• 28Apr

    Spirulina is one of the nutraceuticals that I started to include in my diet since a year ago.

    Spirulina often gets misclassified as an herb because of its amazing health promoting properties, but it’s actually a bacteria, or a blue-green algae that’s found in pristine freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers. It is most commonly recognized as one of the world’s most nutritionally complete superfoods, as it offers health benefits to practically every organ and bodily function.  Today, popular lifestyle personalities endorse Spirulina as a secret, potent “superfood,” and a “miracle from the sea.”

    spirulina-algae-lake-benefits

    Spirulina was once classified as a plant because of “its richness in plant pigments as well as its ability of photosynthesis,” according to a study published in the journal Cardiovascular Therapeutics. New understanding of its genetics, physiology and biochemical properties caused scientists to move it to the Bacteria kingdom and the Cyanobacteria phylum.

    According to the FDA, Spirulina contains significant amounts of calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. It also has essential amino acids (compounds that are the building blocks of proteins). In fact, protein makes up about 60 to 70 percent of Spirulina’s dry weight.

    Two bowls with spirulina powder and tablets

    How well researched are the benefits and risks of spirulina?
    Most of the studies that have been conducted to date have been either on animals or in small human trials, so more research is needed before any health claims relating to spirulina can be confirmed.

    Reduces blood glucose levels and cholesterol – There has been some research into the benefits of spirulina and its positive effects on blood glucose levels. In 2017 a paper was published which demonstrated that spirulina decreased blood glucose levels in diabetic mice and the researchers suggested that this may be beneficial in the future to those with type 1 diabetes. This is further supported by another study in the Journal of Medicinal Food that found spirulina supplementation of 2g a day for 2 months on 25 individuals with type 2 diabetes helped control blood sugar levels and improved their lipid profile. However, more research is needed before we can say for sure that spirulina is helpful in managing conditions such as diabetes.

    spirulina is Rich in Protein

     

    One 2008 study tested Spirulina’s lipid-lowering effects on 78 adults, ages 60 and 87. The volunteers took 8 grams of Spirulina supplements, or a placebo, a day for 16 weeks. At the end of the study, there were significant reductions in cholesterol among those who were treated, according to the abstract published in Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism.

    Reduces risk factors for cardiovascular diseases– A 2010 study on rabbits found that spirulina had anti-atherogenic effects (reducing the build-up of plaque within arterial walls) even when fed a high cholesterol diet.

    Reduces anemia – There is also some evidence that spirulina may help reduce anaemia, although more research is required. One study on 40 older people with a history of anaemia found that supplementing with spirulina helped improve the haemoglobin levels in red blood cells.

    Improves muscle strength and exercise performance – There have also been a few trials into spirulina supplementation in sport, and early evidence that it may help improve both muscle strength and exercise performance.

    Oxidative stress protection – Spirulina contains a phytonutrient known as c-phycocyanin, which also gives it a deep green/blue colour. Research has suggested that this phytonutrient has potential benefits, including anti-inflammatory propertiesoxidative stress protection and neuroprotective qualities.

    Removes toxins from body – According to one study, spirulina is capable of treating arsenic poisoning.  Because high concentrations of arsenic are consumed by drinking water worldwide, Bangladeshi researchers conducted a three-month study.  34 patients suffering from chronic arsenic poisoning were given spirulina, whereas 17 patients received placebos.  Results show that spirulina mixed with zinc twice daily for 16 weeks caused a substantial improvement in symptoms.  This proves that spirulina is a powerful detoxifier, which is owing to high levels of chlorophyll and its ability to remove toxins from the blood and improve bowel and liver function.

    Fights allergies – millions of people are having problems and irritations from allergies to dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and many more.  If you are having symptoms like stuffy nose, watery eyes, or itchy throat, there is no doubt you are suffering from one of those irritants.

    Animal studies suggest that spirulina stops the release of histamine, which is responsible for symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

    According to human studies, spirulina consumption improved symptoms like sneezing, nasal congestion, nasal itching, and nasal discharge when compared to the placebo group.

    Precautions and issues to be aware of

    As with anything, you can have too much of a good thing and that also holds true for spirulina. Though you may enjoy adding it to your diet and be open to the many health benefits it offers, you also don’t want to overdo it.  Taking the proper dosage, which really is centered around 1-2 teaspoons per day, is recommended.  Going over that may cause upset stomach or have adverse effects, which, of course, is never ideal.

    As mentioned before, you want to be very careful about where the spirulina comes to you from. In research, it was found that this type of algae in particular can absorb the materials that it grows within. If it grows in certain waters, then this may mean that the spirulina can get contaminated with these potentially toxic substances.

    Much of the research has pointed to the biggest problem areas being from waters in and around Japan and China.  Some of the potentially toxic substances may include lead, which can cause long-term damage to both children and adults.  Know where your spirulina is coming from and go for something outside of these identified problem areas.

    Also be sure that it’s a natural product because if you go with a blend, you may never be sure of what else is included within. Always opting for organic can also ensure that you get the highest-quality product.

    Be sure of what you are getting with this or any other natural product where the health standards aren’t necessarily in place to mandate the quality that you think you’re getting. Take your time when you begin taking spirulina because you should want to see how your body will react.

