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Strawberries, nutritional powerhouse

Everyone knows that strawberries are delicious. However, did you know just what a nutritional powerhouse they are? Here are eight reasons to include strawberries in your diet.

Diet

One cup of strawberries contains over 13% of the RDA of dietary fiber, yet only 43 calories. The dietary fiber in strawberries helps to keep digestion regular, as well as lowers blood pressure and curbs overeating.

Antioxidants

Strawberries contain a chemical compound called phenols. Anthocyanin, a particular phenol abundantly found in strawberries, lends the rich red color to the fruit. Though anthocyanin is known to have antioxidant properties within the fruit, it is debated as to whether the antioxidant agents in anthocyanin-rich foods can be absorbed into the body once digested. Fortunately, however, it is known that when anthocyanin-rich foods are consumed, the body's uric acid levels increase, which serves as an antioxidant agent.

Anti-Inflammatory

The phenols in strawberries also fight against many inflammatory disorders, such as osteoarthritis, asthma and atherosclerosis, by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) in the same way that the drugs aspirin and ibuprofen do. Strawberries, however, do not carry unwanted side effects like stomach and intestinal bleeding.

Anti-Cancer

The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents found in strawberries is well-known to fight against the onset of many different forms of cancer. Thanks to the vitamin C, folate, and the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol that they also contain, strawberries are a delicious defense against potentially cancerous cells.

Healthy Eyes

The Archives of Opthalmology recently published a study in which three or more servings of strawberries (and other fruits) per day can decrease the possibility of contracting age-related macular degeneration by over one-third.

The Vigorous Vitamin C

One cup of strawberries contains an incredible 136% of the RDA of vitamin C, an effective antioxidant that can help lower blood pressure, ensure a healthy immune system, and ward off the development of age-related ocular diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

Magnificent Manganese

One cup of strawberries contains 21% of manganese, an essential nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. By increasing the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), the enzyme responsible for protecting mitochonrdria exposed to oxygen, manganese not only helps to fight the battle against free radicals and oxidative stress, but also lessens cellular inflammation -- another cause of numerous cardiovascular diseases.

Bone Health

Manganese is also great for the bones, helping in bone building and maintaining proper bone structure. The potassium, vitamin K, and magnesium in strawberries are also important for bone health.

Source:Healthdiaries

Compiled by: Raghda Sawas

Australian scientists discover mystery of insulin

 

 

 

CANBERRA,  Australian scientists have discovered the exact way the body handles insulin and that could lead to more efficient and much more convenient treatments, said the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne on Thursday.

According to Xinhua News Agency, a research team, led by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute ( WEHI), worked with international researchers from the United States, the United Kingdom and Prague on the study.

They have discovered how molecules of insulin bind to a protein on the cells of the body, process that scientists have been trying to solve for two decades. The study was published today in the journal Nature.

The scientists said in a statement from WEHI they were excited to reveal for the first time a three-dimensional view of insulin bound to its receptor. About one million Australians have diabetes with around 100,000 new diagnoses each year. This discovery could spell the end of daily injections for hundreds of thousands of Australians.

Associate Professor Mike Lawrence, one of the research team leader, said the research is a key development in piecing together the puzzle of insulin, and will have practical implications in the design of new types of medication.

"Understanding how insulin interacts with the insulin receptor is fundamental to the development of novel insulins for the treatment of diabetes," he said in a statement.

"Until now we have not been able to see how these molecules interact with cells. We can now exploit this knowledge to design new insulin medications with improved properties, which is very exciting."He said.

B.N

 

 

 

Mint, mouth and breath freshener

Mint, that well known mouth and breath freshener, scientifically known as Mentha, with over two dozens of species and hundreds of its varieties, is an herb with remarkable medicinal properties. The market is full of products like tooth paste, chewing gums, mouth & breathe fresheners, candies and inhalers etc. which are based on mint. Most of us are familiar with only the refreshing part of it, but it has much more to offer than that. Let’s have a look.

The health benefits of mint include the following:

    Digestion: Mint is a good appetizer and promotes digestion, due to its typical aroma. It also soothes stomach in cases of indigestion, inflammation etc. This aroma of mint activates the saliva glands in our mouth as well as glands which secrete digestive enzymes, thereby facilitating digestion. Thus it is extensively used in culinary.

