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Medical Notes

Much ado about spirulina

By EDUARDO GONZALES, MD

May 10, 2010, 5:35am

Q: What is spirulina? There are claims that it can cure certain diseases? Is this true? Has there been any research conducted, local (FNRI) or otherwise on the health benefits of spirulina?
–DaveLJ @yahoo.com

A: Spirulina is a tiny blue-alga or plankton that naturally grows in warm water alkaline volcanic lakes. Like all plants containing chlorophyll, Spirulina is able to synthesize or manufacture nutrients such as proteins, vitamins and minerals from water and air in the presence of sunlight.

Spirulina is a traditional food of many indigenous people of Mexico (i.e., Aztecs) and some African countries.  However, modern man has largely ignored the value of the plant until about 40 years ago when it was rediscovered by the public and some members of the scientific community. At present, it is available commercially in tablet or capsule form in many countries including the U.S., Japan and the Philippines. Its principal use for which it has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is as a food supplement.

Nutrient analyses of Spirulina are very revealing. It contains 55 to 70 percent protein, four to seven percent fat including the essential fatty acids linolenic and linoleic acids, 15 to 25 percent carbohydrate, considerable amounts of vitamins especially provitamin A, Vitamin E and the B complex vitamins (it is reportedly the world’s richest natural source of vitamin B-12), and traces of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese. Spirulina is easy to digest, thus, it is a remarkable source of nutrients for humans.

Recently, Spirulina has been gaining more attention because many anecdotal reports and some scientific studies—mostly on animals—have suggested that aside from its nutritional value, it has some therapeutic effects. Incidentally, these scientific studies were conducted abroad. I have not come across a study that has been done in the Philippines.  In any case, the studies are preliminary and by no means conclusive, but they indicate that Spirulina can help (with emphasis on the word help) shrink and prevent cancers, fight some viral infections, strengthen the body’s immune system and prevent anemia.

Spirulina may help regress and prevent cancer because some common forms of cancer are the result of damaged cell DNA and in vitro studies show that Spirulina enhances repair of damaged DNA. Furthermore, studies on animals with induced cancer report high levels of suppression of the malignancies after being fed whole Spirulina or treated with its water extracts.

Another in-vitro study using a purified water extract from Spirulina called Calcium-Spirulan indicates that the alga has some anti-viral activity because it inhibited the replication of HIV-1, herpes simples, human cytomegalovirus, influenza A virus, mumps virus and measles virus.

Spirulina evidently perks up the immune system. Several studies have shown that feeding animals with Spirulina increases the number and the activity of these animals’ protective cells against germs and parasites.

Chinese scientists have suggested that Spirulina can help prevent anemia because they have documented the presence of phycocyanin in Spirulina. This is a chemical that stimulates red blood cell formation much like the hormone erythropoetin (EPO) does.

All told, I am convinced that Spirulina is indeed a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals and that it is can serve as a good nutritional supplement for optimum health and wellness. But I seriously doubt whether on its own, it can prevent, much less cure, any disease, encouraging preliminary scientific evidence notwithstanding. If at all, it can simply help prevent some chronic diseases in the same way that other plant-derived antioxidants do.

By the way, there is a group in our country—the Spirulina Foundation of the Philippines—that is dedicated to producing the alga in massive quantities by scientific cultivation.

(Email inquiries on health matters to: medical_notes@yahoo.com)

http://mb.com.ph/articles/256729/much-ado-about-spirulina

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oatThe ancient Romans regarded oats as a weed fit only for horses and Barbarians. Scottish settlers introduced oats to the US in the 1600’s, and today Russia is the largest producer of oats. A mere 5% of the oats grown worldwide is used for human consumption, and is most commonly used as feed for horses.


Different stages of processing oats:

Oat groats

This is the whole oat grain, with only the outer hull removed. Oat groats are extremely nutritious, but they need to be soaked and cooked a long time. Oat groats are usually processed into one of the other forms below.

Steel-cut oats

Produced by running groats through steel cutters, chopping the groats into smaller pieces and creating a chewy texture. Steel-cut oats still contain the whole grain and oat bran, and are also very nutritious.

Rolled oats or old-fashioned oats

Steaming groats and then flattening them with a roller make rolled oats.

Quick-cooking oats

Steaming and flattening steel-cut oats make quick-cooking oats.

Instant oatmeal

Produced by rolling more thinly and steaming longer or partially cooking the oats. Instant oatmeal will also have salt, sugar, and in some cases artificial sweeteners added to it.

The more processed the oats are, the less nutritious.

