Natural Cures for Digestive Disorders
Over 105 million adults in the United States struggle with high cholesterol levels. Many turn to drugs to help lower their cholesterol, but these often have harmful side effects. The good news is that cholesterol can be lowered naturally with a plant food diet. There are certain foods that have been FDA approved for managing cholesterol levels. These foods are natural foods that can help to lower cholesterol and improve your health without harmful side effects. These foods include:
Oats are plentiful in soluble fiber, which reduces LDL cholesterol.
Oats can be added to your diet by eating foods such as oatmeal, oat bran, and whole oat flour. In addition to breakfast cereals such as hot oatmeal porridge and cold oat bran cereal, oats can be added to foods such as soups, casseroles, and baked goods like cakes and cookies.
Walnuts have high levels of polyunsaturated fats, which have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol. Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are well known for their health benefits.
Walnuts can be eaten plain, added to salads, cereal, yogurt, stir-fry dishes, and desserts such as ice cream or baked goods.
Almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, and pine nuts have also been shown to be beneficial in lowering LDL levels.
Not all nuts are good! Certain nuts like Macadamias, cashews, and Brazil nuts are very high in fat and may not be as beneficial.
Be sure to avoid heavily salted or chocolate-covered nuts. These may add unwanted calories to your diet. It is best to stick with the unsalted plain forms of nuts to achieve maximum health benefits.
Foods fortified with plant sterols or stanols, present in certain foods such as:
Fortified snack bars
The FDA has determined that “a daily diet containing 25 grams of soy protein, also low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” In fact, soy can reduce LDL levels by 10%, which in turn can reduce the risk of heart disease by 20%.
Traditional sources of soy like tofu and soybeans are well known, although not always palatable. In recent years, products have been developed that are attractive to many consumers. Many different varieties of soymilk are now easily available in most grocery stores. Soy-based snack bars are also popular. There are also many soy-based meat and dairy product replacements, such as soy “turkey” and soy “cheese”.
These foods have been shown to lower cholesterol as effectively as harmful pharmaceuticals. In addition to lacking the harmful side effects of harsh drugs, these foods also have the added benefit of costing less. Ruth Frechman, Registered Dietician and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, says, “These foods may not be magic, but they’re close to it.”
Of course, simply adding these foods to your existing diet will not get rid of all your cholesterol problems. It is necessary to eat a diet low in fat and cholesterol, as well as exercising regularly. Adding these special foods to an already balanced diet can aid in the natural reduction of cholesterol. Cholesterol can also be reduced naturally without side effects, using products such as Cholestasys.
Spices and Digestion: The Enzyme Connection
Spices are herbs that are not only used for taste but also medicine.
Spices by their nature are hot and drying which in turn aids digestion.
Digestion is a fire, enzymes and acids that primarily digest, dissolve protein and fat, the two substantive (building and fueling) nutrients
Too much water in the diet in the form of excessive drinking, water, fruit, juice, milk, raw vegetables, etc. can dilute and weaken digestive fire and in the extreme create the following pathologies:
1. Indigestion- bloating, gas, burping, stomach gurgling
2. Loose stools, diarrhea and or constipation
3. Less blood via less absorption via less digestion
4. Fatigue, pallor, coldness, shaking
5. Water, mucous, phlegm, edema, celluliteWhat does this all have to do with spices?
Spices by their nature are hot and drying which in turn not only increases the fire of digestion but also absorption and the subsequent production of blood. They also dry dampness: loose stools, diarrhea, mucous, phlegm, edema, cellulite, etc.
Women and vegetarians in general tend to eat a low protein, low fat, high carbohydrate, bland diet which is conducive to the above mentioned symptoms, pathologies. A drier diet; higher protein and fat, rice, cooked vegetables, spices would help alleviate these conditions.
In Ayurvedic medicine, many spices, 7+ are used in cooking: cardamom, cumin, coriander, fennel, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, etc. each having different healing properties: turmeric (anti inflammatory, digestive aid, etc.); fennel (liver, digestion); cardamom (aids in digestion of dairy); cinnamon and ginger can be used in cookies in the prevention and treatment of colds.
Spices also have their contraindications: exacerbate dry conditions.
There are several categories, classifications of spices.
1. Carminatives (garlic, coriander, cumin and chives) are spicy, bitter and drying. They reduce internal heat, dry excess liquid and disperse food stagnation, which is often the cause of abdominal bloating, gas, pain and heat.
2. Stimulants (black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon bark, cloves, fennel and ginger, fresh or dried) are very hot, with the exception of fennel and fresh ginger, which are less hot. Stimulants increase the circulation of blood and energy. They also help dissolve and disperse excess mucous, phlegm and food stagnation in the intestines.
3. Aromatic herbs, spices (cardamom, caraway, dill and coriander) are warm, spicy and fragrant. They dry, eliminate and or sweat dampness (mucous, phlegm, loose stools, edema, etc.) and stimulate the pancreas gland (secretes digestive enzymes that assist in the digestion of protein, fat and sugar, grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
4. Herbs that release the surface can be broken down into two categories: spicy, warm, spicy, and bitter. Oregano, basil and ginger are spicy and warm herbs that tend to create diaphoresis (perspiration). Less heating is peppermint and spearmint, which are spicy (hot) and bitter (cold). These spices in general, can relieve all shoulder and neck tension, pain, sore throat (mild), colds (onset) and toothache (peppermint tea). Check with your doctor first.
5. Asafetida and turmeric are two additional spices that overlap several categories, as do some other spices. Both aid in the digestion of beans. Turmeric has a bitter taste, which in turn stimulates the liver and gall bladder, increasing the flow of bile. Bile emulsifies, digests fat.