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Monthly Archives: November 2018

2 months ago General Health

Rainbow Food

Eating a variety of colors of foods is really important because you find different nutrients in different colored foods, so eating a diet with a great balance of different colors can help your body to get everything that it needs to keep you as healthy as possible. Not to mention the fact that eating a rainbow is just so much fun, check out all of these yummy rainbow recipes – truly a feast for the eyes!

It’s no secret that I love bright rainbow colors, and if we’re talking about edible rainbows, then all the better! I’ve created a list of my top 10 healthy rainbow food ideas, all of which are free from food colorings, using the natural rainbow colors found in fruit and vegetables, just as nature intended.  I frequently think that we are so lucky to have access to such an amazing range of fruit and vegetables, it has never been so easy to eat a rainbow!

The vast spectrum of natural color in fresh produce is astounding! Color also happens to be a very useful indicator (and constant reminder) of the many magical health benefits of fresh plant-based foods.The deep greens, vibrant reds, deep purples, bright oranges & yellows that we see in common and widely available foods provide far more than just “a rainbow” of colorful visual stimulation.

Rainbow diets are a great way to get all of the nutrition you need, as well as making your meals exciting and delicious all at the same time! In part one we looked at what benefits Green, Orange, Red and White foods bring to the table, so let’s keep going and see what the other colors mean!

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Is your daily diet starting to look a little bland and boring? Then maybe it’s time to add a little color to your plate. Not only do bright colors make food more fun to eat, but healthy fruits and vegetables in vivid colors have another huge benefit: Different colors typically mean foods have different vitamins and minerals. No single food can provide us with the variety of nutrients we need, so eating foods of different colors can help ensure we get the variety we need. Your guide to essential nutrients in vegetables and fruits by color.

Harness the power of Red : Whether you choose red bell peppers, tomatoes, tart cherries, cranberries, raspberries, rhubarb, pomegranates, or beets, all of these healthy fruits and vegetables are positively packed with antioxidants such as vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin C, manganese, and fiber, making them great for heart health and overall good health, too. Plus, red apples have quercetin, a compound that seems to fight colds, flus, and allergies. And tomatoes, watermelon, and red grapefruit are loaded with lycopene, a compound that’s said to fight cancer.

Look out for orange : Move around the color wheel just a bit, and you’ll find butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, oranges, pumpkins, orange peppers, nectarines, and peaches. Some healthy fruits and vegetables are loaded with the antioxidant vitamin C — citrus fruits in particular — and some, such as carrots, with vitamin A (beta-carotene) for improved eyesight. They also contain potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6 for general health support.

Say Yes to Yellow : Bananas are usually the first yellow food that comes to mind, and with plentiful fiber for good digestion, potassium for preventing cramps, and vitamin B6 for a variety of healthy benefits, they pack a big punch. Healthy vegetables in yellow include spaghetti squash, summer squash, and yellow bell peppers. The nutrients in vegetables such as these include manganese, potassium, vitamin A, fiber, and magnesium.

Go Green : Virtually all greens are healthy vegetables and worth adding to your daily diet. Focus on spinach, broccoli, and asparagus. Lutein and folate are two nutrients in vegetables. Lutein helps with eyesight, folate helps in cell reproduction and prevents neural tube defects in infants.

Try a little something Blue : You may be stretching to add blue to your diet, but one healthy fruit is in a class of itself. Blueberries are known to be one of the most powerful antioxidants. Enjoy them any way you like. If you think of the ocean when you think blue, then put water in this category. Everyone put this “blue” item on your list. Water regulates body temperature and provides the means for nutrients to travel to all your organs. Water also transports oxygen to cells, removes waste, and protects joints and organs.

Give the Purple color a Go : Whether you choose blackberries, Concord grapes, currants, or plums, deep, rich purple healthy fruits are brimming with healthy antioxidants. Purple represents the anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant that protects the blood vessels from breakage and prevents the destruction of collagen, a protein needed for healthy, radiant skin.  Aside from fruit, you can also find nutrients in vegetables of the color purple, such as radicchio, eggplant, purple cabbage, purple potatoes, and purple carrots, which are rich in vitamin A and flavonoids.

White rules : Though it doesn’t show up on the color wheel, a number of white foods — such as white onions, garlic, and leeks — serve up nutrients in vegetables. White represents allicin, a sulfur-containing compound that protects against atherosclerosis and heart disease, lowers cholesterol and increases HDL, and has an antibacterial effective against Candida albicans and bacteria. And don’t forget healthy vegetables such as cauliflower, rutabagas, and parsnips, which include vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and fiber.

  

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Have you ever heard that it is important to “eat a rainbow” of foods? This may be a good way to think about your diet because numerous functional foods can be recognized and grouped together by their color.  Functional foods are foods or dietary components that may provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition. Examples can include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fortified or enhanced foods and beverages and certain dietary supplements. This fall, dive into the color of the various functional foods listed below and unlock the health benefits that may already be on your plate. An easy way to get more functional foods on your plate is to fill half of your plate with some of the colorful fruits and vegetables mentioned below.

The grandeur of green – In the nutritional sense, green is worth becoming a favorite color! It signifies energy, vibrancy and cleansing! Green veggies, and fruits too, such as watercress, spinach, chard, kale, courgettes, celery, dark seaweeds, rich green lettuces, kiwi fruits, gooseberries, cucumbers & asparagus possess some of the most crucial nutrients for health, energy production, detoxification, rejuvenation and longevity.

The dark leafy greens such as watercress, lettuce, spinach, rocket etc. are particularly crucial foods to try and get into the diet on a daily basis. These are rich in chlorophyll (similar in chemical structure to iron), many B vitamins, minerals and fiber for an overall healthy body and blood system. Leafy greens are very alkalising too, helping to buffer the typically acidic western diet that commonly underpins most states of disease.

