Garlic,a microbe killer

  There's no doubt that garlic destroys bacteria. The compound in garlic that acts as an antibiotic is allicin, which is formed when garlic is crushed.

If the aroma - hence allicin - is destroyed, as in cooking, garlic is no longer a microbe killer, although the health benefits of garlic don't stop there, it can perform other therapeutic functions.

Tests even have found raw garlic more powerful than penicillin and tetracycline.

Literally hundreds of studies confirm garlic broad-spectrum antibiotic activity against a long list of microbes, including botulism, tuberculosis, diarrhea, Candida infections, staph, dysentery and typhoid.

According to one count, seventy-two separate infectious agents are defeated by garlic.

A researcher said: "Garlic has the broadest spectrum of any antimicrobial substances we know of. It's antibacterial, antifungal, antiphrastic, antiprotozoan and antiviral."

Garlic Boosts Immunity

Dr Abdullah and his colleagues at the Akbar Clinic and Research Center in Panama City, Florida, found that both raw garlic and a garlic extract called Kyolic dramatically increased the powers of the immune system's natural killer cells - the first line of defence against infectious disease and perhaps cancer.

The killer cells derived from the blood of those eating garlic or taking the garlic extract were mixed with cancer cells and were able to destroyed from 140 to 160 percent more cancer cells than did killer cells from non-garlic eaters.

Dr Abdullah believes that the health benefits of garlic extend beyond treating infections and cancer, but can also affect AIDS, in which immune function fails. Garlic, he says, might rev up immune defenses in AIDS patients; it also may directly combat the many fungal-type infections AIDS patients fall prey to.

Heart Food

Garlic is one of the best foods you can have for heart disease.

It lowers blood cholesterol and creates other blood changes protective against heart disease - such as thinning the blood and preventing embolism (internal blood clots).

In one study, the blood clot-dissolving system (fibrinolytic activity) persistently rose in healthy people by 130% and in heart patients by 83% during a three months' period. It became sluggish after the garlic treatment ended.

The health benefits of garlic go beyond lowering 'bad' LDL cholesterol, it also lowers triglycerides (another type of fat in the blood) and raises 'good' HDL cholesterol.

Perhaps garlic's better well known accomplishment is its ability to lower high blood pressure. It's been used in China for centuries for that purpose and the Japanese government officially recognizes garlic as a blood-pressure depressor.

Garlic and the Lungs

Dr Irwin Ziment, a pulmonary specialist at the University od California, Los Angeles, regularly prescribes garlic as a decongestant and expectorant for common colds and as a 'mucus regualator' for chronic bronchitis.

How does garlic work as an expectorant? The pungent property of garlic irritates the stomach, which then signals the brain through the vagus nerve to stimulate bronchial glands to release a flood of watery fluid.

The same reflex turns on glands that also cause the nose and eyes to water and in the lungs they release fluids that then thin the mucus, enabling the ordinary lung mechanisms to expel it.

Regular doses of garlic, as well as other pungent spices - such as hot peppers, black pepper, ginger, mustard, turmeric - help keep susceptible persons from developing debilitating chronic bronchitis, can treat clods, sinusitis and asthma, and keeps mucus moving normally through the lungs.

 

The Incredible Health Benefits of Onions

The health benefits of onions have been known for over 5000 years and they've been used to cure virtually everything under the sun.

In the last few years much research has gone into the health benefits of onions, and guesses what?

Studies after studies have confirmed that onions indeed possess many active compounds that have been proven beneficial for all sorts of health problem.

Onions are a very good source of vitamin C, B6, biotin, chromium, calcium and dietary fibre. In addition, they contain good amounts of folic acid and vitamin B1 and K.

A 100 gram serving provides 44 calories, mostly as complex carbohydrate, with 1.4 grams of fibre.

Like garlic, onions also have the enzyme alliinase, which is released when an onion is cut or crushed and it causes your eyes to water.

They also contain flavonoids, which are pigments that give vegetables their colour. These compounds act as antioxidants, have a direct antitumor effect and have immune-enhancing properties.

Onions contain a large amount of sulfur and are especially good for the liver. As a sulfur food, they mix best with proteins, as they stimulate the action of the amino acids to the brain and nervous system.

Onions, Rich Source of Quercitin

The onion is the richest dietary source of quercitin, a potent antioxidant flavonoid (also in shallots, yellow and red onions only but not in white onions), which is found on and near the skin and is particularly linked to the health benefits of onions.

