**This site is NO LONGER ACTIVE. Please visit www.SpicesForLifeMD.com**   Leave a comment


Posted March 24, 2013 by lipiroy in Uncategorized

**Please go to updated website/blog**   Leave a comment

==> www.SpicesForLifeMD.com –> better layout, new recipes and many more spices and blog entries…check it out and spread the word about healthy eating!!

Posted November 3, 2012 by lipiroy in Uncategorized

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)   Leave a comment

Heart during contraction (systole) and relaxation (diastole)

High blood pressure (HBP), or hypertension, is one of the most common diseases afflicting people worldwide,  affecting 50 million people in the U.S. alone. It is also a very important challenge to public health as it is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. HBP is the most important modifiable risk factor for coronary heart disease (which is the #1 cause of death in the West), stroke (the 3rdleading cause of death), peripheral vascular disease, congestive heart failure and kidney failure. HBP is also often misunderstood, mistakenly associated with people who are nervous or tense. But this is untrue – calm and relaxed individuals can also have HBP. It is sometimes known as the ‘silent killer’ because people with hypertension do not have symptoms, except in extreme cases known as hypertensive emergencies (BP >180/110; symptoms can include chest pain, severe headache and vision changes).

What is hypertension?It is essentially the measure of force applied to the blood vessel, or artery, walls.

Blood pressure is a measure of the force exerted on artery walls.

When the blood pressure, or force exerted on the vessel walls becomes high, then over time the vessel walls become overstretched and injured. This can create weak areas that can eventually rupture and cause strokes and aneurysms. Overstretching can also cause tiny tears in artery walls that form scar tissue and which can become nets, catching debris like cholesterol or blood cells. These trapped blood cells can form clots that can block arteries, or break off, travel through the circulatory system, and block arteries that supply other organs, such as the heart and brain, resulting in a heart attack and stroke, respectively. Many other parts of the body, such as the eyes (blindness), kidneys (renal failure) and legs (peripheral vascular disease), can be damaged by uncontrolled or poorly-controlled HBP.

What is normal vs. high blood pressure? According to the American Heart Association and other medical professional groups, normal BP is a systolic (top) number less than 120 and a diastolic (bottom) number less than 80. The systolic number is a measure of the pressure within the blood vessel when the heart muscle contracts; the diastolic number is a measure of the pressure within the artery when the heart muscle relaxes (and the heart refills with blood). Stage 1 HBP is systolic 140-159 or diastolic 90-99; Stage 2is

Kidney damaged by high blood pressure

systolic 160 or above, or diastolic 100 or above. Systolic >180 or diastolic >110 is considered a Hypertensive Crisis requiring emergent care.

Risk factors for HBP. These include family history of HBP, diabetes, age, ethnicity/race, male gender (until 45; after 64, more women have HBP than men), obesity/overweight, smoking, excess alcohol (i.e. more than 2 drinks/day for men or more than 1 drink/day for women), lack of physical activity, high cholesterol and high-salt diet.

How Can I Prevent and Treat HBP? There are eight ways to do this: eating a heart-healthy diet including less salt; avoiding tobacco use; limiting alcohol; exercising regularly; keeping a healthy weight; taking medications as prescribed; and reducing stress.  

  • What is a Heart-Healthy Diet? It is a food plan that includes plenty of high-fiber whole grains, fat-free & low-fat (1%) dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, beans, skin-free chicken & turkey, fish (particularly fatty fish containing omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, trout and herring) and lean meats. Reduce sugar, saturated and trans fats, as well as salt (sodium). Spices described in this blog such as coriander, cumin, paprika or a host of others such as garlic, ginger and oregano are healthier alternatives to salt!

American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_002020_SubHomePage.jsp
American Society of Hypertension http://www.ash-us.org/
Children’s Specialists of San Diego, Division of Nephrology http://www.cssd.us/body.cfm?id=755
Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/DS00100
Chobanian AV et al. Hypertension. Dec 2003;42(6):1206-52.
Kardiol.com http://kardiol.com/
Medscape http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/241381-overview
PubMed Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001502/

Posted August 2, 2011 by lipiroy in Health Topics

Cabbage and Shrimp with Paprika   Leave a comment

½ head of medium-size cabbage, or 1 whole small cabbage
1 chopped onion
1 bay leaf
¼ tspn whole cumin seeds (not black cumin)
8-10 shrimp
1 small potato, chopped into small pieces
½ cup frozen peas
~1 tspn salt
¼ tspn turmeric
1 tspn ground coriander
½ tspn sugar
1-2 tbsp canola or corn oil
1 tspn ground cumin
½ tspn paprika
1-2 green chili peppers, slit along length (OPTIONAL)

