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Carob Recipes – the dark brown pod of the Mediterranean

I love searching for ingredients that are good for you, that you can easily sneak in place of something else and gain the health benefits. One I love is Carob, so I thought I would share four carob recipes I love, hopefully you will too!

Let’s face it…..something you can add that tastes like chocolate, or add it with chocolate and maintain the health benefits, pass the plate love.

I am not an advocate of eating the whole plate, but lets just say if you did – it would be better than say eating a whole bar of chocolate.

 

The benefits of Carob

Carob – the dark brown pod of the Mediterranean Ceratonia Siliqua tree, more commonly known as Carob has a great many health benefits.

carob tree

It has high levels of fiber, vitamins A, E and B-12, it contains absolutely no caffeine and is also low in sugar and fats – and it tastes like chocolate. So wonderful if you want to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet.

Carob Powder comes from finely ground, dried and toasted pods of the carob tree. That is a great big bonus in my world.

This is a great ingredient for those wanting to add something to your recipes to help lower cholesterol, help with digestive problems, help with eye health, maintain a glow in the skin and could help aid weight loss.

This poly-phenol rich food is one of natures wonders!

 

4 Carob Recipes

I have worked on changing a few recipes to include this ingredient and replace chocolate completely in some recipes….

 

1. Carob Mole Sauce

Yields 4 to 6 servings

chicken mole

My first is easy and a great addition to a few meals.

You can serve it for an every night dinner or build a great meal for entertaining. I am talking about a classic Mole sauce.

Served with Chicken, Beef or even Pork this sauce adds depth and richness….

 

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons avocado or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon carob powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander/cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic minced finely
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • small can or fresh diced green or red chilli’s

 

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add diced onion a cook till translucent add the garlic and saute another two minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the carob powder, cumin, cilantro/coriander, tomato sauce and green chilli’s.
  4. Mix this together in the saucepan with the onions and the garlic.
  5. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Serve as you like over meats, rice or as a base sauce over fajitas.

 

2. Italian hot chocolate

Makes 2 servings

hot carob drink

Next we have a great take on an Italian hot chocolate, thick and creamy goodness. Perfect for a night in front of the fire, or just a relaxing moment and one of my fave carob recipes.

You can also add cocoa or melted chocolate in addition to the carob, but the carob keeps the calories low.

You can also substitute sugar for honey but we are heading right back into that “ may as well slather the calories on area”.

 

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons carob powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ cups milk or almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon of real vanilla extract

 

Directions

  1. Stir the carob powder and cornstarch into the honey to make a paste.
  2. Stir the paste into 1 and 1/2 cups milk and pour in saucepan.
  3. Place over low heat; slowly bring the mixture to a low simmer.
  4. Whisk continuously until the mixture starts to thicken to a “pudding consistency” about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Serve in your favorite mug or cup, add a scoop of fresh whipped cream.

*You can add cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice or peppermint oil for a different version, or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for an Aztec treat.

 

Individual Chocolate Lava Cakes

Yield: 6 Servings

lava cakes

Moving on to another favorite part of any meal…dessert.

Although this recipe is rich and decadent it is a great carrier for the carob powder.

Yes, it does have some chocolate, you can vary the size of the chocolate balls you make and control how much chocolate you put in.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cake flour or your choice of gluten free cup for cup flour
  • 1/4 cup carob powder

 

Directions

  1. To make centers, melt 2 ounces of chocolate (1/2 a baking bar) and cream in double boiler.
  2. Whisk gently to blend.
  3. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm.
  4. Form into 6 balls; refrigerate until needed.
  5. To make cake, heat oven to 400°F.
  6. Spray six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups with cooking spray.
  7. Melt 4 ounces of chocolate (1 baking bar) and butter in double boiler; whisk gently to blend.
  8. With an electric mixer, whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, and vanilla on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and light.
  9. Fold melted chocolate mixture, carob powder and flour into egg mixture just until combined.
  10. Spoon cake batter into ramekins.
  11. Place a chocolate ball in the middle of each ramekin.
  12. Bake about 15 minutes or until cake is firm to the touch.
  13. Let it sit out of the oven for about 5 minutes.
  14. Run a small, sharp knife around inside of each ramekin, place a plate on top, invert and remove ramekin.
  15. Garnish with raspberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

*To substitute for chocolate, use 3 Tbsp. Carob Powder and 1 tablespoon of water in place of each square of chocolate. This wont work as well for the chocolate balls in this recipe but as a rule for substituting in a recipe that does not require melting and re solidifying it works as a great replacement.

* Don’t have cake flour — make your own. Take one level cup of all purpose flour, take out two tablespoons, and then add back in two tablespoons of cornstarch. Be sure to sift the flour cornstarch mix a few times before using. This also works with the gluten free cup for cup flour.

