Tag Archives: nutrition

Why you should have Honey at home

Why you should have Honey at home

Posted By: Jennifer Joseph 
Honey has been known throughout history as “Liquid Gold,” a natural sweetener that is not just delicious but provides many therapeutic benefits. Although it is a versatile cooking ingredient, honey could also offer some health benefits.
If you’ve not been taking full advantage of the nutritional and medicinal properties of honey, you need to do so!.

You are, therefore, advised to get a bottle of honey stored up in your room somewhere, today because it has lots of amazing benefits you never knew!
Honey Reduces Cough!
Honey may prove to be a lifesaver during this cold season. According to a study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, researchers tested a single nighttime dose of buckwheat honey against a common cough suppressant and no treatment at all in more than 100 children with colds. Overall, parents found that the honey was better than the other two approaches for relieving cough symptoms and improving sleep.
No wonder the World Health Organization lists honey as a potential demulcent, a sugary liquid that coats the throat and soothes irritation. A 2007 study by Penn State College of Medicine suggested that it reduced nighttime coughing and improved sleep quality in children with upper respiratory infection better than the cough medicine dextromethorphan or no treatment.
      2. Honey heals wounds!
Shocking, isn’t it? Applying honey to the skin has been used to heal wounds and burns since ancient Egypt, and is still being used today.
In-depth research studies on honey and wound care were evaluated and the review found that it is most effective at healing partial thickness burns and wounds that have become infected after surgery.
It is also an effective treatment for diabetic foot ulcers, which are very serious complications and can lead to amputation.
One study reported a 43.3% success rate with honey as a wound treatment. In another study, topical honey healed a whopping 97% of patients being treated for their diabetic ulcers.
Similarly, researchers believe that its healing powers come from its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its ability to nourish the surrounding tissue.
    3. Honey Boosts Memory!
We are what we eat and hence it is very important to consume foods that help make our mental health strong to sustain in old age. One of its numerous health benefits includes its ability in boosting memory and concentration.
Honey not only increases brain power and memory but also makes you a healthier person altogether. Consumption of honey prevents metabolic stress and helps calm and soothes the brain, which helps in augmenting memory in the long run. The natural antioxidants and therapeutic properties in honey help in boosting brains’ cholinergic system and circulation and receding cells that cause memory loss.
     4. Honey helps digestion!
Honey helps reduce constipation, bloating and gas, thanks to it being a mild laxative. Honey is also rich in probiotic or “friendly” bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, which aid in digestion, promote the health of the immune system, and reduce allergies.
Using it in place of table sugar has been found to reduce the toxic effects in the gut of mycotoxins produced by fungi.
5.   Honey Cures Acne!
Honey is a popular home remedy for acne. It’s often combined with other natural ingredients such as cinnamon,

nutmeg, lemon, and avocado to make acne face masks.
There are a lot of anecdotal reports from people who have successfully used honey in the treatment of acne, but actual scientific studies that examine its effectiveness when used on acne patients are currently lacking.
However, we do know that this natural ingredient has antibacterial activity, and studies have shown that it can kill a wide range of bacteria. This is currently thought to be a result of the hydrogen peroxide that is present in the honey and a protein called bee-defensin-1 which is added to the nectar when it’s in the bee’s stomach.
Studies have shown that it is capable of killing the acne-causing bacteria. Due to its high level of antibacterial activity, using honey for acne treatment has become popular in the natural skin care community.
Honey also has anti-inflammatory properties which could be useful in the treatment of an inflammatory condition like acne.
The health benefits of Honey are endless and amazing, new research and studies keep coming up with more benefits of Honey!
Do well to get yourself a bottle of honey today.

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​Healthy diet for nursing mothers

​Healthy diet for nursing mothers


By Zainab Dada

Regular meal is very important for nursing mothers when breast-feeding in order to gain essential nutrients and to increase breast milk levels. Eating well when breast feeding means getting a variety of nutritious food which will help your child’s growth and development.

To ensure that your baby is well kept, a nursing mother needs to keep a close eye on her diet. She must ensure that she eats food that are rich in protein, folic acid, carbohydrate, vitamins, and minerals but must reduce fat and oil. According to experts, below are the health benefits of these foods to your child.

Protein: is important for nursing mothers and their children because it supports growth, repairs tissues and also aid immune system functions. Two serving of food like egg, fish, and beans everyday will help your child a lot.

