Tag Archives: nutrition

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).

www.nutrition-and-you.com
 

Eight reasons to eat onions daily

8 reasons to eat onions daily

Sade Oguntola
Ever wondered why onion is an ingredient for soups to enhance taste and flavour? What about onion for garnishing suya or boiled rice? While onions may bring a tear to the eye and delight to the taste buds, surprisingly, it plays an important role in maintaining good health because of its therapeutic purposes.
Rich in Vitamin C, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals, an onion a day may help keep the doctor away. Its sulphur-containing compounds are responsible for its pungent odour.
Onions are healthy whether they’re raw or cooked, though raw onions have higher levels of organic sulphur compounds that provide many benefits.
In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) supports
the use of onions for the treatment of poor appetite and to prevent atherosclerosis. It also recognises onion extract providing relief in the treatment of coughs and colds, asthma and bronchitis.
Early American settlers used wild onions to treat colds, coughs, and asthma, and to repel insects. In Chinese medicine, onions have been used to treat angina, coughs, bacterial infections, and breathing problems.
Some health benefits of onions are as given below:
Heart health
Onions encourage a healthy heart in many ways, including lowering blood pressure and lowering heart attack risk. A study in 2007 indicated that Quercetin, the compound most commonly associated with onions, may reduce blood pressure by an average of five millimetres of mercury.
The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition found a daily 730 milligram supplement of Quercetin led to significant reductions in the blood pressure of 22 people with high blood pressure (hypertension).
Moreover, researchers suggested in a 2002 study in the journal, Thrombosis Research, that it is a natural blood thinner that can prevent blood platelets from aggregating. When platelets cluster, the risk for heart attack or stroke increases.
Cancer
High intake of garlic and onions was associated with significantly reduced risks of a wide-range of cancers. A large epidemiological study that involved almost 10,000 people with different types of cancers from Italy showed an inverse association between the frequency of use of allium vegetables like onion and the risk of several common cancers. This 2006 study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Also, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), which followed 521,457 subjects in 10 European countries, reported that an increase in the intake of onions by 10 grams per day was associated with a 30 per cent reduction in the risk of intestinal gastric cancer.
In another study, increased intakes of onions, researchers report in the British Journal of Nutrition, may reduce the risk of developing cancer of the colon by 50 per cent.
Lowering cholesterol
Consumption of garlic and onions may reduce the incidence of cholesterol gallstone formation by as much as 40 per cent. Consumption of a cholesterol-rich diet led to the formation of cholesterol gallstones (CGS), but supplementation of this diet with onion reduced the incidence of the gallstones, according to findings published online in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Protect against osteoarthritis
Human studies have shown that onion can help increase our bone density and may be of special benefit to women of menopausal age who are experiencing loss of bone density due to osteoarthritis.
A research from King’s College London, published in the BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, suggested a potential for using specific beneficial compounds found in onion to develop treatments for the condition.
Osteoarthritis is the most common disabling joint condition affecting elderly adults, and has a significant impact on adults of working age. The cause, however, remains unclear.
Digestion
The fibre in onions promotes good digestion and promotes good bacteria growth in the intestines. A 2005 study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that oligofructose a special type of soluble fibre, which promotes good bacteria growth in your intestines, may help prevent and treat types of diarrhoea.
Boost sexual performance
Fresh onion juice has aphrodisiac activity and may enhance male sexual libido and performance. Researchers at Jordan University of Science and Technology were searching for a natural way to help men with impotence problems to have sex. When they discovered that fresh onion juice increases testosterone concentrations in the blood, suggesting that onion may even help against impotence. Testosterone is the male sex hormone responsible for enhancing sexual libido and potency.
According to the researchers in the 2014 edition of the journal, Experimental Biology and Medicine, “The present study supports the hypothesis that Allium cepa has aphrodisiac activity and may enhance male sexual libido and performance”
Boost immunity against flu
Onions may boost the immune system and protect against flu. Researchers from the University of South Carolina and Clemson University report that stressful exercise increased the mice’s susceptibility to flu, but quercetin present in onion was found to negate these effects.
The findings published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, indicated that onion could help reduce illnesses in people undergoing strenuous extensive exercise, soldiers and others undergoing difficult training regimens, as well as people under psychological stress.
Diabetes control
Onion bulb extract could reduce high blood glucose and cholesterol levels. In a study presented at the Endocrine Society’s 97th annual meeting in San Diego, when the rats were given onion bulb extract – in combination with metformin, their blood glucose and cholesterol levels were significantly reduced.
Anthony Ojieh, lead investigator, said: “Onion is cheap and available and has been used as a nutritional supplement. It has the potential for use in treating patients with diabetes.
Also, Dr Jevas C. Ozougwu at the Physiology and Biomedical Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, in his assessment of onion’s benefit for diabetes said dietary supplementation of onions compounds in diabetics may help to reduce over dependence on drug.