Lutein is a particular plant antioxidant found in kale, chard, and romaine lettuce helps to protect the eyes & ensure our long-term visual health. Broccoli is a well-loved and widely available vegetable, and actually a great source of vitamin C (as are Brussels sprouts!).  Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant that reduces disease risk, boosts the immune system, improves iron absorption, and promotes wound healing too.

Green vegetables in general are excellent sources of vitamin A, and vitamin K too (known to be vitally important in building bone density), as well as many of the B vitamins (such as B6 and folic acid), potassium, carotenoids and even omega-3 fatty acids. Green vegetables are also what you might term “low calorie, high nutrient” foods, so they can help significantly with weight loss too. Try replacing your starchy carbs (potatoes, bread and pasta) with a selection of green vegetables, and you might find losing weight a whole lot easier!

Greens and green vegetables are also valuable protein sources, especially when eaten in the raw state. “Raw” means that the food enzymes stay intact, and enzymes are made of amino acids – yes protein! Any well-informed and healthy vegetarian will include plenty of green vegetables in their diet everyday, and vegans have to rely fairly heavily on these foods for calcium, iron and magnesium too.

Say YES to yellow & orange…

The words that spring to mind when orange or yellow foods come into view are heart, protection, and immunity. Vitamin C is certainly visible with yellow and orange foods. In this department, we have grapefruit, cantaloupe melon, persimmons or Sharon fruits, summer and winter squashes, yellow peppers and carrots; all these are wonderful immune system boosters.

Fresh oranges as we know are rich in vitamin C, but so too are lemons, grapefruits, yellow peppers, and persimmons too. Grapefruits that have lovely pink and red hues also contain lycopene, a star “antioxidant” of the red food group. Cantaloupe melons incidentally, are not only deliciously sweet fruits, they’re rich super-rich in polyphenol antioxidants. These polyphenols are known to help regulate the formation of nitric oxide, a key chemical, or gas, produced in many cells of the body from the amino acid arginine. Sufficient production of nitric oxide prevents heart attacks, and ensures good blood circulation and blood flow.

Melons are also great sources of vitamin C and beta-carotene, or pro-vitamin A that is stored in the liver, and later converted to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes and vision, as well as being a key “immune” supportive nutrient. Carrots also contain significant amounts of Vitamin C, as well as B6, and even iron. Let’s not forget squash, as these great winter and summer vegetables are excellent sources of the mineral potassium (important for regulating blood pressure), beta carotene, and many other minerals.

How about colorful bunch of peppers :

  • Sweet peppers from green, to yellow, to orange and red, beautifully illustrate how nutrient concentrations change with the colors.
  • Yellow peppers typically contain more of the lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids than green peppers.
  • Red peppers will usually have more lycopene and astaxanthin, two other important carotenoids.
  • Orange peppers will deliver more alpha, beta and gamma-carotene
  • Purple peppers will provide more anthocyanin flavonoids – most notably found in blueberries, blackberries and the new “super” Acai berry. Since all of these nutrients can make important contributions to your health, make sure you get into the habit of mixing and matching your use of sweet peppers in salads – go raw, stir-fry, steam-fry or chargrill.

What’s in White : Just because a food appears to have no color, doesn’t necessarily mean “no nutrition”! Vibrant color certainly isn’t an exclusive indicator of phytochemical content. Whilst some phytochemical pigments do give amazing hues, others are in fact, colorless. Colorless pigments are found in foods such as cabbage, mushrooms, and onion. Most of the pigments we find in these, and other foods are collectively called flavonoids. Flavonoids are powerful food chemicals, and counteract the free-radical formation, and resultant damage to the body’s cells. When free-radical damage is not controlled, it can cause significant cellular changes, which can lead to cancer or other disease states.

Raving about Red : Strawberries, raspberries and tomatoes immediately come to mind when thinking about redfoods. All are super-nutritious, as is the  great winter red fruit, the pomegranate, with its sweet, sour and tangy flavors. Nutritionists love the pomegranate too, but more so  because of its superfood powers! The rich red juice of the pomegranate is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is a concentrated source of antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals too.

Strawberries and other red berries, including cranberries are known rich sources of ellagitannins, polyphenols that the body uses to convert to ellagic acid. Ellagic acid has been widely studied in the laboratory, and scientists think it may play a key role in preventing cancer. Another red gem is the little cherry!

Cherries come around later in the year and for a relatively short period of time, so make the most of them when they do appear. Their deep red color again reveals the many amazing antioxidant pigments. These anthocyanin chemicals found in cherries are particularly effective in reducing pain and inflammation, just like pomegranate juice. Cherry juice and pomegranate juice are both commercially produced nowadays (look for 100% juice) and a perfect way to get your daily antioxidant hit!

Cherry juice has been found to help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness, and in turn, helping with muscle recovery. Cherries are also a great food if you, or someone you know suffers with gout. Interestingly, cherries have also been found to contain melatonin, which is actually a hormone. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in the brain and regulates the body’s internal clock, or sleep-wake cycle. It has other roles too, and research has shown that people who have heart attacks have low melatonin levels. It also plays an important role in the immune system.

Tomatoes are worth picking out amongst the red food group, partly because they are one of the best food sources of well-known antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants, and in fact you’ll find it in most red foods, as well as those foods with a pink or pinky-red hue. Think of watermelon, red or pink grapefruits and you are looking at some lycopene! Cooked tomatoes have very high levels of lycopene, and have been found to effectively prevent prostate cancer as well as be helpful to maintain good cardiovascular health.

