All You Need to Know About Asian Superfoods, Part 3

Sharing the last of my Asian superfood series with you today, part 3 of 3.  Some of these were familiar to me… others not so familiar.  But variety is the spice of life, right? 🙂

And speaking of spice…

The first superfood on the list today is turmeric.  Turmeric is used for its anti-cancer properties, as well as an immunity booster and liver detoxifier.  If you are a fan of Indian food (namely curries), you may recognize turmeric as a key ingredient.

curry shrimp

Turmeric is said to be helpful in fighting the common cold, as well as other respiratory problems.  Researchers at the Cork Cancer Research Center in Ireland treated esophageal cancer cells with curcumin (the chemical found in turmeric which gives curry that distinctive yellow color)  and found it began to kill cancer cells within 24 hours!

Next is soybeans.  Soybeans are rich in protein, isoflavones (which have antioxidant benefits) as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (heart-healthy!). They also contain potassium and magnesium, which are necessary for our muscles to contract and relax.  Edamame are probably the most well-know type of soybean.  You can buy them in the frozen food section of most super markets.  Once thawed, they are a great addition to salads.  I love ordering steamed edamame as an appetizer when I go out for sushi.

soy beans, edamame

Last in the superfood series are two fruits — wolfberries (also known as goji berries) and pomegranates.

Wolfberries are rich in vitamin C and selenium, which both protect the heart and aid in cancer prevention.  They are also high in vitamin A – excellent for the eyes and skin.  You can usually find them amongst the dried fruits in markets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Pomegranates are loaded with antioxidants, potassium, vitamin B and vitamin C.  My friend sprinkles pomegranate seeds on top of her fruit salads, which adds a very interesting visual appeal.  Pomegranate juices are readily available in pretty much every super market, making it super easy to get your superfood boost.  There is even a POM supplement now for those who want the benefits without the added calories in a juice.


I hope you found the Asian superfood series interesting and perhaps have added a new thing or two to your diet.  I find that variety keeps cooking at home a task that is enjoyable rather than draining.  If you missed parts 1 and 2 of the series, you can find them here:

Asian Superfood Series, Part One

Asian Superfood Series, Part Two






Enjoy the Holidays With These Guilt-Free Tips

Who says you can’t enjoy the holidays without doing everything in excess?  I see nothing wrong with enjoying foods you love that are only around during the holidays.  Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite desserts — I look forward to it all year!  The key is portion control.

As far as resolutions go, I think it is a great tradition to set goals for the new year.  That doesn’t mean that you have to overindulge yourself until the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve!

Ease your way.  You will have much greater success if you ease your way towards your healthy living goals.  Healthy replacements are one way to go.  Use olive oil where appropriate instead of butter, low-fat dairy vs. full fat, sip plain water in between cocktails or other high-calorie festive drinks.

Be realistic.  If you haven’t been to the gym in five years, don’t expect to run five miles every day for the first week.  Pledge to show up, push yourself but not overdo it.  Overexertion can lead to injury, and injury will take you out of the game and away from your goal before your holiday decorations are back in the attic!

Share your goals.  You will be much more successful if you tell you close friends and family about the positive changes you are trying to make.  If your friends know you are keeping an eye on your calorie intake, they’ll be less likely to try and encourage you to share a second dessert.  Plus, you may motivate someone else who needed a little push or a fitness buddy to ask if they can join you on your daily walk.

Enjoy the holidays and be well!


Photo credit:  mvjantzen

Controlling Stress May Be the Key to Fewer Age-Related Diseases

I’ve written about stress before, but I was compelled to write on this topic again after some of the interactions I’ve had this week.

Psychological stress and anxiety can’t be completely avoided, they are a part of life. Did you know that there is a 50% increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) for people who deal with chronic work stress? That’s a 50 percent greater chance than the average person has of developing CVD if you are stressed at work and don’t change your environment.

Stress can further increase the diseases associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Before running to the doctor for a prescription to make the symptoms disappear, it is important to identify your stressors. It may be work-related, family-related, or a combination of things. Stress is a reaction. The brain is involved in a person’s stress response (e.g., interprets what is threatening) and then regulates both how your body responds both physiologically and behaviorally.

