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Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Monday, October 31, 2011 0 comments

Soy milk has long been a popular alternative for people who are unable to drink cow's milk (usually due to lactose intolerance). But rather than drink soy milk because you have to, more and more people are deliberately choosing soy milk because of the added health benefits.
The benefits from soy are still being disputed, though it is generally accepted that soy milk contains a high number of very healthy compounds. Soy milk is high in protein, and because it is made from beans, also contains considerably more fiber than cow's milk.

Speaking of being made from beans, how exactly is soy "milk" made? Beans are cleaned and soaked overnight, and then pureed. The solids (called okara) are strained out, and the resulting liquid is boiled for about 10 minutes. A little simplified, but that's the basic idea. Of course, soy milk is also sold in most major supermarkets these days. There are also a number of kitchen gadgets on the market for making home-made soy milk (some links at right).

Back to the healthy aspects of soy milk. Besides the extra protein and fiber, the biggest benefit in soy milk are the isoflavones. Sounds complex, but basically isoflavones are actually chemicals very similar to the hormone estrogen. Isoflavones are connected to a whole host of health issues, with the most prevant being the prevention of many cancers, heart disease, osteoporosis and more. Berkeley Wellness Letter has an excellent article on soy isoflavones that can explain more.

Soy milk isn't fat-free, though some people think it is (I suppose because its made from beans). Soy milk does have a bit more fat than 2% cow's milk, but none of the nasty cholesterol (of which there is approximately 20mg per cup, in 2% cow's milk).

The largest downfall of soy milk is the lack of calcium. Soy milk has only about a quarter of the calcium, compared to cow's milk. Many soy milk manufacturers are adding calcium to their products, but studies show that it is not as healthful as naturally-occuring calcium. Thankfully, calcium is easily obtainable from other sources such as sardines, almonds, many beans, and several varieties of green leafy vegetables (like kale and collard greens). Of course, if you are able to handle dairy products, you can get your calcium from yogurt and cheese.

I suppose when it comes to adding soy milk to one's coffee or tea, it might seem like a moot point considering the quantity. But when it comes to your health, you should make every drop count.


Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Saturday, October 29, 2011 0 comments

A new therapy that helps increase good cholesterol and lower triglycerides in the blood could be a potential tool for combating cardiovascular disease, US researchers say.

The new therapy has been found effective in non-human primates.

The study was conducted because there is a very strong inverse correlation between the amount of HDL (good cholesterol) and heart disease, said co-principal investigator Ryan Temel, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pathology and lipid sciences at Wake Forest Baptist.

"The higher your level of HDL, the lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Currently, however, there are few therapies that significantly raise HDL," he stated.

While there are several effective therapies available on the market for lowering LDL, or bad cholesterol, modern medicine has yet to find a good way to raise HDL, Temel noted.

He and colleagues from NYU Langone Medical Center and Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, are studying a new drug that targets microRNA-33 (miR-33).

MiR-33 is a small RNA molecule that reduces HDL and increases triglyceride production.

The researchers tested the drug, anti-miR-33, in non-human primates and found that it increased HDL cholesterol and lowered triglycerides.

In the study, use of the drug resulted in a maximum HDL cholesterol increase of 50 percent after eight weeks that was sustained throughout the remainder of the 12-week study.

Anti-miR-33a/b treatment in the non-human primate model also increased the expression of miR-33 target genes involved in fatty acid breakdown resulting in suppressed triglyceride levels, a finding not previously observed in mice.

The decrease in triglycerides was apparent after four weeks and reached a maximum reduction of 50 per cent.

These findings indicate that miR-33a and miR-33b are key regulators of cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism, Temel added, and that an anti-miR-33 approach could directly impact atherosclerosis, as well as address important cardiovascular risk factors such low HDL and high triglycerides.


Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Thursday, October 27, 2011 0 comments

Getting too little sleep can have all kinds of negative consequences. But a growing body of evidence suggests another: making you fat. This prospect has researchers conducting studies on the potential relationship between shut-eye and BMI.
In her research, published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Marie-Pierre St-Onge of the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Centre at St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital found that sleep-deprived subjects consumed about 300 more calories per day than the well-rested subjects. Because it takes just 3,500 calories to add a pound to your body, St-Onge says, "if people kept that up for a while, it would add up really, really quickly".
Hormones are key.

