Health Benefits Of Turmeric:  An Anti Inflammatory Super Spice

Health Benefits Of Turmeric: An Anti Inflammatory Super Spice

(This post may contain affiliate links.  For for information about my disclosure policy click here.)

I am obsessed with learning more about “superfoods” and how I can better incorporate them into our family’s daily meals. My newest favorite is the golden spice, turmeric.

But wait, what exactly are superfoods?

Superfoods are nutrient rich foods that are beneficial for health and overall nutrition. They are considered by many to be nutritional powerhouses that have an extraordinary amount of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. In short, they are SUPER good foods for you.

OK that’s really cool. But why turmeric?

Turmeric Root

Turmeric in root form.

Two reasons. Turmeric is a spice that is easy to add to many dishes that your already making (I conveniently added it to our eggs this morning and my 1 year old gobbled them up with delight!). But even more importantly, turmeric may be the MOST healthy spice on the planet.

You may know turmeric as the gorgeous orange-gold spice that is used in many Indian and curry dishes.  But what is spectacular about this herb is that it is even healthier then it is pretty.

A growing body of evidence suggests that turmeric may help reduce the risks of several diseases and that it may be one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories discovered thus far.

So when I say this spice is healthy, what I mean is that it’s a major overachiever with an A+ on health report card. In fact, many health professionals have claimed that it may be one of the most powerful disease fighters known to humans.   There have been over 6,000 peer reviewed articles published proving the benefits of this beautiful orange herb, and its #1 component, curcumin.  Geez, that’s a lot! I am overwhelmed just researching it.

What makes turmeric so healthy for us?

Turmeric Popcorn

Turmeric popcorn. One of the many things you can add a dash of this spice to.

The active ingredient within turmeric known as curcumin is responsible for its health effects.  Curcumin is a substance that has powerful inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

To explain this more clearly, lets discuss the banana.  Bananas are healthy because they are high in potassium.  Thus,  as bananas are a source of potassium, turmeric is a source of curcumin.  So actually, its curcumin we have to thank for all the extraordinary healthfulness!

Ok, NOW you’ve got my attention.  What are all the amazing turmeric benefits?

So glad you asked!  Here you go:

Anti-inflammatory

This is the BIG one!   The most powerful aspect of turmeric is its ability to control inflammation.  Inflammation is what puts people at risk for most diseases, such as cancer, arthritis, high cholesterol and chronic pain.

Some research has even found that when comparing anti-inflammatory compounds that aspirin and ibuprofen are less effective then curcumin and are considering it among the most anti-inflammatory compounds in the world.

Very important takeaway: turmeric’s key to disease reversal may be its ability to curb inflammation.

Anti-oxidant protection

Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases. Antioxidants are beneficial because they protect us from free radicals.  Curcumin is a very potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure. (1)

Cancer prevention

Curcumin in turmeric “interferes with several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth and spread,” according to the American Cancer Society. (2)

Curcumin’s powerful antioxidant advantages have been shown to protect healthy cells, particularly those found in the colon, from cancer-causing agents. It aids the body in destroying mutated cancer cells before they have a chance to spread to other areas. (3)

Brain protection

Research has suggested that curcumin may improve overall memory in Alzheimer’s Patient’s.  It is thought to do so by removing amyliod plaque buildup in the brain. (4)

Pain and arthritis management

This is because of turmeric’s ability to improve inflammation which also helps arthritis pain.

  • Research in 2010 showed long-term improvement in pain and functioning for 100 patients with osteoarthritis in the knee after taking a turmeric supplement with curcumin. (5)
  • A small study in 2012 indicated that BCM-95, a curcumin product, worked better at reducing joint pain and swelling for patients than a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. (6)

Lowers risk of heart disease

Can you believe that heart disease kills more people in the world then any other disease?  It turns out that curcumin may help stop and even reverse many steps in the heart disease process. (7)

Studies have shown that curcumin is beneficial for heart disease because of how it protects and improves the endothelial (the lining of the blood vessels).

Some studies have even shown that it was as beneficial as exercise and may be as or more helpful then some cholesterol lowering medications.  (8) (9)

Wow, that’s impressive!  Anything else?

