Aubergines Are The Next Big Superfood

Aubergines are one of our favorite vegetables in the nightshade family.  Aubergine is a fruit used as a vegetable when cooked.  Eggplant (Solanum melongena) or aubergine is a species of nightshade grown for its edible fruit. Eggplant is the common name in North American and Australian English but British English uses aubergine.  It is known in South Asia, Southeast Asia and South Africa as brinjal.  I love aubergines cooked in any way, in particular roasted, stuffed with fish meat and other meat, stewed, braised and even steamed and seasoned with soy sauce and fried garlic.

I read a very interesting article from The Telegraph UK today on aubergines.   It says that the superfood avocado has now been replaced by the unsung hero: the humble aubergine.

Indeed, aubergines are so in vogue right now, vegans are using them to make (pardon the ghastly portmanteau) “fakon”, or fake bacon.  See various health freaks on Instagram for artfully-filtered photographic evidence.  Some popular cafes that I go to use tastefully grilled aubergines as meat replacement for their gourmet vegan burgers.

 

Grilled Eggplant Recipe

But how healthy are they? Purple fruit and veg in general are beneficial- think beetroot, blueberries, plums, red cabbage – because the anthocyanin which provides their colour is a powerful antioxidant. Aubergine skin is also high in phytonutrients and chlorogenic acid. As neuroscientist Dr James Joseph famously said: “If I could eat only one colour per day, it would be purple.”

Aubergines also form part of a Mediterranean diet, which recent research suggests could be better for the heart than taking statins. Redolent of sultry summer holidays, they can be stirred in ratatouille, mashed in baba ghanoush, layered in moussaka or baked in Tony Soprano’s favourite: parmigiana di melanzane, aka “parmi”.

 

Nutritional highlights

Aubergines are an excellent source of dietary fibre. They are also a good source of vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. In addition it is high in the minerals copper, magnesium and manganese.

 

Aubergine growing

 

Aubergines are rich in antioxidants, specifically nasunin found in aubergine skin – which gives it its purple colour. A potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids and are responsible for protecting the cell and helping it to function. The lipid layer is crucial for letting nutrients in, wastes out and receiving instructions from messenger molecules that tell the cell what to do.

Aubergines are high in fibre and low in fat and therefore recommended for those managing type 2 diabetes or managing weight concerns. Initial studies indicate that phenolic-enriched extracts of eggplant may help in controlling glucose absorption, beneficial for managing type 2 diabetes and reducing associated high blood pressure (hypertension).

Aubergines may also help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. These positive effects are likely to be down to nasunin and other phytochemicals in aubergines.

Safety

Aubergines are a member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae), which includes bell peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. Research suggests a link between aggravated arthritic symptoms and the consumption of these types of foods. Although no case-controlled studies confirm these findings, some individuals consuming nightshade-family vegetables experience an aggravation of arthritic symptoms and may benefit from limiting or avoiding these foods.

Aubergines contain significant amounts of oxalate. Individuals with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid overconsuming them.

 

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Holistic Dentistry Tips for a Healthier Mouth and Body

The word “holistic” covers so many health elements nowadays that it’s hard to know what to trust. Too many health “gurus” use the term to encourage general fear mongering, conspiracy theories, misused or abused applications, or simply pad their own wallets by draining yours. There are, however, some truly beneficial holistic practices. You may have even had experience with some through chiropractors, osteopaths, and acupuncturists. Holistic dentistry also fits into the latter grouping as a total body health treatment through dental care. Like any successful medical treatment, holistic dentistry begins with the patient. So how can you help ensure a healthier mind and body in and out of the dentist’s chair?

 

Avoid Fluoride

Traditional dentistry branches encourage fluoride usage in America for its cleaning and enamel strengthening abilities. However, holistic research has proven a link between fluoride ingestion and cellular diseases such as cancer. Some holistic dentists approve the use of topical fluoride, however, it’s essential not to offer the drops or oral rinses to children. Also, be sure to choose a toothpaste free of fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate (yes, the same stuff that creates lather in shampoo and body wash). A simple phone call to your Fort Lauderdale holistic dentist can answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding that topic.

 

Become More Alkaline

Countless medical maladies are driven by an excess of acid in the body. Fortunately, there are easy ways to balance our pH levels. It’s important to note, however, that over alkalizing the body can lead to problems as well. So focus on alkaline rich foods such as beans, greens, and fruit to limit the dietary acid. Also try to limit soda, coffee, sugar, and processed foods. Not only are they notoriously unhealthy, the acid also immediately breaks down enamel and feeds oral bacteria before starting on the rest of the body.