An excellent way of ensuring a quality dose of lycopene is by using lots of tomato puree or rich tomato sauces in your cooking! Remember however that raw, ripe & juicy red tomatoes will have higher levels of other useful nutrients that have not been lost via cooking, so ensure you are getting these into your diet too. Lycopene may also slow the hardening of arteries and the growth of other cancer-related tumours.

Beetroot is begging for a mention of its own, with its deep red (almost purple) color. There has been some significant and very interesting research of late, with regards to beetroots, particularly beetroot juice. Science has revealed the effectiveness of beetroot juice on lowering blood pressure, as well as improving exercise endurance and stamina. This is due to the juice being especially high in nitrates, compounds that convert to nitric oxide in the body.

Nitric oxide has several metabolic effects, such as dilating blood vessels (hence its blood pressure lowering effects) and helping deliver oxygen to working muscles. These and other findings of the health benefits of beetroot juice are also potentially relevant to those with heart disease, breathing complications or modern-day metabolic diseases.

New research suggests that a simple beetroot juice could be a very worthy contender to take the crown as a top sports drink. Certainly beetroot juice is much healthier, compared with many of the sugar loaded sports and energy drinks on the market.

According to the findings published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, drinking half a litre of beetroot juice every day improved exercise endurance by 16 per cent, compared with when they drank a blackcurrant cordial. The boost in nitric oxide after drinking beetroot juice makes exercise less tiring. Beetroots are also a good source of the B vitamin, folic acid. Folic acid is critically involved in normal red cell production, so all in all, don’t be afraid to go bananas for beetroot!

Bursting for Blue and Purple :

Blueberries, black berries, grapes, aubergine, plums and figs are some of the purple foods we can include in our diets, and for great reason too! You will find some of the highest levels of anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidin pigments in these foods – potent antioxidants found in the fruit, bark, leaves and seeds of plants. They provide flavour and astringency as well as powerful health benefits. Proanthocyanidin-rich grape seed extract for example has been found to have preventive actions on diseases such as atherosclerosis, gastric ulcer, large bowel cancer, cataracts and diabetes.

One the easiest ways to get daily berry goodness year-round, is to buy frozen summer berries from your local supermarket! By all means choose fresh whenever you can, but fresh are not always available, or affordable. So make the use of frozen, and throw them into smoothies, or onto cereals or into porridge. Of course you can just enjoy a big bowl full, with some cool natural yogurt, and a sprinkling of raw seeds – a perfect breakfast, or pudding.

Fresh plums and figs make excellent low sugar, low GI snacks, as well as being easy to carry or keep in the car. Both plums and figs also happen to be excellent sources of vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, Vitamin C, and fiber. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals, but are also a significant source of the trace mineral manganese, and Vitamin K too. Grapes have been positively linked to fighting cancer, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease and other ailments. Aubergines are a good soup or stew ingredient, and famously known as a key food in ratatouille, a dish in which you can use plenty of tomato puree and get your lycopene too! Aubergines are very low in calories, yet rich sources of potassium and calcium. Blueberries are often singled out as little nutritional powerhouses, which they are! Anthocyanins are the pigments responsible for the purple tint of these fruits, and purple veggies too, and are known for their antioxidant qualities. In addition to anthocyanins cancer-fighting potential, these plant chemicals also support the vascular system.

There are over 4,000 different plant chemicals in foods that present us with a spectrum of colors to create a truly healthy and balanced “rainbow diet” of wholefoods. Nutrition today, and what is now known about healthy eating, extends far beyond the vitamins and minerals we learned about in school or college.

 Tips to help you eat Rainbow food every day –

Use these tips to create more colorful meals:

  • Eat a beautiful breakfast.Instead of boring bagels, eggs, or yogurt, start your day with a green smoothie, oatmeal topped with red berries, or a scramble filled with red peppers, mushrooms, carrots, or other colorful veggies.
  • Enjoy exciting salads. Large, colorful salads are the perfect way to incorporate lots of colorful veggies (and fruits!) into your diet. Eat them for lunch or dinner. And try to have at least one per day.
  • Liven up your lunch. Veggie sandwiches and wraps (including lettuce wraps) and soups, stews, and chili can help you get a balanced selection of colorful foods for lunch.
  • Make vegetables the main dish. Try new recipes for dishes, such as tempeh vegetable stir-fries, vegetable curries, and Buddha bowls.
  • Make a rainbow meal. Try creating a meal that uses every color — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, and brown. (If you have kids, they may love this idea.)

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Why eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is important for optimal health

Eating the rainbow is a fundamental healthy eating tip. (And no, not artificially colored foods )

But what does it mean? Why is it important to get a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet?

You may be tempted to find a few foods you or your kids or family members like and to focus on eating those. And it can be easy to fall into routines. But the truth is: Our bodies benefit from variety. For optimal health, we need a rainbow of nutrients and colors.

In fact, the variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables have enormous healing powers. And many of them bring their own distinctive colors.

Eating a diversity of colorful foods can be an easy way to get a complete range of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive.

The advice to “eat the rainbow” is often used with kids. And while kids especially need a diversity of foods in their diets, so do adults.

Each color in fruits and vegetables is caused by specific phytonutrients, which are natural chemicals that help protect plants from germs, bugs, the sun’s harmful rays, and other threats.

And each color indicates an abundance of specific nutrients.

Red fruits and vegetables help fight cancer, reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, improves skin quality, and much more.

Red fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, including lycopene and ellagic acid. These powerful nutrients have been studied for their cancer-fighting effects and other health benefits.

For example, a daily dose of tomato sauce has been found to reverse the progression of prostate cancer.  Watermelon is even higher in lycopene than tomatoes, and the lycopene may be more bioavailable.

Watermelon is also rich in a phytonutrient called citrulline, which may work as a treatment for mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.

Also, strawberries have been found to prevent and even reverse esophageal cancer.

