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Healthy Foods

Broccoli – A superfood full of vitamins

Broccoli – A superfood full of vitamins

Broccoli has numerous health benefits and is often named as one of the superfoods. This “superfood” should form part of the staple diet for many of us. Broccoli is full of nutritious vitamins, fibre and has powerful antioxidant properties. It is widely available throughout the year, and is very often grown locally. Broccoli is very versatile, as it can be steamed, fried, baked or boiled. To get most of the health benefits, it should not be over cooked as most of the nutrients are destroyed. The following health benefits highlight how this simple green vegetable can help you maintain good general health and vitality. Like many green leafy vegetables, Broccoli is a rich source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is of course essential for a healthy immune system and cardiovascular system. Vitamin C also helps the body to absorb iron from the diet. Broccoli has strong antioxidant properties. This vegetable contains selenium, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin (which help’s to keep our eyes healthy). Antioxidants play an important role in neutralising the effect of harmful free radicals which have been linked with numerous illnesses and diseases. This leafy green vegetable is a very good source of dietary fibre, which can help reduce cholesterol levels. Broccoli has a strong anti-inflammatory action, which can help to reduce the intensity of allergies. This vegetable also contains quercetin, which has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Quercetin supplements are often given for the treatment of hay fever. It can help to regulate and balance blood sugar levels. Broccoli is a natural source of chromium, which helps to regulate insulin and blood sugar. This amazing green vegetable is an excellent source of calcium. It has been reported that broccoli contains as much calcium as whole milk. Calcium is important for bone health and can help to prevent osteoporosis. Broccoli, like other green leafy vegetables, is a rich source of vitamin K. Recent studies have found that vitamin K can help to strengthen bones. Broccoli can help to support the immune system, through its antiviral and antibacterial properties. This vegetable is also a dietary source of glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. These nutrients can help to stimulate to detoxification process and remove toxins from the body. Broccoli...

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Health Benefits of Cucumbers

Health Benefits of Cucumbers

The humble cucumber is one of the most abundant vegetables and is cultivated all over the world. Cucumbers have many health benefits that are often not as publicised as other vegetables. Unfortunately cucumbers are often sprayed with pesticides, so it is important to buy organic and thoroughly wash the skin. You can even grow them at home. In traditional medicine, the cucumber is considered to support the bladder, spleen, large intestine and lungs. This vegetable is used to treat hot conditions and helps to release toxins from the body. The high water content (over 90 per cent) helps to provide hydration and clear excess water from the body. The water content and nutrients present in cucumbers make them an ideal food to alleviate symptoms of a hangover. Cucumbers can help the digestive process, as they contain the digestive enzyme erepsin, which is responsible for breaking down protein. You may want to add a serving of cucumbers to a high protein meal. The high fibre content also help maintain a healthy digestive system. They are an excellent source of silica, which is important for calcium absorption. This can be very helpful in maintaining strong bones and joints especially in old age. Cucumbers are also a good source of magnesium, vitamin B6, iron, calcium, iron and potassium. Potassium is an important electrolyte that is required a healthy heart and nervous system. Cucumbers are an ideal food for people who want to lose weight. Whilst providing many nutrients, cucumbers have negligible calories. The high water content can also help the body to remove water retention. Cucumber slices are often used to relieve puffy and tired eyes. You can also apply slices over minor burns and to help keep your skin smooth and soft. The silica content enables cucumbers to help maintain healthy hair, skin and nails. Like many vegetables, cucumbers are an excellent source of fibre, which is very important in maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. Cucumber skins contain compounds called sterols, which have been found to lower cholesterol levels. Dietary fibre is also important in maintaining a healthy digestive...

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Can Curcumin Prevent Diabetes?

Can you prevent diabetes? There has recently been further research which supports the health benefits of curcurmin (the active component of turmeric). This study looked at the effectiveness of curcurmin in the prevention of diabetes. The trial was conducted at Srinakharinwirot University in Nakornnayok in Thailand, involved 240 adults with pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a state in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic. Pre-diabetes can cause damage to the heart and circulatory system. The participants were divided into two groups. One group was given a daily dose of 250mg curcurmin in a capsule form and the other group was given a placebo capsule. The trial was conducted for nine months, after which it was found that 19 of the 116 placebo group developed type- 2 diabetes, whilst none of the 199 treatment group developed the illness. The researchers said, “Because of its benefits and safety, we propose that curcumin extract may be used for an intervention therapy for the pre-diabetes population.” “This looks promising, but there are still a lot of questions,” said Constance Brown-Riggs, a certified diabetes educator and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. There is perceived concern that people will ignore dietary advice and simply go for a magic pill (in this case curcurmin). This is not what the study suggests, and a better way to incorporate curcurmin in the diet is by eating more dishes which contain turmeric. Turmeric is a staple ingredient in many Asian dishes, and it can also be taken in a glass of warm water. Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and it this action that may explain why it has shown promise in the prevention of diabetes.  The researchers suggested that the curcurmin may protect the beta cells, in the pancreas, (that produce insulin) from...

