Tag Archives: antioxidants

These Ingredients Have Neuroprotective Benefits

woman reading book

The central nervous system. That complex combination of the brain and the spinal chord, studied extensively, but understood only partially, constantly and mysteriously working to generate our movements, emotions, and desires. While a system so multifaceted can be so fascinating, it can also be extremely prone to malfunction. So many things can go wrong with a system so complicated, and unfortunately, our limited knowledge makes many of these difficult to treat. Neuropathic disorders and diseases continue to plague so many with so few solutions. That is why it is so important to protect ourselves against these disorders. Here are some ingredients with neuroprotective properties.

Glutamate Antagonists
Glutamate antagonists are the main treatment to used to control cell death in CNS disorders. Overexcitation of glutamate receptors causes calcium to increase, which has major consequences on the nerve. Glutamate antagonists inhibit the binding of glutamate to receptors and may help to avoid excitotoxicity. Some treatments with promising results include:

Estrogen
Estradiol helps to prevent excitotoxicity by inhibiting glutamate receptors, such as NMDA.

Ginsenoside Rd
Studies show that ginsenoside Rd may help to inhibit glutamate excitotoxicity, and has proven to be an effective and noninvasive treatment for ischemic stroke patients.

Progesterone
Progesterone has been shown to prevent secondary injuries in patients with stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Antioxidants
Antioxidants work to protect the body against oxidative stress, which is the main cause of neuron degradation. The effectiveness of antioxidants depends on the disease, gender, age, and ethnicity. Here are some of the most common antioxidants that have been shown to be beneficial in the reduction of oxidative stress in at least one neurodegenerative disease:

Fish Oil
Fish Oil contains n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that can prevent mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. It has potential to be neuroprotective and is the subject of many studies on its effects on neurodegenerative diseases.

Resveratrol
Resveratrol can prevent oxidative stress in disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s disease and cerebral ischemia.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E has varying effects depending on the neurogenerative disease that is being treated. It is most effective On Alzheimer’s disease and may be somewhat beneficial in treating ALS, but it is ineffective in the treatment of Parkinson’s.

THC
THC can exert neuroprotective effects on ischemia of the brain by acting on glutamate receptors, cation channels, and other pathways,

Stimulants
Certain stimulants are neuroprotective in appropriate doses.

Nicotine
Nicotine has been shown to offset Parkinson’s disease in humans and monkeys. It is available in patch form.

Caffeine
Caffeine is protective against Parkinson’s disease and induces neuronal glutathione synthesis by promoting cysteine uptake.

Selegiline
This has been shown to delay early onset Parkinson’s disease by an average of nine months.

Are neuroprotective ingredients important to you? Which ones would you use? THC? Nicotine? Caffeine? Let us know what you think.

Antioxidants and Skin Care

Woman eating orange

Are antioxidants the new religion? Since the superpowers of the oxidation fighters were revealed, we follow groundbreaking news about antioxidants on social media with the same rabid enthusiasm that we follow the Brangelina divorce or the newest celebrity posts on Instagram. Antioxidants are our lifeline against aging, judging from the amount of attention antioxidants are getting, this attribute may be more valuable than reservations at the Ivy. So for those of you for whom the latest skin care breakthrough headline is more enticing than the latest celebrity baby bump reveal, here is some eye opening information on antioxidants and skin care.

Vitamin C and E and Selenium
According to research, vitamins C, E, and selenium not only protect skin against sun damage and skin cancer, they may actually reverse wrinkles and discoloration associated with the aging process. Karen E.Burke, MD, PhD attributes these results to the ability of this trio to speed up the natural repair system of the skin and prevent further damage. The doctor recommends supplements containing 400 international units of vitamin E, 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C and 100 to 200 micrograms of selenium daily to reap the glorious benefits of this healthy triumvirate.

