All Posts tagged health

Nutmeg – 5 Health Benefits And Tasty, Too!

Nutmeg – 5 Health Benefits And Tasty, Too!

Nutmeg? It’s for sprinkling over eggnog during the holidays, right? Yes, and so very much more!

The health benefits of nutmeg are amazing!  Spending time in Grenada – The Spice Island of the Caribbean – I’m learning just how valuable this little seed can be for our overall health. When you step off the plane in Grenada, you’re enveloped in the balmy scents of nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon hanging heavy in the air. Take a deep breath to savor the aromas, treat your taste buds to a special delight, AND do your body a world of good!

Growing in a yellowish pod, nutmeg is the seed and mace is the “lacy” reddish shell found on the seed. Here on the island of Grenada, the pod is used to make nutmeg butters, jams and jellies. Mace is dried as a separate spice – a bit milder tasting than nutmeg. Inside the shell is the jewel – the nutmeg seed! Called a warming spice, nutmeg imparts a mild flavor to foods.

nutmeg-health

nutmeg-health

Myristica fragrans is the active ingredient responsible for all the nutmeg spice health benefits. The nutmeg tree is the only tree in the world which is the source of two distinct spices – nutmeg and mace. This valuable commodity makes Grenada one of the world’s largest producers and distributors in the world.

Nutmeg Health Benefits

Pain Relief. Nutmeg contains a compound similar to menthol that acts as a counterirritant when placed directly on sore, aching muscles. For areas of chronic inflammation, applying nutmeg oil on the area can bring fast pain relief.

Acne. The powerful antibacterial and exfoliant properties of nutmeg help this spice quickly clear up acne breakouts. Simply mix a teaspoonful of freshly ground nutmeg with 1 teaspoonful of water, honey, or milk to make a paste and rub directly on the face. Leave for 5-10 minutes, then rinse off.

Anti-tumor Activity. This one really got my attention because of a recent study done in the Archives of Pharmacal Research on nutmeg health benefits. In this study, scientists identified a substance from nutmeg called meso-dihydroguaiaretic acid (DHGA) which showed significant anti-tumor properties, suggesting that nutmeg may offer additional anti-cancer benefits. This study is preliminary, but the findings suggest nutmeg warrants additional research into it’s potential against cancer.

Neurological Protection. A compound in nutmeg mace, called macelignan – part of the active ingredient Myristica fragrans – has been found to have neuroprotective activities. These compounds have been proven to reduce the degradation of neural pathways and cognitive function. Recent studies highlight the importance of nutmeg health in understanding and treating complex diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Kidney Stones. Natural health practitioners recommend nutmeg to help soften and dissolve kidney stones. For anyone who suffers from chronic kidney stones, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to add an extra pinch  of nutmeg to your coffee or tea every morning. The anti-bacterial activity of nutmeg is also a benefit when kidney stones become painful to avoid a secondary infection.

What are you waiting for? Grab a nutmeg grater, a whole nutmeg, and start shaving that delicious goodness on everything! Lattes, soups, ice cream, stews, smoothies, even scrambled eggs taste yummy with a pinch of nutmeg spice to heighten the taste sensation. The incredible nutmeg health benefits await. Enjoy!

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Let’s Get Physical! 5 Most Effective Exercises For Losing Weight

Let’s Get Physical! 5 Most Effective Exercises For Losing Weight

Working out every day isn’t always easy. It seems as though a million things become more urgent than heading to the gym, but staying healthy is also a big concern. We want the maximum payoff for our precious time spent on exercise. So what are the best exercises for losing weight and keeping physically fit? The American College of Sports Medicine has the answers…

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EAT CLEAN for 2015! As Close To Nature As Possible

EAT CLEAN for 2015! As Close To Nature As Possible

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It’s a brand new year. A clean slate. Time to start a few new habits to live a healthier and more active life! We’re certainly getting on the bandwagon this year by trying to eat healthier foods and make time for exercise every day. The picture above was taken while we were house-sitting in New Zealand – this was only one day’s take from the garden!

One thing we’re trying to do more as we travel is to EAT CLEAN. It’s a term you hear often, but what does eating clean really mean? It’s not about how often you wash your veggies, but about staying as close to nature as possible. Try to avoid processed foods from boxes or cans and instead pick lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables (organic if possible), and drink lots of water to flush your system. Sometimes this isn’t the easiest thing to do when you’re traveling, but a little preparation goes a long way to helping you stick to your goals.

Here are some specific fruits and vegetables to look for in the produce market for better health –

Skin Health – Look for bright colors to guide you. Sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, and butternut squash are all high in the powerful antioxidant beta carotene. Beta carotene helps shield the body from damaging free radicals that age our skin.

Heart Health – Red onions and red wine! Well, probably not at the same time…but, red onions contain an anti-clotting compound that can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. Red wine contains the flavonoid called reservatrol to help bring increased levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol in the body.

Brain Boost – To help with memory…now where did I put my keys? Add an extra serving of beets to your plate. Beets help produce nitric oxide in the body, which open blood vessels in the brain. More blood to the brain is a good thing!

Mood Enhancers – To start your day off on the right foot, grab a banana. High in magnesium to raise your spirits and potassium to provide sustained energy, this fruit is a natural antidepressant. Also bananas are packed with vitamin B6, which is a necessary for making the body’s level of neurotransmitters, like serotonin, higher. So much goodness in a portable package.

Food is our fuel and food can be what brings us together. However, making good choices about what we eat is a struggle for us when we travel. Hopefully together we can lend encouragement to others who may be going through the same dilemma – should I have the apple pie or would I be just as happy with an apple? EAT CLEAN. We know what’s best for us, but sometimes making the right decision is hard.

How do you manage to eat healthy when you’re traveling or even when you’re home?

Happy, Healthy Travels for 2015!

Get more great travel health tips as well as spa & wellness destinations on The Traveling Pharmacist. Learn more about the Travel Pharmacist Team – your Travel Health & Wellness Experts!

 

The Traveling PharmacistAs with all medical conditions discussed on the Internet, check first with your doctor before using any alternative treatments.

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