Saffron For Health

By Guest Blogger: Rae Steinbach

Have you considered the health benefits of adding saffron to your diet?

A range of health benefits may flow from simply consuming natural ingredients. Consider saffron. Research shows it can boost health in numerous ways when taken as a saffron drink or ingested with food. Here’s more:

It helps protect the heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.  Saffron might help. This is because it reduces the stress on arteries and blood vessels. What this means is less risk of heart attack and similar cardiovascular health problems.

Managing anxiety

There’s evidence that saffron can improve mental and emotional health. Specifically, saffron has been shown to reduce anxiety to a degree. Its mood-boosting qualities also make it a powerful aphrodisiac for some. 

Improving immunity

Just as important as treating illnesses properly, is guarding against developing illnesses in the first place.

Saffron may help in this capacity: Research indicates it boosts the immune system. This makes colds, viruses, and similar illnesses less likely.

Adding saffron to the diet can be very beneficial for health and wellness.

Possible option if looking for a saffron drink

Please note: With the introduction of any new product, herb, or supplement, please consult with your healthcare professional before partaking, to ensure there aren’t any contraindications.

More about Rae Steinbach:

Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing. Twitter: @araesininthesun

Mindful Eating

For our bodies to get the most out of the food we eat, it’s not only about what we eat, but our experience as well. Enjoying a meal using all of our senses will make a big impact on absorption – smell, taste, touch, sight, sound. Here are some additional helpful tips:

~Eat in a settled atmosphere.

~Ayurveda (the sister science to yoga) suggests we should include all 6 tastes in our meals: sweet, sour, astringent, bitter, salty, and pungent.

~Only eat when hungry.

~Enjoy a meal at a moderate pace. Like Goldilocks, not too fast, not too slow…

~Don’t eat when you’re upset. Your emotions are directly linked to your gut.

~Always sit down to eat (don’t eat while driving, typing on the computer or phone)

~Minimize raw foods, which are harder to digest than cooked ones.

Source: The Chopra Center

Immunity Nutrients

By Guest Blogger – Nicole Printon

Our immune systems need to be fully functional at all times, particularly during a global pandemic.  Lifestyle habits are essential: regular exercise (active and passive, for balance), good sleep habits (regular bed time-before 10 pm for melatonin/cortisol ratios), and daily self care.  Good nutrition is key.

Incorporate these specific nutrients to boost immune function:

Vitamin A – plays a regulatory role in immune responses 
Foods rich in vitamin A: carrots, sweet potatoes, iceberg lettuce, king mackerel, salmon, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, hard boiled eggs

Vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant, squelching free radicals in the body that cause chronic inflammation.  Recent research suggests C protects against bacteria linked to ulcers and stomach cancer.  C supports cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system
Foods Rich in Vitamin C: cantaloupe, bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, tomatoes

Vitamin D – Research has shown that people with adequate D levels get sick less often.  For adequate amounts of Vitamin D, consuming foods rich in D is NOT enough.  Daily exposure to sunlight – sunscreen free; about 15 minutes daily is critical.
Foods rich in Vitamin D: salmon, sardines, egg yolk, shrimp, fortified milk (drink whole milk), yogurt (full fat)

Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant, protects cell membranes from oxidation and combats free radicals in the body.  Supplementing Vitamin E is NOT necessary unless you have been diagnosed with a true deficiency.
Foods rich in Vitamin  E: spinach, almonds, sweet potatoes, pine nuts, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, avocado, peanuts, butternut squash, olive oil, wheat germ

Zinc – critical for development and function of immune cells and accelerates wound healing.  Plays a critical role in collagen synthesis, immune function, and inflammatory response.  Zinc is an essential player in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.
Foods rich in Zinc: oysters, beef, oatmeal, mushrooms, chicken, hemp seeds, lentils, seeds, yogurt

Guest Blogger Nicole Printon holds certifications through WITs (personal training), ACE (Certified Health Coach with Behavior Change Specialty, and Group Fitness), and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Holistic Nutrition Therapy through Nutrition Therapy Institute.  She is completing her first 200 hour yoga teacher training mid May. She truly believes that fitness is the gateway to confidence, personal growth, and endless possibilities to live our most vibrant optimal lives. Nicole resides in Franklin Park with her 4 kids, 3 cats, and husband.

www.nicoleprinton.com

Toning Your Immune System

During this season of awareness of our immune systems, there are practices and suggestions quite helpful for keeping the immune system toned. Sharing some of the many:

1. Reduce and regulate your exposure to stress. Stress affects the entire body and weakens the immune system as well as the digestive system. This involves the way you process stressful events in life as well.

