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.

 

 

8 Steps to Wellness

This is something I teach in my practice Healing Feels Good in North Carolina. We can take steps each day toward getting our body and mind back in balance and to promote complete wellness. It can be a great reminder to keep ourselves on track and also work as a check list to make us self-aware of what we might be able to improve on in a daily basis.

Couple hiking

  1. Drink More Water: Your body is 60% water. It is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell and acts first as a building material!
  2. Eat Breakfast: The morning hours serves as a foundation for how our bodies respond for the remainder of the day. Did you know…You can speed you metabolism up by 20% by consuming Protein at breakfast? Skipping meals cause your blood sugar to peak and dip, affecting your energy and mood.  It can often cause over eating later on because you’re so hungry.

Quick Breakfast meal options:

  1. Get Moving! Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than exerciseKeep it simple … But Consistent! Make just 30 minutes of movement your daily goal.               Research has shown that spending time in nature increases creativity and problem solving by up to 50%[1]. According to researchers “Our results demonstrate that there is a cognitive advantage to be realized if we spend time immersed in a natural setting. We anticipate that this advantage comes from an increase in exposure to natural stimuli that are both emotionally positive and low-arousing; and a corresponding decrease in exposure to attention-demanding technology.”
  2. Get Massage Regularly – Get the best out of your treatments by getting them regularly. Just like your vehicle needs maintenance, so do our bodies. Massage for maintenance is recommended once per month. Need a therapist? Learn more about massage and find one near you.
  3. Nurture Your Spirit- Keep positivity close by and stay away from negativity. This includes: those we surround ourselves with (Friends, family, relationships), our lifestyle (physical activity) or how we choose to spend our time.
  4. Eat the Colors of the Rainbow- No we are not talking about skittles. Fill your diet with foods rich in color that come from the earth. Fruits and vegetables are high in phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and more. The way to health starts with what you put in your mouth.
  5. Get Your Essentials, Supplement the Right Way-

Essential nutrients means our bodies do not make them therefore we must take them.  With our food supply compromised with over harvesting, GMO’s, toxins and chemicals it’s essential to take proper form of supplementation to fill in the gaps so our bodies can continue to thrive in this complex world.

** Watch video at: www.WellnessCustomized.com **

8. Sleep- This is the time where your body recovers, detoxifies, and regenerates. Better sleep = better health. Tips for better sleep here.

The Key to Wellness is Awareness

 

A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.

We had a fantastic turnout at our wellness class! This is where my passion lies is to teach others about the benefits of Alternative Health and how they can use this information for self care and to take care of their families. In an industry based on “sick care” and primarily treating symptoms, and not the cause of disease, it’s no wonder people are reaching out and looking for other methods to prevent illness in the first place.

Here’s a brief summary of our wellness class:

In our class we learned about how the body works in terms of detoxification and how healthy cells do it naturally on a daily basis. Sometimes it just needs a little assistance from diet and botanical’s so that our system doesn’t get overloaded and cause problems in the future. Up to 80% of all processes of the human body are for detoxification. This means that 80% of a person’s physical health picture comes from their ability to efficiently detoxify and eliminate waste, but if the toxins are too much, it needs some help.

Supplementation these days is NOT an option if you want to stay healthy. There have been many studies done proving that our nutrients we get from our food is not the same as it was 50 years ago, actually up to 40% lower in many essential nutrients that we need for our body to even function optimally. This is basically saying that a whole broccoli now is like a small piece of broccoli back then. Our bodes to not make vitamins, and depending on getting it from our foods is obviously not enough. If we do not make it, we NEED to take it! The best way is through an Isotonic Delivery System.

We also learned about the amazing benefits of powerful antioxidants called OPCs and how they combat damaging free radicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis.

Prevention does not rely on just getting an annual visit to check your status, prevention is what you do in between those visits. Are you having a healthy lifestyle? Eating clean? Exercising? Supplementing to fill in the gaps in your diet? Surrounding yourself with positive influences and removing negativity in your life? That is prevention.

Are you taking the steps to a healthier you? Don’t know where to start? Hire a coach.

Spice up your life with…Cinnamon!

 

Cinnamon is not just a spicy flavoring… it has many health benefits being a potent antioxidant.

cinnamon

Let’s see what this exotic spice can do for you:

Circulation- Cinnamon stimulates the circulation of blood, warms the body and can reduce pain significantly.

Weight Loss- Cinnamon increases metabolism activity as good blood circulation increases oxygen supply to the body’s cells.

Digestive tonic- Cinnamon is very effective for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and flatulence.

Pain Relief- Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties, which will help remove stiffness in the muscles and joints.

Diabetes- Cinnamon helps balance blood sugar , so diabetics find it very useful because cinnamon aids them in using less insulin.

 Kissable breath – Cinnamon is a natural Mouth freshener, it is often used in chewing gums, as it eliminates bad breath.

Are you adding Cinnamon to your diet? 

The warming, spicy flavor of cinnamon makes it a perfect complement to winter foods such as soups/stews and hot beverages, as well as spicy dishes.. It is also a staple in baked goods, and can be added to fresh fruit, black beans and cereals.Spice up you life by adding some to hot cereals, protein shakes, your morning coffee and more.

Here is one of my favorite raw hot cocoa recipes including cinnamon…

Natural Hot Cocoa

hot cocoa

1 cup Almond, or any nut milk of your choice

1 packet stevia ( you may substitute with agave nectar or honey)

1 tablespoon Raw Cacao powder

Sprinkle cinnamon and/or nutmeg to flavor

Enjoy!

