Category Archives: Eating Well

Hydration for Happiness

Hydration for Happiness

You already know that water is an essential nutrient and we must consume it to survive. The human body, which is approximately 60% water, will not function without enough water.

But, did you know that your mood is dependent on your hydration status?

The brain is about 75% water (1). Without consuming enough water, the brain literally shrinks down to a smaller size (1). Clearly, some psychological consequences occur with this shrinkage.  Decreased alertness and reduced cognitive ability are among the most well-known drawbacks of dehydration (2).  More consistently, the research literature reveals negative effects of dehydration on mood (3).

Evidence suggests that a loss of 1-2% of body mass from dehydration can lead to a bad mood.  Anger, frustration, confusion, irritability, and fatigue are negative consequences of not consuming enough water.  These subside immediately upon rehydration (3, 4).

How to Hydrate to be Happy

First, check out your hydration level by using these two strategies: 1) dry mouth test and 2) urine color test.

Dry Mouth Test:  If your mouth is dry, then you are already under-hydrated.  Time to consume some water.

Urine Color Test: Urine should be a pale yellow color, especially if added to a large basin of water (as in a toilet).  Anything darker than a light lemonade color indicates dehydration.

How Much Water Do I Need?

The evidence suggests more than the popular 64 fl. oz. per day recommendation.  In fact, depending on body size and composition, climate, weather, and activity level, water requirements can range from 3-4 liters per day (5).

So, drink to your health and your happiness.

© 2016 NOVEDGO


  1. M J Kempton, U Ettinger, R Foster, S C Williams, G A Calvert, A Hampshire, F O Zelaya, R L O’Gorman, T McMorris, A M Owen, M S Smith. Dehydration affects brain structure and function in healthy adolescents. Hum Brain Mapp. 2011 Jan;32(1):71-9.
  2. M Sécher, P Ritz. Hydration and cognitive performance. J Nutr Health Aging. 2012 Apr;16(4):325-9.
  3. D Benton, HA Young. Do small differences in hydration status affect mood and mental performance? Nutrition Reviews. 2015; 73(52):83-96.
  4. N Pross, A Demazières, N Girard, R Barnouin, F Santoro, E Chevillotte, A Klein, L Le Bellego. Influence of progressive fluid restriction on mood and physiological markers of dehydration in women. Br J Nutr. 2013 Jan 28;109(2):313-21.
  5. Schnirring L. Dietary guidelines for water and electrolytes. What role for thirst? Phys Sportsmed 2004;32:12-41.

The Sweetness of Cinnamon

The SweetnessofCinnamon-1

Cinnamon is among the most common spices used in the Western diet.  But, that is not saying much since spices are rarely included in daily consumption patterns in the U.S. (1).  Cinnamon is derived from the bark of the Cinnamomum genus of trees.  It is commonly used as a spice or flavoring agent, but it poses a variety of beneficial health effects.

Oral Health – Cinnamon has been shown to improve bad breath (2).  Perhaps this is the reason that cinnamon gum is so popular.  The antimicrobial effects of cinnamon kill the bacteria that causes bad breath.  It also kills the bacteria and other pathogens that are associated with dental cavities and gingivitis (3, 4).

Anti-inflammatory Agent – Chronic and excessive inflammation in the body are associated with the pathophysiology of many chronic diseases including heart disease and diabetes.  Cinnamon and its components have been found to be potent anti-inflammatory agents (5, 6, & 7).  Although there is not enough research to recommend cinnamon to treat inflammation, there is plenty of evidence to support adding it to the diet for preventative reasons.

Anti-cancer Agent – Researchers are evaluating the use of cinnamon extracts in the suppression of tumor growth and cancer cell death.  These extracts can inhibit cancer cell growth and development (8, 9, & 10).  One study even found that cassia cinnamon (the most common type found in the market) promoted death of human cervical cancer cells (11).  Of course, all of these studies have been completed in test tubes.  Animal and human research will provide more insight.

Antioxidant – All types of cinnamon have been found to be potent antioxidants (12, 13, 14, 15, & 16).  Antioxidants work by sacrificing themselves to oxidative damage so that other molecules will remain unharmed.  Excess oxidation often leads to inflammation and damage.  The consumption of antioxidants is necessary to ensure the body can maintain oxidative balance.

Anti-diabetic Agent? – There is evidence that cinnamon consumption lowers blood glucose in individuals with (17, 18) and without (19) type 2 diabetes. However, this is the cassia type cinnamon. Here comes the controversy…Cassia cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin (20).  This compound can be toxic to the liver and promotes cancer (20).  Too much coumarin is not desirable and, for a child, could be obtained from a single teaspoon of cassia cinnamon.  The other common type of cinnamon, Ceylon, does not contain coumarin BUT it also does not lower blood glucose (21).  So, use Ceylon cinnamon for all the other benefits, not this one.