Do sleep deficits actually cause people to become overweight? Does being overweight cause people to not get enough sleep? Do the two conditions share some underlying factor? Michael Breus knows those questions need answers. The prominent sleep-disorders specialist has published The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep, and spells out, by citing research, several means by which too little sleep could lead to weight gain. "On a physical level, the key things are hormones," Breus says. When you lack sleep, "your metabolism slows down. Your body tries to conserve energy" to carry you through the period of wakefulness. That triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that the body secretes in response to stress and that boosts appetite: Your body senses it needs more energy, so it demands more food. Sleep deprivation also causes your body to release more ghrelin, the hormone that signals hunger, and less leptin, the hormone that tells your body it's full, Breus says. That hormone cocktail, combined with being awake for more hours a day, can send you snacking into the wee hours. And that's just the hormones, Breus says.

He says a healthful night's sleep — about 7.5 hours for most adults — allows you to enjoy five 90-minute sleep cycles, each including a restful rapid-eye-movement, or REM, phase. Those cycles include increasing amounts of REM as your sleep progresses, so losing one or two sets of REM at the end of your sleep time digs deep into your total REM time, Breus says. You burn more calories during REM than during other parts of the sleep cycle, and those unburnt calories can add up to weight gain, he says.

However, Jim Hill, director of the Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Centre at the University of Colorado and a spokesperson for the American Society for Nutrition, urges caution. "I'm convinced [sleep deprivation and obesity] are linked, but science hasn't proven it yet. We have to be careful that we're not giving the wrong message. I don't think it's going to be as simple as you fix the sleep, you fix the obesity."

Recipe for a good night's sleep
This recipe from Michael Breus's book uses dairy's natural relaxant properties and an ideal carb-protein ratio to make you drowsy when consumed shortly before bedtime.
1 container low-fat vanilla yoghurt
1/2 ripe banana, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 graham cracker, crushed

Combine the yoghurt, banana, milk and vanilla extract in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs.
Servings: 1

Nutrition per serving: 249 calories; 2.5g fat (1.5g saturated); 11mg cholesterol; 175mg sodium; 45g total carbohydrates (37g sugars); 1.5g fibre; 13g protein.

Keep your sleep schedule consistent. If your body knows when to go to bed, it does it, and does it well.
Exercise daily. Exercise helps reduce anxiety, a main cause of sleep loss. But stop four hours before lights out.
Keep a worry journal. Writing down your worries can reduce anxiety's grip.
Limit pre-bedtime activity. The time right before bed should be spent doing three things: the stuff you need to do to get ready for the next day; personal hygiene; and relaxing time.
Don't consume caffeine after 2pm. It can keep you awake for ten hours.
First thing in the morning, get 15 minutes of sunlight, the easiest way to reset your circadian rhythm, the internal system that regulates your sleep.

Reference: Health article


Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Wednesday, October 26, 2011 0 comments

Coconut water is the juice in the interior or endosperm of young coconut. The water is one of the nature’s most refreshing drinks consumed worldwide for its nutritious and health benefiting properties.

Botanically, coconut plant belongs to the Arecaceae family of palm trees and has scientific name: 
Its juicy water is usually obtained by opening a tender, green, healthy, and undamaged coconut. The liquid is clear, sweet, and sterile and composed of unique chemicals such as sugars, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids, cytokine, and phyto-hormones. In general, young and slightly immature nuts harvested when they are about 5-7 months of age for drinking purpose.

Cocos nucifera.
Each nut may contain about 200 to 1000 ml of water depending on cultivar type and size. Any nuts younger than 5 months age tend to be bitter in taste and devoid of nutrients. Whereas, older nuts have less water and their endosperm becomes thicker as white edible meat (kernel). Coconut milk obtained from the meat is therefore should not be confused with coconut water

Coconut palm flourishes well along the costal tropical environments. A coconut tree may yield several hundred tender nuts each season. Several hundred species of coconut palm grown all over the tropics, so taste and flavor of water thus vary according to saline content, distance from sea shore, mainland etc.

