Physical

Physical health is one of the four main areas of being healthy and is typically the first area that people think of when they consider their own health.

The Healthy Advantages of Turmeric

Medical Benifits

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Turmeric

The health benefits of turmeric are far reaching. One of the most powerful healing plants on the planet, turmeric, has its origins in the tropics of central Asia, (think India to China).

Though it has been used for thousands of years in cooking, turmeric probably was recognized later on in its history after first serving as a dying agent for cloth.  In fact it takes just a pinch of turmeric powder to stain cloth a bright yellow.  Over the centuries turmeric dye branched off to become turmeric spice and then into a medicinal function.

Turmeric and Cancer

To jump right in, I’ll start with the big ‘C’.  Turmeric has been known and the spice has been used medicinally in many different cultures for two thousand years and has now been shown scientifically to be beneficial for several important issues.

In today’s world none of these issues seem to have the same impact that cancer does when someone receives a diagnosis.  Time stops, the heart sinks, and the mind races through many dire scenarios connected with this disease.

While no lay person can make any claims about turmeric health benefits, or any other natural plant food has the ability to “cure” anything medical, many significant official studies about turmeric have shown the spice has the ability to make remarkable differences with respect to several cancers.

Turmeric

Comments, articles in medical journals, and reports about the efficacy of turmeric sound an awful lot like “cure” words, but I won’t get into the semantics here.

The health benefits are evident in its ability to reduce the risk of cancer is well documented in several different strains of the disease.

The medical community is always studying new ways of fighting cancer and thankfully not all of those studies deal with man-made chemical agents. (Although that’s where the money is).

Many of these studies have proven that the most active ingredient in turmeric, ‘curcumin’, helps reduce the risk of breast cancer for women dealing with hormone replacement therapy during menopause.

There are many animal studies that show extraordinary results in cancer treatment.  Turmeric stops lung cancer in mice and has shown significant progress in the slowing down of the symptoms of multiple myeloma, (a form of bone cancer).

In countries like India where the health benefits of turmeric have been understood for thousands of years, it has been seen to prevent prostate cancer and halt tumor growth when eaten with cauliflower and black pepper. Turmeric recipes abound if you think of it as the primary ingredient of curry spice.

Now this sounds pretty folklorish, (Is that a word?), but medical science has made this determination as well as traditional holistic practices over the centuries.

Turmeric is proven to be effective in stopping the blood vessel growth that tumors require to survive and spread.  For this reason turmeric may be one of the best modes to stop or slow down metastases from many types of cancers.

For those going through chemotherapy, a turmeric dosage increases the effectiveness of some chemo drugs while lessening their side effects.   Because turmeric naturally helps detoxify the liver, the body is able to tolerate chemo more effectively.

Ongoing turmeric research has shown significant progress in reducing the childhood leukemia risks, pancreatic cancer, and colon cancer.

Studies will continue and hopefully prove iron clad that turmeric is one of the natural answers to the cancer problem.

Turmeric and the Immune-system

Regardless what human ailments we have to deal with, the immune response is a critical factor that our bodies use to fight infections, inflammations, and organ breakdown.

Even with a disease free body, anything that stresses the immune system from repairing a scratch from your cat, to not getting enough sleep, directs your immune system’s energy away from dealing with the toxins, free radicals, and the various bacteria and viruses that we are exposed to all the time.

The substance in turmeric that helps people in India dye a sari bright yellow, curcumin, is the powerful infection fighter that has been used and revered for thousands of years to treat a wide range of ailments.Health Benefits of Turmeric

Studies show that curcumin is as powerful as ibuprofen and hydrocortisone; the most widely accepted “anti-inflammatory” drugs in use today.  The significant difference is that turmeric has no toxic side effects, unlike these two drugs. The fact that turmeric spice costs almost nothing is a sweet icing on the cake.

Inflammation is often the result of our bodies trying to deal with an overload of free radicals, which are at the bottom of almost every disease we are heir to from cancer to Alzheimer’s.

Free radicals cause oxidation which you might think of as rust for the body.  This oxidation eats holes through cells, changes the insides of them, and can even affect our DNA.

Curcumin is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants on the planet, basically able to neutralize free radicals throughout the body.

SIDE NOTE:

(BBQ fans would be wise to sprinkle some turmeric on the grilled food as it helps to lower the levels of carcinogens from the smoke and singing.)

 

Turmeric Benefits Video

 

Turmeric and the Alzheimer’s Connection

When the human brain builds up an amount of amyloid plaque, (still being studied for origins), the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease start to manifest.  This plaque stops or interrupts signal flow along the synaptic connections to effectively degrade brain functions such as normal thought, memory, speech, and eventually muscle and organ control.Turmeric Benefits

Turmeric spice has been shown to break down this buildup of amyloids and to further prevent production of more. The anti-inflammatory property of curcumin also cools down the inflamed brain tissue that the disease causes. Those with a family history of Alzheimer’s or people with at-risk behavior could benefit from a combination of turmeric and vitamin D in their diets.

Both are effective for overall health, with vitamin D being critical for general health, but they are more effective when used together for dealing with Alzheimer’s.

Turmeric and Detox

The anti-oxidants in curcumin are proven to be very beneficial in treating liver inflammation and dysfunction.

Detoxifying involves getting rid of toxins and unblocking the various organs that have become plugged and inflamed.

The anti-inflammatory ability that turmeric has demonstrated for generations also positively affects urinary infections, arthritis, irritable bowel, and heart disease.

Turmeric, Diabetes, and Other Problems

Numerous studies have proven that chances of getting diabetes are lowered with regular use of turmeric because of the herb’s ability to regulate blood sugars.