There are so many studies and so much information about the benefits of turmeric and its counterpart, curcumin that I honestly couldn’t read it all even if I had all the time in the world (which I assure you, I don’t).  The supply of information on this topic seems endless.

Here are a few of the other benefits turmeric is presumed to help with:

Organic ground turmeric

Organic ground turmeric can be found at most grocery stores in the spice isle.

  • Natural liver detoxifier
  • Reduces risk of childhood leukemia
  • Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice
  • Aids in fat metabolism and helps in weight management
  • Used as Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression
  • Stopping blood vessel growth in tumors
  • Making cancers cells more vulnerable to chemo

How do I introduce it into my culinary routine?

  • Sprinkle it on your food. You can add this spice to almost anything.  Add some zest to cooked vegetables, meats, egg dishes.
  • Add a dash to a smoothie (just a teaspoon- you can’t taste it).  You can even add it to boiling water to make pasta or soups.
  • Try making turmeric tea.  See my favorite turmeric tea reciepe here.
  • Try a turmeric supplement (I personally don’t do this since I already add it to food, but they are available).

Where do I find turmeric?

  • You can buy ground turmeric I’m the spice isle at most grocery stores, or buy turmeric here.
  • Experiment with buying whole turmeric and grating it yourself.  You can find it at many grocery and natural food stores.

A few other tidbits:

It helps to add a little black pepper, which contains piperine.  This enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%.

Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal.

Historically, turmeric was used as a dye for fabric.  It WILL stain your clothes, so be careful not to get in on your clothing while cooking with it.  It may also temporarily stain your counter tops or dishware, just FYI.

I want to learn more about how to be healthy…  Where do I go from here?

Research, research, research!  There is a lot of information out there on the internet and I’m a true believer in educating one’s self on the most current healthcare information.

A word of caution: Just make sure you are researching on credible sites.  Some websites are legit, some, well… not so much.  PubMed is a good source for researching studies if you feel so inclined to dork out!

Knowledge is power. I love it when my patients become experts on their own healthcare.  They arm themselves with better decision making power and are much more compliant with taking good care of their health.

The more you treat your body like a temple by filling it with vital nutrients and antioxidants, the less likely you are to wind up as one of my patients, which is a very good thing!

“Let food by thy medicine and medicine by thy food.” – Hypocrates

If reading this spiked your interest in giving turmeric a try, email me and let me know how it went.  I would love to hear about it!

Thank you for reading!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

 

 

Sun Basket Review:  How A Weekly Meal Service Made Dinner Awesome At Our House

Sun Basket Review: How A Weekly Meal Service Made Dinner Awesome At Our House

(This post may contain affiliate links.  For more information about my disclosure policy click here.)

Two years ago a very good friend of mine enlightened us to how she and her husband make stress-free organic meals regularly through a meal delivery service called Sunbasket .

She went on to explain how Sun Basket program works. You sign up online and pick the recipe option to your liking (vegetarian, paleo, gluten free, family options). Then a box is delivered to your doorstep every week with every per-measured ingredient you need along with a detailed recipe.

With two babies at home, we are super busy these days. The excitement of having scrumptious organic home cooked meals regularly without a ton of hassle seemed like an urban legend to us.

So we eagerly gave it a shot.

Sun Basket gave me an opportunity to learn how to cook.

Sunbasket ingrediants

Sun Basket ingredients for a meal.

Sadly for my husband, he did not marry a culinary genius. I’m not horrible, just not extraordinarily good (for the record I like what I cook, I’m just not sure others do). I like to keep my recipes simple. My specialties involve a Nutri bullet and tossing ingredients in a bowl (I know, its pretty sad!)

Even more importantly though, I was pregnant at the time. I was eating as healthy as I possibly could to ensure maximum nutrient delivery to our bun in the oven (pun intended!).

Inside each Sun Basket delivery box are three brown paper bags with all of the ingredients needed for 3 complete meals (2 servings each).

Now here we are two years later and we are still using Sun Basket every week. I get excited every Tuesday night for our shipment to arrive so we can start cooking. It has become a ritual for us and it fits so easily into our lives. I’m not sure what we ever did without it.

