Food Facts (nutrition institute)

 A Vitamin a nutrient needed for healthy skin - it helps maintain the epithelial tissues that make up the skin’s surface, eyesight - inadequate intake can lead to poor vision in dim light and possibly age-related macular degeneration, and immune function - vital for development of immune cells. Top sources include sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, pink and red grapefruit,spinach and kale.

Acorn Squash

A variety of winter squash, acorn squash is so named for its nut-like shape. A 1/2-cup serving of baked acorn squash (103g) is a good source of heart-healthy nutrients such as fiber, magnesium,potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, as well as manganese and thiamin. Acorn squash is also an excellent food for athletes, providing 20% of daily thiamin, low levels of which may impair sports performance. Choose a dark green acorn squash (with up to one-half the squash yellow-orange) that is firm, smooth-skinned and heavy for its size. It's wonderful stuffed or pureed in a soup. One-half cup baked contains only 57 calories.

Anthocyanins

Anthocyanins are phytochemicals that give some fruits and vegetables their red, blue and purple colors. According to preliminary research, anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, heart healthy, anti-aging and anti-carcinogenicproperties. Top sources of anthocyanins include cherries,pomegranate, plums, red cabbage, grapes, apples, and most berries.

Antioxidants

As their name suggests, antioxidants combat the oxidation - the rust, if you will - of our cells. Fruit and vegetables are some of the best sources of antioxidant vitamins A, C & E, which can help repair, prevent or limit oxidative damage to our cells caused by free radicals. In addition to dietary antioxidant vitamins, our bodies make others, including glutathione, lipoic acid and melatonin.

Antioxidants take a nosedive after overindulgent meals, but fruit for dessert helps to undo the damage. In contrast, an American Heart Association review of studies on antioxidant supplements found  that they are largely ineffective in preventing heart disease.

The USDA ranks foods according to their antioxidant capacity and publishes an antioxidant list. Included areblueberries, cranberries,blackberries, raspberries, artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts,cabbage, raisins, strawberries,  cauliflower, plums,  dates, apples,goji berries. black beans, spinach and prunes.

 

Butheina Alnounou

 

Can you sidestep Alzheimer's disease?

 

 

 

A recent international survey identified Alzheimer's as the second most feared disease, behind cancer. It's no wonder.

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by progressive damage to nerve cells and their connections. The result is devastating and includes memory loss, impaired thinking, difficulties with verbal communication, and even personality changes. A person with Alzheimer's disease may live anywhere from two to 20 years after diagnosis. Those years are spent in an increasingly dependent state that exacts a staggering emotional, physical, and economic toll on families.

A number of factors influence the likelihood that you will develop Alzheimer's disease. Some of these you can't control, such as age, gender, and family history. But there are things you can do to help lower your risk. As it turns out, the mainstays of a healthy lifestyle — exercise, watching your weight, and eating right — appear to lower Alzheimer's risk.

5 steps to lower Alzheimer's risk

While there are no surefire ways to prevent Alzheimer's, by following the five steps below you may lower your risk for this disease — and enhance your overall health as well.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Cut back on calories and increase physical activity if you need to shed some pounds.
  2. Check your waistline. To accurately measure your waistline, use a tape measure around the narrowest portion of your waist (usually at the height of the navel and lowest rib). A National Institutes of Health panel recommends waist measurements of no more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.
  3. Eat mindfully. Emphasize colorful, vitamin-packed vegetables and fruits; whole grains; protein sources such as fish, lean poultry, tofu, and beans and other legumes; plus healthy fats. Cut down on unnecessary calories from sweets, sodas, refined grains like white bread or white rice, unhealthy fats, fried and fast foods, and mindless snacking. Keep a close eye on portion sizes, too.
  4. Exercise regularly. This simple step does great things for your body. Regular physical activity helps control weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, biking, rowing), can also help chip away total body fat and abdominal fat over time. Aim for 2 1/2 to 5 hours weekly of brisk walking (at 4 mph). Or try a vigorous exercise like jogging (at 6 mph) for half that time.
  5. Keep an eye on important health numbers. In addition to watching your weight and waistline, ask your doctor whether your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar are within healthy ranges. Exercise, weight loss if needed, and medications (if necessary) can help keep these numbers on target.

 

Butheina ALNOUNOU

 

 

 

Coriander,Decoration on the Dishes

The health benefits of coriander include treatment of swellings, high cholesterol levels, diarrhea, Mouth ulcers, anemia, digestion, menstrual disorders, small pox, eye care, conjunctivitis, skin disorders, blood sugar disorders, etc.