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Watermelon Reverses Atherosclerosis

Watermelon juice has been found to reverse atherosclerosis in an animal study. The fruit juice demonstrated positive effects after just eight weeks. The study, which was conducted at the University of Kentucky was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. The trial involved mice with diet induced high cholesterol. The control group was given water to drink whist the experimental group was given watermelon juice. After the eight week trial period, the experimental group had less fat mass which resulted in lower body weight and cholesterol levels. The experimental group also experienced a greater reduction in atherosclerotic lesions than the control group. These initial findings are very promising, although more work is required to back up these results. There is however no reason why people who are at risk of atherosclerosis or who have high cholesterol levels should not consume watermelons or watermelon juice. Watermelons are a good source of lycopene, which is important for a healthy cardiovascular system. Watermelons are also full of vitamin c, magnesium,potassium, B vitamins and bet-carotene. So a regular serving of the fruit will aide to enhance your health on many...

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Health Benefits of Fenugreek

  Fenugreek, also known as Methi, Greek Clover and Methika, is a widely used plant that is grown widely in South East Asia. Fenugreek greens and seeds are widely used in Indian cooking. This food has a wide number of health benefits ranging from treating mouth ulcers to increasing the production of breast milk. Fenugreek seeds have been used in both Chinese and Ayurvedicmedicine as a warming supplement for that supports the liver, kidney, lungs andspleen. Increases the production of breast milk. Fenugreek has beenused traditionally during pregnancy and following childbirth to rapidillyincrease the production of breast milk in lactating mothers. Fenugreek is a good source of dietary fibre. Clinicalstudies have found that fenugreek reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Thiscan help to prevent artherosclerosis which causes heart disease. Fenugreek has been found to regulate blood sugar levels.This may be beneficial with people with type-2 diabetes and people who arepre-diabetic. This herb is thought to reduce menopausal symptoms such ashot flushes and can help to ease menstrual discomfort. It can help treat constipation, due to its high fibrecontent.  Fenugreek can help toincrease libido and support the male sexual organs. The seeds can help to heal tissues. It has been found totreat sore throats, acid reflux and wounds.   Fenugreek green can be cooked like spinach and added to manydishes. The seeds are best eaten cooked, although sprouted seeds can be eatenin salads and sandwiches.  ...

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What are the nutritional benefits of avocados

Delicious and often used in healthy eating plans, there are many nutritional benefits of avocados. Read on to find out more… Avocados are a rich source of vitamin E, which is essential for heart and skin health. This fruit is a very good source of monounsaturated fat omega 3 fatty acids, beta-sitosterol and oleic acid, which helps to lower cholesterol levels. They are an excellent source of fat for people who have difficulty assimilating other fatty foods. This is important as fats such as omega 3 essential fatty acids, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are important for good general health. Avocados contain high amounts of Lutein, which helps to protect the eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts. T Due to the good levels of omega 3 essential fatty acids, avocados can help to prevent osteoarthritis. This is because of the anti-inflammatory action of the omega-3 fats. Avocados have been found to improve the absorption of other nutrients. Studies have shown that this fruit greatly improves the absorption of carotenoids (e.g beta-carotene, lycopene). The high vitamin E content of avocados makes avocados very effective antioxidants. Antioxidants are very important in the prevention of illnesses and diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and...