Health Benefits of Oats

  • Minerals
    Oats are a good source of magnesium, selenium, manganese and phosphorous.
  • Dietary Fiber
    Oats are also a good source of vitamin B1 and dietary fiber.
  • Protein
    The protein in oats is almost equivalent to the quality of soy protein, and combined with the dietary fiber, makes it the ideal food to start the day with.
  • Cholesterol
    Oats has become popular as healthy food due to its dietary fiber being high in beta-glucan, which helps to lower cholesterol. In individuals with high cholesterol levels, consumption of the equivalent of 3gr of soluble oat fiber per day lowers cholesterol by 8 – 23 percent. A reduction in serum cholesterol levels decreases the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Diabetes
    A study of adults with type 2 diabetes who consumed foods high in oat fiber, experienced a much lower rise in blood sugar than other participants who ate rice or bread. The beta-glucan in oats increases the viscosity of the contents of the stomach, thereby slowing down digestion and prolonging the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream.
  • Heart Disease
    A study at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, supported previous reports that a diet rich in whole grains such as oats is beneficial in the prevention of coronary heart disease.
  • Weight Loss
    In another study at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, it was determined that consumption of whole grains may contribute to favorable metabolic alterations that may reduce long-term weight gain.
  • Atherosclerosis
    Avenanthramides are phenolic antioxidants, which are present in oats, and have the potential to reduce plaque build in the artery walls, and may contribute to the prevention of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
Nutrient Values of Oats per 100g

Calories
389kcal
Energy Value
1628kj
Total Fat
06.90g
Carbohydrates
66.27g
Sugars
g
Dietary Fiber
10.6g
Protein
16.89g
Sodium
2mg
Zinc
3.97mg
Potassium
429mg
Iron
4.72mg
Magnesium
177mg
Copper
0.626mg
Calcium
54mg
Vitamin C
0.0mg
Vitamin E
mg
Vit. B3 (Niacin)
0.961mg
Vitamin B6
0.119mg
Vit. B1 (Thiamin)
0.763mg
Vit. B2 (Riboflavin)
0.139mg

http://www.elements4health.com/oats.html

Health Benefits

Lower Cholesterol Levels

A steaming bowl of fresh cooked oatmeal is the perfect way to start off your day, especially if you are trying to prevent or are currently dealing with heart disease or diabetes. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan. Since 1963, study after study has proven the beneficial effects of this special fiber on cholesterol levels. Studies show that in individuals with high cholesterol (above 220 mg/dl), consuming just 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%. This is highly significant since each 1% drop in serum cholesterol translates to a 2% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease. High cholesterol levels correlate with the build up of plaques in blood vessel walls. If these plaques become damaged or simply grow too large, they can rupture, blocking a blood vessel and causing a heart attack, stroke, or blood clots elsewhere in the body. Lowering high cholesterol levels can therefore significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as oats, helps prevent heart disease. Almost 10,000 American adults participated in this study and were followed for 19 years. People eating the most fiber, 21 grams per day, had 12% less coronary heart disease (CHD) and 11% less cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to those eating the least, 5 grams daily. Those eating the most water-soluble dietary fiber fared even better with a 15% reduction in risk of CHD and a 10% risk reduction in CVD.

Unique Oat Antioxidants Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Oats, via their high fiber content, are already known to help remove cholesterol from the digestive system that would otherwise end up in the bloodstream. Now, the latest research suggests they may have another cardio-protective mechanism.

Antioxidant compounds unique to oats, called avenanthramides, help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, suggests a study conducted at Tufts University and published in The Journal of Nutrition.

In this study, laboratory animals were fed saline containing 0.25 grams of phenol-rich oat bran, after which blood samples were taken at intervals from 20 to 120 minutes. After 40 minutes, blood concentrations of avenanthramides had peaked, showing these compounds were bioavailable (able to be absorbed).

Next, the researchers tested the antioxidant ability of avenanthramides to protect LDL cholesterol against oxidation (free radical damage) induced by copper. Not only did the avenanthramides increase the amount of time before LDL became oxidized, but when vitamin C was added, the oat phenols interacted synergistically with the vitamin, extending the time during which LDL was protected from 137 to 216 minutes.

In another study also conducted at Tufts and published in Atherosclerosis, researchers exposed human arterial wall cells to purified avenenthramides from oats for 24 hours, and found that these oat phenols significantly suppressed the production of several types of molecules involved in the attachment of monocytes (immune cells in the bloodstream) to the arterial wall-the first step in the development of atherosclerosis.

