Your Monthly Check-Up: Spice up Your Summer!

Things really start heating up this time of year – the sun, the air, your grill – and Memorial Day this past weekend signals the official kickoff of summer. The calendar might say summer starts June 21, but why wait? Those hotdogs and hamburgers aren’t going to eat themselves!

Speaking of heat, did you know that adding certain spices to your favorite foods can provide important health benefits, like preventing strokes, battling diabetes and staving off cancer? Throwing in a sprinkle or a pinch of turmeric, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne pepper, ginger or cumin can do wonders for your health without much effort – great news for when it’s too hot to put much effort into anything!

We mentioned earlier this month that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and studies show that turmeric can be as effective as Prozac for treating depression. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory, along with ginger, and a cancer fighter, like cinnamon.

Along with cinnamon, coriander and cumin can both help lower cholesterol – coriander also helps battle type 2 diabetes and contains an anti-bacterial compound while cumin contains antimicrobial properties and boosts the immune system with its vitamin C content.

Cumin and cinnamon both also regulate blood sugar and cinnamon amps up brain power and prevents strokes while cumin encourages a good night’s sleep. Cayenne pepper improves circulation and revs metabolism, which can assist in weight loss. Besides being an anti-inflammatory, ginger eases nausea and helps treat arthritis, headaches and some heart conditions.

You get the idea – not only do these spices add flavor and depth to your favorite dishes, they offer an arsenal of health benefits. So spice up your food, fire up the grill and get ready to enjoy the warm summer months while they last!

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Mind Your Health - May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

Each month we try to bring you helpful health-related news with our “Your Monthly Check-up” column. In support of that – and to bring you an extra dose of wellness information – we’re happy to help spread the word about Mental Health Month!

For 65 years, Mental Health America and its affiliates across the country have led the observance of Mental Health Month each May by reaching out to millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. This year’s theme is “Mind Your Health.” Goals of Mental Health America include:

  • building public recognition about the importance of mental health
  • informing people of ways that the mind and body interact with each other
  • providing tips for taking positive action to protect mental health and promote overall wellness

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about one in four Americans age 18 and over suffer from some form of mental disorder in a given year. That shows just how common these disorders are and how imperative it is for all of us to take care of our mental health.

We know what you’re thinking: “This sounds pretty important, but what can I do about it?” Glad you asked. Lime green is not only an amazing color, it’s the color of Mental Health Month. Sporting lime green shows you support the cause and stand up for erasing the stigma surrounding mental illness. You can also learn about how healthy eating, exercise, relaxation and other tools can improve your mental health as well as your overall health.

But most importantly, keep talking about it. Not one single person who suffers from mental illness is alone, even though it may feel that way. Mental disorders are prevalent and no one should have to feel ashamed about their thoughts or feelings. Let’s all do our part to keep this important topic in the “lime light!” 

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