I’m not sure what I enjoy the most about Chai tea; its flavour or its smell. Perhaps it’s the combination of the two that has won my heart.
Chai tea is made from a combination of black tea, ginger and other spices like cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, black pepper and cloves. And it is these spices that give Chai its many health benefits including anti-inflammatory and anti-tumorigenic properties:
The chemopreventative benefit of a whole foods diet is often attributed to phytochemicals, such as terpenoids and polyphenols, found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. Spices, (which) tend to have high concentrations of these classes of potentially therapeutic agents…Many spices, including cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, clove and ginger, have shown promise as chemopreventative and therapeutic agents in cancer. In vitro and in vivo, each of these compounds has demonstrated potent anti-inflammatory and anti-tumorigenic properties. Thus, chai tea, which contains a combination of all the aforementioned spices, represents an enjoyable means of chemoprevention.
~The Anti-Inflammatory and Chemopreventative Effects of Chai Tea; Tina Kaczor, ND, FABNO
The recipe below is a twist on the normal Chai tea latte that is milk-based. As well as tasting great, this latte offers you:
And you can enjoy it cooled, outside on a hot summer day. Or hot, snuggled up by the fire on a cool winter’s night. A true functional food that can really be enjoyed all year long!
Chai Tea Latte Recipe
1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)
2 cups of boiling water
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)
Cover the teabag and dates with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for about 4-5 minutes.
Discard the tea bag and place tea, soaked dates, tahini and almond butter into a blender.
Blend mixture until creamy.
Sprinkle with cinnamon (if using) and serve right away.
If you want a cold beverage, simply chill it in your refrigerator for a bit and serve over ice.
References:How Chai Tea Can Improve Your Health: Healthline
The Anti-Inflammatory and Chemopreventative Effects of Chai Tea; Tina Kaczor, ND, FABNO
I have a great spaghetti sauce recipe that I got from my mom many years ago.
I make it A LOT! It’s a family favourite.
In fact, it may just have been the first meal that I cooked when I got married.
Fast track a few years from that first meal and I became a nutritionist. And with that I thought, it became incumbent upon me to nutricize everything that we ate. A pinch of chia. A dash of hemp.
Well the team started to revolt. Old favs, like gran’s spaghetti sauce, fell from grace.
And here is the thing. The spaghetti sauce is a simple recipe made up of healthy ingredients.
I learned my lesson quick and hard. Don’t try and fix it if it’s not broken.
One of the seasonings that I use in my spaghetti sauce recipe is Black Pepper, a very common seasoning that I think is under appreciated and quite honestly not given the respect that it deserves.
Heap On Those Seasonings!
Herbs and spices play a big role in the kitchen and flavouring food is only of their amazing skills.
Have a look:
The strong aromatic flavour of herbs and spices stimulates the palette and the digestive juices
Each culinary herb plays some role in the GI tract
Every herb and spice have health promoting phytonutrients
And there is a growing body of evidence to support the notion that culinary herbs and spices have multiple anticancer characteristics including antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-tumorigenic properties.
Health Benefits Of Black Pepper
So back to that common old everyday spice Black Pepper. Black Pepper is harvested from a flowering vine and cultivated for its fruit, the peppercorn. Usually the peppercorn is dried and used as a seasoning.
Along with its often-partnered pal salt, Black Pepper is used in many, many recipes that we google.
And it truly does bring a lot to the party.
Here are some of the amazing health benefits that Black Pepper has to offer:
√It stimulates the taste buds which signals the stomach to secret Hydrochloric Acid (HCL)
√It helps prevent the formation of gas
√It promotes sweating and urination
√It is an antioxidant and an antibacterial
√It is an anti-inflammatory
And perhaps its greatest benefit is that it aids in the absorption of other nutrients.
Black Pepper has been shown to enhance the absorption of calcium and selenium as well as beneficial plant compounds such as those found in green tea and turmeric
Black Pepper deserves its spot on the top shelf of our spice rack and is a great example that sometimes, often times, common is just fine!
