As a type 1 diabetic I certainly know the importance of eye health and the importance of making sure you get those all important yearly eye exams. As diabetics we face a host of different complication buy none no greater than our eyes.
When I was first diagnosed, my endocrinologist mentioned the importance of eye health and that I may want to look into eye supplement (Lutein) to make it appoint to stay on top of those yearly eye exams, especially if I started running into any issues. Honestly not know much about lutein or ever really hearing about it, I decided to check it out to see what it’s all about, so lets take a closer look!
What Is Lutein?
Lutein belongs to the carotenoid family, a group of vitamin A-related compounds that may be able to reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and eye degeneration, reports the International Carotenoid Society. You can get lutein from certain foods (my first recommendation) as well as from dietary supplements found in the pharmacy.
Lutein is a pigment found in large amounts in brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, corn, tomatoes and spinach. Acting as an antioxidant, lutein helps counteract the damage caused by free radicals, keeping cells healthy and protecting against illness and disease.
The Role Lutein Plays:
Lutein is present throughout the body, particularly in the eyes. It is found in the lens of the eye as well as in the retina, especially in the macula. It plays a significant role in visual sharpness and accuracy. Lutein is considered as an antioxidant, that protects the cells against the damage caused by naturally occurring chemicals such as free radicals, from the sun’s UV rays. Free radicals can impair the immune system, resulting in various infectious and degenerative diseases. Damage to the sensitive tissue of the macula, that is present in the center of the retina, that can lead to loss of vision, is known as macular degeneration. Free radical damage is one of the main causes of this condition and lutein proves to be effective against it. Here is a fantastic study, done by the NIH in regards to the role of lutein in eye related diseases. You can read that by clicking here
So I was chatting with a friend the other day and she asked me if I have ever heard of…”forbidden rice“.
At first I thought she was joking, but as I was chuckling she proceeded to ask if I have ever tried it at home cooking for the kids or if I ever incorporated it into my diet.
Needless to say I haven’t, and as she proceeded to tell me that I absolutely need to buy some, I thought I would do a little more research to see what this “forbidden rice” was all about, so lets take a closer look!
What Is Forbidden Rice?
Forbidden rice is nothing more than black rice, and to be completely honest with you, I never even knew black rice was a thing. When it came to rice I was only familiar with a few…White, Aborio, Jasmine, Wild and Brown to be specific.
What separates black rice from the pack? Well, like brown rice, black rice is unpolished, meaning that the hull of the grain (which is also a fantastic source of insoluble fiber) is still intact. Black rice provides a whopping 3 grams of fiber per half of scoop.
Even better than the high fiber content, only black rice contains anthocyanins, the same antioxidant compounds that make blueberries and blackberries such valuable additions to our diets. These compounds are what turn the rice a deep purple as it cooks.
Black Rice And Heart Health:
As diabetics we all know how important it is to eat a healthy lifestyle and even incorporate exercise to not only help our blood sugars, but to keep our heart healthy and in peak performance.
Per the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US for both men and women, accounting for one in every four deaths.
So how does black rice help in this area?
Well, per a study by the Journal of Nutrition:
Black rice has been show to decrease atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries. When this plaque builds up, it causes the arteries to harden and become blocked.
It’s a major risk factor for both heart attack and stroke. In this particular study, male rabbits were injected with high levels of cholesterol in order to cause this plaque formation. They were then divided into five groups, four of which were fed high cholesterol diets, one without rice and the others with various types of rice, including black.
The plaque was 50% lower in rabbits fed black rice (or red rice) than in those fed with white rice. Researchers conclude that the antioxidants in black rice may play a role in reducing atherosclerosis.
You can read about the entire study here
Let me just say that I absolutely LOVE coconut oil! We use if for baking, cooking and even to moisturize skin. Coconut oil is amazing and here’s why!
Coconut oil, a dietary cooking oil extracted from the coconut, includes antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that stem from the existence of capric, caprylic and lauric acids found in the coconut oil. The body uses these acids to combat internal and external stress, infections and diseases. Coconut oil is widely used for its benefits by weight loss dieters, athletes, and alternative and conventional medicine practitioners. Coconut oil increases energy, sustains endurance, does not leave fatty deposits in the arteries or heart and has a lower caloric count than many other dietary oils.
