What is a Jujube?

Jujube (pronounced joo-joo-bee) is also known as a red Chinese date. It’s a fruit with a name that’s not only fun to say, but it has health benefits that have long been recognized in Chinese herbal medicine. The jujube fruit can be eaten fresh or dried. If you get the chance to try one fresh, you’d be surprised how similar it tastes to a sweet mini apple. It’s crispy like an apple and it holds a seed inside, so don’t forget to spit that out. When jujubes are allowed to dry in the sun until they shrivel and brown, they are still edible, but they will taste more like a date. Commonly, the dried versions are used to make jams, desserts, teas or soups. This fruit is originally cultivated mainly in South Asia, however nowadays, it grows well throughout most of the southern half of North America. To buy them, they’re usually available at Chinese or Korean grocery stores, Chinese medicine halls, and Amazon.com.

Aside from its good taste, curious to learn more about this fruit’s health benefits? There’s good reason to add this into your diet. Keep reading to find out the great benefits it can provide.

  1. Its high in Vitamin C and fiber. Just a 3-oz (100-gram) serving of fresh jujube, or about 3 fruits, provides 225 to 530 milligrams (mg) of Vitamin C and 10 grams of fiber. For adults, the recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 mg a day, and the upper limit is 2,000 mg a day. For fiber intake, it is recommended to have 25-35 grams of fiber a day.
  2. It may help promote better sleep. In Chinese herbal medicine, jujube has been traditionally prepared as a tea that was used against insomnia. While there’s a lack of strong evidence to support its effectiveness in fighting insomnia, people without insomnia may find it supportive of healthy sleep throughout the night.
  3. Antioxidants content may boost immunity. Jujube is rich in vitamin C, which is thought to have powerful antioxidant effects. In addition, this fruit is rich in several antioxidant compounds, including polyphenols and flavonoids, compounds that are naturally found in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, spices, herb, tea, dark chocolate, and wine. They can act as antioxidant to neutralize harmful free radicals that would damage our cells and increase our risk of conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
  4. Improve blood circulation. The fruit contains minerals like potassium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, and zinc, a combination of these minerals are necessary for maintaining a good heart health. Eating jujubes may help improve the blood flow in the body.

Intrigued to try jujubes? Have them fresh or used dried in a recipe. Below are some of my favorite recipes.

An easy Chinese red date (Jujube) tea (Credit to doyou.com)
Jujube tea with goji berries (Credit to foodbaker.com)
Jujube ginger tea (Credit to Golubkakitchen.com)
Chinese ginseng chicken herbal soup (Credit to Yummly.com)
Watercress pork soup (Credit to Yummly.com)

broccoli benefits

Nutrition benefits of broccoli

Growing up, I remember broccoli was one of the first few vegetables I really enjoyed eating. Today, I want to show some love for this vegetable and talk about the powerhouse of nutrients it provides and share a delicious recipe as well.

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable known for its high nutrient density. It is a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber, a plethora of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, beta-carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B1, and vitamin K, calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. In addition, it has antioxidants that lower inflammation and inhibit or neutralize cell damage caused by free radicals. Evolving studies have also shown that broccoli contains phytonutrients that offer a protective effect from certain cancers, including breast, prostate, renal, bladder, colorectal.

Fun fact: Did you know that California is the largest producer of broccoli in the US? About 90% of it! Link here to read more about it.

Check out a simple and delicious recipe for OVEN-ROASTED BROCCOLI WITH LEMON here: https://bit.ly/2MNUHWc . Thanks @wholeandheavenlyoven.com for sharing.

lemon water benefits

Why I drink lemon water everyday

I’m a fan of fruit-infused water and love to experiment with different fruits and vegetables to make my water tasty (and pretty!) One of my favorite go-to’s is simply adding lemon to water. In the past, I would occasionally enjoy having lemon with my water, but my intake was never consistent until now. Over the 4 few months, I’ve started a new routine of having lemon in my water everyday. So far, the benefits have been great. And the best part is, it’s SO feasible, simple and cheap to do. Let’s talk about claims we’ve heard about having lemon water and whether they are true or not, based on my experience of having it everyday for the past 4 months!

Claim #1: It aids in digestion. Yes! I’ve had less GI symptoms such as bloating and constipation since starting this lemon water routine. Lemons have been talked about as detoxifying agents. The flavonoids in lemon and other citrus fruits aid the acid in the stomach in breaking down food, which can help improve overall digestion. And the water itself helps move things through the digestive tract to help prevent constipation.

