The Six Healthiest Staple Foods in Middle Eastern Cuisine

The Six Healthiest Staple Foods in Middle Eastern Cuisine

Middle Eastern cuisine encompasses the fresh ingredients and aromatic flavors used by countries such as Syria, Morocco, Lebanon, Israel, Armenia, Turkey and, to some extent, Greece. Always full of fresh herbs, warm spices and savory flavors, typical Middle Eastern meals include salads, vegetables, bread and sometimes a small amount of meat.

An abundant mezzes course (mezzes are appetizers similar to tapas) commonly precedes the meal, and it’s not uncommon for restaurants to advertise 70 mezzes or more. In fact, Middle Eastern meals were said to be so lavish that French Crusaders brought the Persian word for stew, “ghormeh,” back to the western world, where it took on its present-day meaning: gourmet.

Middle Eastern cuisine is also quite healthy, and increasing numbers of Americans are indulging in the once-exotic flavors of Middle Eastern favorites like hummus, baba ghannouj and tabbouleh. If you’re interested in tasting some Middle Eastern flavors for yourself, start with these six healthy staple foods, then check out the two recipes below.

1. Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)

Chickpeas, with their subtle nutty flavor and buttery texture, are used as a main ingredient in hummus, a rich garlicky dip that’s growing in popularity here in the United States, and falafel, ground chickpeas and spices that are fried and eaten as a street food or fast food in much of the Middle East. Chickpeas are also popular in soups, stews and side dishes.

Health Benefits: Chickpeas contain healthy nutrients including protein, manganese, folate, tryptophan, copper, phosphorus and iron. Plus, they’re an excellent source of fiber, which is known to help lower cholesterol, fight heart disease and stabilize blood sugar levels.

2. Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste)

Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, is mixed with chickpeas as a key ingredient in hummus and is also often used in the eggplant dip baba ghannouj. Tahini is also part of a popular sesame confection called halvah, and is mixed with lemon juice and used as a sauce for meats, vegetables and salads.

Health Benefits: Sesame seeds contain beneficial fibers called sesamin and sesamolin, both of which belong to the lignan group. These substances help lower cholesterol and have been found to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E in animals. Sesamin also protects the liver from oxidative damage. Sesame seeds are also rich in manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, vitamin B1 and zinc.

3. Mint

Fresh mint leaves are a popular herb in Middle Eastern cooking, used in tabbouleh salad, yogurt sauces, vegetable dishes, soups and beverages, including a strong mint tea, which is traditionally offered to arriving guests.

Health Benefits: Aside from being a good source of manganese, vitamin C and vitamin A, the peppermint oil in fresh mint leaves is soothing for the stomach — it’s been found to relieve irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, colonic muscle spasms and more. It also contains potent phytonutrients that have been found to protect against cancer, neutralize free radicals, and benefit asthma and allergies. And, peppermint oil is anti-microbial, which means it can stop the growth of various types of bacteria and fungus.

4. Eggplant

Eggplant is perhaps the most commonly consumed vegetable in Middle Eastern cuisine, and is the featured ingredient in baba ghannouj (eggplant dip). It’s served grilled, stewed, fried and even pickled in a number of dishes, or on its own.

Health Benefits: Nasunin, a phytonutrient found in the eggplant’s skin, is an antioxidant that protects against free radical damage and protects the fats in brain cell membranes. Eggplants also contain chlorogenic acid, which is known to have anti-cancer, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties, as well as help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. They’re also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, copper and vitamin B1.

5. Cumin

Cumin, a spice with a nutty, peppery flavor, is used in whole-seed and ground form to flavor a host of Middle Eastern dishes. Cumin is so popular in some Middle Eastern regions that it’s kept in a shaker on the table, as salt and pepper are kept in the United States.

Health Benefits: Cumin is rich in iron, which is excellent for energy and keeping the immune system healthy. It is also known to benefit the digestive system, as cumin may stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes that help with digestion and nutrient assimilation. Cumin may also have cancer-fighting properties.