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Health Benefits of Chillies

Chilli peppers are one of the most consumed spices around the world. Many national dishes contain a form of chilli. Apart from giving food spice and heat, chillies also have a wide range of medical benefits. These health benefits are a major factor why this spice was used in ancient Indian and Oriental cooking.  Before the advent of modern medicine, food was used both to nourish and treat illnesses. Chilli peppers were historically used to improve circulation and respiratory diseases. The heat of a chilli is measured in “Scoville Units” (SU). The hotter the chilli, the greater the SU score. The SU score varies widely with the different types of chillies. Jalapeno chillies have a score of 2500 – 5000SU. Pimiento chillies score 100 – 500SU, whereas the highest scorers are Habanero and Scotch Bonnet (100,000 – 400,000SU). Chilli peppers are an excellent source of vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin B1 and beta-carotene. Chilli peppers help to relieve colds, fevers and flu symptoms. Fresh chilli peppers are also a good source of vitamin C, which could be why they are effective at relieving colds. Hot chilli peppers have been found to elevate mood. Capsaicin, which is the hot part of the chilli, releases endorphins that provide a temporary high. Endorphins are natural painkillers that are released by the brain and have a similar action to opiates. This may explain why some people get addicted to chilli peppers. Capsaicin, applied as an ointment or cream is used to treat arthritis and nerve pain. This is used both in conventional medicine and complementary medicine. Chillies can help to treat asthma and bronchial problems. Dr Irwin Ziment, professor of medicine at the University of California, School of Medicine, recommends chilli peppers, garlic and spicy foods to his patients. He has noticed amazing results with spicy foods, as chillies help to loosen respiratory secretions which relieves lung congestion. Dr Ziment often urges patients to try ten drops of Tabasco sauce in a glass of water or tomato juice, and then increase to twenty if they tolerate it. He has found that many of his patients are able to cough up secretions. An added benefit to eating chillies is that it helps...

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The Power of the Nut!

Newspapers and magazines in January are usually full of health tips telling us to avoid foods that we enjoy, but scientists have discovered that walnuts are extremely healthy as they are loaded with antioxidants. They claim that snacking on as few as seven walnuts a day could help to ward off many diseases and help to lower cholesterol levels. Walnuts are much richer in polyunsaturated fats than monounsaturated fats, unlike most other nuts. These nuts are a rich source of omega 3 essential fatty acids. Omega 3 oils have been shown to protect our cells from the ageing process, cardiovascular disease, cancers, joint pains and skin conditions such as eczema. Walnuts also contain high levels of polyphenol, which is an antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals, which have been found to damage cells and tissues. Tests showed that walnuts contained the higher amounts of polyphenol than Brazil nuts, pistachios, cashews and hazelnuts. Professor Joe Vinson, from the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania said, “Walnuts rank above Brazil nuts, pistachios, pecans, peanuts, almonds, macadamias, cashews and hazelnuts. Walnuts had the highest free and total polyphenols in both the combined and roasted samples”. The most popular nut across Europe is the peanut. They account for nearly half of all the nuts that are bought across Europe, even though they health benefits of walnuts greatly outweigh those of peanuts. Nuts have a slight image problem, in that many people think of them as being high in fat. This is true, but nuts only contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, rather than the fats that cause heart disease. Nuts are: ·         High in Fibre ·         Low in Saturated Fats ·         A good source of B Vitamins ·         High in Antioxidants ·         High in Omega 3 fatty acids. ·         High in Vitamin E.   Nuts can provide you with a healthy snack that can provide you essential vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. Nuts also contain various nutrients that can boost your health. For example, pecans are a rich source of zinc, which is essential for a healthy immune system. Brazil nuts and almonds are very high in selenium, which is essential for a healthy prostate gland. Nuts can be eaten as a snack, added to...

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Health Benefits of Pumpkins

With the start of autumn upon us, Pumpkins are now fully in season. This fruit is traditionally used to decorate houses during Halloween, although they have many more benefits than this. Pumpkins are also known as Squash, and these names are generally interchangeable. “Squash” is the general family name for this fruit family. Other members are Butternut Squash, Spaghetti Squash and Turban Squash. Pumpkins have many health benefits and are a very nutritious food. This fruit is considered to act as a tonic in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Ancient medicine used pumpkins to improve energy and circulation. Pumpkins have a low Glycemic Index (GI), which means that they release sugar slowly after being eaten. This is very important for people are on a weight loss programme and for diabetics. Pumpkins have high levels of beta-carotene, which are antioxidants that help to protect the body from health problems such as heart disease and premature ageing. Pumpkins can help to neutralise the harmful effects of “free radicals”, which can cause illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and cancer. Pumpkins are also a good source of various vitamins. They provide vitamin C which can help you boost your immune system and prevent colds, coughs and sore throats. This is especially important during the winter months. This healthy fruit provides you with B vitamins, which are have many varied health benefits. These range from protecting the heart to maintaining a healthy digestive system. Pumpkins also provide you with good levels of potassium, which can help to maintain a healthy blood pressure. They are a good source of fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy digestive system and lower cholesterol levels. To top off these health benefits, pumpkins seeds are a rich source of omega 3 essential fatty acids. The health benefits of omega 3 oils have been well documented in recent years.  These essential fatty acids act as natural anti-inflammatory agents. Inflammation has been linked to various illnesses such as heart disease and arthritis. Eating foods high in omega 3 oils can help to prevent inflammatory conditions. Pumpkins are very versatile and can be used in many recipe, from pumpkins pies, pumpkin and ginger soup (a real winter warmer), through to pumpkin cakes....

