Sunday, August 30, 2015

What Are the Benefits of Hemp Seeds?

You've heard the buzz about hemp seeds, but you're not sure you want to add it to your diet because of random drug tests at work. Well, you can put your worries to rest. While it may look like marijuana, the hemp plant is actually a different species of cannabis and contains very little of the active ingredient, THC -- or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol -- that gives marijuana its reputation. And the hemp seeds, loaded with healthy fats, protein and essential nutrients, offer a number of benefits and make a healthful addition to your diet.
Good for Your Heart and Mind

If you're looking for a vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids, hemp seeds make a good choice. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that help reduce inflammation, and getting more in your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease. They may also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in concentrated amounts in the brain, and may play an important role in helping memory and cognition. So, start the day with a little heart and mind boost by adding hemp seeds to your hot cereal or yogurt.

Protein Power
Hemp seeds contain all of the essential amino acids, which makes it a complete source of protein just like chicken, fish or beef. Adding three tablespoons of hemp seeds to a salad or smoothie adds 10 grams of high-quality protein. While protein is not lacking in the American diet, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends including more non-meat sources of protein, and hemp seeds make a healthy choice.

Minerally Speaking
Hemp seeds are also a rich source of a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Three tablespoons meets 50 percent of the daily value for magnesium and phosphorus, 25 percent of the daily value for zinc and 15 percent for iron. Meeting your daily magnesium and phosphorus needs is important for bone health. Iron is necessary for delivering oxygen throughout your body, and zinc supports immune health.

Better Bowels
Fiber is a nutrient many Americans do not get enough of in their diet, according to the Dietary Guidelines. Women need 25 grams of fiber a day, and men 38 grams. Whole hemp seeds are comprised of 10 to 15 percent fiber, or about 1 gram per 3 tablespoons. Fiber in food like hemp seeds improves bowel function by helping prevent constipation. The fiber also increases feelings of fullness so you eat less.

A Word About Calories
While hemp seeds offer a number of nutritional benefits, they are a concentrated source of calories, with 170 calories per 3-tablespoon serving. To help control calories, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 suggests when including foods like hemp seeds in your diet to limit your portion and use them in place of other sources of protein such as meat or chicken.

Hemp Seeds for Weight Loss
Kym Douglas, in the book "The Black Book of Hollywood Pregnancy Secrets," notes that hemp seeds are one of the superfoods that are a great weight-loss helper. This may be in part due to hemp seeds being high in omega-3 EFAs, which, according to Margaret Furtado in "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery," has been shown in studies to increase satiety in those who are overweight or are trying to cut down on calories. Furtado adds that omega-3s have been shown to have anti-obesity effects.

Hemp seeds may thin the blood due to their high omega-3 content. If you currently take blood thinning medication, check with your doctor before adding hemp seeds to your diet. The oils in hemp seeds can go rancid over time, so it is advised to keep them in the refridgerator and dispose of them if you do not consume them within two months.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Careful with Green Smoothies

Why Green Smoothies May Not Be Good for You

According to traditional Chinese medicine, raw produce are cooling in nature, and if you chronically feel cold or often get colds, or just had a baby, you may want to lay off a high intake of raw foods. Instead, eat the greens cooked, enjoy more soups (pureed carrot or broccoli soups are good), and warming ingredients, such as garlic and ginger.

If you have problems with diabetes, hypoglycemia, or high blood sugar levels, and are super sensitive to sugar, make sure to follow recipes that are lower in high-glycemic fruits, such as bananas, and higher in protein and fats (such as flax seeds and a good quality protein powder) for your green smoothies, if you choose to drink them.

If you have had problems with kidney stones, be careful with green smoothies, especially if they are made with spinach or swiss chard because those two types of greens are very high in oxalates, which can cause stones to form.

“The omega-3 fatty acids and cod liver oil are also very effective in preventing oxalate deposition,” according to William Shaw, PhD in his article “The Role of Oxalates in Autism and Chronic Disorders.” So if drinking green smoothies makes you feel good but you are concerned about ingesting too much oxalic acid, you may try mixing in some cod liver oil.

Who Are Green Smoothies Good for? 
If you are extremely active (like I was when I was dancing full-time), having a green smoothie mixed with coconut water may help nourish your body, replace enzymes lost when sweating, and cut your cravings.