 

Quercitin has been shown to thin the blood, lower cholesterol, raise good-type HDL cholesterol, ward off blood clots, fight asthma, chronic bronchitis, hay fever, diabetes, atherosclerosis and infections and is specifically linked to inhibiting human stomach cancer.

It's also an anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiviral, thought to have diverse anti-cancer powers. Quercitin is also a sedative. So far, there is no better food source of quercitin than onion skins.

You don't need to eat loads of onions to achieve these effects. In fact, studies show that you can reap the health benefits of onions by eating just one medium onion, raw or cooked, a day.

Detoxify Your Body with Onions

Onions contain a variety of organic sulfur compounds that provide health benefits.

Sulfur-containing amino acids are found in onions as well as garlic and eggs.

These specific amino acids are called methionine and cystine and, among other things, they are very good at detoxifying your body from heavy metals.

In fact, they are able to latch on to mercury, cadmium and lead and escort them out of the body.

Vitamin C, also contained in onions, is excellent at detoxifying the body and is effective in removing lead, arsenic and cadmium. So increasing consumption of onions can help the body to get rid of these harmful metals.

Onions and the Heart

To help keep your blood free of clots, and make the most of the health benefits of onions, eat them both raw and cooked.

Prescribing onions for heart patients is hardly routine among cardiologists. But Harvard's Dr. Victor Gurewich advises all his patients with coronary heart disease to eat onions daily.

 Here are some of the things that onions can do for your heart:

 -   Boost beneficial HDL cholesterol

 -  Thin the blood

 -   Retard blood clotting

-    Lower total blood cholesterol

 -   Lower triglycerides

-    Lower blood pressure

Cancer Prevention

One way the antioxidants in onions can protect you against cancer is by reducing the DNA damage in cells caused by free radicals, studies reveal.

All onions and onion relatives (garlic, leeks, chives and scallions, or spring onions) are rich in organ sulfur compounds shown to help prevent cancer in lab animals.

In fact, an onion extract was found to destroy tumor cells in test tubes and to arrest tumor growth when tumor cells were implanted in rats.

The onion extract was shown to be unusually nontoxic, since a dose as high as forty times that of the dose required to kill the tumor cells had no adverse effect on the host.

In addition, shallots have been shown to exhibit significant activity against leukemia in mice.

Other Health Benefits of Onions

Onions have also been shown to have a significant blood sugar-lowering action, even comparable to some prescription drugs.

Onions have historically been used to treat asthma, too. Its action in asthma is due to its ability to inhibit the production of compounds that cause the bronchial muscle to spasm and to relax bronchial muscle.

Onions have potent antibacterial activity, destroying many disease-causing pathogens, including E. coli and salmonella.

 Raghda Sawas

6 Bedtime Habits that Are Ruining Your Sleep

 

 1.Going from Night Owl to Early Bird

 Who says bedtime is just for kids? Take extra care to maintain your sleep schedule, especially on the weekends. The body responds to routine. If your bedtime is sporadic- 11 pm some nights, 1 a.m. others- your mind won't be properly prepared to snooze on the weekdays.

 2. Bringing Books to Bed

 Reading before bed is a habit for many. Problem is, your body has likely adapted to that routine-it won't go to sleep until you've logged a couple chapters. Retreat to a comfy couch or window nook instead for your literary fix.

 3.Facebooking Into the Wee Hours

 The brightness of your computer screen stimulates the brain. Plus, it's difficult for your mind to stop fretting about your digital to-do list, even once you've logged off. Avoid late-night surfing and shut down your computer. Give yourself time to wind down without any electronics.

 4 Setting a Bright Alarm Clock

 The looming glare of your alarm clock can be distracting when trying to sleep. The goal is to have as dark a room as possible. Block the bright numbers with a book or consider buying a small travel clock. Your cell phone alarm may also do the trick.

5. Counting Sheep

 When you just can't fall asleep, it's useless to stay in bed. If you've been trying to fall asleep for more than 30 minutes, we suggest doing something mundane, like balancing a checkbook, reading or watching TV. An activity that demands marginal brainpower will lull your mind. Before you know it, you'll be crawling back into bed genuinely tired.

6. Exercising Late at Night

Daytime workouts will keep you invigorated for hours. That's why you don't want to exercise within three hours of hitting the sack. Intense physical activity raises your body temperature and pumps your energy level-both interrupt a calm transition into sleep.

