Health & Wellness

Wellness Trends

Have you jumped on the “adaptogen” train yet? I’ve been seeing this word a lot more these days in the health and nutrition world, along with other things such as medicinal mushrooms, collagen powder, bone broth, and ashwagandha. So many things to learn! What is all this? What are we “adapting” to? I have been really curious about all of these new to me things, but was surprised to learn that adaptogens themselves aren’t anything new. They have been a part of Eastern medicine and go back for centuries. I’m not sure what has brought them to light now, but I would say that the increasing popularity of health and wellness in general has a lot to do with it. I’m all for this.

Adaptogens are any natural substance taken that help the body “adapt” to various things, such as stressful environments in order to help keep our bodies flowing and balanced. In other words, adaptogens help us to maintain homeostasis. Adaptogens can be in the form of a spice, herb, powder, or liquid and there are many different types that I’ve heard about recently. They are usually taken mixed with something else or as an addition to a recipe/smoothie in order to get that additional health benefit. Although I don’t know too much in depth about adaptogens yet, I think if we can add something simple to our diets that may help us in some way (much like when you take your daily vitamins), it might be something worth exploring. Some adaptogens I have heard of are:

  • Medicinal mushrooms
  • Asian Ginseng
  • Ashwagandha
  • Holy Basil
  • Maca

There are many more adaptogens than this, but that is just a few of them. As for me, I decided to give medicinal mushrooms a try. Medicinal mushrooms have been known to posses many healing powers. They boost energy, calm anxiety, and enhance the immune system. A few examples of medicinal mushrooms are:

  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
  • Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
  • Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

I’m giving reishi mushroom powder a try! I have no idea what this will be like or if it will add or enhance anything in my personal health, but I’m excited to give it a go. This is the medicinal mushroom that I purchased: reishi mushroom powder

This product is described as a “Natural adaptogen to help balance mental and physical stress. Nourish your heart and soothe an overactive immune system.” With that being said, I’m going to spend a bit of time experimenting with this and seeing how I feel after two weeks or so. I’m going to write down how I’m using it each day I incorporate it into my diet, how it tastes, my thoughts, how I feel, etc. Keep an eye out for my thoughts on this medicinal mushroom powder and I can’t wait to report back! Also, Happy September 1st! The weather is perfectly fall-like here in NYC. Sunny, warm, and with just enough hint of cool breeze to make you question the short sleeve shirt you put on. Have a good Labor Day Weekend! =]

Advertisements
Nutrition/Health News

Updates on nutrition facts label

There will be changes coming to the nutrition facts label on packaged food in 2018. Did you know this? Mentioned below are a few of these changes that will be taking effect soon. Maybe you pay attention to these labels every now and then, or maybe you don’t, but you should! I think in recent years, we are starting to pay more attention at what we put in our bodies. It’s worth mentioning a few of the changes being made. Here are some of them:

-Potassium and vitamin D will now be required to be on food labels, while vitamins A and C will no longer be required. Nationwide food consumption surveys show that Americans still lack in potassium and vitamin D, which is important for bone and heart health. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Americans generally do not have difficulty getting the recommended amounts of vitamins A and C.

-Added sugars will now be required to be listed underneath the total sugars, differentiating between what is naturally occurring sugar and what isn’t. I personally find this to be a very helpful change to see take effect. I think a lot of the sugar we consume on a daily basis comes more from added sugars. Sometimes we do not even realize how much extra we are consuming so I think this will be very eye opening.

-Another change to take note of  is that the “serving size” of items will change to better fit what a person typically consumes in one sitting.  For example, a beverage may change from being listed as two servings in the bottle/container to just one serving. This helps a person see the whole picture, rather than having to count how many servings he or she consumed. However, I find this to be a little tricky because one serving size may not be what is recommended, depending on what it is. I think it will definitely make it easier to understand the amount, but consumers will still need to understand their own specific needs.

So there you have it. It looks like manufacturers have until July 26th, 2018 before they are required to use the new label. Another year to go, but still very important information to learn about. I will be very interested in seeing if these new changes help me in any way when grocery shopping. For more information on this topic, visit eatright.org

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Nutrition/Health News

Pomegranate power

With changing seasons comes changing flavors. That means seasonal fruit and veggies that taste amazingly fresh and can be enjoyed at their peak flavor. Today I am highlighting the pomegranate, which are extra special this time of year, at least in NY! This beautiful fruit, with its deep purple-red color, is packed full of nutrients. At first glance, you may wonder how exactly this fruit can be enjoyed. When it’s cut open in half, the fruit reveals bead-like red seeds known as “arils” and this is where much of the flavor is revealed! The arils contain tiny, edible seeds in their center, while the outside is packed with a sweet, tangy juice that bursts with each bite. How can I better describe this? Eating a spoonful of these pomegranate seeds is a little similar to eating gushers (remember those!?), except smaller and a little crunchier from the seeds. I find it so satisfying to eat the arils this way straight from a bowl because of the crunchy juiciness!

IMG_0353

These seeds can be topped onto salads, oatmeal, and I was just thinking chocolate ice cream would be fantastic too! The pomegranate can also be juiced, although I have not tried this method yet, but I know it would be delicious. If you are lucky to find it, some farmers markets and grocery stores will have the pomegranate seeds already pre-packaged and ready to buy and enjoy (as pictured above). That’s how I typically buy them and all the work is done for you! Grab a spoon, take a bite, and thank me later!

IMG_0380

Pomegranates contain vitamins C and K, folate (a B-vitamin), is an excellent source of fiber, and polyphenols. All excellent things for our health! Eventually I would like to break down what these amazing vitamins and nutrients do for our bodies, but that will be for a separate post. If you haven’t tried pomegranates yet, definitely give them a go! I hope you enjoyed this little introduction to pomegranates. Enjoy!=]