Health benefits of coconut water

  • Coconut water is a very refreshing drink to beat tropical summer thirst. The juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish hydration levels in the body.
  • Research studies suggest that cytokinins (e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water showed significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects.
  • Coconut water has been generally offered to patients with diarrhea in many tropic regions to replace fluid loss from the gastrointestinal tract and reduce the need for intravenous therapy. The osmolarity of tender coconut water is slightly greater than that of WHO recommended ORS (Oral Rehydration Therapy) osmolarity. Presence of other biological constituents like amino acids, enzymes, minerals, and fatty acids may account for this higher osmolarity. However, unlike WHO-ORS, its water is very low in sodium and chlorides, but rich in sugars and amino acids. This well-balanced fluid composition with much needed calories would be an ideal drink than any other brand of soft drink beverages in dehydration conditions.
  • Coconut water is composed of many naturally occurring bioactive enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, diastase, peroxidase, RNA polymerases etc. Altogether, these enzymes aid in digestion and metabolism.
  • Despite very light consistency, its water has much better composition of minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc than some of fruits like oranges. (Compare mineral composition oforanges).
  • Its water is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pyridoxine, and folates. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish.
  • Coconut water contains a very good amount of electrolyte potassium. 100 ml of water has 250 mg of potassium and 105 mg of sodium. Together, these electrolytes help replenish electrolytes deficiency in the body due to diarrhea (loose stools).
  • In addition, fresh coconut water has small amount of vitamin-C (ascorbic acid); provides about 2.4 mcg or 4% of RDA. Vitamin C is a water-soluble ant-oxidant.


Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Monday, October 24, 2011 0 comments

Want to get a hair transplant? Don't get swayed by classifieds offering cheaper hair transplant procedures as they can cause permanent damage to your scalp, doctors warn.

"The popularity of hair transplantation has seen a dramatic increase ever since celebrities have come out in the open declaring that they have undergone the procedure. A lot of younger adults who are about to get married are also coming in for hair transplantation," hair transplant surgeon Arvind Poswal told IANS.

Currently there are three procedures available. The first one is FUT (follicular unit transplantation) or strip procedure, where hair is transplanted from the permanent zone, the area in the back and sides of the scalp where hair is more resistant to balding, to the bald or balding areas.

The second procedure is FUE (follicular unit extraction), which is a slower procedure involving the transplantation of 500-1,000 hair strands. The third procedure available is DHI (direct hair implantation), which is considered the most advanced technique.

While the strip procedure can cost anywhere between Rs.40,000 and Rs.50,000, the DHI procedure ranges from Rs.2 lakh to Rs.5 lakh.

Newspapers and magazines are rife with advertisements offering cheap hair transplants at lower prices, but experts say blindly believing the ads is an invitation to disaster.

"A lot of complications can occur if the procedure is not done properly. People often get affected by lucrative offers and end up paying more in the form of scars and bad results. A lot of scarring can occur in the front and back. Bleeding and infection may also occur," said Viral Desai, a cosmetic and plastic surgeon based in Mumbai.

"A cheap transplant done in haste can do permanent damage. The visible scars not only look ugly but are also painful reminders of the treatment going wrong," Desai added.

Arihant Surana, medical director of Delhi-based Asian Roots spa, which offers hair transplant options, says transplants done by untrained doctors can make the hair look artificial.

"The most common thing that happens in such a case is 'no result'. Also, patients can get scarring in the front and back of their scalp if they opt for places that offer attractive discounts but generally lack trained and skilled doctors. And such damage is permanent in nature," said Surana.

"The new crop of hair doesn't look natural but appears as a 'paddy field' of hair placed artificially on top of the head," Surana added.

Poswal says such advertisements lead to negative publicity for doctors as well as the procedures.

"People should not get carried away by such advertisements. These give negative
publicity not only to the doctors but also to the procedures and obviously they will think twice before going in for the procedures," he said.

"It is important for people to do a proper research before getting swayed by such advertisements and opting for cheap treatments. They should look at people who have a similar hair loss problem like theirs and then decide," Poswal added.

Surana echoes similar views.

"It is extremely important that one should do the ground work and basic research on who are the experts in this area. One must check the track record and previous successful cases. Blindly trusting startups or people with scanty experience or getting swayed by attractive offers can cost dearly!" he said.


Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Friday, October 21, 2011 0 comments

Lemon is nature’s antiseptic. Tea is considered to be a healthy alternative to soda and coffee. Lemon tea uses the benefits of lemon to help the body and mind of those who consume it.
Lemon tea can have a cleansing effect on the body by removing toxins from the blood.
Lemon tea also helps in reducing surgical swelling.
Removing toxins from the body can reduce the chance of cancer in the body. The antioxidants in lemon tea may also reduce the chance of skin cancer.
Lemon tea aids in healthy digestion by having a calming effect on the stomach.
Lemon tea is helpful during cold and flu season; it is detoxifying and it stimulates the immune system.
Lemon is an astringent and can reduce acne and other skin disorders when taken internally. Drinking of lemon tea will help in reducing acne and other skin disorder.
Here is the recipe of Lemon Tea:
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Sugar, or honey to taste
  1. Pour water into a mug.
  2. Add honey and heat in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in lemon juice, mixing until honey is dissolved, then stir in the sugar.


Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Thursday, October 20, 2011 0 comments

Bad cholesterol fuels the growth of the commonest type of brain cancer, glioblastoma, just as hormones drive the growth of certain breast and prostate cancers. 

Glioblastomas are also the most aggressive and difficult to treat, with an average survival rate of 15 months from diagnosis.

US scientists say the finding will pave the way for developing drugs that will target them specifically. They found that up to 90 per cent of glioblastomas have a 'hyperactive signalling pathway' for cholesterol, reports the journalCancer Discovery .

This implies their cells are programmed to suck up LDL or bad cholesterol, which feeds tumour growth in turn, the Telegraph reports.

Deliang Guo, assistant professor of radiation oncology at Ohio State University who led the study, said: "Our research shows that the tumour cells depend on large amounts of cholesterol for growth and survival."

"Pharmacologically depriving tumour cells of cholesterol may offer a novel therapeutic strategy to treat glioblastoma," added Guo.

Paul Mischel, professor of pathology at the Jonsson Cancer Center, University of California-Los Angeles, added: "It potentially offers a strategy for blocking that mechanism and causing specific tumour-cell death without significant toxicity." 


Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Tuesday, October 18, 2011 0 comments

Washington:  Two studies last week raised gnawing worries about the safety of vitamin supplements and a host of questions. Should anyone be taking them? Which ones are most risky? And if you do take them, how can you pick the safest ones?
Vitamins have long had a "health halo." Many people think they're good for you and at worst might simply be unnecessary.
Our foods are increasingly pumped full of them already. Even junk foods and drinks often are fortified with nutrients, so the risk is rising that we're getting too much. Add a supplement and you may exceed the upper limit. "We're finding out they're not as harmless as the industry might have us believe," said David Schardt, a nutritionist at the US consumer group Centre for Science in the Public Interest.
Last week, a study of nearly 40,000 older women found a slightly higher risk of death among those taking dietary supplements.
Natural sources
Another study found that men taking high doses of vitamin E - 400 units a day - for five years had a slightly increased risk of prostate cancer. There is no clear evidence that multivitamins lower the risk of cancer, heart disease or any other chronic health problems. The best way to get vitamins is to eat foods that naturally contain them, said Jody Engel, a nutritionist with Office of Dietary Supplements.
Some folks may need more of certain nutrients and should talk with their doctors about supplements — Postmenopausal women regarding calcium and vitamin D to protect bones; women planning on pregnancy regarding folate, or folic acid, to prevent birth defects; people over age 50 and vegans who may need vitamin B12; pregnant women, who may need extra iron; breastfed infants and possibly other infants concerning vitamin D.
What the experts say:
Keep it simple. The more ingredients there are in a supplement combo, the more chance that one of them will not be the right amount.
Consider a supplement combo tailored to your gender and age.
Multivitamins often contain little iron, and ones for seniors give more calcium and vitamin D than products aimed at younger adults.
Take vitamin D with dinner. It is absorbed more when consumed with the largest meal.
Watch out for vitamin K. It promotes clotting and can interfere with common heart medicines and blood thinners.
Current and former smokers are advised to avoid multivitamins with lots of beta-carotene or vitamin A as it raises lung cancer risk in them.
For cancer patients, vitamins C and E might reduce the effectiveness of certain types of chemotherapy.
People having surgery should know that some vitamins can affect bleeding and response to anaesthesia.


Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Sunday, October 16, 2011 0 comments

The apricot is a stone fruit with a seed nut within it. Its shape is similar to that of the peach but slightly smaller, with skin that is velvety and golden orange in color.
Apricot is not suitable for juicing but can be blended to be mixed with other juices.  The fresh fruit tastes smooth and sweet, with a flavor that is a cross between a peach and a plum.
An apricot in its raw state is somewhat acidic but the acidity decreases as it ripens and its sugar content increases.  When it ripens, the vitamin A within also doubles.
Interesting: Recently, hybrids have been produced between plums and apricots which are supposed to be much more superior than either parent:
     Plumcot  =  50% plum + 50% apricot
    Aprium   =  75% apricot + 25% plum
    Pluot      =  75% plum + 25% apricot

Nutritional Benefits
The apricot has highly health-building virtues.  The fresh fruit is rich in easily-digestible natural sugars, vitamins A and C, riboflavin (B2) and niacin (B3).
It is also an excellent source of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron and traces of sodium, sulphur, manganese, cobalt and bromine.
Apricots are often dried, cooked into pastry or eaten as jam.  The calories in apricots multiply many times over when dried, but the amount of calcium, phosphorus and iron also increased significantly.
The beta-carotene and lycopene in this golden fruit helps protect the LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which in turn helps prevent heart disease.
The apricot seed is a nut that is rich in protein and fat like any other nuts. It also has an extremely high content of vitamin B17 which is known as Laetrile.  Daily consumption of this seed is claimed to be highly effective in preventing cancer.  Cancer patients on Laetrile Cancer Therapy have reported that their tumors have shrunk with high doses of vitamin B17.
These bitter seeds may be chopped up or ground and swallowed with a teaspoon of honey.

Health Benefits
The fruit, kernel (inner softer part of the seed), oil and flowers of the apricot have always been used in medicine and medical treatment from ancient days.
The kernel yields an oil that is similar to that of the almond and is widely used for their sedative, anti-spasmodic relief to strained muscles.  It is also useful for healing of wounds, expelling worms and as a general health tonic.
Anemia: The high content of iron in apricot makes it an excellent food for anemia sufferers.  The small but essential amount of copper in the fruit makes the iron available to the body.  Liberal consumption of apricot can increase the production of hemoglobin in the body.  This is ideal for women after their menstrual cycle, especially those with heavy flow.
Constipation: The cellulose and pectin content in apricot is a gentle laxative and are effective in the treatment of constipation.  The insoluble cellulose acts as a roughage which helps the bowel movement.  The pectin absorbs and retains water, thereby increasing bulk to stools, aiding in smooth bowel movement.
Digestion: Take an apricot before meal to aid digestion, as it has an alkaline reaction in the digestive system.
Eyes/Vision: The high amount of vitamin A (especially when dried) is essential to maintain or improve eyesight.  Insufficiency of this vitamin can cause night blindness and impair sight.
Fever: Blend some honey and apricots with some mineral water and drink to cool down fevers.  It quenches the thirst and effectively eliminates the waste products from the body.
Skin Problem: Juice fresh apricot leaves and apply on scabies, eczema, sun-burn or skin itchiness, for that cool, soothing feeling.

Consumption Tips
Apricots are usually picked when they are still firm.  An unripe apricot is often yellow and hard.  When ripe and soft, its color turn a consistent golden-orange hue.  At this time, handle the fruit with care as it is easily bruised.
Stored in the fridge, these fruits can last for three or four days.  When overripe, the fruit turns soft and mushy.

Fresh apricots contain a small amount of oxalates.  Individuals with a history of calcium oxalate-containing kidney stones should not consume too much of this fruit.
Whereas dried apricots contain sulfur-containing compounds such as sulfur dioxide.  These compounds may cause adverse reactions in people who suffer from asthma.


Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Tuesday, October 11, 2011 0 comments

Scientists have found that regular workouts help prevent migraines just as well as relaxation therapy and a common prescription drug.

All three treatments reduced the frequency of some women's migraine attacks by as much as three quarters - although the average reduction was more modest.

Scientists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden were surprised to find using an exercise bike three times a week could have such a potent effect.

The team, led by Dr Emma Varkey, studied 91 women aged between 18 and 65 years old from a single headache clinic in Sweden.

They had neurologist-diagnosed migraine, with or without aura, and got headaches two to eight times per month.

Previous studies have shown that both relaxation therapy and the prescription drug topiramate are able to prevent migraines. The latest study found exercise is just as effective.

"It was a bit surprising and very interesting that the change in number of migraine attacks was almost similar in all three groups," the Daily Mail quoted are Dr Varkey as saying.

