Category Archives: blogging

Healthy foods which may help reduce your blood pressure.

lady holding veggies

Controlling your blood pressure is one of the most important things if not the most important thing you can do to improve your health and increase your lifespan. Of course, most of us now know there are alternatives to popping pills: Many foods can lower blood pressure naturally. Rather than cutting things out, science shows that you can really benefit from adding these foods to your diet.

These are all healthy foods that can be part of your diet. But whether any one food can lower your blood pressure isn’t entirely clear and will likely depend on a host of variables including your current blood pressure, your genes, how much of the food you consume and how often, and other components in your diet and exercise.

Of course, never ever stop taking any prescribed medication for your Blood pressure without your doctors say so. Always discuss you diet plans with your doctor if you are on medication and also if he is prescribing medication and you have not yet started taking it then discuss it with him..Show him that you have done your research and what you plan to do to help and he should be receptive to this and monitor your Blood pressure for a period of time to see if what you are proposing lowers it…Always ask, more and more medical practitioners are looking at natural methods of treating some conditions.

Work with your doctor.

A healthy diet and adding certain foods to that diet may help further reduce your blood pressure.

You probably already know that a diet rich in foods containing potassium, calcium and magnesium may help prevent or help normalise high blood pressure. But are there specific foods?

Salt has always been thought to be a major player in reducing blood pressure ..however new schools of thoughts and current research into salt is raising doubts about this.

Myself I live in hot, humid climes and I need to keep my salt intake up..not in excess but not to cut it out as much as I can….my blood pressure has reduced since living here. I will admit it is lifestyle, diet and exercise which has all contributed to that. Nothing in isolation. While I am on the subject of salt in the diet this is a good  article about salt and the diet    

It doesn’t advocate cutting out salt completely or diving into the salt pot….Moderation not abstinence is what it is saying…

Below are some foods which if incorporated into your diet and some or most you may already be eating can help lower your blood pressure.

Leafy greens, which are high in potassium, include Romaine lettuce, arugula, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, spinach, beet greens, Swiss chard and broccoli.

beetroot-909659_1920

But PLEASE DON’T discount frozen vegetables as they contain as many nutrients as fresh vegetables, and they’re easier to store. You can also blend these veggies with bananas and nut milk for a healthy, sweet green juice.

Red Beets

Beets are high in nitric oxide, which can help open your blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Current research also found that the nitrates in beetroot juice lowered research participants’ blood pressure within just 24 hours.

beetroot-904371_1920

For a 2013 study in Nutrition Journal, Australian researchers looked at the effects of beet juice on blood pressure among healthy men and women.. Participants drank either beet plus apple juice or plain apple juice, then had their blood pressure monitored over 24 hours. The results: The researchers observed a reduction in systolic blood pressure six hours after participants drank beet juice, especially among the men. Beets naturally contain nitrates, which ease blood pressure

Servo, M., Lara, J., Ogbonmwan, I., & Mathers, J. C. (2013). Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation

You can juice your own beets or simply cook and eat the whole root. Beetroot is delicious when roasted or added to stir-fries and stews. You can also bake them into chips.

Be careful when handling beets the juice can stain your hands and clothe and also colour your urine…

Oatmeal

Fits the bill for a high-fiber, low-fat way to lower your blood pressure. Eating oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to fuel up for the day.

oats-592498_1920

Overnight oats are a popular breakfast option. To make them, soak a cup of rolled oats and a cup of nut milk or milk of your choice in a jar. In the morning, stir and add berries, granola, and cinnamon to taste.

Bananas

Eating foods that are rich in potassium is in my book better than taking supplements.

Bananas

Slice a banana into your cereal or oatmeal for a potassium-rich addition. You can also take one to go along with a boiled egg for a quick breakfast or snack.

Salmon, mackerel, and fish with omega-3

Fish are a great source of lean protein. Fatty fish like mackerel and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower triglycerides. In addition to these fish sources, trout contains vitamin D. Foods rarely contain vitamin D, and this hormone-like vitamin has properties that can lower blood pressure.

salmon

The only warning I would give on this is to make sure that fish is from a sustainable source and not farmed.

