What Everyone Gets Wrong About Turmeric

I’m a big believer in the healing power of turmeric, mainly because I’ve experienced its effects for myself. Turmeric delivers natural pain relief that’s just as powerful as extra-strength Tylenol or Advil, but without any dangerous side effects. So, what’s the problem?

Well, with all the hype going around, most people don’t actually understand how turmeric works, so they end up using it wrong. This cancels out pretty much all of the benefits you should be getting, so it ends up being a complete waste. If you follow the instructions I’m going to tell you, I promise you will see a night and day difference.

The Real Power Behind Turmeric

When you see fantastic news articles and TV shows raving about the power of turmeric, they’re not wrong. What they don’t often explain, however, it that it’s not the yellow powder on its own that has such a huge effect. The real secret is actually a tiny antioxidant in turmeric called curcumin. This medicinal compound only makes up about 3% of turmeric.

Curcumin is the real powerhouse that shines when it comes to relieving pain. This tiny antioxidant packs a huge punch, fighting inflammation in every part of your body, from joints and muscles to veins and nerves. There are a lot of scientific studies that back up the great effects of turmeric, but most of them focus specifically on curcumin.

The Idea Most People Have

Most people think that it’s enough to add a little turmeric to meals and they’re going to magically get all of the benefits that curcumin offers. They may find a spicy banana smoothie recipe that calls for sprinkling some turmeric on top and think they’re good for the day. Unfortunately, that’s not even close to true.

To enjoy the phenomenal anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric, you need around 500–1,000 mg of curcumin a day. So, how much curcumin is in 1/2 teaspoon (1,000 mg) of turmeric? Just 50–100 mg. That banana smoothie suddenly needs a LOT more turmeric to give you any anti-inflammatory benefits.

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The Right Way To Take Turmeric

Don’t get me wrong, if you want to add turmeric to curry, or drink golden tea, or stir some turmeric into a smoothie, there’s nothing bad about it. Your food will have some extra flavor and you’ll get a small amount of antioxidants, which is better than nothing.

To really experience the benefits of this amazing Indian spice, however, you need to take a supplement. Before you buy, look at the amount of curcumin on the supplement’s label. It should have concentrated turmeric with at least 95% curcuminoids added.


One More Thing

The final thing that most people don’t know is that the body isn’t very good at absorbing turmeric on its own. Most of its antioxidants and vitamins get lost. Adios curcumin and pain relief.

I told you I was going to share all of my secrets, though, so here’s a great one that makes a huge difference: use black pepper extract, or piperine. When you pair turmeric with piperine, suddenly your body can absorb 2,000% times more nutrients! High-quality turmeric supplements should have piperine or BioPerine.

Trust me, just take a supplement. It’s so much easier than trying to think up ways to add a teaspoon of turmeric to everything. And it works!

Are You Eating the 4 Best Foods for a Healthy Immune System?

One of the most import factors in a healthy immune system is your diet. Eating plenty of vitamin-rich foods can strengthen your defenses against germs. Try these four natural-health superstars:

1. Citrus Fruits

Tangy oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons and limes are a delicious way to make meals more exciting. They also give your immune system a lot of vitamin C, one of the most important vitamins for staying healthy. Vitamin C increases production of white blood cells, giving you a tiny army that searches for and destroys viruses.

Easy Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette Recipe

The next time you make a salad, instead of pouring ranch dressing on it, make your own refreshing citrus vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (lemon juice works also)

  • 1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

All you have to do is stir these ingredients together and pour them on your favorite salad.

2. Oysters

Low on zinc? Oysters and other shellfish are a great source of this immune-boosting mineral. Zinc helps the immune system function correctly.

3. Red and Green Bell Peppers

Did you know that bell peppers have even more vitamin C than oranges? They also give your immune system extra vitamin A, an antioxidant. Vitamin A helps build your immune system and makes it react more quickly to infections.

Tip: To get the most nutrients possible, keep these colorful veggies tender and crisp. Enjoy them fresh in salads, sauté them in stir fries or char them lightly on the grill.

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4. Ginger and Garlic

Garlic and ginger are a dynamic duo for enhancing your immune response. Garlic has powerful medicinal properties. Adding fresh garlic to your meals won’t prevent you from getting sick, but it may speed up your recovery.

Ginger is an herb that can neutralize microbes. It increases some of the main lines of defense your body has against infections. This spicy root is packed with nutrients and antioxidants, so it’s not surprising that ginger is so good for you.

Zesty Garlic-Ginger Chicken Soup Recipe

Remember the chicken soup your mother used to make when you were sick with a cold? This is the same thing only even better for your immune system:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic

  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger

  • 1 large red onion, chopped

  • 2 pounds skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), cut into pieces

  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots

  • 1 cup mushrooms

  • 4 cups organic chicken broth

  • 6 cups water

Sauté fresh garlic, ginger and onion in a large pan with olive oil. Cook for 3 minutes.

Add the chicken, water, chicken broth, mushrooms and carrots. After bringing the liquid to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 30–60 minutes. Add salt to taste, along with extra garlic and ginger if you want additional zing.

Enjoy a bowl of soup while it’s pleasantly warm.

The Importance of Good Nutrition for a Healthy Immune System

According to Harvard Medical School, senior adults have a higher chance of getting sick than younger people. This may be because the body produces fewer immune cells. It may also be from vitamin deficiencies. Whatever the cause, as you age, you need to stay focused on eating nutritious superfoods. Healthy foods enhance your immune system and take care of the rest of your body, too.