 

Become a Selective Shopper

Flossing is important, but those commercial brands are loaded with dangerous chemicals. Irrigators are more expensive up front, but the jet of water is just as effective without providing the negative factors of the waxy floss. You don’t have to settle for the alcohol or chemical-laden mouthwashes anymore. Simply rinse with a mixture of Himalayan or sea salt water and a couple drops of mint or clove oil. The results last longer tongue and the salt water mix reduces inflammation in the mouth. Invest in a good tongue cleaner. The U-shaped wire easily scrapes plaque-like residue off of the tongue for a deeper clean. A white coating on the tongue signals a build up of internal yeast, which can be easily controlled with natural probiotics.

 

Prepare for Your Appointments

Sleep and exercise to fight off body inflammation. Prepare a list of questions or concerns early for your dentist. Select music and a trustworthy companion for appointments that involve Fort Lauderdale sedation dentistry – such as removal of mercury fillings. And always arrive on time for your bi-annual appointments. In need of a positive lifestyle change? Switching to a holistic dentist is a piece of cake and just might add life to your years. Contact Dr. Yolanda Cintron at Fort Lauderdale’s International Center for Dental Excellence to schedule your evaluation today.

 

 

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8 Great Apps That Can Help People Beat Addiction

If you or a loved one is battling addiction or substance abuse, you know how difficult the recovery process can be. Attempting to detoxify without professional help can lead to unwanted side effects, and trying to recover without a support system can sometimes seem impossible. If you’re serious about seeking help, consider enrolling in a detox center. Check out https://coastaldetox.com/ for more information.

While detox centers can be a crucial step towards sobriety, technology is also a great way to get started on the recovery process. Technology & addiction are increasingly linked, and there are a number of apps on the market aimed at helping people with addiction turn their lives around. Here are a few great choices.

Sober Grid
Sober Grid gives people struggling with addiction a community of support. People can use the app to reach out to the sober community, and the app gives users the safe environment they need to continue on their journey towards sobriety. No matter the time of the day or the location, people who are struggling can connect with other users instantly.

The app has two key features: Geosocial Networking and Sober Newsfeed. The Geosocial Networking feature lets users connect with sober people nearby, allowing them to make connections wherever they go. The Sober Newsfeed is a place where users can express the daily challenges of living a sober life, and receive the peer support they need to stay on the wagon.

Ascent
For people in need of peer-recovery coaching, Ascent can be an extremely useful app. When users sign up for the app, they are given a customized sobriety plan and access to an experienced peer-recovery coach. This helps users stay on the path of recovery, and gives them access to the tools they need to avoid a relapse.

The app also has a number of other great features, including a community messaging system, a recovery tracker, and an assortment of recovery videos. People can also use the app to find nearby meetings.

SoberTool
If you or a loved one is worried about relapsing, SoberTool offers excellent relapse prevention tools. There are specific thoughts and feelings that lead to a relapse. This app helps users identify potential relapse triggers, and gives them the support they need to break out of these detrimental mental habits. This is known as “sober thinking.”

SoberTool also helps users track the length of their sobriety, provides them with daily inspiration tailored to their current emotional state, and assesses the money they’ve saved by resisting their addiction.

12 Steps AA Companion
People who have found the teaching of Alcoholics Anonymous helpful will want to try this app. It acts as a compendium of many of the key AA teachings, including a Big Book reader and Big Book promises. It also gives users access to a meeting directory, a sobriety calculator, and a contacts list. In keeping with the philosophy of AA, all users can remain anonymous if they choose to.

CassavaSM
If you’re looking to find a support group or meeting, this app has a large database of current meetings. With over 150,000 available meetings, users from all over are sure to find one that meets their individual needs. The app also gives users the ability to track their progress. It gives each user a Sobriety Score, which is based on the number of recovery activities they participate in.

AA Speakers to Go
For some people, soothing and inspirational audio tracks are an effective way to stave off relapses. This handy app compiles over 500 hours of AA tapings, featuring a number of famous speeches. This app can provide people struggling with addiction a must needed jolt of encouragement during dark times.

Friend of Bill
For the most specific sobriety calculator on the market, try Friend of Bill. It keeps track of sobriety to the minute. It also features a number of inspirational slogans and messages. Knowing how far you’ve come can be a great way to stay on the right path. Friend of Bill gives users a daily push in the right direction.

One Day At A Time
This app gives users access to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The book is searchable, which can come in handy during AA meetings. The app also has Daily Meditations and contact information.