Find Stevia here

 

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

chia

 About Chia

Chia plant had been cultivated by the Aztecs, Mayas, and other tribes for very long time. It was a staple food for them and historians considered it as an important plant and food source for Native Americans.

According to the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: 1 oz (28.35g) of Chia seeds contain 179mg of Calcium, 95mg of Magnesium, 115mg of Potassium, 9.8g of Fiber, 4.69g protein, and 0 Cholesterol.

It’s no wonder this ancient super seed has grown in popularity today. It has always been around and we can always keep learning about healthy super foods that we can incorporate in out diet!

Some even like to sprout their chia seeds and add to salads, sandwiches, ect.

For Sprouters click here

sprouter

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what can we do to incorporate this super seed into our diets?

Add it to everything you can think of!

The seeds are tasteless so they won’t affect the flavor of your food, which makes them easy to integrate into your meals. They can be sprinkled whole on top of salads or toast or added milled to smoothies and made into desserts.

 

Here are some more of it’s benefits

High in Fiber

Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function. Chia seeds are an Excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons.

While the American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day, unfortunately the average American only gets 12 to 15 grams. With nearly 11 grams of fiber per ounce, chia delivers 42% of your recommended daily value of fiber in a single serving. Fiber is vital for all aspects of health, and is especially key for weight loss and digestion. Fiber helps slow digestion and makes you feel fuller by soaking up fluid and expanding in your digestive tract.

 

Weight Loss

Chia absorbs up to 12 times its own weight and expands to curb your appetite, so adding just an ounce or so of chia seeds to your diet can reduce caloric intake and help lower the energy density (or calories) of foods, plus double the amount of fiber you receive. The combination of protein, fiber and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to helping us feel full. Isn’t that great?!

Antioxidants

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect our body’s cells from free radicals, aging and cancer.

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Protein Source

Chia seeds contain no gluten or grains. Therefore, all of the nutritional benefits of chia seeds can be obtained on a gluten-free diet. It is also high and protein and amino acids!

 

Can Be Digested Whole

Unlike flaxseeds, which are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and minerals, chia seeds do not need to be ground in order to absorb there nutrients.

 

Blood Sugar Regulation

Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood.

 

Omega’s

Contributing to its super-seed status, ounce for ounce, chia seeds have more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon! Chia is one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 in any food. It also contains high amounts of omega-6. Everyone needs to consume high amounts of these essential fatty acids in their diet, because these EFAs build new cells and regulate various processes of the body, but our bodies cannot make them internally. They also support heart health, help in controlling arthritis, osteoporosis, age related dementia, fatigue, inflammation, lowers cholesterol, etc. Another bonus: contributes to beautiful skin, hair and nails.

Where to buy chia

chia1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipes

 

Chia Tropical Pudding

This is the closest Raw Version of  tapioca pudding I have ever found or made.

Minutes to Prepare: 30 Number of Servings: 1

IngredientsChia pudding

1 Tbsp chia seeds

1 medium banana

1/2 cup of fresh diced pineapple

1/4 cup of water

 

Coconut Flakes unsweetened

Directions

In a blender blend banana and water.

Pour blended mixture into a dessert container or bowl. Add chopped pineapple.

Stir in 1 Tbsp of chia seeds. Mix very well.

Pop into refrigerator to set up.The longer you let it set up the better it tastes.

I generally let it refrigerate over night.

Mango dream chia pudding

1 cup almond milk

1 cup mango chunks

1 banana ( I used frozen)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

In a blender add almond milk, mango chunks, and banana. Blend until smooth, add chia seeds and pulse to combine. Pour into serving glass or bowl immediately, chia pudding will thicken. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated.

 

TLS-Chia Protein Power balls

IngredientsChia protein balls

1/2 cup chia seeds

4 tablespoons almond butter

3 tablespoons TLS Whey protein powder– Vanilla

3 tablespoons Raw cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons agave nectar (or honey)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup shredded coconut  (unsweetened, for rolling)

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together. Roll into 1 1/2 ” balls and roll in shredded coconut. Refrigerate until ready to eat. You could also press the mixture into a baking pan (roughly 8×8) and sprinkle the extra coconut on top.

 

 Homemade Energy Gel

Istead of using those sugar packed, artificial gels or chews, why not try something natural that works?

Here’s a healthier variation: Add a couple tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup of coconut water. Let sit for about ten minutes and you’ll have an incredible energy gel! Coconut water is full of electrolytes!

coconut

 

 

 

 

 

Buy Coconut water here

 

Berrylove: Berry Chia Pudding

chia berry pudding

Author: Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack       Prep time:  5 mins      Total time:  1 hour 5 mins

Recipe type: Breakfast, Healthy Snack     Cook time:  60 mins    Serves: 1

This simple and easy chia seed pudding is chock full of berries, and not much else. Try it out for a delicious and healthy breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Strawberries, Trimmed & Chopped
  • ¾ Cup Blueberries
  • ¼ Cup Water (or half water/half Lemon Juice)
  • 2 Medjool Dates, Pitted
  • 2½ Tbsp. Chia Seeds

Instructions

  1. In a high-speed blender, puree berries, water and dates until completely smooth.
  2. Place berry puree in a jar or small bowl, stir the chia seeds in until combined evenly.
  3. Let the mixture set in the refrigerator for at least an hour (overnight is usually the easiest).
  4. Give it another stir before eating, serve chilled.

Chia Vinegerette 

Add this to a salad:

Soak chia in water for 2 hours until it gels. Whisk together honey, lemon juice, apple juice, and chia gel.