Inflammation from various sources can be mediated by the anti-inflammatory nature of turmeric.

a. Stomach and intestine issues such as ulcers and inflammatory bowel have been responsive to the curcumin in turmeric which is a cox-2 inhibitor and natural painkiller.

b. The same goes for rheumatoid arthritic joints and inflamed tissues from skin conditions such as psoriasis.

c. Along with dealing with the pain of burns turmeric is an antibacterial agent and natural antiseptic.

This member of the ginger family can be purchased almost anywhere that herbs and spices are available.

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Health food stores will have various turmeric dosages available in gel caps.  There are a number of health experts who attest that turmeric spice is best used with black pepper because this improves the bioavailability of the curcumin by several hundreds of percent.  This means that turmeric alone is not well absorbed in the gut, whereas paired with black pepper it is completely absorbed and can do what our maker designed it to do; taste good and help our bodies.

Why Avocados Are Healthy

Health Insurance Benefits

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Avocados

Avocados

Called the alligator pear by some, humans have been blessed by the health benefits of avocados for thousands of years. The avocado seems to have had its origin in Mexico and Central America.  The name of the avocado supposedly came from the ancient Aztec word ‘ahuacatl,’ which meant ‘testicle’ because of the interesting shape.

Avocados and Fat

Once, (until recently) avoided because of the high fat content, the avocado is presently very popular even with dieters now that most of those concerned with weight issues and calories understand that the monounsaturated fat in them is the kind of fat that not only doesn’t go to your hips but is good for joints and healthy brain function.

Considered by many to be one of the healthiest, most nutrient rich foods on the planet avocados contain more than 25 important nutrients including magnesium, iron, copper, vitamins A, B, C, E, K, and two to three times the potassium as a banana.  Avocados are also rich in fiber, important phytochemicals, and protein.

Why Eat Avocados

 Avocados for Optimal Wellness

Avocados Health Benefits

It wouldn’t be reasonable to expect that an illness would magically go away simply by eating avocados or any other healthy nutritious food. Nutrition science has proven however that avocados are worth incorporating into our diets for optimal wellness.

The list of health issues that avocado consumption helps with is long and growing, (as research is ongoing and turning up new findings constantly).

Avocados and Joint health

I mentioned joint health above because besides the joint lubricating that avocados do, they are also known for the anti-inflammatory combination of omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants.  Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are helped by intake of these nutrients to relieve inflammation and pain symptoms.

Other active phytonutrients in avocados like flavonoids and polyphenols have a compounding effect on arthritic joints and serve to keep the disease at bay.

Avocados and Heart Health

Avocados

Another of the benefits is in the wonderful source of glutathione, (considered to be a major player in the fight against heart disease).   Along with glutathione, avocados are packed with folate, vitamin E, and the monounsaturated fats that lower LDL cholesterol.  Beta-sitosterol from avocados has been shown to lower LDL, and raise HDL, (the good cholesterol) and lower triglyceride levels.

The significant amount of potassium found in avocados further improves heart health by helping to regulate blood pressure and preventing strokes.

Avocados and Blood Sugar

Avocados include large amount of soluble fiber that keeps blood sugar steady. The monounsaturated fat that everyone was initially concerned about is instrumental in regulating blood sugar levels and reversing insulin resistance.

Avocados and Cancer Protection

Scientific studies in avocados have proven that eating avocados can stop and/or prevent the growth of some cancers like prostate and breast cancer. Avocados are so rich in nutrients and free-radical fighting antioxidants; it’s no wonder that they are gaining so much notoriety in the health and nutrition fields.

The cornucopia of phytochemicals in avocados like glutathione, lutein and beta-setosterol show powerful results against disease and the ravages that our western diets and lifestyles are creating.

Avocados and Aging

Avocados

The free radical issue is rearing its head at every turn when we consider the toxic world we live in.  From pesticides, fertilizers, smoke emissions, chemical waste, and overuse of antibiotics, the toxicity of our environment has effected not only how we live but how we age.

When our bodies are trying to handle the toxic load that we ingest from eating, breathing, and drinking our organs that are designed to filter these elements are overwhelmed.  The toxins that escape the filters are enrobed in fat cells and stored, (usually around the belly).  These toxic particles are called free radicals.  Free radicals act somewhat like an acid to our cells.  They eat holes through cell walls and damage what is inside of them.

Many of these cells are visibly changed and manifest what we know as signs of aging; Our skin loses collagen and gets thinner and dehydrated.  Our hair loses moisture, falls out, and turns grey.

The shape of our bones are affected by gravity and loss of density so we lose height.  Our posture changes from straight and upright to slumped over.Loss of muscle tissue and muscle tone make us physically less able to do things that were so easy at a younger age, and neurological reaction times are slowed, (sometimes to dangerous levels like when driving).

Sometimes cancers are formed or an organ is damaged as these toxins damage cells and diseases become the end product. The antioxidants in avocados, along with the glutathione, fortify the immune system, reinforce the nervous system, and slow down the process of aging.

Avocados and Healthy Eyes

Macular degeneration, cataracts, and retinal inflammation, (a major cause of floaters), are age related also.  The powerful antioxidants and carotenoid lutein in avocados protect against these problems.

Avocados and Weight Concerns

Health Benefits of Avocados

It is true that avocados contain twice the calories of other fruit even though avocados don’t contain the sugar that other fruits do.  However, the bio-availability of the avocado nutrition  makes an equitable and valuable trade off.  What this means is that the nutrient rich avocado also helps our bodies absorb more of the nutrients that we consume from other foods.

The monounsaturated fats in avocado don’t get stored the way that saturated fats do from processed foods that are calorie-dense and loaded with sugar.

Avocados and Skin

The plant steroids, (sterolins), in avocado are wonderful moisturizers and softeners for the skin.  One of the other  benefits of avocados is in the nutrient rich penetrating oil from cold pressed avocados. Using the oil shows marked improvement for sun damaged, dehydrated skin and that has the ability to regenerate collagen as well.  (Collagen loss is another gift of age and climate damage that we usually just have to live with).

