Nutrition

At a microscopic level, your body, mind and spirit are distinct yet interacting bundles of energy that need regeneration. The body gets its regeneration from food, water and exercise, while the mind gets its regeneration from clarity of thought.

Everyone likes to count calories these days, but we don't often think about the link between calories and energy. A calorie is actually a unit of energy, defined by physics as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Centigrade.

Your body essentially takes the foods and beverages you consume and then breaks them down into nutritional molecules that release energy. Walking and running, and even thinking and sleeping, requires your body to process energy.

Ideally, you want to consume a balanced diet that delivers a wide variety of nutrients as well as a diet that meets your caloric needs, which varies according to your activity level, age, height, current weight and desired weight. And just as a fatigued or overburdened mind is too distracted to clearly perceive the world, and a malnourished spirit looses its vitality and vibrancy, an intake of poor nutrients can wreak havoc on your body.

You really don't need to make radical changes in your diet to feel the effects of a change in nutrition. You can do small things like eating less red meat, replacing red meat with chicken of fish, drinking more water and less soda.

Chicken and fish are preferable to red meat, which is more difficult to digest and is a fattier source of nutritional energy. Because red meat comes from animals that live longer than chicken and fish, red meat contains more pesticides, toxins and artificial growth hormones if those animals were raised on typical, non-organic farms.

One reason to be careful about the non-natural chemicals you put into your body is that they can accumulate over time, particularly within fat cells, which are relatively dormant compared to other types of cells that make up our bodies. Fat cells are storehouses for beneficial nutrients, but they also hold on to other materials that make their way into our bodies.

For some people, vegetarianism or veganism is the way to go, but these approaches don't work for everybody. The most important, and easy, change you can make is just to begin thinking about the nutrients you consume. You don't have to eliminate fat and sugar from your diet, just work on reducing the amount you consume.

Some very simple things you can do to restore a natural balance within your body's energy-consuming and energy-producing processes include drinking more water and eating more organic fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds and nuts. You and your body will feel different. You will feel more energetic, and that energy may begin interacting with your mind and your spirit in ways that will surprise you.

Lentils Are an Essential Part of a Healthy Diet

Lentils are an economical food that is served around the world. There are numerous varieties of lentils that range in color from brown to pink to green to orange. One thing all varieties of lentils have in common is that they are a low fat, low calorie and cholesterol free, but the nutritional benefits of lentils don't stop there.

Consider the following nutritional benefits of lentils:

1. Lentils are a good source of lean protein. Lentils are not a complete protein, because they lack one essential protein, methionine. However, lentils form a complete protein when combined with foods such as grains, nuts, seeds, eggs and dairy products.

2. Lentils are a good source of iron. This is important especially for women, whose iron needs are great, and for vegetarians whose often suffer from iron deficiency. It's helpful to combine lentils with foods that are rich in Vitamin C such as broccoli, tomatoes, green peppers and citrus fruits, because Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron more efficiently.

3. Lentils are a good source of folic acid. The U.S. Health Service recommends that all women of child-bearing age consume 400 mcg of folic acid per day, but very few women do. A single serving of lentils provides 90% of the recommended daily allowance of folic acid. In fact, lentils provide more folic acid than any other unfortified food.

4. Lentils are a good source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps to clear the digestive system, decreases cholesterol, and decreases the need for insulin in diabetes patients.

5. Lentils lower the risk of coronary heart disease. In addition to fiber, other heart healthy attributes of lentils include folate and magnesium. The magnesium found in lentils increases the flow of blood and thus optimizes oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

6. Lentils help reduce cholesterol. High-soluble-fiber foods such as lentils have lowered cholesterol levels in most trials.


The Benefits of Cauliflower
Cauliflower is also helpful in the following cases:

Cooking Tip: Cauliflower contains a compound that release sulfuric odor when heated. These odors become stronger with increased cooking time. To minimize odor, retain the vegetable's crisp texture, and reduce nutrient loss, cook the cauliflower for only a short time. Some phytonutrients may react with iron in cookware and cause the cauliflower to take on a brownish color. To prevent this, add a bit of lemon juice to the water in which you blanch the cauliflower

Turmeric
Turmeric is one of nature's most powerful healers. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Tumeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, where it was most likely first used as a dye.

The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer's disease.

Here are 20 reasons to add turmeric to your diet:

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer

3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.

4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.

6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.

7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.

12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.

14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.

16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.

17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.

18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.

19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.

20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Turmeric can be taken in powder or pill form. It is available in pill form in most health food stores, usually in 250-500mg capsules.

Once you start using turmeric on a regular basis, it's fun to find new ways to use it in recipes. My favorite way to use it is to add a pinch of it to egg salad. It adds a nice flavor and gives the egg salad a rich yellow hue.

Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.