Woman at mirror

CoEnzyme Q10
CoEnzyme Q10 is an antioxidant which occurs naturally in the human body, promoting cell growth and protecting against cancer. Age-related decreases in the levels of CoQ-10 in the body are thought to be associated with aging, and a study published in the Biofactors Journal found proof that applying 0.3% concentration of the antioxidant may help to minimize the appearance of wrinkles.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Applied topically, this antioxidant may be able to aid the skin in the prevention of sun damage. A study found subjects who applied a 3%-5% concentration of alpha-lipoic acid to their skin, starting at a rate of once every other day and gradually increasing to daily application, showed noticeable improvement in changes in the skin brought on by the sun.

Retinoic Acid
If you’ve been doing your homework, you already know that retinoic acid is the active form of vitamin Q in the skin, and is also typically referred to as the “gold standard” in skin care. Used topically, retinoic acids, often branded as Renova or Retin-A, effectively treat age spots, wrinkles, and rough skin caused by the sun’s rays. A study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science revealed findings that retinoic acid treatment reduces the appearance of wrinkles by restoring the elastic fibers responsible for keeping skin firm and tight. Although dermatologists once believed that use of this antioxidant increased skin’s sensitivity to the sun, they now believe that it actually protects the skin from further damage. However, because high concentrations of retinoic acid have been associated with peeling and redness, Burke recommends starting at a low concentration (0.01% in gels and 0.1% in creams) and applying it every two to three nights to introduce it slowly to the skin.

Asian woman with cup of tea

Flavonoids (Green Tea and Chocolate)
We saved the best for last. Research suggests that the flavonoids in green tea can protect from inflammation and cancer, and a German study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who drank cocoa with a high level of flavonoids had smoother, softer skin than those who drank a lower flavonoid version of the liquid chocolate. Although the results so far seem promising, Burke says more research needs to be done to prove the effectiveness of flavonoids and to determine the best dose, but, in the meantime, you are more than welcome to experiment.

Are you a believer in antioxidants? Let us know which ones you are most faithful to and why. We love to learn from you!

Summer Skin Care Saviors

Girl on hammock

When Helena Rubenstein famously said, “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones,” one might stop to think if that held true for the makeup mogul in the long lazy days of summer. When it was too hot to lift a finger, was Helena still lifting hers to extract hot rollers from her hair, or to apply that final coat of mascara? While the modern woman may not take Rubenstein’s words completely literally, she will understand the wisdom behind them. While the heat of summer may provide a good excuse to take a snooze on an outdoor hammock, it certainly is not an excuse to abandon your skincare, maybe just lighten up on it a little. Here are some great summer skincare tips for doing just that.

Lightweight Moisturizer
While the winter cold and dry inside air require the protection of heavy creams, the humidity of summer gives you a little more leeway. Melissa Pilang, MD, explains, “During the warmer seasons, lighter moisturizing lotions will likely provide enough moisture for the skin, while heavier and creamier formulations may lead to clogged pores and breakouts. The best summer products are the ones that contain hydrating ingredients, like resveratrol, which fights radical damage, and hyaluronic acid.

Antioxidants
Antioxidants are particularly important in the warm weather when the UV rays are strongest. Tsippora Shainhouse, Beverly Hills MD, says, “Not only can too much sun lead to direct DNA damage, but it can also break down collagen and elastin, due to UV-induced free radicals.” Avoid free radical damage by applying an antioxidant serum after cleansing your face in the morning and top with sunscreen.

Woman applying sunscreen

SPF
Of course, the lazy days of summer suffer no lack of intense sunshine. While the application of SPF should occur every day, it becomes even more vital during the summer months. Dr. Dendy Engelman warns, “Incidental sun exposure, even for only ten to fifteen minutes a day, adds up over time and can cause significant sun damage, photo-aging, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles.” She suggests the use of a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of at least 30 (ideally 50) to reduce accumulation of UV damage associated with aging and non-melanoma skin cancer.

Reduce Retinol
Even though retinol works wonders on wrinkles, it can actually make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which can be somewhat counter productive. According to Joel Schlessinger, MD, “Retinol boosts cell turnover, which means it eliminates dead skin cells and replaces it with new ones, and these healthy, new cells are more sensitive and prone to burning from the sun’s rays.” Don’t fret, however, you don’t have to completely abandon your precious retinol in the summer months, just cut the frequency to one or two times a week and wear enough sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat to reduce sun exposure to your face.

