• 30Oct

    Whenever someone in the family has constipation, papaya will be the first thing that pops out in my mind to help them counter constipation. Papayas are very affordable and easily available in our country. Chilled papaya with a squeeze of kafir lime juice tastes incredibly refreshing, especially on a hot and sizzling day. While my girls are not big fans of papaya, I love this sweet fruit, not only the flesh but also the seeds.  Not that the seeds are delicious, in fact they are strong tasting with tinge of spiciness and bitterness, I eat the seeds solely to reap the healing properties.

    Papaya seeds contain nutrients that help heal cirrhosis of the liver and improve kidney health, preventing renal failure. Its anti-inflammatory properties help treat arthritis and joint disease. It contains an alkaloid called carpaine that kills intestinal worms and amoeba parasites. Papain, in papaya seeds, helps in effective digestion of protein. Papaya seeds contain agents that stop the growth of cancer cells and tumors. They contain isothiocyanates which work well for colon, breast, lung, leukemia, and prostate cancer.

    9 Incredible Benefits of Papaya Leaf Juice

     

    Believed to be a native of Central America, growing along the Caribbean coast, the papaya tree was considered sacred by the Mayans for its various medicinal properties. The fruits are not the only segment of the tree that was considered valuable, the leaves, seeds, and flowers too possess healing powers. It is also said that the great voyager Christopher Columbus used to refer to it as “fruit of the angels”. What makes papaya such an incredible ingredient is the presence of the enzyme papain along with other essential nutrients that work together to provide you nature’s best.

    According to an article by the Telegraph UK, papaya has been declared a new super fruit after scientists found that it can prevent and may be able to treat a wide range of cancers.

    Researchers found that papaya was an effective anti-cancer agent against cervix, breast, liver, lung and pancreas cancers.

    They tested their theories by using a tea made from the extracts of dried papaya leaves and put them in dishes which contain cancerous cells.

    The team of researchers found that the papaya leaf extract boosted the production chemicals that regulate the immune system.

    Scientists from the University of Florida, who were behind the study, say that papaya may be used as an alternative cancer treatment.

    Dr Nam Dang, of the University of Florida, said the findings published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology were groundbreaking.

    Other health benefits of papaya include:

    1. Digestion – The enzyme papain present in papaya is known to aid digestion by breaking down proteins. Therefore, a glass of papaya juice is often recommended as a home remedy for digestion-related problems or constipation.

    2. Anti-inflammatory – Apart from papain, papaya also contains other effective enzymes that help against inflammation and promote healing of burns.

    3. Heart Disease and Cancer – Papaya is rich in anti-oxidants and phytonutrients that work against free radicals and therefore is said to protect the body from possible heart diseases and cancer.

    4. Diabetes – Many researchers have found that the consumption of raw papaya could help maintain blood sugar level and cholesterol because of the high fiber content, thereby keeping a check on diabetes. According to a study done by the Centre of Excellence for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research at the Mauritius University, green tea and fermented papaya work together as preventive means for diabetes. In some parts of India, especially the North East, papaya flowers are locally used as a preventive measure against diabetes. The bitter flowers are lightly sautéed in a little oil and consumed as a side to rice on a regular basis.

    5. Immunity – Papaya is a great source of vitamin A, B, C, and K and is known as an excellent immunity booster. It is great for the growth of body tissues, including hair and skin. It helps in maintaining collagen, the structural protein of connective tissues. It is said that a medium-sized papaya could provide you double your daily requirement of vitamins.

    6. Cleansing – Beauty experts too, often suggest using slices of papaya as a natural skin cleanser as the active enzymes work wonders to remove impurities.

    7. Arthritis – It is also rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and copper. Regular consumption helps in building up the calcium bank in the body and in the long run could help keep a check on arthritis.

    8. Dengue – Papaya leaves are commonly used in the treatment of dengue to help boost up the count of platelets. Dengue is an infection which affects the blood platelets massively. A simple remedy to get back the platelets count is to give the patient a glass of papaya leaf juice. It is prepared by grinding the leaves with a small amount of water to extract the juice. However, dengue can prove to be fatal once it develops into Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever which shuts down the circulatory system.

    Medicinal use of Papaya leaves juice in Dengue

    9. Weight Loss – papaya is low in calories and therefore proves to be the perfect option for breakfast. A serving of 140 grams of the fruit contains only 60 calories, with total fat 0.4 gram, no cholesterol, 15.7 gram carbohydrates and 2.5 gram dietary fiber.