 Seeds

Unsalted seeds are high in potassium, magnesium, and other minerals known to reduce blood pressure. Enjoy a cup of sunflower, pumpkin, or squash seeds as a snack between meals…. a nice healthy snack.

seeds-1827033_1920

Chillies

For those who know me can just imagine the smile on my face …I love chilli and for anyone with high blood pressure, chilli peppers might be just what the doctor ordered, according to a study reported in the August issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication. While the active ingredient that gives the peppers their heat – a compound known as capsaicin might set your mouth on fire, it also leads blood vessels to relax, the research in hypertensive rats shows.

 

For those who can’t tolerate spicy foods, there might be some hope as the existence of a mild Japanese pepper, which contains a compound called capsinoid that is closely related to capsaicin limited studies shows that these capsaicinoids produce effects similar to capsaicin.

 Garlic

Garlic can help reduce hypertension by increasing the amount of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps promote vasodilation, or the widening of arteries, to reduce blood pressure.

garlic-618400_1920

To read more about the benefits of garlic then click here

 Dark chocolate

2015 study found that eating dark chocolate is associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The study suggests that up to 100 gms per day of dark chocolate may be associated with a lower risk of CVD.

chocolate-2329249_1920

 

Dark chocolate contains more than 60 percent cocoa solids and has less sugar than regular chocolate.  So you can enjoy your chocolate without feeling guilty it is healthy

 Olive oil

Olive oil is an example of a healthy fat. It contains polyphenols, which are inflammation-fighting compounds that can help reduce blood pressure.

food-2288443_1920 (1)

 

It’s also a great alternative to canola oil, butter, or commercial salad dressing.

Virgin Coconut Oil

new study looking at Virgin Coconut Oil and Hypertension was just published in Malaysia in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The study compared a diet of “five times heated palm oil” with Virgin Coconut Oil, and a control group.

coconut-oil-2421885_1920

Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a healthy fruit that you can enjoy raw or as a juice. One study concluded that drinking a cup of pomegranate juice once a day for four weeks helps lower blood pressure over the short-term.

pomegranates showing fruit

Pomegranate juice is tasty with a healthy breakfast. Be sure to check the sugar content in store-bought juices, as the added sugars can negate the health benefits.

GREEN COFFEE

Coffee beans are naturally green, but roasting turns them brown. So in essence, green coffee is just another name for unroasted coffee.

While roasted coffee beans have a similar chemical composition to green coffee beans, the roasting process destroys much of its chlorogenic acid. This is the active ingredient that gives green coffee beans additional health properties. It’s also the ingredient extracted for use in supplements such as green coffee bean extract.

While green coffee bean extract may not be the “weight-loss miracle” Dr. Oz claimed, it does appear to benefit blood flow, at least in the short-term.

One 12-week study using 480 ml green coffee extract (equal to 140 ml of chlorogenic acid) found it reduced heart rate and blood pressure by about 8 percent. These benefits were maintained for 12 weeks of supplementation, but only in those who began with high blood pressure. What’s more, benefits were lost once supplementation stopped.

picking-1538233_1920

Theoretically, drinking more green coffee should have much of the same benefits as supplementing, but it depends on the chlorogenic acid concentration. Doses used in these studies were equivalent to 120-300 ml of chlorogenic acid.

Try swapping your regular coffee for green coffee and then checking for any blood pressure changes after a month.

While this list is not exhaustive of foods which can help lower your blood pressure it gives you a starting point and please speak to your doctor about your plans you may be pleasantly surprised how receptive doctors are when you want to help yourself rather than just popping some pills.

You will also feel much better…I can vouch for that because I most certainly do and I still have the odd cake and biscuit it is about moderation…

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to make your own Spearmint extract by Angie.

mint-2220631_1920

 

 

I never have made any extracts and I think this is a wonderful idea from my friend Angie over on Learning how to live free and Getting off the Grid.

She has some wonderful ideas and is the queen of coupon savings, she is one amazing lady. Just please click the link below and take a look.

https://getoffthegrid2.blogspot.com/2017/06/how-to-make-your-own-spearmint-extract.html?showComment=1496728140551#c8511698336769032692

I will almost certainly be making some of these mmmmmmm Chilli and Vodka anyone ?

 

 

I will almost certainly be making some of these

 

 

 

 

Elephants Ears?

I am taking part in The Recipe Hunters monthly Challenge and this month’s challenge is the letter E and you can choose your option from a list….Me… I chose Espresso as that was easy I already had the recipes. One intrigued me so I went back to the said list and it was Elephants Ears? Somewhere at the back of my mind, it rang a bell…Ding Dong!

taro-1707892_1920

So I asked my friend Mr Google who laughed at me and as soon as he showed me….The penny dropped…..We had them in Phuket by the Rai in the field near our house and the river that runs alongside had massive ones some of those leaves reached 3 feet long and 2 feet wide and the plants can grow 8 feet tall.