More Astringent Cleanser
More humidity means more sweat and more sweat means more shine. However, you can control both shine and sweat with the use of a slightly more acidic cleanser. S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, says, “Spring days become much warmer in the afternoon than the morning. Your cleanser should keep your skin clean and sweat-free throughout the day, which a more acidic cleanser is likely to do.”

How are you changing your skin routine on these warm, lazy days. Let us know what your favorite summer skincare go to’s are!

Surprising Foods With Benefits

Can life possibly get better? First, you find out you can practically live on a diet of stuffed grape leaves and Greek yogurt, and then you find out that dark chocolate can fight free radical damage. At this rate, you’re certain that one day you’ll read a report touting the health benefits of donuts. Unfortunately, if you are counting on this article to be the bearer of that news, you may be sadly disappointed. However, although the perks of fried dough have yet to be discovered, there are some other foods that, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out, are both delicious and nutritious. Here are a few foods with benefits.

Hair
cheese

Cheese
Need a good excuse for ordering extra cheese on that pizza? According to Beautyflash.co.uk, cheese is rich in nutrients that can promote the growth of a long healthy mane.

Oysters
Is it the oysters or is it how good your hair looks? Oysters are rich in zinc which helps strengthen the protein structures in hair follicles, encouraging thick, healthy hair.

Poultry
Keep that head of hair lustrous by eating some poultry. Lack of protein causes the body to ration the protein, which may mean less of it goes to your hair, causing potential hair loss. Eating protein-rich poultry can help counter the damage.

Skin
Avocado and Yogurt

Soy Beans
The high protein and mineral content in soy beans make it a great food for reducing blemishes and evening out skin tone.

Avocados
The healthy fats in this wonderful fruit can help keep your skin plump and moisturized while protecting it from sun damage.

Greek Yogurt
Want to reduce those wrinkles? Get some Greek in you. (Greek yogurt, that is). This protein-packed superfood can make skin firmer and more resistant to wrinkles and lines.

Teeth
green tea

Green Tea
It may be green, but it will keep your teeth white. Studies show that green tea reduces plaque, lower the acidity of saliva, and controls bacteria levels. Research suggests that drinking green tea will make you less prone to tooth decay and gum disease.

Cheese
Now there’s a real reason to say “cheese.’ Cheese is a great source of calcium, which is one of the most vital nutrients for supporting healthy teeth. The gooey stuff is also believed to play a role in raising the pH in your mouth, reducing likelihood of tooth decay.

Strawberries
These beauties contain malic acid, a natural cleanser with enamel whitening abilities.

Nails
Chia seeds and borccoli

Mackerel
The omega-3 fatty acids in mackerel is a great way to put an end to dry and brittle nails.

Chia Seeds
Not only are these seeds packed full of protein, calcium, and magnesium, they also support the production of collagen in your body, helping your nails stay strong and fortified.

Broccoli
If growing long nails is on your list of goals, you should start eating your broccoli. With the aid of an amino acid called cysteine and the benefits of protein, this green veggie may be your key to a perfect 10.

If you’ve got a food that you would like to find out surprising health benefits about, well, we can’t really guarantee it; but, if you’ve been pleasantly surprised to find out your favorite food may be satisfying more than your taste buds, we’d love to know! Tell us what you’re loving to eat and all the fringe benefits that you’re getting while doing it.

Everyday Ingredients To Keep Your Skin Fresh Between Facials

Is there any way to keep your skin looking “fresh from a facial” great every day? Here are some ingredients that will help you do just that.

beautiful woman

Antioxidants
Antioxidants are nutrients found in most plants and are best known for their ability to fight “free radicals.” Free radicals harm DNA, and lead to wrinkles, dry, dull skin, and dark circles around the eyes. To keep skin looking fresh, it is important to not only eat foods rich in these chemicals, but also to use them on your skin.

Alpha Lipoic Acid
This is an antioxidant produced by the body and present in every cell you have. It attacks free radicals and it known for its ability to erase wrinkles and fine lines, shrink pores, and give a healthy glow to the skin.