Claim #2: Lemon is a good source of Vitamin C. It can help prevent colds and reduce the duration of colds. I can attest to this as well! I used to regularly take EmergenC packets for its high Vitamin C content until I started taking lemon water everyday. I’ve found that it’s a great alternative without the added sugar or artificial taste and I haven’t gotten a cold in a really long time (*knock on wood*). When I have had a scratchy throat that may be indicating a cold about to come through, I would take at least 16 oz of warm lemon water and I would feel much better the next day. No scratchy throat, no cold.

Claim #3: It helps your skin. I really believe drinking lemon water everyday has helped clear up my skin over the past few months. I started to notice slight improvements, including less acne, less dullness in my complexion and possibly, even my mild rosacea seemed to have calmed down. The reason why lemons are good for the skin is they’re a good source of antioxidants, which amazing natural components found in plants that can prevent cellular damage and fight free radical that eventually lead to wrinkles, spots and other aging skin problems. You’ll notice that many skin serums contain antioxidants like vitamin C, and why skincare experts always advise you to eat more antioxidant-rich foods.

Claim #4: Lemons can boost mood and energy. This is a really interesting claim and I was so curious to see if this is true. The fresh citrus flavor seems to help awaken me when I’m feeling tired. The smell alone is always a nice scent. Thanks to lemon water, I can skip the coffee for a moment.

Taking a holistic approach to your skin’s health

Your skin is unique. Factors such as environment, beauty/skincare choices, diet, and genetics can affect it. Knowing this, you can pursue optimal skin health through a holistic approach that connects the different factors.

NUTRITION

  • Nurture your skin through proper nutrition and hydration. Eating a wide variety of plant-based foods will provide a spectrum of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Minimize processed foods and focus on majority of your diet consisting whole, nutrient dense foods.
  • Watch out for sugary food. A diet high in sugar activates inflammation and it binds to the collagen to skin, making it less elastic and more stiff.
  • Maintain a healthy gut by including probiotic supplements or foods in your diet. A healthy gut microbiome helps stimulates your immune system and the production of anti-inflammatory molecules. These help fight against inflammation-associated skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema.

LIFESTYLE

  • Take control of stress. Find stress-relieving strategies to help you cope. Take time for yourself. Set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time for hobbies.
  • Protect your skin with skincare that contains sunscreen to prevent the UV ray damage. Don’t forget hats and UV protective sunglasses. Cover up with protective clothing such as long sleeve shirts and long pants or even special sun-protective clothing.
  • Get adequate sleep. If you’re not prioritizing sleep, change that habit to making sure you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night. A place for sleep should ideally be dark, slightly cool, and quiet. Limit excessive caffeine intake at night. To be sure it won’t affect your sleep, allow at least 4-5 hours between caffeine intake and sleep.
  • Exercise and sweat to flush out toxins trapped in our pores. Exercise can be anything that causes your heart rate to beat faster. Examples are aerobic exercise, biking or walking with your dog.

BEAUTY

  • Choose skincare products without harsh abrasives, toxic chemicals and synthetic fragrances. These items can harm your health in ways beyond just skin irritation. Opt for more natural and organic plant-based ingredients in your skincare because they contain nutrients, phytochemicals and antioxidants to fight free radicals, inflammation, slow the aging process, and boost collagen and elastin production. Take time to find to a skincare routine that works for your unique skin and commit to it twice a day, every day.
  • Cleanse your skin well daily with products such as a makeup remover and gentle cleanser. Don’t forget to exfoliate skin 2-3 times a week for healthy-looking complexion.
  • Treat the skin around your eyes very gently. Use a specialty cream/treatment product made especially for the area around your eyes. Keep the area moisturized as it is more likely to dry out and cause wrinkles.
Cherry benefits

Nutrition benefits of cherries

I’m so excited that cherries are in season right now! They make the perfect summer snack. Here are top 8 reasons why you should go out and buy some right now!

  1. They are loaded with antioxidants to help protect your cells from free radicals, which can help slow down aging.
  2. The melatonin in them help you sleep better.
  3. They have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with arthritic and inflammatory conditions, including gout.
  4. They may help reduce pain and sore muscles after a workout.
  5. They promote a healthy heart by helping regulate blood pressure and may reduce risk of strokes.
  6. A cup of cherries is less than 100 calories making them a low calorie, tasty choice.
  7. They are packed with vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, B, C, E, potassium and fiber.
  8. Some studies link eating cherries to a lower risk of certain cancers, including colon cancer.

Tips on storing cherries:

Cherries kept in room temperature should be consumed within 2 days. If they’re stored in the refrigerator, they’re good for about a week. Keep them in a plastic pouch before placing in the refrigerator. Cherries should be washed only before eating. Always store unwashed cherries in the refrigerator.