 

Carob and Clay Face Mask

So you’ve used these carob recipes to cook a great meal, entertained and served up some scrumptious items.

It’s your turn now!

Kick back with a cuppa and lavish in carob goodness.

This is a great face mask you can also use it on your chest and back. (you will need help for the back) 😉

 

Ingredients

  • Mix a teaspoon of dark Carob powder and a teaspoon of Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay in water to form a smooth paste.
  • This clay is great for pulling out impurities and the carob will add a dose of vitamin E.
  • You can also mix in a little Jojoba oil if you have dry skin.

 

Directions

  1. Apply it evenly all over the face
  2. Leave it on for 15 minutes until it dries off completely
  3. Rinse with warm water and follow up with a good oil moisturizer.
  4. Now you or ready to face the world or the pillow – choice is yours.

 

Carob – A very versatile powder

Carob powder

Well as you can see this versatile superfood powder can be added to everything imaginable.

It’s vitamin packed goodness can be used from sweet to savory.

Use a little imagination on your own and come up with some different uses for this wonder powder. Just remember carob is twice as sweet as chocolate, so if you use it with sugar cut back a little on the sugar first.

 

Let us know

We’d love to know in the comments below if you give any of these carob recipes a try.

We love them! and really hope you do to…..

 

 

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Knowing your Blood Pressure

Knowing your blood pressure could save your life! We look into how to lower blood pressure naturally by eating the right foods and living the right lifestyle.

 

Measuring blood pressure

Systolic pressure is always mentioned first and is the measurement of the blood through the arteries and ideally should be 120 or less but if your readings are between 120 – 139 this is seen as normal to borderline high blood pressure.

Readings of 140 and above are seen as high blood pressure.

Always make sure you get your blood pressure checked regularly by a medical professional.

 

measuring blood pressure

The diastolic pressure or bottom reading is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. This reading should be 80 or less.

Readings of between 80 – 89 is normal but higher than ideal. Over 90 for repeated readings is seen as hypertension.

 

Do you have hypertension or high blood pressure?

How do you know if you have hypertension or high blood pressure? You tend not too!

Nearly one third of people with high blood pressure are un-aware.

This is why it is called the silent killer. Hypertension is the number one cause of heart related disease.

If you would like to keep a constant eye on it you can buy a blood pressure monitor like this best selling Omron from somewhere like amazon at a very good price for example this best selling monitor.

BUT as we said before if you feel unwell or think you may have high blood pressure, you MUST always get a medical professional to check your blood pressure.

So let’s look into how to lower blood pressure naturally….

 

How to lower blood pressure naturally

Is there a way to control high blood pressure without chemical intervention?

You can help using natural ways and prevention is always better than cure…

  • Weight – being overweight makes the heart work harder so even a small loss in weight can make a difference.
  • Salt – recommended daily intake of salt is less than 6g. There is a link between salt intake and blood pressure.
  • Stress – increases blood pressure. Over time high stress levels can cause hypertension.
  • Alcohol – Blood pressure can be raised by too much alcohol so moderate the drinking of alcohol. NHS recommended limits are three to four units a day for men and two to three units daily for women.
  • Caffeine – Found in coffee, tea, cola and some medicines and energy drinks. More than four cups of coffee could increase blood pressure, try decaf.
  • Exercise – Lower the risk of blood pressure by taking regular exercise. A 150 minutes exercise a week is recommended by the NHS.

 

Weight and High blood pressure

High blood pressure and being over weight are intrinsically linked. Increased body fat means the heart has to work harder when circulating the blood round the body.

If your BMI (Body Mass Index) is over 25 to 28 losing a couple of pounds makes a difference to the blood pressure.

A study done in 2014 showed that anyone gaining 5% of their body weight showed a slight rise in blood pressure. The greatest increases in blood pressure were seen if extra fat was added to the belly area.

By eating a healthy diet including vegetables, fruit, healthy fat and high quality protein as well as avoiding processed foods that contain sodium and calories you can really help lower blood pressure naturally.

That along with activity that improves lean muscle mass and sustains the metabolic rate.

 

Exercise

bike ride

Exercise is a great way to lower blood pressure. It does not have to be in a gym if you have an aversion to classes or expensive gyms, a brisk walk, swim or bike ride is a great way to try and help lower blood pressure.

As long as you break into a sweat it means you are exercising hard enough.

In a 2015 study of over weight, diabetic adults showed that a few minutes of daily exercise lowered their blood pressure.

A study in Brazil on older women with hypertension showed that a weight training programme significantly reduced the diastolic and systolic blood pressure which was maintained for an hour after the training finished.

 

Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation can mean cravings for junk food, over eating and an increase in stress levels.