6. Turmeric

Ground turmeric, which lends a characteristic yellow color to foods, is used in many Middle Eastern meat and vegetable dishes. It has a peppery, slightly bitter flavor that is a staple ingredient in curries.

Health Benefits: Turmeric is a nutrition powerhouse. Most notably, it contains curcumin, which gives it not only its color but also many of its health benefits. Turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties and has been found to be helpful in fighting inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It may also provide cardiovascular and liver protection..

story and photo source: http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/06/09/20/the_six_healthiest_staple_foods_in_middle_eastern_cuisine.htm

5 Easily Forgotten Issues That May Impact Your Mental Health

5 Easily Forgotten Issues That May Impact Your Mental Health

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Mental health is a big talking point in modern society. Despite noticeable efforts to promote good health, millions of people find themselves in trouble. The issues may range from minor frustrations to significant faults. Either way, ensuring that you’ve paid attention to the little items that could be impacting your mindset is essential.

There are many influential features to consider, but here are five that people are most likely to overlook. Whether it’s a precautionary measure or attending to existing concerns, this info could change things for the better.   

Staying Physically Active

A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. However, it’s not only the rewards of seeing a better reflection in the mirror that should encourage you to stay fit and healthy. Exercise directly benefits your mental health and general positivity levels by releasing endorphins. Besides, cycling, swimming, or team sports are all fantastic hobbies. Having something to look forward to at the end of a hard day’s work can be one of the most rewarding elements of all.

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Losing Financial Control

Stress is the biggest danger to your mental health, and money worries are the most common source of it. While you don’t need to be rich, you do need to regain control. Experts at http://www.debtconsolidation.co/debt-relief/ can provide great help. Simply reducing your monthly bills and learning to make your money last longer can have a telling influence on the situation. In turn, this should promote reduced stress levels and increased mental health.

Not Getting Enough Sunlight

Everyone knows that it’s important to take care in the sun. This is especially true for those with fair skin. However, this should not be an excuse to stay locked up inside. Regular exposure to the sun can bring a host of health benefits, and the emotional ones are huge. The fact that gaining a tan will boost your self-confidence thanks to the improves appearance too, relegating this mistake to the past is vital. Even if it means going for a walk on your lunch break.

Staying Needlessly Loyal

Whether it’s a friendship or a relationship, it has to be a two-way street. If you are continually giving without anything in return, it may be time to take a step back. Visit https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/ to discover the warning signs. There’s no question that it can be difficult and leave you feeling guilty. Once you pass through those initial moments, though, it’s likely that your life will improve. Positivity breeds positivity. Do not forget it.

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Not Sharing Your Problems

While the stigma surrounding mental health conditions has become a thing of the past, many people still bottle up their problems. In many cases, it won’t even start out as a mental health issue and could be related to relationships, money worries, or physical concerns. Left untreated, they can quickly take over your life. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. Whether speaking to an expert or a friend, it could be the key to keeping your emotions under control.  

 

Or if you have a genuine mental health condition, getting professional treatment is vital.

The Health Benefits of Pomegranates

The Health Benefits of Pomegranates

My kids love pomegranates as most do.if you love them too you will be happy to know they have great health benefits. I was recently told of a study with pomegranate juice that showed that a small amount of the juice a day actually increased the health of arteries in heart patients. The study was done using POM juice but I think any pomegranate juice would help as long as its 100% pomegranate juice. I noticed that companies are adding pomegranate powder to their natural health products now more than ever. I usually have a container filled with pomegranate seeds in my fridge for my kids to eat. You can make it a fun thing for the kids to buy a bunch of pomegranates and open them and just fill a container with the seeds to have around as a snack.