Summertime and outdoor cooking are a memory making duo!
And with the Long Weekend upon us, it is likely that grilling is a part of the plan.
But eating food prepared by cooking over an open flame can expose you to carcinogens.
When you expose your meat and fish to high heat and open flames it creates heterocyclic amines (HCAs). And the smoke that results from fat that drips and burns on the grill contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Both of these chemicals have been linked to various types of cancer.
So, my intention is not to be a buzz kill here but to give you some tips to help you reduce the formation of these chemicals and keep you healthy!
10 Tips For Healthier BBQing
Clean any char that has built up on your grill before you start cooking
Lower the temperature and cook for a longer period of time
Choose leaner cuts of meat
Grill small portions. This reduces the time on the grill
Remove skin and fat to reduce the dripping that leads to fire flares
Avoid placing your food directly over the fire
Grill on cedar planks
Have a spray bottle filled with water handy to douse fire flare-ups
Include fruits and veggies! BBQing isn’t just for meat. In fact some of my favourite grilled food has nothing to do with meat at all. You can grill all kinds of veggies on the grill. And for desert how about grilled pineapple with cinnamon (a family favourite). Or grilled peaches. Just yummy!
10. Marinate your food and include heaps of herbs. This ups the flavour and limits the formation of carcinogens. Studies have found that adding herbs and spices such as rosemary, basil, mint and thyme to beef reduces the formation of HCAs
To help you along with this last point, here are some ingredients that you can mix and match to create a tasty marinade that you can use for your next shindig!
Marinade Mix and Matching Ingredients
Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Sesame Oil
Lemon, Lime, Orange
Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Smoked Paprika
There are three basic groups of peppers: bell, sweet, and hot. People all over the world eat them in one form or another. Some eat for them the flavour, some eat them for the challenge and many for a combination of the two.
I am going to focus here on the hot variety and just why they are so.
Peppers are hot because they contain a chemical called capsaicin and related chemicals called capsaicinoids. Capsaicin acts by binding with nerve receptors generally used to transmit heat and heat-related pain in the body. The higher the capsaicin content the hotter the pepper.
Scoville Heat Unit
In 1912 a chemist named Wilbur Scoville invented a scale to measure the heat of peppers. To this day pepper heat is measured in the Scoville Heat Unit. Bell and sweet peppers have zero Scoville units since they have no capsaicin. Jalepeno peppers measure from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units and the pepper that I mistakenly planted this year, the Bhut Jolokia chili pepper or ghost pepper, which holds the distinction of being the world’s hottest chili pepper, measures 1,001,304 Scoville.
Back to capsaicin. It’s a flavourless and odourless substance found on the inside flesh of peppers. The experience of heat happens when the chemical binds to receptors that are made to respond to pain and heat in the throat and mouth. This tricks the brain into thinking that your mouth is on fire, causing your body to fight the “heat” by boosting your metabolism (increasing circulation) and cooling via perspiration.
After the brain gets this heat alert it sends out the cooling troops to neutralize and remove the heat. These troops work to increased circulation by initiating cooling perspiration and reactions like a runny nose and teary eyes.
A chilli pepper’s spicy heat comes from the seeds so removing them minimizes the heat.
A chilli pepper’s spicy heat comes from the pith and ribs of the pepper, not the seeds.
The seeds may be coated with some of the capsaicin because they are in contact with the rib. But the seeds themselves don’t actually contain any heat.
The ribs contain a good deal of the capsaicin heat but the flesh itself contains a good amount of heat as well.
So why can some people beat the heat while others suffer the fire?
There are 3 reasons proposed to answer this question.
1. Less Capsaicin Detecting Receptors
This theory states that some people inherit fewer of the capsaicin-detecting receptors that line your mouth and throat, making them less sensitive to hot peppers.
