We’re firm believers over here that, if you’re listening, these bodies of ours may actually communicate what they need. And because I’ve done the exact opposite for some time—ignoring all the signs that my body is totally fed up with me—she’s been a bit of a loud b*tch lately, pardon my French.
See, even though I’m a healthy eater, and I put really nice stuff on my skin, and I exercise regularly—and despite what I sometimes preach—my stress levels have probably been way off the charts for way too many years. I think about fifteen. (My stress is sneaky too because people who don’t know me well think that I’m totally chill, as I quietly churn. Sometimes I even trick myself!) But from aches and pains to hiding periods, my body isn’t really playing ball anymore.
Which is why not too long ago, when I came face to face with a mountain of fresh ginger at the small grocer on my corner, and almost involuntarily reached for one of the gnarled stubs—it gave me pause.
Sure, I knew ginger was healthy, and that ginger tea was good for digestion. But I was unprepared for the barrage of health benefits this strange and spicy root has to offer, some supported by science and others anecdotally.
Just a few that I came across: Ginger does contain powerful digestive enzymes; it also helps the body sweat and detoxify (I can attest!); it’s highly anti-inflammatory; it strengthens the immune system; it reduces nausea and is a common prescription for morning sickness; it’s been shown to help with arthritis; in a study done by Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center ginger powder caused cell death in ALL the ovarian cancer cells it was applied to; in another study it slowed growth of colorectal cancer cells; Chinese medicine uses it to assuage menstrual cramps; Ayurveda tells you to eat it fresh daily and also uses it as medicine; and word on some women’s sites is that it helps bring on hiding periods too. Wouldn’t you know. (I’ll have to report back on that one.)
Lately I’ve been grating some fresh ginger into hot water for tea, and adding it (also grated) into simple warm vegetable dishes with olive oil, lemon and fresh cilantro. It’s delicious, and it seems to help me digest the veggies better. Though that could be a placebo-power-of-suggestion thing too.
Has your body talked to you lately? What has it said? Do you eat ginger?
Do you live in New York? If so, have you seen those ads on the train by the National Peanut Board that say peanuts—which have had a bit of a PR problem due to recalls and that whole salmonella thing—have more antioxidants than broccoli, carrots and green tea? Obvious follow up question, of course, is: Based on what? Servings of the same size? Because that makes sense: peanuts are tiny and nutrient-dense, whereas broccoli is, well, larger, but also nutrient rich. And one would never eat equal amounts by volume of peanuts and broccoli, no matter how much they like nuts. You might have a cup of broccoli, and a handful of peanuts—say an eighth of a cup. Both may be good for you in their way, but knowing what we know about the disease fighting powers of green tea, broccoli and carrots—not to mention their low caloric values—it seems a silly comparison to make. Which isn’t to say peanuts aren’t good for you, because they are! But, yeah.
In any case, that’s an overly long wind-up to the real news here, which is that when it comes to nuts, walnuts have been named antioxidant champion of the world.
From the wires:
In a report here today at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, scientists presented an analysis showing that walnuts have a combination of more healthful antioxidants and higher quality antioxidants than any other nut.
What’s your favorite nut? And do you make sure to eat antioxidant-rich foods every day?
We don’t usually go in for promisey weight loss scams, but this is green tea folks. It’s already a topical favorite of ours—nary a day goes by when one of us isn’t spot treating even the most minor breakout (or imagined breakout) with some of Evan Healy’s calming green tea clay.
Drinking the stuff has also been shown to have a staggering array of benefits, even making Dr. Oz’s ultimate anti-aging list for its powerful antioxidants.
Now Self is reporting on a study that shows green tea may help with weight loss, at least in obese people suffering from metabolic syndrome. From Self:
The study involved three dozen subjects who were obese and had metabolic syndrome. For eight weeks, they drank 4 cups of green tea or took a green tea supplement that provided the equivalent amount of active ingredients every day. They were told to eat (and exercise) the way they usually did (or didn’t). And, in fact, dietary records taken at the beginning and end showed that their nutrient intake didn’t change significantly over that time.
Despite that, the subjects lost fove pounds on average. But here’s what’s really interesting: The green tea used in the study was decaffeinated, which totally foiled my first theory: That the caffeine was probably responsible for the higher metabolism. Huh. Magical elixir after all?
We’ve all heard about the benefits of consuming chocolate, but did you know that it also protects skin against UV light? Take a look at this 2009 study from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology which claims just that. The catch? The chocolate needs to be rich in flavanols—the antioxidants responsible for most of the benefits associated with chocolate. No problem, right? We’ve all learned that dark chocolate is richer in this good stuff and have trained our taste buds accordingly, relishing even a super dark—and admit it, bitter—85% cocoa.
But rewind for a second: This study says that even dark chocolate loses a lot of its antioxidant power through manufacturing processes. In fact, to test this UV-fighting theory the researchers pitted a regular dark chocolate against a specially formulated one with higher flavanols and only the latter proved to be effective. So how does this translate for all the other benefits of dark chocolate? Has the coverage of these studies overlooked this key point? Most importantly, is there any way to guarantee that the dark chocolate we’re eating is as flavanol-rich as the stuff they use for the science? Stay tuned, folks—we’re going to get to the bottom of this one.
I can’t lie: I am not exactly the ideal target for an eye cream. I’m a less-is-more girl at heart, and I find smile lines really sexy. And yet, I freaking love eye cream. Always have. There’s just something pleasing about the whole process: Patting it on instead of rubbing. The feeling of something soothing on such a delicate part of the face. How easy it is to conceal my bags after I apply it.
Of course, I’m still skeptical about the ingredients in most, knowing that these products are essentially snake oil in a $200 package—which is why I was delighted to try this new one by Kahina Giving Beauty.
We write about this luxey argan-oil-based collection in the book, and I’m a big believer in the oil’s healing and soothing properties. Their eye cream uses that same oil—which is super-high in antioxidant vitamin E—paired with tea extracts, rhodiola root extract and something called saccharomyces cerevisiae extract, which has some encouraging research written about it.
I’ve been using it for a few weeks and I feel especially dewy. In a pinch I’ve also smeared it on other parts of my face and like it—though at $65 a jar I won’t do that often.
Image courtesy of Kahina Giving Beauty