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Onions Health Benefits

Onions are a staple in our kitchen. The kids and I LOVE onions of all types. We add onions to almost all our dishes. Onions are inexpensive and I use them generously in my dishes.  For fried rice and noodles, I sometimes skip the meat and flavor the dish with loads and loads of onions, garlic, scallions, eggs and vegetables. The pungent aroma of the onions and garlic give an appetizing lift to the fried rice and fried noodles.

Onions are part of the allium family of vegetables and herbs, which also includes chives, garlic, scallions and leeks.

Allium vegetables have been cultivated for centuries for not only their characteristic, pungent flavors but also for their medicinal properties.

Onions can vary in size, shape, color and flavor. The most common types are red, yellow and white onion. Flavors can vary from sweet and juicy with a mild flavor to sharp, spicy, and pungent, often depending on the season in which they are grown and consumed. It is estimated that 105 billion pounds of onions are harvested each year worldwide.

 

Cry me a river…

Onions are nothing to cry over — these flavorful bulbs are packed with nutrients, though I will shed loads of tears when I peel onions.  To reduce the production of this compound, chill the onions for half an hour or so before cutting to reduce the activity of the enzyme.

The onion’s revenge…

The smell of onions can be a problem, both on the hands and on the breath. After chopping onions, try rinsing the hands with cold water, rubbing them with salt, rinsing again and then washing with soap and warm water. To remove the smell from breath, eat a few sprigs of parsley or an apple to help conceal the odour.
Health Benefits

The possible health benefits of consuming onions include lowering the risk of several types of cancer, improving mood and maintaining the health of skin and hair.

Cancer: Allium vegetables have been studied extensively in relation to cancer, especially stomach and colorectal cancers. Their beneficial and preventative effects are likely due in part to their rich organosulfur compounds. Although the exact mechanism by which these compounds inhibit cancer is unknown, possible hypothesis include the inhibition of tumor growth and mutagenesis and prevention of free radical formation.

Onions are also a source of the strong antioxidant vitamin C that helps to combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer.

Colon cancer: High fiber intakes from all fruits and vegetables are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.

Prostate cancer: In a study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers used a population-based, case-controlled study to investigate the relationship between allium vegetable intake and prostate cancer. They found that men with the highest intake of allium vegetables had the lowest risk for prostate cancer.

Esophageal and stomach cancer: Frequent intake of allium vegetables has been inversely related with the risk of esophageal and stomach cancer.  Several survey-based human studies have demonstrated the potential protective effects of consuming alliums, as well as reports of tumor inhibition following administration of allium compounds in experimental animals.

Sleep and mood: Folate, found in onions, may help with depression by preventing an excess of homocysteine from forming in the body, which can prevent blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain. Excess homocysteine interferes with the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate not only mood, but also sleep and appetite as well.4

Skin and hair: Adequate intake of vitamin C is needed for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.

Grilled Red Onions

 

Health risks

While not especially serious, eating onions can cause problems for some people. The carbohydrates in onions may cause gas and bloating, according to National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Onions, especially if consumed raw, can worsen heartburn in people who suffer from chronic heartburn or gastric reflux disease, according to one 1990 study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Eating a large amount of green onions or rapidly increasing your consumption of green onions may interfere with blood thinning drugs, according to the University of Georgia. Green onions contain a high amount of vitamin K, which can decrease blood thinner functioning.

It is also possible to have a food intolerance or an allergy to onions, but cases are rare, according to an article in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. People with onion allergies may experience red, itchy eyes and rashes if an onion comes into contact with the skin. People with an intolerance to onions may experience nausea, vomiting and other gastric discomfort.

 

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Sweet Corn Health Benefits

My lunch today consists of an ear of bi-colored sweet corn that I had just bought from the supermarket. The bi-colored sweet corns are the premium selection of sweet corns produced from a local farm.  The sweet corns were so fresh and sweet that I ate half an ear raw and the other half briefly steamed.

 

 

My kids and I love sweet corns.   Lately, I have been doing quite a bit of research from the internet on sweet corns. I am sure you’ve heard that sweet corns are bad for you. But are sweet corns really that bad or just a myth?  Many people have convinced themselves that sweet corn is bad. That’s a shame. It’s easy to take a few real nuggets of fact and use them to come to a distorted conclusion about this super-delicious and sweet veggie.