Calcium: Plenty of calcium rich foods are also effective and essential in a breast-feeding diet. Calcium helps build and protect the bone and teeth, it also plays role in blood clotting and helps maintain healthy blood pressure. Examples of food that contain calcium are yogurt and cheese.

Carbohydrate: Rich foods such as rice, bread, yam and so on are also good for the mothers especially, because they strengthen them, and also give them energy to stay strong for their off- string.

Vitamins: Vitamin A and C are also essential in a nursing mother because it will strengthen the baby’s vision and bone growth. Babies generally are dependent on their mothers’ dietary intake to get Vitamins A and C. Examples of these are; sweet potatoes, carrot, orange juice, mangoes, avocado and pumpkin.

Fat and oil: Doctors often discourage mothers from taking too much of fat and oil because it has been scientifically confirmed it that high fat content is not good for babies. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fat and oil available for nursing mothers because of it high content of calories.

Effect of malnutrition on nursing mothers

Dr. Muyiwa Olugbesan of J.V.M hospital said “when nursing mothers don’t eat food that are rich in protein, carbohydrate and take too much of fat and oil, they will not be able to fight infections and are likely to succumb to diseases such as anemia, malaria and so on.

Effect of malnutrition on babies

Dr. Muyiwa Olugbesan said no disease has been associated with babies because nature has done it in such a way that breast milk itself is enough for a baby adding that the only thing negative effect is that the immune system of the child will be reduced and the child is bound to have diseases like diarrhea, malaria, kwashiorkor, marasmos and even xerophthalmia (process while by the child face start to turn dry then later get blind).

Source: Tribune

​The best foods for your heart 

The best foods for your heart 

Can the contents of your kitchen seriously save your life? A growing body of research suggests that what you eat and drink can protect your body against myriad health woe.

Studies have also shown that up to 70 per cent of heart disease cases are preventable with the right food choices.

“What’s good for your heart is good for your brain and good for you in general,” says Arthur Agatston, MD, a renowned cardiologist and founder of the South Beach Diet.

There is just one little trick to turning your kitchen into a hub for heart health: Don’t stick to the same few foods. The secret is in varying the types of fish, vegetables, whole grains and other items you enjoy every day. With that in mind, we’ve compiled the world’s top foods for your heart—mix and match a handful of them every week to eat your way toward a healthier you.

Yam

This is a great source of Vitamin C, calcium and iron, which help to reduce high blood pressure. Eat the skin, too, which is full of heart-healthy nutrients.

Wild salmon (not farmed)

Broiled, grilled or baked, this tasty, fleshy fish is replete with omega-3 fatty acids that improve the metabolic markers for heart disease. It also has a rich level of selenium, an antioxidant that studies have shown boosts cardiovascular protection. (Of course, not all salmon is created equal: Find out what the ‘Invasion of The Frankenfish’ means for your health.)

Sardines

These spiny little creatures are also loaded with omega-3s in the form of fish oil, which increases “good” cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of sudden heart attacks in people who have experienced previous attacks, according to the Mayo Clinic. Stick to fresh ones to avoid the canned variety’s high salt content.

Liver

Liver contains fats that are good for the heart, says William Davis, MD, a Wisconsin-based preventive cardiologist and author of ‘Wheat Belly’. “That’s the way humans are scripted,” he says. “Primitive humans ate the entire animal. Livers contain a lot of fats and that’s healthy.”

Oatmeal

The highly publicised benefits of eating your oatmeal have long shown it’s a wonder meal for reducing cholesterol. But eat only the plain, non-processed kind. Instant and flavoured oats are often drenched in processed sugar.

Coffee

Caffeine junkies rejoice. According to Dr. Agatston, studies have shown that coffee is high in antioxidants and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Up to three cups a day also increases cognition levels and helps decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Agatston says. (That’s not the only thing a cup of java can do. We’ve got four more coffee cures that will convince you to drink up.)

Red wine

Back to the importance of resveratrol, a compound with antioxidant properties, which can also help prevent cancer. According a recent study from the UK’s University of Leicester, resveratrol is found in dark-skinned berries and grapes. Madirans and Cabernets typically contain large amounts of procyanidins, an antioxidant that helps to reduce cholesterol and increases arterial health. (Wine fan? We don’t blame you. Check out 8 Reasons To Love Red Wine.)