"This non-pharmacological approach may therefore be an option for the prophylactic treatment of migraine in patients who do not benefit from or do not want daily 
," she added.

Dr Varkey said topiramate was best at reducing the intensity of migraines when they did come. However, the drug can cause side effects such as numbness, vertigo and depressed mood.

None of the women in the relaxation group or exercise group reported side effects, but eight women making up a third of the topiramate group did and three withdrew from the study as a result.

Let us consider the artichoke and the very long list of health benefits it offers.  But first, there are artichokes and Jerusalem artichokes which are a different plant and not an artichoke at all nor from Jerusalem. 

This article is about true artichokes or the Cynar scolymus, member of the thistle family (globe artichoke, etc.). Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke) is a member of the sunflower family and is not a true artichoke at all - it is the tuber that is eaten. Both have cynarin and silymarin, however the true artichoke (cynar scolymus), globe artichoke and varieties have higher levels of both and are the kind used most for liver/gall and more treatment.  

The choke (heart) of small artichokes or the Spanish or Italian varieties, can be eaten whole.  There are no hairs to remove as is the case with larger varieties.

Since ancient times, the artichoke has been used for liver and gallbladder conditions, 'cleaning' the blood, as well as the bladder. The Egyptians highly prized it as a health and diet food and Plinius described it as the 'food for the rich' because of the health problems contributed to a 'rich' life style - excessive in rich foods, fats and wine that led to liver illnesses (such as cirrhosis), gout and a general run down condition.

Today we know that the artichoke is very high in fibre, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace elements important for a balanced system. It is known to positively help poor liver function (thus helping to lower the blood cholesterol), arteriosclerosis, gout, supports the treatment of hepatitis and improves the gall secretions. It can slightly lower the blood sugar, improve the appetite and digestion, is diuretic and may help some migraine conditions (most especially those caused by toxins in the blood). As it helps the body rid itself of excess water and moves toxins it also has the added side effect of an improved skin luminosity.

In a poor diet of excessive drinking (most especially strong alcoholic drinks), high red meat and fat consumption, the artichoke can boost the liver's ability to regenerate its cells. Obviously, nothing can help advanced cirrhosis of the liver. Most liver problems by the way, are self-inflicted.

The liver's main function is the metabolic transformation of nutrients from the food we eat. It also detoxifies certain poisons. An overstressed liver obviously cannot function properly, which among other things results in poor assimilation of nutrients and increased toxins in the blood. This will eventually adversely affect the entire body causing numerous ailments that are often only symptomatically treated. What is amazing are the numbers of people who abuse their livers and hence their bodies, think they eat well, yet are suffering from a form of malnutrition - a word one associates with poverty and third world countries.
What to do? Take an honest appraisal of your diet, recognize unhealthy habits and develop a better understanding of the importance of a properly functioning liver. After serious drinking and weeks of fat-rich foods, do something good for your liver. Give it a break and help it to recuperate.

When artichokes are  in season, go on a short term Artichoke 'Cure' (treatment, diet)! Discover new recipes and eat them as a main meal for several days. Repeat for as long as they are in season, varying the menu with small amounts of meat and other vegetables. Artichokes only have about 25 calories. Eat fish and poultry 3 times a week and cut out red meat for while. Avoid all animal fats during this time, use olive oil instead and avoid all strong alcohol. A few glasses of red wine a day helps the red blood cell production as well, however abstain from even wine for the several days to a week before adding a small glass with your meal. Another positive side to artichokes and improved liver function is that weight loss is easier as the metabolic assimilation of food is more efficient.

Infusion: use the leaves you normally throw away. You will need about 12-15 leaves per half litre (approx. 2 cups) of boiling water. Pour over the chopped leaves and allow to brew for 5 minutes. Strain and drink 2 cups during the day. You may sweeten with honey if you like. However, an easier method is to purchase an excellent extract by the W. Schoenenberger, Salus or A. Vogel companies from the health food shop).

