Thursday, July 21, 2016

Inflammation Buster - Basil

One more herb tip from the Good Life pull-out.

One of the oldest cultivated herbs, basil could help fight some very modern problems, including arthritis and heart disease.  That's because one of its compounds blocks inflammation in the very same way that aspirin and ibuprofen do.  Much of the research has been done on 'holy basis' or tulsi, a stronger form of the herb that's common to Asia.  Sweet basis, in most grocery stores, contains compounds, too, especially in young leaves.

Diabetes - basil extract, available in capsule form in the supplement aisle, could help people with diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels.  Promising research suggests that it may help reduce the amount of glucose traveling around in the bloodstream.  Of course, talk to your doctor before taking it.

You can pack plenty of this healthy booster into a meal without overpowering everything, especially if you make pesto.  You can also use fresh leaves liberally in salads and tomato sauces.  Add them to your dish during the last few seconds of cooking; those healthy oils will be lost if overheated.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Bacteria Fighter - Thyme

I didn't know this until I read it in a booklet that came with a copy of Good Life

Thyme is known as an antiseptic:  It contains thymol, also an ingredient in some mouthwashes.  One of Dr. Oz's favorite uses for this herb is this cough-suppressant recipe:  Place 4 Tbsp. of fresh or dried thyme in a saucepan; cover with 1 cup of boiling water; steep for 15 minutes; strain and add the juice of one lemon and 1/4 cup of raw honey.  Adults can take 1-2 Tbsp. every 3-4 hours.  This keeps in the fridge for up to a week.

Tame acne - Thyme can also fight the bacteria that causes acne.  Research found that a concentrated form of thyme zapped those bacteria better than benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient in many acne products.  Some skin care products even contain one of the compounds in thyme.

Protect against cancer - the most exciting revelation about thyme has to do with its potential role in deterring cancer.  In preliminary research, one of the compounds it contains, called rosmarinic acid, has been found to help prevent tumor growth.

Cook smart - Fresh thyme adds dimension to soup, sauces, and salad dressings; toss it in at the end of cooking to best retain its flavor and healthy compounds.  Or steep the leaves in boiling water to make a refreshing tea.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Tummy Soother - Peppermint

A little peppermint can help you digest food without drama.  It helps relax the muscles of your stomach.  A stronger form, peppermint oil capsules (choose enteric-coated ones), may even relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.  But be careful if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Mint relaxes the valve at the bottom of the esophagus, so acid could come back up and make problems worse.

Ease cold and flue symptoms.  Peppermint contains menthol, one of the very same ingredients in chest rubs.  Inhaling mint's vapors can help loosen your congestion and calm your cough by thinning mucus, which is why peppermint tea can feel extra soothing when you have a cold.

Boost alertness.  A whiff of peppermint can make you feel more alert and less fatigued, which is especially useful when you're driving.  Dr. Oz tip:  Slip some peppermint gum in your bag before you head out.

Cook smart.  Mint pairs nicely with citrus fruit, yogurt, and lamb.  It's also great with roasted zucchini, or in chilled cucumber soup.  If you don't like this herb in your main course, brew tea by simply pouring hot water directly over several sprigs of mint.

Another tip from the insert in Dr. Oz's The Good Life.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Brain Booster - Rosemary

Another helpful note from an insert found in Dr. Oz's 'The Good Life.'

Science has shown that the mere smell of the oil from rosemary may help improve your memory.  Try it for yourself.  Mix a drop of rosemary essential oil with the same amount of an oil such as coconut or olive.  Dab it on your wrist and sniff.  Did it work?

Make grilled foods healthier with rosemary.  Cooking meat at high temperatures creates cancer-causing compounds known as HCAs (heterocyclic animes).  But research has found that prepping meat in a marinade filled with rosemary can significantly reduce the formation of those nasty compounds.

Fight indigestion with rosemary-leaf capsules.  This is used in Europe to ease dyspepsia.  They're even approved for use there at doses of up to 4 to 6 grams by Germany's Commission E, a government agency that evaluates the medical evidence surrounding herbs.  And you should be able to find them in the US in the supplement aisle.

Cook smart with rosemary.  Savory dishes work well with this fragrant herb.  Think fresh tomato sauce, frittatas, and egg or tuna salad.  Another approach - puree fresh leaves with olive oil for a dipping sauce.

I think I'll pot plant some rosemary on my patio.  I've planted Rosemary in the yard and it's easy to grow.  Guess it's time to pull out a pot and grown some on my patio.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Disease Fighters - Chives

Garlic and onions usually get all the credit in the family of plants believed to help prevent cancer but the chive is also packed with the compounds that may be effective.  Research suggests that one in particular called querctin could help inhibit certain tumor cells.  Men who ate the most from this plant family had lower rates of prostate cancer.

A compound in chives called allicin has been shown to lower the amount of bad cholesterol you produce, and to help keep your blood pressure low.  That could add up to lower risks of these prevalent heart and brain problems.

Chives also contain choline, a B vitamin that has been linked to better sleep, learning and memory and may ease depression.

Colonists brought chives to America for medicinal purposes.  Since then, chefs and home cooks have found plenty of other uses for them.  Kids who won't touch garlic or onions often will take to chives.  Use them to liven up your dips, salads, and omelets.

This information is from Dr. Oz's magazine The Good Life and I felt it a must to share.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fruit Salad

Turn up that Fruit Salad by adding jello.  I had 2 small containers of jello in the refrigerator and wanted to find a use for them before their expiration date.  I had just made some citrus fruit salad and decided 'why not?' and cut it up, adding to to my salad.  Delicious!  Appealing to the kids! and Colorful!