    Nausea & Headache: Again, the strong and refreshing aroma of mint is an excellent and quick remedy for nausea. Whenever you feel it, just smell the oil of mint or crushed fresh mint leaves or use any product with mint flavor, whichever is available near you, and it will be gone. In fact, many people keep mentha oil or mint flavored products with them to avoid nausea, particularly when they are traveling. Balms based on mint or simply mint oil, when rubbed on forehead and nose, gives quick relief in headache.

    Respiratory Disorders, Cough etc.: The strong aroma of mint is very effective in opening up congestion of nose, throat, bronchi and lungs, giving relief in respiratory disorders resulting from asthma, cold etc. As it cools and soothes throat, nose and other respiratory channels, it gives relief in cough too. Many balms are based on this property of mint. Unlike other inhalers which are based on aerosols, those based on mint are more effective and eco-friendly too.

    Asthma: Regular use of mint is very beneficial for asthma patients, as it is a good relaxant and gives relief in congestion. But, over dosage may irritate as well.

    Skin Care, pimples etc.: While mint oil is a good anti septic and anti pruritic, mint juice is an excelle,nt skin cleanser. It soothes skin, cures infections, itching etc., and is also good for pimples. Its anti pruritic properties can be used for treating bites of insects like mosquitoes, honey-bees, hornets, wasps, gnats etc.

    Female Sterility: Now, there is a mixed opinion about this. Some say that prolonged use of menthol may cause sterility and induce inability to conceive, by interfering with the production of ova and also killing these gametes, because of its germicidal and insecticidal properties. It is also heard that men who smoke menthol cigarettes are more likely to suffer from impotency than those who smoke normal cigarettes. It is not certain whether it is due the tobacco alone or mint has anything do with it. But menthol certainly has insecticidal properties. While another group suggests that mint may be used to treat sterility in females.

    Oral Care: This is a well known property of mint. Being a germicidal and breath freshener, it takes care of oral health by inhibiting harmful bacterial growth inside mouth and by cleaning tongue and teeth.

    Cancer: Current researches show that certain enzymes present in mint may help cure cancer.

    Other Benefits: Besides its wide industrial use in food stuffs such as ice-creams, chocolates etc., alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, medicines, inhalers and mouth and breathe fresheners, it is used as a condiment and decorative item in culinary world-wide. Drinks and food-stuffs containing mint cools you off in summer. It is a good relaxant. One more peculiar property which is very much in contrary to its cooling and soothing effects is that it induces sweating if consumed in fever, thereby curing it. Mint juice can be applied on burns to heal and soothe them. It is also beneficial in rheumatism. It is also said to improve activity of the brain, although there are no sufficient proofs.

Source:Organicafacts

Compiled by:Raghda Sawas

Health Risks and Benefits of Eating Red Meat

Many people argue over whether red meat is actually beneficial to your health. While there certainly can be a few downsides to this meat, do the benefits outweigh the negative impacts that red meat can have on your health? Furthermore, what is the best way to include red meat in your diet? Read this article to find out more about the health impacts of red meat along with tips for enjoying this meat in a healthy way.

What Are Red Meats?

In general, red meats are any meats that are reddish in color when uncooked. For the most part, this consists of meat from mammals such as cows and sheep. However, the meat of some birds is considered red as well, such as duck and goose. Red meat gets its color from myoglobin, a protein which is helps the body utilize oxygen more efficiently in aerobic respiration. The higher concentration of myoglobin in red meat makes it distinguishable in color from white meat.

Benefits of Red Meat

Although many experts attempt to steer individuals away from eating red meat, this type of food does provide a few health benefits for the body that should not be overlooked.

Those benefits include:

-         Boosting the immune system through high levels of zinc.

-         Providing a good source of iron that the body is better able to use than iron from other sources.

-         Helping to lose weight when lean red meat is eaten on a high-protein diet.

-         Providing a good source of complete proteins, which is essential for muscle and organ health.

-         Helping to maintain nerve cells through high levels of B vitamins.