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Pomegranate is considered the Fruit of Paradise in most cultures and that isn’t surprising considering the number of health benefits it offers. With its sweet, crunchy and tangy combination, pomegranates are the perfect snack. Pomegranates are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Believe it or not, this fruit contains almost three times as many antioxidants as green tea. Over the years, pomegranate seeds have been known as a symbol of health in Ayurvedic medicine for fighting off a number of diseases. Here are some of the health benefits of pomegranates:

Combats Heart Disease
Pomegranate juice helps regulate blood flow by boosting the circulatory system. This helps reduce the risk of heart diseases and strokes. As mentioned earlier, pomegranates are packed with antioxidants.. Antioxidants prevent clots in the blood vessels and also reduce the risk of high blood pressure. In addition, pomegranate also has blood thinning properties which further reduce the risk of hypertension.

Prevents Cancer
Pomegranate contains a high number of flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidants which are equipped with cancer fighting properties that counteract various cancer radicals. Whether it is prostate cancer, skin cancer, breast cancer or lung cancer, a glass of pomegranate juice is highly recommended for people who suffer from high risk of developing cancer. In addition, regular consumption of pomegranate juice also reduces PSA levels that aids in combating existing cancer cells present in the body and also inhibits the growth of tumor cells.

Boosts Your Immune System
Pomegranate seeds are rich with anti-inflammatory compounds that keep you healthy and prevent immune related diseases. They are also rich in vitamin C that boosts your immune system and promotes the production of antibodies. A daily glass of pomegranate juice can thus help you maintain a healthy immune system.

Lowers Stress Levels
In addition to reducing oxidative stress, pomegranate juice also helps reduce stress levels. According to a study conducted by the Queen Margaret University, people who drank pomegranate juice on a regular basis were least likely to develop cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone which is found in increased amounts under stressful conditions. Pomegranate juice has been known to reduce levels of postmenopausal depression.

Prevents Stomach Disorders
The peel, bark and leaves of this fruit are also beneficial for your health as they have been known for reducing the risks of stomach disorders. Add some pomegranate juice in your tea to enhance flavor and cure digestive problems. Pomegranate juice is also known for reducing the risk of diarrhea and handling problems, such as dysentery and cholera.

Prevents Plaque Formation
Believe it or not, pomegranate juice can be used as mouthwash to improve your oral health. Pomegranate juice contains certain chemicals that helps break down plaque and exhibits anti plaque properties. Drinking pomegranate juice may reduce the risk of plaque formation by about 84%.

Reduces the Risk of Osteoarthritis
Pomegranate juice has a variety of properties that reduces the risk of osteoarthritis and atherosclerosis diseases as it prevents the damaging and thickening of arterial walls in the cartilage and joints. Pomegranate also contains properties that help break down connective tissues within the body.

Aids in Weight Loss and Weight Management
Considering its small size, pomegranate seeds are surprisingly packed with high amounts of fiber. High fiber foods help keep your stomach full for longer periods of time, which keeps you from overeating. Pomegranate seeds make the perfect low calorie snack. They offer a variety of health benefits and are delicious as well.

Reduces the Risks of Diabetes
Drinking a glass of pomegranate juice on a daily basis may help reduce the risk of diabetes and also prevent coronary heart diseases. Because of its blood thinning properties, pomegranate juice prevents hardening of the arteries and inhibits various heart diseases.

Results in Healthier Skin
If you are worried about wrinkly skin, drinking a glass of pomegranate juice may help you look younger. Certain compounds found in pomegranate juice, such as Polyphenolic compounds, can prevent the process of aging, making your skin look younger and more radiant than ever. So, if you are worried about looking older than you actually are, incorporating more pomegranates into your diet is a great idea.

These are some of the health benefits of pomegranates. As you can see, this fruit can benefit your overall health and improve a majority of the bodily functions, making it one of the healthiest fruits on the planet. So, there is no reason why should not try and incorporate it in your diet.