Those suffering the itching and dryness of eczema and psoriasis can feel some relief from avocado oil loaded with essential fatty acids, (unsaturated of course), potassium, lecithin, and other regenerating vitamins.

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Avocados and Birth Defects

In today’s toxic world there are many causes of birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly, (lack of complete brain formation), that are being studied.  One of the commonalities in many birth defect cases is a folate deficit.  Folate is a B vitamin called folic acid. Folic acid is available in many unprocessed whole plant foods but is particularly heavy in avocado.  One cup of avocado yields close to a quarter of the recommended daily intake of folic acid.

Bananas And Your Health

Health Benefits

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Bananas

Whenever bananas and health are used in the same sentence the term potassium comes to almost every one’s mind.  However the health benefits of bananas are much broader in scope than just potassium. Considered by many to be one of the world’s most perfect whole foods, the common banana is certainly one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet.

Fat free, cholesterol free, and sodium free, bananas do have potassium, protein, fiber, vitamins A, B-6, B-12, vitamin C, as well as pectin, and the amino acid tryptophan.  Made up of 75% water bananas are the fourth most consumed food plant on earth after rice, wheat, and corn.

Bananas as a Whole Food

Bananas is one of those must-have foods people get when they go to market much like bread milk, and eggs.  No matter what else is on the shopping list, bananas usually make it into the cart as well.  This hasn’t necessarily been because they are healthy, but because they taste great. Kids love them, which is a big blessing, because bananas, or any other whole food are best when they are started at an early age.

The actual health influences from eating bananas are vast, some being benefits developed and maintained over years and some that are quite immediate.

Eating Bananas

Long Range Health Benefits

Heart health

Bananas

One of the benefits is in the fact that potassium levels in a banana are an effective method to balance the electrolyte and body fluids within our bodies cells which helps to regulate blood pressure.  Reducing this risk factor for heart attack also minimizes the risk for strokes.  Potassium is also a critical element for the regulation of proper rhythmic muscle contraction including the most important muscle of all, the heart.

Kidney trouble

The toxic condition called uremia comes about when the kidney becomes congested, inflamed, and dysfunctional from the constant combined load of uric acid that is formed from our meat heavy western diet and chemicals that we ingest with those animal products.

The body’s systems of cleaning and filtering can handle a certain amount of meat but not in the amounts that we are used to eating in our culture.

Being low in protein and salt but relatively high in carbohydrates, another of the benefits of bananas is they help the bodyhealth benefits of bananas by feeding it and at the same time allowing the kidneys to flush and clear some of the congestion.  A banana diet consisting of eight or nine bananas per day for 3 or 4 days is effective in dealing with the problem.

Nephritis, a bacterial caused kidney infection, responds well to this regimen also.  (Consult your doctor before starting a program such as this and do some research on your own as well.)

Ulcers/Waste management system

Present with most ulcers is the bacteria helicobacter pylori, that, left untreated causes ulcerations, (holes), in the soft lining of the stomach. This naturally causes inflammation, pain, and can lead to much more complicated problems.

The flesh of a banana is smooth, soothing to the stomach, and quickly digested.  The acid neutralizing properties in  bananas helps cool down the stomach, stop the irritation, and coat the stomach lining.  As the banana is digested it enters the gut to normalize the ph and flora in the upper intestine and acts as a mild laxative.

Stroke and other things that go wrong

The health benefits are evident in levels of potassium that we keep mentioning, when combined with no salt, helps reduce stroke risks by about 40% with regular use of this remarkable fruit.

Containing one of the greatest naturally available vitamin B-6 sources makes the banana a major player in making serotonin from tryptophan as well as producing hemoglobin, a critical part of our blood.

The hefty amount of fiber in bananas is the aid to the body to again lower risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

B-6 also is important for producing antibodies, maintaining immune responses, and helps convert carbs to glucose which helps level blood sugars in our systems.

Immediate Health Benefits

Bananas

Energy Levels

At any athletic event you will often notice that the athletes eat bananas for a quick boost of sustainable energy. Anyone needing a fast pick-me-up can be assisted by eating a banana!

Bananas provide this energy boost by the combined levels of B-vitamins and carbohydrates.  The glucose, fructose, and sucrose in this tasty fruit put some people off due to concerns about weight, but at only 100 calories per banana the natural sugars in this fruit are extremely bio-available.  With the help of the fiber that bananas contain they quickly metabolize and don’t end up as fat.

Bananas

One good sized banana provides almost a quarter of the recommended daily amount of B-6 vitamins, 15% of RDA fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and the right kinds of amino acids.

The mood elevating chemical triptophan, aside from being instrumental in producing blood cells, also helps to reduce stress.

The quick energy that we mentioned before also serves to keep you alert and improves the functioning of our brain.  As long as you don’t eat them before bedtime, who couldn’t use a mental pick-me-up during the day, (starting with breakfast).  With no harsh chemicals or strong stimulants, and certainly being less expensive than those little mini bottles that are so popular right now, the banana health benefits are a stronger case.

History of Bananas

Originally from Malaysia, bananas traveled via trade routes to India sometime around the 6th century BC.  There were vast banana plantations in China by 200 AD and in 327 A.D. Alexander the Great found them on a visit to India, took a shine to them and so carried some to the western civilization.  They were thought of as a luxury so that they didn’t reach the level of popularity that we have today until the 20th century.

Today the greatest producer of commercial bananas is India which grows about one quarter of the world’s crop, but consumes most of it domestically.  There are 130 countries world wide that grow bananas and 10% to 15% of that production is exported to other countries. Here in North America most of our bananas come from Hawaii (the only state that grows them).