Here are some of the biggest myths about corn which I had read from Barry Estabrook’s feature in July / August 2012 issue of EatingWell.  Barry is an award-winning journalist whose work has been featured in publications including the “New York Times Magazine”, “Reader’s Digest” and the “Washington Post”.

Myth #1: Most sweet corn is genetically modified.
Truth: A lot of people mix up “sweet corn,” the vegetable you buy to eat, and “field corn”—the virtually inedible commodity crop used to make everything from livestock feed to ethanol to high-fructose corn syrup. While most field corn is genetically modified, most sweet corn is not. Last year only 3 to 4% of the sweet corn grown in the U.S. was GMO. Food-giant Monsanto hopes to change all that this summer, however. For the first time, farmers are planting Monsanto’s newly approved, genetically modified Performance sweet-corn seeds. A representative from the company wouldn’t divulge how much will be planted this year. One way to try to tell whether the sweet corn you’re holding is GMO is to ask the farmers you buy from if they plant GMO corn. (Syngenta’s Attribute and Monsanto’s Performance are the two varieties sold in North America.) Another way: choose USDA organic corn. GMO crops are forbidden under organic standards.

Myth #2: Corn is fattening and sugary.
Truth: An ear of corn has about the same number of calories as an apple and less than one-fourth the sugar. In other words, it can be one of the healthier foods at the cookout! Just remember: while sweet corn is healthy, some of the toppings people like to put on it aren’t. So don’t assume an ear of corn slathered in butter and doused in salt is still a healthy option.

Myth #3: Cooking corn makes it less nutritious.
Truth: Antioxidant activity, which helps protect the body from cancer and heart disease, is actually increased when corn is cooked.

Myth #4: Corn has no healthy benefits.
Truth: Sweet corn is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that promote healthy vision. A midsize ear also offers a helpful 3-gram dose of dietary fiber.

Myth #5: The best way to choose corn is by the color of the kernels.
Truth: Although corn lovers often profess to have favorite varieties, farmer Kevin Smith, interviewed by Estabrook for the story, says variety is far less important than freshness. “Any corn can be ruined if it’s old,” he says. Nor is color a key to quality. Yellow, white, bi-color—it doesn’t really matter. Preferences vary from region to region. Avoid corn with dry, pale husks and silks that are desiccated where they enter the cob. If pricked, kernels should squirt whitish juice. As for choosing the best-tasting corn, abide by Smith’s “one-day rule.” Don’t buy a cob that’s more than 24 hours out of the fiel

 

Nutritional Value of Sweet Corns:

Sweet corn is very rich in vitamin B1, vitamin B5, vitamin C, phosphorus, manganese, folate and dietary fiber. Because of the vitamins contained in sweet corn, many health benefits can be associated with the consumption of this delicious vegetable.

 

Sweet Benefits of Sweet Corns:

1  Cancer Prevention

Sweet corn contains a chemical known as beta cryptoxanthin. Beta cryptoxanthin is chemically similar to the well known chemical beta carotene. The human body converts beta cryptoxanthin to vitamin A when consumed in foods. According to a study performed by Jian-Min Yuan published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, there is an inverse relationship between consumption of beta cryptoxanthin and lung cancer development. This means the greater amount of beta cryptoxanthin that is consumed, the lower the prevalence of lung cancer development.

2  Memory Enhancement

Sweet corn contains high levels of thiamine, or vitamin B1. According to WHFoods.org, thiamine is an essential nutrient required for brain cell and cognitive function. Consumption of thiamine is necessary for the body to produce acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is essential for the maintenance of memory capabilities. One of the primary factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease is low levels of acetylcholine.

3  Vision Protection

According to AusFoodNews.com.au, sweet corn contains the antioxidant zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin is the yellow pigment that naturally occurs in sweet corn. Consumption of zeaxanthin can have a protective effect against age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration. In addition, sweet corn also contains folate and beta carotene, which also may protect against macular degeneration.

 

Useful Tip

Avoid corn with dry, pale husks and silks that are desiccated where they enter the cob. If pricked, kernels should squirt whitish juice.

 

 

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Lemon Myrtle Health Benefits

I recently found my new love and it’s in lemon myrtle.  Several months ago, I bought a bottle of Australia made organic lemon myrtle body wash and I got hooked on the scent of lemon myrtle.

A few days ago, I bought a box of lemon myrtle tea and now I am totally hooked on it, so much that I have to have a cup or two of lemon myrtle tea every day!