Choose from 18 healthy & delicious recipes a week from Sun Basket! Save $45 if you order today!

What I love about Sunbasket:

  • Everything comes insulated nicely and there is a separate compartment on the bottom with an ice block for fish, or other meats.
  • The ingredients are always seasonal and fresh.
  • All of the ingredients are organic and non-GMO.
  • Each week you get an email reminding your to select the meals you want for the following week. You can try new dishes all the time!
  • Everything is pre-measured so there is no waste.
  • We get to try new foods and recipes that we NEVER would have made ourselves otherwise.
  • The customer service is awesome. We once had 1 single ingredient come in our box that had gone bad and they gave us a credit for the entire meal the same day.
  • Best part, each of the meals can be prepared in 30 minutes or less and I don’t even have to shop.

All this AND we get to be gourmet chefs in the comfort of our kitchen. Can’t beat that.

Choose from 18 healthy & delicious recipes a week from Sun Basket! Save $45 if you order today!

How is the customer service at Sun Basket?

Jividen family eating dinner together

My husband, telling me to contain my excitement for dinner. Zoe didn’t make it into this photo but her plate did. We were having veggie burgers with sweet potato fries. Yum yum.

Customer service is so important to me.  There have been two times that our delivery was shipped 1 day late due to traffic issues in Los Angeles.  Both times we were notified immediately and offered a credit if we decided not to accept the box. Not a deal breaker for me as the shipment did arrive fresh.  LA traffic truly is off-the-charts insane so unfortunately its par for the course here. Other then those minor inconveniences the service has been exceptional.

Sun Basket makes it easier for us to have quality family time.

The most important benefit for us that has come out of using Sun Basket is that it allows us to sit down as a family for our meals, no excuses. Dinner is my favorite part of the day and I love that it gives my husband and I a chance to reconnect and talk about whats going on in our lives. It keeps us connected.  Its like having a date night in. I think Zoe loves it too.

Tonight we will be enjoying fresh wild organic salmon with roasted potatoes, a field greens salad, and chive cream frasiche. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Join us for dinner anytime!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

Happy Easter From The Emergency Room:  Day One Of ER Nurse Training

Happy Easter From The Emergency Room: Day One Of ER Nurse Training

While most people were with their families this Easter Sunday, I was working day one of Emergency Room RN training.

In light this, my family had our Easter celebration and egg hunt with our daughter the day prior. Celebrating holidays the day before or the day after has been one thing I have had to get accustomed to as an RN.

It was surprisingly not as busy as most days in the emergency room, or so I’m told. My preceptor, who has 10 years working in the ER, mentioned that fewer ER admissions occur on holidays then on other days of the year. Apparently, many people like to wait until the day after a major holiday to have a medical emergency and show up in the ER.

There are a wide variety of patients in the emergency room.

The day started off with a bang. I had my very first trauma patient. The unfortunate victim of a car crash that occurred somewhere along the 405. I was hoping the ER would get me out of my comfort zone, and my first experience absolutely did not disappoint.

I also got my first pediatric patient: a baby who luckily didn’t have anything seriously wrong. Having my own 20 month old daughter, I seriously don’t know how well I’m going to handle pediatric patients that are not so lucky.

My patients ranged in age from 8 weeks to 96 years old. Talk about a diverse patient population!

My IV start skills are constantly being challenged.

I started 3 IV’s during the shift, including a few elderly patients, which I often have a difficult time with. Not too shabby, if I don’t say so myself. I have always been pretty good at IV starts, but I hope to really fine tune my skills within the next few months.

One thing I was super impressed with was that my preceptor does ultra sound guided IV’s on a daily basis. So cool. I didn’t even know that nurses were allowed to do that. There are apparently several nurses who do it in our emergency room and it requires additional classes and a special certification. I don’t know of any other floors in the hospital where that happens.

HIPPA and patient privacy

I have been having an issue with how much I ethically can and should disclose on this blog. As much as I want to break down every little detail of what I see, we have this super important legal policy called the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Otherwise known as HIPAA, it is basically a fancy way of saying that any healthcare professional will get fired if they disclose anything about a patient’s identity or medical information. Essentially it legally protects patient confidentially, which is a good thing.

