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Unfortunately, our Mother Nature gave us no knowledge about possible foods or herbal remedies, which can reverse the process of aging. But the good news is: there are foods and natural products which can slow down unwanted and damaging processes in our body, including hair and skin changes (hair loss, loss of skin elasticity, wrinkles and brown spots on the skin, etc.), behavioral and mental changes, decrease of vision and hearing, and so on.

oatmeal1. Oatmeal. Oatmeal (as well as beans and barley) is one of the most important anti aging foods. Oatmeal can provide us with the energy we need for our daily activities. Besides, this food has a combination of key nutrients, vitamins, minerals, as well as potent antioxidants that can slow down aging processes. Finally, all these useful elements containing in oatmeal can be easily absorbed without adding a lot of calories. Oatmeal is a perfect dietary food, which can be a great breakfast idea for everyone!

green-tea12. Green Tea. A known source of powerful antioxidants, green tea is definitely the best and the most useful beverage which can slow down aging processes. Undoubtedly, no other beverage can have more of positive effects on your body system functions and especially your skin quality than a high quality green tea. You can drink green tea hot or cold, but remember that, in order to maximize therapeutic effects of this natural remedy, it is essential to drink this beverage with positive emotions and with a great pleasure!

water3. Water. Everyone, who wants to remain young and healthy for many years, should remember that drinking 2-2.5 liters of water every day is crucial for being in good health and physical shape. That excludes the water we receive from fruit, veggies, meals, juices and so on. Water is a principal anti aging element since dehydration affects our skin to the greatest extent. A lack of water causes toxins and harmful chemicals collecting in skin cells, resulting in formation of wrinkles and flaccidity.

carrot4. Carrot. Carrots are a type of anti aging foods which can effectively erase numerous damaging effects of aging. A perfect source of Vitamin E and Beta carotene, carrots can provide us with excellent skin benefits, including moisturizing, sun protection and reviving. Add carrots to your soups, vegetable salads or other vegetable meals. Another great idea for breakfast is to add some fresh shredded carrot to your morning oatmeal!

apples5. Apples. Apples found a place among the most effective anti aging foods for their excellent detoxifying and cleansing properties. Add apples to your daily diet and they will assist your body in removing all harmful toxins and unwanted chemical elements. As a result, your skin will look perfect and smooth, and your fresh complexion is guaranteed! In addition, regular consumption of apples is linked to age-related memory improvement, lower risks of cancer and improved overall health.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

http://guide2herbalremedies.com/anti-aging-foods/

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cherries

The Cherry Research Committee is seeking proposals for new cherry research studies. Submit your proposal and learn more at www.cherryresearch.com.

Cherries are not only good for you, but they’re also on trend as a homegrown “Super Fruit.” According to recent data, more than 9 out of 10 Americans want to know where their food comes from, nearly 80 percent say they’re purchasing “locally produced” products, and the majority is defining “local” as grown in America.1,2 And cherries deliver.

A growing body of science reveals tart cherries, enjoyed as either dried, frozen cherries or cherry juice, have among the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants, when compared to other fruits. They also contain other important nutrients such as beta carotene (19 times more than blueberries or strawberries) vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate.

Emerging evidence links cherries to many important health benefits – from helping to ease the pain of arthritis and gout, to reducing risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Cherries also contain melatonin, which has been found to help regulate the body’s natural sleep patterns, aid with jet lag, prevent memory loss and delay the aging process.

A recent study from the University of Michigan reveals new evidence linking cherries to heart health benefits. The study found that a cherry-enriched diet lowered total weight, body fat (especially the important “belly” fat), inflammation and cholesterol-all risk factors associated with heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, being overweight or obese, in particular when the weight is concentrated in the middle, is a major risk factor for heart disease. As nearly two out of three Americans are overweight, emerging studies like this are important in examining the role diet may play in disease management and prevention.

Click on Cardiovascular/Heart Health for more information on the role cherries may play in reducing inflammation and risk factors associated with heart disease.

While there’s no established guideline yet on how many cherries it takes to reap the benefits, experts suggest that 1-2 servings of cherries daily can help provide some of the health benefits identified in the research. Single serving size examples include:
• 1/2 cup dried
• 1 cup frozen
• 1 cup juice
• 1 ounce (or 2 Tbsp) juice concentrate

For additional information on serving sizes and tips to meet daily requirements for fruits and vegetables, visit: www.5aday.gov/what/index.html

1: Survey conducted by IRI Data, 2008
2: Survey conducted by The Hartman Group, 2008

http://www.choosecherries.com/health/main.aspx

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cherries2

Health Benefits of Cherries :

a. Cherries red pigment is called anthocyanins, this pigment has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation.

b. Cherry Anthocyanins are also a powerful antioxidant.

c. Cherries help stimulate the secretion of digestive juices and of the urine and are effective cleansers of the liver and kidneys.

d. Eating large quantities of cherries, from one half pound and up daily, has been found to bring relief to patients with gout, a disease that is characterized by an excess of uric acid in the blood and attacks of arthritis.

e. Cherry also contain a high level of melatonin, is a substance that is important in the immune system function. Study shown that people who experience heart attack have low melatonin levels.

f. May help prevent cancer in organs and glands with epithelial tissue due to its high Vitamin A content.

g. Cherries is also helpful in the following cases ; Anemia, Colds (runny nose), Obesity, Cramps, Intestinal worm, High blood Pressure, Rheumatism, Asthma

Nutritive Values : Per 100 gm.

  • Vitamin A : 620 I.U.
  • Vitamin B : Thiamine .05 mg.;
  • Riboflavin : .06 mg.;
  • Niacin : .4 mg.
  • Vitamin C : 8 mg.
  • Calcium : 18 mg.
  • Iron : .4 mg.
  • Phosphorus : 20 mg.
  • Fat : .5 gm.
  • Carbohydrates : 14.8 gm.
  • Protein : .5 gm.
  • Calories : 61

http://hubpages.com/hub/Health_Benefits_of_Cherries

Health benefits of Cherries:

There are a number of health benefits associated with the cherry fruit. Among the many wellness promoting attributes of the fruit, the main ones include:

  • Cherry is being researched upon extensively in the human battle against cancer. Research, so far, reveals that consumption of the fruit is especially beneficial in fighting organ cancers.
  • The anti-oxidants in cherries clean up free radicals, or the unstable molecules responsible for cell damage in the human body. This is believed to slow down the aging process.
  • Research reveals that the anthocyanin red pigment in cherries helps to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • The cherry fruit is also credited with reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes, on consumption. Research reveals that people who include the fruit as it is or in supplement form in the daily diet display lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • A daily cupful has the ability to address and relieve the discomfort associated with arthritis, and gout.
  • The cherry fruit is low in fat and high in water content. Regular consumption helps to boost energy levels and modify metabolism for effective weight loss. It is also being used as a natural cure for Fibromyalgia Syndrome and certain physiological problems.
  • High potassium content in cherries controls water retention and aids in the treatment of autoimmune neuro-degenerative ailments and connective tissue diseases.
  • Cherries are easily available fresh, juiced and canned. Rich servings of the fruit ensures a daily intake of essential iron, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate.
  • Probably the most important and benefiting attribute of the fruit is its newly discovered ability to help in the weight loss process. The cherry fruit is low in fat and high in water content. Regular consumption helps to boost energy levels and modify metabolism for effective weight loss. The fruit is being tapped for potential fat burn and blood pressure regulation.

By Gaynor Borade
Published: 4/15/2009

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/health-benefits-of-cherries.html

See also:

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/health-benefits-of-cherries.html
http://healthmad.com/nutrition/health-benefits-of-cherries/
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-cherries.htm
http://guide2herbalremedies.com/health-benefits-cherry-juice/
http://www.edubook.com/health-benefits-of-cherry-juice/3820/

Kundol

Chemical constituents and characteristics
Amino acids, mucins, mineral salts, starch (32%), vitamins B and C, fixed oil (44%), cucurbitine, acid resin, myosin, vitellin, sugar (4%)
Phytochemical studies indicate two triterpenes, alunsenol and mutiflorenol, with mast cell stabiling effects in rats.
Pulp is a source of vitamins B and C.

Properties
• Considered astringent, anthelmintic, aphodisiac, demulcent, diuretic, febrifuge, styptic, tonic.
• Seed is anthelmintic, antiinflammatory.
• Fruit is nutritive, tonic, diuretic, alterative, and styptic.

Parts utilized
Whole fruit with seeds and skin.