Source : Tribune 

Garlic: Health Benefits , Therapeutic Benefits

Garlic: Health Benefits , Therapeutic Benefits


Written by Christian Nordqvist
Garlic (Allium sativum) , a herb used widely as a flavouring 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 civilisations 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 odour, 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 odour 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 tumour .
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 tumour cells,” Ray said. “More studies are needed in animal models of brain tutors before application of this therapeutic strategy to brain tumour 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 analysed 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.


Courtesy Medical News Today 

Why you should throw away your food when fly lands on it

​When a fly lands on your food, throw it away

Flies are pests, literally . The big ones buzz around noisily and disturb everyone .

Big and small , flies are bad news, health – wise . And that is why , ideally , when a fly lands on your food , the best bet is to throw the food away, especially if it is to be eaten cold.

‘ Why?’ You may ask. Here are the reasons:

• Experts say when a fly lands on your food , it doesn ’ t just dance on it, it vomits into it. “ This is because a fly can ’ t chew , so instead , they eject digestive enzymes onto the food before eating it up again , ” says an entomologist, Ron Harrison .

• On average , a fly carries more than 200 forms of harmful bacteria, owing to their love of landing on items such as rotting food and faecal matter .

• Flies have thousands of tiny hairs on the arms and legs which allow dangerous germs to transfer to your food if one lands on it.

• “ They only need to touch your food for a second for their legs or the tiny hairs all over their bodies to transfer germs from all those nasty things they eat onto what you are eating , ” Harrison says .

• Flies can transfer serious , contagious diseases such as cholera , dysentery , and typhoid .

• That is why it is probably best if you avoid eating things that a fly lands on , Harrison says .

The bottom line : Don ’ t expose your food to flies .

​‘Excess salt can damage good health’

​‘Excess salt can damage good health’.

Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha 

Nigerians have been advised to watch their salt intake for the sake of their health.

According to a naturopath, Dr Idowu Ogunkoya, while salt makes food tasty, it should be used moderately. “If one eats too much salt, the extra water stored in the body raises one’s blood pressure”, he said, adding: “So, the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the greater the strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain. This can lead to heart attack, stroke, dementia and kidney disease.”

Dr Ogunkoya said eating of excess salt does not stop with adults as children also do through seasonings that accompany noodles. “Majority of salt is added to noodles through the seasoning supplied in sachets. So reduce the sodium content by using the minimum amount of seasoning, preferably half of the sachets. Instant noodle soup is often high in salt; limit its consumption to avoid excess intake of salt,” he said.

So either way one must watch salt consumption because high sodium leads to damages in the body system, “Over time, the extra work and pressure can stiffen blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. It can also lead to heart failure. There is also some evidence that too much salt can damage the heart, aorta, and kidneys without increasing blood pressure, and that it may be bad for bones, too.

“Excess sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, and that creates an added burden on the heart. Too much sodium will increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease,” he noted.

According to Dr Ogunkoya, eating salt is not totally bad but its overindulgence, “Table or common salt also known as sodium chloride, is added to food to make it tastier. Salt provides your body with sodium, which is necessary for proper muscle function and regulating the amount of water in the body. The average daily sodium intake should be 1500 milligrammes, while the maximum intake is 2300 milligrammes. Consuming more sodium than the maximum daily recommended intake is harmful,” he warned.

He said Cardio vascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the world and hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition that affects so many Nigerians. While this condition can be caused by other factors such as stress and eating diets rich in saturated fats, excessive intake of sodium increases the risk of developing it. “If you already suffer from high blood pressure, reducing your salt intake could also reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. When you consume too much sodium and your blood pressure is too high, over time the extra pressure can make your vessels less elastic and more susceptible to buildup of fatty deposits called plaque. This can cause atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. In atherosclerosis, vessels narrow and their walls thicken, making your heart work harder and eventually raising your risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke,” he advised.

The naturopath said every edible provided by nature has its natural salt, so one may not need to add salt at all, but if one must use, then it should be in moderation, and salt shaker should be done with.Lots of people have diabetes and don’t know it. But the disease often causes telltale changes in the retina that can be picked up by an ophthalmologist. In this eye , diabetes has caused tiny hemorrhages in the retina and yellowish deposits of blood fats (lipids). The condition is known as diabetic retinopathy.