Turmeric

turmeric

According to, “The Worlds Healthiest Foods“website, turmeric comes from the root of the curcuma longa plant. It is native to Indonesia and southern India, where it has been harvested for more than 5,000 years.

Turmeric has long been used in Chinese and Indian medicine. There are many, many health benefits from turmeric. The most talked about benefits are its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Turmeric has a yellow or orange pigment which is called curcumin. Curcumin is thought to be the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric. Its anti-inflammatory effects have been shown in studies to be comparable to hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone. It can be used to treat inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. The curcumin’s anti inflammatory effects and its antioxidant abilities relieve pain due to arthritis.

It has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. Turmeric has a peppery warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger. It is commonly found in grocery stores as a powder form.

Turmeric is generally a staple ingredient in curry dishes. It can be added to a variety of other dishes as well. These include egg salad, sprinkled on top of cauliflower, recipes that feature lentil, or even mixed in salad dressings.

My family uses it in almost every dish. My mom will sprinkle it on her homemade hummus, baked chicken, and even on the turkey for Thanksgiving. Most of the time I’m unaware of it because the taste is extremely mild.

 

Maca Root

Maca-powder-and-root

According to the article, “Top 5 Maca Root Benefits and Nutrition”, it is an adaptogen, a name given to certain herbs, plants, and natural substances that help the body natural adapt to stressors like a buy schedule, demanding job, or illness. It is grown in the mountains of South America, mainly in high altitude regions of Peru.

Maca is considered one of the world’s natural superfoods because of its many health benefits. One of these benefits is hormone balance that often contributes to improving the symptoms of PMS and menopause. Is it believed to help control estrogen levels in the body. This is beneficial for women who have estrogen levels that are either to high or too low. Women with these problems tend to have a difficulty to ovulate and become pregnant.

Maca root is said to increase energy, memory, and mood. Those who regularly use maca powder report that it makes them feel more awake, energized, and driven. It’s increased is similar to caffeine from coffee but doesn’t give the side effects of “jitters” or a sense of shakiness.

Clinical trials have shown that maca has a positive effect on energy, stamina, and mood. Maca helps stabilize blood sugar levels and maintains adrenal health which regulates mood and energy throughout the day.

Maca can be found in most health food stores in powder form but may also be found in capsule, liquid, or extract form. Many people use the powder form in fruit smoothies, oatmeal, or cereal. It has a natural nutty, slightly sweet quality similar to cinnamon or nutmeg.

I have used maca root often in morning smoothies. Congruent to this article, it gives me an extra boost of energy without any “jitters”. I have not experienced any side effect while using it

Cha Cha Cha Chia

chia_seeds_3

According to, “11 Proven Health Benefits of Chia Seeds”, chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet.

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica. This plant grows natively in South America.

Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans. The seeds gave warriors high energy and endurance. “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for strength.

These tiny seeds, which are known as a superfood, give many more nutrients than just energy.

Chia seeds have a high amount of antioxidants. Consuming foods that are high in antioxidants, like chia seeds, is important because antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to aging and disease like cancer.

“Chia seeds are 40% fiber by weight.” This makes them one of the best sources of fiber in the world. The high fiber in chia seeds allows the seeds to absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in water. They become gel-like and expand in the stomach. This increases fullness, slows absorption of food and helps lessen calorie overload.

Chia seeds are incredibly easy to incorporate into regular diets. “The seeds themselves taste rather bland”, so you can add them to pretty much anything. They can be eaten raw, soaked in juice, and added to baked goods. They can also be sprinkled on top of cereal, yogurt vegetables, mixed in rice dishes, and acai bowls. The most popular way of eating them is in pudding.

I consume chia seeds by adding them to morning smoothies or simply by adding them to a glass of water and drinking them.

 

Cacao Nibs

51bDSOg3JnL

Many people know about the health benefits of eating dark chocolate but few know of the extra benefits of eating the purer form, cacao beans, provides.

According to the article, “Cacao Nibs: Even Better For You Than Dark Chocolate”, cacao nibs are cacao beans that have been roasted, separated from their husks, and broken into smaller pieces. The beans come from the Theobroma cacao tree and provide many health benefits.

Cacao beans are one of the best dietary sources of magnesium which is important for muscle and nerve functioning which keeps the heart rhythm steady. Cacao nibs benefit the arteries in the heart which decreases the likelihood of having a stroke or heart attack.

Cacao nibs also help keep bowl movements moving. One ounce of cacao nibs has nine grams of fiber, which is 36 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Cacao can act as a substitute for coffee. It contains theobromine, a nervous system stimulant that dilates the blood vessels. This gives a person energy and may affect an individual the same way caffeine might.