 Banana Varieties

Bananas

The cavendish strain of bananas are the most common to the U.S., and are the most widely grown variety in Hawaii with 80% of growers preferring this one.  Bright yellow when ripe, the cavendish banana is sweet, smooth in texture and can grow to nearly 12 inches long.

The second most popular banana grown in Hawaii is the Brazilian. Brazilian bananas are the second most commonplace group of banana varieties in Hawaii. Brazilian bananas are commonly referred to in Hawaii as “apple bananas.”  The Brazilian group includes the dwarf Brazilian variety. Dwarf Brazilian banana trees reach a mature height of 5 to 10 feet. They produce sweet, slightly tangy bananas with a firm texture.

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A Hawaiian Candy Apple Banana is a nutritious, tasty and sweet banana grown right on the lovely Big Island of Hawaii. It is low in calories, high in potassium, a good source of Vitamin B6 and fiber. Candy Apple Bananas are naturally sweet with sucrose, fructose and glucose and have 3 times more Vitamin C and 1-1/2 times more Vitamin A than your regular banana.

Health Benefits Network

Nutrition benefits

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The health benefits network can certainly be helpful in today’s changing healthcare world. With the political and socio/economic climate in flux, continued and focused effort needs to be put towards keeping your medical practice competitive and connected.

A Good Tool

The health challenges that American families are faced with daily also demand that the care and services they need will be available to them when and where they are required.  We realize that a good benefits network is a tool that our patients will also draw benefits  from by extending and protecting the quality of medical care throughout the 50 states.

Health Benefits Network

In a society that is well used to the concept of mass marketing, buying in bulk, and consumer choice, a network offers the best aspects of these.

As the provider of personal contact health care, you and your staff are the piece that is required to connect with the patient and help them realize that regardless of the issue, they are not alone.  The hands-on benefits that you provide your patients will be re-enforced by the background support that a good health benefits network will provide for you and your medical practice.

Make-up of a Network

A network might consist of thousands of general and specialty physicians, hundreds of labs and technical support services, and dozens of hospitals, all working with many well established insurance companies.  Within this system a network can better provide its members the power of a huge customer base, high impact advertising, and the advantage of negotiated contracts on your behalf.

Being able to take advantage of thousands of PPO s, discount medical cards, union medical plans, insurance carriers and other payers will greatly advance your efforts to maintain a successful practice.

A dedicated staff works diligently to locate and sign up new contracted patients, company benefits programs, and union contracts. The scope of this effort would be problematic at best for in house staff to manage.

As a member of a health benefits network you will make it easier for patients to find you when using the nationwide directory of doctors, services, and facilities.  These search tools focus on local areas and utilize map and direction programs.  Even smart phone apps are being integrated for instant notification and advertising.

In today’s competitive world, it just makes sense to be part of the growing health benefit network!

Green Tea Benefits

Health Benefits

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The Chinese have been intimately aware of the health benefits of green tea for over 4,000 years.  Only recently have

Green Tea

the west and Asia conducted research that has given us hard evidence that drinking green tea in fact does carry significant health benefits.

 Green Tea Studies

Some of the published studies about green tea have shown, for example, that green tea usage lowers cholesterol levels and improves the ratio of (HDL), good cholesterol to (LDL), and bad cholesterol.  This lowering of LDL cholesterol also prevents the formation of thrombosis causing blood clots, the main cause of stroke and heart attacks.

Epidemiological studies have proven that green tea reduces the risk of esophageal cancer by sixty percent in Chinese men and women.  There is a compound in the green tea that blocks the growth of the cancer cells.  The power of EGCG is even more remarkable as a cancer cell killer and cancer cell inhibitor while not harming any other cells, (something that our man-made chemicals have not been able to duplicate).

So far there is no specific information about green tea and how drinking it affects rheumatoid arthritis, but studies of a compound from the tea have shown that this compound, (EGCG), blocks the chemical reaction that causes inflammation and the resulting joint damage.

Green Tea Advantage

 

Green Tea

Green Tea and “French Paradox”

The green tea health benefits also stretch to a concept known as the “French Paradox.”  Researchers have for many years been stumped by the lower incidence of heart disease in France despite the cultural tendency toward heavy fat content of food and the national averages of smokers.  Apparently the answer was the broad use of red wine which contains a polyphenol called resveratrol which lowers the harmful effects of fatty diets and smoking.   The EGCG contained in green tea however is 200% more powerful than resveratrol.  These health benefits would explain the low incidence of heart trouble with Japanese men of whom 75% are smokers.

Green Tea and Weight Loss

People concerned with weight control  might take a look at a study posted in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Nov. issue in 1999 that

Green Tea Nutrition

showed men given a caffeine and green tea extract combination were able to burn more calories than men who were only given caffeine.  The report will elaborate on the other variables of the study but the health benefits of green in regard to chemicals in the tea contain properties that we are still gathering information about.

Green tea contains a powerful combination of caffeine, antioxidants, and polyphenols that serve to stimulate the body’s fat-burning process, particularly centering on belly fat.  Working best with a regular routine of exercise, the caffeine in green tea helps speed up metabolism, break down fat cells, and assists to regulate blood sugar at higher levels, reducing hunger pangs.

Ideally, the greatest health benefits call for drinking an average of four to five cups a day for effectively burning belly fat or dealing with some of the other, more urgent health issues.  If that amount seems excessive or you just don’t like the taste there are some options. Combining some of the non-caffeinated herbal flavored teas will change the flavor significantly.  Experiment with the many flavors that are available and you are sure to find one that will suite you well.

The other option is to purchase green tea supplements in capsule form and take these on a regular daily basis.  Plenty of water is called for here along with the fore-mentioned exercise routine.  Solid research has shown that it’s possible to burn upwards of 35 to 40% more body fat by drinking green tea and exercising.