Getting your phytonutrients from whole foods is best. In fact, taking phytonutrients, like lycopene and beta-carotene, in supplement form because may increase the risk of cancer. But consuming these phytonutrients in whole-food form, like tomato sauce, has been found to decrease the risk of cancer.

Healthy Red Foods

  • Red peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon
  • Red Apples
  • Cranberries
  • Cherries
  • Red Grapes
  • Red onions
  • Pomegranate
  • Beets
  • Red Capsicum

Tips –

Raspberries : Eating whole raspberries is more beneficial than taking the individual compounds as dietary supplements.

Peppers : High heat can damage some of the pepper’s beneficial nutrients, so it is best enjoyed raw or cooked using a low heat for a short period of time.

Tomato : Lycopene is more potent in cooked tomato products such as sauces, soups or stews.

Strawberries : Choose small strawberries as they tend to contain less water and more nutrition than large ones.

Watermelons : Watermelons continue to develop nutrients after they have been picked and are therefore best stored at room temperature.

Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables improve immune function, reduce the risk of heart disease, promote eye health and more

Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, including beta-carotene. Some carotenoids, most notably beta-carotene, convert to vitamin A within the body, which helps promote healthy vision and cell growth.

Citrus fruits contain a unique phytonutrient called hesperidin, which helps to increase blood flow. This has important health ramifications. If you tend to get cold hands and feet, eating an orange a day may help keep your hands and feet warm. More importantly, consuming citrus may also reduce your risk of stroke.

Healthy Orange and Yellow Foods to Try

  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash (butternut, kabocha, delicata, acorn)
  • Yellow summer squash
  • Corn
  • Cantaloupe
  • Orange and yellow peppers
  • Golden beets
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches
  • Pumpkins
  • Pineapple
  • Apricots

Tips –

Orange : Eat the orange whole instead of juicing it. The pith ( the white substance between the peel and flesh) is rich in fiber.

Mango : Mangos are rich in vitamins and minerals. However due to high level of fructose, they are best consumed in moderation.

Sweet Potato : Boil sweet potatoes with the skin on as this helps retain the levels of vitamin C.

Carrots : Carrots that are boiled whole retain 25% more of the cancer fighting compound falcarinol compared to when they are chopped before being boiled.

 Lemon Juice : Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on spinach to maximise the levels of iron.

Green fruits and vegetables boost the immune system, help detoxify the body, restore energy and vitality and more.

Greens are one of healthiest foods we can eat. Green fruits and vegetables are rich in lutein, isothiocyanates, isoflavones, and vitamin K — which is essential for blood and bone health.

In addition, green vegetables are rich in folate – a nutrient especially important for pregnant women to consume to help prevent congenital disabilities.

Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, have been shown to enhance immune function, while dark leafy greens like kale may improve mood.

Kiwi fruit has been shown to help alleviate a wide array of maladies, from the common cold to IBS to insomnia, and may even help repair DNA damage.

Healthy Green Foods

  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Collard greens
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green grapes
  • Green apples
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Zucchini
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Avocado
  • Limes
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Green capsicum

Tips –

Broccoli: Broccoli leaves are perfectly edible and contains concentrated levels of nutrients.

Kiwis : If you are making a fruit salad add the kiwis last minute. They contain enzymes that act as food tenderisers and can make the surrounding food soft.

Spinach : If you are cooking Spinach, opt for steaming rather than boiling to preserve the nutrients.

Zucchini : Spiralised Zucchini is an excellent alternative to pasta.

Lettuce : Instead of bread wraps, try wrapping your food in lettuce.

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables fight cancer and unwanted inflammation and help keep young

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients, including anthocyanins and resveratrol, and have been studied extensively for their anti-cancer and anti-aging properties.

Studies show that the bioactive phytochemicals in berries work to repair damage from oxidative stress and inflammation.

Red cabbage, which is purple, is one of the best super food bargains and has the highest level of antioxidants per dollar.

Healthy Blue and Purple Foods

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Red (purple) grapes
  • Red (purple) cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Beetroot
  • Purple asparagus
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Figs White

Tips –

Blueberries : Eat blueberries raw as the valuable nutrients are damaged when exposed to temperature over 175C

Purple cabbage : Suteed purple cabbage tastes great and allows for concentrated nutrient retention.

Plums : If you want to get most from their high vitamin C content, eat plums raw.

Eggplant : Much of the eggplant nutrition is in the skin, so opt to cook it with skin on.

Blackberries : The health benefits of blackberries are extensive however, they should be consumed un moderation as they contain fructose.

White and brown fruits and vegetables protect against certain cancer, keep bones strong, and are a heart healthy choice.

White and brown produce may not be as brightly colored as other foods, but they still are a healthy choice and have phytonutrients.

Like broccoli, cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable rich in an anti-cancer compound called sulforaphane. Garlic and onions are in the allium family of vegetables and contain the powerful cancer-fighting compounds allicin and quercetin.

And phytonutrients in white button mushrooms have been found to inhibit aromatase activity and breast cancer cell proliferation.

Healthy White and Brown Foods

  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Daikon radish
  • Brown pears
  • White peaches
  • Banana
  • Dates
  • Ginger
  • Turnip
  • Parsnips

 

Tips –

Bannanas : Ripe bananas that will not be consumed within the next few days can be placed in the refrigerator. Unripe bananas should not be placed in the fridge as it will ruin the ripening process.

Cauliflower : Studies have shown that three minutes of boiling draws most of the nutrients from the cauliflower than ten minutes of steaming.

Garlic : To maximise the health benefits of antibacterial compound allicin, consume garlic raw.

Potaotes : Allow potatoes to cool down after boiling as this allows healthy resistant starch to form.

Onions : Avoid storing onions with potatoes as they tend to absorb their moisture causing them to spoil faster.