The elephant ears thirst for water is why they are so prolific in soggy areas and they are also popular here not only for landscaping but also near water features they are quite an impressive plant.

… The corms or roots are also to be found on every market stall it’s Taro. Silly me!

taro-1686669_1920

As it is in most other Asian countries, taro is also a popular flavour for ice cream in Thailand. Like with many plain or ugly fruits they make something quite delicious.

Most Thai sweets & puddings do not include wheat flour, which makes these desserts gluten-free and suitable for those who are gluten-intolerant.

The typical list of ingredients is simply rice or tapioca flour, water, coconut milk and eggs cooked with the taro and or pumpkin the multitude of resulting variations is just amazing.

Ingredients:

115gm taro root, cut into 1” pieces

115gm pumpkin cut into 1” pieces

1 1/2 cup thick coconut cream ( see note below)

3 Tbsp palm sugar.

Let’s Cook!

Add taro and pumpkin to the coconut cream and palm sugar, then bring to boil. Reduce to low heat and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until tender.

Pour into small ramekins or one large dish and when set cut into squares. Sometimes this dessert is also cooked in small pumpkins, either way, it is very nice.

pumpkin custard

N.B. Coconut Cream:

For recipes requiring coconut cream, do not shake the can of COCONUT MILK before opening; spoon out the thick cream on top. On hot days, refrigerate the can so that the cream will harden and can be easily separated from the lighter milk.

This is a very easy dessert to make and when it is ready to eat just close your eyes, and pretend you are in the lush tropics of Thailand while spooning a smooth cool coconut dessert into your mouth… Heaven on earth.

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot.

Now you still have 5 days to get your entry in if you wish to join us…it’s good fun and you meet lots of new people if you do then click the  link  below and all will be revealed.

https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/june-2017-share-and-inspire-others-food-starting-with-e/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who can you trust??

trust-1418901_1920

 

How reliable is the information that you read online? Particularly if it is about your health or the health of a loved one?

It is a veritable minefield out there and so many sites write anything to either sell their product or get your e-mail address so they can sell you their product or so they can flood your inbox with what they think you want to hear and sell you that information.

If you are looking for something and are faced with page after page of information then firstly remember you can PAY to be at the top of a search engine so just because they are top and not on page 105 doesn’t mean that what they are saying is true.

It is very easy to be taken in when you dearly want a “cure” or ” remedy ” but please it is not nice to have your hopes dashed when the product doesn’t work or causes a bad reaction.

CHECK: 

If you’re visiting a health website for the first time, these 5 quick questions can help you decide whether the site is a helpful resource.

Who?      Who runs this website? Can you trust them?

What?     What does the site say? Do its claims seem too good to be true?

When?    When was the information posted or reviewed? Is it up-to-date?

Where?   Did the information come from? Is it based on scientific research?

Why?      Does the site exist? Is it selling something?

Don’t rely completely on online resources if you are considering alternative methods of treatment. Talk to your health practitioner they often know of tried and tested alternatives or an alternative that runs alongside conventional treatments.

As I stated in a previous post ” one size doesn’t fit all” What works for your friend’s friend may NOT work for you.

If It is a cure for cancer the Organisations like the Macmillan organisation would be a good starting point for accurate information.

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/

Marie Curie is another well-known organisation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Curie_(charity)

These large organisations have the funds and the knowledge and would likely know or have heard about any conventional cures or natural cures.

Health food so much info on the market ..where to go? Who to talk to? Is what you ARE reading on Social media True or false? As a general rule if the website it leads you too ends in .gov or .edu they are a trusted source although e-mails received ending in edu may not always be. It is definitely a minefield out there.

I promise you that when I am giving you facts about fruit and food then I double-check the information or have used it myself.

I even check an e-mail from my bank before I open it that is how much I distrust anything sent to me or when I read an article I check either on the news or a publication that I know is always up to date. As the date is important as well, just because it has been posted now doesn’t mean that the news is current…always question and look that little bit further….It is your health and your families at risk so trust your gut and do the basic checks.

The internet is a wonderful source of information it is also a dark source of incorrect information.