    10. Prevents eyes related diseases and macular degeneration – Macular degeneration is a disease of the eye. In this condition, the ocular cells degenerate, which results in blurred vision and can cause blindness as well. This is an age-related illness and adding papayas to the diet is beneficial for reducing the risk of developing macular degeneration. An antioxidant named beta-carotene gives papaya its orange color. Just as carrots help to improve the eyesight due to the presence of beta-carotene, it is also known to be effective in reducing the effect of macular degeneration. According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, a consumption of 3 or more servings of this fruit on a daily basis day may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).

    11. Prevents constipation – papayas consist of papain, a chemical which enables digest proteins (particularly food along with gluten). Focused amounts can particularly be located within unripe papaya. This kind of enzyme aids in preventing the buildup of mucoprotein (partly digested protein) within the body as well as lymphatic system. In reality, papain has been extracted to create health supplements for digestion of food. Therefore, the unripe papaya is recognized as to get much more recovery powers for bowel problems compared to the ripe one.

    How safe is papaya?
    Contraindications
    Papaya may cause severe allergic reactions and is therefore contraindicated in sensitive people.

    Pregnancy/nursing
    Possibly unsafe depending on the part of the plant being used and dose administered. Avoid use.

    Side Effects
    Papaya may cause severe allergic reactions in sensitive people. Papaya latex can be a severe irritant and vesicant on skin. Papaya juice and papaya seeds are unlikely to cause adverse effects when taken orally; however, papaya leaves at high doses may cause stomach irritation.

    Toxicities
    There are parts of the plant (eg, seeds) that contain benzyl isothiocyanate, which may cause poisoning at high doses.

    Skin Discoloration
    The papaya gets its orange color through beta carotene, a nutrient within the carotenoid family which also will provide you with vitamin A. Too much of beta carotene causes the palms of the hands as well as soles of the feet to have tinges of yellow or orange color. This is called Carotenemia. Carotenemia isn’t to be mistaken for jaundice, a yellowing on the skin which also impacts the whites of the eye. Jaundice is actually a symbol of higher-than-normal bilirubin levels; carotenemia is undamaging. Reducing your papaya usage will certainly solve the discoloration of your skin.

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  • 04Jul

    Mulberries are filled with nutrients that are important for our body, including iron, riboflavin, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, phosphorous, and calcium, as well as a significant amount of dietary fiber and a wide range of organic compounds, including phytonutrients, zea-xanthin, resveratrol, anthocyanins, lutein, and various other polyphenolic compounds.

     

    All parts of the plant from root to tip can be used medicinally, though these days we tend to concentrate only on the fruit and leaves, which are high in antioxidant anthocyanins as well as cancer-fighting resveratrol and vitamin C.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice has used mulberry trees for thousands of years to treat diseases like heart disease, diabetes, anemia and arthritis

    Although there are many different types of mulberries, there are three main species that you will see in health stores and supermarkets:

    • White mulberry (Morus alba) is native to China and the preferred food of silkworms. The leaves are antibacterial and antidiabetic; the fruits have a neuroprotective effect in humans.
    • Red mulberry (Morus rubra) is native to American soil that has antibacterial properties and can help fight urinary infections.
    • Black mulberry (Morus nigra) is a Western Asian variety transplanted to Europe. These dark berries have antiviral properties that show effectiveness against the HIV virus.

    The leaves of the mulberry tree are also traditionally used to strengthen the liver and lungs, treat fevers and cold and eye infections. They also have important antidiabetic properties which modern science is beginning to acknowledge.

    Mulberry leaf tea’s health benefits are attributed to its naturally occurring compound, 1-deoxynojirimycin, or DNJ, which is responsible for its antidiabetic effects. Like the fruit, the leaves also have powerful antioxidant properties and has been found to lower cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce inflammation.

    Health Benefits of Mulberries

     

    1. Source of Antioxidants

    Antioxidants help lessen the damage caused by free radicals and the entire mulberry plant- leaves, stems, and fruit, contains antioxidants.  One antioxidant in particular, resveratrol, has gotten much attention. Research published by the University of Texas Health Science Center credits resveratrol for positive effects on age and longevity.

