Drink More Green Juice, Build More Resistance Against Pollutants

Kale Juice

In 2012, Tampa’s air quality was graded “F” for ozone pollution – and “F” doesn’t stand for “Fun.” Some environmentalists say that Tampa has the worst air quality in all of Florida (don’t feel too bad – we’re still ahead of Los Angeles and Atlanta). But what can you do if the air you breathe is toxic?

A lot.

I’m excited about  a recent clinical trial that proves what I’ve been saying all along: Juice is a powerful way for your body to cure itself! In the study, 300 Chinese adults drank either broccoli sprout juice for three months, or pineapple and lime juice for three months. Researchers tested the urine of both groups for two harmful chemicals found in air pollution (China has one of the worst air pollution levels of any country in the world) and found that the broccoli-imbibing group excreted much more benzene and acrolein than their pineapple-sipping pals.

Yes, Broccoli Juice effectively detoxes your body of two of the most common air pollutants.

Although broccoli was the hero of this study, the same compounds responsible for detoxing are also found in kale and cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy). The magic ingredient is glucoraphanin, which when eaten, causes another compound, sulforaphane, to flush out pollutants from the body.

The Best Part

The longer participants drank broccoli sprout juice, the more they excreted those pollutants – the rate of excretion of benzene increased 61 percent, and acrolein excretion increased 23 percent over the 12 week study. One of the researchers, Thomas Kensler, was quoted by NPR as saying:

“We thought the pathway might respond initially, and then the [compounds] would wear out their welcome and the body would tune out, but the effect was just as vigorous at the beginning as at the end, which suggests that over one’s lifetime, you could enhance this preventative activity in the body [with food].”

It’s official: The more green juice you drink, the more effective it is. Stock up today

 

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4 Worth Trying: Natural Cures for the Common Cold

Lemon water for colds

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

Colds don’t just hit during the winter months – no, summer colds are equally likely. Maybe even more likely, if you sit in an air-conditioned office all day, alternating between dry cold and the humid heat of outdoors. If this summer finds you afflicted, then at the first sign of symptoms, give these natural cures for the common cold a try. They just might work to head it off, or at least encourage that virus to move along a little faster!

Juice it Out

We have a wide variety of immune system bolstering juices at Intelligent Gourmet, and not all of them include OJ. In fact, one of my favorites might surprise you: Spicy Lemonade. Your body chemistry is affected by everything you eat, and if you’ve been eating a diet a little too high in processed foods and sugar, you could create an acidic internal environment that is a breeding ground for viruses. Drinking lemon juice (minus the sugar of traditional lemonade) helps swing your chemistry back the other way, creating an alkaline environment that is not friendly to sickness. My Spicy Lemonade also has chili pepper which not only feels great on a sore throat and gets congestion moving, it also jump starts your metabolism.

Supplement Your Immune System

Vitamin C, Echinacea, and Zinc have all been lauded for their cold-soothing properties. The first two boost the immune system response, and Zinc is anti-viral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. The trick to taking Zinc is to look for supplements made with zinc acetate or zinc gluconate – studies have shown that these are more effective than zinc glycinate or zinc citrate.

Chicken Soup for the Body & Soul

Your mother brought you chicken soup when you were sick, and science backs up her home remedy. Chicken soup has cysteine, a natural amino acid released as the chicken cooks that thins out lung secretions so they don’t clog air passages, and helps you cough them up (ridding your body of infected fluid). Chicken soup also has carrots, which boost vitamin A, which helps prevent and fight infection by supporting white blood cell function. Not willing to sacrifice a chicken to the cause? Cysteine is similar to the prescription drug acetylcysteine, usually given to bronchitis patients. However, don’t just buy any chicken soup in a can – read the ingredients label! Chicken soup can be packed with too much salt, preservatives, modified starches, and even MSG. The good news is, chicken soup is easy to make at home. Cook a delicious chicken dinner the night before, and use the leftover carcass the next day to make your very own broth. You’ll need a big pot, 6-8 cups water, carrots, onions and celery, sea salt to taste, a dash of turmeric and about 3 hours minimum of boiling time. If the flavor isn’t rich enough, you can boost it with good quality organic store-bought chicken stock (but check the label!).

Good Old-Fashioned Sunshine

When you’re coming down with a cold, you’re probably tempted to curl up on your couch and marathon through the last season of Downton Abbey. But, recent studies of the effect of vitamin D on respiratory infections indicate that fresh air and sunshine are a better cure. One study reported that people with low vitamin D levels had significantly more cases of cold and flu. The most effective way to get vitamin D is to soak up the sun – without sunscreen – for about 30 minutes a day. You can’t overdose on sun, but you can on supplements.

The Health Benefits of Fresh Herb Tea

Health Benefits of Fresh Herb Tea

Summer gardens are in their full glory. The roses are blooming, the lavender is buzzing with bees, and citrus trees are bowing under the weight of their tangy fruit. And did you know you can make tea out of all of them? No drying required. The many health benefits of fresh herb tea are well worth a foraging run into your backyard garden. It’s quick, easy, and intensely satisfying.

The Health Benefits of Fresh Herb Tea

In general, the health benefits of fresh herb teas come from their higher concentration of essential oils. When you pick the plants straight from the garden, their oils are in their purest forms, giving you greater benefits than dried herb teas. And, let’s not forget about the benefits of aromatherapy (fresh herb teas smell wonderful!). Lavender and chamomile calms, orange invigorates, lemon balm helps with mood and concentration, peppermint wakes you up, etc.

The Easiest Fresh Herbs to Use in Tea

Mint – Peppermint tea relieves muscle spasms, nausea, gas and bloating.

Chamomile – Chamomile tea helps calm mind and body, perfect for a restful night’s sleep. But did you know it’s also an anti-inflammatory? You can use it to sooth sore throats and coughing too.

Lavender – Lavender promotes relaxation, reducing anxiety, stress and depression. You can also use it to sooth indigestion and nervous stomach, and prevent gastric ulcers.

Lemon Balm – Minty and lemony in flavor, Lemon Balm helps improve concentration, and some say helps lift the spirits.

Stevia – Everyone knows stevia as a natural, no-calorie sweetener, but it also has health benefits! It’s anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-microbial, anti-glycemic, and contains anti-oxidants.

Rosemary – Rich in antioxidants, rosemary also supports digestion and increases blood circulation to the brain (helping with cognitive function).

Thyme (or Lemon Thyme) – Thymol, one of the oils in thyme, is a powerful antioxidant, and studies indicate that it can increase omega-3 fatty acids in the brain, which may help curb age-related dementia.

How to Brew Fresh Herb Tea

Fresh herbs have a more gentle flavor than their dried and bagged descendants, and for two good-sized mugs (or 4 dainty teacups), you’ll want a large handful – roughly about 1 cup of loosely gathered fresh leaves. From there, the flavor profile is only limited to your supplies and imagination. I love a mint-lavender-stevia blend, or lemon balm-rosemary-stevia, or lemon balm-lavender-stevia!

  • Place rinsed, fresh herbs into your teapot or French Press.
  • Bring filtered water to a boil.
  • As soon as your kettle whistles, pull it off the heat and pour the hot water into your teapot or press.
  • Let steep for 5-8 minutes (too long and the tea can turn bitter).
  • Enjoy as is, or try this delicious recipe for Sleepy Time Herbal Honey from TheDabblist!

Want more inspiration for fresh herb teas? Check out my new Fresh Herb Tea Pinterest Board! Fresh Herb Teas