Summary – The recommendation to the public: EAT CEYLON CINNAMON.  Make sure that you purchase and enjoy Ceylon cinnamon, not cassia.  If the label does not specify, assume that it is cassia.

There are many ways to get Ceylon cinnamon in your regular diet.  Mix it in your breakfast, in a shake, on your fruit, or in your tea.  See my “Cinnamon Squash and Sweet Potato Medley” recipe for a healthy way to get more cinnamon in your mouth.

© 2016 NOVEDGO


  1. What We Eat In America. (accessed 04/26/2016)
  2. Jakhetia V, Patel R, Khatri P, et al. Cinnamon: a pharmacological review. Journal of Advanced Scientific Research. 2010;1(2):19–12.
  3. Aneja K, Joshi R, Sharma C. Antimicrobial activity of dalchini (Cinnamomum zeylanicum bark) extracts on some dental caries pathogens. Journal of Pharmacy Research. 2009;2(9):1387–1390.
  4. Gupta C, Kumari A, Garg AP, Catanzaro R, Marotta F. Comparative study of cinnamon oil and clove oil on some oral microbiota. Acta Bio-Medica: Atenei Parmensis. 2011;82(3, article 197).
  5. Chao LK, Hua K-F, Hsu H-Y, Cheng S-S, Liu J-Y, Chang S-T. Study on the Antiinflammatory activity of essential oil from leaves of Cinnamomum osmophloeum. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2005;53(18):7274–7278.
  6. Tung Y-T, Chua M-T, Wang S-Y, Chang S-T. Anti-inflammation activities of essential oil and its constituents from indigenous cinnamon (Cinnamomum osmophloeum) twigs. Bioresource Technology. 2008;99(9):3908–3913.
  7. Tung Y-T, Yen P-L, Lin C-Y, Chang S-T. Anti-inflammatory activities of essential oils and their constituents from different provenances of indigenous cinnamon (Cinnamomum osmophloeum) leaves. Pharmaceutical Biology. 2010;48(10):1130–1136.
  8. Lu J, Zhang K, Nam S, Anderson RA, Jove R, Wen W. Novel angiogenesis inhibitory activity in cinnamon extract blocks VEGFR2 kinase and downstream signaling. Carcinogenesis. 2010;31(3):481–488.
  9. Kwon H-K, Jeon WK, Hwang J-S, et al. Cinnamon extract suppresses tumor progression by modulating angiogenesis and the effector function of CD8+ T cells. Cancer Letters. 2009;278(2):174–182.
  10. Kwon H-K, Hwang J-S, So J-S, et al. Cinnamon extract induces tumor cell death through inhibition of NFκB and AP1. BMC Cancer. 2010;10(1, article 392)
  11. Koppikar SJ, Choudhari AS, Suryavanshi SA, Kumari S, Chattopadhyay S, Kaul-Ghanekar R. Aqueous Cinnamon Extract (ACE-c) from the bark of Cinnamomum cassia causes apoptosis in human cervical cancer cell line (SiHa) through loss of mitochondrial membrane potential. BMC Cancer. 2010;10(1, article 210)
  12. Mancini-Filho J, van-Koiij A, Mancini DAP, Cozzolino FF, Torres RP. Antioxidant activity of cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, breyne) extracts. Bollettino Chimico Farmaceutico. 1998;137(11):443–447.
  13. Shobana S, Akhilender Naidu K. Antioxidant activity of selected Indian spices. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids. 2000;62(2):107–110.
  14. Mathew S, Abraham TE. Studies on the antioxidant activities of cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) bark extracts, through various in vitro models. Food Chemistry. 2006;94(4):520–528.
  15. Mathew S, Abraham TE. In vitro antioxidant activity and scavenging effects of Cinnamomum verum leaf extract assayed by different methodologies. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2006;44(2):198–206.
  16. Kim N, Sung H, Kim W. Effect of solvents and some extraction conditions on antioxidant activity in cinnamon extracts. Korean Journal of Food Science and Technology. 1993;25(3):204–209.
  17. Khan A, Khattak KN, Safdar M, Anderson R, Khan MM. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003;26:3215-3218.
  18. Sharma P, Sharma S, Agrawal RP, Agrawal V, Singhai S. A randomized double blind placebo control trial of cinnamon supplementation on glycemic control and lipid profile in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine. 2012; 24(1):4-9.
  19. Magistrelli, Chezem JC. Effect of ground cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose concentration in normal-weight and obese adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012;112:1806-1809.
  20. Abraham K, Wohrlin F, Lindtner O, Heinemeyer G, Lampen A. Toxicology and risk assessment of coumarin: focus on human data. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2010;54(2):228-239.
  21. Davis PA, Yokoyama W. Cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2011; 14(9): 884-889.