Other Health Benefits

Green Tea

Green tea health benefits also include destruction of bacteria that the body can use in several ways.  As the Chinese have known for centuries green tea can help or prevent food poisoning and those same bacteria fighting properties can also aid in preventing dental plaque which leads to tooth decay.

So far the only down side to green tea is that over consumption may lead to a level of insomnia; it does after all contain caffeine.  Even so, the level of caffeine in coffee is almost twice as high as the caffeine level in green tea.  Some folks may think that green tea has less caffeine than coffee therefore it’s OK to drink before bedtime.  It really depends on one’s tolerance for caffeine, how much you drink and when. It’s probably best to leave the caffeine alone before bedtime no matter what the form.  Perhaps some caffeine free chamomile tea instead would be the ticket with a lavender scented candle to aid in the relaxation atmosphere.

Green Tea vs. Other Teas

What makes green tea health benefits more significant than benefits from other teas like black tea or oolong?   There are more health benefits because the leaves are steamed dried and packaged which keeps the EGCG component from becoming oxidized and diminished.  All other teas are processed by fermentation methods which allow for propagation of various flavorings.  The fermentation process destroys the EGCG effectiveness.

Many of us have health issues that would begin to change by taking advantage of the health benefits of green tea.  Whether this is your situation or not, you cannot help but gain health benefits  by drinking this refreshing beverage.

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With the current frenzy to eat and drink in a more healthy manner that has finally struck our culture, there are more and more products that have come out using the best parts.  Another of the benefits of green tea is in topical creams that have shown themselves to be great for skin care.  There are even more great products to eat and drink that will assist in giving us health and long life.   There are also tasty items like flavored green teas are very popular, (though one should be mindful of the sweetening ingredients).  Green tea ice cream is one of my favorites but, hey, it’s ICE CREAM.  I’m saying that you should read labels and pay attention to what else is in the can or bottle.  Inattention to ingredients is part of what has gotten us in the health mess that we find ourselves waddling around in.


Quinoa and Your Health

Health Benefits

Quinoa

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Most people in the U.S. don’t know anything about the health benefits of quinoa.  One would think a plant that packs such a wealth of nutrition, one that was prized above gold by the Incas, and one that has been cultivated in the Andes Mountains for more than 5,000 years would have some recognition of the quinoa health benefits.

 

Benefits of Quinoa Realized

The fact is that quinoa has been a main staple for modern day native Andeans as it was for the Incas. Such import was put on the plant that when the Spanish conquistadors tried to control and extinguish the Inca civilization they burnt all the quinoa fields and made it a capital crime to grow it punishable by death.   About 25 years ago a couple of Americans visiting Peru understood the nutritional value of quinoa and brought some back to Colorado and started US production.  The exciting surprise was the cross pollination that occurred with lamb’s-quarter, (a North American ancestor), produced a superior strain that was heartier and less quirky to grow.

 

 

Quinoa

Quinoa and Taste

Flash to present day worldwide where the Western way of eating has caught on almost everywhere along with the illness trends that come along with it.  More and more the concept that what we eat is lowering our life expectancy and increasing the scope of illness is really starting to sink in.   Today more people are flying the whole grains, lower fats, and natural food flags.  Stress on eating healthy is starting to take over mainstream media and people are looking for the foods that will not only taste good but keep them alive and healthy.  There is further to go but the stage is set for world cultures to learn about the quinoa health benefits; and what a boon this one is turning out to be.

Quinoa and Nutrition

There are fewer carbohydrates and calories in quinoa than in other whole grains.  And, quionoa contains every essential amino-acid that the body needs. Amino-acids are the material that our bodies cells are made of, what they need to rebuild and strengthen, and by the way, what almost all processed foods are lacking.  The levels of omega 3 fatty acids are high in quinoa, along with calcium, phosphorus, folate, potassium, and lysine.

One other of the benefits of quinoa is it doesn’t contain as much protein as some other whole grains but that protein is 90% digestible.  The way most grain based foods are processed cuts down the protein digestion to ranges of 20% to 50%.  The nutritional components and other whole grains are vital to our wellbeing in numerous ways that include dealing with migraine headaches, cardiovascular health, inflammation, toxic load, energy levels, and various cancers.

Quinoa

Total Health Benefits of Quinoa

Thought to be a blood oxygenator as well, quinoa may be the most nutritionally dense plant on the planet .  I have been using the term whole grains here, but the fact is that quinoa is not, strictly speaking, a grain at all but a seed.  Quinoa is actually a broad leaf plant that carries a dense cluster of seeds at the flower head.  The other plant parts are quite usable for food as well from the leaves, immature seeds to the pods. Quinoa is a relative of chard, spinach, and kale and so carries the same high nutrient benefits of these dark leafy green plants.

Cooking Quinoa

Preparing quinoa requires one thing consistently regardless of the dish or method of cooking.  Due to the plant’s self-protection method of a bitter saphonin coating that puts off bugs and birds the seeds have to be rinsed off before cooking, (unless you like bitter food).  Rinsing the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer or a clean dish towel until the light foam clears takes just a few minutes.  It is recommended that you even to this to pre-packaged seeds as well.  The alternative may be a bitter surprise. The quinoa seed may be steamed or fried just like rice, (and is much less likely to overcook as rice can).  If you have a good grain grinder/processor you can make a very healthy flour for baking or coating.

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The Colorado strain of black quinoa has a richer flavor of whole grain that we are used to whereas the South American cousin tastes flat in comparison.  Either type however blends well with other culinary ingredients to make savory dishes as well as fruit enhanced sweeter offerings.  The nutrition is the big thing here anyway.

In our fight to stay alive and healthy quinoa will gain in notoriety and importance.  The list of innovative uses for this “mother seed,” as the Incas called it, is growing and will be a major player in the nutritional arsenal.