Oat avenanthamides suppressed production of ICAM-1 (intracellular adhesion molecule-1) and VCAM-1 (vascular adhesion molecule-1), E-selectin, and the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines KL-6, chemokines IL-8 and protein MCP-1 (monocyte chemoattractant protein). Our advice: Cut an orange (which is rich in vitamin C) in quarters or pour yourself a glass of orange juice to enjoy along with your oatmeal. If you prefer some other grain for your breakfast cereal, top it with a heaping spoonful of oat bran.

Prevent Heart Failure with a Whole Grains Breakfast

Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization among the elderly in the United States. Success of drug treatment is only partial (ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers are typically used; no evidence has found statins safe or effective for heart failure), and its prognosis remains poor. Follow up of 2445 discharged hospital patients with heart failure revealed that 37.3% died during the first year, and 78.5% died within 5 years. Arch Intern Med. 2007 Mar 12;167(5):490-6.;Eur Heart J. 2006 Mar;27(6):641-3.

Since consumption of whole grain products and dietary fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack, Harvard researchers decided to look at the effects of cereal consumption on heart failure risk and followed 21,376 participants in the Physicians Health Study over a period of 19.6 years. After adjusting for confounding factors (age, smoking, alcohol consumption, vegetable consumption, use of vitamins, exercise, and history of heart disease), they found that men who simply enjoyed a daily morning bowl of whole grain (but not refined) cereal had a 29% lower risk of heart failure. Arch Intern Med. 2007 Oct 22;167(19):2080-5. Isn’t your heart worth protecting, especially when the prescription-a morning bowl of hearty whole grains-is so delicious? For quick, easy, heart-healthy, whole grain recipes, click The World’s Healthiest Foods, and look at the “How to Enjoy” section in any of our grain profiles.

Significant Cardiovascular Benefits for Postmenopausal Women

Eating a serving of whole grains, such as oats, at least 6 times each week is an especially good idea for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

A 3-year prospective study of over 200 postmenopausal women with CVD, published in the American Heart Journal, shows that those eating at least 6 servings of whole grains each week experienced both:

  • Slowed progression of atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque that narrows the vessels through which blood flows, and
  • Less progression in stenosis, the narrowing of the diameter of arterial passageways.

The women’s intake of fiber from fruits, vegetables and refined grains was not associated with a lessening in CVD progression.

Enhance Immune Response to Infection

In laboratory studies reported in Surgery, beta-glucan significantly enhanced the human immune system’s response to bacterial infection. Beta-glucan not only helps neutrophils (the most abundant type of non-specific immune cell) navigate to the site of an infection more quickly, it also enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find there.

According to study leader Jonathan Reichner of the Department of Surgery at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, priming neutrophils with beta-glucan helps these immune defenders quickly locate the bacterial mother lode within infected tissue. And this more rapid response to infection results in faster microbial clearance and healing. Since our non-specific immune defenses are the body’s first strike forces against invading pathogens, starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal may boost your immune response in addition to your morning energy levels.

Stabilize Blood Sugar

Studies also show that beta-glucan has beneficial effects in diabetes as well. Type 2 diabetes patients given foods high in this type of oat fiber or given oatmeal or oat bran rich foods experienced much lower rises in blood sugar compared to those who were given white rice or bread. Starting out your day with a blood sugar stabilizing food such as oats may make it easier to keep blood sugar levels under control the rest of the day, especially when the rest of your day is also supported with nourishing fiber-rich foods.

Oats and Other Whole Grains Substantially Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Oats and other whole grains are a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body’s use of glucose and insulin secretion.

The FDA permits foods that contain at least 51% whole grains by weight (and are also low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol) to display a health claim stating consumption is linked to lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Now, research suggests regular consumption of whole grains also reduces risk of type 2 diabetes. (van Dam RM, Hu FB, Diabetes Care).

In this 8-year trial, involving 41,186 particpants of the Black Women’s Health Study, research data confirmed inverse associations between magnesium, calcium and major food sources in relation to type 2 diabetes that had already been reported in predominantly white populations.

Risk of type 2 diabetes was 31% lower in black women who frequently ate whole grains compared to those eating the least of these magnesium-rich foods. When the women’s dietary intake of magnesium intake was considered by itself, a beneficial, but lesser-19%-reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes was found, indicating that whole grains offer special benefits in promoting healthy blood sugar control. Daily consumption of low-fat dairy foods was also helpful, lowering risk of type 2 diabetes by 13%. Enjoy a hearty breakfast and get the benefits of both oats and dairy by serving hot oatmeal, spiced with cinnamon, and topped with handful of walnuts and low-fat milk.

