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Posts Tagged ‘digestion’

Isn’t it great to indulge in wonder Christmas treats! Unfortunately most of them are what I would class as super unhealthy, but there is a way to indulge without feeling quite so guilty – plus some of these treats deliver a lot of nutrients that help balance up the ‘bad’ side of indulging.
There is no escape from the fact that even healthier treats contain sugar and fat, or lets face it they just wouldn’t be treats!

The little bit healthier Christmas Cake

Christmas cake 2012In this cake there is less sugar, and no white sugar. Only molasses, Rapa Dura and some dried fruit – all packed with minerals and vitamins. I have use sulphate free and organic dried fruit so less toxins, and spelt and Kamut flower – less gluten and easier to digest grain. I have used the icing for decoration only and not to eat, and no high fat, high sugar marzipan.

Ingredients

Icing

Ready to roll white icing, Silver or pearl balls
Decorations-I bought these in a gift shop but there are so many to choose from

Or you can just make lots of snowballs from the ready-made icing and build a snowman scene on the cake on the cake.

Cake

200grams Spelt whole grain flour
200grams white spelt flour (or you can substitute flour with coconut flour, potato flour and any other gluten free flour – the texture will be slightly different and may be heavier)
320grams soft organic butter, or goat’s butter6 x large eggs whisked
3 x large tablespoons black strap molasses
100grams molasses sugar, raw cane or Rapa Dura sugar
200grams soft (or soaked) de-stoned dates
2 x cups Sultanas
100gram or one pack of glace cherries – optional
Rind of 2 x organic oranges (needs to be organic for the rind)
Juice of the oranges
Rind of 1 x organic lemon
3 x large handfuls of pumpkin seeds, Almonds or Walnuts
Half a standard pack of ground cinnamon
Half a standard pack of mixed spices
2 x teaspoons of baking powder
Optional: Splash of brandy

Directions

Soak the dried fruit in the juice from the lemon and orange. Peel the oranges and lemon right back to the actual fruit inside so you get all the pith – this contains major antioxidants. Put the peel into a blender or food processor and pulse the power carefully until the bits are small but not too small. This can be chopped too.
Take the dates and prunes and blend in a food processor or chop by hand, add two-thirds of the pumpkin seeds semi blend so not too smooth.
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees (this lower heat will still cook all of it, but does less damage to the fats – which is vital as damaged fats are detrimental to health.
Cream the butter, sugar and molasses syrup together. Then add the whisked eggs and mix in, add the flour a third at a time along with baking powder and spices.
Add the blended fruit mixture and mix in, you can add the juice of the oranges to create more moisture. Add the orange and lemon peel, along with the glace cherries sultanas and the rest of the pumpkin seeds.
Lastly add the brandy and mix in.

Place in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on your oven being a fan one or conventional. Dip a skewer in the middle to check if cooked, if not uncooked cake mixture will appear on the skewer (or sharp knife) When cooked take out of the tin and turn upside down onto a grill or something where it can breath

When it is completely dry and cooled, you can use ready rolled or roll out the white icing place on the top and cut with a knife all the way around leaving the sides free or you can cover the whole cake – it’s up to you. Decorate as you wish.

Delicious Mince Pies with  a Healthier Bite

Below is a recipe for you to make healthier minces pies (Meaning less sugar and more minerals). They are so easy to make and really delicious, everyone I have tried them on has loved them.Mince pies 2012

You will need a cooking tin with the correct size wholes for mince pies

Ingredients

Pastry

150 grams Whole grain or white spelt wheat flour
150 grams Kamut flour (creates a slightly crisper pastry- plus very low gluten)
2 x tspns of cinnamon
2 x dessert spoons of Rapa Dura, molasses or raw cane sugar

Filling

2 x large handfuls of soft dates
2 x handfuls of apricots or figs
1 x handful organic sultanas
2 x grated rind of un-waxed preferably organic oranges plus the juice of one of the oranges
(use large-holed grater to get the white pith – this contains health promoting antioxidants)
1 x grated rind of un-waxed preferably organic lemon + juice
2 x teaspoonfuls of ground cinnamon
1 x small teaspoon of coconut butter (optional – it is better than the normal suet that is used)

Other options: Dried Cranberries, Almonds. Walnuts, Blueberries.