Prevention.com

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Health, nutritional value of pineapple 

Health, nutritional value of pineapple 


Pineapple, a delicious tropical fruit, has been celebrated for centuries not only for its unique taste but also for its miraculous health benefits. The health and medicinal benefits of pineapple include improving the immune system, respiratory health and digestion, strengthening bones, reducing inflammation, curing coughs and colds, and weight loss.


Aside from the interesting story and appearance of this fruit, it is also a storehouse of huge health benefits due to its wealth of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, beta carotene,  thiamin, B6, and folate, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber, and bromelain.

A pineapple fruit is known to offer a lot of benefits, which include a stronger immune system, weight loss, improved respiratory health and strengthened bones, among others. Let us discuss each benefit in detail;

Treats arthritis

One of the most celebrated uses of pineapple in terms of health is its ability to reduce the inflammation of joints and muscles, particularly those associated with arthritis, a debilitating disease that affects millions of people around the world. Pineapples contain a relatively rare proteolytic enzyme called bromelain, which is primarily associated with breaking down complex proteins and has serious anti-inflammatory effects. Bromelain is also positively correlated with reducing the signs and symptoms of arthritis in many.

Boosts immunity

A single serving of pineapple has more than 130 per cent of the daily requirement of vitamin C for human beings, making it one of the richest and most delicious sources of ascorbic acid. Vitamin C helps in reducing illnesses and boosting the immune system by stimulating the activity of white blood cells and acting as an antioxidant to defend against the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are dangerous by products of cellular metabolism that can damage various organ systems and disrupt function, as well as cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous ones. The vitamin C content of pineapples defends against this.

Improves cellular health

One of the commonly overlooked benefits of vitamin C is its essential role in creating collagen. This is partly the reason why it is seen as a healing vitamin, because collagen is the essential protein base of blood vessel walls, skin, organs, and bones. High vitamin C content in pineapple helps you heal wounds and injuries quickly, along with defending your body against infections and illnesses.

Prevents cancer

Pineapple has been directly related to preventing cancers of the mouth, throat, and breast, as it is rich in various other antioxidants, including vitamin A, beta carotene, bromelain, various flavonoid compounds, and high levels of manganese. Manganese is an important cofactor of superoxide dismutase, an extremely potent free radical scavenger that has been associated with a number of different cancers.

Treats cough and cold

The normal immune system boosting power of vitamin C is well known, but that special enzyme, bromelain, is also connected with the reduction of phlegm and mucus build up in the respiratory tracts and sinus cavities. Pineapples, rich in bromelain and vitamin C, therefore prevent and treat respiratory illnesses, and eliminate phlegm and mucus from your body if you’ve already contracted an illness or infection.

Improves vision

Vision is one of the most important senses for human beings and pineapples have been directly connected to improving eye health and preventing the age-related eye deficiencies that often occur. Macular degeneration affects many elderly people, and beta carotene can help delay this vision problem. Keeping proper amounts of beta-carotene in your diet from fruits and vegetables is essential in maintaining good eyesight as you age.

Source: Organicfact.com

Health benefits of wheat

Health benefits of wheat

Wheat Controls obesity

Wheat has a natural ability to control weight in everyone , but this ability is more pronounced among women .

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown through research that whole wheat, rather than refined form , is a good choice for obese patients .

Women who consumed whole wheat products over long periods showed considerably more weight loss than the others subjects. Improves body metabolism: Saturated and trans fats increase the chances of cardiovascular diseases, while omega -3 fats decrease cardiovascular disease risk .

Whole grains like wheat are immensely effective on patients with metabolic disorders. Common types of metabolic syndromes include visceral obesity , also known as the “pear shaped” body , high triglycerides , low levels of protective HDL cholesterol , and high blood pressure .

It protects against all of these conditions . Research has shown that foods made from refined grains not only tend to increase weight but they also increase the hazards of insulin resistance .

Doctors recommend eating whole wheat bread and other fibre -rich foods . The majority of fibre works to help the digestive process in the body and improve the overall metabolism .

Having a whole wheat diet is probably the most effective , quick , and enjoyable way to reduce metabolic syndrome , but also to stay slim and healthy throughout your life .

Prevents type 2 diabetes:

Wheat is rich in magnesium , which is a mineral that acts as a co -factor for more than 300 enzymes . These enzymes are involved in the body ’s functional use of insulin and glucose secretion .

The FDA permits foods that contain whole grain by at least 51 per cent weight and are also low in saturated fat and cholesterol , which means a lower risk of coronary ailments and certain types of cancer.