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Sources:
http://www.thehealthsite.com/fitness/health-benefits-of-pomegranates-sa214/

7 Amazing Benefits of Pomegranates


photo source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomegranate

Amazing Health Benefits Of The Sun

Amazing Health Benefits Of The Sun

Did you know that the sun is amazing for your health?

Yep, that’s right. Not only does everyone love being out in the summer sunshine for fun, but you have a bigger excuse to get outside because it can offer many amazing benefits to your body. Here are some of the top health benefits of being in the sun, and make sure that you take advantage of every bit of sun you see this year!

It lowers blood pressure

Exposure to sunlight can be incredibly beneficial for people who suffer from high blood pressure. When sunlight hits your skin, it causes a compound called nitric oxide to be released into our bloodstream. This compound is instrumental in lowering the pressure of blood flow around the body. If you or a family member has issues with their blood pressure, the best thing you can do is take them outside for a walk in the sun.

Stronger Bones

Pretty much everyone knows that exposure to the sun helps promote the creation of Vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is an important vitamin for us to have because it helps our bodies to repair after injury, it can heal muscles and joints, and promotes strong bones. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of both calcium and phosphorus in the body, and both of these minerals are used to keep our bones strong and healthy throughout our lives. This means that the more time you spend in the sun, the less likely you are to break a bone.

Improves memory

This is a fact we bet you wish you had known during your school years! Staying in the sun for long periods of time can produce lots of Vitamin D in the body, and Vitamin D has been directly linked to our brain function. When you have a higher level of Vitamin D in the body, you are able to learn, process and retain information much easier. It is the perfect excuse to stay sunbathing outside during your exam study period!

Helps with depression

The sun is not only good for our physical health, it can be amazing for our mental health too. During the winter months, many people suffer from a genuine mental condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It makes us feel more stressed out and depressed during the time where we are stuck inside. If you want to reduce stress and help yourself with the symptoms of depression, take a plane to Marriott’s Marbella Beach Resort and give yourself a week of sun therapy. When you come home you will feel much better, we promise.

You’ll get more sleep

When we are exposed to sunlight, the light which hits our eyes sends a signal to our brain to halt the production of a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone which makes us feel relaxed and also drowsy, so during the day the levels will stay low, and as soon as the sun goes down the levels will rise to ensure that we have enough in our bodies during the evening. This stops our levels from depleting at night and helps us fall asleep much more easily. When you have spent a day out in the sun you are much more likely to get a good night’s sleep.

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How You Can Look After Your Mental Health Better

How You Can Look After Your Mental Health Better

Can you say for sure that you’re paying as much attention to your mental health as you really should? Lots of people think they do, but in reality, it’s nothing more than an afterthought for them. Contrary to what many think, you should be paying as much attention to your mental health as any other aspect of your health. So if you’re not sure how to get better at this, here’s how to look after your mental health better than you currently are.

Talk to People

If you isolate yourself too much and don’t allow yourself to reach out to other people, you will eventually realise that you don’t have the support system you need in order to keep your mental health balanced and positive. So don’t be afraid to talk to people when you need to. Those around you will be happy to listen. And if you don’t feel able to talk to friends or family, there are charities that have people who can listen to you when you feel vulnerable.

Avoid Unhelpful Triggers

Many people know that certain things make them feel down and damage their mental, and these are the things that should be avoided. They’re unhelpful triggers that should be cut out whenever possible. It could be drinking too much alcohol, for instance. Alcohol is a know depressant, so it’s something that definitely can trigger negative emotions and feelings if you consume too much of it.

Find Time and Places for Real Relaxation

Sometimes, you simply need to break out of your ordinary routines in order to find the time to relax. This could mean simply prioritising yourself and focusing on your own relaxation. Or it could mean heading out to a luxury hotel for the night, slipping on those hotel slippers and kicking back away from your normal surroundings. A change or scenery really can make a difference.

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Learn How to Manage the Stress in Your Life

Learning to manage your stress levels is one thing that you can actively do to make your mental health more balance and secure. We all experience stress in one way or another, so it definitely makes sense to learn more about how you can actively combat it day to day.