Health Risks

Unfortunately, red meat also comes with a few risks to your health. The reasons that doctors advise people to avoid or cut back on red meat include:

  • Increasing the risk of bowel cancer. This is one of the key negative health effects noted by experts when explaining why red meat can be bad for you. However, this risk generally applies only for those who eat at least two servings of red meat each week.
  • Raising cholesterol levels. Many cuts of red meat contain high amounts of cholesterol, which can certainly lead to negative health impacts over time. Most notably, excessive cholesterol in the body is linked to heart disease and heart attacks.
  • Gaining weight. Although this appears to contradict one of the health benefits of red meat, it's important to note that certain cuts of this meat are high in saturated fat, which can lead to weight gain.
  • Increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Some studies have found that excessive amounts of red meat may be linked to osteoporosis. That's because the acid byproduct required to digest the significant amount of protein in red meat can have a negative impact on bones and joints.
  • Increasing the risk of breast cancer. One study has found that women who ate red meat every day had twice the risk of developing breast cancer. Although further evidence is needed to prove this link, this reputable study has caused many women to think twice about eating red meat regularly.
  • Causing food poisoning. According to The Independent, about one in six cases of food poisoning are caused by red meat. Many people should be more cautious about preparing and eating this type of meat since it has a higher risk of causing this illness.
  • Increasing the risk of Alzheimer's disease. This link to red meat is less straightforward than those previously mentioned, but still worth noting. Those that eat a diet that contains mostly plants and fish and hardly any red meat (also known as a Mediterranean diet) have a much lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. That has led many researchers to believe that eating too much red meat may increase the risk for this disease.

Tips for Eating Red Meat

Many of the negative effects caused by red meat have scared people away from eating it. However, because red meat does offer some great health benefits, you don't necessarily have to cut it out of your diet entirely. Instead, you can cut back on your intake of red meat, be more cautious about which cuts of meat you consume and prepare your meat in healthy ways.

First, try to make red meat only an occasional part of your diet rather than a daily habit. The recommended intake of red meat varies according to which source you look at, but the World Cancer Research Fund suggests limiting the amount of red meat you eat to no more than 17 ounces a week. Some sources have that weekly amount set even lower, so you may want to stick to just two or three small servings of red meat a week in order to protect your health.

Next, focus on which cuts of red meat you eat. Look for lean meat which contains very little fat. In general, processed meats will contain more fat and additives than fresh cuts of meat. You can also look for meats from animals which have been raised naturally rather than given growth hormones, which may increase the risk of cancer.

Finally, eat meat that has been prepared in a healthy fashion. According to The Independent, a rump steak which is grilled and has the fat trimmed off has 5.9 grams of fat with 2.5 grams of saturated fat. The same rump steak without the fat trimmed that is fried rather than grilled has 12.7 grams of fat with 4.9 grams of saturated fat. Making sure the cuts of red meat are as healthy as possible will reduce the risk for the negative health impacts associated with red meat.

Sources:Independent,Telegraph

Compiled by: RaghdaSawas

 

Almonds, tasty and nutritious

 

Do you know how beneficial almonds are for your health?

Almonds are my favorite nut. Most mornings I add 7 to 10 almonds to my breakfast.  Almonds are tasty and nutritious as most people will agree.

1 -They reduce heart attack risk.tasty and nutritious

Those who consume nuts five times a week have about a 50 percent reduction in risk of heart attack according to the Loma Linda School of Public Health.

2  -They lower ‘bad’ cholesterol

Almonds added to the diet have a favorable effect on blood cholesterol levels, according to a clinical study by Dr. Gene Spiller, Director of the Health Research and Studies Center, Inc.

3  -They protects artery walls from damage

It was found that the flavonoids in almond skins work in synergy with the vitamin E, thus reducing the risk of heart disease (Research at Tufts University).

4 -Almonds help build strong bones and teeth

The phosphorus in almonds helps make this possible.

5 -They provide healthy fats and aid in weight loss:

    Although nuts are high in fat, frequent nut eaters are thinner on average than those who almost never consume nuts. (Data from the Nurses’ Health Study).

    Those who ate nuts at least two times per week were 31 percent less likely to gain weight than were those who never or seldom ate them in a study involving 8865 adults.

6  -Almonds lower the rise in blood sugar and insulin after meals

7- They help provide good brain function

Almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, nutrients that boost brain activity and may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

8-They nourish the nervous system

According to Ayurveda, almonds help increase high intellectual level and longevity.

 

9-They alkalize the body

Almonds are the only nut and one of the few proteins that are alkaline forming.  When your body is not alkaline enough, you risk osteoporosis, poor immune function, low energy and weight gain.

Did you know?

 Almonds are actually stone fruits related to cherries, plums and peaches.

  2.51 million tons of almonds were produced in 2010 according to Food and Agriculture Organization.

 United States is the largest producer of almonds. Unfortunately, it also demands that almonds are pasteurized or irradiated.

 From ancient Egypt to modern times, almonds have always been a popular ingredient in lotions and potions.

Compiled by:Raghda Sawas