If you do not absorb your nutrients well and need to hydrate and nourish yourself with high doses of anti-oxidants, then green smoothies may be the perfect food for you. Drink it slowly, at room temperature, and try chewing your smoothie.

If you chronically crave sweets because of low energy or emotional tribulations, green smoothies made on the sweeter side may help you stave off a binge, especially if you add in some nuts such as cashews, a banana, and some blueberries. It will taste sweet, creamy, and wonderfully nourishing.

12 signs you're a super health foodie

1. You make green smoothies for breakfast, because you know they are full of nutritional goodness and fibre.

2. You love strolling through health food stores to see what newsuperfoods or raw bars you haven’t tried yet.

3. Your favourite thing to do on the weekend is go to your local farmers market to stock up on fruit and veggies, because you know that eating fresh, in season produce that is pesticide free is much better for your health.

4. You grow your own herbs and use them when you cook.

5. You make raw, sugar-free desserts with ingredients like cacao, chia seeds, avocado and coconut, and naturally sweeten them with medjool dates, mesquite or lucuma.

6. You have homemade fermented veggies lined up along your kitchen bench. You know that adding some to meals is one of the best ways to boost your friendly gut bacteria and in-turn digestion and immunity.

7. You make your own yoghurt and almond milk, because you don’t like sweetened store bought varieties.

8. You wouldn’t dream of having bottled fruit juice, it has to be a fresh veggie juice with ingredients like kale, beetroot, carrot, cucumber, celery, spinach, and ginger.

9. You super charge your meals by adding nutritional powders like acai,spirulina, super greens, and maca.

10. You go for purple carrots, not the regular orange type, because they are rich in antioxidants, and you go for super berries such as acai, maqui, goji and camu camu over common strawberries and blueberries.

11. You activate your nuts and sprout your own grains, seeds and legumes, to increase their digestibility and nutritional content.

12. You proudly take pictures of everything you cook and post it on Instagram or Facebook.

Ten foods you should eat

Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. It can help lower cholesterol levels as it is a great source of fibre and helps to promote cardiovascular health. Quinoa contains a range of important nutrients, such as iron and B vitamins, for red blood cell production and energy; calcium, for strong bones; magnesium, for nervous system health; and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. It's also an ideal grain for diabetics as it has a low glycaemic index, which will help keep blood-sugar levels stable and prevent sharp spikes in insulin. You can use quinoa as a substitute for rice.

Seaweed is extremely nutritious and contains health-promoting compounds not found in any other plants. Eating seaweed is an excellent way to increase your antioxidant intake and help protect against cancer. It's also a good source of zinc, needed for immune health; B vitamins and iron, to improve energy levels; and iodine, for healthy thyroid function.

Seaweed is also a good source of calcium, for strong bones and teeth. There are many different types of seaweed including kelp, nori and arame. It can be added to soups, stir-fries and salads, or used for nori rolls.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are the richest plant source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which our body needs to keep our brain and heart functioning as well as they can. They may be tiny but these healthy seeds are packed with goodness, such as protein and fibre. Chia seeds are so easy to add to the diet; just sprinkle over breakfast cereals, salads or vegies, or blend them through smoothies.

Eating kale regularly helps support liver detoxification and reduce the risk of cancer, as it contains anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates, together with high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega-3 fats. Kale is a great source of fibre, helping to keep blood-sugar and cholesterol levels stable. It also boasts high doses of vitamin C and A, both important for boosting immune function. Kale also provides vitamin K, which is good for bones and blood clotting. It can be eaten raw or cooked.

Black rice
Black rice is one of our new superfoods. It contains high levels of health-boosting antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are also found in blueberries. Just one spoonful of black rice bran contains more antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries. Antioxidants are important for neutralising free radicals in the body that cause damage to cells and cause chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Black rice is available from health-food stores or websites and can be cooked the same way as other rice varieties.

Purple berries
Purple berries, such as acai, elderberry, blackcurrant and chokeberry, are some of the richest sources of antioxidants of all fruits. They are about 50 per cent higher in antioxidants than more common berries. Their dark purple colour indicates high levels of the powerful antioxidants anthocyanins. Including these berries in your diet will help protect you from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, and help slow down the ageing process. Purple berries are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, which are both important immune-boosting nutrients.