Green Tea Extract
Tea is rich in free radical-fighting nutrients called polyphenols. Early studies have proven the ingredients in tea able to reduce sun damage and protect from skin cancer when applied topically. Green tea extract can be used under sunscreen to double the protection and, polyphenols, when used in lotions and creams, can reduce skin sagginess and wrinkles.

Retinol
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that boosts collagen production and plumps skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It improves skin tone and reduces dark patches. The stronger counterpoint of retinol is tretinoin, which can improve skin appearance by clearing up acne, slowing aging of skin, and improving unwanted pigmentation.

Portrait of a woman

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a key ingredient in boosting production of collagen and elastin, which depletes with age. Its antioxidants minimize fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.

Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10)
Naturally occurring in your body, CoQ 10 works to destroy free radical in your cells. However, as you age, the amount your body makes decreases, making skin more vulnerable to free radical damage. Creams, gels, and toners containing the antioxidant can be used to supplement the decrease, with one study showing that it can even help to reduce the appearance of “crow’s feet” around the eyes.

Caffeine
Although the jury is still out on whether caffeine is effective when applied to skin, skin care companies have added it to lotions and creams. This is based on the evidence that caffeine may be useful in preventing skin cancer and the deepening of wrinkles, especially “crow’s feet.”

How do you keep that “fresh from the salon glow” every day? You’re looking particularly radiant.

Natural Ingredients That Stimulate Healthy Cell Formation

These days, when the word “cell” is mentioned, most of us are likely to think “phone.” While many of us may argue that cell phones are vital to our well being, there are other kinds of cells that are probably just a little more important. These are the cells in your body; the fundamental units of life form which all your organs and tissues are made.

Like most of our cell phones, the cells of the body are in constant communication with one another, responding to the signals they receive from your environment. If the cells cannot operate efficiently, tissues and organs can breakdown, resulting in a host of health conditions. In order to keep these cells functioning properly you need to keep yourself well nourished. Here are some healthy ingredients you need to ensure that these very important cells continue to serve you well.

whole grains

Whole Grain
Whole foods contain the fullest variety of nutrients, which makes whole grains one of the most complete food sources for healthy cell formation. The three main parts of the whole grain each serve a different purpose, and provide a different complement of vitamins and minerals. The protective bran guards the sprout from sun damage; the germ contains a high level of micronutrients from the vitamin E family, while the endosperm contains the lowest level of nutrients and serves mostly to provide calories for the sprout. While all three parts are used in whole grain food, refined products, such as white bread, use only the endosperm, or starch component of the grain.

Fats and Cell Formation
The fats you eat have a major influence on your cells. As a matter of fact, they become your cell membranes. Unsaturated fats, like the omega-3s in fish and nuts, are needed to give your cell membranes their shape and the ability to communicate with one another. While trans fatty acids, or saturated fats, also become part of your cells membrane, they are less able to respond to signals and can cause cell membranes to become brittle.

Cereals, vegetables, fruits, and grains also have fats to protect cell membrane from damage. These include tocopherals and are found in highest amounts in wheat germ oil, carotenoids, such as beta-carotene in carrots, vitamin C from citrus fruits, and lycopene in tomatoes.

eggs and meat

DNA
DNA is the part of your cell which stores your genetic information, and it is vital that you take steps to make sure its integrity is not compromised. When the structure of DNA breaks down, the body becomes not only unable to produce proteins for proper cell function, but it may cause mutations that lead to cancer. While fats are an integral part of protecting the DNA, it is also important to maintain adequate levels of protein, choline, inositol, carotenoids, and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E.

Healthy DNA also requires an adequate intakes of vitamin B12 and folate, which are involved with repair and replication of DNA. Eggs, meat, fish and dairy are all rich in vitamin B12, while high levels of folate are found in eggs, grains, and green vegetables.

Organic Foods
Since agricultural chemicals are know to damage the function and structure if cells, organically grown foods are recommended to promote healthy cell formation. Studies show that pesticides can overstimulate enzymes which can be a cause of inflammation, and a contributing factor to psoriasis and atherosclerosis,
Organic foods can also minimize DNA degradation. Test tube studies show that agricultural chemicals can lead to genetic mutations leading to the development of cancer and have a negative effect on the production of energy.