Coconut For Weight Loss:
Coconut accelerates the body’s metabolism by relieving stress on the pancreas. Coconut oil contains healthy saturated fats that prevent foods from becoming incompletely digested, which in turn aids enzyme and thyroid function. Naturopathic doctor Bruce Fife states that by substituting coconut oil for other oils in recipes, individuals end up eating less because the beneficial fats in coconut oil naturally make people feel fuller sooner than if they had ingested other dietary oils. The coconut diet is not necessarily a “diet” because instead of limiting or restricting the dieter’s food intake, it replaces the widely used refined fats with coconut oil to incorporate a lifelong weight reduction plan that is based on the healthier coconut oil fat.
Coconut Oil And Lauric Acid:
Coconut oil has many health benefits which are attributed to the presence of lauric acid. When it is present in the body, lauric acid is converted into monolaurin, a compound that is highly toxic to viruses, bacteria, fungus’s and other microorganisms because of its ability to disrupt their lipid membranes and virtually destroy them. Monolaurin is effective for treating candida albicans, fungal infections and athlete’s foot. It also targets bacterial infections and viruses like measles, influenza, hepatitis C and even HIV.
In fact, researchers from the Philippines are studying the effectiveness of lauric acid against HIV/AIDS due to its strong anti-viral properties. Moreover, lauric acid is non-toxic, making it a better alternative to modern drugs that are typically prescribed for viruses as well as fungal and bacterial infections. Without lauric acid, monolaurin cannot be produced by the body. Breast milk is the only other source of lauric acid, which must explain the lesser incidents of infections with breast-fed infants. It has also been observed that regular consumption of boosts immunity and reduces incidences of sickness.
Lets just say that this is one powerful little herb! Thyme, botanically known as Thymus vulgaris, is a perennial garden herb that has been used since ancient times for medicinal and culinary uses. This herb has traditionally been associated with courage, with medieval women giving sprigs of thyme to knights going into battle; it has also been used as an herbal remedy for a host of ailments. Thyme tea, rich in volatile oils, minerals, beneficial phenols and flavonoids, is a healthy beverage choice, lets take a closer look why!
A cup of thyme tea has a lot more to offer than its pleasant taste; thymol, one of the volatile oils in thyme, is a potent antioxidant. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, thymol may help to increase omega-3 fatty acids, or healthy fats, in brain cells. In a clinical study conducted by K.A. Youdim and colleagues and published in the April 19, 1999 issue of “Biochemical and Biophysical Research,” researchers found that thyme oil helped to protect against age-related changes in the brain cells of rats. Studies are ongoing to determine whether thyme can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to thymol, thyme tea contains the antioxidant flavonoids apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin.
Thyme And Iron:
This herb is a fantastic generator of iron, supplying almost 20% of the suggested daily allowance for a grown-up per tablespoon. Iron is necessary for energy generation, and having an iron deficiency might cause anemia, exhaustion, and also make the body more prone to disease.
Hands down one of my favorite snacks healthy and tasty often do not go together, and it’s not surprising that a majority of people, especially children, choose bananas as a healthy snack choice. Are they good for you though? Lets take a closer look!
Switching to a healthier diet without compromising on taste may be easier than you think. Incorporating bananas is the perfect example. Counted among the most popular fruits in the world, bananas can cater to your taste buds while offering many health benefits.
Bananas Improve Digestion:
The contents of dietary fiber and carbohydrates present in bananas help to regulate bowel movements which then result in healthy digestive system. It is ideal for getting rid of chronic constipation due to the pectin contents present in it. It helps reduce stomach ulcers and also diminishes the risk of developing gastric cancer.
Bananas And Your Bones:
Per the University Of Maryland and University of Kansas Medical Center, bananas benefit the kidneys and the bones due to their high potassium content. A normal intake of potassium suppresses calcium excretion in the urine and minimizes the risk of kidney stones. Also, for the same reason (suppressing of calcium excretion), it minimizes the loss of calcium from the body and thereby reduces the risk of osteoporosis!
In all honesty, when it comes to turmeric as of a year ago, I didn’t even know what the stuff was. Several friends of mine kept telling me that I need to check it out and start to incorporate it into my diet. After 2-3 months of this, I decided to fire up the laptop to see what this was all about and boy was I glad that I did! Turmeric is amazing and here’s why!