Antioxidant Benefits

In addition to its fiber benefits, oats are also a very good source of selenium. A necessary cofactor of the important antioxidant, glutathione peroxidase, selenium works with vitamin E in numerous vital antioxidant systems throughout the body. These powerful antioxidant actions make selenium helpful in decreasing asthma symptoms and in the prevention of heart disease. In addition, selenium is involved in DNA repair and is associated with a reduced risk for cancer, especially colon cancer.

Fiber from Whole Grains and Fruit Protective against Breast Cancer

When researchers looked at how much fiber 35,972 participants in the UK Women’s Cohort Study ate, they found a diet rich in fiber from whole grains, such as oats, and fruit offered significant protection against breast cancer for pre-menopausal women. (Cade JE, Burley VJ, et al., International Journal of Epidemiology).

Pre-menopausal women eating the most fiber (>30 grams daily) more than halved their risk of developing breast cancer, enjoying a 52% lower risk of breast cancer compared to women whose diets supplied the least fiber (<20 grams/day).

Fiber supplied by whole grains offered the most protection. Pre-menopausal women eating the most whole grain fiber (at least 13 g/day) had a 41% reduced risk of breast cancer, compared to those with the lowest whole grain fiber intake (4 g or less per day).

Fiber from fruit was also protective. Pre-menopausal women whose diets supplied the most fiber from fruit (at least 6 g/day) had a 29% reduced risk of breast cancer, compared to those with the lowest fruit fiber intake (2 g or less per day).

Cereal and Fruit Fiber Protective against Postmenopausal Breast Cancer

Results of a prospective study involving 51,823 postmenopausal women for an average of 8.3 years showed a 34% reduction in breast cancer risk for those consuming the most fruit fiber compared to those consuming the least. In addition, in the subgroup of women who had ever used hormone replacement, those consuming the most fiber, especially cereal fiber, had a 50% reduction in their risk of breast cancer compared to those consuming the least. Int J Cancer. 2008 Jan 15;122(2):403-12.

Fruits richest in fiber include apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes. When choosing a high fiber cereal, look for whole grain cereals as they supply the most bran (a mere 1/3rd cup of bran contains about 14 grams of fiber). A cup of oatmeal delivers 15% of the RDI for fiber. Start out your day with a bowl of hot oatmeal or if you prefer cold cereal, oatmeal granola, and you’ll be well on your way to meeting your daily RDI for fiber.

Whole Grains and Fish Highly Protective against Childhood Asthma

According to the American Lung Association, almost 20 million Americans suffer from asthma, which is reported to be responsible for over 14 million lost school days in children, and an annual economic cost of more than $16.1 billion.

Increasing consumption of whole grains and fish could reduce the risk of childhood asthma by about 50%, suggests the International Study on Allergy and Asthma in Childhood (Tabak C, Wijga AH, Thorax).

The researchers, from the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Utrecht University, University Medical Center Groningen, used food frequency questionnaires completed by the parents of 598 Dutch children aged 8-13 years. They assessed the children’s consumption of a range of foods including fish, fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grain products. Data on asthma and wheezing were also assessed using medical tests as well as questionnaires.

While no association between asthma and intake of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products was found (a result at odds with other studies that have supported a link between antioxidant intake, particularly vitamins C and E, and asthma), the children’s intake of both whole grains and fish was significantly linked to incidence of wheezing and current asthma.

In children with a low intake of fish and whole grains, the prevalence of wheezing was almost 20%, but was only 4.2% in children with a high intake of both foods. Low intake of fish and whole grains also correlated with a much higher incidence of current asthma (16.7%). compared to only a 2.8% incidence of current asthma among children with a high intake of both foods.

After adjusting results for possible confounding factors, such as the educational level of the mother, and total energy intake, high intakes of whole grains and fish were found to be associated with a 54 and 66% reduction in the probability of being asthmatic, respectively.

The probability of having asthma with bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), defined as having an increased sensitivity to factors that cause narrowing of the airways, was reduced by 72 and 88% when children had a high-intake of whole grains and fish, respectively. Lead researcher, CoraTabak commented, “The rise in the prevalence of asthma in western societies may be related to changed dietary habits.” We agree. The Standard American Diet is sorely deficient in the numerous anti-inflammatory compounds found in fish and whole grains, notably, the omega-3 fats supplied by cold water fish and the magnesium and vitamin E provided by whole grains. One caution: wheat may need to be avoided as it is a common food allergen associated with asthma.