Versatile: once trimmed, the versatile Spanish or Italian artichoke (remember you can eat the whole choke) can be cooked whole, sliced lengthways, halved, quartered or chopped, pre-cooked in a little water or broth and used in rice dishes, potato dishes, salads or as a topping for pizzas. They can be fried, steamed, boiled, stuffed, chopped with other ingredients for a filling for tomatoes, served with sauces. Chop the hearts very fine and they can be used in vinaigrette, mayonnaise, mixed with cooked egg or grated cheese or used in omelettes.  Then there's quiche, pasta and risotto dishes - you are only limited by your imagination!

f you’re looking at the relative health values of different green vegetables, you may be interested in all of the stuff that is inside artichokes that helps provide specific benefits for the body. The artichoke is renowned as a curative medicinal plant in some historic cultures for a number of reasons. Scientists today look at how various elements of this plant can promote overall wellness. Here are some of the major health benefits of the artichoke.

1. Antioxidants for Overall Health

Like other green plants, fresh artichokes have a lot of antioxidant value. The class of natural plant nutrients called antioxidants helps to prevent some kinds of cancer, as well as heart disease and other illnesses. Specific kind of antioxidants in the artichoke include quercetin and a flavonoid called rutin, both of which are helpful in fighting off illness.

2. Lower Cholesterol

The cyanic properties in the artichoke help the body to excrete bad cholesterol and assist in balanced cholesterol levels that help those with high cholesterol. That’s another reason that the artichoke can help prevent some kinds of heart disease.

3. Blood Glucose Levels

Scientific evidence shows that the artichoke can help balance blood glucose levels and help deal with diabetes. Foods on this side of the glycemic index are often prescribed for patients dealing with a blood sugar imbalance.

4. Improved Liver Function

The artichoke plant has been known as a liver tonic for centuries. Its natural properties help the body get rid of toxins and assist the liver in its vital operations.

5. Digestive Value

Another health benefit of the artichoke is its role as a digestive aid. Like a variety of other green plants including parsley, the artichoke was often used to soothe the stomach in past cultures. Today, nutritionists sometimes recommend the artichoke as a cure for irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. One reason that the artichoke helps with digestion, according to some scientists, is that it helps to stimulate the gall bladder.

6. Helping with Hypertension

Artichokes have a good deal of potassium, a mineral that’s generally good for you. Potassium helps deal with excess sodium, and for those who are taking some kinds of anti-hypertensive drugs, foods like artichokes can be a way to hedge against a potential potassium deficiency.


Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Wednesday, October 5, 2011 0 comments

Experts tell Zeenia F Baria about the common misconceptions associated with salt 

How much salt is too much? Are you among those who won't touch their meals without adding copious amounts of salt? Or do you belong to that category that vehemently refuses to add any salt at all to their diet? Too much salt intake and none at all are both equally harmful. According to Consultant Interventional Cardiologist Dr Vijay Surase, salt is considered by many as an essential part of the human diet. While awareness about the perils of excessive salt intake has increased - with supermarket shelves overflowing with food products, which contain less salt or no salt - the question remains, how important is salt restriction?

"Common salt is composed mainly of sodium and chlorine. Sodium chloride is critical for the maintenance of osmotic balance and other functions. It is true that salt can be dangerous for some people and it is also true that sodium chloride can be obtained from other foods. However, research indicates that approximately 80 per cent of the population will actually benefit from consumption of natural sea salt, which is less refined than common table salt and does not contain added aluminum compounds. Unless you're told specifically by a qualified specialist about limiting or stopping your salt intake, it should not be done so because it can cause terrible weakness, drowsiness, depression, convulsions, and even coma. Even hypertensive patients need not live with this fear about salt. Normal salt intake is fine but excess salt in your diet (consumption of French fries, pickles, papads, chaat masala etc should be avoided," says Dr Surase.

Interventional Cardiologist Dr Shantanu Deshpande says that salt is essential for maintaining homeostasis in our bodies. "The normal requirement is just 500 mg per day. Most Indian diets, however, exceed that limit. Normally excessive salt intake is excreted in the urine. But in almost 50 per cent of individuals, the kidneys are not able to handle this excess of sodium. Excess of salt in your blood stream retains more water resulting in a rise in blood volumes and blood pressure. It also results in hypertrophy of heart and blood vessel musculature resulting in permanent rise in blood pressure. These effects are more pronounced in the elderly and diabetics. Reducing salt intake in your diet reduces blood pressure. A low salt diet containing less than 5 gm of salt per day is recommended for high blood pressure patients who should avoid items like chutneys, cheese, processed food items and junk food.