Coriander, commonly known as Dhania in the Indian Subcontinent or Cilantro in the Americas and some part of Europe, is an herb which is extensively used around the world as a condiment or as a garnish or as a decoration on the dishes. Its scientific name is Coriandrum Sativum L. Its leaves and fruits have typical aroma and are used raw or dried in culinary.

But that part of introduction was only the tip of the ice-berg. Coriander has so many benefits that a book can be written on them. It has eleven components of essential oils, six types of acids (including ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin-C), minerals and vitamins, each having a number of beneficial properties. The rest is given below.

 Swellings: Cineole, one of the 11 components of the essential oils, and linoleic acid, present in coriander, possess anti rheumatic and anti arthritic properties, which are very beneficial for swelling caused due to these two reasons. For others, such as swelling due to malfunctioning of kidney or anemia, it is seen to be effective to some extent, as some of the components help excretion of extra water from the body while.

High Cholesterol Levels: Some of the acids present in coriander viz. linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin-C) are very effective in reducing the cholesterol level in the blood. They also reduce the cholesterol deposition along the inner walls of the arteries and veins.

Diarrhea: Some of the components of essential oils in coriander such as Borneol and Linalool, aid digestion, proper functioning of liver and bonding of bowels, helping cure diarrhea. It is also helpful in diarrhea caused by microbial and fungal action, since components like Cineole, Borneol, Limonene, Alpha-pinene & beta-phelandrene have anti bacterial effects. In addition, the fresh coriander leaves are excellent appetizers.

Mouth Ulcers: Citronelol, a component of essential oils in coriander, is an excellent antiseptic. In addition, other components have anti microbial and healing effects which do not let wounds and ulcers in the mouth go worse. They aid healing up of ulcers and freshen up the breath.

Anemia: Coriander is good in iron content which directly helps curing anemia.

Digestion: Coriander, due to its rich aroma because of its essential oils, apart from being an excellent appetizer, helps in proper secretion of enzymes and digestive juices in the stomach, stimulates digestion and peristaltic motion. It is helpful in treating problems like anorexia.

Small Pox: The essential oils in coriander are rich in anti microbial, anti oxidant, anti infectious and detoxifying components and acids. The presence of vitamin-C and iron strengthen the immune system too. These properties help prevent and cure small pox. They also reduce the pain and have a soothing effect on pox patients.

Menstrual Disorders: Being stimulating in nature and helping proper secretion from the endocrine glands, it also helps proper secretion of the hormones and thereby inducing proper menstrual cycles and reducing pains etc. during periods.

Eye Care: Coriander has lots of anti oxidants, vitamin-A, vitamin-C and minerals like phosphorus in the essential oils in it which prevents aging of eye, macular degeneration and soothes eyes against stress.

Conjunctivitis: As discussed earlier, coriander is a very good disinfectant and has anti microbial properties which protect the eyes from contagious diseases like conjunctivitis.

Skin Disorders: The disinfectant, detoxifying, anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties of cumin are ideal for curing skin disorders such as eczema, dryness and fungal infections.

Blood Sugar: Due the stimulating effect of cumin on the endocrine glands, the secretion of insulin is increased from pancreas which increases the insulin level in the blood, thereby helping proper assimilation and absorption of sugar and resultant fall in the sugar level in the blood. This property is very beneficial for the diabetes patients and others too.

Other benefits: Still want more from it? You get it! Coriander helps cure ulcer, inflammation, spasm and acts as an expectorant, protects and soothes liver. It is anti-carcinogenic, anti-convulsant, anti-histaminic and hypnotic. Coriander is believed to be a natural aphrodisiac and previously it was extensively used in certain preparations, combined with other herbs, to enhance libido.

Compiled by : Raghada Sawas

Health Benefits of Figs

 

The health benefits of figs include treatment of constipation, indigestion, piles, diabetes, cough, bronchitis, asthma and sexual weakness. It also helps in gaining weight after illness.

Figs are seasonal fruits that are found in the western parts of Asia. However, dried figs are always available. The figs tree is a member of mulberry family.

Health benefits of figs can be attributed to the presence of minerals, vitamins and fibre in them. Figs contain vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, potassium and chlorine.

A few of its health benefits include:

Prevent constipation: There are 5 grams of fiber per three-fig serving. So, it helps in healthy bowel function and prevents constipation.

Weight loss: The fiber in figs also helps to reduce weight and is recommended for obese people. Take care - figs also result in weight gain, especially when consumed with milk.

 Lower cholesterol: Figs contain Pectin, a soluble fiber. When fiber goes through the digestive system, it mops up globes of cholesterol and carries them out of body.

 Prevent coronary heart disease:Dried figs contain phenol, Omega-3 and Omega-6. These fatty acids reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

 Prevent colon cancer: The presence of fiber helps to mop up and usher out cancer causing substances.