Uses
NUTRITIONAL
Used as vegetable (boiled); sweetened or candied. The fried seeds eaten as a delicacy.
Extracts of Benincasa hispida prevent development of experimental ulcers
• Seeds applied to simple skin eruptions.
• Seeds sans the outer covering used as vermifuge.
• Fruit rind is diuretic; ashes applied to painful wounds.
• Decoction of seed used for vaginal discharges and coughs.
• Fresh juice used as antidote for vegetable poisons.
• In China, popular for its dermatologic and cosmetic applications – for facial blemishes; moisturizing and skin softening use; anti-wrinkle and anti-aging skin properties; preventing sun damage.
• In Japan, kondol is a component of most traditional dermatologic formulations because of its skin regenerative.
• Forms: Tincture or liniments; percolation with propylene glycol or hydro-alcoholic solution.
• In Korea, used for diabetes and kidney problems
• In Ayurveda, used for coughs, epilepsy, asthma, peptic ulcers.
• In India, used for treatment of peptic ulcer: Juice is squeezed out of grated gourd, equal amounts of water is added, taken daily on an empty stomach, with no food intake for 2 to 3 hours. (Source)
• Fruit juice used for insanity, epilepsy.

STUDIES
• Extracts of Benincasa hispida prevent development of experimental ulcers: Used in Ayurveda for peptic ulcers, the study showed extracts of BH may be a natural drug with anti-ulcer activity.
Anti-angiogenic effect of the seed extract of Benincasa hispida Cogniaux: Seed extract of BH supports its anti-angiogenic property through inhibition of endothelial cell proliferation.
Gastroprotective effect of Benincasa hispida fruit extract: Study results were comparable with the omeprazole treated group. Study suggest BH possess significant antiulcer and well as antioxidant property.
EFFECT OF METHANOLIC EXTRACT OF BENINCASA HISPIDA AGAINST HISTAMINE AND ACETYLCHOLINE INDUCED BRONCHOSPASM IN GUINEA PIGS: The ME of BH showed excellent protection against histamine-induced bronchospasm probably through an antihistamin activty (H1 receptor-antagonism).

Source: http://www.stuartxchange.org/Kondol.html

Cacao is the seed of a fruit of an Amazonian tree that was brought to Central America during or before the time of the Olmecs. Cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as money. Montezuma, the famous Aztec emperor, had his vaults filled not with gold but with about 960,000,000 raw cacao beans.

In 1753 Carl von Linnaeus, the 18th-century Swedish scientist, thought that cacao was so important that he named the genus and species of this tree Theobroma cacao, which literally means “cacao, the food of the gods.”

Cacao beans contain no sugar and between 12% and 50% fat depending on variety and growth conditions. There is no evidence to implicate cacao bean consumption with obesity.

Sulfur and Magnesium

Cacao is remarkably rich in sulfur and magnesium.

It seems to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. This is likely the primary reason women crave chocolate during the menstrual period.

Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and is associated with more happiness. Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD); over 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in Magnesium.

Cacao is high in the beauty mineral sulfur. Sulfur builds strong nails, hair, beautiful, shiny skin, detoxifies the liver, and supports healthy pancreas functioning. Anecdotal reports indicate that cacao detoxifies mercury because it is so high sulfur.

Stimulant or Superfood?

Cacao contains subtle amounts of caffeine and theobromine. However, experiments have shown that these stimulants are far different when consumed raw than cooked.

Consider the following: Experimental provings of chocolate by Homeopaths indicate its stimulating effect when cooked. One experiment conducted with a decoction of roasted ground cacao beans in boiling water produced an excitement of the nervous system similar to that caused by black coffee, an excited state of circulation, and an accelerated pulse. Interestingly, when the same decoction was made with raw, unroasted beans neither effect was noticeable, leading the provers to conclude that the physiological changes were caused by aromatic substances released during roasting.

MAO Inhibitors

Cacao seems to diminish appetite, probably due to its monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAO inhibitors) – these are different from digestiveenzyme inhibitors found in most nuts and seeds. These rare MAO inhibitors actually produce favorable results when consumed by allowing more serotonin and other neurotransmitters to circulate in the brain. MAO inhibitors facilitate youthening and rejuvenation.

Phenylethylamine (PEA)

Phenylethylamine (PEA) is found in chocolate. PEA is an adrenal-relatedchemical that is also created within the brain and released when we are in love. This is one of the reasons why love and chocolate have a deep correlation. PEA also plays a role in increasing focus and alertness.

Anandamide (The Bliss Chemical)

A neurotransmitter called anandamide, has been isolated in cacao. Anandamide is also produced naturally in the brain. Anandamide is known as “The Bliss Chemical” because it is released while we are feeling great. Cacao contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease our bodies’ ability to breakdown anandamide. This means that natural anandamide and/or cacaoanandamide may stick around longer, making us feel good longer, when we eat cacao.

Antioxidants

According to research cited in The New York Times, fresh cacao beans are super-rich in antioxidant flavonols. Cacao beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) per 100 grams of flavonol antioxidants. This is a whopping 10% antioxidant concentration level! This makes cacao one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food. Compare the cacao bean to processed cocoa powder (defatted, roasted cacao treated with potassium carbonate) and chocolates which range in flavonol content from the more common concentration of 500 milligrams per 100 grams in normal chocolate bars to 5,000 milligrams in Mars Corporation’s special Cocoapro cocoa powder. Research has demonstrated that the antioxidants in cacao are highly stable and easily available to human metabolism. Cornell University food scientists found that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times what is found in green tea. Their findings were published in an article entitled “Cocoa has more Phenolic Phytochemicals and a higher Antioxidant Capacity than Teas and Red Wine,” found in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication. Scientists have known that cocoa contains significant antioxidants, but no one knew just how rich they were compared with those in red wine and green tea. The Cornell researchers, led by Chang Y. Lee, chairman of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., say the reason that cocoa leads the other drinks is its high content of antioxidant compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids. They discovered 611 milligrams of the phenolic compound gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of the flavonoid epicatechin equivalents (ECE) in a single serving of cocoa. Examining a glass of red wine, the researchers found 340 milligrams of GAE and 163 milligrams of ECE. In a cup of green tea, they found 165 milligrams of GAE and 47 milligrams of ECE. Antioxidant ORAC levels per 100 grams:

broccoli – 890
alfalfa sprouts – 930
plums – 949
brussel sprouts – 980
raspberries – 1220
spinach – 1260
strawberries – 1540
kale – 1,770
blackberries – 2036
blueberries – 2,400
raisins – 2,830
prunes – 5,770
dark chocolate – 13,120

The ORAC test examines the antioxidant levels of various foods. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the level of antioxidants present in the food. Source: US Department of Agriculture / Journal of the American Chemical Society

Cacao and dark chocolate boost antioxidants; however, the addition of dairy products/milk cancels out the effects of antioxidants. Studies indicate that dairy products specifically block the absorption of all the great antioxidants in chocolate.

Other facts on Raw Cacao beans

  • Raw Cacao is the latest Raw Super Food available on the market today.
  • It is a true super food unlike anything that has come before.
  • As already previously discussed, it is the highest known source of anti-oxidants by a factor of almost 5.
  • It has nearly 20 times the antioxidant levels of red wine and up to 30 times what is found in green tea.
  • In nature, the primary source of Magnesium is cacao (raw chocolate beans).

Raw chocolate is known to have the following properties:

  • Diminishes appetite and aids in weight loss.
  • · Increases sensuality and beauty.
  • · Helps to heal and open the heart.
  • · Nourishes the intellect and attracts prosperity.

The flavor of Raw Cacao is similar to dark, bitter chocolate one would normally buy at a store. It is great just eaten plain, with honey, or in your favorite smoothi. (or blend Cacao Beans with Coconut Oil, Almond Butter and Honey – totally divine).