You can also benefit from an afternoon nap, if you have time.

Adults with high blood pressure who took an hour long daily siesta saw a drop in the systolic rate of on average 5% when compared with those who did not nap.

 

Stress

Stress can be a killer as it causes the blood pressure to rise in the long and short term, so find a way that you like to relax, try yoga and meditation these have all been found to be good choices. Even just having a good laugh!

 

Relaxing with Music

relax with music

Try relaxing with music and slow breathing for 30 minutes a day to bring down blood pressure.

Researchers at the University of Florence tried soothing classical, Indian or Celtic music with 28 adults that were taking medication for hypertension.

Their average systolic readings decreased by 3.2 points in a week.

 

Drinking alcohol

Drinking alcohol can have benefits to hypertension sufferers and lower the risk of heart disease but more than one drink a day for women and two for men could have an opposite effect.

One drink equates to 12oz of beer, 5 oz. of wine or 1.5oz of a spirit. As well as being the cause of other chronic conditions high consumption of alcohol increases blood pressure and is detrimental to your health.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that regular binge drinking in young adults have shown them to be suffering with prehypertension which can lead to hypertension.

 

Try these 11 foods that can help lower blood pressure

There are a number of foods that can help you avoid hypertension and will even help lower high blood pressure.

Research has shown that a diet rich in foods containing potassium, magnesium and calcium but low in sodium could help to bring your blood pressure to normal.

 

1. Flaxseed

A 2013 study has shown that flax seed can reduce blood pressure even if taking medication.

The four compounds contained in flaxseeds, alpha linolenic acid, peptides, lignans and fiber could singularly or all be responsible for the reduction in blood pressure this is yet to be proven.

 

2. Olive Oil

Rich in polyphenols Olive oil has been found by Spanish researchers to have an effect on systolic and diastolic blood pressure over a four month period.

 

3. Beetroot

beetroot can lower blood pressure

The nitrates in beetroot have been shown by Australian researchers to reduce systolic pressure over a 24 hour period, six hours after drinking beetroot juice.

 

4. Chocolate

Must contain at least 70% cocoa. Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols this has been shown to reduce both systolic and diastolic pressure in anyone suffering from hypertension.

The polyphenols contained in cocoa products are associated with the formation of nitric acid. This substance widens the blood vessels thereby easing blood flow.

But it must be remembered that chocolate also contain sugar and caffeine so no more that one square a day.

 

5. Salmon and other fatty fish

fish

Has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids which has the effect of lowering blood pressure.

Eating fatty fish three times a week has been linked to the diastolic pressure being reduced.

Further research is needed to confirm the amounts you need though.

 

6. Hibiscus

Loaded with anti-oxidants like phenols and anthocyanins hibiscus has been shown in a 2010 study to reduce both systolic and diastolic pressures by drinking three daily servings of hibiscus tea.

Do not exceed this amount as the manganese, copper and iron content could go above recommended levels.

 

7. Pistachio nuts

A 2013 study carried out over a 4 week period has shown that by eating a serving of Pistachio nuts (unsalted) daily reduced the systolic blood pressure.

It is not clear exactly as to why, was it due to an increase in the volume of blood pumped from the heart or did the nuts reduce the constriction of the blood vessels.

 

8. Sunflower seeds

sunflower-seeds

A delicious snack and rick in magnesium. A quarter cup makes for a delicious, nutritious snack.

 

9. Beans

All kinds pinto, lima, kidney and all colours, rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium all excellent at lowering blood pressure and improving the health of the heart.

 

10. Whole grains

Three servings of whole grains has been found to lower systolic pressure. The research is not clear as to why but the findings  point to cholesterol levels benefitting from eating whole grains.

 

11. Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate juice has been found by British researchers to be linked to the lowering of both systolic and diastolic pressures by drinking more than a cup of pomegranate juice a day, for four weeks.

The research is not clear on why but it is thought to be the potassium or the polyphenols found in the juice of this fruit.

 

Changes in your Diet

Any changes to your diet if you are on medication should be discussed with your doctor as some foods may have adverse effects.

 

How is your Blood pressure?

Do you suffer from high blood pressure?   If you already take natural measures to keep your blood pressure low we’d love to know what you do….

If you have any other tips on how to lower blood pressure naturally we’d love to know in the comments below….

 

PLEASE NOTE:- The advise above is NOT meant to replace medical advise given by a medical professional. You MUST always seek medical advise from your doctor if you think you have a problem linked to blood pressure.

 

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Jicama and Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes

With New Years resolutions past, some kept others…well you know the drill. Healthy eating is one you can keep. This month I was keen to show you my jicama and apple cider vinegar recipes to help you on your way!

It goes beyond weight loss – its just plain good for you.