Moreover, regular consumption of whole grain wheat promotes healthy blood sugar control . People who suffer from diabetes are able to keep their sugar levels under control by replacing rice with wheat in their diet .

Reduces chronic inflammation:

The betaine content of wheat is what aids in the prevention of chronic inflammation. Betaine is usually found in whole wheat, beets and spinach . Inflammation is a key constituent in most types of rheumatic pains and also some rheumatic diseases.

Thus , it is a good idea to eat a healthy amount of whole wheat food products that will actively reduce inflammation. Consumption of betaine affects a number of aspects in our body chemistry that assures a lower risk of chronic inflammation and other ailments like osteoporosis, heart disease , Alzheimer’ s disease , cognitive decline , and type -2 diabetes .

Prevents gallstones:

In various surveys by the American Journal of Gastroenterology , it has been proven that breads and cereals made from whole wheat help women to avoid gallstones . Since whole wheat is rich in insoluble fibre , it assures a quick and smooth intestinal transit time and lowers the secretion of bile acids. Excessive bile acids are a major cause of gallstone formation . Moreover, a high intake of wheat increases insulin sensitivity and thereby lowers triglycerides or fat in the blood .

Besides wheat , you also get insoluble fibre from the edible skins of fruits and certain vegetables like cucumbers , tomatoes and squash , berries , apples, and pears.

Beans also provide both insoluble and soluble fibre .

Protective against breast cancer:

Research at the UK Women ’s Cohort Study found that a fibr -rich diet is extremely important for women to keep breast cancer at bay . Foods from whole grains like wheat and fruits provide significant safeguards for pre -menopausal women against breast cancer .

Studies say that around 30 grammes of wheat consumed daily is enough for women to reduce the risks of breast cancer .

Reports say that pre -menopausal women who have consumed wheat had a 41 per cent reduced risk of breast cancer in comparison to others who ate other forms of fibre.

Prevents childhood asthma :

The American Lung Association says that around 20 million Americans experience some form of asthma . Studies have stated that whole grains and fish in the diet can lower the chances of childhood asthma to a great extent.

The International Study on Allergy and Asthma in Childhood proved through numerous studies that a wheat -based diet has the capacity to lower chances of developing asthma by almost 50 per cent .

During the survey , the wheat diet was increased considerably and the mothers were given special diets high in fish and whole grains; this showed an almost 66 per cent reduction in the possibility of becoming asthmatic . Organicfacts.com