Maher Taki

 

Best Foods for Healthy Bones

 

Build a strong structure

When it comes to building strong bones, there are two key nutrients: calcium and vitamin D. Calcium supports your bones and teeth structure, while vitamin D improves calcium absorption and bone growth.

These nutrients are important early in life, but they may also help as you age. If you develop osteoporosis, a disease characterized by brittle and breaking bones, getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D may slow the disease and prevent fractures.

 

 

Understanding Bone Health

Your bones may seem rock-solid, but they could be at risk for a condition called osteoporosis, which can make them brittle, weak, and prone to breaks. The good news is that proper nutrition and exercise will help keep your bones strong for life.

Calcium is essential in building strong teeth and bones, and it may even keep you thin. Get your daily dose with these 10 figure-friendly meals that pack plenty of calcium.

Adults up to age 50 should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 200 international units (IUs) of vitamin D a day. Adults over 50 should get 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 IU of vitamin D.

Get these nutrients by trying these foods for healthy bones:

Cheese

Just because cheese is full of calcium doesn’t mean you need to eat it in excess (packing on the pounds won’t help your joints!). Just 1.5 ounces (think a set of dice) of cheddar cheese contains more than 30% of your daily value of calcium, so enjoy in moderation.

Most cheeses contain a small amount of vitamin D, but not enough to put a large dent in your daily needs.

Milk

There’s a reason milk is the poster child for calcium. Eight ounces of fat-free milk will cost you 90 calories, but provide you with 30% of your daily dose of calcium. Choose a brand fortified with vitamin D to get double the benefits.

Can’t get three glasses a day? Try blending milk into a smoothie or sauce.

Eggs

Though eggs only contain 6% of your daily vitamin D, they’re a quick and easy way to get it. Just don’t opt for egg whites—they may cut calories, but the vitamin D is in the yolk.

Yogurt

Most people get their vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, but certain foods, like yogurt, are fortified with vitamin D.

One cup of yogurt can be a creamy way to get your daily calcium. Stony field Farms makes a fat-free plain yogurt that contains 30% of your calcium and 20% of your vitamin D for the day.

And though we love the protein-packed Greek yogurts, these varieties tend to contain less calcium and little, if any, vitamin D.

Tuna

Tuna, another fatty fish, is a good source of vitamin D. Three ounces of canned tuna contains 154 IU, or about 39% of your daily dose of the sunshine vitamin. Try these low-cal Tuna-Melt Tacos as a way to sneak in vitamin D and calcium.

Sardines

These tiny fish, often found in cans, have surprisingly high levels of both vitamin D and calcium. Though they may look a bit odd, they have a savory taste that can be delicious in pastas and salads.

Spinach

Don’t eat dairy products? Spinach will be your new favorite way to get calcium. One cup of cooked spinach contains almost 25% of your daily calcium, plus fiber, iron, and vitamin A.

Salmon

Salmon is known for having plenty of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but a 3-ounce piece of sockeye salmon contains more than 100% of your vitamin D. So eat up for your heart and your bones.

Orange juice

A glass of fresh-squeezed OJ doesn’t have calcium or vitamin D, but it’s often fortified to contain these nutrients. Try Tropicana's Calcium + Vitamin D to get a boost of these essentials.

Also, studies have shown that the ascorbic acid in OJ may help with calcium absorption, so you may be more likely to get the benefits of this fortified drink.

Fortified cereal

Certain cereals - like Kashi U Black Currants and Walnuts, Total Whole Grain, and Wheaties - contain up to 25% of your daily vitamin D. When you don’t have time to cook salmon or get out in the sun, cereals can be a tasty way to get your vitamin D.

Collard greens

Like spinach, this leafy green often enjoyed south of the Mason-Dixon Line is full of calcium. One cup of cooked collards contains more than 25% of your daily calcium. Plus you can easily sneak it into your favorite foods, like this über-healthy frittata.

Compiled by: R. Sawas

 

 

 

Back to basics: Yoga for a stronger back

 

Back pain can result from poor posture, badly designed furniture, lack of exercise or even an injury.

Yoga is a great way to stretch and strengthen the muscles of your back. It can help maintain good posture, improve circulation and heal injuries. Try these basic postures to relax your muscles and release the tension in your back. Remember that yoga is best practiced under the supervision of an experienced teacher.

Lie on your stomach with heels adjoined. Raise your body and support the chin/face with your palms. Elbows remain on the ground. Those with severe back problems can keep their elbows apart and as the back becomes better slowly bring them closer so that they ultimately touch each other.

Maher Taki