Win a gift box of chocolate mulberries

chocolate covered mulberries
Have some chocolate covered mulberries all to yourself

Chocolate mulberries are lovely!

That’s all I need to say about them.

Because really, the taste speaks for itself.

However, not only are they delicious, but they are highly nutritious and rich in antioxidants. They have lots of resveratrol which is thought to promote heart health and vitality.

I’m not sure if dusting them with raw chocolate powder undoes all those health benefits but the taste is gorgeous… A tantalising mix of dark chocolate and sweet mulberries that makes an excellent vegan, organic, (dairy free and gluten free) treat.

You can win one of three gift tins from The Raw Chocolate Company. All you need to do is send an email with your name, address and phone number, and I’ll pick three winners at random… Good luck! (UK addresses only, competition closes 10.1.13)

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This is why your mum fed you hot blackcurrant when you fell ill

Are you looking forward to the winter?

My wife’s just invested in a new woolly jumper.

Meanwhile, call me boring, but I’m thinking of investing in some flu prevention tablets. I normally only fall ill when I’ve been working hard and run down. But if I do I can get over it in about a day, especially with a good supplement.

Sambucol boosts the immune system
Sambucol helps to support the immune system

So here’s an option… Do you remember your mum giving you a hot blackcurrant when you fell ill? There’s a natural remedy you can buy which delivers all those same powerful antioxidant benefits from a related berry – It’s called Sambucol and it hits colds hard with the equivalent antioxidants of up to 1000 black elderberries per dose. Black elderberries also contain a potent compound which helps to prevent viruses from spreading – perhaps the hot blackcurrant begins to make sense now?

Better still, Sambucol can add a further health boost by combining zinc and vitamin C into the mix, helping to prop up the immune system and keep colds and flu at bay. Plus there are further supplement options like adding multivitamins, iron and selenium.

Studies even suggest black elderberries antioxidants help 90% of people recover from flu within 3 days.

Not bad when you’re preparing for winter.

Here we go round the mulberry bush (especially when they’re covered with chocolate)

Not many people have tasted mulberries.

But they really should.

Fancy giving away some chocolate covered mulberries?
Fancy giving away some chocolate covered mulberries?

These berries have a wonderfully refreshing tart flavour about them, and they taste pretty good as dried fruit too. They are highly nutritious and rich in antioxidants.

But, as is the way with all good fruit, someone has gone one better and covered them with chocolate. Raw chocolate from the Raw Chocolate Company to be exact.

The result is a tantalising mix of dark chocolate and sweet mulberries that makes for an excellent dairy free and gluten free organic treat.

Packed in a star covered box, they also make a neat little gift – that’s if you can avoid eating them yourself.

Health Researchers Gather to Talk about Tea

There’s a growing body of evidence suggesting a role for tea in preventing and treating many chronic diseases, writes Maureen Williams ND.

Researchers recently gathered in Washington, DC, for the Fifth Annual Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health, an event that showcased results from the most recent and not-yet-published studies on the health benefits of tea.

A range of reported benefits

Here are some highlights from the new research presented at the symposium:

  • Tea may lower risk of stroke. A meta-analysis of studies looking at tea consumption and cardiovascular disease conducted by a pair of researchers from UCLA determined that drinking tea was associated with stroke prevention.
  • Tea may improve alertness and focus. A researcher from the Netherlands presented a review of studies looking at the effect of tea on mood and mental functioning. In total, she reported, the evidence suggests that taking tea can improve alertness, attention, and mood.
  • Tea extract may keep blood vessels healthy. This preliminary trial demonstrated that taking tea flavonols (antioxidant compounds) could reduce blood pressure and improve results on tests of blood vessel function in people with mild high blood pressure. It also found that people who had taken the tea flavonols for one week were protected against the deterioration in blood vessel function and blood flow that occurs after eating a very high-fat meal.
  • Tea may assist weight loss. A presentation reviewing the research on tea and weight loss included data showing that tea increases metabolic rate, fat breakdown, and weight loss and may help prevent rebound weight gain.
  • Green tea may prevent some cancers. Two papers reviewing the effects of tea on cancer risk were presented. They suggested that green tea and its antioxidants may have general anticancer effects and reviewed the findings from trials looking at green tea and specific types of cancer. One of the papers noted in particular the promising results from studies looking at green tea and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract: mouth, oesophagus, stomach, liver, and colon.
  • Tea may prevent bone loss. A researcher from Texas reviewed the data on tea’s impact on bone turnover, suggesting that tea, and especially green tea, may improve bone health and prevent fractures.

