Fun Facts about Fennel

Being from India, I always took fennel for granted. It was just there. My mom cooked with it, you could find it in a bowl at the exit of every restaurant in India (in place of the mints we see in America) and it was available everywhere.  I never understood its health benefits... until now.

Fennel has been used as a medicinal and culinary herb since the times of the ancient Greeks. For those who have trouble with poor digestion, gas, belching, and bloating, a few ounces of fennel seeds or simple cup of fennel tea after a heavy meal can be the most effective remedy.  This explains why you can grab a spoon of fennel seeds when leaving any restaurant in India.  It's known for its licorice type favor and it's source of Potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber and pytonutrient content.  And who knew that it does so much more... 

1. May prevent cancer- research has shown that the fennel seed extract can not only inhibit the growth of tumors due to its flavonoids, alkaloids, and phenols, but that it can even be somewhat chemo-protective against the harmful effects of radiation during cancer treatment. However fennel does have mild estrogen like properties so those with estrogen positive cancer may want to limit intake. 

2. Regulates Blood pressure- Fennel has a high source of potassium.  Low sodium intake is important to regulate blood pressure, however so is the increase in potassium due to the role of vasodilation (the dilation and contraction of blood vessels).  High blood pressure can lead to a variety of illnesses like stroke and heart attack.

3. Helps Skin- Because Fennel contains so much Vitamin C and Vitamin C is essential to collagen, the skin's support system, it works in our bodies as an antioxidant to help prevent skin damage and has the ability to improve overall skin texture.

4. Helps produce breast milk- The seeds increase milk production by stimulating the action of the hormone prolactin. This is the hormone that controls milk production by the mammary glands.  It's believed that it is more effective when combined with fenugreek.

Fennel seeds have officially made their way into my daily regime. Here are some ways you can incorporate them into yours:

  • Eat a spoonful after every meal- remember indigestion and breath freshener
  • Infuse in your regular cup of tea
  • Add it to water 
  • Make fennel tea (steep fennel seeds in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.  Strain and serve)



Health Benefits of Green Tea

I always heard how healthy Green Tea was, however I never understood the actual benefits until recently.  Now, I'm addicted!  Here's why...

  1. High in Antioxidants so may prevent cancer-  It's less processed than most other teas so it's high in antioxidants.   Remember, antioxidants help prevent or repair cell damage.  Since cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body, it is believe that Green Tea may help prevent or repair it.  In addition, according to the National Cancer Institute, the polyphenols in green tea have been shown to decrease tumor growth in laboratory and animal studies and may protect against damage caused by ultraviolet UVB radiation.

  2. Good for the heart and believed to lower Cholesterol-  Green tea contains catechins, polyphonic compounds that are thought to exert numerous protective effects, particularly on the cardiovascular system.  An analysis of published studies in 2011  found that consuming green tea, either as a beverage or in capsule form, was linked to significant but modest reductions in total and LDL or "bad" cholesterol.

  3. May reduce risk of Alzheimer's & Parkinson's- Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in test tubes and animal models, which may lower the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Green tea is made from more mature leaves that are not fermented or oxidized. Most of the flavonoids in green tea are catechins, and one in particular is believed to be responsible for most of the health benefits in green tea. Green tea also contains a lot of polyphenols and has a lower caffeine content than black tea.  It's a great alternative to other beverages like carbonated beverages, regular tea and alcohol!

Although loose green tea is better, I tend to buy the organic version in bags simply for convenience.  Always seep 1-2 minutes (no more) so you are soaking up the multiple benefits. Avoid seeping more than 2 minutes as your tea will taste too bitter.  

Bigelow Green tea happens to be my favorite.  I't took me a few weeks to acquire the taste but once I did, it became a regular in my everyday.   


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Chia- The Super Seed!

Chia seeds may have been around since the Aztec, but it hasn’t been until recently that it’s gained popularity.

Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico.

These seeds are also my quick, simple way of adding a whole lot of nutrition to my diet.  Known as one of the healthiest foods on the planet, this low calorie power house contains fiber, protein, magnesium, calcium, omega 3’s and antioxidants. My favorite brand is Spectrum Organics.

I add to my daily smoothie and oatmeal. You can also add to yogurt, salads and meals.  My nutritionist, Maryann Jones of Thrive Naturally makes a yummy Chia seed pudding for breakfast.  Here’s the recipe.  Best part- They are tasteless so they won’t alter your meal!


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Dee-Toxing with Cancer Fighting Foods

I’m no doctor and I’m not a nutritionist but after a diagnosis of Breast Cancer, I felt compelled to change my diet.  I didn’t replace traditional treatment, however I did compliment it.  Not only do I feel like I am being proactive with my disease, but I also know that I am erasing some of the toxicity my body endured during chemotherapy.  Bonus- I’m getting a lot of compliments on my skin!

I buy the organic version of most foods as I believe that the pesticides and hormones are counter intuitive to my plan.

Before I give you the list that I personally incorporated (besides turmeric as I can't stomach it and it shouldn't be taken with certain meds) into my daily regimen, it’s important to understand the following: 

Our bodies produce something called free radicals which may be formed naturally or as a result of our environment (example- smoke, pollution, stress, inflammation). If free radicals are left unchallenged, they can have damaging effects like disease and other health issues. Our bodies also produce antioxidants to counter the damaging effects of free radicals; however sometimes it’s not enough. Therefore it’s important to get antioxidants in your daily diet so they can fight the battle that goes on inside of you every day.  Antioxidants can also help in the aging process which we ALL can benefit from!

Here are the foods I incorporate in my day, how I do it, and why I believe they are helping in my fight: 

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