A little Rapa Dura or raw can sugar to sprinkle over top before serving

Directions

Mixture

Soak all dried fruit in water for approx an hour. Using a blender or food processor (or chop finely) put all ingredients for the filling together and blend in short bursts – don’t blend for too long or it will have no texture

PastryMince pie

Rub the flour together with the butter in a mixing bowl, until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs (or use food processor) add the molasses or Rapa Dura sugar and the cinnamon mix in thoroughly. Add a little water a bit at a time whilst kneading into a dough. When the dough is no longer crumbly spread some flour onto a work surface and place dough in the middle. Kamut flour is good for rolling: Cover a rolling-pin in flour and roll out dough. Roll out until approx 3mm deep. 

Using a larger cutter and a smaller cutter – depending on the size of your cooking tray (or two different sized glasses) cut out the rounds of pastry and place the bigger one in the tray ready for the mixture.

Place these in a preheated oven (160 degrees) to semi cook the base – for 5-8 minutes

Place the mixture is inside each cooked pastry cup and place the smaller one on top and squeeze down at the sides. You can make little festive leaves out of the left over pastry. Moisten the back before sticking on the smaller round as the lid. Place in oven at 160 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Sprinkle with a little Rapa Dura sugar when cooked

These pies contain lots of minerals, fibre and much less processed sugar, carbohydrates and fats than shop bought or some other homemade ones.

But best of all they taste SOOO much nicer!!

Healthier Sausage Rolls – with Christmas flavour Sausage roll turkey

Ingredients for Turkey Sausages

1 x 400gram pack of Turkey thigh mince
2 x red onions or 2 x medium leeks
Freshly chopped sage and / or thyme
Olive oil
Pinch of pink salt and black pepper

Pastry

200 grams of white spelt flour100 grams of kamut flour
Virgin olive oil
1 x tspn of pink salt
2 x dessert spoons of ground or chopped or dried rosemary (option)

Directions

Place flour and oil in a large mixing bowl or food processor, Use fingers or food processor to mix olive oil into flour until it becomes like breadcrumbs (pour a little oil in at a time – you will need approx half a cup, but if it seems dry add more. Add some water ( a small amount at a time) until the mixture becomes a dough. separate the dough into 2 or three sections as it will be easier to roll out.
Sprinkle flour on to a work top and roll out pastry, cut uneven edges off to re-roll later on and cut into strips of pastry according to how big you want you end product to be.

Filling

Place turkey thigh mince into a food processor or blender with the onion, herbs and seasoning, add a little olive oil. (You can add a little flour, ground oats to thicken the mixture – or potato flour -optional) Blend until it becomes quite smooth.Spoon the mixture onto the pastry strips and roll up, you can seal with a little water or egg.

Cook in a preheated oven of 170 degrees

Vegetarian Option – filling

Use Lots of Portobello Mushrooms, blended with onion, egg, sage and seasoning. Thicken with flour.

Turkey and Sage balls

You can easily make these with the same ingredients for the turkey sausage roll filling, take some of the mixture, roll into  medium-sized balls place them on a greased tay and sprinkle with olive oil – cook in oven for 20 – 25 minutes depending on the size. They make delicious finger food at parties.

 

Merry Christmas! & a Happy Healthy New Year

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The other day I overheard someone explaining to a lady who wished to get fit and lose weight that she should eat a diet that is 60% carbohydrates. If these carbohydrates include all root vegetables, fresh fruits and things like honey, dried fruits, preserves and sweetened foods like yoghurt, ready meals, processed meat etc., then maybe for someone working out regularly this could be nearer the truth. However, I know, because I have been talking to people for years about their eating habits, that this simply isn’t how people perceive carbohydrates.