Health Benefits of garlic

Garlic: Health Benefits , Therapeutic Benefits


Written by Christian Nordqvist


Garlic (Allium sativum) , a herb used widely as a flavoring in cooking, has also been used as a medicine throughout ancient and modern history to prevent and treat a wide range of conditions and diseases.
Garlic belongs to the onion genus Allium , and is closely related to the onion, rakkyo, chive, leek, and shallot. It has been used by humans for thousands of years and was used in Ancient Egypt for both culinary purposes and its health and therapeutic benefits.
Garlic for food and medicine – a brief history
Garlic has been used all over the world for thousands of years. Records indicate that garlic was in use when the Giza pyramids were built, about five thousand years ago.
Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine”, prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses. Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion and fatigue .
Garlic is a popular ingredient in cooking and may also have some health benefits.
The original Olympic athletes in Ancient Greece were given garlic – possibly the earliest example of “performance enhancing” agents used in sports.
From Ancient Egypt garlic spread to the advanced ancient civilizations of the Indus Valley (Pakistan and western India today). From there it made its way to China.
According to experts at Kew Gardens , England’s royal botanical center of excellence, the people of ancient India valued the therapeutic properties of garlic and also thought it to be an aphrodisiac. The upper classes avoided garlic because they despised its strong odor, while monks, “…widows, adolescents and those who had taken up a vow or were fasting could not eat garlic because of its stimulant quality”.
Throughout history in the Middle East, East Asia and Nepal, garlic has been used to treat
bronchitis , hypertension ( high blood pressure ), TB (tuberculosis ), liver disorders, dysentery ,
flatulence, colic, intestinal worms, rheumatism,
diabetes , and fevers .
The French, Spanish and Portuguese introduced garlic to the New World.
Rivlin found it interesting that several cultures in history that were never in contact with one another had similar conclusions regarding the therapeutic benefits of garlic.
Garlic is used widely today for its therapeutic properties
According to the National Library of Medicine , part of the NIH (National Institutes of Health), USA, garlic is widely used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart, including
atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high
cholesterol , heart attack , coronary heart disease and hypertension .
Garlic is also used today by some people for the prevention of lung cancer , prostate cancer , breast cancer , stomach cancer , rectal cancer , and colon cancer .
The NIH adds “Some of these uses are supported by science.”
A study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology warned that short-term heating reduces the anti-inflammatory effects of fresh raw garlic extracts. This may be a problem for some people who do not like or cannot tolerate the taste and/or odor of fresh garlic. Ask your pharmacist for garlic supplements or oil which have not been exposed to too much heat
Health benefits of garlic – scientific studies
What is the difference between scientific and anecdotal evidence? Anecdotal evidence refers to a person’s personal experience – like the evidence from a witness. This type of evidence is crucial in a court of law when somebody (a witness) saw something happen with their own eyes. In medicine, however, anecdotal evidence, when compared to scientific evidence, is not compelling enough.
If I cross the road with my eyes closed and so does a friend of mine, and we do not get run over, it would be irresponsible to tell everybody around us, including our children that crossing the street with your eyes closed is safe. A scientific study using thousands of participants, comparing crossers with their eyes closed against others with their eyes open, would soon show that crossing the street with your eyes closed is extremely dangerous.
Below are examples of some scientific studies published in peer-reviewed academic journals about the therapeutic benefits (or not) of garlic.
Lung cancer risk
According to a study, people who eat raw garlic at least twice a week have a 44% lower risk of developing lung cancer.
People who ate raw garlic at least twice a week had a 44% lower risk of developing lung cancer , according to a study carried out at the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China.
The researchers, who published their study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research , had carried out face-to-face interviews with 1,424 lung cancer patients as well as 4,543 healthy individuals. They were asked about their diet and lifestyle habits, which included questions on their smoking habits and how often they ate garlic.
The study authors wrote “Protective association between intake of raw garlic and lung cancer has been observed with a dose-response pattern, suggesting that garlic may potentially serve as a chemo-preventive agent for lung cancer.”
Brain cancer
Organo-sulfur compounds found in garlic have been identified as effective in destroying the cells in glioblastomas , a type of deadly brain tumor .
Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina reported in the journal Cancer that three pure organo-sulfur compounds from garlic – DAS, DADS and DATS – “demonstrated efficacy in eradicating brain cancer cells, but DATS proved to be the most effective”.
Co-author, Ray Swapan, Ph.D., said “This research highlights the great promise of plant-originated compounds as natural medicine for controlling the malignant growth of human brain tumor cells,” Ray said. “More studies are needed in animal models of brain tumors before application of this therapeutic strategy to brain tumor patients.”
Hip osteoarthritis
Women whose diets were rich in allium vegetables had lower levels of osteoarthritis , a team at King’s College London and the University of East Anglia, both in England, reported in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. Examples of allium vegetables include garlic, leeks, shallots, onions and rakkyo.
The study authors said their findings not only highlighted the possible impact of diet on osteoarthritis outcomes, but also demonstrated the potential for using compounds that exist in garlic to develop treatments for the condition.