White tea
White tea comes from the same plant as green tea. However, its leaves are harvested at a younger age. White tea contains higher levels of antioxidants than green as it is less processed. White tea contains antioxidants that have been found to have many health-promoting properties including boosting cardiovascular health, helping to lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of cancer and enhancing weight loss. White tea, which has a smoother, gentler taste to green, also contains less caffeine, so it is a better choice for those who are sensitive to caffeine. Three cups a day is a great way to reap the health benefits of this super tea.

Beet greens

Beet greens, the leafy tops of beetroots, are delicious steamed or stir-fried with olive oil, garlic and lemon, or added to soups, risotto, quiches or stir-fries. They are rich in vitamin C; one cup contains 60 per cent of your recommended daily intake. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and helps support immune function and wound healing. Beet greens also contain beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A and aids healthy eyesight and gums. Beet greens are ideal for pre-pregnancy diets, as they are a rich source of folate and iron.

Kefir is a fermented milk drink, considered a probiotic food. It contains more than 30 beneficial bacteria. Including kefir in your diet will help promote a healthy balance of intestinal flora, which will improve digestion, boost immune health and help to produce vitamins B12 and K.
Kefir also provides plenty of calcium and magnesium, to look after your nervous system, and vitamin A and D, to support immune function. Kefir is a great source of protein and is rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which is known for its calming effect and sleep support. Kefir is best drunk on its own or added to smoothies. It is available from health-food stores.

LSA, made from ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds, is an easy, extremely versatile way to add extra nutrients to meals. LSA is rich in protein, which helps to keep your blood-sugar levels balanced and curb sugar cravings. LSA will provide you with a good dose of healthy omega-3 fats to promote a healthy heart and brain function, and it contains important minerals such as calcium, zinc and magnesium. Try adding a spoonful of LSA to muesli or other breakfast cereals, smoothies, yoghurt, rice dishes or muffin or cookie mixtures.

The Mother Food...Quinoa

A complete protein and fantastic wheat-free alternative, the demand for quinoa has risen sharply in recent years. Nutritionist Jo Lewin shares recipes, cooking tips and the nutritional highlights of this fashionable grain-like crop...

An introduction to quinoa
Quinoa, pronounced ‘keen-wa’ is a great wheat-free alternative to starchy grains. There are two types: red and creamy white. Both types are slightly bitter when cooked and open up to release little white curls (like a tail) as they soften.
Grown in South America (Peru, Chile and Bolivia) for thousands of years, quinoa formed the staple diet of the Incas and their descendants. In recent years, foodies in the UK and the US have heralded it as a superior alternative to bulgur wheat, couscous and rice. Though it often occupies a similar role to these grains in dishes, quinoa is actually in the same family as beets, chard and spinach.
Nutritional highlights...

The UN named 2013 ‘International Quinoa Year’ in recognition of the crop’s high nutrient content. With twice the protein content of rice or barley, quinoa is also a very good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese. It also possesses good levels of several B vitamins, vitamin E and dietary fibre.

Cooked quinoa seeds become fluffy and creamy, yet maintains a slight crunch. It has a delicate and subtly nutty flavor, versatile for breakfast (as a cereal), lunch (as a salad) or dinner (as a side). 

Quinoa is among the least allergenic of all the grains, making it a fantastic wheat-free choice. Like buckwheat, quinoa has an excellent amino acid profile, as it contains all nine essential amino acids making it a complete-protein source. Quinoa is therefore an excellent choice for vegans who may struggle to get enough protein in their diets. 
Quinoa is high in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, which make it potentially beneficial for human health in the prevention and treatment of disease. Quinoa contains small amounts of the heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and, in comparison to common cereal grasses has a higher content of monounsaturated fat. 
As a complete protein, quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids – including the elusive lysine and isoleucine acids, which most other grains lack. Naturally high in dietary fibre, quinoa is a slowly digested carbohydrate, making it a good low-GI option. 

8 Health Benefits of Quinoa:
1. High quality protein with the nine essential amino acids, the protein balance is similar to milk. At 16.2 to 20 percent protein, it has is more protein than rice (7.5 percent), millet (9.9 percent) or wheat (14 percent).