My daughter informs me about what she is told at school:

Carbohydrates are bread, pasta, sugar, rice etc. Proteins and fats are: Meat, fish, eggs, dairy and nuts and seeds. Fruit and vegetables are: All fruits, vegetables, pulses. Fluids are water and other drinks.

Everything that schools teach and doctors tell you has some truth but is very misleading:

  • Nearly all fruits and vegetable contain carbohydrates in the form of starches and sugars.
  • Some fruits and vegetable contain fats
  • Many vegetables contain protein.
  • Some fruits contain protein.
  • Dairy contains sugars, proteins and fats
  • Whole grains have a high content of protein – some even have complete protein, meaning all essential amino acids.
  • White refined products like pasta, rice or bread are basically sugar.
  • Nearly all processed proteins (ready meals and cooked meats) contain sugar.
  • Meats like sausages, burgers, pies etc can contain a lot of carbohydrates and sugars as well as fats.

Today’s Western diet can be complex due to the way it is made and presented, but ironically there is little variety. It is true that the Western diet is made up of around 17 foods (as opposed to the thousands of foods available in the world) and even then we choose just 3 foods to be our staple diet.

In all the years I have been studying, researching, practicing and eating, I am totally convinced that the way carbohydrates are consumed is one of the biggest health issues and even now a time bomb waiting to explode.

Everyone’s carbohydrate needs are different. Two friends or even siblings may have completely different needs: For example friend A has a higher metabolism because she was born that way or she is very active, or she may have less nutrient deficiencies (which can have an impact on metabolism) Friend B is smaller frame, less active, and maybe less muscle mass but more fat tissue. Friend B will have different carbohydrate needs than Friend A. She may also have different protein needs.

  • If weight loss is required – Your carbohydrate intake has to be addressed.
  • If blood sugar balancing is needed – Carbohydrates need to be addressed
  • If your hormones need balancing – Carbohydrates need to be addressed

In fact all health issues need carbohydrate intake to be considered.

The ratio’s of Carbohydrates to other foods for a normal diet. If training you may need to amend this – but in general it is relative.

If you think of your plates/dish as a pie chart this would be a healthy guide to follow:

Breakfast

Carbohydrates 50% (Includes fruits, grains and sugars)

Proteins: 35% (Includes milk, grains, eggs, meats, nuts and seeds)

Fats: 15% (Includes fish oil, flax oil, butter, coconut butter, nuts, seeds, yoghurt, fats from meats)

Lunch

Carbohydrates 25% (Grains, sugars)

Vegetables: 30% (Root veg are high in carbs so can be treated as carbohydrates – greens and other veg apply)

Proteins: 35% (Meat, fish, pulses, nuts, seeds, eggs)

Fats: 10%: Olive oil, oily fish, butter and other fats

Dinner

Carbohydrates 5-10% (Grains, sugars)

Vegetables:40%

Proteins: 45%

Fats: 10%

Importance of slow release carbohydrates: Foods which release glucose slowly into our bloodstream avoids sudden blood sugar highs then lows therefore keeps energy levels, moods, and hunger in balance. There is a lot of information on the internet about low GI foods and plenty of books which can be very helpful. A lot of the time it is common sense, if a grain is refined (white) or a food is sweet (even healthy carrot juice) it will be released into the blood quickly causing a blood sugar spike.

The rate at which carbohydrates affect our blood glucose levels are determined by the following factors:

Refined carbohydrates

These have been processed so that they produce a fine texture. The starch grains are partially broken down, increasing their surface area and the fibrous layer has been removed. This reduces the work of the digestive enzymes and gives them a greater area to act on in order to obtain the simple glucose molecules. Therefore refined carbohydrates release glucose quickly into the blood stream giving a sharp rise in blood glucose.

Wholegrain unrefined carbohydrates have not been processed, therefore their starch grains are still intact. It takes longer for our digestive enzymes to break it down, as there has been no help with the digestive process, therefore glucose is released into the blood stream at a slower rate.