 Protection against post-menopausal breast cancer: Fiber content in figs give protection against breast cancer.

Good for diabetic patients:The American Diabetes Association recommends figs for a high fiber treat. Fig leaves reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetic patients who have to take insulin injection. Fig is rich in Potassium. Potassium helps to control blood sugar. Fig leaves have anti-diabetic properties

 Prevention of hypertension: People used to take more sodium in the form of salt. Low potassium and high sodium level may lead to hypertension. Figs are high in potassium but low in sodium. So, it helps to avoid hypertension.

 Sexual weakness: Figs are known since ages for reducing sexual weakness. Soak 2-3 figs in milk overnight and eat them in the morning to enhance your sexual power. It also helps in gaining weight.

Strengthens bones: Figs are rich in Calcium. Calcium helps to strengthen bones.

 Urinary calcium loss: People having high salt diet may be affected by increased urinary calcium loss. Potassium content in figs helps to avoid that.

Prevent macular degeneration: Vision loss in older people is due to macular degeneration. Fruits and figs generally are good for avoiding this condition.

Relief for throat: The high mucilage content in figs helps to heal and protect sore throats.

Figs are quite useful in various respiratory disorders including whooping cough and asthma. Since they are also good for digestion, they help in treating constipation, indigestion, stomach ache, etc. Figs are also good for fever, earache, boils, abscesses, venereal diseases and are excellent for the liver. Fig is a highly alkaline food, therefore helps to regulate the pH of the body. Figs are rich in flavonoids and polyphenols. These are antioxidants, which prevent the damage caused by free radicals. Fig is known for its soothing and laxative properties. Figs are low in fat and sugar.

 Figs are sweet and soft and their paste is used as a replacement for sugar. Processed figs are used to make pies, pudding, cakes, other bakery products, jam, jellies and preserves.

 Compiled by: Raghda Sawas

Did you know tomatoes are a fruit?

Did you know tomatoes are a fruit? It’s true, even though the U.S. Supreme Court declared the tomato a vegetable in 1893. And this red fruit also provides plenty of health benefits.

    Anti-oxidant: Tomatoes contain a lot of vitamins A and C, mostly because of beta-carotene, and these vitamins act as an anti-oxidant, working to neutralize dangerous free radicals in the blood stream. These dangerous free radicals can cause cell damage. And keep in mind, the more red the tomato, the more beta-carotene it contains. Also, remember that cooking destroys much of vitamin C, so stick with raw tomatoes for these benefits.

    Diabetes: Tomatoes also have plenty of the mineral chromium, which helps diabetics to keep their blood sugar level under control.

    Smoking: No, tomatoes can’t help you stop smoking, but what they can do is to help reduce the damage smoking does to your body. Tomatoes contain chlorogenic acid and coumaric acid, which help to fight against some of the carcinogens brought about by cigarette smoke.

    Vision: Because of all that vitamin A, tomatoes are also an excellent food to help improve your vision. This also means tomatoes can help your eyes be better about night blindness.

    Heart troubles: Due to potassium and vitamin B, tomatoes help to lower blood pressure and to lower high cholesterol levels. This, in turn, could help prevent strokes, heart attack and other potentially life-threatening heart problems.

    Skin care: Because of high amounts of lycopene, a substance found in many of the more expensive over-the-counter facial cleansers, tomatoes are great for skin care. The best way to use tomatoes for skin care is to peel a bunch of them, eight to twelve, then lay back and place the tomato skins on your face (or other skin areas). Make sure the inside of the tomato skins are against your skin, and let this sit for at least 10 minutes. Then wash off. Your face will be cleaner and more shiny, though it also might be a little red from the tomatoes. Don’t worry, that red on your face will wear away.

    Hair: Remember all that vitamin A in tomatoes? Well, it’s good for keeping your hair strong and shiny, and its also good for your eyes, teeth, skin and bones.

    Cancer: Various studies have shown that because of all that lycopene in tomatoes, the red fruit helps to lessen the chances of prostate cancer in men, and also reduces the chance of stomach cancer and colorectal cancer. Lycopene is considered somewhat of a natural miracle anti-oxidant that may help to stop the growth of cancer cells. And, interestingly enough, cooked tomatoes produce more lycopene than do raw tomatoes, so enjoy that tomato soup!

    Bones: Tomatoes have a fair amount of vitamin K and calcium, both of which help to strengthen and possibly repair in minor ways bones and bone tissue.

    Kidney stones and gallstones: Eating tomatoes without the seeds has been shown in some studies to lessen the risk of gallstones and kidney stones.

 

Raghda Sawas