sources of antioxidants is necessary in order to maintain the balance and obtain the maximum benefits of antioxidants. Antioxidants benefit the body by neutralizing and removing the free radicals from the bloodstream.
They also contain high amounts of phytonutrients which help control the dangers of excessive inflammation. By helping to scavenge free radical molecules and regulating the activity of enzymes that could trigger unwanted inflammation, the phytonutrients in raspberries help lower our risk of chronic diseases that are associated with chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. These chronic diseases include obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.

Raspberries are also rich in dietary fiber. Fiber helps control blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, helps with weight management, keeps our digestive system running smoothly, promotes a healthy cardiovascular system, lowers our stroke risk and keeps skin healthy.

The vitamin A in raspberries helps lower stroke risk and is key for good vision, a healthy immune system, cell growth, healthy skin, maintaining strong bones and healthy mucous membranes. It also plays a direct role in performing physiological functions and helps in the development of the central nervous system. It is also needed in the formation of sperm cells and the regulation of hemoglobin production in the embryo.

The vitamin e in raspberries helps speed up wound healing, maintaining healthy skin, maintaining a healthy immune system, thinning the blood and helps prevent eye disorders such as cataracts, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.

They also contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.

Iron helps with carrying life-giving oxygen to human blood cells. Magnesium is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, helps with transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.

Now you know that these amazing little berries pack a healthful punch in such a small package. With the amount of vitamins and nutrients they provide-they are worth adding to everyone’s regular diet!

Health Benefits of Spices

Adding spices to your food can add to the flavor and give some pizazz to an otherwise bland meal. Besides adding some flavor to your meal-spices offer amazing health benefits in a small package.

For those who like it hot-studies have shown that people who eat a spicy meal consume less calories and these same studies found that chemicals in peppers called capsaicinoids (which cause the burn)reduce cravings for fatty, salty and sweet foods. This only pertains to those who don’t eat spicy food on a regular basis and not chili-heads.

Foods with Turmeric which contains curcumin help us breath easier. For centuries, Ayurvedic doctors have used turmeric (curcumin) to treat respiratory problems. Studies show that it protects the lungs from irritants, pollutants and infectious agents in the air such as cigarette smoke, exhaust, dust and viruses. This results in a lower risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome, asthma, laryngitis, bronchitis and other lungs diseases. It’s because of curcumin’s ability to prevent infection and to suppress a protein called NF-kB, which causes inflammation and mucus in the airways.

Many who eat spicy foods tend to sweat because of the spice. Sweating helps us rid our bodies of germs that are making us sick. Adding a little spice to your chicken soup while you are fighting a cold will help you sweat out more germs and can help break a fever.

Certain spices can cancel out the damage of a high fat meal. When you eat a high fat meal your levels of triglycerides (heart disease and diabetes) surge, as well as your insulin, which stores unused glucose as fat. When you season a high fat meal with turmeric or clove your triglyceride response and insulin is decreased. These spices are particularly high in antioxidants that improve insulin sensitivity.
Speaking of antioxidants rich spices- turmeric and clove also fight off free radical damage which causes cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, immune dysfunction, cataracts, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s and other age related diseases.

Need another reason to add spice to your meals? Grilling and barbecuing at temperatures above 375 degrees leads to the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) — toxins linked with colorectal, stomach, lung, pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers. Those crispy, burnt bits are the highest in HCAs. But a study at Kansas State University found that marinating or dry-rubbing beef patties with rosemary cut HCAs by 61 to 70 percent and that Thai spice preparation reduced HCAs by 40 to 42 percent. While that doesn’t mean you can burn your meat without worry-it does show that the antioxidants in rosemary combat that those cancer causing carcinogens before they have a chance to wreak havoc in your body.

So next time you are cooking, add a little spice to your meal and enjoy these amazing benefits.

Health Benefits Of Figs

Although dried figs are available throughout the year, there is nothing like the unique taste and texture of fresh figs. California figs are available from June through September and boast a sweet and unique taste while packing in an amazing amount of health benefits.

Figs are a good source of potassium which is the third most abundant mineral in human body and is a powerful food source for maintaining good health. Potassium helps to control blood pressure, provides relief from stroke, heart and kidney disorders, anxiety and stress, as well as enhanced muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions and nervous system.

They are a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber and fiber-rich foods have a positive effect on weight management because they help you feel fuller for longer. Fiber also helps control blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, maintains a healthy digestive system, lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke, prevents kidney stones and helps maintain healthy skin.

Figs are also a good source of vitamins A, C, E and K. Vitamin A is key for good vision, a healthy immune system, maintaining a healthy nervous system, cancer prevention, maintaining healthy skin and cell growth. It also has antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage.

Vitamin C, another antioxidant powerhouse, is also important for a healthy immune system, cancer prevention, regulating blood sugar levels, preventing heart disease and stroke, prevents cataracts, maintaining healthy skin, reduces the risk of neurological disorders and helps us better deal with stress.

Vitamin E, yet another antioxidant, helps protect against toxins such as air pollution, premenstrual syndrome, eye disorders such as cataracts, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. It also helps us maintain healthy skin, prevents cancer, reduces cholesterol levels, prevents blood clots, alleviates fatigue and strengthens capillary walls.

Vitamin K helps maintain bone health, prevents blood clots, helps maintain healthy skin, helps with wound healing, prevents cancer and prevents heart disease. Vitamin K has also been shown to be essential for the synthesis of sphingolipids (a crucial fat) that helps form the myelin sheath or outer wrapping around the nerve. These crucial fats are essential for proper brain and nervous system function. This is beneficial in preventing Alzheimer disease.

Figs also contain calcium which prevents osteoporosis, helps with weight management, prevents cancer and is heart healthy. They also contain Tryptophan which induces good sleep and helps get rid of sleep disorders such as insomnia.

If you are already a fan of figs-now you know just how good they are for you and if you’re not a fan, maybe now is the time to give them another try!