When Can Fast Release Carbohydrates can be consumed?

After Exercise and sometimes during prolonged exercise: After training the glycogen levels in the muscles must be quickly replenished to avoid the break down of protein from the muscles for energy. Foods, which cause a rapid increase of blood glucose levels, should be consumed as soon as training ends. There are healthier fast release carbohydrates compared to energy drinks and sports bars, which are full of refined sugar. Carrot juice, white potatoes, ripe bananas and rice cakes all provide fast release sugar.

Slow Release Carbohydrates: Oats, basmati brown rice, brown rice, wild rice, whole grain spelt and other whole grains, apples (especially eaten with a few nuts or seeds), pears, blueberries, strawberries and other whole fruits, nuts, beans and pulses.

Cooked carbohydrates

Reducing cooking time for vegetables and grains means they will release their sugars more slowly, so rice should be slightly hard and pasta should not be too soft.

Natural Fast Release Carbohydrates: Sweet potato, pumpkin, parsnips, carrots, dried fruit, sugar, honey, watermelon, fruit juices.

Fibre –Whole grains are high in fibre as well as beans and pulses; this slows the rate at which the food is digested slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream. The fibre pectin found in apples slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream, however when this is removed through juicing, the apple juice releases glucose quickly into the blood stream.

Presence of Fats, Protein or Acid

The combination of fat, protein or acid with carbohydrates can slow release of glucose into the bloodstream as it increases the transit time of food in the stomach.

Stimulants: such as coffee, tea, cola drinks and cigarettes affect blood sugar, as they stimulate a ‘fight or flight’ response, causing a sudden surge of glucose to be released from stores into the blood, ready for use by the muscles and brain. When the blood glucose is unused, insulin must be released to stabilise the blood glucose, this causes a blood sugar low.

 

Reduce your carbohydrate intake and look after your blood sugar – you will automatically have more energy and less health risk now and in the future. 

 

 

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Aspects of health that immune function affects:  EVERYTHING!

If you have lowered immunity (meaning you pick up infections easily) or an immune system that is sensitive, over-reactive and generally not working properly, then this really can affect your day-to-day health and well-being and hugely affect the future of your health. In this day and age with the Western diet, medications and pollution being omnipresent everybody is affected. There is no reason for you to expect to get colds and flu every year – you can do something about it.

There are so many aspects of health that involves immune function –
far too many to mention here but the main areas are:

Immune protection against infection and disease
inside and outside

Inflammation

Removing toxins, pathogens and heavy metals from all tissues

Response to foods – food sensitivities

Putting out the fires of metabolism – energy production and removing waste

Removing rogue tissue and damaged cells

And much much more.

Intelligent immunity

Our immune system has an intelligence all of it’s own. The very first immune response is SIgA – Secretary IgA (IgA is an antibody response) High SIgA can accompany fatigue –it can indicate either / or both infection and food sensitivities.

In the gut where 80% of immune function is there are tissues that decide intelligently what the immune function will or won’t respond to. There are also trillions of bacteria and microbes in the intestines especially the colon. Your immune function depends on these being in the correct balance.

Immune Tissue

Your whole system depends on a healthy continuous production of different types of white blood cells to not only fight infection and pathogens, but to clean up toxins and general waste products. The lymph vessels and glands are vital to neutralise and remove all this out of the body via the elimination pathways.

Keeping your circulation strong by exercising regularly, helps move the lymph fluid that clears waste away taking it to the liver to be neutralised and dumped into bile which in turn is excreted through the bowel movements. Waste is also lost through sweating, breathing out, tears, hair, saliva and urine. People who are particularly toxic can show it through the quality of their skin, breath, hair and foul-smelling bowel movements and strong urine. Toxic overload is a real threat to the immune system. Detoxifying takes a lot more than just a few days or weeks of a ‘Detox’, in fact most ‘Detoxes’ are misleading and in some cases can be dangerous.