You can indulge and still eat healthy, it just depends on what you pick up at the store.

That is where the decisions are made, just go armed with knowledge and some good recipes that don’t make you feel deprived. I always look for ingredients that i want to try and use for all aspects of a menu.

 

Health benefits of Jicama

First up on my list is Jicama, pronounced (Hee-cama).

jicama
Jicama

This is an ingredient I classify as a mixed media contender, both sweet and savory options can be conjured up with this wonderful tuber. It’s roots stem from the Mexican Peninsula.

Light in calories but heavy in vitamin packed power. This is one of those “negative calorie foods”.

Vitamin C, immune boosting, anti-inflammatory properties helps get us through those colder times. High fiber makes it a great fat flushing choice and low calories means you can fill up on a little more of this crisp snack.

Top that off with Potassium, magnesium, Iron, and B6. Need I say more.

 

1. Citrus Strawberry Jicama Fruit Salad

Yields 2 servings

cut-strawberries

We have a great fruit salad mixed with chopped Jicama that will make you feel refreshed, playing along with other fruit powerhouses. This fruit salad is sure to please.

Served with Chicken or Fish, the flavor balance is incredible.

 

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1 Mango peeled and diced 8 to 10 Strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh cut pineapple (you can use canned but watch the sugar juices)
  • ¼ Jicama peeled and cubed
  • Cilantro/Coriander fine chopped  I to 2 sprigs (leaves only)

 

For the dressing

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 teaspoon honey or more to taste
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil sea salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. Prepare the dressing first to allow the flavors to ripen.
  2. Wisk together lime juice, balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Taste and add additional honey if desired.
  4. Set aside.
  5. For the salad peel and core mango and dice into ½ inch pieces, slice 10 strawberries, cut fresh pineapple and the Jicama.
  6. Fine chop the leaves of the Cilantro/Coriander to be sprinkled last.
  7. Toss the fruits together toss with the dressing and Cilantro/Coriander serve with your choice main dish.
  8. Works great with fish and chicken.

 

2. Kicked up Tuna Melt

Yields – 4 servings

tuna melt

Sneaking some great ingredients into a tuna melt is a great way to cover a lot of food groups in a sandwich. The use of Jicama in this recipe gives a crunch that you normally get from celery.

 

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup organic mayonnaise of your choice
  • 1 can tuna of your choice (I prefer packed in olive oil) 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • Sprinkle of lemon juice
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 6 sliced green olives
  • 1 diced dill pickle
  • ¼ Jicama small diced
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese Avocado or olive oil for grilling the bread
  • 8 slices of your favorite bread, your choice. (I love this sandwich on good raisin bread)

 

Directions

  1. Peel the granny smith apple, and Jicama chop into small pieces, place in a bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice.
  2. Then add onions, olives, dill pickle, raisins, tuna and mayonnaise.
  3. Stir together and let set in the fridge for about half an hour. The flavors come together then.
  4. When you take the tuna mixture out of the fridge, taste it and add your salt and pepper according to taste.
  5. Drizzle a little of the oil on each piece of bread and place oil side down on a skillet, fry pan or griddle turned on to low to medium heat.
  6. Please keep an eye, everyone’s stoves are different.
  7. Place shredded cheese on each piece of the bread, then place the tuna mixture only on one piece.
  8. Wait until the cheese starts to bubble a little and the undersides are golden brown and place the side with the cheese on top of the tuna mound.
  9. Remove from pan and cut in half….then enjoy.
  10. Oh wait – let’s get it to the plate first.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes

3. Zippy It Rained in Spring Coleslaw

Yields 8 servings

My next ingredient is Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple Cider vinegar is essentially fermented apple cider and this recipes below is one of my fave apple cider vinegar recipes.

This wonder tonic has the same health benefits as eating apples yet the fermenting process creates good bacteria. These bacteria work wonders for people with digestive issues and it’s been touted as a great weight loss aide.

The magical apple properties make it a good choice for the antioxidant properties and really it tastes great as an extra ingredient in marinades, mixed with water and honey as a tonic and my favorite a great addition to a salad dressing.

Make sure when you are purchasing that the apple cider vinegar is raw, unpasteurized.

 

Ingredients

  1. 4 cups coleslaw mix (with red and green cabbage and carrot) or chop your own
  2. 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  3. 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion strips
  4. 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  5. 2 tablespoon maple syrup, mixed with above vinegar
  6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  7. 1/3 cups toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  8. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

 

Directions

  1. Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat add coleslaw mix, cranberries, and red onion.
  2. Cook about 3 minutes, tossing mixture frequently, until it starts to soften.
  3. Stir in vinegar mixture and salt.
  4. Toss over heat for about another minute, stirring until evenly coated in the maple syrup vinegar.
  5. Toss in walnuts and serve in a bowl.

