Posts

Vitamin D reduces breast cancer risk

How much vitamin D do you need to reduce breast cancer risk?

It has been recognized for over a decade that vitamin D has a protective effect against a variety of cancers, including breast cancer (Garland et al., 2006; Krishnan et al., 2010). But new research from our friends at GrassrootsHealth on vitamin D and breast cancer has me really excited. The group has found that maintaining a higher vitamin D level can reduce breast cancer risk by — are you ready for it? — a whopping 80 percent.

Higher vitamin D levels reduce breast cancer risk AND reduce bone loss

GrassrootsHealth recently combined two randomized clinical trials from Dr. Joan Lappe (Lappe et al., 2007; McDonnell et al, 2016) looking at women over four years. What they found was that was that those women who had vitamin D blood levels equal or greater then 60 ng/mL — the same levels helpful in preventing bone loss — had an 80% lower risk of breast cancer than women with concentrations less than 20 ng/mL (a very deficient level indeed).

Meanwhile, a similar study conducted recently showed that women with a vitamin D level above 38 ng/mL (about the level conventionally regarded as “adequate) had a 21% lower risk of breast cancer than women with levels at or below 24.6 (O’Brien et al., 2017).

You can’t help but notice the difference in risk reduction at 60 ng/mL versus 38 ng/mL is rather large. It reinforces what I’ve maintained all along — that current serum vitamin D recommendations are too low for women to get the best protective effects. But it also strongly supports the need for everyone to keep tabs on their vitamin D levels to ensure they don’t fall below the minimum level for bone health (and overall health).

Watch my interview with Carol Baggerly, the founder of GrassrootsHealth, to learn more about this groundbreaking research and Grassroots Heath’s new D-Action Cancer Prevention Society!

References

Garland CF, Garland FC, Gorham ED, Lipkin M, Newmark H, Mohr SB, Holick MF. The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention. Am J Public Health. 2006 February; 96(2): 252–261.

Krishnan AV, Trump DL, Johnson CS, Feldman D. The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention and treatment. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2010 Jun;39(2):401–418.

Lappe JM, Travers-Gustafson D, Davies KM, Recker RR, Heaney RP. Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1586–1691.

McDonnell SL, Baggerly C, French CB, Baggerly LL, Garland CF, Gorham ED, Lappe JM, Heaney RP. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations ≥40 ng/ml are associated with >65% lower cancer risk: pooled analysis of randomized trial and prospective cohort study. PLoS One. 2016; 11(4): e0152441.

O’Brien KM, Sandler DP, Taylor JA, Weinberg CR. Serum vitamin D and risk of breast cancer within five years. Environ Health Perspect. 2017; DOI:10.1289/EHP943.

5 tips for improving brain health

What’s good for the bones is good for the brain

Not long ago, I spoke with Dr. Steven Masley, whose book The Better Brain Solution I found fascinating. I couldn’t help but notice, when I read the book, that his solution to maintaining longevity and healthy brain function sounded awfully familiar to me!

Stronger bones, stronger mind

Looking at over 100 clinical markers of aging, ranging from brain speed to arterial plaque growth to bone density, in concert with lifestyle factors such as diet, fitness, toxin exposure, and stress management in more that 1000 patients, Steven has found that many of the same things we use to help prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures can also reduce the risk of long-term memory loss. “We’ve been able to show which things help your memory, which things improve your brain, and it turns out many of these things are also good for your heart and your bones,” he says.

The part that may be new to my readers is that this research finds blood sugar to be one of the key elements of maintaining both healthy brain and heart. “We know that probably the number one factor that contributes to memory loss is elevated blood sugar and insulin resistance,” he told me. “When brain cells become insulin resistant, they literally shut down — they’re not able to use glucose as energy. And over time, it leads to brain cell death and literally the brain starts shrinking.”

5 steps for improving brain health

His five-step solution to this problem is where the conversation went toward familiar topics:

  1. Healthy foods: A diet rich in green, leafy vegetables makes your brain, on average, 11 years younger, says Steven, who also recommends eating oily fish and nuts to provide omega-3 fatty acids and lists nearly a dozen other foods that are also part of an alkaline diet.
  2. Exercise: “Just like for bones,” Steven says, “we see a benefit… the fitter you are, the better your brain function.”
  3. Specific nutrients: Vitamin D, magnesium, and B vitamins — all important in bone health — are also key brain health.
  4. Stress reduction: “If you don’t manage [stress], your cortisol rises, your blood sugar goes up, and it literally shrinks your brain,” he says.
  5. Probiotics: “I really like the idea of a probiotic for a healthy gut” as a way to support brain health, he adds.