2. Training our heat receptors
An associate professor at the Culinary Institute of America, William Phillips, pointed out that people in some parts of the world such as Mexico or India naturally have higher tolerance for spicy food because they begin eating them at a very young age.
This receptor training desensitizes a person to capsaicin over time so they actually perceive less burn from capsaicin.
3. Thrill Seekers Love the Burn
This is interesting. There was a study done in 2012 that showed sensation-seeking individuals are more likely to like spicy food. The researchers found that people who are more open to new experiences and enjoy thrill-based activities, think roller coaster and rock climbing, tend to enjoy spicy food even if the immediate sensation is unpleasant.
Nadia Byrnes, one of the researchers stated that “Biologically, spice creates a sensation in the mouth that the brain interprets as burning or being on fire. When your body realizes there’s no real danger, it begins to interpret the sensation as a ‘thrill’ similar to gambling or riding roller coasters.”
Why are peppers healthy?
Hot peppers are healthy and here is why:
On top of being “hot,” capsaicin has been shown to be anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-diabetic.
Peppers are a rich source of vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants like vitamin A and also B-complex vitamins like vitamin B-6 and B-1.
Chillies have a good amount of minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese.
There are countless ways to incorporate hot peppers in to your diet. Your first decision however is to determine what types of peppers pack just the right amount of heat for you.
Hot Pepper Oil
Here is a handy dandy way to use hot peppers.
Is it a recipe? Not sure but here is how it goes.
In a glass jar with a lid (I use 125ml one) cut up a a few peppers (I use 2-3 different types usually) enough to fill about half of the jar.
Fill the jar with a very good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil making sure all pepper are covered. Put the lid on the jar and let it sit for at least one day before using it.
Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell and an extremely important part of our immune system as they help our body to fight infection.
Neutropenia is a condition where a person has an abnormally low concentration of neutrophils.
People who have neutropenia have a higher risk of getting serious infections because they do not have enough neutrophils to fight off invading and harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Cancer patients who are receiving treatment can be at risk of neutropenia. Neutrophils are made in the bone marrow and cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy can affect a patient’s bone health thus impacting neutrophil production. Neutropenia is also a common side effect in people with leukemia and can also be caused by solid tumour malignancies if they infiltrate the bone marrow.
Neutropenia is diagnosed by a routine complete blood count (CBC).
Symptoms of Neutropenia
The following are common signs of neutropenia:
Chills or sweating
Sore throat, sores in the mouth
Pain near the anus
Pain or burning when urinating, or urinating often
A cough or shortness of breath
Any redness, swelling, or pain (especially around a cut, wound, or catheter)
Unusual vaginal discharge or itching
Allopathic Management of Neutropenia
The treatment of neutropenia depends on its cause and severity. In some cases cancer treatment may be suspended until neutrophil count rises to an adequate level.
Patients may be given medication to help bone marrow regenerate new neutrophils.
And in cases where a disease has caused the drop in neutrophils, treatment of the disease will occur.
How Can You Support Your Immune System If You Are At Risk of Neutropenia?
Eat a healthy diet
Protein is the building block for the immune system. Foods such as eggs, quinoa and
lean white meat are good sources
Zinc is a strong immune booster. Foods rich in zinc include pumpkin seeds, shellfish and
Omega‐3 fatty acids increase phagocyte activity. Phagocytes are white blood cells that
consume bacteria. Foods include flax seeds, wild caught salmon and chia seeds
Folate increases neutrophil count. Foods high in folate include leafy green vegetables,
beans, and lentils.
Stay well hydrated drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day
Wash your hands frequently
Washing your hands helps to prevent the spread of germs to your nose, eyes and mouth. All entry points to your body
Stay away from large groups
You are at greater risk of infection when your immune system is compromised. During this time avoid large groups to help reduce your risk of coming in to contact with potentially harmful germs
Get lots of sleep
Proper sleep is a key piece of a healthy immune system. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night
Neutropenia can be serious. Be aware of the symptoms and contact your doctor if you begin to experience any of them.