The first things that usually pop up in our minds when we think of chocolate are sugar, dessert, and carbs. Despite its negative reputation, a lot of research has shown that chocolate, specifically the dark version, is rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that can help amplify your health.
Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols which improves the blood flow in the brain, therefore, amplifying cognitive functions. A study has also shown that a high content of flavanol enhances the activity in the dentate gyrus part of the brain which plays a critical role in memory preservation.
Dark chocolate may have been the most delicious medicine that you will ever snack on because it is high in antioxidants that helps amplify your body’s protection against diseases as well as stimulating the lining of the arteries to manufacture nitric oxide, to help regulate blood pressure.
If you need an alternative morning boost from coffee, you might want to try a hot cup or a bar of dark chocolate. This food’s ability to improve blood flow allows the oxygen to be carried-out faster through the muscles.
Aside from its truly delectable taste, dark chocolate contains a chemical component called phenylethylamine which makes it irresistible and it stimulates the same feeling as falling in love! Eating dark chocolate can amplify your mood along with the naturally produced in our body dopamine, theobromine, and tryptophan content.
Healthy Dark Chocolate Mousse
2 avocados (220 g) only the flesh
50 g pure cocoa powder
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup (75g) cup almond milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely smooth.
Turmeric is an esteemed herbal food in Asia that specifically flourished in the traditional valley of India. It is a family relative of ginger and can be consumed dried or fresh. Its flavor is characterized as musky, earthy, and a tad bitter. Through its health benefits, this golden spice goes beyond just being a food and flavor enhancer.
Exercising regularly and healthy eating are the best ways to trim your waist to achieve the healthy weight that you desire. But consuming turmeric in its raw or liquid form can help boost your body’s ability to change your body composition by regulating lipid metabolism and targeting fat by repressing various processes in charge of the growth of adipose tissue.
Skin is the largest organ of our body and it acts as a defense against physical injury and harmful microbes that attempt to attack our internal system. Through this, we must take care of our skin and turmeric can improve skin tone and texture as well as the healing capability due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Alleviates Joint Pain
Turmeric helps relieve inflamed joints with its anti-inflammatory power. You can also apply and massage it directly in the affected area by mixing it with other spices in a steamed pot to create a paste-like texture. This will help revitalize the blood flow.
Add it to your Daily Regimen
Turmeric is best utilized by the body if taken daily and we are so excited that our favorite herbal company Medi-Herb has created a fantastic product in the form of Turmeric Forte. This particular product contains a bioavailable form of Turmeric rhizome and Fenugreek seed to support a healthy inflammatory response. My suggested dose for this product is 2 tablets per day.
Turmeric Forte contains a bioavailable form of Turmeric rhizome and Fenugreek seed to support a healthy inflammatory response. These herbs and their constituents:
Support a healthy inflammatory response
Maintain and support healthy joints
Support healthy liver function and healthy digestion
1 whole lemon (juiced // ~3 Tbsp or 45 ml juice as original recipe is written // plus leftover rind)
1-2 tsp maple syrup (optional // can sub stevia or raw honey if not vegan)
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional // or cracked black pepper which many readers have commented helps with the bioavailability of the turmeric!)
3 cups of filtered water
To a small saucepan, add turmeric, ginger, lemon juice and leftover lemon rind, maple syrup (optional), cayenne (optional), and filtered water. I personally didn’t think it needed any sweetener, but sweeten to taste.
Bring to a simmer (not a boil) over medium to medium-high heat (~3 minutes). Then turn off the heat.
Set a small strainer over serving glasses and divide between two mugs. Enjoy. If the tonic is too potent for you, dilute with more hot/warm water.
Store (strained) leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat on the stovetop until just warm.
Can I tell you that I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe! It’s super fresh, fast, healthy, detox friendly, paleo and gluten free. What’s not to love?!? This is a dish even YOUR KIDS are going to eat. My dog Brie enjoys any leftover zoodles!
This is a 20 minute one
pan dish if you follow my preparation and kitchen tool techniques and I especially
enjoy it during the summer. I keep the
zucchini cold and cover the cold zoodles with the heat meat, veggie, sauce
combo and it becomes a fresh summer dish for these hot hot hot Southern summer
You can also substitute
grass fed beef for the organic turkey if you wish.
In this recipe I use a
jar of marinara in order to save time for those quick weekday meals. When choosing your sauce choose one without
any added sugars and I always buy one that has the least amount of sugar/carbs
listed on the label. Some fantastic
brands are: Organico Bello, Cucina Antica,
Also, be sure to have your tools on hand to make your life EASIER – Two kitchen items I cannot live without is my garlic roller/peeler – seriously if you don’t have one of these you need one. I can peel my garlic in 3 seconds flat with this bad boy. Also you’ll want a spiralizer to make those yummy zoodles. With this tool I can zoodle a zucchini in about 20 seconds. Dinner in 20 minutes? BOOM!