    2. Lower Cholesterol

    Cholesterol is an important fatty molecule that is present in every cell in the body. However, elevated cholesterol in the blood is also linked to increased risk of heart disease.

    Animal studies show that mulberries and mulberry extracts can reduce excess fat and lower cholesterol levels. They may also improve the ratio between LDL („bad“) and HDL („good“) cholesterol.

    Some test-tube experiments also show that they reduce the formation of fat in the liver, potentially helping to prevent fatty liver disease.

    3. Improve Blood Sugar Control

    Diabetics are sensitive to rapid changes in blood sugar, and need to be careful when they eat carbs.

    Mulberries contain a compound called DNJ (1-deoxynojirimycin), which inhibits an enzyme in the gut that breaks down carbohydrates.

    DNJ is therefore considered to be beneficial against diabetes, by slowing down the increase in blood sugar after meals

    4. Reduce Cancer Risk

    Increased stress in the body has been shown to induce oxidative damage in cells and tissues, and is associated with increased risk of cancer.

    For hundreds of years, mulberries have been part of traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy against cancer.

    Some researchers now believe that these reputed cancer-preventive effects may actually have a scientific basis.  Animal studies indicate that antioxidants in mulberry juice can decrease oxidative stress, potentially reducing the risk of cancer.

    5. Immune System Support

    Mulberries contain alkaloids that activate macrophages. Macrophages are white blood cells that stimulate the immune system, putting it on high active alert against health threat.

     

    This is the mulberry + orange + apple + lemon + raw honey smoothie that I made for our girls.  I get my mulberries from a farmer who plants pesticide-free vegetables and fruits.

    In addition to mulberry fruits, I also drink organic mulberry leaves powder regularly.

     

    Adverse Effects and Individual Concerns

    Allergy to mulberries is rare, but pollen from mulberry trees has been reported to cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

    Individuals who are sensitive to birch pollen may also react to mulberries, as a result of cross-reactivity.

     

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  • 07Apr

    Since a blood test early this year showed that I have very low blood count, I have been consuming red dates and black dates every day.  To recap, I have a uterine fibroid (submucosal) that causes me heavy menstruation every month. As a result, I am anemic.

    My mil would boil a pot of red dates and black dates tonic every other day.  This dates tonic nourishes the blood and is popularly consumed by mothers in confinement and those recuperating from a surgery. On days when there is no dates tonic, I would eat about 4-5 organic red dates (pits removed) and a handful of organic goji berries.

    Black jujubes are fresh Chinese dates that have been smoked. This is a “warm” (yang) food that helps nourish yin and reinforce blood; it is more effective in blood reinforcement than fresh jujubes. Eating a few every day is very beneficial for the kidneys (which control the reproductive system) and liver.

    In China, where jujube originated, practitioners of traditional medicine have long prized the jujube for its medicinal properties. Once confined largely to China, the fruit now grows in many areas of the world, including southern Europe and the southern United States. Consult your doctor before using dried jujube or any herbal remedy.

    Chinese Date

    So why are jujubes (Chinese red dates) good for women?  The main biologically active components of jujubes are vitamin C, phenolics, flavonoids, triterpenic acids, and polysaccharides.  It also contains 18 out of the 24 important amino acids which helps in the formation of more than 50,000 proteins of the body.  Jujubes are also rich in carotene, B vitamins, flavonoids, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, and other nutrients.

    • Jujubes contain 70 to 80 times more vitamin C than in apples and grapes and 20 times more vitamin C than any citrus fruit.  Vitamin C is the nutrient responsible for creating and maintaining collagen.  This antioxidant strengthens blood vessels and gives skin its elasticity and strength.
    • The powerful antioxidants and organic compounds found in jujube is why this fruit has been labeled as the herbal elixir of life as people claimed it guarantees youthful looking skin.
    • The calcium, phosphorus and iron play an important role in preventing osteoporosis and anemia, both common in women.
    • Jujube is rich in cyclic adenosine monophosphate, one  of essential substances in the body’s energy metabolism. It enhances muscle strength, eliminates fatigue, dilates blood vessels, and prevents and treats of cardiovascular diseases.
    • Polysaccharides in jujubes can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar and increase calcium absorption.  Polysaccharides also supports positive mood, stops the effects of fatigue and acts as an anti-inflammatory by supporting the body’s anti-inflammatory processes.