An acid bath

But lets go back a little way – the stomach produces a very strong acid that not only breaks down food, but also kills parasites, microbes and bacteria.

Many people nowadays, as they get older they produce lower amounts
of stomach acid.

Zinc is needed for both production of stomach acid and immune function – and is a co-factor in many reactions in the body – if there is not enough acid, you can’t absorb zinc and if not enough zinc you cannot make hydrochloric acid (HCL). A vicious circle forms. Supplements are the most effective way to get back into balance – zinc and digestive enzymes or even HCL is supplement form is the most effective support, as well as major dietary changes.

Stomach acid also helps to break down proteins into particles that the rest of the digestion can handle – even proteins from grains and pulses that can cause sensitivities, which really is just an immune response.

So what do you think happens when people are given antacids? Many people take antacids if they get indigestion, not realising that it could be low stomach acid causing it. Getting properly diagnosed is vital – and this can be difficult if your doctor just makes assumptions without proper investigation, generally an esophageal manometry or an endoscopy is performed to properly diagnose.

All our food has a certain amount of bacteria on and in, some even have parasitic eggs, raw fish for example and ‘Rare’ cooked meet – it’s normal, and a normal healthy digestion and immune function will keep all of this in check. Problems occur if there is not enough acid to kill off microbes or the immune system is not robust.

The population within

Healthy bacteria like we get from fermented foods like Natural live Yogurt (sugar-free NOT fat-free), Tempeh, Sauerkraut, kephir or other fermented foods (not alcohol) are very helpful in supporting the correct balance in the gut (small interesting and especially the colon. If you want to know more please go to my website and look at ‘Digestion’. http://www.foodspa.org.uk

It is vital to have good gut flora in healthy / abundant amounts to keep everything in check.

An over growth of Candida (yeast) can have such severe effects that are very debilitating – including exhaustion and an immune function that doesn’t work at it’s best.

Candida feeds on sugar – from refined carbohydrates (all sugars and white flour products and sweet fruits/fruit juices/dried fruit etc) so does bacteria.

Candida in particular can have such a damaging effect to well-being as it secretes toxins that can affect the brain and immune function. Some people with Candida overgrowth can feel happy one minute, consume sugar and feel depressed and debilitated within a short period of time.

The main cause of bacterial and yeast imbalance?

Taking antibiotics once or over a life time can cause Candida (yeast) overgrowth, especially coupled with the high sugar Western diet, it why the symptoms of thrush can happen after antibiotics – this is literally a Candida overgrowth.

It can also cause undesirable bacterial overgrowth – this all upsets the fragile balance and leaves the door open for opportunistic bacteria and infections in the gut, and on the skin and tissues where microbes have access.

This is why you need to take BIG doses of probiotics to even get a small amount into the gut and it needs to be taken with foods to help it get to where it should be. Some experts are now implanting healthy faecal matter into people who have such severe dysbiosis that it is literally life threatening. Sugar has to be cut out or eliminated to support healthy bacteria and starve the undesirable microbes, yeasts and bacteria. Vegetable fibre needs to be consumed to feed the good bacteria and I say it again – wide use of probiotics are needed.

Lowered immunity – can also be caused by chronic stress, poor digestion or nutrient deficiencies due to poor diet.

Nutrient deficiencies can have a huge effect on immune function as well as energy production (among many other things) but we are concentrating on immune function.

Antioxidants support immune function by neutralising toxins looking to destroy cells and help immune function get rid of them.

All vitamins and minerals play a part in immune
function, but the following
are particularly important:

Vitamin C – Increases production of interferon which coats the cell membrane preventing viruses from getting through. This is vital not only for preventing colds and flu but the very nature of stopping the virus actually can halt the triggers that cause immune dysfunction – i.e.: Serious viral infections like Glandular Fever can have a long-term detrimental effect on health.

Vitamin C is also one of the most potent antioxidants.