 

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Fruit and vegetables fall into five different color categories: red, purple/blue, orange, green and white/brown. Each color carries its own set of unique disease fighting chemicals called phytochemicals. It is these phytochemicals that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant color and of course some of their healthy properties.

What’s in a color?

RED
Red fruits and vegetables are colored by a natural plant pigment called lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep our heart healthy.

PURPLE /BLUE
The plant pigment anthocyanin is what gives blue/purple fruits and vegetables their distinctive color. Anthocyanin also has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

ORANGE/YELLOW
Carotenoids give this group their vibrant color. A well-known carotenoid called Betacarotene is found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots. It is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Another carotenoid called lutein is stored in the eye and has been found to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.

GREEN
Green vegetables contain a range of phytochemicals including carotenoids, indoles and saponins, all of which have anti-cancer properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of folate.

BROWN/WHITE
White fruits and vegetables contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin (found in garlic) which is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Some members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes, are also a good source of potassium.

Rainbow Chart

                                                                                                        

2 months ago General Health

Natural Medicine

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A staggering one hundred thousand people a year die of reactions to prescription drugs. That number does not include illegal or recreational drugs, and solely refers to pharmaceutical drugs that were legally and correctly prescribed, and taken as directed. Over the past 35 years, patients have suffered from a largely hidden epidemic of side effects from drugs that usually have few offsetting benefits. The pharmaceutical industry has corrupted the practice of medicine through its influence over what drugs are developed, how they are tested, and how medical knowledge is created.

Anyone who has ever suffered with pain knows how debilitating it can be, particularly when it’s chronic. Yet the conventional solution—strong, pharmaceutical medicines—are turning out to be worse than the problem. They certainly get rid of pain— but at what cost?

The rate of overdose deaths that involved opioids nearly quadrupled, with over thousands of people dying just from prescription opioid overdoses.

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Natural medicine can also be referred to as naturopathy; it is a form of alternative medicine which involves homeopathy, herbalism, acupuncture, diet and lifestyle counselling, and more. It is thought that naturopathy originates back to 400BC and its founding principles were discovered by the Greek philosopher Hippocrates.

People who practise natural medicine are known as naturopathic doctors, many of these practitioners will have obtained professional qualifications and have passed an examination to receive a license. In addition to this, these healthcare practitioners must continue updating their knowledge annually to keep up to date with medical advancements.

An herb is a plant or plant part used for its scent, flavor, or therapeutic properties. Herbal medicines are one type of dietary supplement. They are sold as tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts, and fresh or dried plants. People use herbal medicines to try to maintain or improve their health.

Many people believe that products labelled “natural” are always safe and good for them. This is not necessarily true. Herbal medicines do not have to go through the testing that drugs do. Some herbs, such as comfrey and ephedra, can cause serious harm. Some herbs can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

If you are thinking about using an herbal medicine, first get information on it from reliable sources. Make sure to tell your health care provider about any herbal medicines you are taking.

Philosophy behind natural medicine.

The ideology behind natural medicine revolves around vitalism and self-healing, meaning naturopaths will tend to advise their patients to avoid modern medicines, pharmacological drugs, vaccinations and medical operations.

Natural medicine systems aim to incorporate gentle therapeutic techniques involving the body, mind and emotions to aid the healing process. They also focus on each patient as an individual and treating the whole person, instead of concentrating on a particular area or the patient’s ailment. It is believed that muscles, bones and nerves are interconnected, therefore when structures of the body system are aligned; the body is able to function optimally and support self-healing.

Natural medicine practitioners will make a conscious effort to avoid using methods which suppress symptoms, as the aim is for the body to restore its inner balance and heal itself. Practitioners also have a role to teach; by educating and empowering their patients, patients can take more responsibility for their well-being and adopt a healthier lifestyle and attitude. Another important principle of naturopathic medicine is prevention of ill health; this can be done through both teaching and patient counseling.

Depending on the patient’s condition and symptoms, treatment methods can vary and may involve one or multiple methods such as :

  • Lifestyle advice to promote health and eliminate stress
  • Dietary advice to promote detoxification, restore balance and treat minor conditions
  • Herbal medication to treat and prevent symptoms and ailments
  • Massage therapy to relieve tension and promote well-being
  • Hydrotherapy as it is believed water can play a role in stimulating the body’s immune system
  • Meditation as a form of stress relief and management

Practitioners will take into account each individual patient and tailor a treatment plan for them; this is also reliant on the type of practitioner who is dealing with the patient and their previous training. Therefore patients will be asked numerous questions regarding their lifestyle, sleep patterns, diet and more to understand the patient as well as their condition in initial consultations.

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Naturopathic treatments are suitable for everyone, all ages and every level of health. Most commonly, patients who are suffering from fatigue, stress and its related disorders, gastrointestinal diseases or similar minor ailments will seek treatment from natural medicine practitioners.

Most treatments can certainly cause no harm however there are a number of benefits with natural medicine which may be why many patients are drawn to it.

Emphasis on patients as a whole, as previously discussed, the principles and ideologies of naturopathy focus on the entire body for healing; emotional, mental and physical health are all taken into consideration.

Patients are offered personal attention, unlike when visiting a doctors clinic where patients will only discuss their symptoms, naturopathic practitioners will consult their patient on multiple aspects of their health due to tailor a custom treatment plan.

A focus on prevention, natural medicine encourages patients to visit practitioners before a medical condition develops so that they can take control of their health and revitalise themselves.

Almost no side effects, natural medicine tends to discourage the use of pharmacological drugs and allopathic medicines. A majority of therapies will be centred on stress relief, relaxation, and using natural supplements in healthy doses, therefore patients are unlikely to suffer adverse or undesired reactions.