Are you keeping your cells healthy? Let us know what you’re eating to keep your cells in tip top shape!

What’s Great About the Kitavan Diet

Let’s take a moment to travel to a timeless, magical place; a place where the water is crystal clear and telecommunication is non-existent. A remote idyllic tropical island, of coral reefs, of Skull Caves, Orchid Gardens, and smiling faces. Welcome to Kitava Island, off the coast of Papua, New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean. While many find the quaintness of the island its most charming attraction, others may argue that Kitava is way ahead of its time. You see, Kitava, New Guinea may not be a leader in technology, but they do have something far superior and way ahead of the times as compared to most other places in the world. It has the Kitavan Diet.

Kitavan diet

Kitavan Diet
Perhaps the most noticeable thing about the Kitavans is what they don’t have; there is practically no diabetes, acne, cardiovascular disease, dementia, or blood pressure difficulty. What they do have, however, is an abundance of food. But, despite this abundance, they do not suffer from obesity, and they all have low diastolic blood pressure.

Research finds that the good health in Kitava is due to the local foods. Fresh fruit, tubers, coconut, and fish make up a good percentage of the Kitavan diet, with an extremely low consumption of Western food. The diet is also virtually absent of dairy products, coffee, tea, and alcohol, and contains very little margarine, oils, sugars, grain, and cereals. The most commonly eaten tubers are yam, sweet potato, cassava and taro, while banana, papaya, guava, pineapple, watermelon, and mango top the list of fruits. The fat intake is low, and most of the fat that is consumed is saturated fat or omega-3 fat from seafood.

Foods with Low GI
Another thing common to the foods found in the Kitavan diet is their low rating on the glycemic index, a measure of the ability of food with carbohydrates to raise glucose, or blood sugar, levels. A diet rich in high GI foods can tax the body, leading to excess body weight, heart disease, increase of diabetic symptoms, high cholesterol levels, and lack of energy. Tubers, which play a large part in the Kitavan diet, are among the islander’s primary source of carbohydrates and have a relatively low GI rating.

Sweet potato

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin C and beta carotene, both known to be powerful antioxidants which protect against aging and cancer. They are also known to increase levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone which offers health benefits to diabetics and pre -diabetics and may also protect against atherogenesis, the abnormal formation of fat deposits within the arteries; this would explain the low incidence of heart disease and diabetes on the island.

Coconuts
Besides having anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, the triglycerides in coconut may promote weight loss. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic disorders found that coconuts increased calorie burn and decreased storage of fat in overweight men. Another study found that the fat consumed in coconut oil could increase the metabolism of fat and calorie expenditure in women.

Coconut

The Kitavan Diet and Acne
In 1990, Swedish general practitioner, Steffan Lindeberg, performed health examinations on more than a thousand Kitavans, age 10 years and older, with 25% of the subjects age 15 to 25 and found not a single case of acne. This is likely attributable to lifestyle and diet, rather than genetic factors, since Pacific Islanders with similar ethnic backgrounds living in more westernized societies were found to have a higher prevalence of acne.

What do you think about the Kitavan diet? Have we got something here? Weigh in with your opinions. We value them highly.

The Benefits Of A Sprinkle Of Chia Seeds

SNL enthusiasts may recall the ‘Chia Head” sketch, featuring Kevin Nealon, Chris Rock, and David Spade as balding men who have “tried everything” and failed miserably in their futile attempts to regrow hair. The commercial spoof shows the actors throwing ineffective hair products in the garbage only to be pleasantly surprised by the discovery of “Chia Head.” This product, much like the “Chia Pet” novelty, requires the men to rub the gloppy formula on their heads, only to wake up the next morning having sprouted plantlike follicles in varying afro-like shapes – the most hilarious of which is probably Chris Rock’s Marge Simpson-inspired beehive-like do.

Funny as the sketch was, it is perhaps more amusing to realize that hair growth is one of the many health benefits of chia seeds. If only the SNL alum had known; a little sprinkle of chia really could’ve gone a long way.

