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Health Benefits of Ginger


Ginger!!!

My students would have heard me advocating the benefits of “Ginger Soup” during a cold or flu, especially when it’s at that stage of the itchy throat before it have had time to penetrate deeper into the body. It’s not my recipe but I’m passing on here as so many people have benefited from it.

Ginger is a medical herb used for centuries as a spice and also for its therapeutic qualities. The underground stem, the rhizome, can be used fresh, powdered, dried, or as an oil or juice. Ginger is part of the Zingiberaceae family, as are cardamom, turmeric and galangal.
What are the therapeutic benefits of ginger?
Below are examples of some scientific studies on ginger and its current or potential uses in medical treatment.

Inflammation of the colon or large intestine

Ginger Root Supplement administered to volunteer participants reduced inflammation in the colon within a month. This was the findings of a study carried out at the University of Michigan Medical School. Experts say that inflammation of the colon is a precursor to colon cancer.

Muscle pain caused by exercise

Ginger has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and can bring relief to those sore muscles post exercise. Float some ginger essential oil into your bath to help aching muscles and joints. A study by Patrick O’Connor, a professor at University of Georgia published in The Journal of Pain that ginger benefited muscle pain when those muscles were subjected to strenuous exercise.

Nausea caused by chemotherapy

Dr Julie Ryan, lead researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center presented a study findings at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Orlando, Florida, in 2009 that ginger supplements administered alongside anti-vomiting medications can reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea symptoms by 40%. Dr. Ryan said “By taking the ginger prior to chemotherapy treatment, the National Cancer Institute-funded study suggests its earlier absorption into the body may have anti-inflammatory properties.”

Ovarian cancer

Researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ovarian cancer cells, when exposed to a solution of ginger powder resulted in their death in every single test as reported at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in Washington D.C., 2006.

Asthma

Researchers at Columbia University found that certain components of ginger can alleviate symptoms of asthma as reported at the American Thoracic Society International Conference 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Liver damage

Liver damage is associated with certain popular painkillers such as Acetaminophen or “Tylenol” or “paracetamol”. Researchers from the National Research Centre in Egypt reported “Our results demonstrated that ginger can prevent hepatic injuries, alleviating oxidative stress in a manner comparable to that of vitamin E. Combination therapy of ginger and acetaminophen is recommended especially in cases with hepatic (liver) disorders or when high doses of acetaminophen are required.”

High blood pressure

Researchers from Chiang Mai University in Thailand found that cassumunar ginger extract was more effective than prazosin hydrochloride in reducing blood pressure in hypertensive laboratory rats.

Dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation)

researchers from the Islamic Azad University in Iran found that Ginger can help reduce the symptoms of pain in primary dysmenorrhoea (period pains). The researchers found that the 82.85% of the women taking the ginger capsules reported improvements in pain symptoms compared to 47.05% of those on placebo.

Migraines

Researchers from VALI-e-ASR Hospital in Iran found that ginger powder is as effective in treating common migraine symptoms as many pain killers that are common for treating migraine.

Appetiser

Poor appetite or Spleen Qi Deficiency (TCM). Eating fresh ginger about one hour before lunch has been shown to improve a poor appetite and help us get those essential nutrients for everyday life. Its also good at helping to reduce flatulence!

Optimum Absorption of Essential Nutrients

Ginger improves the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body.

Post Surgery Nausea

Eating a piece of raw ginger dipped in honey helps to overcome nausea after energy saping surgery.

Nose and throat congestion

Drink some ginger tea to release congestion from these areas and the ginger will also keep you warm during times when there’s a nip in the air. Ginger clears the ‘micro-circulatory channels’ of the body, including the sinuses that tend to flare up at certain times.

Aphrodisiac

In Ayurvedic texts ginger is considered the perfect herb when you want to induce a little zest in the bedroom. Add some ginger root to a bowl of soup to spice up your lovelife.

Side Effects are rare but they need to be mentioned here.

  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach upset
  • Mouth irritation

Recipes:

 



James O’Sullivan from Galway is a credible and engaging speaker, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving his patients, his students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is a respected author and has appeared on many public media.


Disclaimer

This article is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is not to be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.

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Beetroot Blood Tonic Soup


If you have a diagnosis of anemia or your traditional Chinese medicine practitioner informed you that you have a Blood Deficiency? This is an excellent speedy way to nourish blood, especially good for women but men will benefit also.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium beetroots, grated
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, cut into thin strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 liter (1 3/4) pints beef/chicken/vegetable stock (or plain water)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt

Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the vegetables and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Before the end of cooking time add salt and pepper to taste. You can add yogurt just before serving.

Beetroot is nutritious and really gives lots of energy. Its rich in potassium, silica, iron, amino acids and vitamins A, vitamin B and vitamin C.