On the off chance that anyone actually does read what I am writing I want to be very careful of this. Therefore, I am going to focus my writing on the skills and tasks that I perform and not on any patient information. It seriously limits what I can talk about, so I am mentioning that upfront.

Also, my husband is also a legal investigator at the hospital and he frequently reminds me about HIPAA. He even teaches courses about it to staff. It is a complete coincidence that we happen to both work for the same medical center (for the record though, I was there first).

Tomorrow I will get up at 5:15am and head out for day 2 of ER training and a whole new round of learning experiences. At some point I need to get a start on the 50 hours on online ER training courses I need to complete. My brain is tired just thinking about it.

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

Nurse Flexibility In The Workplace:  How Becoming A Per Diem Nurse Helped Me Find A Work-Life Balance

Nurse Flexibility In The Workplace: How Becoming A Per Diem Nurse Helped Me Find A Work-Life Balance

The nursing profession has some incredible flexibility perks that make it a whole lot easier for me to be a working Mom.

To start, I usually work three days a week, which is full time for a nurse. I am able to fit my 38-40 hours into 3 days instead of doing in in 5 like most of the working world. Occasionally, depending what is going on at home I only work 2 days, and on rare occasion, I’ll only work one.

My work days, however, are extraordinary long for what most people would consider a “normal” workday. I leave my house at 5:45 in the morning. Most evenings I don’t walk in the door until after 8;30 pm.

About 13 hours are spent at the hospital and I’m working my tail off every minute of it. My brain is completely shut off from all aspects of my home life during those long, arduous shifts.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to see my daughter at all on the days I work. I leave before she wakes up and I’m home after she goes to bed. I may as well be out-of-town on those days.

A 5 day work week becomes 3

Rocks balancing to symbolize work-life balance

Becoming a per diem nurse has given me a better work-life balance since I had my daughter in October 2015.

Unlike most professions I have the ability to only work three days a week (or less if I choose to). And that means that I get to be home at least four days a week to spend solid, interrupted, quality time with my daughter and husband. I love my days off and use them wisely!

On top of that I became a per diem nurse in May of 2016.

Per diem means: for each day. As a nurse, I am literally employed “by the day.” Hospitals need per diem nurses to cover staffing needs in the hospital, which can vary by the day or season.

Per diem nursing is a game-changer for me as a working mom. It is so flexible that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to being a career RN again.

Benefits to being a per diem nurse

  • Significantly higher pay then a career nurse
  • Work as little as one day a week or as many as five days a week (as long as there is a need for an RN)
  • Make own schedule (if the hospital doesn’t need me they call me off)
  • Cancel at the last minute (as long as it is by 3am)
  • Add on a shift at the last minute
  • Incredible opportunities for growth. I never stop learning or being challenged
  • Work in many different specialties: Emergency Room, Cardiac, Liver Transplant, Medicine, Neuroscience and Stroke, or Oncology, just to name a few
  • Opportunities to “master in” to a unit that is chronically short on staffing needs for a period of time. This guarantees a certain number of hours for that time period

Drawbacks to being a per diem nurse

  • No benefits.  No retirement, no disability, no sick days, no vacation days, no paid maternity leave
    If I don’t work, I don’t get paid
  • The hospital can cancel me at the last minute. And they have, MANY times. Not fun when you have already have a nanny coming over that I am already obligated to pay even if I don’t need her
  • Many per diem nurses complain that they often get stuck with more difficult assignments then other nurses on the same floor
  • Must be a jack of all trades. Working with so many different specializes can be hard because each floor has a different patient population with unique needs and hospital protocols

Finding a work-life balance in per diem nursing

Rocks balancing to represent work-life balance

Being a working mom is more doable and less stressful now that I have a little more work-life balance.

I try to work every Monday and Wednesday and alternate working 1 weekend day every other week. That way I switch between working 2 days one week and 3 the next.

My husband has to be home by 5pm on the days I work so he can relieve our nanny. It puts a bit of a strain on him to have to leave work early those days but he makes up for it by staying late later on other days.