I named my bone health program “Better Bones, Better Body” because I understood that what was good for the bones would benefit the rest of the body as well—and it’s nice to get still more scientific confirmation that the approach works. But Steven’s research also underscores the sheer number of people who need to learn the value of this approach. “The #1 most expensive disease in America today is memory loss,” Steven told me. “It’s supposed to double in just the next 12 years. It’s skyrocketing.” He points to the fact that “50% of all Baby Boomers, and 30% of all adults, have insulin resistance… they’re high risk for memory loss, heart disease, diabetes, and probably bone loss, too!”

If you want to hear what else Dr. Steven Masley had to say, watch our video interview.

 

 

how do you want to be, feel, and look in 2018?

2018: The Year of Deliberate Creation

On these long winter nights, my attention is often drawn inward. Cozying up to a blazing wood stove, I am ready for my favorite topic of contemplation:

“Knowing that my choices will determine my life experience, what life experiences and personal transformation do I want in 2018? More important, what deliberate actions am I willing to take to achieve my goals?”

As the new year begins, I encourage you to take advantage of these quiet winter nights to answer your own soul-searching questions:

  • How do you want to be, feel and look in the coming year?
  • Have you joined the critical mass of women taking responsibility for their health, perhaps starting with bone health?
  • The ancient Chinese proverb notes, “If we keep going in the same direction we will end up right where we are headed.” Where are you headed, and is that the direction you want?

As for me, I’m using the winter’s quietude to reset my sights and plant new seeds, knowing that after a few months of rest, these uplifting initiatives will sprout, bringing joy, growth, and fulfillment in 2018.

Here’s my plan for 2018:

  • Working with my colleagues at the Center for Better Bones, we will build an even stronger, more informed tribe of women willing and able to take charge of their bone and overall health.
  • I will share my knowledge with women worldwide so they may do what women have done throughout the ages: protect and nurture the fires of health and well-being.
  • I’ll offer a new weekly “Wisdom” social media posting for you to consider, respond to, and share with others. Together we can create an uplifting, positive energy capable of moving everyone forward.
  • My dedicated team at the Center for Better Bones will make our time-tested Better Bones, Better Body Program more affordable and available to every interested woman through our new community online classes. (More on this coming soon!) Together we’ll transform both the way women themselves,and the medical profession, view and treat bone health concerns.
  • Finally, in a spirit of sisterhood and joy, we at the Center for Better Bones are offering “Love Your Bones, Love Your Life,” our first ever 4-day education/inspiration retreat in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, March 2018. (Learn more.) Don’t worry if you can’t attend this time… there will be other retreats!

New Year’s is a logical time of year to appreciate your personal growth and plan for the coming year. I invite you to join me as we create Better Bones and a Better Body in 2018. I’ll be here to support you all along the way.

Together will rewrite the book on women’s bone health!

5 diet changes that may increase lifespan

5 diet changes that add years to your life

Improving your diet quality by 20% can lead to a longer life — and it’s surprising how small the changes are to get you there.

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine shared how making a few minor tweaks to your eating habits can produce a noticeable increase in your lifespan. I find it fascinating that this was the first time researchers actually looked at whether changing your eating habits for the better would have any effect on how long you live. It seems so obvious that the answer would be yes — but no one had ever actually done research to see if it’s really true.

And boy, is it true.

What the study looked at

Researchers analyzed data from almost 48,000 women who participated over a total of 16 years in the Nurses Health Study and 26,000 men who took part in the Healthy Professionals Follow-Up Study. What they found is that those whose diets scored consistently high on three separate measures of diet quality had between 11 and 14% lower risk of death from any cause than those whose diet quality scored consistently low.

That’s pretty impressive by itself, but the part that really caught my attention was what the study found when people made the commitment to healthier eating. Those participants whose diet quality scores improved by 20% over time had a reduction of between 8 to 17% in their risk of death by any cause—regardless of whether those improvements took 8, 12, or 16 years to accomplish. The association was stronger when cardiovascular causes of death were considered in isolation. And the reverse was also true: If the participants’ diet quality got worse over time, their risk of dying during the study period grew by 6–12%.