Yet there have been some randomised controlled trials which have suggested that acupuncture, physiotherapy and nutritional therapies have been successful in treating type II diabetes, asthma, hypertension and migraine headaches.

However, despite all these benefits, there is still not sufficient scientific evidence to back and support natural medicine as an effective method of treatment of diseases. Recently funding for research studies in natural and alternative medicines has increased mainly due to an increased demand by consumers, yet many questions are currently unanswered.

Supporters of allopathic medicine argue that it is harmful and irresponsible to use non-evidence backed treatments for conditions which are or can become serious or even terminal, when there are evidence backed allopathic medical treatments available.

The main difference between the naturopathic doctor’s (ND) approach and that of conventionally trained doctors is that NDs are taught to use methods that build on the extraordinary ability of the body to heal itself. Today’s naturopathic doctor doesn’t turn to pharmaceutical drugs to suppress symptoms, but rather looks for ways to support the body’s natural healing by using astute clinical acumen and modalities such as nutritional modifications, lifestyle interventions, clinically studied botanical medicine, dose appropriate medical nutritional support, acupuncture and other non-toxic therapies. 

Principles of natural medicines –

The healing power of nature : Trust in body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.

Identify and treat the causes : Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.

First do no harm : Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.

Doctor as teacher : Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health.

Treat the whole person : View the body as integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.

Prevention : Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.

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Click here for Some effective natural treatments for pain

 

Omega-3s

“Fish oil is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties”. A study comparing ibuprofen and the omega-3s found in fish oil (EPA and DHA) “demonstrated equivalent effect in reducing arthritic pain”. Fish oil supplements “may be a safer alternative to NSAIDs” for some patients.

Curcumin

Curcumin is a wonderful example of a natural medicine. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric, the bright orange spice used in Indian food and curries. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and has been studied for its beneficial effects on the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis and as an anti-inflammatory agent in neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases.

Capsaicin

Capsaicin comes from hot chili peppers, and has a long history of use in the practice of natural medicine. It decreases substance P—a compound involved in the transmission of pain signals —and has been shown to be effective in diabetic neuropathy, postsurgical pain, and Guillain-Barre’ syndrome. Patients  with headache can significantly decrease the intensity of both migraine and cluster headaches after using capsaicin cream inside their nostrils.

Spices, botanicals, and herbs

Many other spices, botanicals and herbs have a long history of medicinal use. Ginger contains potent phytochemicals which help flight inflammation. Feverfew, a medicinal herb, has been used as a headache remedy for centuries, as has butterbur. Some over-the-counter products meant to ease pain are mixes of herbs and botanicals like turmeric, ginger and holy basil. Your naturopathic physician will be able to customize combinations of natural substances in the correct doses for your individual situation.

Heat and ice

Heat and ice have long been used as traditional remedies for pain. Personal trainers are taught the acronym RICE for dealing with typical athletic injuries: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Heat and cold are the two most common types of nonaddictive, noninvasive, non-toxic pain-relieving therapies both for joint pain and for muscle pain. Ice decreases blood flow to the injury (lowering swelling and inflammation) while heat opens up blood vessels, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the area and relaxing sore muscles.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture originated 3000 years ago in China, and has a long history of being used for pain. Physicians recommends that acupuncture be considered as one of several nondrug approaches physicians should consider with patients who have chronic low-back pain.

Resveratrol

Reseveratrol is a good example of a natural medicine that can be used in conjunction with conventional pain treatments, making those medicines even more effective (and, hopefully, reducing the amount of those medicines needed to be prescribed.) Resveratrol has been investigated for decades for its multiple beneficial effects on everything from aging to inflammation to insulin sensitivity. But in the last few years, it’s been recently noted that resveratrol preserves the pain-relieving effects of morphine, making a dose of that powerful (but potentially dangerous) medication last a lot longer so you need less of it. Resveratrol also seems to have the ability to lower substance P—a compound in the body that transmits pain impulses. Animal studies show that resveratrol lowers neuropathic pain by balancing the release of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Ginger has the deserved reputation as being a wonderful calming substance for the stomach. Research has been done on ginger as a cancer preventative. Inflammation is involved in diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease and every degenerative disease. Anything we can do to lower inflammation is extremely important for our health. Oxidation: the damage done by free radicals that are found in oxygen. It’s kind of a rusting. Oxidative stress is a major part of aging and just about every degenerative disease you can imagine. Antioxidants help fight the damage done by these marauding free radicals.

A study found oregano to have the highest ranking antioxidants of any herb. It appears to contain some diabetes fighting compounds as well. Prefer the oil of oregano, not really the spice itself. Oregano oil is anti-microbial. Ideally it should be taken by mouth for parasites, allergies, a cold, the flu and fatigue.

Garlic is probably the number one medicinal food in the world. It goes back thousands of years. It’s been found to be helpful for the heart, for the immune system, helps kill parasites, it’s a natural antibiotic and it’s great for blood pressure. Researchers have found that it actually reduces plaque.

Aged garlic extract was shown to inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis to lower blood pressure, improve oxidative stress and enhance circulation. Garlic has to be chopped up and broken down in order for two compounds to mix together and create allicin. There are studies showing the anti-cancer mechanism of sulfur-containing compounds of which garlic and onions are two prime examples.

Cinnamon. A study showed that cinnamon actually improves blood sugar, glucose and lipids of people with type two diabetes. There’s just no downside to using it and there’s potentially lots of upsides. There’s a meta-analysis of all the studies of cinnamon use in type two diabetes, and on the whole, they’re very positive. Here again the effect of cinnamon tea on postprandial, just means after eating, postprandial glucose simply means your blood sugar after you eat and cinnamon has a nice muting effect on that. Here again, more experimental evidence, more reviews and here once again, big surprise, turns out that cinnamon may also have some anti-cancer properties which is a very nice little side benefit so if you’re taking it for blood sugar oh look at this, it may also have some effects on cancer cells, not a bad side effect.