 

4. Sicilian Arugula/Wild Rocket Blood Orange Salad

Yield – 2 servings

Arugala

As far as apple cider vinegar recipes go, this is another really yummy one and a great salad to have as a meal with your choice of meat or with a great thick slice of home baked bread.

Each ingredient brings out the flavor of the next.

 

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 blood oranges peeled and sectioned
  • 2 heaping cups baby Arugula/Wild Rocket
  • 2 teaspoons cranberries, currents or raisins
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar pinch of chili flakes
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese grated to desired amount

 

Directions

  1. Whisk together extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, pinch of chili flakes and sea salt and pepper to your taste.
  2. Section the blood oranges and remove the chewy membrane, thin slice the red onion add the cranberries, raisins or currents and toss in the dressing.
  3. Toss together until covered then place on a bed of arugula/wild rocket.
  4. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese and enjoy.

 

Slowly change your diet

It’s easy to add ingredients to benefit your health, you just need to think about where you can sneak them in.  You don’t need to just wake up one morning and only eat salads.

You would feel deprived in 2 days and looking for other things to much on.

Start slow, play around with different recipes using these ones as a base and see what you come up with.

Bottom line enjoy what you eat, it makes eating healthy a lot easier.

 

Let us know how you get on

We’d love to hear how you get on with these in the comments below please…..

Do you have any great Jicama or Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes? If so we’d love to know them

 

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Detox your home & purify the air you breathe

Research by the American Society for Horticultural Science has shown that ozone is a main component of not only outside air pollution but also inside our homes and offices. As we spend nearly 80 to 90 per cent of our time inside it is imperative to our health to find ways to eliminate ozone. So we thought we’d look into the best indoor house plants to help purify the air and detox your home.

 

Research into house plants & air purification

Detox your home

The toxic effects of ozone on our health include lung capacity reduction, inflammation and pulmonary edema.

University researchers have found that common house plants can reduce the concentration of ozone and improve the quality of air indoors.

Other studies show that our homes contain harmful VOCs like formaldehyde and xylene.

Dr. B. C. Wolverton who researched the creation of a breathable environment for the NASA lunar habitat discovered that pollutants like ammonia, benzene and formaldehyde can be filtered out of the air by house plants.

Volatile organic compounds

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic compounds that become vapors and gases. Widely used household products that are sources of VOCs in our living areas are:

  • Moth repellents
  • Air fresheners
  • Paints and paint stripper
  • Cleansers
  • Disinfectants
  • Dry-cleaned clothing
  • Pesticide
  • Wood preservers
  • Aerosol sprays

 

A great reason to try to make your own DIY Cleaning products

 

Symptoms of toxins in the air

The five main toxins that can be found in the list of products above and the symptoms that can be experienced are outlined below:

  • Xylene – The cause of throat and mouth infection, headache, dizziness and heart complications. This toxin is found in paint, vehicle exhaust and tobacco smoke.
  • Benzene – To be found in plastic, detergents, furniture wax, pesticide, vehicle exhaust, glue and paint. This toxin can cause headaches, eye irritation, drowsiness and dizziness.
  • Ammonia– This toxin can cause eye and throat irritations and is to be found in window cleaner, floor wax fertilizer and scented salts.
  • Formaldehyde – Can be found in paper bags, tissue, waxed paper and synthetic fibers. This toxin causes nose, mouth and throat irritation.
  • Trichloroethylene – Found in varnishes, paint and paint remover as well as adhesives and lacquers. It causes symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

 

Pollutants 10 times higher indoors

VOC concentrations are up to 10 times higher indoors than outdoors and are emitted by a variety of products numbering in the thousands.

Studies have found that concentrated pollutant levels can remain in the air way after product use.

Exposure to VOCs can result in the following symptoms, although not too much is known about the amount of VOCs used in the home that can affect our health but short-term exposure of the listed toxins can cause:

  • Headache
  • Allergic skin reactions
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Conjunctival irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Discomfort of the nose and throat

 

Air purifying house plants can help counteract these harmful VOCs from our home environment plus they are a good-looking, help make you feel good, reasonably priced and powerful filters, purifying the air in our homes.

 

A study by N.A.S.A

The study that NASA carried out shows that common household plants can filter and purify the air in our homes and offices and remove the harmful toxins.

NASA suggests that every home should have 15 to 18 plants to purify the air you live in and breath.

If you live by a busy road have lots of plants to counteract the exhaust fumes.

 

Several studies have shown that 89% of harmful VOCSs can be eliminated by certain plants.

 

The 18 best indoor house plants to detox your home….