Vitamin A – Best in the form of Beta-carotene – Carotenoids are found on many vegetables like carrots, squash, courgettes, green leafy vegetables and orange fruits. Boosts natural killer cells, antioxidant and can help fight tumours through boosting ‘Tumour necrosis factor’

Vitamin D – Mainly from sunshine, or in very small amounts in some foods. Best supplemented in the winter months (600iu to 2,300iu per day). Is vital to healthy immune function and speeds up the healing process amongst many other things. Getting into the sun is vital for immunity.

Vitamin E – Stimulates production of white blood cells and protects against oxidative damage (when toxins destroy atoms in cells that make up body tissues) Found in high quality oils, nuts and seeds, organic green leafy vegetables.

Essential fatty acids (Fish oils and flax oil)–stimulate white blood cell production and help regulate immune function, so protects tissues against over reactive immune response.  I.e.: inflammation.

Zinc – Increases production of white blood cells, and supports production of killer cells. Best from rich dietary sources unless a Nutritional Therapist advises supplements. Seafood, nuts, Pumpkin seeds and green leafy veg, wheat germ and egg yolk.

Selenium – Stimulates natural killer cells as well as playing a vital role in major antioxidant activity. Founds in nuts and seeds, fish and seafood.

Bio-Flavonoids – A very important immune support for many conditions – these phytonutrients take up the receptor sites on cells and stop toxins and viruses. These have also been shown to stimulate immune function in a way that helps protect cardiovascular health.

All fruits and vegetables have some bioflavonoids but some are particularly high in them: Blueberries, elderfower, lemon and orange rind, green tea, green leafy veg, organic strawberries only, organic red bell peppers, orange fruits, garlic and onions,

Phytonutrients – from fruits and Vegetables and herbs have many protective properties as they can have stimulating effects on immune function.

Protein – Correct protein intake is VITAL – protein deficiency can lead to immune dysfunction, as every aspect of immune function needs sufficient protein. Too much can impair immunity as the metabolic by-product puts strain on immune function. It is vital to be able to digest protein properly.

Other Foods that support immunity:

shiitake and Maitake mushrooms

Herbs: Sage, Thyme, Oregano

Chili or cayenne pepper

Organic chicken broth

Fresh natural live yogurt

Substances that have a detrimental affect on immune function:

Antibiotics and other medications
Alcohol
Heavy metals in foods (i.e.: Mercury in Tuna)
Contraceptive pill / HRT
Food additives
Damaged fats
Sugar
Refined carbs
Processed foods – including meats, dairy, carbohydrates and coffee
Pesticides
Foods grown in poor soil
Foods that can cause problems: Wheat, dairy, soya and sometimes eggs

Other elements that affect, reduce or inflame immune response:

Pollution
Stress – chronic or acute from an upsetting event
Worry
Depression
Anxiety
Extreme physical training
Very busy social or work life, where opportunities for physical rest are reduced and poor dietary habits are followed.
Smoking
Recreational drugs
Lack of sleep
Lack of exercise

All of the above can cause reduced immune function. Although we cannot always avoid the daily stressors of life there are actions that you can take to support the body through nutrition and rest. Some stress therapy can be very helpful too – like massage, Yoga Nidra, meditation, Yoga, acupuncture, and reflexology – and SLEEP!

Everyone is individual and what lowers your resistance may not affect the next person. Your childhood and the illnesses and medications (like antibiotics) you have taken in the past can still affect you even years later. It is a very rare doctor that will advise taking probiotics and cutting out sugar after taking medications, or encourage you to take buffered Vitamin C,  due to their lack of knowledge in this area.

The above is a guide to help you to think about the changes you could make to support your own immune function.
After all you rely on it much more than you even realise.

What on the list can you address to protect your immune function now and in the future?

If there is nothing else that you do – TAKE A HIGH DOSE BUFFERED VITAMIN C more than once a day. ‘Buffered’ means it is less irritating to the gut wall and you can take higher doses. Increase your mineral intake by adding more organic leafy vegetables to your diet.

