Flower Power- with Hibiscus!

Hibiscus Flower- Hibiscus sabdariffa

Hibiscus tea

Many of us have had the chance to admire this beautiful flower of the tropics. It grows commonly in tropical warm climates. Its is also the official flower of Hawaii and Puerto Rico. It is commonly used in landscaping to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Did you know that these delicate flowers are not only to admire with their rich, red color but they are also full of nutrients and powerful antioxidants and make a delicious, zero-calorie beverage? This exotic flower adds a burst of color, flavor and nutrients to herbal teas and recipes! Lets learn more…

Did you know?

Almost 15-30% of hibiscus tea is composed of organic acids which are malic acid, tartaric acid and citric acid. These acids are also found in many fruits such as grapes and citrus. They help in reducing inflammation, boosting immunity, promoting better skin, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and improving digestive issues. Hibiscus tea has diuretic and choleretic effects, thus controlling blood viscosity by reducing blood pressure and enhancing digestion. It has also been used in the past to calm muscle spasms.*

According to the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference one 8oz cup of Hibiscus tea contains: 20.48 g Iron, 43.6 g Vitamin C, and 702 IU Vitamin A.

Below are 9 Health Benefits of this Delicious Flower:

Hibiscus Tea delicious

 1. Healthy Heart- Lowers Cholesterol & Blood Pressure

Many studies have been conducted over the years that have shown Hibiscus to have heart health benefits. A six-week study found that three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered systolic blood pressure significantly, without unpleasant side effects (Journal of Nutrition, February 2010). How does hibiscus lower blood pressure? It has diuretic properties, it opens the arteries, and it appears to act as a natural angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, which means it slows the release of hormones that constrict blood vessels. Hibiscus has also been found to reduce blood lipid levels naturally.

2. Antioxidants Hibiscus is high in Antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect your cells by neutralizing free radicals which cause disease in the body’s tissues, organs, ect. Antioxidant properties of hibiscus tea may also help in treating liver disease

3. Immune Support It is high in vitamin C which will also strengthens the immune system which can equal fewer colds!

4. Detoxifying  Hibiscus  tea is a natural diuretic which helps release excess fluid and impurities stored in the body. This also will help reduce excess bloating. Who doesn’t need that?

5. Weight Loss- Nutritious without calories, Hibiscus tea is a natural carbohydrate inhibitor. This is because it inhibits the production of amylase, an enzyme that breaks down sugar and starches. This means less storage of carbs converting into fat in places we don’t like (ex hips, belly thighs, etc.) That means a person’s body can’t use or store all the carbohydrates he eats, which can enhance your weight loss results.

6. Anti-Cancer benefits- Since Hibiscus is high in Antioxidants, it protects our cells and helps them to replicate well. This means, with less damage, or mutations, cancers often do not form that easily

7. Anti-Inflammatory- What a great addition this would be to your anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Because of its healing Antioxidant properties it may help with conditions such as Arthritis and/or swelling such as after an injury

8. Beauty- The way to beauty from the inside & anti aging is this: ANTIOXIDANTS ANTIOXIDANTS ANTIOXIDANTS! We want to get them from different sources in our foods. Hibiscus is high in nutrients and antioxidants. This equals a beautiful complexion with a healthy glow, as well as reducing the signs of aging.

9. DeliciousNot only is Hibiscus good for you, but it also tastes yummy. It’s kind of tart yet has its own natural sweetness. Sometimes I like to drizzle a little agave nectar or raw honey for added sweetness. A cup of Hibiscus will tantalize your taste buds!

Recipes

Hibiscus tea can be enjoyed both hot or cold, depending on your mood. I love to make a pitcher and keep it in the fridge in the summer. Makes the perfect refreshing drink.

How to make the perfect cup of Hibiscus tea:

If you like to drink cold, let cool, then store in the fridge. Always sweeten while its warm, if desired.

  • 1 teaspoon  dried hibiscus flowers or 1 bag of Hibiscus Mint tea
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Steep Hibiscus in water 5-10minutes, then strain.
  • Add Agave necar, or honey for added sweetness if desired.