Sage is an anti-oxidant and a powerful anti-inflammatory. It seems to have a great effect on memory in both younger people and in older. Sage actually improves glycemic control and lipid profile in type 2 diabetics and it lowers fasting glucose; it brought down blood sugar.

 Summing Up

This is a far from complete list, but it should give you an idea of the range of available pain treatments that do not require toxic and dangerous drugs with their significant potential for addiction.

Naturopathic physicians, by the very nature of their training, are deeply familiar with all of them, and will develop an individualized, multi-modal, non-toxic treatment plan before reaching for the “hard stuff”. 

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A treatment that involves the transfer of energy through the healer to the recipient. It promotes self-healing by relaxing the body, releasing tensions and strengthening the body’s own immune system. Healing is natural and non-invasive with the intention of bringing the recipient into a state of balance and wellbeing on all levels.

Spiritual healing is a technique in which subtle energy forces are used to address problems which have been causing sustained disruptions in leading a normal life. These problems could be various, ranging from an injury, a general feeling of distress, a chronic illness which has been the cause of relentless pain and discomfort or even intense psychological trauma. Healing with the help of positive energies has been a proven form of treatment which has been recognised for over a thousand years in the east. However, western medical sciences have just woken up to this amazing concept of spiritual healing, and have brought it to good use.

Spiritual Healing is about working with illness, dis-ease, and dis-harmony from multiple angles.

When using spiritual healing to address illness, we focus on bringing harmony back to reinforce a person’s whole body-heart-mind health.

Healing Vs Curing : In modern society, we expect quick fixes. Western medicine focuses on curing people through surgery, pharmaceuticals and other medical interventions. If you have a bacterial infection, western medicine provides the cure, antibacterial medicine.

Many treatments exist in western medicine. Treatments focus on curing symptoms. For example, medications are used to treat symptoms of depression and pain. Treatments can be beneficial in acute situations. However, long-term reliance on only treatment can inhibit healing, create a dependence on the treatment and even create additional illness and disease. For example, antibacterial medications often create an imbalance in the gut.

Healing goes beyond medical treatment. It includes spiritual growth, intellectual expansion, physical cures and other interventions. Healing requires digging deeper into why you got a bacterial infection in the first place and why you have depression and pain.

Healing is usually a mixture of interventions – physical medical and non-medical, energetic interventions and mental interventions. When we transform the cause of illness/disease and grow beyond the problem, we are then focused on healing.  Healing is a whole package deal. Addressing only one element of an illness rarely leads to healing.

In spiritual healing, we create a medicine story for ourselves that includes both a curing process and a healing destination.  We create a spiritual prescription for the body, heart, and mind and then embark upon a healing journey.

Spiritual healing methods :

Most often, the concept of spiritual healing is confused with that of counseling. However, counseling is not a form of spiritual therapy. There are specific spiritual healing methods which are used to facilitate this innovative form of treatment.

  • The most common spiritual healing method is through prayers.
  • Spiritual energy is also transmitted with the help of visualisation techniques, which encourages the healer to understand the problem, care for it, heal and finally protect the affected individual.
  • Spiritual energy can be directed through advanced techniques such as reiki, prana and qi.
  • There could also be devices like radionics and stones that are known to emanate positive energy. These can be used for facilitating spiritual therapy.
  • Spiritual therapy can also be mobilised with the help of advanced concentration techniques which help in receiving positive energies faster. Intense meditation can help a lot in improving the efficiency of spiritual healing processes.
  • Spiritual healing can also be facilitated with the help of personal spiritual realisation.
  • Spiritual helpers and guides can also channel their energies to affected people for sustained relief from spiritual therapy.
  • Psychic abilities can also be used to propagate spiritual healing processes.
  • Universal compassion techniques can also be effectively used in mobilising spiritual therapy.

Spiritual Healing journey –

Purifies relationships.

Uses the mind through creative freedom.

Free the soul from the ego. 

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Spiritual healing is a technique where subtle energies are used for healing. These types of energies have been recognized by the western medicine only in the recent past. Many eastern medical systems have recognized and have been using these types of forces or energies for hundreds and thousands of years. Other names which are also used for these energies are Chi and Prana. These energies are related to and are directed by a person’s consciousness. Due to this, a person can accept healing forces directly in the presence of the healer or at a distance from the healer.

In today’s society, spirituality has taken a backseat to the many other priorities thrown at us. In a spiritually malnourished society, we’ve lost our connection to that which makes us human. We find ourselves chasing down other’s dreams or constructs of what they believe our lives should be. In the end we find an empty void that we’ve so desperately tried to fill with meaningless things. If you’re reading this article, then congratulations, you’ve already put yourself on the right path. Here you will find that you never needed to fill any void in your life, because when you are connected to your true spirit, you’ll see there is no such thing as a deficit.

Follow these steps to heal spiritually which are very basic in nature but very effective –

  • Prayer.
  • Visualization.
  • Higher levels of concentration.
  • Devices that convey healing forces such as radionics.
  • Channeling of spiritual leaders and helpers.
  • Personal spiritual awareness.
  • Channeling of spiritual energy e.g. chi, prana, reiki.
  • Psychic powers.
  • Bodhicitta (total enlightenment or compassion).

Love Yourself : This is always the first step to connecting with your spirit. If you’ve been bashing yourself for living the “wrong” life or mulling over the past, now is the right moment to stop that. Know that when you say negative messages to yourself, you are diminishing your own spirit, taking you further away from where you want to be. A great exercise to try is to observe your thoughts for one day, without labelling them either good or bad, and instead just watching them. This will help you love yourself more and bring healing to your spirit.