One of the main differences between raw cacao and the chocolate typically available on the open market (cocoa—a processed substance) is that raw cacao has all the original healthy cacao butter, containing all the original essential fatty acids and amazing taste originally found in the bean. Raw cacao or chocolate should not be confused with other substances such as coco (coconut), kola (a nut whose flavor is used in soft drinks), or coca (the leaf of the plant from which cocaine is derived). Cocoa and cocoa butter are cooked, processed substances derived from raw cacao nibs (orbeans/nuts). All chocolate starts out as raw cacao beans (or nuts —they are actually the seed of the cacao fruit which grows on a tropical tree). Processing, cooking and roasting corrupt the delicate, complex flavor of the cacao nib (bean without the skin). Raw cacao is one of the most, if not the most, nutrient rich and complex foods known to man.

http://www.uncleharrys.com/infobase/product/cacao_beans.php

Picture: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e0/Cocoa_Pods.JPG/240px-Cocoa_Pods.JPG

HolyBasilFlowers

English: Holy Basil
Latin: Ocimum sanctum (“sacred fragrant lipped basil”)
or Ocimum tenuiflorum (“basil with small flowers”)
or Ocumum gratissimum (“very grateful basil”)
Botanical Family: Lamiaceae (mint)
Hindi: Tulsi
Sanskrit: Tulasi

Holy Basil has a long tradition of use in Ayurvedic medicine and is a well-known sacred plant of the Indian subcontinent. Holy Basil has been called the “Incomparable One”, the “Queen of Herbs” and “The Elixir of Life.”

http://www.holy-basil.com/

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In Sanskrit, tulsi means literally “the incomparable one” and has been revered since ancient times. Tulsi, the holy basil, is said to have grown at the site of Christ’s crucifixion and is associated with St. Basil’s feast, a day celebrated in Greece on January 1.

In ancient Indian scriptures, Tulsi (Holy basil or Ocimum sanctum) holds a supreme place as a sacred plant. It is considered very dear to Lord Vishnu, and devotees adorn Him with a tulsi garland. Tulsi has been widely known for its health-promoting properties for over 5000 years. Tulsi is also extensively used to maintain ritual purity; people wear tulsi beads (made from the woody stalks of the plant) as necklaces. The ancient sages ensured the integration of the tulsi into daily life by incorporating it into religious rituals. In most of the Hindu temples, tulsi-soaked water is used to consecrate the deity and later distributed to devotees. This ensured that every one routinely consumed tulsi during worship at home and at the temples.

http://healthmad.com/nutrition/health-benefits-tulsi-or-holy-basil/

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Parts utilized
Rhizomes.

Properties and constituents
Used as a mosquito repellant in India and South Africa.
Leaves yield a volatile oils or methyl homo anisic acid, plus cineol and linalool.
Seed decoction used as demulcent.
Leaves are expectorant and stomachic.

Uses
Others
It is the most sacred plant in Hindu religion.
In Malaya, leaves are eaten sparingly as salad., but not used for flavoring foods.
Folkloric
Decoction of leaves used for aromatic baths.
Decoction of roots and leaves used for gonorrhea.
Used for rheumatic baths.
Dried plant used for croup, diarrhea, catarrh, bronchitis and diarrhea.
Decoction of roots used as diaphoretic for malarial fevers.
Leaf juice used for earache.
Infusion of leaves as stomachic and hepatic infections.
Fresh juice iinduces vomitiing and expels worms.
Mixed with honey, ginger and onion juice, used as expectorant for bronchitis and coughs.
In Java, used to increase milk secretion.
In India, leaf juice traditionally used for cough, stress situations, worm infestations, superficial fungal infections, and as diuretic.

Studies
Radioprotective: The radioprotective effects of two flavonoids, orientin and vicenin from the leaves of OS were studied by evaluating chromosome aberration in bone marrow cells of irradiated mice. Results suggest ocimum flavonoids may be promising for human radiationn protection.
Hypoglycemic:In a study, one of 24 of 30 medicinal plants, OS showed significant blood glucose lowering activity.
Anti-anxiety: Ethanolic extract study showed leaves possess anti-anxiety effects probably through a central nervous system pathway that may involve the GABA-ergic system. Another study on noise-induced changes in rats were normalized with pretreatment with OS extract indicating its stress-alleviating effect.
Anti-tussive: Antitussive effect probably by central action mediated through both opiod and GABA-ergic system.
• :Antibacterial: Study of ethanol extracts showed antibacterial activity, greater in Gram positive bacter than gram-negative, esp against B subtilis and S aureus; comparatively less than Origanum majorana. Another study on OS essential oil showed marked antibacterial efficiency against all bacteria tested, maximum against S aureus and marked antibacterial efficacy against P mirabilis, P aeruginosa, Klebsiella sp and E coli.
• :CNS-Protective: A study showed the ethanol leaf extract of O sanctum to have a protective effect against haloperidol-iinduced catalepsy and indicates that OS may be used to prevent drug-induced extrapyramidal effects.
Antioxidant: A study showed the leaves of OS to possess both superoxide and hydroxyl free radical scavenging effect and attributes the antioxidant property to be responsible for its hypoglycemic effect.
Myocardial Salvaging Effect: A study showed Ocimum sanctum has cardioprotecdtive effects against ISP-induced myocardial necrosis probably through improved ventricular function, augmentation of endogenous antioxidants and suppression of oxidative stress.
Anti-cancer activity: Administration of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Ocimum sanctum to mice with sarcomatous tumor resulted in a significant reduction in tumor volume and increase in lifespan.
Anti-Ulcer activity: Study showed the extract of OS reduced the ulcer index, free and total acidity in rats. Seven days of treatment increased mucous secretion.
Antidiabetic activity: A study indicated OS leaf extracts to have stimulatory effects on physiological pathways of insulin secretion to explain its antidiabetic action.
Hepatoprotective activity: A study showed the leaf extract of OS to have a hepatoprotective effect on hepatotoxicty induced by antitubercular drugs. The exact mechanism has not been defined, but OS antioxidant activity seems to be the most important mode of its hepatoprotective effect.

http://www.stuartxchange.org/Sulasi.html

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A Natural Remedy Rich in Phytochemicals and Anti-oxidants

The Holy Basil, known as the Tulsi in India, is sometimes termed “The Mother Medicine of Nature,” due to its many health benefits.

Parts Used

All parts of the plant are used, but particularly the fresh or dried leaves, which have a strong aroma and taste. The delicious tea made from Tulsi leaves, in particular, has many health benefits.

Chemical Composition of Tulsi

The chemistry of Tulsi is rather complex, as it contains many biologically active compounds and nutrients. The Phytochemicals are said to interact and combine in unique ways. The main compounds in tulsi are “ursolic acid,” an essential oil called “eugenol,” and antioxidants. It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.

The Health Benefits of Tulsi

Regular use of Tulsi leads to overall good health and vitality.

  • It boosts the immune system and metabolism of the body, and is effective in treating allergies.
  • Tulsi detoxifies the blood, and flushes out toxins from the body.
  • The juice is effective in treating bronchitis, coughs and colds, and other common ailments. Moreover, it enhances the use of oxygen in the body, and is thus useful in respiratory problems, like asthma.
  • Tulsi contains antioxidants, which neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals, and thus arrests aging.
  • It is also reputed to control degenerative conditions, like dementia, cancer, diabetes, heart problems and arthritis.
  • Tulsi reduces inflammation and fevers, and cures headaches.
  • Due to its antibacterial properties, it is used to treat infectious diseases.
  • Tulsi is supposed to be anti-carcinogenic. Traditional practitioners recommend taking a Tulsi leaf every day to prevent cancers.
  • Tulsi lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and thus prevents cardiac problems.
  • It helps in digestion and absorption of nutrients by the body, by encouraging the secretion of digestive enzymes. Therefore, it also acts as an appetizer. Moreover, its carminative properties prevent gastric ulcers.
  • It also controls E.coli and tuberculosis, and hastens the recovery of patients with viral hepatitis and encephalitis.
  • Tulsi has been proved good for periodontal health; a decoction can be used to cure toothache, and as a general mouth wash.
  • The Ursolic acid has an anti-fertility effect, without any negative effects.
  • Some research points to the Tulsi as a protection against the ill effects of radiation.
  • An interesting fact is that it does not contain any caffeine, yet acts as a vitalizer or quick “pick me up” to increase stamina and endurance.
  • Finally, Tulsi relaxes the muscles, and acts as a stress buster.

The small leaves of the Tulsi are packed with health enhancing properties, beneficial for the heart, lungs, immune and digestive systems. Tulsi is also effective in preventing and treating a number of common ailments, and contributing to a general feeling of well being. Therefore, it is rightly called the “Queen of Herbs” in India.

Caution: Though there are generally no side/after effects, one should check with a medical practitioner, before using any herbs for medicinal purposes.

http://herbal-properties.suite101.com/article.cfm/health_benefits_of_the_holy_basil

Holy Basil or Tulsi is a powerful adaptogen; hence it is invaluable as an anti-stress agent. In fact, it is sometimes said to be more effective at reducing stress than ginseng. Tulsi, the sacred basil, is one of the holiest plants of modern Indians, renowned for its health promoting and disease-preventing properties.