Orchids

Orchids purify the air

These truly beautiful plants are remarkably easy to look after despite their reputation for being difficult to grow.

They remove xylene, found in paints and glue, from the air. So after decorating buy an orchid for decoration and to clean the air around.

Also removes alcohols, chloroform, acetone and formaldehyde from the air.

Orchids can also be used in the bedroom as they give off oxygen at night.

 

Peace Lily

peace lily

Another beautiful flowering plant which will thrive in a shady corner whist removing harmful toxins like ammonia, formaldehyde, acetone, benzene, trichloroethylene and xylene from the air in your home.

This plant can survive low temperatures and being water deprived.

 

Anthuriums

anthurium

The large dark green leaves of this plant clean the air of toluene, xylene, ammonia and formaldehyde.

But this house plant has exotic looking flowers so good-looking as well as hard working.

 

Philodendrons

Philodendron

Rid your environment of xylene with a Philodendron. One of the best indoor house plants if you have a small amount of time on your hands as it requires very little care but is an attractive addition to any room.

 

Fern

fern

Bring a bit of the prehistoric into the home, survivors from prehistoric times the large fronds of a fern suck up the pollutants found in paint, nail polish and glue which are toluene and xylene.

A natural air purifier the fern restores moisture to the air.

 

Palm

palm

Palms are easy to grow and brighten a drab area so this make them a popular choice of house-plant.

A natural air purifier, as well as removing benzene and formaldehyde it removes carbon monoxide so if there is a smoker in the house the addition of a palm to the home is a must.

 

Schefflera

Schefflera

Another good choice of plant if there is a smoker in the house, the waxy oval leaves of the Schefflera removes the nasty toxins of benzene, toluene and formaldehyde from the air.

The plant is hardy and long-lasting, as long as the leaves are kept dust free. Wipe the leaves to keep them looking glossy.

 

Aloe Vera

aloe vera for bed sores

Well known for its health benefits its ability to heal wounds and reduce inflammation Aloe Vera can remove toxins like benzene and formaldehyde and purify the air in your home.

At night this plant absorbs carbon monoxide and releases oxygen so it’s one of the best indoor house plants for the bedroom.

 

Spider plant

spider plant

Easy to grow Spider plants are good for removing formaldehyde, xylene and carbon monoxide. So a great plant for sheds and garages as they help to eliminate the pollutants from exhaust fumes and DIY products.

 

Geranium

Geranium

A very decorative plant that removes formaldehyde in the air they can live with little water and sun but they do need lots of light to bloom.

Also a great plant to repel mosquitoes.

 

Azalea

Azalea

With so many varieties to choose from you are sure to find one for you. Azalea’s remove toxins like formaldehyde from the air.

 

Golden Pothos (also known as Devils Ivy)

Golden Pothos

Golden Pothos removes carbon monoxide and formaldehyde from the air so improves the quality of the air you breath. Can tolerate shady areas and little water but this plant is toxic so needs to be kept out of the reach of children and pets.

 

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

Sun loving plants that brighten any room these plants help to combat benzene and remove ammonia from the air indoors.

 

Tulips

tulips

Effective in cleaning formaldehyde, xylene and ammonia from the air this lovely looking plant comes in a large variety of colours and types so beautiful and a hard worker.

 

Lavender

Lavender

A great air purifier, with a sweet smell that soothes and calms. Lavender cleanses bad smells and lowers carbon dioxide levels.

 

Dracaena Reflexa

pleomele

Easy and slow to grow as it can tolerate low and bright light areas it absorbs toluene, xylene and formaldehyde.

 

Weeping Fig

weeping fig

A low maintenance and popular plant, that tolerates indirect sunlight.

Pollutants like xylene, toluene and formaldehyde are filtered out of the air by this plant.

 

Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy

Perfect for the bedroom a Gerbera Daisy, which loves direct sunlight removes trichloroethylene a chemical that is released from dry cleaning, adhesives and varnishes.

 

Best indoor house plants – Infographic

We’ve put together an infographic featuring 18 of the best indoor house plants for purifying the air in your home.

Please feel free to share…

We only ask you please include attribution to https://www.calmhappyhealthy.com/ with this graphic.

best house plants

Please feel free to share this image on your site using code below

 

Worried about looking after your new house plants?

Fear not, there are some wonderful books guiding you through all of the essentials such as soil, watering, placement, food and more….  (please note these are amazon affiliate links BUT do not affect the price you pay in any way)

House of Plants – living with succulents, air plants and cacti  –   by Rose Ray, Caro Langton & Erika Rax

House Plants: How to look after your indoor plants – by Isabelle Palmer

The House Plant Expert: The world’s best-selling book on house plants – by Dr D.G Hessayon

 

Let us Know

We’d love to know which houseplants you have in your house. Do you have a view on the best indoor house plants?

