I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Health Benefits of Nuts and Seeds

On the candida diet, I am not supposed to eat many of the "filler" foods I typically eat in large quantities. These include pasta, wheat crackers and bread, cheese, and so forth. And I am a person who grazes all day, and I eat a lot. I like to feel full! One of the hardest parts of going on any kind of diet is feeling satisfied after eating. It is probably the reason why so many fail to stick to a diet. It is essential to be surrounded by "ok" foods that make you feel full. For me, those "ok" foods include eggs, avocados, and seeds and nuts. Everything else is veggies and rice and such, which is great, just not filling. So on my kitchen counter is a collection of nuts and seeds and rice cakes. And I munch on them alllll day long. Granted, I have likely increased my fat intake quite a bit, but things will even out in the end. I just have to get used to eating differently. And so far, I have been satisfied, and that is the reason I am able to continue with the diet.

But a fun motivator is to look up the benefits of the foods I'm consuming a lot at the moment. So here goes. The benefits of eating seeds and nuts are....

According to this website:

"Researchers found that people who eat nuts regularly have lower risks of heart disease. In 1996, the Iowa Women's Healthy Study found that women who ate nuts >4 times a week were 40% less likely to die of heart disease."


...and...


"Nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, phytonutrients andantioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium.  Nuts are also high in plant sterols and fat - but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 - the good fats) which have all been shown to lower LDL cholesterol."


This website states the following:


"The amino acid arginine is also present in nuts which, as stated in this month's lead article on impotence, can help overcome erectile dysfunction. Arginine has also been found to boost immunity and lower elevated blood pressure levels. In addition, certain nuts like pecans, walnuts and almonds contain tryptophan - another amino acid that stimulates the production of the 'feel good' hormone serotonin in your brain, which can help ward off depression and promote a more relaxed state. "


From the same website:


"Another must are Brazil nuts. A recent study conducted at the University of Illinois in the US suggests that Brazil nuts may play a vital role in preventing breast cancer. According to the scientists who carried out the study, this benefit is probably a result of the high amounts of selenium they contain. 

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that helps neutralise harmful free radicals that can attack healthy cells and increase the risk of serious conditions like heart disease and cancer - including breast cancer as already mentioned, and lung, bowel and prostate cancer. "



Good stuff. Now for the seeds!


This website discusses the benefits of pumpkin seeds: 








Prostate Protection
They promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate.
Improved Bladder Function
In some studies, pumpkin seed extracts improved bladder function in animals.
Depression Treatment
They contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Because they are high in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis. Low intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis.
Natural Anti-Inflammatory
Pumpkin seeds effectively reduce inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Prevention of Kidney Stones
They prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation, according to studies.
Treatment of Parasites
They are used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites. Studies also show them to be effective against acute schistosomiasis, a parasite contracted from snails.
Great Source of Magnesium
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds contains 92% of your daily value of magnesium, a mineral in which most Americans are deficient.
Lower Cholesterol
Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.
Cancer Prevention
The same phytosterols that lower cholesterol also protect against many cancers.
This website discusses the benefits of Flaxseed:

"(HealthCastle.com) Its high content of alpha linolenic acids has made the ancient flax seed become our modern miracle food. Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is a type of plant-derivedomega 3 fatty acid, similar to those found in fish such as salmon. Benefits of flax seed as shown in many studies include lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) levels. Other benefits show that flax seed may also help lower blood triglyceride and blood pressure. It may also keep platelets from becoming sticky therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack.
flax seed health benefits

Other Benefits of Flax seed

Aside from alpha linolenic acid, flax seed is rich in lignan. Lignan is a type phytoestrogen (antioxidant) and also provides fiber. Researches reveal that lignan in flax seed shows a lot of promise in fighting disease -- including a possible role in cancer prevention especiallybreast cancer. It is thought that lignan metabolites can bind to estrogen receptors, hence inhibiting the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer."

Both of these are going on my shopping list along with Brazil nuts!!

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