Sweet Potato is a root vegetable that is sweet in flavor and has a starchy texture. It is most favored consumed as part of breakfast meal or in-between snack due to its abundance in healthy Carbohydrates, Fiber, and Vitamin A. Despite its name, it is unrelated to white potato because botanically speaking, white potato stands with the nightshade family while the sweet potato is affiliated with the bindweed or morning glory family.
Let us explore what makes this root vegetable special in the health-conscious community.
Whenever our body detects a viral or bacterial infection, the immune system comes to the rescue! Sweet Potato is your friend when it comes to protection and repair as it garners 52% of your daily value for vitamin C. It also contains Vitamin A, a potent nutrient against infections and tumors.
You need to take care of the good bacteria in your stomach too and the ”resistant starch” in sweet potato helps keep the good bacteria strong by feeding on them. Your digestive system’s amiable nutrient is present in sweet potato — the fiber which helps prevent stomach diseases such as colon cancer.
Accompanied by choline and manganese, your brain can function at its greatest! Manganese binds neurotransmitters and supports in mobilizing electrical impulses to your body faster while Choline is a vital nutrient for brain growth and development.
The magnesium in Sweet Potato can help relieve stress and anxiety by calming your brain.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Sweet potato is enriched with Potassium that substantially drives away extra sodium and fluid out of the body, therefore, reducing the strain on the heart and lowering blood pressure.
Sweet Potato and Sage Pancakes Recipe
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/3 cup hot water
1 cup firmly packed shredded unpeeled sweet potato
3/4 cup Homemade Applesauce
2 tablespoons unrefined extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a small bowl, whisk the flaxseed with water and set aside for 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mix sweet potato, applesauce, olive oil, lemon juice, sage, and the flaxseed slurry
In another medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well to combine.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease it with ghee or olive oil.
Scoop out slightly less than 1/2 cup batter and roll it in your palms to form a ball.
Place it on the baking sheet and press down to form a 1/4-inch-thick pancake. Repeat the process.
Bake for 20 minutes or until brown. Serve topped with a dollop of coconut yogurt or whipped coconut cream, a drizzle of Grade B maple syrup, and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet with a dash of ghee.
Nowadays, this berry is widely popular and mostly consumed in its liquid form due to its ability to provide reinforcements to our body and a solid remedy for UTI. But in ancient times, this fruit has been used as an alternative medicine for a variety of ailments such as poor appetite, stomach complaints, blood disorders, and scurvy for English folks; and bladder and kidney diseases for Native Americans.
Continue reading and together, let us explore the wonders of this ruby red fruit!
A Fortress of Immunity
Snack on cranberries for stronger immunity, vibrant skin, and sturdy joints as it is abundant in Vitamin C which is known for its immune-boosting ability and an essential element in producing collagen. The Vitamin C in cranberries interferes with the bacteria that cling onto the walls of the urinary tract, therefore, helping to eliminate an infection. The same protection occurs in the stomach and mouth.
Filled with Antioxidants
This sweet-tart flavored berry is a powerhouse of antioxidants surpassing high-level foods such as broccoli, strawberry, cherry, and spinach. A cup of cranberries is charged with a total of 8,983 antioxidants.
Cranberries are rich in polyphenols, a micronutrient that fortifies cells from damage and diseases. Two glasses of cranberry juice a day could decrease the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes by improving blood pressure and glucose levels. If you opt for the juice variety – you’ll want to choose the REAL juice with no sugar added for these benefits – it will be very tart :).
Mighty Brain Booster
Your brain will surely stay brilliant and sharp with cranberries’ anti-inflammatory properties which enhance coordination and memory.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Pour almond flour, sweetener, melted butter, and almond extract for crust in a medium bowl and mix well. Set aside 1/3 of the mixture to be used later for the streusel topping. Press remaining 2/3 of the mixture into the prepared baking pan.
Bake in the preheated oven until partially golden, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Combine cranberries, sweetener, orange juice, orange zest, and arrowroot powder in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until all of the cranberries have popped, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Spread cranberry filling over the crust.
Stir pecans and cinnamon into the remaining crust mixture, mixing until incorporated. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over the cranberry mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven until set, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into bars, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
I’m often asked by my patients for ways to help ward off the cold, flu (and now COVID) each year and I wanted to give you all the tools to start supporting that immune system now so that the likelihood of any winter illness is decreased. Let me start off by saying that the goal isn’t necessarily to never catch anything – as this is the body’s way to build up your immune system. Of course it would be great if we never got sick but if our systems are working correctly the idea is that when you do become ill the illness doesn’t last as long, or isn’t as severe. I’ve been using the recommendations and protocols that I will share with you today for over 20 years and year after year my patients (especially the teachers and nurses) come back in March and are always floored that they didn’t get sick for the first time in years.