    Anti-Cancer Properties

    A team of Iranian researchers at the Vaccine and Serum Research Institute in Mashhad conducted in vitro tests to evaluate the ability of dried jujube extract to inhibit growth or induce cell death in a variety of human tumor cell lines. Scientists used the MTT colorimetric assay to measure the degree to which water extract of dried jujube reduced the proliferation of tumor cells. Although the jujube extract inhibited tumor cell proliferation in all lines, it displayed the greatest effect against Jurkat leukemia cells. In a report in the February 2008 issue of “Cytotechnology,” researchers said their findings confirm dried jujube’s cytotoxic properties against a variety of cancer cell lines and urged further study to identify the mechanisms through which jujube works.

    Anti-Inflammatory

    Diabetics can benefit from jujube fruit when it is used as a medicinal rub for cuts and sores. Many diabetics suffer from poor circulation and neuropathy, which causes nerve damage, especially in the legs and feet.  A study published by the “Journal of Natural Medicines” and conducted at the I.S.F. College of Pharmacy found that jujube fruit can be a therapeutic anti-inflammatory agent. Using jujube fruit as a medicinal rub for cuts may help heal the wound because of its anti-inflammatory capabilities.

    Popular jujubes related Chinese herbal formulas

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that it is sweet and warm in properties. It covers two meridians, including spleen and stomach. Its basic functions are to tonify middle-Jiao and Qi and nourish blood for tranquillization. Main jujube fruit uses and indications are diarrhea due to insufficiency of the spleen, palpitations, insomnia, night sweats, anemia and so on.  Dried jujube also reinforces energy, nourishes the blood, soothes the nerves and neutralizes toxic side effects of some medicine.

    Try buying organic jujubes or those without sulfur. Buy them from a trusted seller and ask if sulfur is used.

    Before consuming jujubes, consult a medical professional if you are suffering or are at risk of diabetes as the fruit contains fructose which can have a negative effect on blood sugar levels.

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  • 23Jan

    Being an anemia patient, I give priority to fruits and foods rich in iron. One of the fruits high in iron content is the red dragon fruit.

    Like other fruits, the dragon fruit is low in calories and a good source of essential nutrients you need for good health.

     

    Dragon Fruit Fun Facts

    Dragon fruits have a surprising number of phytonutrients. Rich in antioxidants, they contain vitamin C (equivalent to 10 percent of the daily value), polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, phosphorus, fiber and several B vitamins for carbohydrate metabolism, as well as carotene and protein. Calcium is present for strong bones and teeth, iron and phosphorus for healthy blood and tissue formation. The benefits are realized in a number of ways, from a strengthened immune system and faster healing of bruises and wounds to fewer respiratory problems.

    Dragon fruits are proven to lower blood sugar levels as well as blood pressure, strengthen bones and teeth, promote healthy blood and tissue formation, strengthen the immune system, heal bruises and wounds faster and prevent respiratory problems.

    Dragon fruits have zero complex carbohydrates, so foods can be more easily broken down in the body, helped by vitamin B1 (thiamin) and other B vitamins. The phytochemical captin, used as a medication to treat heart problems, is present in the fruit itself, and an oil in the seed operates as a mild laxative.

    The seeds of dragon fruits are high in polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) that reduce triglycerides and lower the risk of cardiovascular disorders. Eating dragon fruit can help the body maintain such normal function as ridding the body of toxic heavy metals and improved eyesight. Lycopene, responsible for the red color in dragon fruit, has been shown to be linked with a lower prostate cancer risk.

    Natural Mystic dragon fruit vine plant Pitaya hylocereus - Click Image to Close

    Good for Bones and Blood

    With its calcium and iron content, the dragon fruit is also good for your bones and blood. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations considers dragon fruit a fruit of “high nutritional value” due to its calcium content. One small fruit meets 1 percent of the daily value. The dragon fruit is an even better source of iron, meeting 8 percent of the daily value.

    However, consume dragon fruit in moderation because it contains fructose, which may be harmful to your health, if taken in excessive amounts.

     

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  • 21Oct

    Lemons are my besties in the kitchen. They are one  of the staples that are always available in my refrigerator.  I drink lemon juice several times in a week, use the juice to marinate meats and dab the juice on my face. Lemon juice is a natural astringent.

    The health benefits of lemons are due to its many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A,vitamin E, folate, niacin thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper,  calcium, iron,  magnesium, potassium,zinc, phosphorus and protein.

