Monthly Archives: September 2016

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   It says that the superfood avocado has now been replaced by the unsung hero: the humble aubergine.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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