5 diet changes that may just save your life

Something else that I noticed about this study — so many of the diet changes researchers note can lengthen your lifespan are the same eating habits that do so much to protect your bones!

1. Less meat, more lentils. The authors noted that “…increase in consumption of nuts and legumes from no servings to 1 serving per day and a reduction in consumption of red and processed meats from 1.5 servings per day to little consumption will result in an improvement of 20 points in the score.” So if you are thinking of beef stew for dinner, you might want to skip the red meat and eat a bean-based chili instead — with plenty of veggies!

2. Use high-fiber whole grains instead of their processed counterparts. In place of pasta or white rice, why not try wild rice instead? It’s higher in fiber and lower in carbohydrate — and less acidifying. (Throw in a handful of chopped walnuts or cashews for additional anti-inflammatory benefits.)

3. Skip the soda and drink water with a splash of lemon or lime juice instead. Citrus fruits are especially alkalizing additions — and it’s almost universally true that most of us aren’t well hydrated so drink up!

4. Eat more leafy greens. Commit to adding at least one leafy green vegetable — even just one! — to your plate at one meal each day. You’d be amazed at how easy it is — and you’ll get more out of it if you substitute it for something less beneficial, like pasta or potatoes. Whether cooked or in a fresh salad, the benefits of leafy greens are unmistakable.

5. Experiment with spices. There are a number of spices with bone-supporting properties, and it’s a simple matter to include them to your recipes. I’ve offered some suggestions for using one of them, turmeric, in an earlier post.

I know many people think that making changes to improve health is an arduous uphill climb. It isn’t! If there’s one thing I hope all my readers will share with their family and friends, it’s this: You can make a big difference by making a few small changes.

Have a friend who could use this information? Please share this blog — and save a life!

Reference:
Sotos-Prieto M., Bhupathiraju S.N., Mattei J., et al. Association of changes in diet quality with total and cause-specific mortality. N Engl J Med 2017;377(2):143–153.

Can hidden celiac disease cause osteoporosis?

Hidden celiac disease and osteoporosis: Learning from Judy

Judy had never even heard of celiac disease when she was told she had extremely severe osteoporosis in 2009. She was 57, underweight and suffered from excessive and life-limiting fatigue, but had no digestive symptoms to suggest a hidden problem was lurking to cause her bone loss.

Frightened by the diagnosis, Judy tried two bone drugs for a few months, but felt much worse on one and quickly stopped the other due to tiresome daily injections and scary side effect warnings. Judy decided that bone drugs weren’t for her; she began researching natural approaches, and that’s how she found the Better Bones program. She started my Better Bones Builder supplement, developed an alkaline diet and began walking.

Despite her good efforts, Judy’s fatigue persisted. Finally, during her annual physical in 2011, Judy discovered she had celiac disease — an autoimmune disorder in which exposure to gluten (a protein in wheat, rye and other grains) leads the immune system to damage the intestinal tract, causing malabsorption. Although she had no digestive problems or other symptoms, her blood work showed her to be extremely iron deficient. She wasn’t losing iron through an intestinal bleed, so a thoughtful physician decided to test her for celiac, which often leads to malabsorption of iron and other nutrients. The blood test for celiac was positive, as was a follow-up intestinal biopsy.

All excessive bone loss has a reason

Shortly after her physical, she began her gluten-free diet in combination with iron infusions for her anemia and the life-supporting nutrients in the Better Bones Builder. Within weeks, she began to feel and look better, regaining both energy and weight. Even more important: Over the next 8 years, Judy’s bone mass increased by a remarkable 20% — and this was between the ages of 57 and 65, when most women expect to lose bone.

In short, the key factor to restoring her bones was uncovering that she had celiac disease. Using that information as incentive, she initiated a gluten-free yet alkalizing diet and incorporated our targeted nutrient supplementation and lifestyle suggestions to gain back her health, vitality, and bone. She’s an inspiration and a reminder of something I tell all my clients:  all excessive bone loss has a reason, and at any point in life we can start regaining bone strength!

For more information see my DVD, Uncovering the Hidden Causes of Bone Loss.

A message from Judy

“I would like to thank Dr. Brown for all the research she has done on osteoporosis. Because I found her website my life has changed.

“I began using the Better Bones Builder in 2009 after I was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis. Along with taking the Better Bones Builder I tried to eat better, alkalize and walk at least 3 times a week and doing this I have had significant improvement in my bones.