    Lemon is a fruit that contains flavonoids, which are composites that contain antioxidant and cancer fighting properties. It helps to prevent diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, fever, indigestion and many other problems, as well as improving the skin, hair, and teeth. Studies conducted at the American Urological Association highlight the fact that lemonade or lemon juice can eliminate the occurrence of kidney stones by forming urinary citrate, which prevents the formation of crystals.

    Lemons contain pectin fibre which is extremely valuable for colon well-being. Lemons also have effective antibacterial properties.

    The fragrance of lemon can likewise repulse mosquitoes, while drinking lemon juice with olive oil serves to dispose of gall stones.

     

     

     

    Lemons contain an acidic juice which stimulates our body to become more alkaline.

    Reasons to include lemons in your diet:

    1. Improves liver function
    2. Reduces symptoms of colds and other viruses
    3. Stimulates bowel moment and cleanses the bowel
    4. Reduces acidity in the bladder, thus prevents UTIs
    5. The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form or applied topically, can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture.
    6. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the support system of the skin.
    7. Improves digestion. Because lemon juice’s atomic structure is similar to the digestive juices found in the stomach, it tricks the liver into producing bile, which helps keep food moving through your body and gastrointestinal tract smoothly. Lemon water also helps relieve indigestion or ease an upset stomach.
    8. According to the American Heart Association, eating higher amounts of citrus fruits may lower ischemic stroke risk for women.

    Adding lemon juice to your favorite recipes is relatively easy. Roast chicken cooked with lemon instead of stuffing becomes deliciously tender and aromatic.

    Boil barley and make your own lemon and barley water. Squeeze the juice of  lemon over your salad, chicken, fish or seafood. Try a slice of lemon with your tea.

    You can even clean with lemons. Just add to vinegar as a great kitchen cleaner. Or slice up some lemons and pop them into your microwave oven, set to cook mode for a minute and wipe down the microwave oven. I love popping sliced lemons into the oven and bake them for several minutes to get rid of odour.

    Potential health risks of consuming lemons

    Those with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) may experience an increase in symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation when consuming highly acidic foods such as citrus fruit; however, individual reactions vary.

    It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health.

     

     

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  • 13Aug

    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!

    how-to-select.png

    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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  • 22Jul

    The humble pumpkin is a staple item in our household.  Pumpkins are such versatile vegetables. Well, they can be labeled as a fruit too. They  are both dependent on what definition you use.  They are fruit because they are the part of the plant that contains and protects the seeds. They are vegetables because they are eaten cooked, not raw (one of the definitions) and because they belong to the vegetable kingdom.

    Everyone in our family loves pumpkin, except the littlest one but she is slowly learning to acquire the taste and texture. I am sure she will soon grow to love pumpkin too, just like our 2 older girls who didn’t like pumpkin when they were little but have grown to appreciate it now.

    Our favorite type of pumpkin is the organic Japanese pumpkin as the flesh has a very creamy and smooth texture.  We have tried other types of pumpkins but didn’t really like those as the flesh tends to melt and turns watery when cooked too long.

    Pumpkin Japanese (Organic) 500g

     

    Here are some key points about pumpkin:

    • Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E.
    • Pumpkin is one of the best-known sources of the antioxidant beta-carotene.
    • The potassium contained within pumpkins can have a positive effect on blood pressure.
    • The antioxidants and vitamins contained within pumpkins could prevent degenerative damage to the eyes.
    • Pumpkin is an extremely nutrient dense food, meaning it is high in vitamins and minerals but low in calories.
    • According to the USDA National Nutrient database, one cup of pumpkin, cooked, boiled, drained and without salt contains 49 calories, 1.76 grams of protein, 0.17 grams of fat, 0 grams of cholesterol and 12 grams of carbohydrate (including 2.7 grams of fiber and 5.1 grams of sugar).

    Pumpkin Queso Fundido

     

    Here are some of the possible health benefits of pumpkin

    1) Keep eyesight sharp
    Pumpkins are also rich in carotenoids, the compounds that give the gourd their bright orange color, including beta-carotene, which the body converts into a form of vitamin A for additional peeper protection.

    2) Aid weight loss
    Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fiber, but with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories.

    3) May reduce cancer risk
    Like their orange comrades the sweet potato, the carrot and the butternut squash (to name a few), pumpkins boast the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute.