Benefits of Fresh Basil Leaves

Should you be feeling stressed or exhausted, and suffering any associated symptoms such as headaches, indigestion, muscle tension, nerve pain and so on, or feel that your memory needs a boost, taking basil is the perfect tonic. This herb is known to be both antiseptic and cleansing and assists the body overcome a variety of infections.

The relaxant properties that are found in hot basil tea, extend to both respiratory and digestive tracts and so relieves symptoms of colic, constipation, nausea, asthma and coughs. Other benefits of Tulsi Tea: it can reduce fevers and moves phlegm build up during times of suffering colds and flu.

  • Assists in Sharpening Memory and Concentration
  • Tonic for Nerves and Treats Irritability
  • Reduces Stress
  • Promotes Calmness and Clarity
  • Clears Phlegm from Chest and Nose
  • Eases Symptoms of Colds, Flu, Coughs and Sore Throats
  • Strengthens the Stomach
  • Treats Vomiting and Nausea
  • Improves Metabolism
  • Aids in Treating Constipation
  • Strengthens the Kidneys
  • Known as a Anti-Stress Agent or ‘Adaptogen’
  • May Reduce Blood Cholesterol
  • Assists in Treating Insomnia

http://www.alternatively-healthier.com/benefits-tulsi-tea.html

Leaves of the Holy Basil herb may be chewed to help relieve ulcers of infections of the mouth, and can also assist with various skin diseases, bites, stings, cuts and wounds if juiced and applied to the skin. This method may also be used to treat head lice.

The taking of Tulsi tea or holy basil leaves can refresh you when you feel tired, calm you when you feel tense or anxious as well as providing many other benefits. Holy Basil or Tulsi tea is rich in natural antioxidants, is a powerful adaptogen and a natural immuno-modulator.

Other Useful Sites:

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-holy-basil-tulsi.html
http://hinduism.about.com/od/ayurveda/a/tulsibenefits.htm
http://healthmad.com/nutrition/health-benefits-tulsi-or-holy-basil/
http://www.pastene.com/health/basil.html
http://hubpages.com/hub/Health-Benefits-of-Basil
http://www.ayurvediccure.com/health/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-basil/
http://www.zhion.com/herb/Basil.html
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/basil-herb.html
http://www.mehdi-healing.com/blog/?cat=222

asparagus

Asparagus has so many health benefits, it should be added to the healthy diet. Asparagus is great as a detox vegetable, an anti-aging vegetable, and no surprise – an aphrodisiac, and much more.

The asparagus is a member of the lily family. It grows easily in the home garden right in the flower bed – it is a perennial and can yield a harvest for decades. Asparagus can be planted as seeds or roots any time of the year.

Here is a list of some of the health benefits of asparagus followed by a list further explaining those health benefits.

Asparagus:

1 – can detoxify our system

2 – has anti-aging functions

3 – is considered an aphrodisiac

4 – can protect against cancer

5 – reduces pain and inflammation

6 – can prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis

7 – reduces the risk of heart disease

8 – can help prevent birth defects

While there is every kind of supplement on the market to address these health issues, too often Americans turn to pills as a main source of nutrition. Pills should only be used as a supplement and not in the place of whole foods. For example: folic acid is highly recommended in today’s diet especially for women who may become pregnant. However, folic acid is the supplemental form of folate. Folate is naturally found in asparagus. In the interest of good health, whole foods are always recommended before supplements.

The Reasons Asparagus Keeps Us Healthy:

1 – As a detox – asparagus has 288 milligrams of potassium per cup. Potassium is known for reducing belly fat (see belly fat link below). It also contains 3 grams of fiber which cleanses the digestive system. It has virtually no natural sodium so no bloating during PMS, has no fat or cholesterol, and one cup has only 40 calories. According to a clinical dietician at UCLA Medical Center, asparagus in the ultimate in detox vegetables.

2 – For anti-aging purposes – asparagus is rich in potassium, vitamin A, and folate. It is also very high in glutathione – an amino acid compound with protent antioxidant properties; a must as an anti-aging deterrent. Glutathione (GSH) is an antioxidant that protects cells from toxins such as free radicals.

3 – As an aphrodisiac – the asparagus is considered a psycho-physiological aphrodisiac because of its shape. It is said to trigger the mind to have a physiological response. The French word for asparagus is asperge; asperge is a slang word for penis.

4 – Against cancer – asparagus in high in folate which is now known to be an important protection against cancer. Note: Folate is found naturally in leafy green vegetables, and citrus fruits. While folic acid is said to be the same as folate, folic acid is the supplemental form. It is always recommeded that you get health benefits from eating healthy whole foods.

5 – Reducing pain and inflammation – it is the folate that helps reduce inflammation.

6 – Preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis – asparagus has vitamin K which studies have shown can help prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Vitamin K aids in bone formation and repair. It is also necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is the protein in bone tissue on which calcium crystallizes. Asparagus has been listed as the number one source of vitamin K.

7 – Reducing the risk of heart disease – it is the folate that has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

8 – Preventing birth defects – getting enough folate (doctors often recommend the folic acid supplement) is especially important for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Having a folate deficiency has been correlated with increased risk of Spina Bifida (a spinal cord birth defect) and also anencephaly (a neural tube defect). Folate helps to regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation and may also help to prevent premature births.

Additionally, studies have shown that the nutritional benefits of asparagus can help prevent and treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Overall, asparagus is rich in potassium, vitamin A, folate, glutathione, and vitamin K. It is high in fiber, has no sodium, is low in calories and has no cholesterol or fat.

You may notice some asparagus spears are thick and some are thin. The thick ones are best for roasting or steaming. I find steaming the best and also very quick. The thin spears are ideal for the grill or if you are planning to sautee.

For optimum health benefits it is suggested that asparagus be eaten raw.

Before eating, the woody stem should be removed from both the thick spears and the thin. Peel only the thick spears before cooking.

Source: http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Super-Health-Benefits-of-Asparagus

brain

By Dr. Maoshing Ni – Posted on Mon, Aug 11, 2008, 1:42 pm PDT

Senility, Alzheimer’s, and age-related memory loss: these conditions of mental decline that come with aging can be delayed or even prevented. Besides engaging in daily activities that work out your brain, a regular and balanced diet rich with essential amino acids, omega oils, minerals and vitamins will ensure a vibrant and sharp memory. Eat these foods to give your brain the nutrition it needs.

1. Fish
Protein, an important component in the making of neurotransmitters, is essential to improve mental performance. Aside from being an excellent source of high quality protein, fish are packed with essential oils, such as Omega-3, which protect the brain and supports its development and functioning. Deep sea fish have the highest amounts of fatty acids, and they include salmon, sea bass, halibut, mackerel, and sardines.

2. Blueberries
These delicious berries are full of powerful antioxidants, which eliminate free-radical damage that causes aging, and they also possess neuroprotective properties that can delay the onset of age-related memory loss by guarding brain cells from damage caused by chemicals, plaque, or trauma. And they combat inflammation, the other factor in aging.

3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are wonder foods for your brain. Packed with protein and essential fatty acids, nuts and seeds are also chock full of the amino arginine, which stimulates the pituitary gland at the base of the brain to release growth hormone, a substance that declines quickly after age 35; this is a real anti-aging boon to your brain!

Whip up a batch of my “Anti-aging brain mix” to bring with you anywhere and eat a small handful in between meals as a daily snack. It will nourish and support your brain. Pack in sealed container or zip-lock bag to preserve freshness.

  • 1 cup walnut
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup of dried goji berries (also known as lycium berry, and easily found in health food stores)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots

4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are all rich in choline, an essential nutrient for memory and brain health. Choline is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which contributes to healthy and efficient brain processes. As we age, our body’s natural choline output declines, and its neurochemical action weakens. You can eat choline-rich foods to increase your production of acetylcholine, which will improve your brain power.

Other sources of choline include: eggs, soybeans, peanuts, cabbage, black beans, and kidney beans.

5. Oil: Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats contain essential fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which are crucial for brain development and function, among many other excellent benefits for your health. Olive oil, sesame oil, canola oil, almond oil, flaxseed oil, and fish oil are rich in monounsaturated fats and are good choices for brain health. Population studies show that people with a diet that is high in unsaturated, unhydrogenated fats may have a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, whereas those with a diet that is higher in saturated fats and trans fats have an increased risk.