“Every time I have had a DEXA scan since my first one in 2009 I have experienced improvement in bone density. My gains in bone density and in overall well being were especially dramatic after detection of and treatment for hidden celiac disease in the fall of 2011. In particular, between 2014 and 2016 there was a 13.7% improvement in my hip and a 6.4% gain in my spine.

“I think this is very impressive and I will continue to take the Better Bones Builder and do the other parts of the Better Bones program. Thanks to Dr. Brown, I feel that I am not forced to take bone drugs that harm the body.”

Are you getting enough chromium?

Chromium: A hidden nutrient for bone and energy metabolism

 

Chromium is an old friend of mine! I first used it to help women tame their sweet tooth in my days as a nutritionist. And now, chromium is one of the key essential nutrients I recommend to women for their bone health.  I’m also excited to see that researchers are learning more about how chromium plays a role in the truly amazing way the skeleton helps regulate energy metabolism.

Key benefits of chromium

  • Preserves bone mineral by reducing the loss of calcium in the urine, promoting collagen production, increasing adrenal DHEA levels and improving insulin regulation.
  • Stabilizes blood sugar
  • Reduces craving for sweets
  • Helps the skeleton regulate energy metabolism — the complicated process includes osteocalcin (a hormone secreted by the bone-building osteoblast cells) acting on the pancreas to enhance insulin production and in peripheral tissues to increase glucose utilization, as well as to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce visceral fat (like abdominal fat accumulation).

Are you getting enough chromium?

Unfortunately, probably not.

That’s because not many foods have chromium.  Plus, chromium is a nutrient easily lost in food processing and soil mineral depletion.  But — as you’ll see below in the list of chromium-rich foods — there is some good news.  Red wine can have a fair amount of chromium!

How to get enough chromium (red wine is on the list!)

Most everyone in this country could benefit from chromium supplementation.  While there is no RDA established for chromium, I recommend 200 mcg per day. Here’s a great list of foods with chromium from the National Institutes of Health. As you’ll see, getting a daily dose of 200 mcg from food alone is difficult!

What foods have chromium?

FoodChromium (mcg)
Broccoli, ½ cup11
Grape juice, 1 cup8
English muffin, whole wheat, 14
Potatoes, mashed, 1 cup3
Garlic, dried, 1 teaspoon3
Basil, dried, 1 tablespoon2
Beef cubes, 3 ounces2
Orange juice, 1 cup2
Turkey breast, 3 ounces2
Whole wheat bread, 2 slices2
Red wine, 5 ounces1–13
Apple, unpeeled, 1 medium1
Banana, 1 medium1
Green beans, ½ cup1

Source: National Institutes of Health

Adding to the difficulty of getting enough chromium is that our levels also tend to diminish with age. Stress, a high sugar diet, an infection or vigorous exercise can diminish chromium levels in the blood.

You can help your body absorb chromium by getting enough with vitamin C and the B vitamins through foods and/or supplementation.

To get the most beneficial effects of chromium, I suggest you supplement with a chelated form of chromium such as chromium picolinate or chromium polynicotinate. My Better Bones Builder includes 300 mcg of chromium (as chromium polynicotinate) so you can be sure you’re getting the optimal amount of chromium.

 

References:

Clemens, TL, and G Karsenty. 2011. The osteoblast: An insulin target cell controlling glucose homeostasis. J Bone Miner Res 26(4):677–680.

Evans, GW et al. 1995. Chromium picolinate decreases calcium excretion and increases dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in postmenopausal women. FASEB J 9:A449.

National Institutes of Health. 2013. Chromium. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Chromium-HealthProfessional/

 

 

Benefits of Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2: A Valentine’s message for heart and bones

 

This Valentine’s Day, when you’re thinking about what’s closest to your heart, keep your bones in mind too!

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you already know how important vitamin K is to bone health — but you may not realize its importance in cardiovascular health. It’s a key nutrient in blood coagulation, of course, but that’s far from its only role.

Why your heart and bones love vitamin K

Vitamin K has a special relationship to both heart and bone health through its contribution to the metabolism of calcium. Here’s a closer look why:

  • Vitamin K has the unique capacity to activate proteins that help to keep calcium in the bone and out of the arteries (which prevents arterial calcification), and to regulate inflammation.
  • Its importance is underscored by several studies that show that people who took a form of vitamin K2 called menaquinone (MK-7) had a reduced risk of coronary calcification and heart disease.
  • Even in patients with kidney disease, who are at risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease, small doses of MK-7 and vitamin D helped slow the progression of the disease.

