The Health Benefits of Turmeric
If you haven't heard of turmeric, you could be missing out on its vast health benefits. This spice comes from a perennial plant of the ginger family that is native to southern Asia and is commonly used in Asian foods and cooking. Turmeric is the main spice in curry, giving the spice its bright yellowish-orange color! It has a unique warm and mild bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustard, butters, and cheeses.
The root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine. It contains a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin, which is often used to color foods and cosmetics. The active compound, curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory effects. This can be used as a supplement to potentially help alleviate pain, arthritis, and inflammation in the body. However, it's probably best to consume turmeric orally as a spice as part of a healthy and nutritious diet. It is also advised that piperine, a compound in black pepper, is taken with turmeric to increase its absorption.
How Probiotics May Be Beneficial for Your Health
Have you heard of probiotics but aren't really sure what they are or how to use them? Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live in our gut. They are good for our health and digestive system. They are naturally found in our body and can also be found in certain foods and supplements. They can help you digest and absorb nutrients from food. Additionally, they can help boost the immune system to fight off infections due to the fact that 60-80% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract.
Probiotics can be found in certain foods such as fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and yogurt. You can also find them in pill or powder form as a supplement. Generally, when taking a probiotic as a supplement, follow the instructions on the bottle as the dosage may vary by the specific brand. However, taking them daily can have profound effects on your digestive system.
Certain things can deplete our body of sufficient probiotics. Today's foods can contain antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria. Taking antibiotics as medication when sick can also harm our probiotic supply in our gut. GMO foods, sugar, and grains are also common culprits that can kill off probiotics in our system.
There are many types of bacteria that are classified as probiotics but there are two common strains you should look for; lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.
By taking a probiotic supplement and eating foods that are high in probiotics, you could possibly see the following benefits:
- better oral health, because probiotics destroy candida
- stronger immune system, preventing allergies and colds
- improved digestion
- relief from diarrhea and constipation
- increased energy from production of vitamin B12
- healthier skin, because probiotics can help eczema and psoriasis
- relief from leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease
Kiefer, David MD. (2015 Dec 14) WebMD. What are Probiotics?
Axe, Josh. Dr. Axe Food is Medicine. Probiotics Benefits, Foods and Supplements. https://draxe.com/probiotics-benefits-foods-supplements/
How Emotional Stress Can Affect Your Health
In today's busy world, we all encounter different types of emotional stress each day to a differing degree. We all have worries and stress related to relationships, friendships, family, work, finances, dealing with illness either ourselves or a loved one. The list could go on and on. This type of stress, can add up and accumulate over time. When our bodies are in a heightened emotionally stressed state, it leads to chronic inflammation in the body which has dire consequences to our health and well-being.
This type of stress response that we deal with day in and day out, activates a part of our body called the Sympathetic Nervous System. This system is also known as the “fight or flight” response. An example of when this type of response is beneficial would be if you encountered a bear in the wild while out hiking! What happens to your body in this specific instance? Your heart rate and breathing increases dramatically, there is constriction of blood vessels in many parts of the body, but also a dilation of blood vessels that are for muscles. You may get dry mouth and your pupils will dilate. You may notice a temporary loss of hearing and experience tunnel vision, and start to tremble or shake. Now this is an extreme example, but when we are in a state of chronic stress, all of these things simply happen to a milder degree. This still affects the proper functioning of our body.
When we experience this low-grade, chronic type of stress our body secretes the stress hormone cortisol from our adrenal glands. Our body gets tense and muscle tone increases. This hyper-arousal state leads to a weakening of other bodily systems, most notably the Immune System. The dysfunction of the Immune System over time can lead to increased susceptibility to illness and disease. This is meant to be a temporary response to help with survival, but when it becomes chronic, it can wreak havoc on your gut and digestive health as well.
So how does stress actually impact your gut? It can cause detrimental events in your gut, including: decreased nutrient absorption, decreased oxygenation to your gut, and as much as four times less blood flow to your digestive system, which leads to decreased metabolism. It also decreases enzymatic output in your stomach, making it harder for your body to process and breakdown food into nutrients.
It is imperative that we try to minimize our daily stress. We must figure out ways to help cope with emotional stress. Getting active and doing things that you truly enjoy can help calm down your nervous system. Eating a nutritious and balanced diet is of utmost importance. Furthermore, supplementing with probiotics and foods that are rich in these healthy bacteria such as fermented foods, yogurt, and kombucha can help diminish the effects that stress has on the gut and digestive system.