2. Evaluate your lifestyle. Eat and sleep well. Focus on foods that are anti-inflammatory. Manage time and don’t over book or over burden your life. Being well rested helps your immune system fight and repair. It also helps the liver do its job detoxifying. Check out the Love your Liver Workshop coming up in April at this link: http://feelthepeaceblog.lynsirota.com/about/

3. Keep hands clean and away from the face. Sanitizing is good, but it is possible to overdo this. We need good bacteria too.

4. There are many foods, spices, herbs, and supplements that help the immune system. One of my personal favorites is Black Elderberry Extract. You can find it in stores under the name Sambucus and online. Try looking for a brand that is organic with little to no sugar.

4. Stay tuned in to your body and what it needs. Cultivate balance in the body and in life by staying deeply connected through physical movement especially yoga. Balance the body/mind through meditation.

Always check with your medical professional if you are concerned about your immunity or if you are thinking of trying new herbs and/or supplements to ensure no contraindications.

Need a Little Kelp?

Kelp or seaweed is a rich source of minerals and vitamins. There are many types growing naturally in the ocean in thick forests. Marine life depends on it for their habitat and as a food source.

What most don’t realize is that it’s extremely healthy in our diet. It’s filled with calcium (plant based), vitamin K (not easy to find in most foods), vitamin A, vitamin B-12, iron, and magnesium. Seaweed is good for metabolism, eye health, bone health, and the immune system.

Kelp is great for the skin because it’s high in antioxidants. It’s an effective moisturizer and can help keep skin bright and clear. I’d been putting it in dog food as a supplement for my fur babies and now I’m grabbing some for myself.

*Note: As with anything dietary, please check with your physician first to ensure this is not contraindicated.

Dinner for Breakfast

It’s not unheard of to have breakfast for dinner. But, what about dinner for breakfast? I was recently on a lovely retreat and each day for breakfast, we had Miso Soup with various toppings. The Miso is fermented making it a great choice for the digestive system as a probiotic. And, it’s tasty and really easy to make.

Miso Soup

8 C water

3-4 scallions Chopped and save some as a topping

1/2 C grated carrots

1/4 C chopped celery

1/2-1 sheet chopped wakame or kombu sea vegetable (I just used snacking seaweed from Costo)

1/2 tub Miso (or Miso to taste-I bought Mellow Miso from Whole Foods). There are various types and some that are non-soy.

Options: Add Mushrooms Toppings: Sauteed Kale with garlic and ginger, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, tofu, tempeh, sesame seeds, use your imagination

Boil water and remove 1 1/4 C before adding scallions, carrots, celery and seaweed to partially cook (about 5 minutes). Mix miso paste with hot water. Important, turn off the heat before adding paste mixture to the pot (if you boil the miso it kills the healthy properties…also don’t boil when reheating. Just heat till warm to the palate.)

Try Something New

Now I can hear some saying, Ew. And what’s more, I know exactly who is rolling their eyes at me!

While browsing the yogurt section at Shoprite, I came across two new brands of yogurt I hadn’t heard of and this was one of them. I’m always looking for yogurt that has less sugar than what is typically available and non-dairy. This one was a surprise! Not only non-dairy, less sugar, but Golden Milk yogurt? For those of you not familiar with golden milk, it is a drink with turmeric that is great for insomnia and inflammation. The chia is packed with protein and omega. Having it for lunch is pretty great too. Added some blueberries and gluten-free coconut granola. Voila!

Finding Savasana

Savasana, or more fondly, Corpse Pose is not an easy pose to find. According to the yoga masters, the hardest pose to practice. Letting go and being in stillness is a tall order. Life gets in the way, but it doesn’t have to.

Take a few moments of your day to connect with the earth through your body. Walk barefoot and really feel the earth with mindful, slow steps. Connect through your eyes, through your nose. Watch a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly. It’s a great start!