 

About Lemon Myrtle

The botanical name of lemon myrtle is backhousia citriodora. Indigenous to Queensland, it is a rainforest tree that grows to heights of up to 8 metres. Young lemon myrtles, if regularly pruned, can be used as decorative bushes and are very commonly found in Brisbane suburbs and other parts of Queensland, where they are cultivated for their lovely white flowers and delicate lemon scent. They are also grown commercially for their high citral (lemon oil) content, which is extracted by a steam distillation process. The oil is used in a variety of cleaning and other products.

Lemon myrtle has a scent very, very similar to Lemongrass and its cousin, Citronella.   Lemon myrtle is considered to have a ‘cleaner, sweeter and stronger’ aroma than comparable sources of citral–lemongrass.

Lemon Myrtle flowers, Byron Bay, NSW

Health Benefits of Lemon Myrtle Tea

The key ingredient in lemon myrtle is the high concentration of citral in its leaves. Citral comprises 90-98% of the essential oils in lemon myrtle, as opposed to less than 10% in lemons and limes. Some of the characteristics of citral include:

Citral is an anti-fungal agent.

Citral is non-acidic

Citral is high in anti-oxidants.

The list of reputed health benefits of lemon myrtle tea is voluminous. Just some of the disorders it is said to be able to relieve include muscle cramps and spasms, rheumatism, headaches and fevers. Scientific studies have indicated that citral can inhibit the growth of the pathogen which is one of the causes of many gastro-duodenal diseases, including ulcers. It is also said to aid in the reduction of cellulite and the anti-oxidants in citral help boost the immune system. A pleasant tasting tea, it is used alone or in combination with green tea as a caffeine free replacement for coffee and black tea.

Uses

Due to the high concentration of citral found in lemon myrtle oil, lemon myrtle has a wide variety of applications in medicine. According to the “Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine,” lemon myrtle can help treat sinus infections, bronchitis, fatigue, depression, common cold, influenza, raw throat, indigestion and irritable gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, dental infections, itching, athletes foot, acne and headaches.

The leaves and flowers of lemon myrtle are used in tea blends and beverages, biscuits, breads, confectionery, pasta, syrups, liqueurs, flavored oils, packaged fish (salmon), and dipping and simmer sauces.

The leaf paste, essential oil, and hydrosols have antibacterial and antifungal activity against Staphylococcus aureus , Escherichia coli , Pseudomonas aeruginosa , Candida albicans , methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), Aspergillus niger , Klebsiella pneumonia , and Propionibacterium acnes .

Clinical research, however, does not support the use of lemon myrtle to treat the above medical conditions. You should, therefore, speak with a medical professional before using lemon myrtle as a health supplement to treat a specific medical condition.

 

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Avocado Health Benefits

Avocado is the darling in the kitchen of our house. It is the most preferred fruit in our house. Whenever there are unripened avocados in the kitchen, our girls will keep checking on them – several times in a day, hoping to see a change in color and softness in the avocados.   Finding a ripe avocado at the supermarket is hit or miss, but you can ripen them yourself at home, easily, with ripe bananas and apples!

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Ripe bananas and apples release a lot of ethylene, the hormone that triggers ripening in mature fruit, so placing one in a closed paper bag with your under-ripe avocados will speed up the process.  I usually just place the hard avocados in the same fruit basket with the bananas, apples and oranges (in room temperature) and they will usually soften in 2-3 days.

Our girls love ripe avocados on toast – either thinly sliced or mashed into a smooth paste. I love eating ripe avocados as it is or make them into avocado smoothie with low fat milk.  My next project is to make avocado guacamole.

peel avocado and mash guacamole

Also known as an alligator pear or butter fruit, the versatile avocado is the only fruit that provides a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). Avocados are a naturally nutrient-dense food and contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.

So what, exactly, makes this pear-shaped berry (yes, that’s right!) such a super food?

Avocados are a good source of B vitamins, which help you fight off disease and infection. They also give you vitamins C and E, plus natural plant chemicals that may help prevent cancer.

Avocados are low in sugar. And they contain fiber, which helps you feel full longer. In one study, people who added a fresh avocado half to their lunch were less interested in eating during the next three hours.

Avocados are a good source of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin K and fiber, which aids digestion and helps maintain regularity. Additionally, avocados are high in magnesium, phosphorus, iron and potassium, containing even more potassium per gram than bananas, according to the New York University Langone Medical Center.

Fresh avocados contain lycopene and beta-carotene, which are important carotenoid antioxidants. The highest concentration of these antioxidants is located in the dark green flesh closest to the peel, according to the California Avocado Commission. Antioxidants help reduce cell damage.