Health-Promoting Activity Equal to or Even Higher than that of Vegetables and Fruits

Research reported at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) International Conference on Food, Nutrition and Cancer, by Rui Hai Liu, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues at Cornell University shows that whole grains, such as oats, contain many powerful phytonutrients whose activity has gone unrecognized because research methods have overlooked them.

Despite the fact that for years researchers have been measuring the antioxidant power of a wide array of phytonutrients, they have typically measured only the “free” forms of these substances, which dissolve quickly and are immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. They have not looked at the “bound” forms, which are attached to the walls of plant cells and must be released by intestinal bacteria during digestion before they can be absorbed.

Phenolics, powerful antioxidants that work in multiple ways to prevent disease, are one major class of phytonutrients that have been widely studied. Included in this broad category are such compounds as quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid, catechins, and many others that appear frequently in the health news.

When Dr. Liu and his colleagues measured the relative amounts of phenolics, and whether they were present in bound or free form, in common fruits and vegetables like apples, red grapes, broccoli and spinach, they found that phenolics in the “free” form averaged 76% of the total number of phenolics in these foods. In whole grains, however, “free” phenolics accounted for less than 1% of the total, while the remaining 99% were in “bound” form.

In his presentation, Dr. Liu explained that because researchers have examined whole grains with the same process used to measure antioxidants in vegetables and fruits-looking for their content of “free” phenolics”-the amount and activity of antioxidants in whole grains has been vastly underestimated.

Despite the differences in fruits’, vegetables’ and whole grains’ content of “free” and “bound” phenolics, the total antioxidant activity in all three types of whole foods is similar, according to Dr. Liu’s research. His team measured the antioxidant activity of various foods, assigning each a rating based on a formula (micromoles of vitamin C equivalent per gram). Broccoli and spinach measured 80 and 81, respectively; apple and banana measured 98 and 65; and of the whole grains tested, corn measured 181, whole wheat 77, oats 75, and brown rice 56.

Dr. Liu’s findings may help explain why studies have shown that populations eating diets high in fiber-rich whole grains consistently have lower risk for colon cancer, yet short-term clinical trials that have focused on fiber alone in lowering colon cancer risk, often to the point of giving subjects isolated fiber supplements, yield inconsistent results. The explanation is most likely that these studies have not taken into account the interactive effects of all the nutrients in whole grains-not just their fiber, but also their many phytonutrients.

As far as whole grains are concerned, Dr. Liu believes that the key to their powerful cancer-fighting potential is precisely their wholeness. A grain of whole wheat consists of three parts-its endosperm (starch), bran and germ. When wheat-or any whole grain-is refined, its bran and germ are removed. Although these two parts make up only 15-17% of the grain’s weight, they contain 83% of its phenolics. Dr. Liu says his recent findings on the antioxidant content of whole grains reinforce the message that a variety of foods should be eaten good health. “Different plant foods have different phytochemicals,” he said. “These substances go to different organs, tissues and cells, where they perform different functions. What your body needs to ward off disease is this synergistic effect – this teamwork – that is produced by eating a wide variety of plant foods, including whole grains.”

Lignans Protect against Heart Disease

One type of phytochemical especially abundant in whole grains including oats are plant lignans, which are converted by friendly flora in our intestines into mammalian lignans, including one called enterolactone that is thought to protect against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease. In addition to whole grains, nuts, seeds and berries are rich sources of plant lignans, and vegetables, fruits, and beverages such as coffee, tea and wine also contain some. When blood levels of enterolactone were measured in over 800 postmenopausal women in a Danish study published in the Journal of Nutrition, women eating the most whole grains were found to have significantly higher blood levels of this protective lignan. Women who ate more cabbage and leafy vegetables also had higher enterolactone levels.

A Well-tolerated Wheat Alternative for Children and Adults with Celiac Disease

Although treatment of celiac disease has been thought to require lifelong avoidance of the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and oats, recent studies of adults have shown that oats, despite the small amount of gluten they contain, are well-tolerated. Now, a double blind, multi-center study involving 8 clinics treating 116 children newly diagnosed celiac disease suggests oats are a good grain choice for children with celiac disease as well. The children were randomly assigned to receive either the standard gluten-free diet (no wheat, barley, rye or oats) or a gluten-free diet with some wheat-free oat products. At the end of the study, which ran for a year, all the children were doing well, and in both groups, the mucosal lining of the small bowel (which is damaged by wheat gluten in celiac disease) had healed and the immune system (which is excessively reactive in celiac patients) had returned to normal.