6. L-carnitine Foods
Age-related memory problems are many times caused by plaque buildup and diminished blood supply to the brain, compromising the delivery of nutrients and oxygen. L-carnitine, an amino acid manufactured in your liver, increases circulation in the brain — among a myriad of powerful benefits for your health. Also, because it prevents fat oxidation in the brain, L-carnitine shows some promise in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Good sources of L-carnitine include: meats, fish, poultry, wheat, avocado, milk, and fermented soybeans.

7. Microalgae
Microalgaes from the ocean and uncontaminated lakes, including blue-green algae, spirulina, chlorella, seaweed, and kelp are easy-to-digest, high protein and high-energy supplements-and contain over a hundred trace minerals! Available in your health food store, microalgae are simple to incorporate into your diet to ensure a good, strong brain function. Look for powders you dissolve in juice or flakes you can sprinkle on your food.

8. Green Tea
Green tea prevents an enzyme found in Alzheimer’s disease and is also rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that help prevent premature brain aging. Drink two cups a day to get the brain benefits. To decaf tea, steep for 45 seconds and pour out the water, add fresh hot water to the leaves or tea bag — 95% of caffeine will be eliminated.

Herbal Boost
There are many Chinese herbs that support healthy brain functions, including ginkgo biloba and gotu kola. For support of healthy brain function I recommend our family formula called Enduring Youth, which contains Chinese herbs such as Chinese yam, goji berry, schisandra berry, Asian cornelian, China root, Cistanches, sweet flag, Chinese senega, dipsacus, anise, and Chinese foxglove. For more information, click here.

I hope you get the brain benefits of these foods. I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

-Dr. Mao

http://health.yahoo.com/experts/drmao/15524/8-foods-to-keep-your-brain-young-and-healthy/

By RealAge

Did you know that most of the free-radical fighters in green tea never make it to your bloodstream? But there’s a solution.

To get a better grasp on the healthy catechins in your green tea, flavor your cup with a squeeze of citrus juice.

Green Tea Booster
Catechins — the antioxidants in green tea famous for lowering your risk of chronic disease — quickly lose their power in your intestine. In fact, as much as 80% of the catechins in green tea are never absorbed. The solution to boosting absorption, researchers recently found, is as simple as flavoring your tea with freshly squeezed and strained lemon, orange, lime, or grapefruit juice.

Taking Tea with C
The vitamin C in citrus may help with absorption by increasing the acidity in your small intestine. Other unidentified substances in the juice probably lend a hand, too. Researchers found a 50-50 mix had the greatest catechin-preserving effect, and lemon did it best, closely followed by orange, lime, and, in last place, grapefruit.

It’s Not All Bad News
If you do take steps to boost the power of your green tea, you may even get a few added benefits.

  • It may help you lose weight. At least one study shows green tea can stimulate moderate weight loss.
  • It may help keep your knees young and strong — catechins fight inflammation and arthritis.
  • It can help your skin look great if used in conjunction with an antioxidant cream. Dab it on.
  • It can help you stay sharp — try 2 cups a day to see benefits.

RealAge Benefit: Getting the right amount of antioxidants through diet or supplements can make your RealAge 6 years younger.

http://health.yahoo.com/featured/27/the-trouble-with-green-tea/

wheatgrassThe continuing trend towards alternative medicine and nutritional supplements has accelerated to the level of wide global acceptance and consumption. Citizens of first world countries are slowly accepting traditional remedies once confined to the medical cabinets of people from the Orient. Everyday, different kinds of plants, herbs, and roots are being discovered and manufactured into capsules, powders, and juices, targeting a particular kind of illness and promising preventive—even healing—results.

Malaysian-based Easy Pha-Max promises a holistic approach to health management with its prime product, INS Wheatgrass Powder. Unlike the conventional way of growing and processing of raw plants into nutritional supplements, the manufacturing of Wheatgrass Powder involves bio-technology, using a process called Indoor Organic Aerophonic Cultivation (IOAC).

Wheatgrass is the immature sprout of the wheat plant, believed to provide supplemental and curative benefits. In the 1930’s, Americans started using wheatgrass as a result of an experiment done by agricultural chemist Charles Schnabel with dying hens.

FROM ROOTS TO TIPS

According to Wong, INS Wheatgrass is the first to use both the root and leaf components of the plant, following the principle of the yin and yang of the traditional Chinese medicine. The root of wheatgrass was found to have a ‘heating’ effect on the body, while the leaves have a cooling effect, creating a balance or neutrality. Wong added that the product is recommended and suitable even for children and the elderly, who are usually sensitive to particular medications or supplements.

Among the key components of wheatgrass are chlorophyll, enzymes, fiber, and alkaline. These, along with 17 amino acids, 13 vitamins including A, C, E, and B complex, and 10 minerals acting as detoxifiers, anti-oxidants, and energy boosters, promote good blood circulation and overall health.

Research shows that the body is slightly acidic, ideal for the growth of healthy fungi that destroy harmful bacteria while maintaining an alkaline level of pH 7.36. When the body becomes too acidic due to abuse, the hemoglobin in the blood suffers, making it difficult for the red blood cells to perform its functions, allowing certain diseases to thrive in the body. Considered as the King of Alkaline Foods, INS Wheatgrass is said to be an acid-busting power juice that eliminates excessive acids, neutralizes the pH level of the body, and reduces weight.

“Wheatgrass is a…complete food, and when [one’s] pH (level) is (balanced), excess weight will be [eliminated],” says Edward Ling, CEO of USA/Philippines Easy Pha-max.

Wheatgrass also has a high level of chlorophyll, the lifeblood of every plant, whose characteristics closely resembles those of hemoglobin. The 70 percent concentration of chlorophyll in the wheatgrass acts as a cleansing agent for the liver and the digestive tract, serves as an anti-inflammatory agent, and neutralizer of toxins, as well as a nourishing factor to assist proper blood circulation, boost the immune system, and prevent anemia.

“I have never felt so good in my entire life,” attests Ola Madsen, a 61-year-old body builder competing for Mr. America and the president of Easy Pha-Max USA. Madsen takes four sachets of INS Wheatgrass everyday as well as all the other products of Easy Pha-max. “It’s natural. Your (body) knows it; you can take it together with other supplements. It compliments them.”

Meanwhile, enzymes, another stand-out component of wheatgrass, have an anti-aging property. Super Oxide Dimustase, a kind of enzyme found in wheatgrass, targets free radicals and aids in repairing damaged cells. It is highly efficient in reducing tumor and cyst because it prevents cancer cells to spread throughout the body.

Despite the completeness of wheatgrass, Ling advises that a person should continue to eat regular food to balance the effects. He recommends the continuous and consistent drinking of wheatgrass juice to sustain the immunity of the body, especially the acid-alkaline pH level. When it comes to side effects, Ling says their product is also approved, certified, and recognized by Food and Drug Administration in the US and the Bureau of Food and Drugs and Ministries of Health in Thailand, Japan, and Malaysia.

“But if [wheatgrass is not subjected to the] proper process, [say if a customer buys] it raw in the market, some of this can be contaminated. We go through a proper procedure and quality assurance system,” says Ling. He also assures that there is no withdrawal syndrome if one decides to stop drinking INS Wheatgrass juice.

BIO-TECHNOLOGY APPROACH

Easy Pha-max started developing wheatgrass in 1999 using a unique process of IOAC: growing the plant in a controlled environment. With IOAC, wheatgrass is not planted in the soil, left without water, and hangs in the air. It is housed in temperatures ranging from 15 to 18 degrees Celsius to maintain its nutrient contents and yield abscissic acid.

After eight days, aerophonic wheatgrass is harvested. According Japanese research, eight days is the maximum time wherein wheatgrass can maximize its full health potentials. Processing, drying, and packing are also done under low temperatures.

“We believe that there is a world trend to change from synthetic to alternative medicine, and we know it’s going to be big in Asia,” says Ben Wong, co-founder of Easy Pha-max, who, together with his top executives and members from America and Trinidad and Tobago, flew to the country to promote the product.

The company also has projects underway to maximize the herbal products in the Philippines by collaborating with the Department of Science and Technology and Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, in developing 150 herbs useful for commercialization.

“Philippine herbal products will make a big impact and enhance the livelihood and economy (of the country),” added Wong.

For more information on Easy Pha-max and the INS Wheatgrass powder, log on to http://www.easphamaxbiz.com.

(Write the author at wellbeing.com.ph)

Dheza Marie-Aguilar
http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2008/08/11/20080811132264.html

It claims to be a cure-all—detoxification agent, liver purifier, toxin neutralizer, energy booster, cancer fighter

MANILA, Philippines—Weekly on Kitchen Rescue, I have shared my finds with you— things, people and places of interest to me, in the hope that they too might strike a chord with you.