Specific tea antioxidants—how they work and what they might do for health—were the subject of other studies and reports.

Putting it in perspective

At conferences, researchers always want to present their most exciting new findings, but it is important to keep in mind that none of the papers presented at the symposium have yet been reviewed by third-party experts or published in credible journals. Still, they do show an impressive and growing body of evidence suggesting a role for tea in preventing and treating many chronic diseases.

“As the second most consumed drink in the world next to water, tea accounts for a significant amount of the flavanol intake worldwide,” states Joe Simrany, President of the Tea Council of the USA, which has been a leading force behind the International Tea and Human Health Symposium since 1991. “This gathering of renowned global nutrition scientists is the world’s leading platform to release new research on tea, and acts as a catalyst for continuing research on tea in areas as diverse and novel as cognitive function, bone growth, weight management, cancer, and vascular function.”

Abstracts from the symposium are posted at the Tea Association of the USA’s website, http://www.teausa.org.

(Fifth Intl Scientific Symposium Health Abstracts 2012, The Tea Association of the USA, accessed September 27, 2012; http://www.teausa.org/index.cfm/14748/fifth-intl-scientific-symposium-health-abstracts)

Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

Faithfully healthy hair

After thirty years experience in natural hair and skin careFaith in Nature have gained a lot of experience and know-how as to what makes a good product.

Put faith back in your hair
Put faith back in your hair

Their newest range of twin-pack shampoos and conditioners is no exception to the rule! The shampoos are packed with high levels of essential oils and herbal extracts to care for your hair, while the complementary conditioners gently coat and lubricate each strand of hair, leaving it soft and manageable.

It’s little wonder their range of natural beauty products has won so many awards!All of Faith in Nature’s products are developed with aromatherapy oils to nourish the hair and scalp using only natural ingredients which care for the environment.

So here’s the latest range:

Seaweed Shampoo and Conditioner – Seaweed is full of minerals and proteins that are highly beneficial to your hair and it is also a strong antioxident, meaning that it will reduce cellular damage.

Faith in Nature Aloe Vera Shampoo and Conditioner – Organic Aloe Vera contains many enzymes and amino acids which have been proven to benefit your hair and particularly dry scalps.

Lavender & Geranium Shampoo and Conditioner –  Blended for normal to dry hair to restore and soothe your hair and scalp with natural antiseptic and antibacterial qualities. It also strengthens the hair and balances over secretion of oils from the scalp.

Rosemary Shampoo and Conditioner – Rosemary is reputed for promoting hair growth and colour while also improving scalp condition. It is particularly effective after illnesses which can cause scurf or dandruff.

Tart Cherries: A Remedy for Arthritis?

A report on the usefulness of tart cherries by Jane Hart, MD

People with osteoarthritis often have pain and inflammation, even when using available therapies, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or they may experience side effects from long-term medicine use. This makes study findings published in the Journal of Food Studies of interest, as it found that a blood marker for inflammation known as C-reactive protein was reduced by nearly 50% in women with osteoarthritis who drank tart cherry juice.