We share our amazing nanny, Ana, with another family whom she works with on the days she is not with us. We guarantee her 2 to 3 days a week whether I work or not.

Quality vs. quantity

I feel very fortunate, because I believe I have a balance between being able to work mostly full-time and be kind of like a stay-at-home mom on my days off.

Women doing yoga

Finding a work life balance helps me have a healthier, less stressful life.

If fact I think its possible that being a working mom with my schedule allows me to spend more quality time with my daughter than if I didn’t work at all.

When I’m at work I am completely engaged and focused. I look forward to thinking critically, applying my skills and helping to save lives. I’m constantly learning and applying myself in difficult situations.

Then when I’m home I can completely shut that part of my brain off and be fully present.

Our fun activities on one of my off-days typically includes going to the park or for walks, meeting friends out for play dates, cooking, errand running, or just hanging out at the house. There is a lot of reading, playing, giggling and even a daily nap (for Mommy too!).

Gratitude always helps

Since I work so hard at the hospital I am so grateful to be home and be Mom. Even running errands with my daughter is enjoyable (Zoe loves going out with Mom, especially when she gets to help me pick out groceries).

In all honesty, I’m often beyond tired on my days off, but at least I can compartmentalize the two parts of my life. Many careers don’t have that option.

Being a working Mom means making sacrifices and finding creative ways to make a work-life balance possible.

How do you find work flexibility? Do you have a work-life balance?

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

Recommended Reading

Is Nursing A Good Career For Moms?

7 Ways To Beat Nurse Burnout

8 Ways Nurses Can Stay Healthy

How To Pump At Work As A Nurse

A Mom’s Guide To Self Care

A Mom’s Guide To Self Care

Happy Mothers Day!

The celebration of Mother’s Day serves as a good reminder to give a little extra thanks and acknowledgment for all the extraordinary work Moms do.

Unfortunately, it’s only one day out of a whopping 365 days in the whole year. So, what about the rest of the time?

Sadly, many of my mama friends don’t include a little self love and tenderness into their lives on a regular basis.

As a Mama and registered nurse I have to confess I am guilty of working myself to the core without giving it a second thought. Besides, aren’t Moms (and nurses) supposed to be selfless creatures who put the needs of all others before their own?

Well, no obviously (that was a rhetorical question, duh). But many of us have that false belief etched inside of our brains.

Sometimes as an RN I feel like a Mom to many of my patients. I’m putting their needs before my own for 12 straight hours. I endlessly hold my pee (I actually gave myself a bladder infection about a month ago). Often I work to a point of angry hunger. My heels are usually burning at the end of my shift.

Then when I’m at home, I want to spend all of my time with my daughter, despite sheer exhaustion from my workdays. What is a Mom supposed to do when there is not a lot of opportunity for self care?

I don’t like getting childcare unless I have to be at work or my husband and I have a date night. Not because I feel guilty or can’t afford it, but because I really don’t want to.

I love being Mom. My little lady has the most contagious giggle… the most excited expressions every time she sees a “doggie”… the loudest, ear piercing scream when she’s gone past her tired threshold (OK, so I don’t love that part, but I do love the bear hugs she gives when she’s getting sleepy, they are the best!).

My point is, being a Mom means giving more of myself than I ever though I could ever give another human. Motherhood forces me to face fears I never even knew existed (some pretty crazy things run through my mind at times).

Mothers Day

Moms need to make self care a priority.

But I, like all Moms, am grateful to do it, even on the hardest of days.

But… and there and there is a BIG but…

Who’s supposed to take care of Mom?

Well… Mom does.

That the thing about being a Mom. The person who knows best how to take care of Mom is Mom.

The only person who can really make sure all your needs are being met is YOU, Mom.

The only person who can know that a bubble bath and a cup of tea (or wine) is exactly what you need after a long day of managing to keep tiny humans safe and alive, is… yes you guessed it.. Mom!

That’s because we are wise, multitasking superheros, capable of managing our own and other’s needs. We are the most magnificent, intelligent, masters of life! (maybe a wee bit of an exaggeration, but it’s Mother’s Day so humor me!).

If we don’t give self care to ourselves, then it’s impossible to be what our kiddos need us to be.