  1. Wash cabbage and shred. Drain. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large pot. Add bay leaf, whole cumin and onion. Fry until onion is golden-brown.
  3. Add cabbage, salt, turmeric, coriander, cumin, paprika, chili (optional). Stir, then cover and cook and medium heat until cabbage halfway done.
  4. Add potato to cabbage. Cover. Cook until potato near done (~5-10 minutes)
  5. Add peas. Cover, cook at medium heat.
  6. Meanwhile, stir fry shrimp in pan with oil, salt, turmeric for a few minutes until no longer raw (~1-2 minutes). Add to cabbage. Stir.
  7. Add sugar. Stir well.
  8. Simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes.
  9. ENJOY!! 🙂

Posted July 30, 2011 by lipiroy in Recipes

Paprika’s Health Benefits   Leave a comment

Paprika is a carotenoid that is often used to add color and flavor to food. Carotenoids are red, orange and yellow  pigments synthesized by plants. Several forms of carotenoids exist, but the most common ones in Western diets are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene. Carotenoid pigments can be found in many fruits and vegetables including spinach, tomato, squash, pumpkin, broccoli, corn, kale, watermelon and grapefruit.

Paprika is derived from Capsicum annuum, which includes bell peppers and chili peppers. This popular and fragrant spice has been used for centuries, though its exact origins are not entirely clear. Some reports link paprika to a Hindu figure named Rysh Paprike, however, modern-day historians associate the spice with the Serbian word, “paprena”, which means “fiery”.  Most of the world’s best paprika is produced in Hungary where it is commonly used in many dishes such as goulash and chicken papirkash. Many Portugese, Spanish and Turkish recipes use paprika in casseroles, soups and stews. Various Indian dishes such as tandoori chicken and several vegetable dishes use paprika for food coloring as well as a garnish.

Dried red bell pepper as source of sweet paprika

Studies have shown that diets that are rich in natural carotenoids (as opposed to supplements) can decrease mortality from several chronic illnesses. They are also involved in the disruption of cancer pathways and inflammation. Carotenoid pigments act as antioxidants which promote immune function, quench free radicals and protect against oxidative damage to cells. Individuals with high concentrations of carotenoids in their blood have a decreased risk of cancer and heart disease.

Craig W. Amer J Clin Nutr, 70(3):491S-499S, 1999. http://www.ajcn.org/content/70/3/491S.full.pdf+html
Kohlmeier L and Hastings SB. Am J Clin Nutr, 1995;62(suppl):1370S–6S. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7495233
Macho A. et al. Eur J Nutr. 2003 Jan;42(1):2-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12594536
Micronutrient Research for Optimum Health, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/carotenoids/
Morris DL, Kritchevsky SB and Davis CE. JAMA 1994;272:1439–41. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7933426
Paprika on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paprika
van Poppel G and Goldblohm RA. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;62(suppl): 393S–402S. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7495237
Photograph of red bell pepper courtesyof  Wikia Recipes http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Paprika

Posted July 30, 2011 by lipiroy in Spices

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Friends! My apologies for not adding a new post in a very long time! Over the last several months, my time was consumed by job applications, interviews, flights across the country, state medical license applications, credentialing and of course my ‘day job’, being a full-time internal medicine resident at Duke! (each of these activities is a full-time job unto itself…sigh…).

But alas, I am quite happy to announce that I have accepted a position in Boston where I will be caring for the homeless, as well as teaching medical students and residents from MGH and other Boston-area hospitals. I think it will be a wonderful opportunity to provide care for those who need it.  

Now that the job search is over, I have had time to cook a good deal, and have had a few dinner parties…and the dishes have passed the taste-test of my culinary friends. Now I am excited to share my recipes and spices with all of you! Enjoy 🙂

I will also be adding a new category called Health Topics which will discuss various illnesses that can benefit from healthier diets, including the recipes and spices included in my blog. Read, learn and be empowered to live healthier lives!

Posted July 9, 2011 by lipiroy in Uncategorized

Stir-Fried Okra with Coriander   2 comments

  • ~1 lb of okra, washed
  • 1-2 tspn lemon juice
  • 1 onion, cut in long strips
  • 1-2 tbsp corn/canola/safflower oil

Spice Marinade:

  • 1 tspn salt
  • ½ tspn turmeric
  • ½ tspn coriander
  • ½ tspn cumin

1.      Mix spices and salt in small bowl. Set aside.
2.      Cut off tops of okra, then make vertical slit along the length of each piece of okra.
3.      Fill okra with ~ ¼ teaspoon of spice mix. Set aside.
4.      Place oil in frying pan, medium heat.
5.      Slowly add okra. Lightly stir-fry. Cover.
6.      Cook until halfway done, ~10 minutes.
7.      Add onions to okra. Stir. Cover and cook until onions caramelized (golden-brown).
8.      Sprinkle lemon juice. Add additional salt for taste preference.
9.      Serve with rice or roti.
10.    ENJOY!! 🙂

© Copyright 2011 by Lipi Roy, MD,MPH. All rights reserved.

Posted February 6, 2011 by lipiroy in Recipes