What Is Turmeric:
Turmeric is a culinary spice widely used in Southeast Asia. Recent research reveals why this herb is such a powerful healer due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric powder is a bright yellow powder made by dry grinding of mature turmeric rhizomes (underground stems). The use of turmeric for coloring and flavoring food, for cosmetic purposes and for medicinal properties dates back to the ancient Vedic culture of India. Used in almost all Indian curries, this spice has almost no calories (1 tablespoon = 24 calories) and zero cholesterol. It is rich in dietary fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6!
While studies concerning the health benefits are still premature, early evidence has linked it to a host of health benefits, most of which are based on its most active component, curcumin, the compound that also gives turmeric its yellow-orange color. Turmeric is full of powerful antioxidants, including curcumin, which are known to fight cancer-causing free radicals. Most research done on the health benefits of turmeric have been done using curcumin, not the whole turmeric root. While the studies are promising, more research, especially those using human subjects, need to be done. So far, what we do know is that turmeric is known to be anti-inflammatory, can help with managing pain, brain health support and liver detoxification, among several other benefits.
Mangosteen is a dark purple fruit with white on the inside of the fruit from Southeast-Asia, Thailand being one of its largest producers in the world. Even though mangosteen sounds like a mango type, it is really very different mango. Now it is always available at Asian markets across North America. Mangosteen is delectably sweet and juicy fruit that offers numerous health benefits of both the fruit itself and its skin which are incredibly potent disease fighters. Delicious as it is useful, the mangosteen fruit is always rich in xanthones, which may promote healthy physical function
Mangosteen And Inflammation:
Systemic inflammation in people who are obese may lead to further health problems including diabetes and heart disease. Researchers studied mangosteen juice to see if it could lower signs of inflammation in obese volunteers. An article in “Nutrition Journal” reported that volunteers who drank mangosteen juice twice daily showed a significant reduction in inflammatory markers in their bloodstream, while markers for inflammation in a control group that received a different juice concoction didn’t change. The authors cautioned that more studies are necessary to confirm the benefits of mangosteen juice and determine if there are any negative side effects.
Importance Of Vitamin C:
Mangosteen is good in vitamin C and provides about 12% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful water soluble antioxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against flu-like infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
Rich in phytonutrients, this cool season leafy vegetable belongs to the “Brassica” family of vegetables, which also include brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, and broccoli. It is one of the widely cultivated crops around the world, but were you aware of all the amazing health benefits that cabbage nutrition provides? They are plentiful, but here are some of my favorites!
Cabbage Nutrition And Eye Health:
As a diabetic and for those who suffer from diabetes maintaining our eye health is imperative. Rich source of beta-carotene, so many people, particularly as they get older, turn to this vegetable for its ability to prevent macular degeneration and generally promote good eye health and the delay of cataract formation. Beta-carotene has also been positively linked to reduced chances of prostate cancer, which is an extra bonus on top of the other anti-carcinogenic effects!
Perfect For Weight Loss?
Cabbage is frequently recommended for people who want to lose weight in a healthy way, especially for anyone suffering from diabetes. Since its packed with so many beneficial vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, it is a healthy dietary option for people to eat a lot of, and it is quite filling, since it has high levels of fiber, which add bulk to the bowels. However, its extremely low in calories, only 33 calories in a cup, cooked. Therefore, people can go on the popular “cabbage soup” diet, and eat plenty of food to stay healthy, without gaining excess weight!
Some consider vitamin E a wonder supplements for its ability to neutralize free radicals, and to help with blood clotting, but what other benefits can it provide? How much should I take on a given day? Does vitamin E really have all the cashe’ that medical professionals claim? All great questions, so lets take a look!
Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant by neutralizing free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage. It also contributes to a healthy circulatory system and aids in proper blood clotting and improves wound healing. Some studies have shown that vitamin E decreases symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and certain types of breast disease.
The best way to get the daily requirement of is by eating quality food sources. Below is a short list of foods where this powerful antioxidant can be found:
- Vegetable oils (such as wheat germ, sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean oils)
- Nuts (such as almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts/filberts)
- Seeds (such as sunflower seeds)
- Green leafy vegetables (such as spinach and broccoli)
- Fortified breakfast cereals, fruit juices, margarine, and spreads. Fortified means that vitamins have been added to the food. Check the Nutrition Fact Panel on the food label.
Products made from these foods, such as margarine, also contain vitamin E.