Let us know in the comments below…

 

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Why should you stop eating Sugar?

Obesity in the Western world is becoming a major health issue and one of the biggest culprits is sugar consumption. Over consumption of sugar means it’s essential we all start to look into ways of cutting out sugar using a healthy sugar-free diet plan.

“Free sugars” are the sugars being over consumed. Free Sugars are the additional sugars added to our foods and drinks and even found naturally in honey, unsweetened fruit drinks and syrups.

This over consumption and a more sedentary lifestyle is seen as one of the biggest contributors to current obesity issues, making is essential that we all look for the healthy food option.

 

Studies into sugar

sugar free diet

Many studies have been carried out to conclusively clarify if a diet high in sugar, especially refined sugar, is responsible for the causes of obesity, tooth decay, dementia, a causal factor in the occurrence of diabetes, dementia, sugar addiction and cardiovascular disease.

The average consumption per year in the western world is 33.1kg but these studies have remained fairly inconclusive due to the difficulty of finding a population that does not consume or is largely free from any sugar consumption.

Studies are mainly inconclusive and can even be deceptive depending largely on who carried them out. Be it independent sponsors or even funded by the sugar industry.

 

Sugar intake – recommendations

The World Health Organisation has a recommendation that free sugar consumption should be reduced to 10% of the total daily energy intake.

They also state that a reduction to less than 5% of energy intake brings additional health benefits especially in dental health.

The daily average energy consumption by an adult, due to sugars is 260 calories that equates to a large chunk of the recommended daily allowance of calories for an average healthy, physically active adult, which is 2000 for women and 2500 for men.

The UK government recommends that no more than 5% of the daily energy (calories) intake of an adult should be made up of free or added sugars, this is 30g of added sugar or seven sugar cubes.

For children aged 4 – 6 the figure is 19g and 24g for children aged 7 – 10.

 

The various labels for sugar

Sugar is the name given to the sweet, short chain, soluble carbohydrate that is found in the tissue of most plants but is extracted from the sugar beet and sugar cane plant as these have sufficient concentrations for extraction.

quitting sugar

But in the food industry sugar is shown on labels under many different names such as :-

  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Invert sugar
  • Corn sugar
  • Molasses
  • Agave syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Isoglucose
  • Levulose
  • Maltose

So when buying ready-made items be aware of what is on the label! The higher up the list of ingredients that sugar sits, the more that exists in the product.

Ingredients contained in the product are listed in order of weight, so the main ingredient will be listed first, so the lower down the list the sugar contents are the better.

 

A guide to how much sugar

As a guide, high sugar content is more that 22.5 grams of sugar per 100 grams of food and low is 1.5 grams per 100 grams of food.

So a good way of knowing what percentage of the product you are buying is sugar is to use the 100g section of the nutritional information. If the product states that it has 7g of sugar, then that product is 7% sugar.

Unfortunately as sugar is a food preserver most shop bought products will contain some sugar of sorts.

Be aware that not all healthy food products are as healthy as they say they are. Foods labelled low-fat or low in sugar can often contain lots of artificial sugars.

And products you may think are good for you like fruit juices and smoothies can actually contain more sugar per 100ml that some of the fizzy drinks brands on the market!

So make sure you control your portions, the smaller the better.

 

Cutting out sugar – is a no sugar diet possible?

So what happens if we cut sugar from our diet altogether?

sugar withdrawal

Firstly we would like to stress – always take medical advise before embarking on a dramatic change to a diet. If you need medical advise you MUST seek that from your doctor.

Cutting out sugar altogether from our daily diet can have dramatic effects on our bodies based on the number of years we have eaten sugar and the amount consumed.

Gaining a sugar-free diet is not easy to achieve but any steps you can take to get a little closer to that will benefit your health in the long run.

 

Withdrawal symptoms from a sugar-free diet

The possible withdrawal symptoms that can be experienced and which can vary in intensity and severity in the individual are:

Appetite: An increase in cravings for carbohydrates. Changes to the amount of food required could be more or could be less but this should balance out.

Anger: Irritability and anger could be experienced if you go “cold turkey” and withdraw sugar with no cutting down the amount consumed slowly. Dopamine the neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure in the brain may be influenced by the cutting out of sugar, as the stimulation is not the same.

Sleep: Sleep can be affected in the withdrawal period due to the changes in energy levels and mood. Insomnia can result from a change to the sleep pattern. So consider relaxation exercise’s.

Shaking: The “cold turkey method of cutting sugar consumption can cause some people to experience “the shakes”. This symptom should subside as the body adjusts. It is experienced in the person who had a high sugar consumption before cutting sugar altogether.