    One particular type of cancer where research has shown a positive benefits of a diet rich in beta-carotene is prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition. Beta-carotene has also been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population.

    4) Protect our skin
    The same free-radical-neutralizing powers of the carotenoids in pumpkin that may keep cancer cells at bay can also help keep the skin wrinkle-free.

    5) Good for your heart
    Eating pumpkin is good for the heart! The fiber, potassium and vitamin C content in pumpkin all support heart health.

    Nuts and seeds, including those of pumpkins, are naturally rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols that have been shown in studies to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

    6) Fertility
    For women of child-bearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources such as spinach, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes and beets appear to promote fertility, according to Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications. The vitamin A in pumpkin (consumed as beta-carotene then converted to vitamin A in the body) is also essential during pregnancy and lactation for hormone synthesis.

    7) Protect Your Package
    Pumpkins, especially the seeds are rich in beta-carotene and other antioxidants with cancer protective properties. And pumpkin seeds could be especially healthy for men. Researchers in Taiwan found pumpkin seed oil blocked unhealthy prostate growth in male rats. A quarter cup of the seeds also contains about 2.75 mg of zinc (about 17 percent of the recommended daily intake for adults), which contributes to male sexual health.

    In the early twentieth century, people used pumpkin seeds to treat enlarged prostate symptoms. They contain protective compounds called phytosterols, which may help shrink the prostate.

    8) Pumpkin seeds treat intestinal worms
    Pumpkin seeds can also help your body get rid of nasty gut parasites that can make you sick, according to registered pharmacist Debbie Edson in Living Well Magazine. They have traditionally been used for this purpose by Native Americans. Even today, pumpkin seeds are used to treat tapeworms in some parts of Africa.

    There are many interesting ways of incorporating pumpkins into your diet. Pumpkins are so choke-full of nutrients, they taste delish and  are inexpensive. I like my pumpkin roasted, steamed, braised, added into breads and buns and I heart pumpkin desserts and pumpkin chips! I just Googled ‘pumpkin recipes’ and in 0.62 seconds, 17,100,000 search results popped up!

     

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  • 14Apr

    The El Nino heatwave is at its height now. The weather is sizzling hot and dry every single day, with temperatures ranging from 37 – 40 degrees Celsius.

    Cooling fruits such as cantaloupe, pineapple and pear tend to be my choice of fruits these days, along with my favorite orange and apple.   Snacking on cool and juicy fruits on such hot days is really refreshing and sure douses the ‘heatiness’ in our body.

    Here’s one of the smoothies that I made last week-

    Cantaloupe + red apple + orange + chia seeds + fresh coconut water smoothie.

    While the girls had cantaloupe smoothie, I tossed in a few slices of beet root into my Blendtec blender.

     

    Cantaloupes are also commonly known as muskmelons, mush melons, rock melons and Persian melons.

    Cantaloupes have a very pleasant aroma and are delicious. Cantaloupe contains an abundance of antioxidants including choline, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, all of which provide protection against a range of diseases and conditions from the common cold to cancer.

     

    Cantaloupes.jpg

    Health Benefits of Cantaloupe

    1) Age-related macular degeneration
    The antioxidant zeaxanthin, found in cantaloupe, filters out harmful blue light rays and is thought to play a protective role in eye health and possibly ward off damage from macular degeneration.

     

    2) Asthma
    The risks for developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is beta-carotene, found in yellow and orange fruits like cantaloupe, pumpkin, carrots and leafy greens like spinach and kale. Vitamin C is another important nutrient that may protect against asthma and is found in abundance in cantaloupe,2 as well as citrus and tropical fruits.

     

    3) Healthy Skin
    Cantaloupes are chock-full of beta-carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin-A. The best part about dietary beta-carotene, instead of supplements, is that there is no chance for overdose or vitamin-A toxicity, because the body only converts as much as it needs; the rest remains as beta-carotene to fight diseases as antioxidants. But the amount that turns into vitamin-A enters the skin and stimulates the membrane of skin cells and increasing regrowth and repair. This protects that membrane into the body against harmful toxins that prematurely age the skin. Vitamin-A cream is also used as a salve for irritation and redness on the skin, due to its naturally soothing qualities.