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Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice that is widely used in cooking as well as in traditional medicine. The spice is grown in South East Asia and the Middle East. Cinnamon is one our oldest spices and several different species exist. The two most popular types are Ceylon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) and Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia). The Cassia cinnamon is generally darker in colour and the bark is harder, whereas the Ceylon cinnamon has a sweeter and milder taste. Read on to find out more about the health benefits of cinnamon… The cinnamon that we see in the groceries is the actual bark of the tree or a powder made from grounding the bark. There are many companies that produce cinnamon capsules, but if you want to start taking this spice, you can either eat a “stick” as it is, or have a small amount of powder in water. Place half a teaspoon in a small amount of warm water and take every morning. This is a good remedy for general indigestion and helps with circulation. This spice is a good source of nutrients and fibre. Cinnamon is rich in calcium, iron and manganese. Cinnamon has been found to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial and anti-clotting properties. Health Benefits: General Indigestion: Cinnamon can stimulate a sluggish digestion, relieve flatulence and stomach cramps. This spice has also been used to treat nausea and acidity as well as diarrhoea. The fibre content of cinnamon also helps maintain a healthy digestive system. Circulation: This spice can stimulate blood circulation. This has the added benefit of reducing the risk of heart disease. Diabetes: Cinnamon can help to maintain blood sugar levels. Various studies have shown promise in balancing blood sugar levels in people with type-two diabetes. Cinnamon should not be used as a replacement to conventional medicine, but can be added to your diet or as a supplement. Please consult your doctor before taking a cinnamon supplement. Immune System: Cinnamon is commonly used to treat colds and flu symptoms. This is due to its “warming “action. Cinnamon tea is effective at treating sore throats, colds and high fevers. Pain Relief: It has an anti-inflammatory action and can be used to relieve muscle and joint pain. Cinnamon relieves pain...

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Can The Health Benefits of Turmeric Help Prevent Infection?

  Research from the U.S has found that curcumin, the active component of the popular spice turmeric, can boost the immune system and help the body fight off bacteria and viruses. Turmeric is a fundamental spice in Asian cooking. The popularity of turmeric has grown in recent years, and it is now available in most groceries, but what are it’s health properties and is one of the health benefits of turmeric that it can help prevent infection? Professor Adrian Gombart, from Oregon State University found that curcumin tripled levels of cathelicidin anti-microbial peptide (CAMP gene). This peptide plays an important role in supporting the immune system against bacterial attack. The health benefits of turmeric are numerous. Adding this spice to your diet will help to boost your immune system, reduce inflammation and may help to reduce cholesterol levels. This spice also has a high anti-oxidant action, which is thought to be as effective as vitamins C and E. To get the maximum benefit of this wonderful spice, you would need to eat large quantities to get the required health benefit. It is advisable to combine turmeric in your diet with a supplement that contains at least 95% curcuminoids. We hope you found our article on the health benefits of turmeric useful. You can let us know by rating it above....

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Ginger – A Winter Warmer

Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) is a universally used spice. It is used equally both in Eastern and Western cooking. Ginger has been used as a health food for centuries. Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as Aruveydic Medicine has used the medical qualities of this spice. Today, ginger is marketed as a remedy fortravel sickness, morning sickness and digestive complaints. It is readilyavailable in a tablet or lozenge form in many high street pharmacies. While ginger is effective at treating these complaints, it has many other health benefits. It is also effective at treating stomach cramps associated with PMS. Traditional medicine viewed ginger as a warming food. It was regularly prescribed for health conditions that were caused by coldness in the body, such as arthritis. The warming effect of ginger improves circulation and helps to stimulate the action of the liver. This warming action stimulates the immune system and enables ginger to be an effective home remedy for colds, sore throats and fevers. The anti-inflammatory action of ginger makes it an effective remedy for arthritis, and alleviating the pain of headaches. Ginger is available in many forms. Most supermarkets sell it as a fresh root, dried powder, and in crystallised form.Too much ginger can cause stomach upset, so be careful not to add too much! Ginger can be added to many foods. Freshginger is readily used in Indian and Asian cooking. It is also used in manycakes, breads and biscuits. This natural immune booster is also used in manyfruit juices to add some...

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