Meta-analysis Explains Whole Grains’ Health Benefits

In many studies, eating whole grains, such as oats, has been linked to protection against atherosclerosis, ischemic stroke, diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, and premature death. A new study and accompanying editorial, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explains the likely reasons behind these findings and recommends at least 3 servings of whole grains should be eaten daily.

Whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. In this meta-analysis of 7 studies including more than 150,000 persons, those whose diets provided the highest dietary fiber intake had a 29% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with the lowest fiber intake.

But it’s not just fiber’s ability to serve as a bulking agent that is responsible for its beneficial effects as a component of whole grains. Wheat bran, for example, which constitutes 15% of most whole-grain wheat kernels but is virtually non-existent in refined wheat flour, is rich in minerals, antioxidants, lignans, and other phytonutrients-as well as in fiber.

In addition to the matrix of nutrients in their dietary fibers, the whole-grain arsenal includes a wide variety of additional nutrients and phytonutrients that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Compounds in whole grains that have cholesterol-lowering effects include polyunsaturated fatty acids, oligosaccharides, plant sterols and stanols, and saponins.

Whole grains are also important dietary sources of water-soluble, fat-soluble, and insoluble antioxidants. The long list of cereal antioxidants includes vitamin E, tocotrieonols, selenium, phenolic acids, and phytic acid. These multifunctional antioxidants come in immediate-release to slow-release forms and thus are available throughout the gastrointestinal tract over a long period after being consumed.

The high antioxidant capacity of wheat bran, for example, is 20-fold that of refined wheat flour (endosperm). Although the role of antioxidant supplements in protecting against cardiovascular disease has been questioned, prospective population studies consistently suggest that when consumed in whole foods, antioxidants are associated with significant protection against cardiovascular disease. Because free radical damage to cholesterol appears to contribute significantly to the development of atherosclerosis, the broad range of antioxidant activities from the phytonutrients abundant in whole-grains is thought to play a strong role in their cardio-protective effects.

Like soybeans, whole grains are good sources of phytoestrogens, plant compounds that may affect blood cholesterol levels, blood vessel elasticity, bone metabolism, and many other cellular metabolic processes.

Whole grains are rich sources of lignans that are converted by the human gut to enterolactone and enterodiole. In studies of Finnish men, blood levels of enterolactone have been found to have an inverse relation not just to cardiovascular-related death, but to all causes of death, which suggests that the plant lignans in whole grains may play an important role in their protective effects.

Lower insulin levels may also contribute to the protective effects of whole grains. In many persons, the risks of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity are linked to insulin resistance. Higher intakes of whole grains are associated with increased sensitivity to insulin in population studies and clinical trials. Why? Because whole grains improve insulin sensitivity by lowering the glycemic index of the diet while increasing its content of fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E.

The whole kernel of truth: as part of your healthy way of eating, whole grains can significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Enjoy at least 3 servings a day. No idea how to cook whole grains? Just look at the “How to Enjoy” section in our profiles of the whole grains, or for quick, easy, delicious recipes, click on this link to our Recipe Assistant and select oats or whichever whole grain you would like to.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54

See  also:

http://www.eatmoreoats.com/health.html
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54
http://health.learninginfo.org/benefits-oatmeal.htm
http://food-facts.suite101.com/article.cfm/health_benefits_of_oats
http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/oatmeals-health-claims-strongly-reaffirmed-15179.html
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/health-benefits-of-oatmeal.html
http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Review-backs-oats-heart-health-benefits

ginger-rootThe medicinal uses of ginger is almost endless.  If you can stomach the spiciness, it does wonders in treating many disorders.

Anticoagulant: Add ginger in most of your cooking or add a teaspoonful of fresh ginger juice in your beverages to enjoy the anticoagulant properties of ginger.  It helps make blood platelets less sticky which in turn reduces your risk of atherosclerosis.

Aphrodisiac effect: A natural aphrodisiac, this might be the better substitute to viagra!  Drink hot ginger tea (by mixing ginger juice, hot water and honey) after a not-too-heavy meal and see it work!

Cold: Cut up a small piece of ginger and boil it with a small cup of pure drinking water.  Add some green tea leaves if you wish.  Strain and drink when hot.  Effective if you also have fever resulting from the cold. You may also drink this concoction if you feel a cold coming.

Cough: Drink ginger juice with honey three to four times a day for a bad throat.  It is soothing and helps clear up phlegm.