Over time, through this column and in my culinary classes, I have shared many heart-clogging, cancer cell-boosting, diabetic-causing recipes. Sincerely, my apologies!

But then again I go back to the question, “Bakit ba kasi ang malusog sa atin, gaya ng ampalaya, ’di ’sing sarap ng lechon kawali? ”

Like you, I am a normal human being who vows to eat healthy every time the clock strikes 12 on the eve of a new year. Time and again, more often than not, I fail, opting for what is delicious but kills, over what is less delicious yet healthy.

As I’ve shared all the “bad” yet delicious stuff with you, I am taking it upon myself to likewise inform you of things to eat and drink, that add years to your life and reverse the effects of all our bad food choices.

Lately, I have made quite a number of friends who have gone through a lifestyle revolution as a result of cancer or diabetes, or as a result of obesity and poor health. It is also true that some underwent the change because of the desire to live longer, healthier and happier!

They are living proof that we are what we eat. Because of their changes in lifestyle, mainly in their diet, they have seen the reversal of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity.

Grass distributor Arthur Tanco Jr. is a man who gets high on his own supply! Weighing over 200 lbs before, he took an interest in healthy eating and a total lifestyle change due to his bouts with hypertension.

“I started experimenting on myself. I started eating healthy and I find it very comforting and decided to change the way I live.”

Energy boost

In the course of his research, he found wheat grass and has been reaping the benefits of its juice ever since.

A shot of wheat grass is said to be a natural energy boost.

“There are many reasons why I promote wheat grass but let me emphasize two points. First, a healthy body starts with healthy blood and chlorophyll is equivalent to hemoglobin, the compound in our blood that carries oxygen to the whole body,” Tanco said.

“Therefore a body that is rich in oxygen fights off diseases, illnesses, toxins and makes the body alkaline.”

Diseases only grow in bodies that are acidic. No disease will thrive on an alkaline one. What makes a body acidic or alkaline depends on one’s diet. A diet rich in animal protein, fat, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, makes the body acidic. A diet rich in greens, unpolished grains, vegetables and fruit makes it alkaline.

“Second, an ounce of fresh wheat-grass juice is equivalent to a kilo of veggies in chlorophyll. Furthermore, wheat grass is living food—since it is ingested uncooked and freshly squeezed, it is rich in enzymes and is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals compared to most of the vegetables we eat.”

Remember that once something is cooked, most, if not all the nutrients are lost.

Wheatgrass is the en vogue elixir, the cure all—a detoxification agent, liver purifier, toxin neutralizer, energy booster, fights/prevents cancer, it goes on and on. . .

Tanco asked, “Aren’t these reasons enough to give wheatgrass a try?”

Art, I say it sure is!

Call Chlorophyll at 0917-8168794 or 4403973

E-mail raspiras@inquirer.com.ph

By Reggie Aspiras
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:46:00 07/30/2008

http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/lifestyle/lifestyle/view/20080730-151683/Wheat-grass-checks-overeating-bad-diet

cacao treeYou may be surprised to learn that cocoa is actually a FRUIT – and even more surprised to learn that it is actually one of the most healthy fruits commonly eaten by man!

Recent research studies have shown a link between cocoa and cardiovascular health, with reduced risk of blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks.

Cornell University food scientists discovered that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea.

Raw cocoa has the highest antioxidant value of all the natural foods in the world!

The ORAC score per 100 grams of unprocessed raw cacao is 28,000, compared to 18,500 for Acai Berries, 1,540 for Strawberries, and only 1,260 for raw Spinach. The ORAC score for a typical manufactured Dark Chocolate is an impressive 13,120 – although one unique, organic, and non-roasted brand of Dark Chocolate has a much higher ORAC score. But for Milk Chocolate the ORAC score is much lower at 6,740.

Cocoa also appears to have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. And cocoa is a good source of the minerals magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, and manganese; plus some of the B Vitamins.

When heart problems occur, magnesium is the most likely mineral to be missing in the person’s diet.

Cocoa has a high content of the “beauty” mineral, sulfur. Sulfur helps build strong nails and hair, promotes healthy and beautiful skin, helps detoxify the liver, and supports healthy functioning of the pancreas.

Fresh cocoa beans are super-rich in the type of bioflavonoid called flavanols which are strong antioxidants that help maintain healthy blood flow and blood pressure. The heart-healthy flavanols in cocoa, especially the epicatechins, prevent fatty substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and then clogging the arteries.

Flavanols help make blood platelets less likely to stick together and cause blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes – without the negative side effects associated with the use of aspirin (ASA) and other pharmaceutical blood-thinners.

Cocoa beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) of flavanol antioxidants per 100 grams – or an amazing 10% antioxidant concentration level! When it comes to supplying your body with effective antioxidants, no other natural food can even come close. No exotic super-fruit like Acai berries, no high-antioxidant fruits like prunes or blueberries, and no vegetables. The antioxidants in cocoa are easily absorbed by the human body, and are more stable and long-lasting than those in any other foods.

Cocoa also contains the amino acid Tryptophan which makes the neurotransmitter known as serotonin, which promotes positive feelings and helps keep us from feeling depressed. Cocoa contains the neurotransmitters dopamine, and phenylethylamine (PEA), and contains anandamide and MAO Inhibitors – which make this heart-healthy food a healthy food for the brain too.

Phenylethylamine (PEA) helps promote mental alertness and the ability to concentrate. The PEA in healthy chocolate can be of help to students taking tests, and to senior citizens who want to retain the mental capacity of a younger person and postpone the onset of dementia.

Studies have indicated that consuming dark chocolate produced an increased sensitivity to insulin (which indicates a protective effect against diabetes).

While you may have believed that cocoa and chocolate were “bad for you”, the truth is that THE RIGHT KIND OF CHOCOLATE provides many health benefits that make it not only “good for you” but better for your body than most of the fruits and vegetables your mother made you eat when you were a child.

Eating a healthy dark chocolate provides a sweet, sensual, sin-free pleasure, as well as some significant health benefits. A heart-felt gift of healthy dark chocolate to a loved one offers a heart-warming, delightfully delicious treat, as well as a super heart-healthy food that promotes a longer and healthier life.

If the pharmaceutical industry managed to produce a patented product that offered all the health benefits of cocoa, they would likely proclaim it a “miracle drug”! But since cocoa is widely available, is relatively inexpensive, and does not require you to pay for a doctor’s prescription nor pay fees to a dispensing pharmacy, you are not likely to hear many members of the medical establishment recommending chocolate for its many health benefits.

You may also be surprised to learn that dark chocolate can help you lose weight! Because it has appetite-suppressant properties, cocoa is often added to weight loss products to help control hunger.

While you may have been told that chocolate is “fattening”, the truth is that the fats found in cocoa butter are actually healthy fats! Cacao contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat which is also found in olive oil and is believed to raise the level of the “good cholesterol” known as HDL cholesterol (the acronym HDL stands for “High Density Lipid”).

Healthy chocolate can be of great benefit to tobacco smokers – but not just because they need lots of the antioxidants which neutralize the free radicals generated by the toxic compounds in tobacco smoke. A recent study in Switzerland indicated that dark chocolate may help prevent hardening of the arteries.

A 2006 clinical study by Swiss researchers found that within minutes of consuming dark chocolate, their test group of 20 smokers experienced a significant improvement in the function of the endothelial cells which line the artery walls. Smoking tobacco has long been linked to hardening of the arteries and an increase in the production of clot-forming platelets in the blood.

Raw cocoa beans contain over 300 chemically identifiable compounds. This makes cocoa one of the most complex food substances on Earth!

List of Healthy Substances Found in Raw Chocolate (Theobroma Cacao)

Many of the natural chemical compounds in raw cocoa or cacao beans and in organic dark chocolate have been discussed in scientific literature as being pharmacologically significant to health. Here is a partial list of these active substances in natural organic chocolate (and more are discussed below).

  • Anandamide (a neurotransmitter known as “the bliss chemical”)
  • Arginine (nature’s aphrodisiac)
  • Dopamine (a neurotransmitter)
  • Epicatechins (antioxidants)
  • Magnesium (for healthy heart function)
  • Serotonin (anti-stress neurotransmitter)
  • Tryptophan (anti-depressant amino acid)
  • Phenylethylamine (PEA) (controls the ability to focus attention and stay alert)
  • Polyphenols (antioxidants)
  • Histamine
  • Tyramine
  • Salsolinol

Magnesium – the Mineral Your Heart Needs

Is dark chocolate good for your heart? Research by Dr. Bernard Jensen indicates that the heart muscle requires these two minerals more than any other minerals: Magnesium and Potassium. In the heart muscle Magnesium is concentrated eighteen times greater than in the bloodstream. Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure and the heartbeat.