5 Supplements To Soothe Stress and Ease Anxiety

Supplements

Stress and anxiety can take a major toll on your physical and mental well-being and adversely affect your overall quality of life. The good news is that, while there is no magic pill for mental disorders, there are healthy and natural ways to reduce the symptoms and achieve Zen-like calm. When you pair regular exercise, good eating habits and adequate sleep with the right supplements, you can effectively combat stress and enjoy a more carefree way of living.

5 Best Vitamins and Supplements for Stress and Anxiety

If you’re serious about combatting stress naturally, give the following five supplements a try. Though the names of some are difficult to pronounce, each comes with very real, proven benefits.

Melatonin

It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is key to combatting the effects of stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, individuals who live with either know that good sleep is hard to come by. What’s more is that insufficient sleep can exacerbate the symptoms of stress and anxiety, creating a vicious cycle.

Several studies show that melatonin — which is a hormone the human body naturally produces to regulate sleep-wake cycles — improves the overall quality of sleep in individuals who have primary sleep disorders. Moreover, it helps to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and increases total sleep time.

Rhodiola Rosea

If your stress stems from or causes chronic fatigue or burnout, rhodiola rosea may help. Rhodiola is a natural, non-toxic herb grown in the mountainous regions of Asia and Russia. It contains properties proven to stimulate the stress response system. Short and long-term studies show that 400 mg of rhodiola extract can help improve symptoms of chronic fatigue — such as issues with concentration, short-term memory and sleep — in as little as one week. As use continued, the symptoms continued to decline. A longer study revealed relief of symptoms such as irritability, exhaustion and anxiety.


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Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, or Withania somnifera, is an herb native to India, where citizens have been using it for its soothing properties for millennia. Like with rhodiola, ashwagandha is believed to enhance the body’s ability to resile physical and mental stress. Per one study, supplement with this herb resulted in reduced levels of anxiety, stress and depression, and even reduced morning cortisol levels by as much as 23%. The results of several other studies found that individuals who used the supplement regularly scored better on stress tests.

L-theanine

Though difficult to pronounce, L-theanine is actually quite common and found in many green teas. The amino acid is commonly touted for its ability to relieve stress and promote relaxation without causing any sedative effects. Moreover, a review of 21 studies reveals that drinking green tea with L-theanine correlates directly to improved memory and attention.

L-theanine is effective on its own, too. Per the findings of one study, supplementing 200 mg of the substance daily reduces common measures of stress, including heart rate.

Glycine

Glycine is another amino acid with stress-relieving effects. Studies show that glycine encourages a good night’s sleep by calming the brain and lowering the body’s core temperature. Findings from a few different studies reveal that just 3 grams of glycine before bedtime lead to increased awareness and decreased fatigue the next day and better overall quality of sleep.

The Bottom Line

Supplements are a great way to relieve the effects of stress and anxiety and reduce the frequency of attacks. If either impacts your overall quality of life, give one of the above five supplements a try.

Start These Six Habits Now To Prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder

Do you tend to feel down when the sun starts to set earlier in the day? Do you find that symptoms of depression go away in the summer and come back in the winter like clockwork? You might have seasonal affective disorder, commonly called SAD, a type of depression that peaks during the shorter days of autumn and winter. If you're dreading the darker days because you experience the symptoms of SAD, such as low energy, depression or sluggishness, try these six smart techniques to reduce the effects of limited sunlight on your mood.

Step Into the Light

Scientists think that the symptoms of SAD stem from a lack of natural light, so sunlight exposure is an easy way to ward off these unpleasant effects. Even if it doesn't get dark before dinner yet, get in the habit of taking a walk each day while the sun's out. Whether you prefer a morning ramble or a lunchtime stroll, time your outdoor activity to max out on sunlight. If it's covered by clouds, you should still feel the effects of light exposure. Even just 10 or 15 minutes can make a difference in your demeanor.

You should also invest in a lightbox that produces at least 10,000 lumens. These nifty appliances mimic the effects of sunlight when the day is gray.

Balance Your Diet

Having the right nutrients in your body can make a big difference in depression symptoms. For example, if you have sad, you might crave sweet foods like ice cream or starchy foods like pasta and mashed potatoes. Giving in to those urges can lead to fatigue and weight gain. Instead, boost your energy with an array of rainbow-colored fruits and veggies, healthy nuts and seeds, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy.

Save the special treats for holiday celebrations, when they'll feel more festive.

Grab a Supplement

If your depression causes you to lose your appetite, consider taking multivitamins or supplements to get the nutrients you need to function. Some researchers think that a lack of vitamin D plays a role in SAD. You can get this nutrient from fatty fish, eggs, liver and fortified foods, or from a nutritional supplement. Omega-3 fatty acid intake may also reduce depression symptoms.

Sweat It Out

Have you heard of a runner's high? Exercise helps the body produce endorphins, hormones that make us feel good and offer an energy increase. Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee when you have the afternoon blahs, try jogging around the block a few times or finding a quick dance workout video on YouTube. Try to stick to the federal recommendation of at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week. When you get your heart pumping, you may find it reduces the effects of SAD.

Become a Social Butterfly

OK, so you don't necessarily have to fill up your event calendar, especially if you're not thrilled about heading out in winter weather. Just meeting a friend for coffee and conversation once a week or so can seriously improve your outlook when you're struggling with SAD. Virtual connection counts too! Schedule a Zoom call with your long-distance bestie or text a family member you haven't seen in person lately.

Know When To Get Help

Make a plan so you seek help for SAD if the symptoms get out of control despite your best efforts. If you don't notice a change in your symptoms after two weeks of these self-care measures, talk to your health care provider. He or she can recommend the best course of treatment for your seasonal depression, often a combination of antidepressants and behavioral therapy.

Sometimes, SAD can cause thoughts of suicide. Get help right away if you have thoughts about hurting yourself. Go to the emergency room or call your doctor.