Cherries linked to lower inflammation

In this study, 21 women with osteoarthritis were randomly assigned to drink 10.5 fluid ounces of tart cherry juice or a placebo cherry drink twice a day, for 21 days. The tart cherry juice was made from tart cultivar Montmorency cherries, and 10.5 ounces of juice contained the equivalent of as many as 60 cherries. The placebo drink contained 2 grams of unsweetened cherry flavoured fruit drink mixed with 1 litre of water, and cherry syrup and lemon juice were added for flavour. Blood tests assessing the level of inflammation in these participants were measured before and after the intervention.

Results showed that women who drank the tart cherry juice had a nearly 50% reduction in blood levels of C-reactive protein, a common indicator of inflammation.

According to the study authors, “Tart cherries, high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, may reduce pain and inflammation without the adverse side effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.”

While these findings show promise, keep in mind that it is still not clear whether the active treatment was truly beneficial or whether the placebo caused an adverse effect and the active treatment was beneficial just in comparison. Further research is needed on the role of cherries in osteoarthritis management.

Natural options needed for best results

Recommended: natural options. Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes inflammation in the joints, and people who suffer from this condition don’t always find complete relief from medications or shots. Integrating them with natural options, including regular exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction, can significantly help relieve people’s pain. Complementary therapies such as massage, Tai Chi, and acupuncture have also been shown to help relieve pain and improve function in some people with osteoarthritis.

Recommended: nutritional options. One natural option includes turning to various nutrients and natural chemicals in foods that boost the body’s ability to fight inflammation and cell damage. Certain plant foods such as tart cherries and other foods such as fish are high in natural chemicals that may lower inflammation and help prevent cell damage.

Recommended: talk with a doctor. If you suffer from osteoarthritis and still experience pain, talk with a knowledgeable doctor about natural options that may complement your current treatments. Nutritionists knowledgeable about osteoarthritis can also be an important part of your healthcare team in advising about healthy eating for better health. Talk with a doctor before starting supplements to discuss the risks and benefits.

(Journal of Food Studies 2012;1:14-25)

Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognised organizations, websites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker.

Berry Chia Breakfast Pudding recipe and a chance to Win The Functional Nutrition Cookbook

Our friend and nutritionist, Christine Bailey, has another book out. This time it’s in collaboration with fellow nutritionist, Lorraine Nicolle. The book is called The Functional Nutrition Cookbook: Addressing Biochemical Imbalances through Diet (published by Singing Dragon on 15 September 2012).

This unique cookbook, with a CD-ROM of printable recipes, doesn’t just help you get round health problems, it helps you know what food you can eat to counter-act the complaints.

You can make a real difference to issues like gastro-intestinal problems, a weak immune system and hormone imbalances through diet. Recipes are provided for each imbalance and there’s even a chapter on how to age healthily.

I’ve got a copy of this book to give away, so if you’re interested in winning a copy, send me an email with your name and address (UK addresses only, competition closes 20.9.12).

Berry Chia Pudding Breakfast
Berry Chia Pudding Breakfast

Try the Berry Chia Breakfast Pudding recipe

This recipe is taken from Christine’s new book. It uses Chia seeds, which are a rich source of omega-3 (alpha linolenic – ALA) fatty acids and antioxidants. They are great for adding to desserts, smoothies and bars, as well as for this grain-free breakfast pudding. Rich in soluble fibre, they form a gel when added to water or juice that helps slow down the rate of digestion, keeping you feeling full throughout the morning. In addition, the sesame seeds in the tahini contain omega-6 (linoleic acid – LA) fatty acids.

Serves 4
50g / 1 ¾ oz / ½ cup chia seeds
250ml / 8floz / 1cup 100% unsweetened pomegranate juice
2tbsp tahini
12 soft pitted dates, chopped
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of cinnamon
225g / 8oz raspberries

1. Place the chia seeds in the juice and leave to soak for 20 minutes. The seeds should swell up and thicken the liquid.
2. Place all the ingredients but only half of the raspberries into a blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Stir in the remaining raspberries.
3. Spoon into bowls and serve