The overall strength and vigor of the heart muscle and its ability to pump effectively is enhanced by the presence of Magnesium, and this important mineral also decreases blood coagulation and thus can lower blood pressure.

Magnesium also balances brain chemistry, and helps build strong bones.

When heart problems occur, Magnesium is the most likely mineral to be missing in the person’s diet.

Eighty percent of Americans are deficient in Magnesium. This deficiency is linked to hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems, and PMT.

Cocoa beans and organic dark chocolate are the #1 best food sources of this heart-supporting mineral, Magnesium. Can you see how a guilt-free daily dose of Magnesium-rich healthy chocolate could actually help lower your risk of heart disease?

Anti-Depressant Properties of Cocoa and Healthy Dark Chocolate

Cocoa is a potent source of serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine. These are three well-studied neurotransmitters which help alleviate depression and are associated with feelings of well-being.

Cocoa contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO Inhibitors) which help improve our mood because they allow serotonin and dopamine to remain in the bloodstream longer without being broken down.

Cocoa also contains anandamide which stimulates blissful feelings. Cocoa also contains B vitamins, which are associated with brain health.

Vascular Health Promoting Properties of Cocoa and Healthy Dark Chocolate

Nitric Oxide (NO)

One research study discovered that a substance in cocoa helps the body process nitric oxide (a chemical compound designated as NO, where N = 1 Nitrogen atom, and O = 1 Oxygen atom). Nitric oxide or NO is a critical component in healthy blood flow and blood pressure control.

Vascular diseases, including Erectile Dysfunction (ED) which is common in men over age 40, are connected to the inability of an artery to make the simple but fundamental chemical called nitric oxide (NO). It appears that flavanols help reverse that problem. Thus eating healthy chocolate might help men over 40 to enjoy a more active sex life without having to rely on expensive drugs like Viagra™ or Celebrex™ or those many herbal concoctions which are touted in millions of unwanted emails.

Another research study showed that a type of bioflavonoid called flavanols in cocoa prevent fatty substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and then clogging the arteries. Flavanols also make blood platelets less likely to stick together and cause blood clots.

Researchers are excited by the potential of flavanols to ward off vascular disease, which can cause hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and even dementia.

Antioxidant Properties of Cocoa and Healthy Dark Chocolate

Scientists have known for years that cocoa/cacao contains significant antioxidants, but no one knew just how rich they were in comparison to those found in two other healthy foods – red wine and green tea.

According to research cited in The New York Times, fresh cocoa beans are super-rich in the type of flavonoid called flavanols (not flavOnols) which are very strong antioxidants. Cocoa/cacao beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) of flavanol antioxidants per 100 grams – or an amazing 10% antioxidant concentration level!

Recent research has demonstrated that the antioxidants found in cacao beans are highly stable and easily available to the human metabolism. Of all known foods, cacao is also the ONLY food which does NOT lose its Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) over significant periods of time. This makes cocoa both the most POTENT source of antioxidants and a source of the most USABLE antioxidants found in any natural food.

Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and keep them from damaging the DNA and mitochondria of the body’s cells, which is a major cause of many degenerative diseases, cancer tumors, heart disease, and premature aging. Cells with damaged DNA cannot reproduce healthy new cells, but will reproduce damaged or malignant cells.

Cornell University food scientists discovered that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea.

Their findings were published in an article entitled “Cocoa Has More Phenolic Phytochemicals and a Higher Antioxidant Capacity than Teas and Red Wine“, published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication.

The Cornell researchers, led by Chang Y. Lee, chairman of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, state the reason that cocoa leads the other drinks is its high content of antioxidant compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids.

A class of flavonoids known as flavanols or flavan-3-ols includes: catechin, epicatechin, and epigallocatechin. All three are found naturally in the cocoa bean. (Note that flavanols are NOT the same as another very similar-sounding class of flavonoids known as flavonols, which includes: myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol.)

The Cornell researchers discovered 611 milligrams of the phenolic compound gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of the flavonoid epicatechin equivalents (ECE) in a single serving of cocoa. Examining a glass of red wine, the researchers found 340 milligrams of GAE and 163 milligrams of ECE. In a cup of green tea, they found 165 milligrams of GAE and 47 milligrams of ECE.

By comparison, 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate delivers as many antioxidants as five ounces of red wine.

That makes cocoa one of the richest sources of antioxidants in any food!

Compare the raw cocoa bean’s 10,000 milligrams of flavanols per 100 grams to other forms of commercial chocolate…
Processed cocoa powder (defatted and roasted cocoa beans treated with potassium carbonate) and chocolate candy range in flavanol content from the more common concentration of 500 milligrams of flavanols per 100 grams of normal chocolate bars, to a concentration of 5,000 milligrams (5 grams) of flavanols per 100 grams of Cocoapro cocoa powder from the Mars Corporation.

Neither comes close to the high concentration of flavanol antioxidants in raw cocoa/cacao beans – 10 grams of flavanols per 100 grams.

ORAC Score – A Measure of Antioxidant Quality

The current standard for testing and measuring the antioxidant properties of various foods is called the ORAC Score. ORAC is an abbreviation for “Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity” – which is a measure of the amount of free radicals that can be neutralized by a certain mass of a food substance (usually cited as “per gram” or “per 100 grams” of the food substance).

The higher the ORAC score, the higher the concentration of antioxidants present in the food. (Source: US Department of Agriculture / Journal of the American Chemical Society.)

Free radicals are molecules that are missing one or more electrons and are therefore chemically imbalanced with a positive electrical charge. They are created in several kinds of chemical reactions which take place in our bodies, such as when we burn energy by working our muscles. To balance their charge, these radical molecules will seek to attract or “steal” electrons from other molecules – including the molecules which make up the DNA in your body’s cells which is the blueprint for producing new cells, and the mitochondria in your cells which create the energy to sustain the cells.

Cells with damaged mitochondria are weak and have lower energy and less resistance to disease. When the DNA of a cell is damaged by the action of free radicals, the result is the creation of imperfect new cells – or even malignant new cells which form tumors and cancers.

Free radicals are the cause of most degenerative diseases, premature aging, and the creation of cancer cells.

Antioxidants are molecules which have one or more extra electrons and are chemically imbalanced with a negative electrical charge, so they can attract and “donate” an electron to a positively-charged free radical molecule, which balances its electrical charge and thus neutralizes it. So that “thieving” radical molecule which is now electrically balanced no longer needs to “steal” electrons from the molecules which form our body’s cells.

Thus the more antioxidant molecules we have in our body, the more free radicals are neutralized, and the less damage is done to our cells. By preventing the damage to our DNA and mitochondria, antioxidants can stop and even reverse the aging process, and help prevent all kinds of degenerative diseases and cancers.

The ORAC value rates the capacity of the substance to prevent oxidation, i.e. its effectiveness as an antioxidant. It might help to compare the oxidation of molecules in our body to the oxidation of iron in an automobile – which we call “rusting”. Oxidized or “rusted” iron becomes brittle and weak, and eventually breaks down into a reddish-brown dust known as iron oxide. You could say that our bodies are “rusting out” from oxidation by free radicals! Ashes to ashes, and rust to dust!

But our bodies can be protected from this rusting by the antioxidants we get from eating natural foods which have a high ORAC value. Many natural foods have been supplying human bodies with those protective antioxidants since we first evolved, but the problem today is that we are not eating many natural foods! We consume far too many processed foods and junk foods which have had the protective antioxidants proocessed out of them! So we suffer more and more from many diseases such as cancer and heart disease, which were relatively rare problems for our ancestors who were eating nothing but whole foods fresh from the farm.

It’s very difficult today to avoid eating processed foods with inferior nutritional value, but we can at least try to eat enough whole foods (like cocoa or high-antioxidant fruits) or health supplements that supply us with enough antioxidants to protect us from degenerative diseases and the ravages of aging. We don’t have to grow old before our time, or suffer painful ailments, or die from horrible diseases that could have been prevented.

While the general public may be aware that they need to eat more raw fruits to get a good supply of antioxidants, the fruits most commonly eaten by North Americans are fairly low on the ORAC scale. Cantaloupe, banana, apple, apricot, peach, pear, and watermelon all have an ORAC score of less than 251 per 100 grams. No wonder the average North American is not getting enough antioxidants in his or her daily diet.