     

    4) Diabetes
    Although human testing is not as widespread as it should be, early studies show cantaloupe to be connected with improved insulin metabolism, which means a more stable fluctuation of blood sugar, preventing the dangerous spikes and plunges of blood sugar all that diabetics fear. It has also been shown to reduce oxidative stress on the kidneys, which can prevent a number of kidney-related diseases.

     

    5) Digestion
    Cantaloupes are high in both fiber and moisture, thus helps to prevent constipation, promote regularity and maintain a healthy digestive tract.

     

    6) Hydration
    With its high water and electrolyte content, cantaloupe is a great snack to have on hand on hot days.

     

    Potential health risks of consuming cantaloupe
    It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is advisable to follow a diet with a variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health.

    Be sure to wash and scrub the outside surface of a cantaloupe thoroughly before cutting to decrease the risk of harmful bacteria like Salmonella transferring to the flesh of the melon.

    Beta-blockers, a type of medication most commonly prescribed for heart disease, can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. High potassium foods such as cantaloupe should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers.

    Consuming too much potassium can be harmful to those whose kidneys are not fully functional.

     

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  • 15Sep

    Our smoothie-of-the-day for today…

    3 oranges + 1 green apple + handful of cherries (seeds removed)+ juice from 1 lemon.  Simply love the zesty lemony taste from the lemon!

    Cherries are on offer at our neighborhood supermarket and hubs managed to grab a huge punnet at only RM29.90.  What a steal it was!   I think I want to grab another punnet tomorrow after breakfast.

    Did you know that cherries are touted as a super food?

    For those of you who love cherries, this ruby sweet fruit is much more than a tasty summer treat. Cherries are known to combat cancer, improve sleep, balance blood pressure and ease gout. Compounds found within cherries also help to relieve pain. Possessing potent anti-inflammatory properties, these delicious gems are an excellent way to ward off disease.

    Rich in vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants, cherries are a powerhouse of nutrition and should be enjoyed often.  If only cherries are more affordable in our country, I would definitely be stocking up cherries in my fridge!

     

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  • 06Jul

    A supermarket at my neighborhood is having a promotion for avocados today.  At only 99 sen each, I could not resist buying at least 10 of them!  But I only bought 2 to test if they are fresh and yes they are almost perfect inside.   Tomorrow I’m set to charge the supermarket at 9am to grab a big bag of avos 😀

     

    Avocado Sliced in Half

     

    These days, the avocado has become an incredibly popular food among health conscious individuals. It is often referred to as a superfood… which is not surprising given its health properties.

    Here are some of the health benefits of avocados:

    1.  They are incredibly delicious!

    2.  They contain more potassium than bananas

    3. Avocado is loaded with heart-healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

    4. Loaded with fiber.

    5. Eating avocados can lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels

    6. The fat in them can help you absorb nutrients from plant foods.

    7. Avocados are loaded with powerful antioxidants (Lutein and Zeaxanthin) that can protect the eyes.

    8. Avocados may help relieve the symptoms of Arthritis.

    9. Eating avocados may help you lose weight.

    10. Avocados can help stabilize blood sugar

    Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving of avocado:

    • Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.
    • Folate: 20% of the RDA.
    • Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
    • Potassium: 14% of the RDA.
    • Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
    • Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
    • Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.
    • Then it contains small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).

    An article from the Australia  Daily Mail Online on 16 June 2015 states that avocado could help fight cancer – in particular leukaemia cells and stops them from growing, raising hopes for a new drug.  Read more here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3126200/How-avocado-day-fight-CANCER-Fat-fruit-targets-leukaemia-cells-stops-growing.html#ixzz3f5B7ry5Q

     

     

     

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About Me

I am a WFHM with 3 beautiful girls - Alycia, Sherilyn and Cassandra. I quit the job that I love to stay home with my 3 angels as that's what I've always wanted to do. I am a health freak, fitness freak and a clean freak too. I love to eat and live healthily and I want my kids and hubby to do the same too. Apart from being obsessed with good health, I am obsessed with fashion! I own an online store that sells ladies and kids clothing. Check out my online store at Old & New Stuff For Sale

I always believe that your health is your wealth and if you have good health, that's the best gift you can ever ask for from God.

Do check out my other blogs Health Freak Mommy and Health Freak Mommy’s Journal too!

I have been writing product reviews, food reviews / restaurant reviews and product advertorials since 2007. Please email Shireen at shireenyong@gmail.com to inquire if you are interested to place an advertorial or review in this blog.

Thank you!

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