So without further ado, let’s jump to my recommendations –
Feed Your Body – what you eat definitely plays a role in how your immune system functions – the biggest culprits that will knock your immune system down the fastest are sugar, alcohol, and the chemicals in processed foods. Instead opt to eat more veggies, fruits high in Vitamin C, quality proteins and stay hydrated.
Sweat it out – Exercise aids in the release of toxins, and is important in keeping the blood and lymphatic system flowing (which is an important part of your immunity!) Consistent exercise can help relieve stress and increase blood flow to the brain. It also releases hormones, stimulates the nervous system, and releases endorphins. Whatever exercise you like, go for it! Walking, running, rebounding, yoga, pilates, dancing, biking, cardio or sculpting workouts. Just 15 minutes a day is enough to help support your immunity.
Count Sheep – The benefits of getting a good night’s sleep is especially vital for your body to rest, regenerate and maintain an efficient immune system. Manage your schedule and routine so that you can devote at least 8 hours each night to some shut eye. This may involve saying “no” to extra activities or waiting to binge watch Game of Thrones. Stop your screen time at least 2 hours before bed time, get into bed before your actual bedtime, make sure the room is completely darkened, and read a book or meditate to slow down that brain in preparation for dreamland! If you are struggling with your sleep, get a jump on it now and start a product like Insomnitol to help support your body in falling asleep and staying asleep.
Hooray for Herbs – An Elderberry a day keeps the doctor away – Elderberry syrup or tonic is one of those time honored traditions that can help ward off colds and flu. If you purchase some ensure that the company is using quality ingredients and no fillers and preservatives (Hint: quality products should only have a 2-3 month shelf life). If you’re more of a DIY kind of person, earlier this year I created an Elderberry Syrup mini-course on how to make your own organic elderberry syrup and tincture at home. I have a nice 30 minute video, my personal recipes, and links to all of the supplies you’ll need to make this immune syrup at home.
Standard Prevention Daily Dosing:
For Children 2-13 years old: 1 tsp per day
For Adults: 1 Tbsp per day
Supplement your System – There are a number of key nutrients needed to keep the immune system strong during winter. First there are prevention protocols – these are great when you are not currently ill but want to stay strong and symptom free all winter. I also have acute protocols – these are designed to be used when you are sick or starting to feel any signs that you might be coming down with something. You can click the link for each product to read more about the product and to place an online order on our authorized website.
*** NOTE: If you are wanting to add any immune protocols to your regimen, we are recommending to place your order as soon as you can and consider stocking up since Standard Process was completely sold out of all of their immune products for almost 3 months last year! ***
Adult Prevention Immune Bundle – “I don’t want to get sick”
As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, we can begin to see some changes in our skin. No matter YOUR skin type, keeping it moisturized is very important because this allows your skin to look younger and fresh! There are a myriad of ways that you can keep your skin naturally moisturized from the inside out this winter. Here is my list of simple yet fantastic foods that can provide moisture to your skin without clogging your pores.
Coconut oil can be applied topically to your hands, and feet and you can also add it as part of your daily routine. This oil has anti-inflammatory properties and has a wide variety range of benefits from weight loss to immune enhancement. It can also support numerous skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, and other skin infections.
One way to easily treat dry skin is by consuming foods with healthy fats and oils and avocado is your go-to-food! Healthy fats provide moisture which keeps your skin supple and soft. Essential fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s are the building units of healthy cell membranes and they also support the skin’s natural oil barrier which is vital in keeping the skin plumped, hydrated, and younger looking.
Salmon contains Omega-3 fats which can reduce the redness and inflammation in your skin not to mention the rest of your body as well. The fatty acids in this fish urge your skin to clutch onto water more to keep it glowing. If you’re not a fish fan, they opt for a quality fish oil like Standard Process’s Tuna Omega oil.
Drinking plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated is a must but to boost your hydration to the next level, I recommend drinking caffeine-free herbal blends. One herbal blend that can help heal dry skin is a marigold and rose infusion due to the plant’s healing and moistening properties.
Prevention is better than cure and eating probiotics can be a key to a healthier body! Probiotics are live bacteria which keeps your gut healthy and when you are healthy on the inside, it will show up on the outside especially to your skin. Choose options like komboucha, kimchi and sauerkraut. Don’t want to eat those foods, then take a quality full spectrum product that has both pre and probiotics, like the Standard Process ProSynbiotic.