That is the greatest part! We have the absolute best reason to give ourselves all the care and love we need. Because our children benefit from the mature, wise decision we make as Moms to care for ourselves so we can continue to keep the earth rotating around the sun. Also because when Mom is out of commission, things fall apart.

The Mom guide to self care 365 days a year:

1. Keep moving.

I am a fierce lover of my yoga practice. Unfortunately since my daughter’s birth it has become increasingly more and more difficult to get to my favorite yoga studio in Manhattan Beach, The Green Yogi.

After months of agonizing frustration due to not making it to classes I finally arrived at the perfect solution: The Green Yogi Online! My studio offers dozens of yoga practices online for only 15$ a month. This way I can practice yoga at home at anytime of the day for as long or short as I want with my favorite instructors.

Sometimes it may only 10 be minutes of Zen yoga. But any amount is better then nothing!

Seriously whoever came up with this idea is a freaking genius. I have no more excuses, because I literally have my yoga practice at my fingertips. Its a lifesaver, I tell you.

2. Sleep, Sister.

Sleep is essential for life. That extra episode of television is not worth the agony of next day exhaustion. Browsing through a cell phone before bed will actually make it harder to fall asleep and will disrupt the quality of your sleep. Without sleep, you go completely insane. There is a reason sleep deprivation is used as a torture method.

I try to get into bed around 9pm and be asleep by 9:30-9:45. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I feel so much better when it does.

3. Take a relaxing bath.

For me, taking a bath is like flipping an internal switch from action Mom to Zen Mom. No matter how crazy the day is I can turn it off with a bath. I add a few essentials oils and bath salts and voila! It’s a makeshift spa session. If I can do this 1 time per week after I per my daughter down, it helps a lot.

4. Nourish your temple.

Eat whole, organic foods, including many plants. There is no secret diet menu, what the billion dollar diet industry is telling you.

I try to make a hot, antioxidant-rich tumeric tea every day if I can. You can read more about the health benefits of tumeric and find my recipe here:

I have a 95-5 rule. If I am really good to myself 95% of the time (i.e. exercise, eat healthy, meditate, do yoga) then I can relax and not worry about it the other 5% of the time (have some wine, yummy desert, chill). Some weeks it’s closer to a 90-10 rule, and less frequently a special occasion may be closer to an 85-15 rule (Mom needs to have a little fun sometimes too!).

My point: The occasional indulgence is a nice thing so long as you treat your body good on the regular!

We can’t expect our kids to eat well if we don’t. We are responsible for teaching our children healthy habits from a young age so that they grow up with the nourishment they need to grow, learn, and be amazing humans.

5. Get off the social media.

I stopped using social media for one week and had a lot of really great benefits as a result.

Stop comparing you life to others. By decreasing your use of social media you will be left with with significantly less distraction and be more present in more important daily activities.

Social media is not an real representation of what is going on in people’s lives. It is a magnification of what people want you to see: slivers of primarily positive information that appears flawless, effortless and often like never-ending, spontaneous fun (don’t we all want to project the best parts of ourselves). Its also full of marketing, branding and sales gimmicks nowadays too.

Take the time that social media is stealing from you and apply it directly into being engaged in the most important stuff. Like spending uninterrupted time with your family.

6. Just say no.

Give yourself permission to prioritize the things that are most important to you. Mom’s needs come before getting every little chore completed. The laundry can wait until tomorrow if needed. The toys aren’t doing any permanent damage by laying on the floor a little longer. No one is going to die.

Sometimes when I put my daughter down for a nap I have the intention of getting several chores out of the way. But I end of taking a nap myself instead. Guess what, I feel so much better!

It’s impossible to do every little thing. At some point we just have to say no. No apologies, just no.

7. Meditate and have gratitude.

I found a resource that has completely revolutionized my meditation practice. It’s called Headspace and it is an app that helps to make meditation more attainable for busy people. Read more about my experience with this app here.

Headspace has dozens of different meditations each lasting from 10 minutes to 1 hour. So I really don’t have an excuse that I don’t have time, because 10 minutes is all I need. This app is genius.

Take good care of yourself, Moms!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love