Weight: A loss of weight is generally attributed to the removal of unhealthy foods and sugar rich drinks from the diet.

headache from sugar withdrawal

Headaches: The cause of headaches experienced when sugar is removed from the diet is the detox of the sugar from your body, as refined sugar is a toxin.

Mood: Mood can change when sugar is removed from your diet, minor depression, negativity and anxiety can be experienced as the body adjusts to the removal of sugar, but after a short time the brain will adjust.

Dizziness: Most people will not feel dizzy when sugar is removed from the diet, but in extreme case of withdrawal dizziness can be experienced.

Fatigue: As sugar can provide short-term bursts of energy when it is removed altogether a feeling of lethargy and general fatigue can be experienced in the first weeks of withdrawal. Once the first couple of weeks have passed energy levels should become normal.

Flu like symptoms: A low grade flu-like symptom is one of the more severe reactions to cutting out sugar from the diet, but everyone is different. If this is experienced it should subside after several days.

Cravings: One of the more obvious effects of removing sugar from the diet is the craving of it. These cravings can become intense and difficult to ignore. But by removing the sugar substances from sight and remaining strong and focused eventually the cravings will subside.

 

Withdrawal from sugar

There is no exact time for sugar withdrawal, it is dependent on the sensitivity of the person and the drop in dopamine levels and adjusting to doing without and craving sugar.

The length of the withdrawal period is variable for some they just feel better in a few days whilst others take up to a month to feel completely detoxified.

blueberries

To help in this withdrawal period it is recommended to consume lean protein, fruits like blueberries and apples and for extra nutrients eat nuts.

If you have been a drinker of sugary soda/ energy drinks caffeine withdrawal could be fairly large.

 

Beginning to remove sugar from your diet

Removing sugar from a daily diet has been tried by a number of people and their experiences are on-line for you to read but here are a few of their findings…

After the initial detox, the majority of people found their cravings for the sweet stuff disappeared after 4 weeks. They also found…

  • They had clearer skin
  • Their mood stabilized
  • Sleep improved
  • Craving for sweet foods diminished
  • Loss of body fat
  • Levels of energy improved
  • All round improvement in well–being and happiness
  • General weight loss
  • Improvement in asthma condition
  • Eating patterns adjusted and the urge to continuously eat disappeared

 

There are lots of sites to be found on the internet and books on sugar free diets that provide helpful advice and recipes for cutting out sugar from your diet.

But one thing is for sure, the cutting down and eventual removal of free sugar from the diet can only be a good thing.

By removing one serving a day of a carbonated beverage a weight loss of 1.1lb in six months can be achieved. That might not sound like much but most people have more than one sugary drink a day.

 

Head towards a sugar-free diet (Free sugars)

The complete removal of sugar from the diet is dramatic and if you feel that this is not for you try a more subtle approach by following a simple and slow sugar-free diet plan like the one below:

  • Stop using shop bought jars of sauces and dressings and cook fresh sauces where you are in control of the ingredients
  • Go for water or lower fat milks or no added sugar drinks. Limit the unsweetened fruit juice (150ml a day) as this still contains high amounts of sugar
  • If your preference is a fizzy drink add sparkling water to fruit juice
  • Reduce the amount of sugar that you take in your tea or coffee
  • Same goes for your breakfast cereal, reduce the amount of sugar you add until you can cut it out altogether
  • Instead of honey or jam on your toast, slice a banana or use a low-fat cream cheese
  • In your recipes, half the amount of sugar, it works for most recipes
  • Buy and eat unsweetened yogurt
  • Check those labels, pick the ones with less added sugar
  • Pick whole grain cereals not the ones coated in sugar or honey
  • Choose the tinned fruit that is in juice and not the syrup ones
  • Reduce intake of high glycemic fruits such as bananas, grapes, cherries and mango

Sugar occurs naturally in fresh milk and fruit and these sugars do not need to be removed from our diets.

It is the free sugars (not to be confused with “total sugars” that you will see on food labels) that are added to cakes, biscuits, chocolate and some juice and fizzy drinks.

One can of cola contains up to nine cubes of added sugar.

Sugar is a carbohydrate found naturally in most foods, the main value of these foods is to provide energy but sugar (free sugar) is added to lots of foods and these contain lots of calories and very few nutrients so have little benefit to the diet, so choose wisely what you eat.

 

A quick roundup

For a quick & easy roundup, we’ve put together an infographic of this article, please feel free to share…

(click on image to see full size pdf)

We only ask you please include attribution to https://www.calmhappyhealthy.com/ with this graphic.

guide to a sugar free diet infographic

Please feel free to share this image on your site using code below

 

Share you experiences of quitting sugar

Have you tried cutting out sugar?  if so what was your experience? Have you got close to a sugar-free diet?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below…

 

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