    If you have a seafood allergy, you’d want to avoid these algae as it can cause an allergic reaction.  If you have other health problems, make sure that spirulina is safe for you to take. For most people, this high protein superfood can be an excellent supplement, but just be sure that you don’t have any potential complications that may interfere with its effectiveness.

    Gradually increase your spirulina intake in small quantities and be sure that it doesn’t cause  an upset stomach.

    In the end, you may find that you enjoy it and the health benefits so much that it’s well worth it.

    Always remember that spirulina should come from the right source and that it should be pure, natural, and organic.

    Are there any side effects of spirulina?

    Spirulina also contains salt. One 5g teaspoon contains 0.13g of sodium which counts towards 2% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults. If you know salt is an issue for you, or you have high blood pressure then always check with your GP before supplementing. Others who should check with their GP before taking spirulina include those taking prescription medication, pregnant or breastfeeding women and anyone younger than 18.

    Those with the condition called phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid spirulina completely as it contains an amino acid called phenylalanine which they cannot metabolise, as should anyone with an autoimmune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or multiple sclerosis.

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  • 17Apr

    Organic foods may have higher nutritional value than conventional food, according to some research. The reason: In the absence of pesticides and fertilizers, plants boost their production of the phytochemicals (vitamins and antioxidants) that strengthen their resistance to bugs and weeds.

    Organic produce

    Benefits of eating organic food:

    1. Avoid chemicals. Eating organically grown foods is the only way to avoid the cocktail of chemical poisons present in commercially grown food.

    2. Benefit from more nutrients. Organically grown foods have more nutrients—vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and micronutrients—than commercially grown foods because the soil is managed and nourished with sustainable practices by responsible standards.

    3. Organic farming is better for the environment. Organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Farming without pesticides is also better for nearby birds and animals as well as people who live close to farms.

    4.  Organically raised animals are NOT given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts. Feeding livestock animal byproducts increases the risk of mad cow disease (BSE) and the use of antibiotics can create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Organically-raised animals are given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, which help to keep them healthy.

    5. Organic meat and milk are richer in certain nutrients. Results of a 2016 European study show that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.

    6. Organic food is GMO-free. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide.

    Did you know?

    • Eating organic fruits and vegetables could increase your antioxidant intake by 20-40%.
    • Organic strawberries have more nutrients and antioxidants than their conventional counterparts.
    • Organic tomatoes are 50% higher in vitamin C content than conventional tomatoes.

    Antioxidants pack a bigger punch in organic fruit and vegetables.

    So, now you know: make sure you eat all your fruits and veggies and make sure they are organic for the biggest nutritional bang for your buck. If you’re on a budget and can’t stretch to organic, don’t panic. It’s better to eat non- organic fruit and vegetables than no fruit and veg at all. Just remember to wash the produce thoroughly.

    I am a big supporter of organic produce.  A big chunk of our grocery bills are on organic vegetables and meat. And I am only partially organic. If we go fully organic, this would bust our budget for sure.

    One of the activities on my bucket list for the next school holidays is to bring the girls to the Zenxin Organic Park in Kluang, Johor.  I have read positive reviews on Zenxin’s commitment to organic farming and would love  to visit the farm to see how organic farming is carried out. After our nightmarish 12-hour bumper to bumper horrendous jam from Singapore to KL during the December school holidays last year, I vowed never to do a road trip down south again during the school holidays. This time, I will be hopping over to Traveloka to check out the cheapest flights to Johor Bahru!  Air Asia flights listed on Traveloka are something that are really worth checking out.

    Traveloka has loads of deals on promotions on their already low-fare flights.  I especially like Traveloka’s Best Price Guarantee where, if you have booked through Traveloka and found a cheaper price for the same exact booking at another website, you can claim your compensation. Traveloka will reward you with a discount coupon of at least twice the difference up to RM500 for your next transaction. Do check them out and see what deals you can get!

     

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  • 12Apr

    For several hundred years now, the burdock plant and burdock root have been used for purifying and flushing toxins from the blood stream. In its capacity as a diuretic, the burdock herb and root increase the output of urine, thereby flushing out excess water.

    The taproot of young burdock plants can be harvested and eaten as a root vegetable. While generally out of favour in modern European cuisine, it remains popular in Asia. Burdock root is known as “niúbàng” in Chinese, which was borrowed into Japanese as gobo, and is still eaten in both countries. In Korea burdock root is called “u-eong” and sold as “tong u-eong”, or “whole burdock”.

    Burdock root has been valued across continents for thousands of years for its ability to purify blood and cool internal heat. Internally and externally, it has potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects on the human body. Recent studies also show that burdock contains phenolic acids, quercetin and luteolin, which are all powerful, health-promoting antioxidants.

    Burdock has been used to treat both bacterial and fungal infections, including ringworm, urinary tract infections, and acne. Its antibacterial effects may also promote wound healing and help treat ulcers.

    In addition, the consumption of burdock root benefits the treatment of gastrointestinal conditions, stimulates the digestive organs and also treats various stomach ailments.