Even milk chocolate with its ORAC score of 6,740 provides significantly more antioxidants per gram than most of the commonly consumed fruits and vegetables – and more than even the top scoring fruits like prunes (5,770), pomegranate (3,307), blueberries (2,400) and blackberries (2,036).

The daily diet of the average North American only scores 1,000 to 1,500 on the ORAC scale. Nutrition experts tell us that it should be at least 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC. Some say it should be even more than 5,000.

Eating healthy chocolate, with its super-high ORAC value, can be an efficient and enjoyable way to boost your daily dose of antioxidants and reduce the ravages of free radicals.

Be careful not to assume that ALL organic chocolate or dark chocolate products (or any processed food product) are “healthy” just because they claim to contain ingredients which are known to have a high ORAC score. It does NOT necessarily mean that the finished product you are consuming will have a high ORAC score too.

There are several factors that can affect the actual ORAC score of a finished food product such as dark chocolate:

(1) how it is processed (excessive heat can destroy flavanols and reduce the amount of available antioxidants, which lowers the ORAC value),
(2) how much of the high ORAC ingredients are actually in the product,
(3) how some ingredients affect the ORAC score of other ingredients (e.g. adding milk to cocoa lowers its effective ORAC score to a little more than half because dairy products tend to block the absorption of the antioxidant flavanols in the cocoa).

Only ONE company (which markets a variety of truly healthy chocolate products) actually dares to show you an independent laboratory’s ORAC score per serving of its finished products right on their packaging (see “The Healthiest Chocolate” below) – so “what you see is what you get”.

For the reasons given above, all other chocolate makers seem unwilling to let you know the actual ORAC score of the products they are selling you. One might wonder if their effective ORAC score is too low to really be considered a “healthy” chocolate product?

Table of ORAC Values for Common Foods

Here is a comparison of the ORAC score per 100 grams for some common foods known to have a high antioxidant level, listed in descending order.

  • Unprocessed Raw Cacao – ORAC 28,000
  • Acai Berries* – ORAC 18,500
  • Dark Chocolate – ORAC 13,120
  • Milk Chocolate – ORAC 6,740
  • Prunes – 5,770
  • Wolfberry Juice – 3,472
  • Pomegranates – 3,307
  • Raisins – 2,830
  • Blueberries – 2,400
  • Blackberries – 2,036
  • Garlic – 1,939
  • Kale – 1,770
  • Cranberries – 1,750
  • Strawberries – 1,540
  • Tahitian Noni Juice – 1,506
  • Raw Spinach – 1,260
  • Raspberries – 1,220
  • Brussels Sprouts – 980
  • Plums – 949
  • Alfalfa Sprouts – 930
  • Steamed Spinach – 909
  • Broccoli – 890
  • Beets – 840
  • Avocado – 782
  • Oranges – 750
  • Red Grapes – 739
  • Red Bell Pepper – 710
  • Cherries – 670
  • Pink Grapefruit – 495
  • Kidney Beans – 460
  • Onion – 450
  • Corn – 400
  • Cauliflower – 385
  • Frozen Peas – 375
  • Potato – 300
  • Cabbage – 295
  • Banana – 210
  • Carrot – 200
  • Apple – 207
  • Tomato – 195
  • Peach – 170
  • Lima Beans – 136
  • Pear – 110

(*ORAC for Acai as determined by Brunswick Laboratories, USA.)

This will be important new information for millions of children and teenagers who hate the taste of brussel sprouts or broccoli. Now they can advise Mom that dark chocolate is a much healthier alternate source of antioxidants!

When comparing the antixodidant value (ORAC value) of foods you may actually be eating on a regular basis, another consideration is antioxidant value per calorie. What foods provide a healthy source of antioxidants without also providing too many calories from carbs and fats? Dark chocolate, in spite of the sweetener added to overcome the bitterness of raw cocoa, is actually one of the better providers of antioxidants per calorie!

One hundred grams of healthy dark chocolate (more than you would normally eat) provides 13,120 ORAC units of antioxidants and 552 calories of energy – which works out to 24 ORAC units per calorie.

That gives dark chocolate a better ORAC/calorie ratio than brussels sprouts (23), beets (20), plums (17), oranges (16), cauliflower (15), cherries (13), onions (12), cabbage (12), red grapes (10), tomato (9), head lettuce (9), string beans (6), potato (5), frozen peas (5), corn (5), carrot (5), apple (4), tofu (3), baked beans (3), pear (2), banana (2), or lima beans (1). In other words, if you are looking to increase your antioxidant intake from natural fruits and vegetables while consuming the least calories, eating a healthy dark chocolate is actually a lower-calorie source than all the common foods in this list!

And the ORAC per calorie ratio for dark chocolate (24) is about the SAME as two of the top antioxidant fruits – prunes (24) and raspberries (25). So it’s not necessary to worry about getting too many calories when consuming healthy dark chocolate as`a supplemental source of antioxidants, because you don’t need to eat very much dark chocolate`to absorb more antioxidants than you would get from many common fruits`and vegetables!

Can Chocolate Help You Be Happy?

We have all heard how chocolate can be a “comfort food” to help us cope with stress and depression and general unhappiness. There might actually be some connection between chocolate and happiness, when we look at certain chemicals which are found naturally in the cocoa/cacao bean and which can affect parts of the brain.

Phenylethylamine (PEA) in Cocoa

PEA is a chemical found in cocoa/cacao beans which increases the activity of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) in certain areas of the brain which control the ability to focus attention and stay alert. Elevated PEA levels occur naturally when we are captivated by a movie or good book, or are wholly focused on a project or task – when we lose track of time and are not consciously unaware of what is happening around us.

PEA is found in higher levels in the brains of happy people. Cocoa or dark chocolate has been found to contain up to 2.2 percent PEA (phenylethylamine).

Anandamide (The Bliss Chemical) in Cocoa

Anandamide (or n-arachidonoylethanolamine) is a neurotransmitter which has been isolated in cocoa in quantities which are significant enough to affect the brain. Anandamide is a cannabinoid naturally found in the human brain. Anandamide is a lipid (a fat) known as “the bliss chemical” because it is released when we are feeling good. (Anandamide is the English spelling; anandamine is the French spelling.)

It is true that anandamide has a similar effect to the compound THC in cannabis (marijuana), but it acts in a different way; acts only on certain groups of brain cells and not the whole brain; and thus creates blissful feelings with much less intensity.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAO Inhibitors) in Cocoa/Cacao

These rare MAO inhibitors actually produce favorable results when consumed, by allowing more serotonin and other neurotransmitters such as anandamide, dopamine and others to circulate in the brain. According to Dr. Gabriel Cousens, MAO inhibitors facilitate anti-aging and rejuvenation.

MAO inhibitors make one feel younger when they allow more neurotransmitters to remain in the bloodstream. A primary phenomenon that differentiates children from adults is the level of neurotransmitters in the blood and bodies of children. In general, as one lives longer and longer the level of neurotransmitters decreases. This leads to less creativity, less joy, more physical rigidity – and more rapid aging!

Cocoa, with its supply of MAO inhibitors, helps keep plenty of neurotransmitters in circulation, and thus helps prevent this unhappy phenomenon from occurring. “Think young – you’ll have more fun!”

Now that you have learned how cocoa contains PEA, Anandamide, and MAO Inhibitors, and learned about the happy effects these chemicals can produce, can you see how real chocolate might deserve to be called “the happiest food”?

Chocolate as an Aphrodisiac

The peoples of Central American in the pre-Columbian era often spoke in metaphors composed of words or phrases which had a hidden meaning when uttered in sequence. This is common in many languages, including English. One of these ancient metaphors was yollotl, eztli, meaning “heart, blood,” – a phrase which referred to cocoa. Chocolate is the heart’s “blood” due to its magnesium, antioxidants, love chemicals and esoteric properties. Chocolate truly is “food for the heart”.

Chocolate is a symbol of sensuality, pleasure, and sexuality. Some writers have claimed that 50 per cent of women actually prefer chocolate to sex! That percentage might even rise if the women were offerred real chocolate in the form of organic cocoa!

Chocolate is a favorite gift from a lover to the beloved one. Chocolates are always given as love offerings. A box of chocolates is one of the most popular gifts for Valentine’s Day.

Cocoa, because it is natural and unadulterated, has an even stronger love energy than manufactured chocolate candy. In ancient Aztec wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom would exchange five cacao beans with each other.

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