 

Healthy Benefits of Strawberries

Health Benefits

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In just about any part of the world you will find people enjoying the wonderful flavor and the health benefits of Strawberriesstrawberries.   The red, fragrant, ground hugging strawberry plant has been wide spread as a wild native in many parts of the world dating back at least 2000 years.  For all of that time the wild species have been highly prized and recognized not only for their sweet flavor but for various health benefits.

A Brief History of Strawberries

Before the benefits of strawberries were known, for many hundreds of years the small, wild varieties were adapted to cultivation and harvesting practices.  Greatly prized but rather labor intensive for general consumption, they were a favorite delicacy of royalty and the rich.  Not until early in the 18th century did they start to become the fruit that we are familiar with today.

A French engineer working in Chile discovered a species of strawberry that was larger than the varieties in Europe.  When he returned with these Chilean species and tried to grow them in a field with French native berries they didn’t do very well at first until a natural cross breed was produced. The resulting berries were much larger and much sweeter than any that came before.  The health benefits of eating strawberries were not yet considered, but the berries were still reserved as a luxury for the wealthy. They didn’t become as widely consumed by commoners until the advent of the railroad systems that greatly sped up delivery and, hence, marketability of this now commonly available berry.

Strawberries

Even strawberries were intrinsically known by cultures throughout the globe, they weren’t specifically understood.  Wives tales, stories handed down for centuries, and recipes of traditional folk therapeutic practices were the means whereby people knew that there was more to them than just the wonderful taste. Native Americans  apparently understood the health benefits of strawberries and were reported to have used an infusion of strawberry leaves for upset stomach and diarrhea.  Anictdotes throughout Europe talked about the strawberry health benefits positively affecting all manner of illnesses such as gout, fevers, skin irritations, and longevity.

 

Strawberries Understood

It has only been recently that the scientific community has come to understand strawberries as a power house of nutritional foods and exactly why that is. All fruits and vegetables have powerful nutrition that our culture is not taking full advantage of. It turns out that

Strawberries

the nutritional benefits of strawberries are exceptional with regard to the levels of phenols, vitamin-C, and a host of antioxidants that explain the high regard that surrounds them.  The abundant anti-inflammatory properties in strawberries assist those who have stomach problems, irritable bowel, and even cardiovascular issues related to cellular inflammation caused by free radicals and oxidative stresses from the animal based diets that we are all used to.

Strawberries and Inflamation

Inflammation disorders like asthma, atherosclerosis, and osteoarthritis have been treated for many years by drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin.  We are learning that strawberries carry phenols that fight these disorders in much the same way by inhibiting the active enzyme that causes the inflammation but without irritating the stomach and intestinal lining that often causing bleeding.

Strawberries

CANCER

Onset and development of cancer cells are largely dependent on an atmosphere of inflammation and toxic load in the body. Both cause a strain on the bodies’ immune system that, together with the weakening of the cell, allows the cancer to get a foothold. Anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants in strawberries fight against several different types of cancer from getting this foothold.  With the powerful flavonoids, vitamin C, and folate that are packed into strawberries, we have a natural, affordable weapon to keep our bodies safe from the ravages of cancer cells.

AGINGstrawberries

The same chemicals and systems that protect our bodies from cancer and other diseases help stay the ravages of time.  Science has found thatalmost all aging issues are cause and accelerated by inflammation and oxidation.  That being said, it stands to reason that any natural whole food that offers not only great nutrition but loads of antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory would be a logical choice for long life and good health. Vitamin B complex is composed of water soluble B vitamins, or folates.  This vitamin is critical for the production of new cells and their maintenance and health.  One of the health benefits of strawberries is that the berry provides one of the highest amounts of folate per cup of all fruits. This includes antioxidants that help repair damaged cells and prevent further damage thereby keeping the immune system strong and further lowering the cancer risk.

Strawberries

VISION

A recently published ophthalmology study shows the health benefits of strawberries in that that several servings of strawberries and other fresh fruits per day can lower age related macular degeneration risks. (The study emphasizes that the number of servings is important to maintain the level of health desired). The level of vitamin C from one cup of strawberries is 135% of the RDA.  This amount of antioxidant helps lower blood pressure, inhibits ocular diseases like cataracts, and allows the body to maintain a healthy, strong immune system.

HEALTHY BONES

Strawberries

The high levels of magnesium, vitamin K, and potassium found in strawberries and other fresh fruits play a critical role in the building and maintenance of bone structure and health.  The levels of calcium from various source foods require vitamin K to be in combination so that the calcium can be properly absorbed.

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STRAWBERRIES NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:

1.00 cup   Strawberries     144.00 grams       46.08 calories

Nutrient               Amount DV        (%) Nutrient Density                      World Healthy Foods Rating

Vitamin C             84.67 mg             141.1                                                      55.1 excellent

Manganese           0.56 mg                8.0                                                        10.9 excellent

Fiber                      2.88 g                    11.5                                                        4.5 very good

Folate                    34.56 mcg            8.6                                                          3.4 very good

Iodine                    12.96 mcg            8.6                                                          3.4 very good

Potassium           220.32 mg               6.3                                                          2.5 good

Magnesium        18.72 mg                 4.7                                                          1.8 good

Vitamin K             3.17 mcg                4.0                                                          1.5 good

Omega-3 fats     0.09 g                       3.8                                                          1.5 good

As you can easily see, the health benefits make this delicious fruit worth enjoying for more than just the taste!

Okra’s Health Benefits

Health Benifits

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With a sharp focus on nutrition and healthy eating let’s look at the health benefits of okra.  Okra is an annual orOkra perennial that grows about to  five feet tall and produces many seed pods that are harvested for consumption.