One last benefit of cacao nibs is it mood enhancing ability. This is from the affect it has on neurotransmitters in our brains. The other reason it can enhance mood is from Anandamide, a lipid found in cacao. Its natural molecular shape represents that of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. That’s why some people say chocolate is better than sex!

Cacao nibs taste much different than milky, sugary, candy bars. They have a much more bitter taste. An individual may eat them alone but they taste better when they are mixed in trail mix or added to smoothies.

I frequently make a smoothie which consists of a banana, a small handful of cacao nibs, honey, and some almond milk and it tastes just like a chocolate smoothie. It is a healthy alternative. The honey sweetens and hides the bitter taste of cacao without adding sugar. I made the mistake of making this as a desert when I first discovered this superfood. I was up all night from the energy they provide. I now make them for breakfast which gives me a boost to get through the day.

Acai Berries and Bowls

shutterstock_285459653_1024x1024

According to the article, “8 Exotic Superfoods to Boost Your Immune System”, acai berries one of the superfoods which contain many health benefits. They are grown on palm trees in the Amazon rainforest of northern Brazil.

Acai berries are immune-stimulating, energy boosting, and antioxidant rich. These berries contain pulp which can aid in weight loss by reducing the negative effects of a high fat diet.  They can promote skin health by giving skin a healthy glow and can combat fatigue and exhaustion providing an increased overall level of energy and stamina.

The most interesting information I found on the health benefits of acai berries is its ability to improve cellular health and to suppress the growth of cancer.

According to the article, “ 12 Health Benefits of Acai Berries”, it says, “one study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that polyphenol compounds extracted from acai reduced cancer cell proliferation by 56-86%.” It is thought that acai’s phytochemicals can stop the process of carahogensis on a molecular level, killing off tumorous cells before they multiply.

The most common way of eating acai berries is in an acai bowl. According to a Popsugar article written by Nicole Perry, an acai bowl is “a smoothie you eat from a bowl.” She suggests using acai powder as the root of the smoothie which gives the same amount of health benefits as using the berry in its solidified form. The main fun in creating an acai bowl lies in the toppings. Many cut sliced fruit like strawberries and bananas, drizzly honey or coconut oil, and add granola and seeds.

I have personally not tried an acai bowl or have had any form of the acai berry but I am eager to try it out. Many of my friends report good things about these bowls and I have noticed many postings about acai bowls on social media sites like Instagram. Acai bowls seem to be all the rage.

 

Dangers of Adderall

AdderallXR8

According Elite Daily’s article, “The Danger of Adderall that College Students Are Ignoring”, Adderall is a prescription drug given to individuals to help with ADHD to control their behaviors and focus on everyday tasks. Adderall is a combination of two central nervous stimulants, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. ADHD affects more than 10 percent of Americans between the ages of 4 and 17.

Adderall is widely used among college students. It is used as a shortcut for getting good grades and as a party drug. Finding a friend who has a prescription is extremely easy and cheap. One Adderall pill costs between $5 and $7.

Obtaining a prescription is relatively easy. In most cases, determining if a person has ADHD, a self – report checklist is administered, no blood tests, EKGs, or extensive examination into a person’s psychological background is given.

According to, “7 Things You Need to Know About Adderall”, it is a DEA schedule II substance. “This means, they have a high potential for abuse, can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence and are considered dangerous.” Despite these warnings and strict regulation, many individuals including college students consider it to be slightly or not dangerous at all.

According to the article, “The Effects of Adderall Use” there are many side effects of Adderall. These include appetite suppression and unhealthy weight loss, irritability and feelings of restlessness, and can result in sleeping troubles. Side effects also include feelings of depression, anxiety, and cardiovascular problems such as, disrupted heart rhythm and increased blood pressure.

Adderall can result in psychological and physical dependence. This can occur when, “A person takes Adderall as part of a routine and using the drug becomes an irresistible compulsion.”

My opinion on Adderall is extremely negative. I think there are some people who have ADHD and need it to perform daily activities but that number is low. A majority of the individuals who have Adderall prescriptions don’t actually have ADHD problems.

Two years ago I went to the doctor to try to get an Adderall prescription because I had tried it from a friend and I thought it was a school miracle drug. It was extremely easy for me to get a prescription. I faked the symptoms and after a few behavioral questions I was leaving the doctors office with a prescription.

After taking it, I could write papers without loosing focus, read textbooks without my mind drifting, and could cram for tests to get As. But the side effects were unbearable. I had extreme moods swings, lost 15 pounds after taking it for two months, was easily irritable, got intense migraines, and developed sleeping problems.

After two years of constant use and wear and tear on my body, I refuse to take it. I hate the drug. I think it is dangerous and the dangers of Adderall need to be expressed more to students. The Adderall epidemic on college campuses is real and needs to be controlled.