Please be aware:  The information and advice provided in this
website is not a substitute for medical advice.  
If you are concerned about your health or have any
symptoms you should see your GP/health-care provider.

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It may surprise you to know that you can warm yourself up without heating, extra clothes or a big cosy fire.

There are some magical foods that really can affect your circulation and warmth both internally and externally – AND at the same time have wonderful health benefits.

As I write I am sitting here in my cold study (I refuse to heat the whole house just for me) with a mug of piping hot water, slices of fresh ginger and a teaspoon of cinnamon. It is delicious and every mouthful I can feel warming my tummy and gradually spreading through my body.
It will take a bit longer to reach my toes, but there’s a remedy for that: powdered ginger in my socks! I tried it a while ago not realizing it is actually quite an old tradition and lots of people around the world do it. You can also put cayenne pepper in your socks and its keep feet toasty warm. The added benefit is that both are antiviral and antibacterial – so guess what – it keeps your feet clean too. Just make sure you wash it off your hands and don’t touch your eyes.

Ginger

An amazing spice, with such an unusual appearance as it is the root of the Ginger plant that is used. It is an ancient spice and has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

It is a ‘vasodilator’, which means it dilates blood vessels making more capacity for blood flow; hence it’s ability to improve circulation. As well as this it is a hot aromatic spice, which means it increases digestive fire, or heat in the stomach, which eventually radiates through the body, with increased circulation the heat can flow more freely.

You can use the same sliced ginger for 3 or 4 drinks; just keep filling up with hot water.
Adding ginger to any foods increases the warming effect – even a cold salad can be ‘heated’ up with a dressing made from fresh ginger, apple cider vinegar and olive oil.

Ginger has many other health benefits, which I shall post at a later date.

Cinnamon

This spice has been around and used for so many years; the Ancient Egyptians used to value it more than gold. It has been used as medicine for so long that it is even mentioned the bible. Quite rightly so, it is a wonderful spice that has a beautiful aroma and flavour and has some magical health benefits.

It stimulates metabolism so you burn more calories, which causes more heat.
It also has a warming nature and added to any foods increases the
warmth of the dish.
Add a spoonful to your porridge or cereal, put it in hot chocolate or mix it with honey and make a delicious spread for toast or crackers.
You can also put the honey
mix straight into hot water for
a warming sweet tea.

Cinnamon has a healthy influence on blood sugar and
cholesterol levels too.

 

Cloves

Another ancient spice, which has been used medicinally for 2000 years.
It has pain relief qualities along with anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
A warming spice too – hence why it’s used in mulled wine for the winter nights.
Drop a few cloves into an herbal tea and it will create more warmth as well as flavour.

Cayenne pepper (now we’re talking warmth)

Cayenne pepper is a fantastic warming spice, the more you can tolerate the warmer you will be, but even just a little can make you glow.
This spice can warm you up in winter and cool you down in summer.
It speeds up metabolism, which burns more calories, which as you know by know creates more heat.
It stimulates digestion – building up the furnace inside.

You can add this to anything, it is so practical.
I love sprinkling it on top of a mug of soup, adding some heat to a hot pot or stir-fry. I eat lots of raw cabbage salads even through the winter – my sesame and kale salad with butterbeans is deliciously warming with a cayenne pepper and ginger dressing.

The added extras of cayenne are its antioxidant properties, Regular consumption increases the resistance of blood lipids to oxidative damage by free radicals- which translates as ‘helps keep blood clean’.

All of the above breathe energy and heat into your circulation which is why they are so warming, they thin the blood and make it easier for nutrients to get to tissues, which is why they can help in disease and sickness too.

Other delicious ‘Heaters’ are:

Horseradish
Yellow mustard
Wasabi
Black pepper

Look out for my next post on Foods and Nutrients to Fight a cold once you’ve caught one.

Please NOTE: If you are taking blood thinning medications, please check with your health care provider before consuming large amounts of the above.

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