No matter what kind of skin problems we have, we can always count on Mother Nature’s natural resources! I would love to hear what your favorite foods for your skin are – drop your favorites in the comments section below.
Okra contains a sticky substance called mucilage which helps bind the cholesterol, therefore, instead of being absorbed, it will be excreted in your body keeping your heart healthy.
Powered with Antioxidants
One of the key nutrients found in Okra is the protein called lectin which discourages the growth of human cancer cells.
Major antioxidants can be found in okra such as polyphenols, flavonoids, isoquercetin, Vitamins A and C, and they are known to improve your body’s protection against free radicals.
Eating okra can help make you feel full in a longer period. Okra also has a low glycemic index which helps control sugar levels, and it is rich in soluble fiber which keeps the digestive system smooth sailing.
Okra is high in dietary fiber which supports better digestion, glycemic control, and insulin sensitivity.
There is an estimated 3 grams of fiber in an eight medium-sized pods of okra.
Medium for Beauty
Apart from consuming okra, you can also create a facial mask out of this fruit by blending it until it becomes a paste (you can add lemon or honey). Apply the okra paste your face and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. This mask will help moisturize your skin, improve the appearance of dark spots, and minimize wrinkles.
Options for Okra
The best option for getting okra into your system is always by including it into your diet and in your meals but if you need more of a therapeutic dose you can always add it in supplement form. My favorite go-to okra product is Okra Pepsin E3 from Standard Process.
Happy Fall! It’s that time of year when summer festivities are winding down and we all regain a more routine schedule even if we do not have children that are heading back to school or maybe you are virtually teaching from home this semester.
Your nervous system as well as your brain requires whole food fuel – specifically fat and B vitamins in order to thrive. If fatigue, memory, or mood are issues for you or your child, be sure to check out my easy tips to improve your health and probably your grades too! For overall health I recommend a chewable multivitamin for kids and chewable Catalyn is both my and my little patients favorite choice.
Tips for Healthy Back to School Lunches
Avoid refined sugar, genetically modified grains, poor quality dairy products and other highly processed foods like poor quality lunch meat. The foods on this list will have an array of negative health effects ranging from brain fog, fatigue and inflammation from sugary or processed GMO grains, to digestive upset from dairy products or poorly processed meat. To make sandwiches, replace your store bought bread with better ingredients like Bob’s Red Mill flours or make a lettuce wrap instead! Replace your lunch meats with a healthy meat like grilled chicken or a nitrate and preservative free brand. Buy and cook your own meat from a market or local farm where animals are raised in healthy and grass fed or pasture raised conditions. Cook your roast or breast and then slice it thin for your own, healthy lunch style meat.
Eat foods for function! Foods that help sharpen your focus include a side of celery, sliced peppers, or carrots. These great veggies provide your body with Luteolin which helps to reduce inflammation and improve memory.
Don’t forget your B vitamins! Packing a side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower, eating eggs for breakfast, and packing a healthy meat can all provide a healthy source of Choline which can assist with brain development, boost cognitive function and improve learning and memory! Eggs, beef, and fish will also give your brain a B12 boost and help with memory!
Blueberries are a good option for fun finger fruits. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that improve learning, thinking and memory. If you or your child are a “hand-to-mouth snacker” – eating blueberries, one at a time, and thoroughly enjoying them may be a good side for your lunch! Add almonds for additional vitamin B and an enjoyable crunch!
Walnuts and pumpkin seeds provide an easily packed snack that is high in Omega 3’s which are good for the brain and memory. Another way to get omega 3’s easily into kids diets is chewable tuna oil capsules – I promise it’s not as fishy as it sounds.
Get to BED! No one will function well, have clear memory, feel energized, or be in a good mood if he/she is lacking the proper rest. Be sure that everyone in your household gets the appropriate number of sleep hours each night. Infants are recommended to have 16 hours; teenagers are recommended to have 9 hours; and adults are recommended to have 7 to 8 hours.
Finally, remember that vitamin D is important for the brain function and to combat stress. Ask your practitioner if you are consuming adequate vitamin D or if it needs to be supplemented throughout the winter. Vitamin D has also been linked to stronger immune systems which is always helpful with back to school! Cod Liver Oil is one of my favorite and efficient ways to obtain Vitamin D for the body!
Dr. Stephanie Zgraggen, DC, MS, CCN, CNS is a licensed chiropractic physician, certified clinical nutritionist, and owner of Lime and Lotus, LLC. Dr. Zgraggen has developed a successful method for determining the root causes of many of her patient’s health concerns, and she uses a combination of whole food and herbal protocols to restore health.