Try Meditation and Mindfulness

Simple things like meditation and mindfulness can really help you to get back in control of your life if you feel like this is something you’ve lost over time. There’s nothing at all wrong with giving it a try, even you think it won’t do much for you. You won’t know for sure until you try, and you might just be surprised.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and you should never allow yourself to forget that fact. Too many people ignore this aspect of their health, and you should try to avoid falling into that trap yourself. You will only make your life more difficult if you do, and that’s not necessary.

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All the Amazing Health Benefits of Matcha Tea

All the Amazing Health Benefits of Matcha Tea

If you’re not acquainted with matcha tea yet, you need to be. Matcha tea powder is a fine-ground, luminous green ingredient made from pure tea leaves, originally grown in China. In recent years its popularity has spread throughout the western world for its energy-boosting properties and antioxidant content.

People all over the world are swapping their caffeine-rich coffee habits for the healthy energy enhancement it gives, while containing half the amount of caffeine of an average cup of black coffee. Mix into a tea or latte for an instant delicious drink. After reading all about this super-tea, you’ll be hooked!

Try today and have your All the Amazing Health Benefits of Matcha Tea own ‘Matcha Moment’ – trying the tea for the first time and being blown away, according to the creators of this excellent guide to the best matcha. Check out the guide for a rating of the greatest brands of powdered tea on the market to help you decide which to try. Read on for all the amazing health benefits contained in matcha tea, besides perking you up in the mornings.

Improves Metabolism
Matcha contains epigallocatechin gallate (more commonly known as EGCG) – an amino acid that increases fat oxidation when present in the body during exercise. In simple terms, this means that the process of burning body fat through exercise is sped up when EGCG is ingested; and this is present in abundance in matcha tea. For anyone looking to kickstart their metabolism and get an energy boost before a workout, have a hot cup of matcha before setting off for the gym.

Strengthens the Immune System
Sustain your immune system by drinking regular cups of matcha. No one likes being ill and having to miss work commitments or social occasions because you’re too sick to leave the house. Help to prevent this by eating and drinking as many antioxidant-filled foods as possible.
Matcha contains the aforementioned EGCG amino acid, as well as polyphenols and catechins, which the body utilizes to help fight infection and ward off illness. If you work in a cramped office prone to colds and flu, or have a small child who picks up all the coughs and sniffles going around, keep some matcha tea powder to hand at all times!

Helps to Clear Skin
Bright-green matcha tea contains heaps of chlorophyll, which is the agent in the plant that allows it to absorb the sun’s rays and kickstart photosynthesis. This is obviously great for plants, but when used in humans, it helps to rid your skin of any dirt and toxins and protect it from chemicals. It is also said to prevent and treat sun damage when mixed into a paste and smoothed into skin – though make sure you always use a high SPF cream when you’re exposed to the sun.
It can also fight acne and signs of ageing when applied to the skin. For these reasons, matcha is commonly used in skincare products like face masks that you can pick up at beauty counters and in drugstores.

Detoxifies the Body
Matcha is rich in antioxidants, and due to its high concentration of nutrients, can actually contain the same amount of antioxidants in one cup as ten cups of regular green tea! It’s highly effective for flushing out toxins from your body after an indulgent weekend or just when you’re feeling run down. Put a spring back in your step with a shot of energy and nutrients with a matcha brew.

Increases focus
Caffeine has been found to improve a person’s memory and focus. To give yourself a boost in the morning or during the working day, particularly in the afternoon when people tend to feel the most sluggish, brew yourself a pot of matcha to see you through until home time.

Promotes well-being
Matcha tea contains the amino acid l-theanine, which is found to improve a person’s sense of calm while maintaining alertness and not causing drowsiness, as some calming medicines can do. This makes it a perfect soothing natural remedy for nervousness or mild anxiety.

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