The Skinny on the Fat and Calories

Avocados are high in fat. But it’s monounsaturated fat, which is a “good” fat that helps lower bad cholesterol, as long as you eat them in moderation.

Health Benefits of Avocados

Heart

Avocados are high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease risk for heart disease.

High levels of the amino acid homocysteine are associated with a higher risk of heart disease, but the vitamin B6 and the folic acid found in avocados can help regulate it.

A seven-year study published in 2013 in Nutrition Journal found that avocados were associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, which refers to a group of symptoms shown to increase the risk of stroke, coronary artery disease and diabetes.

Anti-inflammatory agent

Avocados have great anti-inflammatory properties, phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and polyhydroxolated fatty alcohols.  They can help relieve rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Lowering cholesterol

Avocados may help not only lower bad cholesterol, they may also increase levels of good cholesterol. A 1996 study in the journal Archives of Medical Research found that patients with mild hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) who incorporated avocados into their diet for one week had a 22 percent decrease in bad cholesterol and triglycerides and an 11 percent increase in good cholesterol. Avocados also improved cholesterol for people who already had good lipid levels, but were shown to be especially effective in those with mild cholesterol problems. Avocados can help in this way because of their high amount of the beta-sitosterol compound, which is associated with lowering cholesterol.

Regulating blood sugar

According to Reader’s Digest, avocados’ high levels of monounsaturated fats can help stop insulin resistance, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Furthermore, the soluble fiber in avocados can help keep blood sugar levels steady. In comparison to other fruits, the low carb and sugar levels in avocados also help maintain blood sugar.

Regulating blood pressure

Avocados’ high levels of potassium can help keep blood pressure under control. The American Heart Association reported that potassium helps regulate the effects of salt, which can increase your blood pressure.

Vision

According to Avocado Central, the website of the Hass Avocado Board, avocados are an excellent source of the carotenoid lutein, which reduces the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Immune system

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant associated with immune system health. A 2000 report in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society stated, “The immune system works best if the lymphoid cells have a delicately balanced intermediate level of glutathione.” Avocados are a good source of this substance, according to American National University.

Pregnancy and preventing birth defects

According to the California Avocado Commission, avocados are a great choice for moms-to-be. Avocados contain a significant amount of folic acid, which is essential to preventing birth defects like spina bifida and neural tube defects.

Cancer

Avocados have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the mouth, skin and prostate. This is due to the unusual mix of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Furthermore, a 2007 study in the journal Seminars in Cancer Biology found that the phytochemicals in avocados encourage cancer cells to stop growing and die.

Digestion

The fiber in avocados helps keep digestion on track, encouraging regular bowel movements, healthy intestines and a healthy weight, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Skin

The vitamin C and vitamin E in avocados help keep skin nourished and glowing, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Avocado and B12 cream may be useful in treating psoriasis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Health risks

As with many other fruits, avocados’ primary risks are related to overconsumption. Consuming too many avocados may lead to weight gain because of the fat content, even though it is an unsaturated fat. It can also lead to nutritional deficiencies, since fat is digested slower and leaves you feeling fuller longer than  other nutrients.

Additionally, avocado allergies, while uncommon, do exist. They are typically associated with latex allergies, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms include a stuffy nose, wheezing, coughing and edema. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating an avocado, try cutting the fruit out of your diet to see if the symptoms disappear. If they persist or are severe, consult a doctor.

 

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Tea is Richer in Vitamins than You Ever Thought

Vitamins in tea aren’t the flashiest topic for budding nutritional researchers. Magazine articles and news reports ramble on about L-theanine levels and ECGC content in a cup of tea, but they seldom ever mention the vitamin content of everyone’s favorite hot beverage. This is a shame because each variety of tea actually offers a completely different vitamin concentration. Getting some extra vitamins from a beloved tea blend is never a bad thing.

 

Vitamins in Green and Black Tea

Riboflavin is one of the most common vitamins. Bakeries are required to put extra amounts in flour. Nevertheless, it’s likely that many people still don’t get enough of this necessary vitamin. It plays a major role in regulating metabolism, and riboflavin is necessary for countless cellular processes. That’s why it’s good news that green tea can give you an extra boost in the riboflavin department. Those who are looking for another major vitamin B constitute, folate, might want to pay close attention to black tea. Each cup can add around 12 mcg of folic acid to your diet.

Manganese is a mineral that the popular health media seems to forget about, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Both black and green tea is a respectable source of manganese. This is especially good news when you consider the fact that it’s hard to get enough of this mineral from the foods that you eat.