The long-term study, involving more than 1,000 healthy female twins, found that those whose dietary habits included plenty of fruit and vegetables, “particularly alliums such as garlic”, had fewer signs of early osteoarthritis in the hip joint.
Potentially a powerful antibiotic
Diallyl sulfide, a compound in garlic, was 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics in fighting the Campylobacter bacterium, according to a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy .
The Campylobacter bacterium is one of the most common causes of intestinal infections.
Senior author, Dr. Xiaonan Lu, from Washington State University, said “This work is very exciting to me because it shows that this compound has the potential to reduce disease-causing bacteria in the environment and in our food supply.”
Heart protection
Diallyl trisulfide, a component of garlic oil, helps protect the heart during cardiac surgery and after a heart attack , researchers at Emory University School of Medicine found. They also believe diallyl trisulfide could be used as a treatment for
heart failure .
Hydrogen sulfide gas has been shown to protect the heart from damage. However, it is a volatile compound and difficult to deliver as therapy. Hence, the scientists decided to focus on diallyl trisulfide, a garlic oil component, as a safer way to deliver the benefits of hydrogen sulfide to the heart.
In animal experiments using laboratory mice, the team found that after a heart attack the mice that had received diallyl sulfide had 61% less heart damage in an area of risk, compared to the untreated mice.
The team presented their findings at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions conference in Orlando, Florida in November, 2011.
In another study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry , scientists found that garlic oil may help protect diabetes patients from cardiomyopathy.
Cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of death among diabetes patients. It is a chronic disease of the myocardium (heart muscle), which is abnormally thickened, enlarged and/or stiffened.
The team fed diabetic laboratory rats either garlic oil or corn oil. Those fed the garlic oil experienced significantly more changes associated with protection against heart damage, compared to the corn oil fed animals.
The study authors wrote “In conclusion, garlic oil possesses significant potential for protecting hearts from diabetes-induced cardiomyopathy.”
Human studies will need to be performed to determine whether they confirm the results of this study.
High cholesterol and high blood pressure
Researchers at Ankara university set out to determine what the effects of garlic extract supplementation might be on the blood lipid (fat) profile of patients with high blood cholesterol. Their study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry .
The study involved 23 volunteers, all with high cholesterol; 13 of them also had high blood pressure. They were divided into two groups:
The high-cholesterol normotensive group (normal blood pressure )
The high-cholesterol hypertensive group (high blood pressure)
They took garlic extract supplements for four months and were regularly checked for blood lipid parameters, as well as kidney and liver function.
At the end of the four months the researchers concluded “…garlic extract supplementation improves blood lipid profile, strengthens blood
antioxidant potential, and causes significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressures. It also leads to a decrease in the level of oxidation product (MDA) in the blood samples, which demonstrates reduced oxidation reactions in the body.”
In other words, the garlic extract supplements reduced high cholesterol levels, and also blood pressure in the patients with hypertension. The scientists added that theirs was a small study – a larger one needs to be carried out.
Prostate cancer
Doctors at the Department of Urology, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, China, carried out a study evaluating the relationship between Allium vegetable consumption and prostate cancer risk.
They gathered and analyzed published studies up to May 2013 and reported their findings in the
Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention .
The study authors wrote “Allium vegetables,
especially garlic intake, are related to a decreased risk of prostate cancer”.
The team also commented that as there were not that many studies, they recommend further well-designed prospective studies be carried out to confirm their findings.
Alcohol – induced liver injury
Alcohol-induced liver injury (ethanol-induced liver injury) is caused by the long-term over-consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Scientists at the Institute of Toxicology, School of Public Health, Shandong University, China, wanted to determine whether diallyl disulfide (DADS), a garlic-derived organosulfur compound, might have protective effects against ethanol-induced oxidative stress .
Their study was published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) .
The researchers concluded that DADS may help protect against ethanol-induced liver injury.
Preterm ( premature) delivery
Microbial infections during pregnancy raise a woman’s risk of preterm delivery, several studies have demonstrated. Scientists at the Division of Epidemiology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, wanted to find out what impact foods might have on antimicrobial infections and preterm delivery risk.
The study and its findings were published in the
Journal of Nutrition .
Ronny Myhre and colleagues concentrated on the effects of Alliums and dried fruits, because a literature search had identified these two foods as showing the greatest promise for reducing preterm delivery risk.
The team investigated the intake of dried fruit and Alliums among 18,888 women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort, of whom 5% (950) underwent spontaneous PTD (preterm delivery).
The study authors concluded “Intake of food with antimicrobial and prebiotic compounds may be of importance to reduce the risk of spontaneous PTD. In particular, garlic was associated with overall lower risk of spontaneous PTD.”
Garlic and the common cold
Julia Fashner, MD; Kevin Ericson, MD; and Sarah Werner, DO, at St. Joseph Family Medicine Residency, Mishawaka, Indiana, carried out a study titled “Treatment of the Common Cold in Children and Adults” , published in American Family Physician .
They reported that “Prophylactic use of garlic may decrease the frequency of colds in adults, but has no effect on duration of symptoms.” Prophylactic use means using it with the intention of preventing disease.