 

Berry Mint Hibiscus PopsiclesHibiscus Popsicles

Ingredients

4 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers or Hibiscus Mint Tea
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries( chop)

Directions

1. Pour dried hibiscus flowers in boiling water. Cover and let steep 5-10 minutes. Strain.  Stir in honey and lemon juice. Let cool

2. Divide berries in paper cups. Pour tea mixture into cups. Cover cups with foil; insert craft stick into center of each pop (Or fill ice pop mold according to manufacturer’s directions.) Freeze about 8 hours or until frozen.

Where do I find Hibiscus?

 

Barefut makes a delicious Hibiscus Mint Tea. You can use it for It is organically grown without the chemicals or pesticides. Herbal-Teas1

Try this mouthwatering tea here.

How do you like to have your Hibiscus? Please share!

Note: Hibiscus tea is not recommended for pregnant women, particularly due to its emmenagogue effects which may stimulate menstruation or blood flow in the uterus or pelvic region. For those undergoing hormonal treatments or taking birth control pills, it is recommended to consult your health specialist regarding any consumption of hibiscus tea, and let him give you a yes or no. #

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product(s) is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article is copyrighted material written by the following author

Fernanda Santiago is a Health Professional, Weight Loss Coach and Licensed Massage Therapist. She specializes in helping people achieve optimal wellness using alternative treatments. She helps people look and feel great from inside out.  She is an Educator in Natural Health and wellness solutions. Read more on her bio here.

 

 

Sprouts – It’s Alive!

Sprouts

What is a sprout?

A sprout is when a seed is in the process of growing into a vegetable. Sprouts can come from vegetable seeds (eg. Broccoli, onion, beets, peas), grains and legumes (eg. Buckwheat, garbanzos, mung beans).

Why I love sprouting

This is what fascinates me: the fact that during germination sprouts “come alive” and triple or more in the amount of nutrients. There is an increase in Amino Acids, Enzymes, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene. Here is a nutrition fact sheet: SproutNutritionFacts

The process of sprouting neutralizes what is called enzyme inhibitors, which make the seed when its un-sprouted harder to digest. Have you ever eaten legumes and had trouble with gas after? Well, sprouting can help eliminate that issue.

Who wouldn’t want a live food that is higher in nutritional value plus easy to digest?

 

Sprouting is easy and fun!

If you know me by now, I like to keep things simple. Sprouting is perfect for a busy lifestyle as there is little time involved. I like to sprout in a jar.

I recommend getting a Sprouting Mason Jar that already comes with the screen lid. Some even come with the seeds to get started!

 

Follow the directions for each seed you get. But for the most part all you do is this:

  1. Get your clean jar
  2.  Add the amount of seeds specified(depends on what your sprouting)
  3. Add purified water- fill the jar
  4. Let soak overnight (while you sleep or 8-12 hours)
  5. Drain the water through the screen lid
  6. Place jar face down or at an angle in dish rack so that it continues draining(we don’t want too much water inside)
  7. Go on with your day and fill jar with purified water again this time shaking jar (stimulates them) and drain right away, lay jar at angle. Repeat this 2-3x/day
  8. After about 2-3 days(depending on sprout) your sprouts will be ready!

 

What to do with sprouts?

I like to add them to sandwiches, salads, and smoothies. For legumes, I sprout them before cooking the way I would normally such as in a bean soup or hummus. The possibilities are endless and adding this to your diet will be very beneficial in more ways to count.

 Buy your sprouting supplies and save!Mung Bean Sprouts

Pumpkin Seeds

I love the autumn and since its now pumpkin season, why not enjoy some delicious pepitas?

pumpkin seeds 2

Not only are they a yummy snack, but they are very good for you. Here are some of its health benefits:

Pumpkin seeds are high in anti-oxidants, have anti-parasitic activity, and are anti-inflammatory. Pumpkin seeds promote the health of the kidneys and liver and helps to detoxify the body from top to bottom.

Pumpkin seeds are rich sources of both magnesium and L-Tryptophan, which is the precursor to Serotonin, and are a huge source of protein. 30% of pumpkin seed volume is made of protein. There are 12 grams of protein in a single cup of pumpkin seeds, which is approximately 25% of our daily requirement of protein. Minerals include iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and magnesium, as well as the vitamins A, B, E, and K.  Squash seeds are also high in nutrients and may be used as well.