Chia seeds

High in Nutrients, Low In Calories
It’s no accident that “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for strength. These tiny black seeds, related to the mint, contain 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of omega-3s, as well as a decent percentage of calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous. Chia seeds are a gluten-free, GMO-free, whole grain food, and one ounce contains a low 137 calories and one gram of carbohydrate.

Antioxidant Rich
The antioxidants in chia seeds prevent the production of free radicals that can cause damage to cell molecules and contribute to cancer and aging.

Fiber Rich
Although chia seeds have 12 grams of carbs per ounce, 11 of those are fiber, which means that these 11 grams are not digested by the body, do not raise blood sugar, and don’t require insulin for disposal. The high-fiber content means that the seeds can absorb as much as 10 to 12 times their weight in water, thereby increasing fullness, slowing food absorption, and decreasing feelings of hunger. Chia seeds are one of the best fiber sources in the world, helping to feed good bacteria in the intestine and promoting proper digestion.

High In Protein
Chia seeds are about 14% protein by weight and contain a good balance of amino acids, which assists in helping our body to process the proteins in them. High protein can reduce appetite and is shown to lower food cravings by 60% and the need for nighttime snacking by 50%.

Can Improve Athletic Performance
A recent study was conducted to find out if there was truth to the legend that Mayans and Aztecs used chia seeds as high-performance fuel. Six participants were given carb-loaded Gatorade or a mix of Gatorade and chia seeds. After a workout involving an hour on the treadmill followed by a 10-kilometer run, it was discovered that both groups performed equally well, suggesting that the chia seeds were just as effective as Gatorade in fueling athletic performance.

Incorporating Chia Seeds In Your Diet
Chia seed can be eaten raw or added to puddings, porridges, and baked goods. They can be sprinkled on yogurt, cereal, vegetables, and rice and can even be used as egg substitutes because of their ability to absorb water and fat. Recommended dosage is 20 grams, or about 1.5 tablespoons, twice daily.

Do you have any chia-seed recommendations for us? We’d love to hear from you!

Cinnamon sticks and powder

Sprinkle On A Little Cinnamon

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said, “Cinnamon. It should be on tables in restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime someone says, “Oooh, this is so good- what is this?’ The answer invariably comes back, ‘cinnamon.’ Cinnamon. Again and again.” Indeed, one can’t go too wrong with cinnamon. It goes with everything from toast to apples, tea to coffee, rice pudding to noodle pudding. Even Pizza Hut can hardly deny the boost to their sales caused by the addition of cinnamon sticks to their dessert menu. And now cinnamon can add another feather in its cap. It’s good for you!

Source of Antioxidants
Cinnamon is full of antioxidants that protect against free radical damage and slow the process of aging. Researchers have found forty-one protective compounds in the spice, and that’s only to date!

The OTAC scale, used to measure antioxidant concentration ranks cinnamon a respectable number 7 in all herbs, spices, and foods and was the hands down antioxidant- concentration winner in the herbs and spices category, beating out rosemary, thyme and oregano.

Cinnamon in a mug

Inflammatory
The antioxidants in cinnamon also contribute to its anti -inflammatory effects, which can help decrease the risk of cancer, diminish decline of brain function, and heart disease. Research has revealed the presence of over seven kinds of flavanoid compounds in cinnamon, which are known for their ability in fighting disease -causing inflammation throughout the body. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon is also an effective source of pain relief, helping to soothe muscle soreness, allergic reactions, and PMS pains.

Heart Health
Another health benefit of cinnamon is its ability to reduce cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, two of the most common factors for heart disease. Compounds in the spice can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol while stabilizing HDL (good) cholesterol, promoting heart health.

Research also shows cinnamon boosts blood circulation and aids the body in its ability to repair tissue after it’s been damaged, including heart tissue.

Fights Diabetes
Also an effective anti-diabetic, cinnamon can help lower levels of blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. This is because cinnamon is capable of blocking enzymes that allow the blood to absorb glucose, decreasing the amount of sugars that enter the bloodstream, which is especially beneficial to diabetics.