2. Great source of riboflavin. Riboflavin has been shown to help reduce the frequency of attacks in migraine sufferers by improving the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells.
3. Inca warriors had more stamina and quicker recovery time by eating these quinoa seeds, making it a truly ancient powerfood.
4. Antiseptic. The saponins from quinoa are used to promote healing of skin injuries in South America. 
5. Not fattening! Only 172 calories per 1/4 cup dry (24 of the calories from protein and only 12 from sugars, the rest are complex carbohydrates, fiber and healthy fats). 
6. Gluten-free. Since it is not not related to wheat, or even a grain, it is gluten-free. 
7. Alkaline-forming. Although it is not strongly alkaline-forming, it is comparable to wild rice, amaranth, and sprouted grains. 
8. Smart Carb: It is a complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index, so it won’t spike your blood sugar.

Ensure there are no tears or holes in the packet of quinoa you are buying as moisture can affect the freshness of the grain. Store in an airtight container and keep it in a cool, dry place where it can last for several months. 


When boiling quinoa, the compound that coats the seeds (saponins) creates a foam. These saponins give quinoa a slightly bitter taste. It is best to remove any leftover saponins on the quinoa coat; thoroughly washing the seeds before cooking by putting them into a sieve and running them under cold water. Once you have rinsed it well, it can be cooked like rice. It will expand to several times the original size during cooking. 

Ethical considerations
Quinoa has generated much debate in recent years. Since experiencing a rapid increase in demand, the domestic cost of production has also risen sharply, with the local Andean population unable to afford it and imported junk food being more budget-friendly. Land that once grew a multitude of diverse crops are now dedicated quinoa fields. Our well intentioned health goals may unwittingly be driving unfavorable conditions for local growers.

Seaweeds, The Popular Sea Veggie !

Seaweeds are one of nature's true wonder foods! They are one of the most nutritionally dense plants on the planet and also the most abundant source of minerals in the plant kingdom as they have access to all the nutrients in the ocean. 

Being a superfood, a little goes a long way!

Benefits of Seaweeds

Blood Purifying

The chemical composition of seaweeds is so close to human blood plasma, that they are excellent at regulating and purifying our blood. 

High in Calcium
They can contain up to 10 times more calcium than milk and 8 times as much as beef. 

They help to alkalize our blood, neutralizing the over-acidic effects of our modern diet.

Have Powerful Chelating Properties
They offer protection from a wide array of environmental toxins, including heavy metals, pollutants and radiation by-products, by converting them to harmless salts that the body can eliminate easily.

Contain Anti-oxidants
Seaweeds contain lignans (naturally occurring chemical compounds) which have anti cancer properties.

They are rich in chlorophyll (the pigment that makes some seaweeds green) which is a powerful, natural detoxifier that helps to draw out waste products.

Boost Weight loss
Seaweeds play a role in boosting weight loss and deterring cellulite build-up. Their naturally high concentration of iodine, helps to stimulate the thyroid gland, which is responsible for maintaining a healthy metabolism. At the same time, its' minerals act like electrolytes to break the chemical bonds that seal the fat cells, allowing trapped wastes to escape.

Seaweeds That You Can Enjoy Everyday


Nori is best known as the seaweed used to make sushi rolls. You can make your own at home, but make sure you use the untoasted nori sheets for maximum nutrient content.

Kelp, also known as brown algae, is the most common seaweed found along the ocean shores. Due to its thick leaves it is perfect for a hot seaweed bath. It is also available in supplement form.

Dulse is a red seaweed and can be bought either whole or as flakes. Dulse sold as flakes does not need to be soaked and can be added straight to any meal. Whole dulse is better soaked, drained of water, and sliced before adding to your dish. It is great to use as seasoning on salads, vegetables and soups.

Arame is a ‘black’ stringy looking seaweed. It needs to be soaked for a few minutes before it is added to cooking, where it will double in size. It can be added to any grain dishes, stir fries, soups, salads and curries. 

A deep green seaweed, wakame is sold fresh or dehydrated. It tastes best when hydrated in water for a few minutes before being used. Sprinkle in soups, stocks, stews, stir fries or savory dishes.

Used in Japan for centuries as a mineral rich flavour enhancer. Add a strip of kombu when cooking beans to make them more digestible and to reduce gas. Add a strip of kombu to your sprouts when soaking them to allow them to soak up the minerals.

When sourcing or buying seaweed, choose certified organic brands where possible. Seaweeds will absorb the properties of the water in which they are grown, so you want to ensure that they have been grown and harvested in unpolluted waters that are pure, and free from harmful chemicals.