Black tea is a better source of potassium than once thought. If you’re drinking a quality blend of black tea, then you’ll get around 88 mg for every full serving that you drink. Potassium can help lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. It may play a role in regulating blood pressure as well. This is good news for the countless tea drinkers who also suffer from cardiovascular problems.

A Word About Ashitaba

Ashitaba is the highest grade of Japanese ceremonial tea according to writers from Urbol, which is perhaps the only Western boutique that sells this highly sought-after blend. The kanji used to spell the word in Japanese can be translated as tomorrow’s leaf. If a leaf from the Ashitaba plant is harvested at dawn, then a new sprout generally grows in overnight. Most farmers notice new growths by the next morning. This regenerative property has long produced numerous stories about how the tea can regenerate diseased individuals.

Many of these stories have now turned out to be quite true. Many treatments from Japanese folk medicine are enjoying support from the scientific community today. A 20th century botanist by the name of Koizumi Gen’ichi preformed a great deal of research on the Ashitaba plant. Koizumi-sensei was fascinated by the long lifespan enjoyed by residents of the islands where this crop is cultivated. He believed there was a connection between the health of these farmers and the high levels of vitamin B12 found in cups of tea brewed from the plant’s leaves.

When he measured the pH level of the tea, he found that micronutrients called chalconoids were abundant in the finished beverage. His findings enjoyed so much support that the term koidzumi is sometimes used to describe cultivars of the plant in his honor. Tea made from this plant features some of the highest vitamin levels of any type of tea.

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Pine Needle Tea’s Unique Benefits and Flavor

Some people might not consider pine needle tea to be a legitimate hot beverage. It’s not technically tea, but it’s still an infusion of plant material into hot water. The high concentrations of vitamin C in a finished cup deserve a second look anyway.

Pine Needle Tea

 

Most nutritional experts talk about citrus fruit as a source of vitamin C, though there are many other sources including vegetables like potatoes. The vast majority of people never seem to get enough in their diet. A single cup of pine needle tea has more vitamin C than even the most active people need. While some tea drinkers with allergies will sometimes recommend it as a decongestant, pine needle tea is perfect for those with an illness based on the vitamin C content alone since it features five times more of this necessary immune-boosting vitamin than a ripe lemon does. A fresh cup also includes a significant amount of vitamin A, which means that it’s best not to overindulge on this unique beverage.

 

Tea Shouldn’t be Your Only Source

No one is suggesting that tea should be your only source of vitamins. You should be eating a balanced diet that gives you a proper mix of vitamins and minerals every day. Getting extra micronutrients from your tea is an added bonus that shouldn’t be ignored, however, so you should feel free to enjoy that extra cup of an exotic new blend while still feeling good about it.

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Turmeric Health Benefits

Turmeric is one of the most favored herbs in our family apart from garlic and onion.  My dad cooks the yummiest braised turmeric chicken and I can never get enough of it.  Our girls love their grandpa’s turmeric chicken too, cooked using lots and lots of freshly chopped turmeric, alongside onions and garlic.  The only turn-off when eating turmeric is the yellow pigment that stains our teeth and toothbrush!  But my dad has zilch complain that his fingers would turn yellow, making him look like a Minion each time he cooks a dish with fresh turmeric.   That’s my dear papa’s labor of love for us.

I use turmeric powder almost daily in my cooking. I add it to fish for pan-frying, chicken for grilling and pan-frying and fried rice. My friend drinks a concoction called Golden Milk, made from Golden Paste for health purposes.  I have yet to try it and am very tempted to attempt to now after reading the health benefits of Golden Milk.

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Turmeric, the main spice in curry, is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. It has so many healing properties that currently there have been 6,235 peer-reviewed articles published proving the benefits of turmeric and one of its renowned healing compounds curcumin.

This puts turmeric on top of the list as one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science and the next most popular studied herbs including garlic, cinnamon, ginseng, ginger and milk thistle.

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is commonly used in Asian food. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine. It contains a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin, which is often used to color foods and cosmetics.

According to the Journal of the American Chemical Society, turmeric contains a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

It is also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. Due to all these factors, turmeric is often used to treat a wide variety of health problems.

 

 

 

Turmeric contains the chemical curcumin. Curcumin and other chemicals in turmeric might decrease swelling (inflammation). Because of this, turmeric might be beneficial for treating conditions that involve inflammation.

The active compound curcumin is believed to have a wide range of biological effects including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, antibacterial, and antiviral activities, which have shown a lot of potential for use in clinical medicine.