The seed pods are used ideally when they are about four inches long just prior to their mature growth potential.  The plant itself is one of the most heat and drought tolerant plants in the world. When grown in direct sunlight and watered sufficiently it grows quickly and continues to produce fruit. 

History of Okra

Okra has a history that dates back to antiquity and was recorded to have been widely cultivated along the banks of the Nile in ancient Egyptian times.

The available historical data are vague about okra and its exact origin, but Africa is the commonly thought of beginning.  From Ethiopia to South America and from North Africa to the slaver countries it was carried and documented to travel far and wide along the trade routes to Northern Europe and Asia.

Today the recipes for okra are found everywhere and okra is a popular staple throughout the world. As it grows best in warmer weather with plenty of water, the US center is and has been the Southern states where it first showed up with slaves that were brought over from Africa and the Caribbean.

An interesting side note is that many of the slaves brought over from Africa sequestered okra seeds, (and probably some other plant species), in their matted hair to use when, (and if), they arrived.

Okra

Digestion and Okra

The nurition benefits of okra are numerous, but let’s start with one that helps everything else in the human body when it runs right.  Today’s diets of processed foods, too much animal protein and fats have turned our natural physiologies on their collective ears.  It’s becoming more evident to even the laymen out there that something is needed that we are not getting.  Consequently our levels of physical discomfort, and general ill health is linked to what, when, and how much we eat.

To say that we feel the danger and urgency of the problem at the gut level is more than just use of a catch phrase.  The gut, or intestinal system, is where much of the problem lies. The food is there fermenting and turning into a toxic load too heavy for our bodies to handle.  During the digestive process toxin heavy bile acid exits the liver. One of the most significant benefits of okra is that the mucilage from the okra binds with this bile and cholesterol to better facilitate its elimination.

If the acids and toxins are allowed to remain in the gut too long they tend to cause inflammation and can lead to many of the intestinal problems that plague our culture today.  One of these problems that is on the forefront of health and nutrition news is irritable bowel syndrome. With the regular use of okra with its lubricating effect and acid neutralizing characteristics, it protects the intestinal membrane from those inflammations that can lead to colorectal cancer.

It has a laxative quality that helps lubricate the large intestine, soothing rather than irritating the bowel and helps elimination without the toxic side effects of constipation medications.  Okra is much more cost effective than many of the drugs out there and it is loaded with nutrition that isn’t available in pills or animal based food products.

 

 Okra and Nutrition

Okra

As with most foods throughout history that have survived this long, the benefits of okra are significant enough to have carried it through for millennia to our tables today.

Okra is replete with a superior form of fiber that controls the rate of sugar absorption in the intestine and so is able to stabilize blood sugar levels.  Together with other whole, unprocessed natural foods, eaten on a regular basis, they can help bring down dangerously high levels of blood sugar and cholesterol to normal ranges.

Fiber is not always thought of in terms of nutrition, but certainly is in that it feeds the bacteria that is beneficial to our digestive systems and allows them to do what they were designed to do. Okra can help with this too.

As do other green vegetables, okra provides a significant donation to the calcium that we need daily.  Unlike calcium from milk products a higher percentage of the calcium from okra and all other green vegetables is absorbed and utilized while contributing no fat or acids to the system.

Nutrition

Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), Fresh, raw pods,
Nutrition value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
   Principle                              Nutrient Value             Percentage of RDA
Energy                                             1.5  %                               31 Kcal
Carbohydrates                              7.03 g                                5.4%
Protein                                            2.0   g                                4.0%
Total Fat                                         0.1   g                                0.5%
Cholesterol                                    0 mg                                  0.0%
Dietary Fiber                                  9.0 %                                 3.2 g
   Vitamins:
Folates                                           88 mcg                          22.0%
Niacin                                            1.000 mg                          6.0%
Pantothenic acid                         0.245 mg                          5.0%
Pyridoxine                                    0.215 mg                          16.5%
Riboflavin                                     0.060 mg                           4.5%
Thiamin                                        0.200 mg                          17.0%
Vitamin C                                     21.1  mg                          36.0%
Vitamin A                                       375 IU                             12.5%
Vitamin E                                        0.36 mg                            2.5%
Vitamin K                                      53 mcg                           44.0%
  Electrolytes:
Sodium                                            8 mg                               0.5%
Potassium                                    303 mg                              6.0%
  Minerals:
Calcium                                       81 mg                                8.0%
Copper                                          0.094 mg                       10.0%
Iron                                                 0.80 mg                           0.0%
Magnesium                                 57 mg                              14.0%
Manganese                                 0.990 mg                        43.0%
Phosphorus                                63 mg                                 9.0%
Selenium                                    0.7 mcg                              1.0%
Zinc                                             0.60 mg                              5.5%
  Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß                                 225 mcg                             —
Crypto-xanthin-ß                           0 mcg                              —
Lutein-zeaxanthin                      516 mcg                             —

There is a whole host of real nutrition found in okra that can do nothing but good for those of us who otherwise are lacking most of the nutrition we need to stay healthy.

Cultivation of Okra

Okra

Where do we get okra or how do we grow it? It doesn’t take much research to find the answers as okra is, as mentioned before, one of the oldest and most popular greens in the world.

Okra plants grows best in warm climates that aren’t prone to frost.  In the US that means in the southern states it will grow most all year.  In cash crop countries such as those who produce food crops for US consumption, (Mexico, Chile, etc.), it is made available throughout the year and will be shipped just about everywhere.  If your favorite local market doesn’t carry it you may try asking for a case as it will be available through their suppliers.

If you want to plant okra for yourself, start by putting down seeds about three of four weeks after the last frost of the season.  It’s very important that they have a full sun environment and good drainage.  Place three or four seeds together about one half inch deep and six inches apart in rows two feet apart to allow yourself to work the plants as the pods ripen.  Sprinkle water gently after the planting, but keep the plants wet after they start to grow, but not so much that puddles form.