Senior Interventional Cardiologist Dr Rajiv Bhagwat says that the importance of salt intake in regulation of blood pressure is well established. "Reduction of salt is one of the most important and effective life style modifications to reduce blood pressure. A 2 mm reduction in historic blood pressure reduces stroke mortality by 10 per cent and seven per cent reduction in mortality from coronary diseases. Besides reducing blood pressure, salt reduction also reduces Left Ventricular Sickness (Hyper Trophy), reduces protein loss in urine, reduces osteoporosis and bone mineral loss with age, protects against stomach cancer, asthma and possibly against cataracts as well. Increase your intake of potassium, which is found in plenty in fruits, legumes, nuts and vegetables. Their intake is an effective mean to reduce blood pressure." 


Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Tuesday, October 4, 2011 0 comments

Foods Containing Vitamin K
Vitamin K is an essential nutrient for good health, and knowing about foods high in Vitamin K can help individuals plan diets to accommodate their nutritional needs. At the same time, some individuals should avoid those same foods to prevent potentially devastating health problems.

About Vitamin K

Vitamin K was first discovered in 1929 by a Danish scientist, Henrik Dam, who noticed the coagulatory properties associated with specific blood chemistry. In German, this "coagulation vitamin" was call koagulationsvitamin, and eventually became known as Vitamin K.
Vitamin K is manufactured by a range of intestinal bacteria, principally in the lower intestine. This is a rich source of the nutrient, but some individuals do not manufacture sufficient amounts especially if their intestines are damaged. In these instances, it is necessary to ingest foods high in Vitamin K to make up the recommended 65 to 120 micrograms for daily dietary intake.


Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Sunday, October 2, 2011 1 comments

In the 1970s, scientists discovered that the Inuit (Eskimos) people of Greenland were some of healthiest people in the world. Their diet was very high in fat from eating whale, salmon, and seal, but they had far fewer health problems (coronary heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, etc.) than other Europeans. Scientists concluded that Omega-3 was the determining factor in the Inuit people’s superior health.
Similar results were found in Iceland. People in Iceland have fewer problems with heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure than any other nation in the world. They also have the longest life expectancy and the lowest infant mortality rate in the world. Again, scientist attributed this to high intake of Omega-3 fish oils (particularly DHA and EPA). 1
Studies have shown that Omega-3 has numerous health benefits, ranging from brain function to heart health. Here is information on a few of the benefits of Omega-3 fish oils.
1 Garry Gordon, M.D. and Herb Joiner-Bey, N.D. “The Omega-3 Miracle.” Freedom Press, 2004.

Why is Omega-3 a “brain booster”?
The majority of the brain is made up of “good” fats knows as fatty acids, and the majority of this “good” fat is Omega-3. Studies have shown that diets rich in Omega-3 can result in increased learning ability, problem-solving skills, focus, memory, and communication between cells. Omega-3 has also been shown to help promote a positive mood and emotional balance, and can help people maintain healthy mental ability as they age.

How does Omega-3 actually help the brain?
Within the brain are neurons (cells which transmit messages throughout the brain and to other parts of the body). The membrane (or wall) around these neurons is made up of “good” fat. In order for the neurons to communicate properly, these membranes need to be flexible to allow vital molecules to pass through. Several factors, including age and diets high in cholesterol and saturated fats, can cause these membranes to stiffen and be less pliable. This stiffness does not allow the needed molecules to pass through the neurons correctly and can result in mood imbalances, difficulties in learning, difficulties in recalling information, and other decreases in brain function.
By supplementing your diet with Omega-3 you can restore the flexible and pliable nature of the cell membranes to the neurons in your brain, resulting in increased cell communication and brain function.
In addition, Omega-3 benefits brain function by acting as a blood cleanser, making the blood less sticky and more fluid. This allows more oxygen to reach the brain and in essence “feeds” the brain.

Dozens of studies have shown that Omega-3 has a positive affect in maintaining a healthy heart. The FDA issued a statement that “supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” One serving of Omega-3 Brain Booster provides 500 mg of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. [See nutrition information for total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol content.]
Omega-3 can also promote a healthy cardiovascular system, including healthy veins and arteries. Omega-3 may help red blood cells maintain their flexibility, allowing them to flow more fluidly.

Omega-3 may help promote:
  • Joints and mobility
  • Skin and complexion
  • Immune system
  • Visual function
  • Ability to breath
  • Positive behavior in children
  • Function of the nervous system
  • Spatial function and spatial memory
  • Cellular communication
  • Weight maintenance

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