Observe your mind : This step is a continuation of the exercise from the above step. When you can eliminate judgement from your mental space, you’ll see the thoughts you have with more clarity. For many people out there, we’ve been told what spirituality is in religious terms, meaning that you must follow a certain set of rules. Its possible when you no longer judge your thoughts as right or wrong, that you’ll shed unnecessary concepts or beliefs no longer helping you. At this stage, some people see beyond emotional reactions and gain understanding the triggers that cause emotive reactions.

Be patient : Healing doesn’t happen in a day, especially for spiritual healing. You may work on your spirit for a decade and find one day that you’ve fallen into an old belief that you’d thought to be long gone. There’s no benefit in further beating yourself up, just be patient, this is life, so allow it to happen. If you’re working to stand up for yourself with healthy boundaries and find that you fumble, don’t worry, the lesson will reappear again for you to retry. Patience will be one of your greatest allies when healing, because we often have to repeat lessons a few times before getting them right.

Understand what spirituality is for you : As mentioned earlier, the majority of us grew up under the notion that spirituality happens in a temple under a strict code of rules and regulations. If this environment makes you feel uncomfortable, then this is likely a place that will stifle your spirit. Various metaphysical healers and philosophers have often pointed to spirituality being an awakening process. What this means is that we already know what areas light up our spirits, it’s just a matter of awakening to them. For some people, when they get on a stage in front of others and sing their heart out, they feel that bright connection to their spirit. For others, when they work on a mechanical project, they feel connected to something bigger in that moment. As you heal, you’ll feel your spirit and be able to more accurately hone into it.

Have Fun ! : Healing can often elicit images of depressing hospital rooms and the like. This does not have to be your healing process. Laughter will heal your bones faster than sitting in a situation you find to be depressing. Go to an amusement park, join a drum circle, get a dog, take that dog to the park, and the list goes on. Sunshine will blow away old cobwebs around your spirit if you spend some time in its warmth. Remember that healing is a process of making you stronger, which will allow you to laugh and cry more often.

Feel your emotions : Allow those emotions to come out of their suppressed cases. If you hear a story that touches your heart, don’t hold back the tears; if they’re coming, this is your spirit talking physically. As a society we’ve learned that certain emotions are okay and that others aren’t, yet this is a false notion. Your emotions play an integral part to your life’s journey, don’t bind them to ideas brewed from misinformation. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, then validate that emotional response; don’t beat it up for happening. As you heal, you’ll find yourself becoming more comfortable expressing your true feelings, rather than what you believe others want.

Give back : Your spirits lift to new heights when you give to others, because you know that you’re using your gifts to their fullest potential. When you give, you’ll find that you get more in return. When you help others heal, you’ll find yourself healing in the process. Giving back doesn’t mean you have to volunteer somewhere destitute, or to even leave your house, because it’s different for everyone. Some people love writing inspirational blog, others enjoy cooking meals for their loved ones, and so it goes. Give back what you love doing, because you’ll bring a wonderful spirit to others and yourself.

  • Accept the problem and the pain. Be open about having the problem; you needn’t approve the pain, but the best way to manage the pain is to experience it completely, so that you are in a position to let go of the pain.
  • Be aware of the facts that pain (as well as pleasure) is a fundamental part of this world. Pain and pleasure are a package deal and come together.
  • You should realize that there are many individuals who have the same problems which you are facing and which are as bad, if not worse.
  • Try to empathize with the other individuals who are also suffering and wish you could do something to help them.
  • Try to develop the wish that you could take on some of their sufferings or problems through a type of transmission. Try to imagine that your pain now somehow includes a portion of their sufferings and thereby relieves them of some of their pain.
  • Imagine that you are not only taking on a part of their suffering, but also you are giving them some of your happiness so you can help them also. Visualize their problems entering your heart as a thick, black smoke, and your kindness flowing out to them as a pure, white light.

Continue doing this until you have a feeling of achievements.  This is a marvelous practice and helps you in balancing out your personality.

Spiritual healing is about being the author of your very own medicine story.

 

Myths about natural medicines :

#1 – Naturopathic medicines isn’t scientific :  There is a growing body of scientific evidence supporting Naturopathic medicine as well as many of the therapies and medicines we use. Naturopathic medicine is also becoming a more mainstream health care choice. Naturopaths rely on lab tests, clinical observations, physical exam, and logical analysis, as well as traditional medical knowledge, which is increasingly being studied in the scientific literature.

#2 – Naturopathic medicine unsafe : The safety record of Naturopathic Medicine is excellent. This makes sense given  emphasis on gentle, non-invasive treatments, and the fact that they are a regulated healthcare profession. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained to avoid interactions between the medicines and therapies conventional medicines and therapies are recommended.

#3 – Naturopaths can’t treat serious health concerns : Naturopaths can treat many health conditions that have a big impact on health and your quality of life, or they can also simply work at improving quality of life if cure is not possible. In many cases Naturapathy medicines had successfully treated serious diseases where allopathy has given up hopes for patients

#4 – Naturopath and homeopath mean the same thing : Major difference between a Homeopath and a Naturopath is that  all Homeopaths only use homeopathy as a treatment tool, that is dilute medicines placed on sugar pills. In contrast, Naturopathic doctors may use homeopathy as one of many treatment tools.

#5 – Naturopathic medicine is only for wealthy patients : When viewed with a longer-term lens, the cost savings and improvement in life quality from disease prevention is worth the up-front investment for many patients. They see the value in prioritizing care with naturopathic physicians for their overall health. Effectively its cheaper than allopathy medicine over a period of time.

#6 – If it’s natural, it must be safe : Just because something is “natural” does not necessarily mean it is safe. Natural products may have contraindications. It is important to consult with a licensed naturopathic doctor before beginning treatment to ensure that what you are taking is appropriate.

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