It is an ideal blood tonic for Blood Deficiency and is traditionally used in debilitating diseases and convalescence. Beef stock provides vital amino acids and nutrients for strengthening muscles and bones.

Enjoy!



James O’Sullivan from Galway is a credible and engaging speaker, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving his patients, his students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is a respected author and has appeared on many public media.


Disclaimer

This article is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is not to be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.


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Smiling Body with Tofu


Tofu is a delicious healthy food made from soybean curds. It’s naturally low in calories and it’s gluten-free. It’s a superb source of protein, manganese, calcium, copper, selenium iron, and contains NO cholesterol. Soy is the primary constituent of tofu and is a complete source of dietary protein, providing all of the essential amino acids needed in the diet. For optimum health, consume tofu occasionally with a variety of other foods.

Western Benefits:

  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Cancer prevention
  • Obesity prevention and treatment
  • Diabetes (Type 2) – treatment
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Periodontal disease
  • Neurodegenerative disease

Oriental benefits

  • Strengthen body energy by balancing the digestive system
  • Clears heat and toxins from the body:
  • Helping to promote breast milk
  • Soothes the body joints
  • Moisturizes the skin
  • Relieves bowel blockages
  • Moistens cough

According to the theory of Chinese Nutritional Therapy, tofu benefits the (TCM) Spleen / Stomach, which are related to blood, metabolism and digestion. When the Spleen/Stomach are in harmony there is health and energy. It is sweet in taste meaning it helps digestion of food, including difficult to digest foods. It is neutral / cooling and this helps to cool stomach fire and it moistens the skin. Tofu would be beneficial for constipation.

Tofu Today

Tofu is available in most supermarkets today, and is offered either refrigerated in individual packages or non-refrigerated in aseptically sealed containers. All tofu packets should have an expiry date printed on packaging. Once the package is opened, all types of tofu should be rinsed well, kept in a container covered with water, and placed in the refrigerator. Changing the water daily will help keep the tofu fresh for up to one week.

Types of Tofu

There are many nutritious healthy Chinese food recipes that call for the use of tofu and there are a number of different types of tofu out there and it’s important to know which kind of tofu is best to use for your different recipes.

Tofu differs in texture from soft to firm to extra-firm. Soft or Silken tofu has a smoother texture and is particularly suitable for salad dressings, sauces, and desserts. Firm and extra-firm tofu are best for baking, stir-frying, and grilling. This firm tofu will keep its shape as it cooks and will not fall apart in your wok or pan during the cooking process.

Expelling Water

I recommend that you drain your tofu before you use it. This will help the tofu to absorb all of the flavours of your dish and make it much tastier. You can easily drain your tofu on a wire tray over a plate. Be careful with silken tofu, use a muslin cloth to hold it together. Place a weight on top to assist the squeeze, for example another plate on top of the tofu to help expel the water. You can also place your tofu cake between two plates and squeeze the plates with rubber bands and hold vertically to drain water.

How to make Tofu

I do not advise making tofu at home as like other fermented foods, one of the process ingredients (magnesium chloride) can be damaging to your health, if not used in the correct way.

Soybean is the main ingredient of Tofu. Soybean milk is to be heated until it boils, then a tiny amount of magnesium chloride is added to solidify the soybean milk. We wait until the mixture cools down and you then have Tofu that is ready to be cooked.

Recipe

Xiao Cong Ban Tofu

This is a typical Beijing dish and can be seen most frequently in North China. Green onion and Tofu are the only ingredients of this dish. With a small amount of sesame oil and salt, this dish is known for retaining the flavours of both of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 block (325 grams / 12 ounces) silken tofu
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion, green part
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese sesame oil

Directions:

  • Carefully transfer the tofu from the package to a medium-size plate.
  • Sprinkle sea salt over tofu and top with green onion and a drizzle of sesame oil. Use a knife to slice tofu into strips, then gently mix it with a pair of chopsticks.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves: 2-4

This is a lovely simple recipe that makes a great appetizer. Enjoy!

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Nutritious Garlic


The humble Garlic is a powerful yet simple herb that promotes active health and nutritional healing, while strengthening our prevention against health disharmony. It has credible health benefits for a number of illnesses because of several unique compounds it contains, especially allicin. Garlic also contains small amounts of vitamins A, B, C and E, and the minerals potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, and iron. It is very easy to source with a plentiful supply in most countries. It is a herb that is easily incorporated in your food or it can also be eaten on its own. Fresh garlic is preferred but dried garlic or powder are just as effective and have a long shelf life in our home cupboards.

