5 Spices That Can Boost Your Digestion



Most people think spices flavor only food, but there are many that have shown to have health benefits – especially for the digestive system. While there are many spices, here are five of the most common that can help with digestive issues:


Black pepper

This spice comes from a flowering vine. The fruit it produces is harvested and dried yielding peppercorns. When the peppercorns are ground, a chemical called piperine is released and it stimulates the digestive system by increasing the flow of saliva and gastric juices. This in turn helps reduce indigestion, gas and bloating. Black peppercorns can be added to food during the cooking process or ground pepper added right before the meal is eaten.



This slightly sweet spice comes from the seed pods of the plant and not only helps as a digestive aid by reducing flatulence, but can also be used as an antiseptic when applied topically to help heal infections. It is commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes, but can also be added to tea and used as a drink.



This herb is used as a condiment or garnish typically in East Indian dishes for flavoring. But for those that have IBS-D, the oil from the seed can be more beneficial as it can help with diarrhea. It is antispasmodic which helps relax the digestive muscles. Plus, it has anti-oxidant properties too which help protect cells from free radicals.



Used frequently in Mexican and East Indian foods, this spice not only provides a unique flavor to food, but it too reduces flatulence and aids in digestion. Because of the compound Cuminaldehyde in its essential oil, it kicks the digestive process into high gear while still chewing food by activating the salivary glands in the mouth. Secondly it helps with digestion due to another compound called thymol which stimulates the acids, bile and enzymes in the stomach and digestive tract making for a more complete breakdown of food. When ground cumin is mixed with water and drank, it can help relieve a stomach ache.



Coming from a root of a plant in the ginger family, this spice has been used for over 2,500 years in East Indian food to treat excess acidity and indigestion. It is also used to stop the growth of the bacterium H pylori which can cause stomach ulcers and even stomach cancer.


Plus, it can treat a whole host of conditions from cuts, burns and bruises when used topically to serving as a potent painkiller that is just as effective as ibuprofen.


Incorporating these five spices into your food can boost your digestion along with relieving many other health-related symptoms. In many instances they work better than prescription or over-the-counter medications.



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Eating Successfully with Diabetes

Phoebe, MD: Medicine & Poetry

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

In my last post, I introduced one of the fundamental elements of effective diabetes management, which consists of knowing and understanding important health indicators— such as your A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Now I will discuss another important skill that will play a large role in determining whether your condition worsens or gets better in the future—and that is meal planning. 

For those who do not have diabetes, or have been told that they have pre-diabetes, you will find that this method is so simple and practical that you can easily incorporate it into your life to help you eat in a more balanced way. So let’s get started!


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Discover Why You’ll NEVER Lose Weight Without Discipline

The first two things that the majority of people think about when they want to lose weight is diet and exercise. Most of them fail to realize that discipline is even more important that diet and exercise.
Discipline will ensure that you eat foods that are right. Discipline will keep you on a caloric deficit even if your stomach is growling and demanding food at night. Discipline will prevent you from skipping workouts and make you give your best when you do train.
Weight loss is a mental game and not a physical one. It’s all about staying on track and finishing what you started. It’s a slow process. Make no mistake about this.
You could be obese and struggling or you could be lean and trying to shed the last bit of stubborn fat to see your six pack. Whatever the case may be, burning fat takes time. That’s why it’s called a weight loss journey.
You must have discipline to stay focused and go through the motions even though it seems to be taking a long time. Most often, it’s the time that it takes to see results that is the biggest hurdle to get over. It’s the one obstacle that trips up most people who want results overnight.
They fail to realize that it’s a slow process but quitting will not speed it up. If you don’t want to start over in future, don’t stop now. It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
When creating a diet plan for yourself, keep it sensible so that it’s challenging but not torturous. You MUST have a diet plan to follow. Don’t try to wing it. When you have a plan, all you need to do is follow it. Like a horse with blinkers on, you’ll keep moving forward without being distracted.
The same applies to your training regimen. Plan your workouts at least 2 or 3 weeks ahead and train when you’re supposed to. Do not skip workouts just because you’re not in a mood to train. Just give yourself 10 minutes and get started. Most often, once you start, you’ll take the workout to completion even if it’s 30 minutes long.
If you lack the discipline and give in to temptation, you’ll end up skipping today’s workout. Once that happens, it will become easier to skip tomorrow’s training and the day after that. Next thing you know, you’ve not trained for 6 months and it all started from that 1 workout you skipped.
Discipline is all about doing what you need to do even when you don’t feel like it. There will ALWAYS be days when you do not feel like doing what you need to. In fact, this will generally be the norm. It’s the brain’s way of self-preservation.
It sees the difficult tasks as unpleasant and tries to cook up excuses so that you stay in your comfort zone. Discipline will make you stronger than your excuses. You know what you need to do to get to where you want to go… and you’ll do them. This is what separates the winners from the losers. Winners do what everybody else won’t so that they can get what everybody else can’t. It’s the discipline that makes people winners.
If you want a body that you can be proud of, practice discipline daily. It’s your best friend. It’s not just about the weight you lose but also the confidence and inner strength that you’ll gain in the process. Believe in yourself and know that your own competition. Use discipline to transform your body.

