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Spices, Herbs – Mantra of Diet

The Mantra of Diet today is constantly shifting.  However, the pursuit of spices has helped shaped our world as we know today. Hundreds of years ago, merchants from Europe traveled by land and sea to transport exotic and expensive plants such as cinnamon, rosemary, nutmeg and turmeric from Asia. But when the Ottoman Empire restricted Europe’s spice routes to Asia in the 1400s, explorers such as Christopher Columbus looked for alternate routes to India and instead stumbled on our glorious land. It’s not a far stretch to thank cinnamon for our providence.

Spices hold a special place in human existence that we are just starting to understand. Sure, they are prized to provide bold and unique flavors, aromas and colors to otherwise bland foods. But many don’t know the hidden story: before the invention of refrigeration, spices’ underlying bioactivity, in the form of potent and diverse antioxidant and antimicrobial food-preserving properties, helped to prevent sickness and contagion caused by food spoilage. Thus, spices carried a magical aura for those who demanded them, and at the same time, they provided a livelihood for many generations of farmers, harvesters and suppliers.

Today, our interest in spices has shifted to the scientific study of their health benefits, to see if they can help us live healthier lives. On a molecular level, the chemical properties that make spices great flavorings, colorings and food preservatives are closely linked to the properties which help to promote human health. Polyphenols, carotenoids and terpenoids are all highly bioactive and health-supporting classes of compounds common to many spices, and are the focus of thousands of medical research studies.

Consuming enough of these active compounds to make a difference in our health can be tough through food alone. The mantra of many is that a diet with a diversity of spices can help us live longer, but no one is suggesting that fried chicken made with 14 of them is a health food (yet!). And while variety may be the “spice of life,” research suggests a variety of spices added to food can lead to a tendency to overeat.1 Likewise, consumer health media recommendations to sprinkle some cinnamon on toast or add a pinch of turmeric powder to curry may be naïve to some key underlying practical and scientific caveats such as compliance, dose response and opposing effects.

For instance, a clinically significant effective dose of cinnamon powder often recommended for managing blood sugar is a teaspoon or more—quite a “cinnamon challenge” for the palate and the stomach. Impurities that can be found in cinnamon powder, such as added sulfites and naturally occurring coumarin can tip the opposing-effects equation in the wrong direction, especially when doses are in baking measurements. On the other hand, science has validated the efficacy of concentrated, purified extracts, both from Chinese cinnamon (cassia) as well as “true” cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum syn. zeylanicum). Both the “whole food” and the scientific approaches have merits, but the second seems to garner increasingly more credibility among top medical experts.

Topical applications of spices have been used in traditional medicine like Ayurveda for hundreds of years, with turmeric being well proven and used by allopathic physicians for its wound-healing capabilities. The bioactivities of spices that preserve food also promote health in ways that are well known mechanistically, but in a clinical-sense are just now emerging. For example, in a 2014 study, an ointment containing cinnamon was effective at reducing pain after childbirth.7 In another study, a topical application of black pepper essential oil improved vein visibility for IV insertion better than the standard of care.8 This study did not measure whether sneezing increased, although the essential oil used in the study would probably have improved dinner too.

The potential of spices in human health and wellness is vast, and with sound science, more is learned every day about how and why spices can be beneficial.


 

Sources:

Original Article by Blake Ebersole

1.       Jones JB et al. “A randomized trial on the effects of flavorings on the health benefits of daily peanut consumption.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Mar;99(3):490-6. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.113.069401.

2.       Nieman DC et al. “Influence of red pepper spice and turmeric on inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers in overweight females: a metabolomics approach.” Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2012 Dec;67(4):415-21. DOI: 10.1007/s11130-012-0325-x.

3.       Cox KH, Pipingas A, Scholey AB. “Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population.” J Psychopharmacol. 2014 Oct 2. PII: 0269881114552744.

4.       Pengelly A et al. “Short-term study on the effects of rosemary on cognitive function in an elderly population.” J Med Food. 2012 Jan;15(1):10-7. DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2011.0005..

5.       McCaffrey R, Thomas DJ, Kinzelman AO. “The effects of lavender and rosemary essential oils on test-taking anxiety among graduate nursing students.” Holist Nurs Pract. 2009 Mar-Apr;23(2):88-93. DOI: 10.1097/HNP.0b013e3181a110aa.