Please be one of the growing number of consumers who are aware, who are not being taken in by so-called celebrity endorsements of which there are so many. Be one of the ones who makes a decision on your family’s health and the food they eat by being informed and making that decision yourself.

Be happy and confident that you have done your best and made the best information on your own findings and there are some wonderful blogs and websites who give out fully researched information.

And have fun when you are researching …I know I have …I have discovered some wonderful fruits and vegetables with so many medical benefits.

BUT…. MODERATION UNTIL YOU KNOW IT SUITS YOU.

Thank you for reading this I was prompted by two articles I saw online today and had been shared by someone I knew and were blatant untruths and it took me all of 10 seconds to suss them out…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wat Baan Waeng or Heaven and Hell.

50 km’s north of Udon Thani where we now live is Wat Baan Waeng or Pho Chai Sri as it is also known.

It is home to larger than life statues and sculptures which depict the heaven and hell side of Buddhism. So in other words if you stray from the path of the five precepts of Buddhism then “Hell” is what awaits you.

It shows the fate or karma of these individuals and the gory fates that await them for their sins.

SAM_8983

Initially when we pulled into the temple we were met with the scene of monks sitting, children playing and stalls selling trinkets, spiritual items and a well. The water level of which is always very high so if you do want to peer down into the blackness then first remove your shoes before you step onto the plinth. The well according to local folktales just appeared!

Such tranquility that we  thought we had chanced upon the wrong temple(wat).

But no, if you follow the path lined with Buddhas statues you will be led through beautiful gardens, music playing, good food and drink everything that heaven is meant to be.

SAM_8924

Happy smiles and music playing.

SAM_8921

All plaques and writing are in Thai so it will enhance your visit if you have someone with you who can read Thai.

SAM_8916

The tree of life depicting the man or king at the top surrounded by ladies. Showing as flowers hanging from the tree of life.

SAM_8913

Do not be fooled!

You are now entering hell.

SAM_8928

You will then come upon statues showing the horrific torture that you would suffer if you went to hell. Depending on your sin your punishment would fit the crime. A liar would have his tongue removed and a thief his hands.

SAM_8937

SAM_8950

Forced to climb the thorny tree or be eaten by the waiting dogs. It looks like he wasn’t quite quick enough.

SAM_8931

A liar…Off with your tongue!

SAM_8946

Boiling liquid!

SAM_8956

Cruelty to animals will not be tolerated.

SAM_8960

Karma reigns!  What goes around comes around as the saying goes.

SAM_8977

A fruitless gesture, begging for mercy I don’t think any mercy was going to be granted here.

I hope you enjoyed this trip through heaven and hell, it will be on my to visit again list as there is a temple being built in the middle of the lake there which promises to be a lovely tranquil place to sit and read or write.

If you enjoy my travels around Thailand I can also be found on Niume and Mytrendingstories where I share my travels and recipes, fruits of Thailand and much more.

Toddy Palm    https://niume.com/post/313107

Takhop Tree https://niume.com/post/308167

  https://mytrendingstories.com/article/authentic-thai-herbal-soup/

I hope you enjoy!

 

 

Down on the Farm…Jambulan Plum.

Down on the farm this Jambulan plum- tree is another tree which is bearing fruits for us and another one which I have not seen or tasted before now …It is so exciting all these wonderful tasting fruits that are coming into season.

Jambulan is a nutritious seasonal fruit found in abundance in Asia. It’s season is April to July. It can be found growing in forests, backyards and along the roadsides. Naturally it has a single seed . The hybrid varieties are seedless.

A purplish black oval- shaped fruit when it is mature has a sweet and sour flavour which can be acidic and astringent. It is rich in the plant pigment anthocyanin and if you eat too much it is likely to leave you with  a purple tongue and you may get the same feeling as I did when as a kid I ate too much of that sour lemon sherbet which made your fingers where you dipped and licked wrinkly and your tongue tingle. Who remembers that??

It can be used to make Jams and jellies but due to the very low pectin levels must be mixed with a fruit with high pectin or a commercial pectin substitute.

It makes a lovely accompaniment for pulao or a rice pilaf. Just mix chopped deseeded Jambulan with fresh yogurt and combine . Add chopped coriander and powdered cumin and stir. Taste and season with salt.

The pulp is used to makes sauces and fermented beverages like shrub, cider and wine. Now if you are wondering what shrub is ( and I was) it is flavoured vinegar. Which makes wonderful drinks with soda and ice or with cocktails…But that is another post for another day.

Jambulan Jelly.