Cinnamon powder

Prevents Cognitive Decline
Cinnamon protects cognitive function by activating proteins that protect brain cells from damage and reduces oxidative stress. Furthermore, its high concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds make it a candidate for possible therapeutic treatment in preventing age-related disease.

Lowers Risk of Cancer
You can also add the ability to lower cancer risk to this spice’s already impressive resume. Cinnamon protects against cell mutation, DNA damage and tumor growth, Studies show that is the compound cinnamaldehyde that is responsible for the inhibition of cancer growth and also the cause of apoptosis, the self-destruction of cancer cells.

Protects Against Bad Breath
Cinnamon Trident, anyone? Studies show cinnamon contains extracts that protect against bacteria that cause bad breath, cavities and tooth decay. Furthermore, the essential oils in cinnamon have proven more potent than any other known plant extracts. It can be used naturally as an anti-bacterial mouthwash and as a flavoring agent in chewing gum to remove oral bacteria.

What do your sprinkle your cinnamon on? Let us know your innovative ways of spicing things up!

Drink Up…It’s National Merlot Day

Merlot wine It all started with the 2004 movie, “Sideways” when the fun loving Jack, played by Thomas Haden Church asks the uptight Miles, played by Paul Giametti to join him for a glass of Merlot. Miles replies by saying, “If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving; I am not drinking any effing Merlot.” What followed was what became known as the “Sideways Effect on Merlot.” Following the movies release, grocery store sales of the wine continued to fall at 1.4% a year after 2005, with many producers blaming the movie.

But, hey, what’s wrong with Merlot? So it may not have a complex flavor, but it is still a highly drinkable and appealing wine. What’s wrong with being easy? If Miles thinks he’s too good to drink it, he’s got self esteem problems. November 7 is National Merlot Day, so if you like Merlot, go out and show off how much self esteem you have.

What is Merlot?
Merlot means “Little Blackbird” in French and is second only to Cabernet Sauvignon as America’s most popular choice of grape. Often described as ripe, elegant and soft, Merlots are easy drinking reds that pair well with food and are also great alone. Because of their approachability, these wines are often recommended to the novice wine drinker as their first red.

merlot wine being poured History of Merlot
The grape was first used to make wine in the 1700’s in the Bordeaux region when it was labeled by a French winemaker as an ingredient in his wine blend. Following this, the grape began to gain popularity throughout Bordeaux and was often celebrated for its ability to bring softness to Cabernet Sauvignon, the favorite grape of the Bordeaux region. In fact, the pairing was so well-liked that it became the main component of the famous and coveted Bordeaux blend, celebrated today by so many of the world’s wine connoisseur.

The Spread of Merlot
With the increasing popularity of the Bordeaux wine, came the increasing popularity of Merlot. Upon its arrival in California in the mid 19th century, American winemakers began to leave the Cabernet Sauvignon out of the blend, making wines completely consisting of Merlot. The grape was easy to grow and American enjoyed it for its low levels of tannin. From its California beginnings, the grape has also taken root in Washington State and New York,
The alcohol content of Merlot is usually at least 13.5%, but can be closer to 14.5% if grown in California, Chile or Australia, in which the weather is warmer.

Merlot with meat pairing Food Pairings
When it comes to foods that complement Merlot, the options are many. Cabernet- like Merlots are similar to Cabernet Sauvignon in that they both of well with charred and grilled meat. Fruitier Merlots with higher acidity are closer to Pinot Noir and will make a good accompaniment for mushroom-based dishes, salmon, radicchio and chards. The lighter bodied Merlots will pair well with shellfish, such as scallops of prawns, especially when dropped in protein-rich foods like prosciutto or bacon. Strong and blue veined cheeses are poor choices when drinking Merlot, as they tend to overwhelm the wine’s natural fruit flavor, while spicy food can bring out the perception of alcohol and make the Merlot taste more bitter and tannic.

Bottom Line? Real men (and women) drink Merlot! So if you love Merlot, go out and indulge this November 7th and get back to us when you feel somewhat human again and let us know how it went! We love to get your input and comments. (Always drink responsibly!)