Digestive disorder: Mix a teaspoonful of fresh ginger juice with one teaspoonful each of fresh lime juice and fresh mint juice with some honey to taste in a glass of water.  Drink to relieve heartburn, indigestion, nausea and vomiting.  Especially helpful after a big meaty meal.

Fatigue: Slice a piece of ginger into disks and boil it with a big glass of water.  Add a piece of cinnamon bark, bring to boil and then cover it for about half an hour till it turns to golden color.  Drink it to relieve fatigue when recovering from fever.  It also relieves muscle pain and soreness.

Flatulence/wind: Pound a piece of fresh ginger and boil with a cup of water and add a little honey to taste.  Drink it twice a day to let off the wind trapped in the intestinal tract.

Impotency: Believe it or not!  Mix a teaspoonful of fresh ginger juice to a half-boiled egg and a teaspoonful of honey. Take this concoction on an empty stomach, every night for a month.  It is supposed to cure impotency, premature ejaculation and increase sperm count.  (Not proven but worth trying!)

Inflammations: The anti-inflammatory (gingerols) and anti-oxidant properties in ginger help relieve various inflammatory disorders like gout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.  It provides substantial relief in pain caused by inflammation and help decrease swelling and morning stiffness.

Menstruation disorders: Pound a piece of fresh ginger and boil with a cup of water and add a little honey to taste.  Drink it hot two or three times a day for a month.  The pain-relieving and anti-cramping compounds in ginger effectively help relieve painful menstruation cramps (dysmenorrhoea).  In the absence of menstruation in women in the reproductive age (amenorrhoea), this concoction can also help induce menstruation.

Morning sickness: A teaspoonful of fresh ginger juice with some honey will also help alleviate morning sickness, sea or motion sickness, dizziness and even nausea caused by chemotherapy or anesthesia.

Pain killer: Ginger juice makes an excellent pain killer, even when applied externally.  In headache, apply ginger juice to the forehead.  With toothache, apply it to the external area either on the cheek or jaw area.

http://www.juicing-for-health.com/health-benefits-of-ginger.html

+++

Gastrointestinal Relief

A clue to ginger’s success in eliminating gastrointestinal distress is offered by recent double-blind studies, which have demonstrated that ginger is very effective in preventing the symptoms of motion sickness, especially seasickness. In fact, in one study, ginger was shown to be far superior to Dramamine, a commonly used over-the-counter and prescription drug for motion sickness. Ginger reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating.

Safe and Effective Relief of Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy

Ginger’s anti-vomiting action has been shown to be very useful in reducing the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, even the most severe form, hyperemesis gravidum, a condition which usually requires hospitalization. In a double-blind trial, ginger root brought about a significant reduction in both the severity of nausea and number of attacks of vomiting in 19 of 27 women in early pregnancy (less than 20 weeks). Unlike antivomiting drugs, which can cause severe birth defects, ginger is extremely safe, and only a small dose is required.

A review of six double-blind, randomized controlled trials with a total of 675 participants, published in the April 2005 issue of the journal, Obstetrics and Gynecology,has confirmed that ginger is effective in relieving the severity of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. The review also confirmed the absence of significant side effects or adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These substances are believed to explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. In two clinical studies involving patients who responded to conventional drugs and those who didn’t, physicians found that 75% of arthritis patients and 100% of patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief of pain and/or swelling.

Arthritis-related problems with your aging knees? Regularly spicing up your meals with fresh ginger may help, suggests a study published in a recent issue of Osteoarthritis Cartilage. In this twelve month study, 29 patients with painful arthritis in the knee (6 men and 23 women ranging in age from 42-85 years) participated in a placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study. Patients switched from placebo to ginger or visa versa after 3 months. After six months, the double-blind code was broken and twenty of the patients who wished to continue were followed for an additional six months.

By the end of the first six month period, those given ginger were experiencing significantly less pain on movement and handicap than those given placebo. Pain on movement decreased from a score of 76.14 at baseline to 41.00, while handicap decreased from 73.47 to 46.08. In contrast, those who were switched from ginger to placebo experienced an increase in pain of movement (up to 82.10) and handicap (up to 80.80) from baseline. In the final phase of the study when all patients were getting ginger, pain remained low in those already taking ginger in phase 2, and decreased again in the group that had been on placebo.

Not only did participants’ subjective experiences of pain lessen, but swelling in their knees, an objective measurement of lessened inflammation, dropped significantly in those treated with ginger. The mean target knee circumference in those taking ginger dropped from 43.25cm when the study began to 39.36cm by the 12th week. When this group was switched to placebo in the second phase of the study, their knee circumferences increased, while those who had been on placebo but were now switched to ginger experienced a decrease in knee circumference. In the final phase, when both groups were given ginger, mean knee circumference continued to drop, reaching lows of 38.78 and 36.38 in the two groups.