Top 5 Foods for Healing a Cold


The common cold is not a life threatening disease and often goes away in a few days after running its course. However, a running nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, persistent sneezes, or coughs can leave you feeling miserable. Although nothing can cure a cold, some remedies may ease your symptoms while the infection lasts. If you do not want to pump your body with over-the-counter drugs, the good news is there are home remedies that can be just as effective. Check out this list of top 5 foods for healing a cold without the need for medication.

1. Chicken Soup

This age-old remedy can work wonders when trying to recover from a cold. But, how does grandma’s old recipe work to relieve the sniffles? Well, at the basic level, a bowl of chicken broth will prevent dehydration, loosen up mucous congestion and may provide some relief for a sore throat. Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center took this age-old folk remedy from the kitchen to the lab to investigate its claimed therapeutic effects on colds. The study found that chicken soup mitigated movement of netrophils (white blood cells) in serum infected with the cold virus, indicating that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory effects that help shorten upper respiratory tract infections.

2. Garlic

Garlic is believed to possess antiviral, antibacterial and immune boosting properties. These purported therapeutic effects were put to the test in a 2014 study that split 146 volunteers into two groups receiving either a garlic supplement or placebo. The trial lasted three months and found that test subjects taking a placebo had 65 colds while the garlic group only recorded 24 occurrences of the common cold. When using garlic to treat colds, you can add it to chicken soup for a more potent cold tonic. Alternatively, grate garlic and add it to daily broths.

3. Ginger

Ginger is believed to be popularly useful for the common cold. Nutrition experts suggest that it contains compounds called sesquiterpenes, which specifically attack the rhinoviruses that cause common cold. Ginger is claimed to have immune boosting, antibacterial, antiviral and expectorant properties as well. Some studies suggest it fights inflammation too. Adding a couple of tablespoons of grated ginger to your tea or drinking up a strong cup of ginger ale can provide some fast relief for a scratchy throat. Much like garlic, you can also include ginger in chicken soup recipes to prepare a strong cold remedy.

4. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, the vital nutrient that helps to maintain proper immune system function. Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties make it an excellent nutrient to fortify your body’s defenses against the common cold. Drinking some lemonade or eating whole citrus-fruits like oranges and tangerines can therefore help to speed up recovery.

5. Mushrooms

Mushrooms help ward off colds thanks to the presence of Beta-glucan , a biological response modifier known for boosting immune system function. As a result, consumption of these edible fungi has been associated with increased production of cells that fight off infection. When it comes to mushrooms, your choices are plenty. However, the most popular cold fighting mushrooms in traditional Chinese medicine are the reishi, maitake and shiitake varieties.

In addition to eating cold fighting foods, you should also get plenty of rest to speed up the recovery process. A common cold typically last for about one week. If your symptoms persist for much longer, you may have a bacterial infection that will require treatment with antibiotics. In such cases, it is best to check with your doctor to find out if you have developed a sinus infection that may require different treatment approaches.

4 Common Types of Foods to Avoid When You’re Cutting Carbs


If trying to lose weight, your carb intake should be no more than 35% of your total daily calories. For a 1,200 calorie per day diet, that is 105 grams; for 1,600 calorie meal plans, it’s 140 grams.

Not all carbs are bad and we need some for energy, however some foods are high in carbs and should be cut out of a diet, if on a weight loss program:

Refined grains

Just as not all carbs are bad, neither are all grains. The ones to stay away from are products make from white enriched flour, white rice, plain bagels and regular pasta.

Instead focus on eating products made from whole grain, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta. Not only do they have fewer carbs, but also contain fiber and protein which keep you feeling fuller longer, thus reducing the urge to snack between meals.

Processed fruits

Fresh is always the best, but if you have to use canned fruits, look for ones packed in their own juices and without added sugar. Read the nutrition label and look for anything that might be an added sugar like high fructose corn syrup. Also, dried fruits might look like a healthy choice, but the drying process can concentrate natural sugars making them higher in carbs than eating fresh fruit. When not in season, frozen (without added sugar) is the next best.


Studies have shown sugar is addictive. In 2008 the Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Review classified it as a substance that can be abused. When trying to cut calories, stay away from cakes, pies, cookies, ice cream, doughnuts and candy bars as these are made with sugar and also loaded with saturated fat and calories.

Sugary drinks

Along this same line, sugary drinks are loaded with sugar. For example, one can of regular soda has 136 calories but also 35 grams of carbs of which 33 grams are from sugar. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily sugar consumption to 100 calories or less for women and 150 per day or less for men. Just one can of regular cola uses up 1/3rd to 1/5th respectively, of the daily limit. Diet varieties aren’t much better as the artificial sugars are not good for the body either. Your best beverage bet – pure water.

As noted above sugar and refined grains are the biggest two categories to watch when trying to cut carbs for weight loss. These things can be hidden in foods, so it is important to read nutrition labels and know what to look for.