The health food store may recommend garlic dietary supplements for prevention of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Garlic is most commonly taken for high cholesterol, heart disease, and high blood pressure and to prevent certain types of cancer, including stomach and colon cancers. Garlic may help in weight loss.

How to take garlic?

The recommended dosage for adults is no more than one clove two or three times a day and that children have one quarter to one half a clove, once or twice a day. Garlic cloves can be eaten cooked or raw. They may also be dried or powdered and used in tablets and capsules. Raw garlic cloves can be used to make oils and liquid extracts.

As well as making your dinner taste wonderful, this tasty herb has some astonishing health benefits. When taken for its medicinal use, garlic can help to treat a wide variety of ailments. We have included 11 of the most amazing health benefits of garlic in this article.

1. Immunity: Garlic supports the immune system and helps to fight coughs, congestion and chest infections. Consider garlic during winter as an immune booster to ward off colds and flu. Dip a clove of garlic in honey if you feel the first signs of a cold.

2. Cardiovascular disease can benefit from taking garlic. Garlic has been shown to benefit LDL cholesterol and reduce the aortic plaque deposits that gather on the wall of veins. Studies have shown the incredible benefits of taking garlic in relation to heart disease.

3. Hyperthyroid conditions: Garlic makes a very effective treatment for hyperthyroid conditions, due to the high levels of iodine it contains. Taking the recommended dosage garlic has been shown to significantly improve this condition.

4. Impotency: Garlic is prescribed by many therapists to improve Impotency with good effect. The prescription is take 1 clove twice daily for a few months.

5. Fungal and bacterial vaginal infections are treated with garlic. Allicin is released when garlic is crushed. Allicin is a sulphuric complex that is a natural antibiotic. Garlic is reputed to have been used by soldiers in battle to treat infected wounds.

6. Garlic is an excellent source of vitamin B6 which is needed for a healthy immune system and the efficient growth of new cells. Vitamin B6 can also assist with mood swings and improve your emotional health.

7. Cancer: Garlic has been taken to prevent multiple types of cancer. Bladder cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and stomach cancer have all been shown to have their tumors reduced when treated with garlic. Vitamin B6 is said to have cancer fighting abilities.

8. Diabetes: Garlic regulates blood sugar as it enhances the level of insulin in the blood. This may assist in the control of diabetes. Be sure to seek medical advice if you believe the use of garlic could help your condition.

9. Scurvy is treated by vitamin C and garlic contains good levels of vitamin C too.

10. Pregnant women who eat Garlic can assist babies to gain weight while they are in the womb. Next time you have a baby prepare to eat garlic unless you have a history of large babies.

11. Garlic is reputed to scare hungry vampires away! There has not been much research on this question but it is worth mentioning here as an excuse to smile which does benefit health.

Supplements

If taking garlic supplements, ask your health store for a product that contains Allicin as it can be destroyed in some processes.

How does garlic help in weight loss

Allicin which is rich is garlic is according to researchers acts to suppress the appetite and aid in weight loss. Eating garlic, a person eats less as it acts as an appetite suppressant as it gives the brain signals of satiety when it is eaten. Garlic ahs an effect of increasing the body’s metabolism. Garlic is supposed to stimulate the nervous system to release the hormone, Adrenalin, which increases metabolism. If you are looking to lose weight then, active metabolism can in turn help you to burn calories and lose weight.

Cholesterol

Studies show that consuming 900 mg garlic/day (equivalent to one half to one clove of garlic) could decrease total serum cholesterol levels by approximately 9%.

Composition and nature of garlic

There are over 200 nutrients contained in Garlic, including the volatile oil with sulphur-containing compounds allicin, alliin, and ajoene. It also contains the enzymes, allinase, peroxidase and myrosinase. Allicin is a powerful antibiotic and is also responsible for its characteristic strong odor. Ajoene helps as an anticoagulant. Garlic also contains citral, geraniol, linalool, Aphellandrene and B phellandrene. Some of these nutrients are found in some members of the onion family.

Warning

It is suggested that a normal adult should not eat more than 3 cloves a day. Please do not consume high doses of garlic as it can be harmful to your health and you should never take more than the recommended dosage.
Garlic is so effective because its nutrients and active properties enter directly into the blood stream. In addition when you sweat, garlic will leave your body through your pores. If you eat large doses this can increase body odour.

Garlic Breath, Friends and Family

If you are the only one taking increased doses of garlic, then your family and friends will thank you if you also chew a sprig or three of parsley after each garlic dose is recommended to combat the lovely aroma of garlic breath.

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Water and its Benefits


When we look around today, on Shop Street, in cafes, bars, hotels, it’s not surprising to see lots of people carrying bottles of water everywhere. A recent report tells us that it has become the second most popular drink (after soft drinks and just ahead of coffee). However, some water lovers were surprised recently when a new report found that the benefits of drinking water may have been exaggerated. Apparently drinking eight glasses a day was nothing more than a guideline and not based on scientific evidence.