 

turmeric

Of the 6000+ studies referencing curcumin, the most interesting finding is that when turmeric is compared to conventional medicine its benefits equal that of many pharmaceutical medications.

In fact, a number of studies have even reported that using curcumin is moreadvantageous than certain prescription drugs.

Turmeric Plant

 

Health Benefits of Turmeric

When examining the research, turmeric benefits go beyond that of these 10 drugs:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Anti-depressants (Prozac)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Anti-coagulants (Aspirin)
  • Pain killers
  • Diabetes drugs (Metformin)
  • Arthritis medications
  • Inflammatory bowel disease drugs
  • Cholesterol drugs (Lipitor)
  • Steroids

A study done by Drugs in R & D found that curcumin was equal or more effective than diabetes medications at reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the treatment of high cholesterol.

Studies like these are causing pharmaceutical companies to try and design a synthetic form of curcumin that unfortunately, will not work as well as the real thing.

Uses

Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), joint pain, stomach pain, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, bypass surgery, hemorrhage, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gallbladder disorders,high cholesterol, a skin condition called lichen planus, skin inflammation from radiation treatment, and fatigue.

It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, itchy skin, recovery after surgery, and cancers. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, swelling in the middle layer of the eye (anterior uveitis), diabetes, water retention, worms, an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), tuberculosis, urinary tract infection (UTI), and kidney problems.

Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, sprains and swellings, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, acne, inflammatory skin conditions and skin sores, soreness inside of the mouth, infected wounds, and gum disease.

Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent and can be used as an effective disinfectant. If you have a cut or burn, you can sprinkle turmeric powder on the affected area to speed up the healing process. Turmeric also helps repair damaged skin and may be used to treat psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

WOW, the health benefits of the humble and inexpensive turmeric are so wide!   If you are turned off by the yellow pigment from the turmeric root that can stain your hands, blender and kitchen top while peeling and chopping them, try using turmeric powder.  Turmeric powder is very convenient to use and does not stain your hands.

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Portobello Mushroom Health Benefits

Portobello mushrooms are another staple item in our refrigerator.  Everyone in our family loves fresh portobello mushrooms. We can eat them everyday, cooked in different styles and never get fed-up of them.  Our girls love them grilled in the oven with freshly chopped garlic, ground black pepper and olive oil.  We also love portobello soup and adding these mushrooms into our omelette, pasta and as toppings on pizza.

 

Add portobellos to your diet for a change of pace.

 

Aside from being delicious, portobello mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse and low in calories. Portobello mushrooms are a great substitute for meat.  They provide antioxidants which may protect our body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Portobello Fun Facts

The macronutrients consist of fat, carbohydrates and protein. Portobellos have a balance of protein and carbs, and they are low in fat. A 100-gram grilled serving contains just over 3 grams of protein, about 4 1/2 grams of carbs and just over a 1/2 gram of total fat. The recommended intake of protein is 46 grams a day for women and 56 grams a day for men. Both men and women should strive for at least 130 grams of carbs daily. Using a portobello as a side dish with a source of animal protein like lean beef or a chicken breast will boost the protein content. Putting a portobello in a bun to make a sandwich boosts the carb content.

Portobello mushrooms are a good source of fiber, with 11 percent of the daily value, and they contain a lot of water, making them low in energy density. Foods that are low in energy density, which means they don’t contain many calories per gram, can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. You can eat a large volume of these foods without consuming very many calories. For example, a whole cup of sliced, grilled portobello mushrooms has only 35 calories.

Portobello Mushroom Healthy Recipes

 

Low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber, Portobellos are an excellent source of copper, which your body needs to produce red blood cells and carry oxygen through your body. They also offer three important B-complex vitamins: riboflavin for maintaining healthy red blood cells; niacin for supple skin and properly functioning digestive and nervous systems; and pantothenic acid, which aids in the release of energy from the fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the food you eat.   Portobellos are also an excellent source of copper.

Just one cup of mushrooms has the potential to release at least 15 different vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. A single Portobello contains more potassium than a banana – 630 mg per serving – which helps maintain normal heart rhythm and muscle and nerve function, as well as a balance between your fluid and minerals. This in turn helps control blood pressure.

Use as Part of a Healthy Diet

Adding mushrooms to your diet can help increase your fiber intake and lower your risk for heart disease, high cholesterol and digestive conditions, such as constipation and hemorrhoids. Grill portobello mushroom caps and eat them like hamburgers; chop them up and use them to replace part of the meat in meat sauces; or add them to pizzas, soups or fajitas.

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