Nutrition and health benefits of avocados


Avocados nutrition facts
Avocados are characteristically buttery yet subtly flavourful pear-shaped fruits of Central American origin. Unlike most other fruits, they feature high fat content and carry more calories. Nonetheless, they are among the popular fruits having good nutrition profile and health benefiting properties.

Botanically, the fruit belongs to the family of Lauraceae; the family that also includes some unusual members like bay laurel, cinnamon, etc. Scientific name is Persea americana.

Some of the common names are alligator pear, aguacate, butter pear, etc.




Avocado (Persea americana). Note for cream colour flesh and brown-coated single seed.
Photo courtesy: HormonyRae

Avocado is medium sized, evergreen tree of about 20-30 feet in height featuring large green foliage cover. It prefers fertile soil with high moisture to flourish. Small light green flowers appear during winter. After about 8-10 months later, hundreds of pear-shaped green colour fruits cover the tree.


Mature and ripen Hass-variety avocados in the market. Note for dark brown colour fruits with pebble surface. Photo courtesy: ollesvensson
Avocados mature on the tree but ripe only after their harvest. Once Ripen, their colour turns from light green to deep-green or deep purple, and yield to gentle thumb pressure. Inside, its cream colour flesh has buttery texture with bland taste yet pleasant aroma. The fruit features centrally placed solitary brown colour seed. On an average, each fruit weighs about 300-700 g although much heavier avocados are quite common in the markets.


Health benefits of avocado
Avocados, like olives, are high in mono-unsaturated fats and calories. However, they are very rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals and packed with numerous health benefiting plant nutrients.

Their creamy pulp is a very good source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic and palmitoleic acids as well as omega-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acid linoleic acid. Research studies suggest Mediterranean diet that is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids help lower LDL or bad cholesterol and increase HDL or good-cholesterol, and thereby, prevent coronary artery disease as well as strokes by favouring healthy blood lipid profile.

They are a very good source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. 100 g fruit provides 6.7 g or about 18% of recommended daily intake. Dietary fibre helps lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent constipation.

Moreover, it composes high concentration of tannin akin to persimmons. Tannin, a poly-phenolic compound which was once labelled as anti-nutritional agent, in-fact, has beneficial anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and anti-oxidant properties.

Its flesh contains health promoting flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as cryptoxanthin, lutein, zea-xanthin, beta and alpha carotenes, albeit in small amounts. Together, these compounds work as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.

Total antioxidant strength (ORAC) of avocados (raw, Hass variety) is 1933 µmol TE/100 g.

They are also good in many health-benefiting vitamins. Vitamin A, E, and K are especially concentrated in its creamy pulp.

Avocados are also excellent sources of minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, and manganese. Magnesium is essential for bone strengthening and has a cardiac-protective role as well. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron and copper are required in the production of red blood cells.

Fresh avocado pear is very rich source of potassium. 100 g of fruit provides 485 mg or about 10% of daily-required levels. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids where it helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure, countering bad effects of sodium.




Selection and storage

Avocados can be readily available in the market year around. Buy medium size, fully ripe fruit with pleasant aroma. The fruit that is ready to eat should yield to pressure when gently pressed.

Avoid very hard fruits as they may take quite some time to fully ripe. On the other hand, avoid buying excessively soft, ripe fruits as they tend to be mushy and featuring little, if any, flavor. Look carefully for any surface cuts, blemishes, and blots and if so, avoid them.

At home; Keep them in a fruit basket, store in cool, dark place. Unripe fruits usually placed in a paper wrap with a ripe banana or apple in order to speed up their ripening.


Preparation and Serving methods

Avocado has delicate nutty flavor and butter like texture and neutral taste. To eat; cut the fruit lengthwise through its center all the way around the seed. Then rotate or twist the two halves in opposite directions and gently pull apart. Scoop the seed using a spoon. Gently peel the skin with your fingers, beginning from its stem end. Cut the pulp into desired cubes.

Sprinkle or rinse cut sections in lemon juice to prevent enzymatic brown discoloration until ready to use.



Photo courtesy: The essential vegetarian cookbook from Thunder bay press.
Here are some serving tips:
In many parts of Central America, the avocado is eaten “as it is” with some added pepper powder, lime juice, and salt.

Its sections or cubes can be added to vegetable/fruit salads, salsa, etc.

Mashed avocado is employed in the preparation of Mexican polenta and pancakes. Guacamole is a favorite avocado based Mexican dip.

Similarly, guasacaca is a Venezuelan variant of guacamole prepared using vinegar instead of lemon juice.

Pureed, it may be mixed with ice-cream, shakes, and fruit juices.


Safety profile

Raw unripe avocados rather highly concentrated with tannins. High tannin content makes them bitter and unappetizing. Very high levels of tannins in the food inhibit vitamins and minerals absorption in the gut.

Although very rare, eating avocados may result in allergic symptoms in some latex-sensitive persons. The symptoms may include itching in the throat, hives, runny nose, breathlessness, etc. Oftentimes, these symptoms are mild and self-limiting. (Medical disclaimer).

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