13/4 cups of chopped and seeded Jambulan.

1 1/4 cups of water

1/2 cup of liquid pectin

1/2 cup lemon or lime juice.

7 cups of sugar.

Combine the Pectin,juice and water with the Jumbulan and bring to a fast, rolling boil. Add the sugar and stirring bring to a fast rolling boil for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and skim of any foam. Pour quickly into hot pre sterilised jars and seal.

N.B: If the fruit is too astringent then it can be soaked in salt water before cooking.

 

Thai Plum 3

The Jambulan plum can also be known as Java plum, black plum and Jambul it is also often eaten just as a healthy snack sometimes with a little salt to taste. It is rich in vitamins,minerals, anti oxidants and flavonoids.

The fruit, seeds, bark and leaves all have medicinal properties and it is believed to have its origins in Neolithic times. In  India it is known as  ” Fruit of the Gods

They can vary in size due to the soil and the weather conditions but can survive and thrive in dry , humid conditions.

The seeds when dried and powdered  are a known effective treatment for diabetes. Bark powder mixed with the juice of the fruit is an effective treatment for coughs and colds. Leaves when they are ground are effective against dysentery and also for healing wounds.

Bark powder is also used as a cure for tapeworm. I am always amazed when I come across fruits like this as to how much they are still relied on in the villages  here as cures for so much.

When I got stung by a jellyfish a couple of years ago one of the ladies in a close by restaurant went and picked some leaves crushed them and mixed them with something and put it on my sting and gave me the rest to take home and apply when needed ….It worked..

At the time I was in so much pain and I didn’t ask the name of what she mixed it with or the name of the leaves she picked  but my point being she knew what to use and it was obviously a remedy which had been passed down.

I am not saying that conventional medicine is not an option at all as sometimes it is a necessity and has saved many lives but there are times when if we know what to use we can find very effective drug free ways to heal and cure ourselves and our families.

I hope you enjoyed learning about this little fruit I hope to bring you a few more I habe at least one more which is ripe and ready to eat so until next time.

Stay safe and laugh a lot 🙂

How to make your own Coconut Oil.

Living in the North Of Thailand is so very different from living in the South of Thailand.. I am learning so much about Thai cultures and traditions which have been passed down through families for centuries and I am loving it.

Coconut oil and its benefits are known throughout the world and it is quite easy to buy a bottle from your local shops now….. But how is it made? it is still made by hand in many local homes here..it takes time but you get a far superior product and you also get the lovely by-product which you can eat.

So come with me ……Over a fire…. a pot is put to heat up when the pot is hot then the coconut milk which is extracted from the white flesh is added, in the villages they grate this and as you need the flesh from 10 coconuts to make a litre of oil …it is time-consuming and hard work by hand….

If you  lucky enough to live close to a local market and they have the machine which extracts the milk then it  is far easier although you still have a long way to go before you get the finished product.

Firstly the Coconut milk is  poured into the ready heated pot and it is now a waiting game where all the exciting stuff happens and you can see the stages and transitions that milk goes through to get your oil.

So you sit and stir and watch and wait while still stirring as the milk changes.

The first sign you see are little oil spots which start to appear on the surface of the milk….you still have to keep stirring.

The oil spots spread as the milk bubbles away and indeed will come right to the top of the pot and almost boil over.

So as the milk is coming to the top is not a good  sign you have to stir and stir  so it is simmering and bubbling after a while it takes a few hours the milk disappears and you are left with oil…

At the bottom of the pan you get a thick crust which looks like crumbled digestive biscuits…this is scooped out and kept as a topping for ice cream.

A very small amount is left in the bottom maybe a teaspoonful and this gives the oil a more vanilla/chocolate smell/taste it is then scooped out and the oil is left to cool down.

You now have your very own hand-made  Coconut Oil.

I think it is lovely to see this tradition of making your own oil in the home as so often we buy a carton or bottle and we don’t where it has come from ..what processes it has gone through..Is it pure ? We all know that labelling can be misleading.

I am sampling so much now of lovely home produced oils, honey, vegetables , herbs some grown some foraged and it is not just the marvelous taste but just the knowledge that I have seen it made or helped make it and that I  know where it has come from..it is a marvelous feeling ..

The photos are from my friend Sonya..Thank you so much Sonya Russell for allowing me to use them. It is very much appreciated…Thank you 🙂

I do hope you enjoyed reading this and please feel free to share this post……