Source: NattoPharma, “Calcium Perfected”, n.d.

Researchers have known there’s a link between osteoporosis and heart disease for a while now. It’s so significant that some researchers think that if patients are diagnosed with heart disease, they should be evaluated for osteoporosis — and vice versa.

Top foods for getting vitamin K

You can eat good quality, lean meats, organic eggs, and hard or soft cheeses knowing they can supply you with some of the vitamin K2 your bones need. But before you rush out to buy kale and leafy greens, you should know that vitamin K2, unlike vitamin K1, is not found in vegetables.

Natto is fermented soybeans and an excellent source of the MK-7 form of vitamin K2. Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and seaweed are also pretty good sources of vitamin K2. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan way of eating, consider supplementing with vitamin K2 to ensure that your heart and bones have this important nutrient.

 

References:
Beulens JW, Bots ML,  et al. High dietary menaquinone intake is associated with reduced coronary calcification. Atherosclerosis. 2009 Apr;203(2):489–493.

Geleijnse JM, Vermeer C,  et al. Dietary intake of menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: The Rotterdam Study. J Nutr. 2004;134(11):3100-3105.

Harshman SG, and Shea MK. The role of vitamin K in chronic aging diseases: Inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis. Curr Nutr Rep. 2016;5(2):90-98.

Kurnatowska I, Grzelak P, et al. Effect of vitamin K2 on progression of atherosclerosis and vascular calcification in nondialyzed patients with chronic kidney disease stages 3-5. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 2015;125(9):631-640.

Shea MK, and Holden RM. Vitamin K status and vascular calcification: Evidence from observational and clinical studies. Adv Nutr. 2012;3(2):158-165. doi: 10.3945/an.111.001644.

4 facts about social networks and your health

Your social networks and your health

Scientists have noticed that we tend to reflect the people we’re closest to — if our friends are optimists, it makes us more cheery, and if they have healthy lifestyle habits, we often improve our own. Large, long-term studies have begun decoding how social networks influence not only our moods but also our total health. Here’s what they found:

  • The more social ties people have at an early age, the better their health at both the beginning and end of their life. Young people with a large social network over their life are less likely to have abdominal obesity, inflammation, and high blood pressure.
  • Fewer social ties can lead to health problems. Social isolation increases risk of inflammation by the same amount as physical inactivity, and social integration protects against abdominal obesity.
  • In middle adulthood what matters most is the amount of social support or strain provided by the social network.  At this mid life stage, quality of the social network was more important than network size.
  • In old age, social isolation is more harmful to health than diabetes with respect to hypertension risk.

Researchers also learned these things about happy people

  • Happy people tend to be located in the center of their local social networks and in large clusters of other happy people.
  • The happiness of an individual is associated with the happiness of people up to three degrees removed in the social network. For example, a friend who lives within a mile and who becomes happy increases the probability that you will be happy by 25%.

Happiness is, researchers suggest, a property of groups of people, and changes in individual happiness can ripple through social networks and generate large-scale change.

The happiness bottom line

We are social creatures, weaving social webs that influence our physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being, similar to the Buddhist analogy of a jeweled net in which each jewel, representing one individual, is linked to all other jewels by a complex woven structure. Your actions, deeds, and thoughts influence the whole.  Be the shining jewel that you are!

 

References:
Fowler, JH, and N. Cristakis. 2008. Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: Longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study.  BMJ 337:a2338.

Yang, CY, et al. 2016. Social relationships and physiological determinants of longevity across the human life span. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113(3):578-583.

 

Vegetables make you happy . . . yes, really!

 

You’ve heard the old saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

But would it surprise you to know that an apple — or a carrot — also discourages the blues and makes you more engaged in life? That’s what research has found — repeatedly! — in recent years.

Research shows fruits and vegetables boost emotional well being

  • A 2016 study that focused on the food diaries of more than 12,000 Australian adults found significant increases in emotional well-being of individuals who increased their intake of plant foods. This occurred within a relatively short (2-year) time span and could not be explained by other life changes.
  • A 2014 study that looked at emotional health in 100 volunteers, half of whom snacked on fruit and the other half on chocolate or chips in mid-afternoon, found that those who ate fruit scored lower on measures of anxiety, depression, and emotional distress than those who ate junk food.
  • And a 2015 study in 405 British young adults found not only improved emotional well-being, but increased creativity and curiosity as well, were reported by the subjects — not only in general, but in particular, on the specific days the study subjects reported eating more fruits and vegetables.