Studies have found that the following can help decrease your body’s response to stress:

1) Exercise. Exercise increases the level of telomerase produced. Telomerase is an enzyme that protects loss of DNA from important end region of our chromosomes called telomeres. Think of a telomere like the protective piece at the end of a shoestring. Studies have found that elite athletes have very long telomeres.

2) Your Social Network. I’m not just taking about how many Facebook or Twitter followers you have! People with a strong partner relationship and close friendships have been found to be at lower risk for diseases associated with aging and to have less of a stress response to situations such as public speaking (which can evoke fear in many).

3) Better quality of sleep. The average person needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. People who got a better quality of sleep and woke up feeling rested have, on average, longer telomeres than those who suffered from poor quality sleep.

4) Nutrition. Individuals diagnosed with obesity and insulin resistance had shorter telomeres than others, whereas those who consumed a diet containing antioxidants and added supplements such as omega 3s had longer telomeres.

The lesson to take from this is that if we can embrace these preventive measures, we can increase our body’s resilience. As resilience increases, so does our ability to age well.

Comfort Food: Why Are You Seeking Comfort?

Millions of people use food as a way of seeking comfort from pain or hurt in their lives. Most are doing it without even realizing it.

Do you find yourself sitting at home, alone & bored watching TV and eating when you aren’t hungry? Do you suffer from insomnia and find yourself getting up during the night & cleaning out the pantry? They don’t call it comfort food for nothing!

In order to break through this unhealthy behavior, you have to dig deep and figure out what is really eating at you! It may be worry about something going on in your life or someone close to you. It may be an issue stemming from childhood that you never worked through and hoped to bury. You have to work your way through the pain in order to come out on the other side. This hurt and discomfort you are experiencing is good — it is showing you that you are due for a change.

You may have tried dieting in the past many times with no success. Don’t beat yourself up about past failures. You weren’t ready to make a change or you needed help! Sometimes the true difference between failure and success is getting the help you need and deserve!

I want to help you by giving you a FREE resource that you can use to finally make the change you’ve been longing for and end your feelings of hopelessness once and for all.

Visit my website and click to download our FREE Wellness Workbook here:

Four Tips for a Healthier Heart

Did you know that one in four women in the United States dies from heart disease? Pretty shocking, huh? That makes coronary heart disease (CHD) the number one killer of women in the US. There are many steps people can take to prevent heart disease. Concentrating on key lifestyle areas such as exercise, nutrition, and smoking is the best way to reduce your risk.

Here are 4 tips to help you become more heart healthy.

1. Stop smoking. Smokers are TWICE as likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers. Quitting is the most important thing you can do to live longer. In the first 20 minutes of quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure decrease. Within one year, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010, p. 359) If you need any more motivation, think of your loved ones. Second-hand smoke is dangerous for them too. Quitting is hard, but there are many aids on the market that can help you. If the other members of your household smoke, be the strong one! If you vow to stop, you may be the inspiration they need to stop too. What’s better than helping your loved ones become healthier and live longer?

2. Move it! Your heart’s job is to pump blood through your body. You need to raise your heart rate for about 30 minutes each day so your heart can do this efficiently. If you aren’t getting regular exercise now, start slowly. Take a brisk 15 minute walk, then move up to 20 minutes and so on. Having a walking buddy helps with motivation, and you can get your social fix too. Walking and talking with a friend gives your mental health a boost as well.

3. Watch your diet. A healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease. Try and eat a balanced diet with high fiber foods like vegetables and fruits, whole grains opposed to white flour, and fish. Minimize dairy products that are high in fat, as well as other high fat items without a lot of nutritional value like cookies and cakes.

4. Have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly. If you have high blood pressure, you run a higher risk for heart attack and stroke. High blood cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and circulatory diseases. Know your family history! If high blood pressure or high cholesterol run in your family, you have to be even more diligent with your diet and get more exercise. High fiber foods and whole grains will help with you cholesterol. Your doctor may also recommend drug therapy if diet and exercise aren’t doing the trick.