Water is still good for us, it just means what I’ve been saying for years, the one rule fits all does not apply to optimum nutrition, see one man’s water is another man’s poison, so don’t put your water bottle or glass down just yet. Water like all other nutrients needs to satisfy a bodily requirement, to replenish the water lost by the body every day, due to evaporation through the skin, or excreted in urine, stool and breathing. Water is lost through the skin, breathing. Water is one of our essential nutrients meaning that we need to take it into the body regularly, so there are plenty of good reasons to drink water.

When you excrete more than you take in, you become dehydrated. You can lose even more fluids when you live or vacation in warm climates, during strenuous exercise and in high altitudes. Older adults experience a lower sense of thirst and may not drink their required daily intake.

Staying safely hydrated

My recommendation is to listen to your body, we all really need to listen more to our bodies because it has its own intelligence and can subtly communicate what it needs if we only listen. With that said, you should drink water when you feel thirsty, be aware of an excessive thirst, it may mean visiting your physician for tests regarding diabetes.

Observe how much urine you excrete per day, the “healthy norm” should be in the region of 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colourless or light yellow urine. If you’re concerned about your water intake or have health issues, check with your doctor or nutritionist. He or she can help you determine the amount of water that’s right for you. To hydrate the body safely, make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. I recommend drinking a glass of water with each meal and between each meal, also to drink water before, during and after exercise. The Institute of Medicine determined that an average adequate intake for men is roughly 3 litres (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The average adequate intake for women is 2.2 litres (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

Too Much Water

It is possible to drink too much water. Hyponatremia is a condition in people who drink large amounts of water, which results in the kidneys being unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels in the blood. Endurance athletes increase their risk of hyponatremia when they drink large amounts of water. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who eat a healthy diet

6 Reasons to Drink Water to a Smiling Body

1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain Body Fluid Balance.

Your body is composed of approximately 60% water. The functions of fluids in the body include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Nephrologist Steven Guest, MD of Stanford University says that the posterior pituitary gland, your brain communicates with your kidneys and tells it how much water to excrete as urine or hold onto for reserves. When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism and unless you are taking medications that makes you thirsty, when you feel this you should gets yourself a drink of water.

2. Water Helps Control Calories.

Water is not a magical diet for healthy weight, it has been used for years successfully by substituting water for higher calorie beverages. “What works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake,” says Penn State researcher Barbara Rolls, PhD. Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.

3. Water Helps Energize Muscles.

Muscle fatigue results when cells don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes. “When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer,” says Steven Guest, MD of Stanford University. Drinking enough fluids is important for athletes. Before the event or training, drink 500 ml (2 cups) and drink water at regular intervals throughout to replace fluids lost by sweating.

4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good.

Your skin benefits from water but not only that it functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. When you are dehydrated your skin looks and feels dry and wrinkled, which improves with proper hydration. Using a quality natural moisturiser can “lock” in moisture into the skin.

5. Water Helps Your Kidneys Detoxify Your Body.

The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine. Your kidneys are responsible for cleansing and ridding your body of toxins, however this depends on an adequate intake of fluids.

When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, colour, and odour increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions. If you regularly drink too little water, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates. When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in colour and free of odour.

6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function.

Adequate fluid intake helps with hydration, which in turn keeps things moving along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration and the result is constipation.

Adequate fluid and fibre is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fibre and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly.

5 Tips to Help You Drink More

If you think you need to be drinking more, here are some tips to increase your fluid intake and reap the benefits of water:

  1. Have water with every snack and meal. I do not recommend coffee or fizzy soft drinks.
  2. Choose healthy beverages you enjoy, that way you are more likely to drink additional liquids if you like the way they taste.
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Their high water content will add to your hydration. About 20% of our fluid intake comes from foods.
  4. Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.
  5. Choose beverages that meet your individual needs. If you’re watching calories, go for water or non-caloric beverages.

Factors that influence water needs

You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.

  • Exercise. If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 400 to 600 milliliters (about 1.5 to 2.5 cups) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, and the duration and type of exercise. During long bouts of intense exercise, it’s best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening. Also, continue to replace fluids after you’re finished exercising.
  • Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
  • Illnesses or health conditions. When you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more water. In some cases, your doctor may recommend oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade, Powerade or CeraLyte. Also, you may need increased fluid intake if you develop certain conditions, including bladder infections or urinary tract stones. On the other hand, some conditions such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.
  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 2.3 liters (about 10 cups) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume 3.1 liters (about 13 cups) of fluids a day.

Sources:

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