As the plants break the surface, thin them out and space them about a foot apart as they will widen quite a bit as they mature.  When the okra seed pods start to form pick them when they are three of four inches in length.  If they get bigger than that they tend to get woody and lose their tender texture.  At this point you need to check them every couple of days as they will have new growth popping out that often.  The more you harvest the more they will be encouraged to grow more pods.  You can cultivate on your own property!

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From planting to maturity it should take about a month and a half if all conditions are optimal.  They are  fun plants to watch grow as they shoot up so fast, (relatively speaking) and the health benefits of okra are many.

There are many recipes to optimize okra for its nutritional value.  There are some healthy recipes that can help in the control of the disease of diabetes and even a recipe for okra coffee!


Aloe Vera Health Benefits

Health Benefits

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Unbeknownst to most, the health benefits of aloe vera extend far past the topical sunburn remedy. Aloe Vera is used in a large verity of products that we use on our bodies. There is a long history of Aloe Vera that when researched provides a lot of information about the plant.

Aloe Vera for Skin

Aloe Vera

If you survey the labels of the various skin care and acne treatment solutions on the market, you’ll find that Aloe Vera and Aloe Vera Gel are one of the active ingredients in virtually all of them.

Aloe Vera is known for its nourishing effect for your skin and its appearance, while providing several other benefits for improved health. Aloe Vera contains anti-inflammatory, healing and moisturizing properties, which all work together for a rapid regeneration of the skin.

 Aloe Vera for Acne

Aloe Vera works well as an acne treatment:  Aloe Vera contains a number of powerful healing properties that effectively combat the causes of acne. The extract of the plant was even used in ancient times to treat wounds, burns, and cuts. This same property is also responsible for an Aloe Vera treatment for acne.

Aloe vera begins with healing of the affected skin and the scars and redness due to its anti-inflammatory properties. After the skin is moisturized the natural glow of your skin will be revived before the formation of acne.  Hence, Aloe Vera acne treatment creates a double healing: first by the healing of acne, and secondly by moisturizing your skin to its natural moisture levels and beauty.

If you find it difficult to obtain an aloe vera plant, you can opt to treat acne with lotions, creams or gels that contain Aloe Vera as an active substance. For better results, always consult with your dermatologist before using any product that might contain toxins, contraindications or other similar skin complications.

Aloe Vera

To achieve aloe vera health benefits use the plant itself, by simply breaking off one of the stems. The gel-like fluid is found in the leaf and can be directly applied to the area affected by acne.

Experts point to the application of Aloe Vera acne treatment on a daily basis to facilitate faster healing of acne and reduce future breakouts.

In addition to healing the inflammation on the surface of your skin the liquid also provides a cooling action to prevent further acne development and strengthening your skin’s ability to repair it. This will also prevent your skin from scaring from the acne sores.

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Another excellent application would be to wash your face with the Aloe Vera extract. This will help your skin revive and maintain its natural health as a preventive medicine against acne.

Another benefit is to drink Aloe Vera juice with a little honey to sooth the stomach.  You can also use this mixture on your skin as well.

Yogurt Healthy Benefits

Health Benifits

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There are many health benefits of yogurt. Yogurt is thought of mainly as food, to build intestinal health, as a pro biotic, and pH balancer for the human GI tract. You can also rub it on your body. Yogurt does great wonders for the skin. When the skin is scoured the lactic acid in yogurt makes the skin moist and young. In addition, yogurt works very well for sunburn.

History of Yogurt

Yogurt has been around about four thousand years. The health benefits were probably not even realized. It’s possible yogurt was created by accident somewhere in Central Asia. Because it was always very warm, the bacteria flourished luxuriantly so it was impossible to keep milk (where there were no refrigerators). The milk began to ferment in the heat. The debris that remained in the barrels in which the milk was then kept evolved into a creamy substance.

One can imagine that in a culture in which there is little or no waste, someone tasted it. This can be regarded as the first yogurt. Hopefully they ate it with apples or something good like that.

Only in the twentieth century was a yogurt product truly sold.  Isaac Carasso in 1919 brought yogurt to the market in Barcelona. He named the product Danone in honor of his son Daniel after taking him on a trade mission and this later emerged as the Dannon brand. Yoplait yogurt is just another brand of yogurt. The yogurt that is mentioned above is not Greek yogurt, which is made from goat cheese.

Yogurt quickly became even more popular than custard which itself had come on the market around the same time. One can make homemade yogurt quite easily. Another way to reap the health benefits is to enjoy this awesome food as a frozen confection.

Yogurt

Yogurt for Skin

Yogurt, like Activia, not only contains bacteria that are good for the digestive tract, (probiotic enzymes), balances pH., and helps build the immune system. Natural yogurt can ensure sufficient calcium for bones, hair, and skin, as well as help lubricate the skin with little concern for lactose-intolerance. For example, a yogurt mask does wonders and costs almost nothing. Just apply some yogurt to clean the skin, let sit for fifteen minutes and rinse it off with warm water. This mask does the following:

1. The lactic acid removes the excess oil and adds protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.
2. The lactic acid brings back moisture to the skin.
3. The applied yogurt removes dead skin cells.
4. The skin feels smooth and soft again.

Other Health Benefits

Another health benefit of yogurt is for use on your sunburn.  Yogurt can also re-hydrate, cool and soften skin after sunburn. It is all natural and contains no toxic chemicals.

Natural yogurt, whether store bought or made at home is not the magic bullet that will cure everything. It should, however, be one of the best nutritional steps we can take to optimize health.

From gastrointestinal disorders, to yeast infections, diarrhea and stomach ulcers by suppressing the growth of Helicobacter pylori, the benefits are hard to ignore.