Here are some recipes to enjoy this delicious home- made snack.

Directions

  • Seed the pumpkin: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Using a spoon, scrape the pulp and seeds out of your pumpkin into a bowl.
  • Clean the seeds: Separate the seeds from the stringy pulp, rinse the seeds in a colander under cold water, then shake dry. Don’t blot with paper towels; the seeds will stick.
  • Dry them: Spread the seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet and roast 30 minutes to dry them out.
  • Add spices: Toss the seeds with olive oil, salt and your choice of spices (see below). Return to the oven and bake until crisp and golden, about 20 more minutes.

pumpkin seeds 3

 Spice Ideas:

  • Sweet & Salty- sprinkle with Cinnamon and Salt
  • Sweet- Toss with cinnamon and sugar
  • Spanish- Toss with smoked paprika; mix with slivered almonds after roasting.
  • Italian- Toss with grated Parmesan and dried oregano.
  • chili powder + lime juice
  • garlic salt
  • herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning)
  • smoked paprika
  • cinnamon + chili powder

 

Heres another recipe…

Spiced Maple Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter

2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds, washed and dried

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Directions
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter, then stir in the seeds. Cook, stirring constantly, until the seeds turn slightly brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain off any excess butter, and stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup until the seeds are thoroughly coated with spices. Spread the seeds out onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven until crisp and golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes, for 30 to 45 total minutes of baking time.

Pumpkin Energy Balls

pumpkin Energy Balls

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. (about 1 packed cup) chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds or hemp  seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (or  you may use Pumpkin Pie Spice as a replacement)
  • pinch of sal
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (dry, not cooked)
  • 1 cup toasted coconut flakes
  •  1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

In a food processor combine the dates, honey, pumpkin puree, chia (or hemp) seeds, the spices  and salt, and pulse until smooth and combined.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and stir in the oats, coconut flakes and pumpkin seeds until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This will help the mixture to be easier to work with.

Shape the cooled mixture into your desired size of energy balls. You can also make bars by  lining a small baking pan with parchment paper, and press the mixture evenly into the pan, let it cool, and then cut into bars.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (Storing them in the refrigerator especially helps them hold their shape.)

 

Need seasonings? Click here.        Buy Raw Pumpkin Seeds Here

Are You Getting Enough Protein in your Diet?

You do not have to eat meat all day long to get protein into your system. Combining a variety of healthy foods into our diet is very beneficial.

Protein is essential for growth and development.  It provides the body with energy, and it’s needed for the manufacture of hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and tissues.

Women usually do not consume enough protein rich food in there diet. Keep this in mind: If you do consume enough protein, it will help keep your body toned, and not sag.

As for  weight loss benefits, experts advise aiming for around 120 grams of protein a day.

 If you want to increase your protein intake, do it slowly over the course of a week.Below are some vegetarian choices:

Vegaterain Protein

 

Here is a guide you can use to keep track of your protein consumption:

Beans, Nuts, Seeds

1 cup garbanzo beans 14.5 grams

1 cup pinto beans 12 grams

1 cup refried beans 15.5 grams

1 cup soybeans 28 grams

1 oz. cashews 4.4 grams

1 oz. peanuts 6.5 grams

1 oz. sesame seeds 6.5 grams

1 oz. pistachios 5.8 grams

1 cup tofu 22 grams

1 cup lentils 18 grams

Dairy

1 cup yogurt 13 grams

1 oz cheddar cheese 7.1 grams

1 egg 6 grams

1 cup cottage cheese 10 grams

 

Fruits and Vegetables

1 avocado 10 grams

1 cup broccoli 5 grams

1 cup spinach 5 grams

1 cup peas 9 grams

1 medium artichoke 4 grams

1 cup asparagus 5 grams

1 cup beet greens 3 grams

1 cup Edamame 17 grams

To add extra quality Protein to supplement into your diet you may try the TLS Whey Protein Shake. It is free of rBGH (bovine growth hormone, and contains no artificial flavors or preservatives.

TLS protein shake comparison