Health & Lifestyle
Chia translates to 'strengh' in Mayan and has been a revered crop used for both medicine and food in Mesoamerica for over 3000 years. Chia, considered one of the main crops of the Aztecs, was so valuable in Aztec culture that the seeds were used to pay taxes! This must be due to the chia seed's energy bearing properties. The seeds are still eaten today as a source of energy. The Tarahuman tribe of Mexico drinks a beverage called Iskiate, which is combination of lemon, water and chia seeds. It is said they can run for hundreds of miles after consuming Iskiate.
Chia comes from the sage family and sprouts purple flowers. The flowers then develop into the seeds we eat. Nutritionally, it is a near perfect food. Chia provides essential protiens. fats, carbohydrates, vitamins minerals and antioxidants. The seeds are also high in omega 3, which is good for brain function and anti-aging. Low in calories and packed full of fibre, it is very good with the digestive process.
They have a nearly undetectable, light-nutty flavour so just add them to everything!
Turmeric comes from the plant Curcumin longa, which is native to tropical South Asia. The plant is small and produces both a flower and a rhizome, which is a root-like stem that is similar in appearance to ginger. The ground rhizome produces the spice. India has used turmeric medicinally for over 4500 years and is what gives Indian curries their bright yellow colour.
Turmeric contains bioactive compounds called curcuminoids, the most important being curcumin. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory effects and is a strong anti-oxidant. It is loaded with the brain hormone BDNF, which increases brain function and reduces the risk of brain disease. Curcumin may also help with depression and delay and fight age-related chronic diseases, like Alzheimer's.
With its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin helps with joint pain and arthritis. It can lower the risk of heart disease and may be useful in the prevention of cancer.
Curcumin does not easily absorb into the bloodstream, so it is good to add a supplement containing piperine (black pepper).
The popularity of goji berries has been on the rise in the west for the past decade or so, but they have been highly regarded for centuries as a nutritional and botanical medicine in China. Goji plants respond well to the thin, dry high-altitude air of the Tibetan plateau and have been harvested there for over 5000 years.
Goji berries are known as 'adaptogenic superfoods'. As the plants survive stressful environments of high solar radiation and low temperatures, consuming the berries assist the body to adapt to our every-day environmental stressors.
Goji's help to invigorate and strengthen the body by supporting the adrenal glands. According to Chinese medicine, goji berries boost kidney and adrenal energy, helping to strengthen, invigorate, and enhance stamina in the body. They are a good source of protein and are rich in minerals and vitamin B's. It is thought they improve eyesight, boost immunity, and support heart and digestive health. They are high in sesquiterpenoids, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. These properties increase longevity and help keep us young!
Chamomile is a white, daisy-like flower indiginous to Germany and the UK. It's flowers are used to make herbal infusions for traditional medicines. Flowers are dried, then combined with hot water for a delicious herbal tea.
Chamomile's properties are thought to have calming and anti-anxiety effects. There are many studies underway to see if this is the case. Having a nice cup of chamomile at bed time is thought to induce sleepiness, but again, all this needs to be proven with science before we can know if there are any actual benefits.
Consuming chamomile comes with some health advisories; it is best avoided if pregnant or breastfeeding, and it's properties may interfere with some prescription drugs.
The most important thing to remember about chamomile is that it makes a perfect cup of herbal tea! Kostlich!