Changes can happen almost immediately

We’re all well aware of the long-term physical health benefits of a diet loaded with plant foods. Now these studies indicate that benefits to our emotional well-being occur in the short term once we start incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our daily food intake. The British study suggests that such changes may happen almost immediately!

Keep this in mind, the next time you reach for a snack like this delicious Green Agua Fresca.

 

Green Agua Fresca

Combine a fruit and vegetable in this snack!

3 cups fresh watermelon

2 cups fresh spinach or other mild green

Mix in blender until smooth. Your drink will be bright green and taste entirely of sweet watermelon.

 

References:

Conner, TS, et al. 2015. On carrots and curiosity: Eating fruit and vegetables is associated with greater flourishing in daily life. Br J Health Psychol 20(2):413-427. doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12113.

Mujcic, R, and AJ Oswald. 2016. Evolution of well-being and happiness after increases in consumption of fruit and vegetables. Am J Public Health 106(8):1504–1510.

Smith, AP, and R Rogers. 2014. Positive effects of a healthy snack (fruit) versus an unhealthy snack (chocolate/crisps) on subjective reports of mental and physical health: A preliminary intervention study. Front Nutr 1:10. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2014.00010.

 

 

Fall superfood for bones: Ginger

 

I’m naming ginger one of my fall superfoods. While I highly recommend hot ginger tea as my choice for a cold weather drink, there are so many other ways ginger can be used to add zing to your recipes while enhancing your overall health – and bone health – on many fronts.

One of the main benefits of ginger is its exceptional antioxidant properties – surpassed only by pomegranate and some berries. Unmet antioxidant needs are a major cause of osteoporosis.

Increase ginger’s antioxidant power

As we move into the winter months, you can significantly boost the antioxidant capacity of ginger by choosing certain warming and comforting cooking methods. Simmering, stewing and making soup all increase ginger’s antioxidant power, while grilling and stir frying decrease it.

Here’s one of my favorite holiday recipes with a healthy amount of ginger.

Gluten-free ginger snap cookies

Ingredients:

2½ cups blanched almond flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
4 to 5 teaspoons fresh ground ginger
½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, cardamom (or to taste)
1 egg
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
2 Tablespoons honey

Directions:

  • Mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Beat together honey and butter, add egg and mix until combined
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until dough comes together (if the dough is not coming together add some cold water – a tablespoon at a time)
  • Refrigerate dough for at least an hour (at this point you can roll the dough into a log, about 1½ to 2 inches in diameter, then instead of rolling the chilled dough into balls in the next step you can simply slice off as many cookies as you need.
  • Roll dough into 1 to 2 tablespoon sized balls and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes

5 extra reasons to add ginger root to your recipes

In addition to its antioxidant properties, extensive scientific research shows the bioactive components of ginger root, particularly gingerol and shogaols, have the following benefits:

  1. Highly anti-inflammatory and can reduce pain, swelling and tissue damage. Unwanted inflammatory cytokines weaken bone and contributes to arthritis.
  2. Enhances digestion, warms the body, “expels cold” and cures nausea. Strong digestion and assimilation is key to optimum bone health.
  3. Aids in detoxification. Toxic build-up of any amount interferes with the functioning of all our cells.  Ginger helps us detoxify through its alkalizing actions and by its contribution to the production of glutathione, our most important inner-cellular antioxidant.
  4. Enhance immunity. Our immune system is our “circulating intelligence” intimately linked to skeletal functioning. Boosting immunity serves bone.
  5. Cardio-protective. This is important news given the now established link between osteoporosis and heart disease.

It’s no wonder ginger has been used for over 5,000 years to improve health!  What’s your favorite way to use ginger?

 

References:

The Amazing And Mighty Ginger, Chapter 7, in Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors.Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011.

Curcumin: Getting Back to the Roots Shishodia, Shishir et al., Annals of the NY Academy of Sciences Nov., 2005:206-217.

Chohan, M. et al., Plant Foods Hum Nutr (2008) 63: 47. doi:10.1007/s11130-007-0068-2