Posts tagged steph jackson

Magnesi-yum by Steph Jackson

Magnesi-yum by Steph Jackson
http://www.stephjackson.com

Magnesium

So essential for so many of our daily activities and yet somehow so lacking for so many people. I attribute it to a combination of poor digestion/absorption and what I call the beige-food diet, lacking in fresh greens. Today we will discuss why magnesium is so amazing for us, where to get it from whole raw vegan foods and what it sometimes looks like to not have enough of this wonder-mineral.

More than half of the magnesium in our bodies is in our bones, a quarter of it in our soft tissues and fluids and another quarter in our muscles. Magnesium is partly responsible for maintaining cells’ electrical charges and also enables our cells to reproduce. Magnesium is important in energy production and protein forming. Magnesium is responsible for proper muscle function and proper insulin function. Now that’s important! With the ability to alter our metabolism and make our muscles (including our hearts) work properly, magnesium is the second-most prevalent mineral in our bodies after potassium.

A University of Virginia study followed people with adequate levels of magnesium for a fifteen year period and found that they had a 31% lower chance of developing Metabolic Syndrome compared to the rest of the population studied. Insulin resistance also burns up magnesium in the body leading to quite the downward spiral. In a separate double-blind study supplementation with Magnesium was shown to improve markers for metabolic syndrome in individuals that were previously deficient.

Some foods that are highest in magnesium are spinach, kale, collard greens, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, dried figs and chocolate. The nuts and seeds can be soaked and sprouted to reduce the phytic acid, making the magnesium more absorbable but soaking chocolate doesn’t really work out. I try to remember that chocolate is high in magnesium but much of it is difficult for us to absorb. Of course I love green juice but green smoothies and soups can also be great ways to get some green power. Popeye obviously had the right idea, strong and smart too 🙂 Watch this video http://stephjackson.com/videos/ to learn more about how magnesium boosts the brain.

Magnesium deficiency can appear in the form of blood sugar dysregulation as we discussed above and also in poor memory, fatigue, dizziness, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, tremors, cramps, weakness and deficiencies of other minerals such as potassium and calcium. Magnesium can help with sleep and depression. There is a reason why the brand “natural calm” has that name. Magnesium can also be rubbed into the skin “transdermally” or, of course obtained from our favourite green foods.
See this recipe http://stephjackson.com/green-homous/ for a magnesium-rich dip.

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3 Antibacterial Herbs for Everyday -Steph Jackson

3 Antibacterial Herbs for Everyday by Steph Jackson
http://www.stephjackson.com

Are you interested in keeping your detox delicious? Would you like to bring bad bacteria into balance while enjoying delicious food too? Many of the most delicious herbs that we love to use in food preparation are also powerful antibacterial herbs with many other benefits. These herbs give our foods their distinctive character and flavour. In this article you will learn three of my favourite antibacterial kitchen herbs that can be used every day.

1. Ginger
Ginger has been used for thousands of years for its antimicrobial properties and has been carried around in my purse from time to time for three years. Some people carry Advil and I carry plants… Ginger has several other important properties that can be considered when choosing this herb. Ginger has also been used for its anti-inflammatory, warming, circulatory stimulating and expectorant properties. People use ginger to help stimulate faster removal of a cold or flu or for arthritis, headaches or circulation issues particularly at the extremities. Ginger can be great for pain because it does quite well with reducing inflammation which causes us to feel the pain in the first place. As usual of course finding and addressing the cause of the inflammation along with reducing it is usually a good idea but for me ginger works well for those little aches and pains. I often take ginger as a tea or a fresh juice and really enjoy it because I can really use its warming and stimulating properties along with its antimicrobial benefits. The character of the fresh juice is very very different from the character of the boiled root in a tea or a straight ginger/garlic “soup”. The rest of my family really loves those ginger candies but I’m not convinced they are really doing anything helpful and I haven’t been able to create an amazing sugar-free alternative! Some people take ginger before bed to stimulate motility in the digestive tract which can be very helpful to keep food moving so that it does not feed the bad bacteria in an unhealthy way. If this sounds like the right herb for you give ginger a try!

2. Rosemary
Rosemary, the herb of remembrance. I love to drink just straight rosemary tea or mix it with my peppermint. It is wonderful. Rosemary increases the flow of oxygen to areas all over the body including the mind. This may be why it seems to bring increased mental clarity. I know I love to drink rosemary tea when I am doing some thinking, writing or planning articles. Rosemary has been used for circulation problems just like our other two herbs ginger and cinnamon. Rosemary is warming as well. Rosemary has been used for cramping including in the digestive system as well as bloating. I have included rosemary here because it has antibacterial and anti fungal properties and has been used for candida, both the oil and the herb itself. There is some evidence that rosemary does not kill the friendly flora in the body but only the pathogenic bacteria and yeasts. A word of warning is that although some rosemary essential oils are edible they are strong medicine so make sure to start slowly and take care of yourself. Try mixing the fresh herb with others in salad dressings or marinating mushrooms with it. I love rosemary with lime and berries in desserts.

3. Cinnamon
Another stimulating, warming, drying herb, cinnamon has so many virtues I’m not sure where to get started. It does have those antimicrobial qualities that we are looking for here and of course tastes really good in a chai tea… It has blood sugar lowering properties and has been used for its astringent qualities too. Astringents can actually help tissues to heal. Cinnamon is one of the arch enemies of the evil candida, the scourge of the digestive tract 🙂 It is slightly demulcent so can create a bit of a healing soothing gel as it travels through the body and this is often overlooked because of its many other amazing properties. Cinnamon has been used as a blood thinner. Cinnamon can be taken as a tea or a tincture and of course in my favourite foods. I do love the spicy… Cinnamon has also been used to increase circulation. It is sometimes used as an anti-diarrhea herb although I have no personal experience with it in this way. Cinnamon is often included in toothpaste, rinses and other tooth products because of its antibacterial and astringent properties. Cinnamon is high in nutrients and antioxidants just in case you needed another reason! I find cinnamon also a sneaky way to cover up the flavours of other herbs if I am trying to feed them to my pickier family members because of its strong yet familiar flavour. Many of the studies featuring cinnamon for the uses above have been using more concentrated encapsulated doses but it is my personal belief that using cinnamon as a culinary spice has many many great benefits including the ones we have talked about and more.

Each with its own distinctive flavour the power of the herbs above cannot be overstated… And I bet you have them in your kitchen right now. Enjoy your cup of chai tea or rosemary marinated vegetables knowing you are bringing balance to your digestion and enjoying the myriad health benefits these herbs possess.

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