6.       Lindheimer JB, Loy BD, O’Connor PJ. “Short-term effects of black pepper (Piper nigrum) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis and Rosmarinus eriocalyx) on sustained attention and on energy and fatigue mood states in young adults with low energy.” J Med Food. 2013 Aug;16(8):765-71. DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0216.

7.       Mohammadi A et al. “Effects of cinnamon on perineal pain and healing of episiotomy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.” J Integr Med. 2014 Jul;12(4):359-66. DOI: 10.1016/S2095-4964(14)60025-X.

8.       Kristiniak S et al. “Black pepper essential oil to enhance intravenous catheter insertion in patients with poor vein visibility: a controlled study


 

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Do you suffer from Migraines or Headaches? Reiki Energy Healing can help

If you suffer from migraine then you will know what I mean when you get those killer headaches, affecting one half of your head, pulsating in nature and lasting from 2 to 72 hours.  What happens next is that you may be bed ridden and your eyes will become sensitive to light.

Further, you will likely be also experiencing the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light, sound or smell
  • Physical activity like getting up and walking around will sometimes worsen the symptoms.

Did you know that up to one third of people with migraine headaches perceive an aura: a transient visual, sensory, language, or motor disturbance which signals that the headache will soon occur?  Occasionally an aura can occur with little or no headache following it.  Symptoms can be visual, sensory or motor in nature and many people experience more than one.

Some factors contributing to the cause of Migraines (mixture of environment & genetic factors):

  • Two-thirds of cases run in the family
  • Changing hormone levels
  • Migraines can affect more boys than girls before puberty
  • Occurs two to three times more in women than men
  • environmental, stress of either a physical or emotional nature,
  • nutritional deficiencies,
  • allergic reactions,
  • bright lights,
  • loud noises, and
  • certain odors or perfumes,
  • changes in sleeping patterns,
  • smoking or smoke exposure,
  • skipping meals,
  • alcohol,
  • menstrual cycle fluctuations,
  • birth control pills,
  • hormone fluctuations during the menopause,
  • foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans),
  • monosodium glutamate (MSG) or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs, and salami).

Interestingly, the risk of migraines usually decreases during pregnancy.

Some people who suffer from migraines also react to salt and eliminating salt can be helpful for some of these people. Lactose-intolerant individuals may benefit from avoiding milk and ice cream. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in protein-rich foods, is converted to serotonin, a substance that might worsen some migraines. As a result, low-protein diets have been used with some success to reduce migraine attacks.
Signs of Energy Imbalance
If you body is experiencing any sort of energy imbalance, symptoms and disease will be manifest in the body to some degree. Your physical body Energy may be in disharmony for weeks, months or years before any physical manifestations of symptoms arise.
If you are having a difficult time preventing migraines from happening and you have not identified a physical cause that can be corrected, you might want to consider that your migraines are originating from an energy imbalance within you. If you are closed off from your intuition or empathic, energy healing gifts, or if you are running too much energy for your body to absorb, your body pays the toll.
Reiki Energy healing can help promote relaxation by removing energy blockages in different areas of your chakras.
The holistic perspective sees health as a dynamic state of balance with considerable resilience in the overall system. A healthy person can withstand a certain amount of stress and bounce back. This is because the human body’s ability to heal includes various self-regulating mechanisms that maintain overall balance, which is known as homeostasis.However, after experiencing sudden, intense stress or moderate stress that is constant over a period of time, the body’s ability to regulate itself becomes compromised and health declines, slowly or not so slowly. Stress causes the body to lose its ability to rebalance, to restore homeostasis.Unless they are addressed, the stresses of everyday life – environmental, emotional, physical, financial, social etc. – can combine with an individual’s genetic predispositions and result in declining health and wellbeing.

At the simplest, most obvious level, Reiki treatment helps lessen the impact of stress, releasing tension from the entire system. Not only does the person move toward his or her own unique balance in body, mind and spirit, but also, depending on the level of physical health when Reiki begins, the body’s own healing mechanisms often begin functioning more effectively.

Try Reiki today, a holistic way of bringing balance to your life without medication.

Original Sources used:
University of Minnesota – Centre for Spirituality & Healing