    Burdock is one of the only herbs that can stimulate lymphatic drainage (since lymph pumping is usually manual and requires exercise!) Because of this lymphatic cleansing ability, and its incredible plant chemical composition, burdock is a major cancer fighter, skin clearer, and liver healer.

    cf66d04a287c729a4275ff2c3b760b70

    Burdock is used as a tonic for its immune-strengthening capabilities. It has been used for centuries as a diuretic and to clear the blood of toxins by stimulating perspiration. When applied topically, it is used to relieve certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis, acne and eczema. Burdock is also being used to lower blood sugar, to treat digestive troubles, minor skin infections, colds, sore throat, flu, HIV and rheumatoid arthritis and to stimulate bile production. Historically, burdock has also been used to treat cancer. There have not been many studies performed on burdock, so evidence of its effectiveness is mostly anecdotal.

    As burdock goes to work on the liver, it is able to clear heat, anger, irritability, and restlessness. This has beneficial effects on arthritis, gout, infections, and other ‘angry’ inflammatory conditions. It further has a gentle diuretic action on the kidneys which helps clear the blood of harmful acids and aids in lower back pain, fluid retention, and sciatica.

    Eaten as a food (usually peeled) in soups, stews, and stir fry, burdock is a cleansing yet strengthening food that helps lessen sweet cravings and aids in treating diabetes. Because of its slight bitter qualities, it greatly improves digestion (same reason people have always eaten bitter green salads before the main course!).

    Burdock Root Possible Side Effects & Caution

    Burdock root is considered safe when consumed as a food, which is done regularly in Asian countries. However, pregnant and nursing women should avoid burdock root, as it may cause damage to the fetus.

    If you’re dehydrated, you should not take burdock because the herb’s diuretic effects could make dehydration worse. Additionally, if you’re sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family, which includes ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds and daisies, you could possibly experience an allergic reaction to using burdock internally or externally, including dermatitis.

    There are no known scientific reports of interactions between burdock and conventional medications. However, you should talk to your doctor before taking burdock if you take diuretics (burdock could make the effect of water pills stronger), diabetes medications (burdock might lower blood sugar, causing hypoglycemia) or blood-thinning medications (burdock can slow blood clotting and, when taken with blood-thinning medications, may increase the risk of bruising and bleeding).

    If you’re going to undergo any type of surgery, stop taking burdock root at least two weeks before your surgery date. Burdock might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery.

    There are no known scientific reports on the pediatric use of burdock, so you should only give burdock to children under the supervision of a doctor.

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  • 12Apr

    People who have decided that they want to experience ongoing vitality throughout the day so they can excel at work and be fully present during social gatherings should know that getting healthy will help them realize the vision. If you’re ready to step into the world of dynamic health right now, know that the following wellness tips can take you there quickly and correctly:

    1. Participate In A Health-Based Community

    One of the best ways to make wellness a real thing in your life is by participating in a health-based community. This strategy will help you attain connection, information, support, advice, and community with individuals who are equally committed to attaining and/or maintaining high levels of vitality. There are many strategies you can deploy to find the right health-based community. One is using a free digital resource such as www.meetup.com to figure out if there are any wellness communities within a 30-mile radius of your home. If not, you may want to consider joining an online wellness community.

    2. Focus On Food Optimization

    Food is the single most important factor to consider when you get serious about making mental and physical well-being a permanent component of your existence. This is the case because the food we eat determines what type of nutrients and minerals are going into our bodies. When the body continually receives an adequate supply of key vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, folate, and more, its ability to complete regulatory functions is enhanced. When this happens, you’ll experience optimized functioning of key bodily systems such as the circulatory and respiratory systems.

    Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

    3. Allow The Professionals To Assist You

    One final strategy you can deploy to make wellness real for you is attaining professional assistance with the health optimization process. Taking this step is important because it ensures that you’ll be attaining advice and assistance from industry experts who have extensive knowledge and experience in the field that pertains to you. In the event that you’re struggling with vericose veins, note that you can obtain assistance from a sclerotherapy Mobile AL company such as O’Gorman Vein and Vascular.

    Spider Veins on Leg

    Conclusion

    If you’ve decided that you want to become a health freak in order to be happier, more social active, or increasingly productive, know that you can make it happen. Get the health optimization process underway immediately through the implementation of the wellness tips discussed in this article!

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About Me

I am a WFHM with 3 beautiful girls - Alycia, Sherilyn and Cassandra. I quit the job that I love to stay home with my 3 angels as that's what I've always wanted to do. I am a health freak, fitness freak and a clean freak too. I love to eat and live healthily and I want my kids and hubby to do the same too. Apart from being obsessed with good health, I am obsessed with fashion! I own an online store that sells ladies and kids clothing. Check out my online store at Old & New Stuff For Sale

I always believe that your health is your wealth and if you have good health, that's the best gift you can ever ask for from God.

Do check out my other blogs Health Freak Mommy and Health Freak Mommy’s Journal too!

I have been writing product reviews, food reviews / restaurant reviews and product advertorials since 2007. Please email Shireen at shireenyong@gmail.com to inquire if you are interested to place an advertorial or review in this blog.

Thank you!

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