The Easiest Step You Can Take To Improve Your Diet

The Easiest Step You Can Take To Improve Your Diet

How can you improve your diet almost instantaneously?  Easy, add turmeric.

This ancient Asian spice is filled with polyphenols that benefit your health.  Population and scientific studies have revealed that this spice has beneficial effects on multiple pathways in the body.  It provides the tools needed to counteract excess oxidative stress, inflammation, and cell overgrowth.

In a nutshell, turmeric exerts very potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effects.

Curcumin is the polyphenol that lends turmeric its yellow color.  Not to be confused with cumin which has a more pungent flavor, curcumin has been highly studied as a hypoglycemic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer agent (1).

With over 7000 studies completed on turmeric and its famous component, curcumin, it is a wonder that this safe and promising spice is not recommended by dietitians left and right. This spice is so well studied that a resource database was created to organize all the research (2) (

Test-tube, cellular, and animal studies have revealed that curcumin promotes cancer cell death without harming healthy cells (3).  Maybe this is one of the reasons that there are much lower rates of cancer in the populations around the world that incorporate this spice into their diet regularly (4).

Turmeric and curcumin have both been observed to reduce inflammation. Turmeric has been effective in the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (5); arthritis (6, 7); ulcerative colitis (8) and lupus (9).

Turmeric is not totally dependent on curcumin for its health effects.  In fact, studies reveal that curcumin-free turmeric has the same potent effects on negative stressors in the body (10).  So, this reveals that there are many components in turmeric that work in unison to provide benefits.  These benefits occur with relatively small doses of turmeric (1/8 to 1/2 tsp per day).

Completely safe for the general public, this is a spice to start consuming today!

How can you consume turmeric every day?  The ways to add it to your diet are almost endless. Refer to the Hot Turmeric Toddy recipe in my blog and stay tuned for more recipes that incorporate turmeric into healthy meals and snacks.

© 2016 NOVEDGO

Other resources:  –;;; and more

Nagpal, M., & Sood, S. (2013). Role of curcumin in systemic and oral health: An overview. Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine, 4(1), 3–7.

Bharat B. Aggarwal, Kuzhuvelil B. Harikumar, Potential therapeutic effects of curcumin, the anti-inflammatory agent, against neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases, The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, Volume 41, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 40-59, ISSN 1357-2725,



  1. Prasad S, Gupta S, Tyagi A, and Aggarwal B. (2014). Curcumin, a component of golden spice: From bedside to bench and back. Biotechnology Advances. 32: 1063-1064.
  2. Kumar A, Chetia H, Sharma S, Kabiraj D, Talukdar N, and Bora U. (2015). Curcumin Resource Database. 2015: 1-6.
  3. Park W, Amin A, Chen Z, and Shin D. (2013). New perspectives of curcumin in cancer prevention. Cancer Prev Res. 6(5): 387-400.
  4. Salem M, Rohani S, and Gillies E. (2014). Curcumin, a promising anti-cancer therapeutic: a review of its chemical properties, bioactivity and approaches to cancer cell delivery. RSC Advances. 4: 10815-10829.
  5. Vecchi Brumatti L, Marcuzzi A, Tricarico PM, Zanin V, Girardelli M, and Bianco AM. (2014). Curcumin and inflammatory bowel disease: potential and limits of innovative treatments. 19(12): 21127-21153.
  6. Chandran B, and Goel A. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 26(11): 1719-1725.
  7. Kuptniratsaikul V, Dajpratham P, Taechaarpornkul W, Buntragulpoontawee M, Lukkanapichonchut P, Chootip C, Saengsuwan J, Tantayakom K, and Laongpech S. (2014). Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter study. Clin Interv Aging. 9: 451-458.
  8. Lang A, Salomon N, Wu JC, Kopylov U, Lahat A, Har-Noy O, Ching JY, Cheong PK, Avidan B, Gamus D, Kaimakliotis J, Eliakim R, Ng SC, and Ben-Horin S. (2015). Curcumin in combination with mesalamine induces remission in patients with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis in a randomized controlled trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 13(8): 1444-1449.
  9. Khajehdehi P, Zhanjaninejad B, Aflaki E, Nazarinia M, Azad F, Malekmakan L, and Dehghanzadeh GR. (2012). Oral supplementation of turmeric decreases proteinuria, hematuria, and systolic blood pressure in patients suffering from relapsing or refractory lupus nephritis: a randomized and placebo-controlled study. J Ren Nutr. 22(1):50-57.
  10. Gupta S, Bokyung S, Kim J, Prasad S, Li S, and Aggarwal B. (2013). Multitargeting by turmeric, the golden spice: From kitchen to clinic. Mol Nutr Food Res. 67: 1510-1528.