How does ginger work its anti-inflammatory magic? Two other recent studies provide possible reasons.

A study published in the November 2003 issue of Life Sciences suggests that at least one reason for ginger’s beneficial effects is the free radical protection afforded by one of its active phenolic constituents, 6-gingerol. In this in vitro (test tube) study, 6-gingerol was shown to significantly inhibit the production of nitric oxide, a highly reactive nitrogen molecule that quickly forms a very damaging free radical called peroxynitrite. Another study appearing in the November 2003 issue of Radiation Research found that in mice, five days treatment with ginger (10 mg per kilogram of body weight) prior to exposure to radiation not only prevented an increase in free radical damage to lipids (fats found in numerous bodily components from cell membranes to cholesterol), but also greatly lessened depletion of the animals’ stores of glutathione, one of the body’s most important internally produced antioxidants.

A study published in the February 2005 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine sheds further light on the mechanisms of action that underlie ginger’s anti-inflammatory effectiveness. In this research, ginger was shown to suppress the pro-inflammatory compounds (cytokines and chemokines) produced by synoviocytes (cells comprising the synovial lining of the joints), chrondrocytes (cells comprising joint cartilage) and leukocytes (immune cells).

Protection against Colorectal Cancer

Gingerols, the main active components in ginger and the ones responsible for its distinctive flavor, may also inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells, suggests research presented at the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, a major meeting of cancer experts that took place in Phoenix, AZ, October 26-30, 2003.

In this study, researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Hormel Institute fed mice specially bred to lack an immune system a half milligram of -gingerol three times a week before and after injecting human colorectal cancer cells into their flanks. Control mice received no -gingerol.

Tumors first appeared 15 days after the mice were injected, but only 4 tumors were found in the group of -gingerol-treated mice compared to 13 in the control mice, plus the tumors in the -gingerol group were smaller on average. Even by day 38, one mouse in the -gingerol group still had no measurable tumors. By day 49, all the control mice had been euthanized since their tumors had grown to one cubic centimeter (0.06 cubic inch), while tumors in 12 of the -gingerol treated mice still averaged 0.5 cubic centimeter-half the maximum tumor size allowed before euthanization.

Research associate professor Ann Bode noted, “These results strongly suggest that ginger compounds may be effective chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic agents for colorectal carcinomas.”

In this first round of experiments, mice were fed ginger before and after tumor cells were injected. In the next round, researchers will feed the mice ginger only after their tumors have grown to a certain size. This will enable them to look at the question of whether a patient could eat ginger to slow the metastasis of a nonoperable tumor. Are they optimistic? The actions of the University of Minnesota strongly suggest they are. The University has already applied for a patent on the use of -gingerol as an anti-cancer agent and has licensed the technology to Pediatric Pharmaceuticals (Iselin, N.J.).

Ginger Induces Cell Death in Ovarian Cancer Cells

Lab experiments presented at the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer, by Dr Rebecca Lui and her colleagues from the University of Michigan, showed that gingerols, the active phytonutrients in ginger, kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) and autophagocytosis (self-digestion).

Ginger extracts have been shown to have both antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects on cells. To investigate the latter, Dr Liu examined the effect of a whole ginger extract containing 5% gingerol on a number of different ovarian cancer cell lines.

Exposure to the ginger extract caused cell death in all the ovarian cancer lines studied.

A pro-inflammatory state is thought to be an important contributing factor in the development of ovarian cancer. In the presence of ginger, a number of key indicators of inflammation (vascular endothelial growth factor, interleukin-8 and prostaglandin E2) were also decreased in the ovarian cancer cells.

Conventional chemotherapeutic agents also suppress these inflammatory markers, but may cause cancer cells to become resistant to the action of the drugs. Liu and her colleagues believe that ginger may be of special benefit for ovarian cancer patients because cancer cells exposed to ginger do not become resistant to its cancer-destroying effects. In the case of ovarian cancer, an ounce of prevention-in the delicious form of liberal use of ginger-is an especially good idea. Ovarian cancer is often deadly since symptoms typically do not appear until late in the disease process, so by the time ovarian cancer is diagnosed, it has spread beyond the ovaries. More than 50% of women who develop ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the advanced stages of the disease.

Immune Boosting Action

Ginger can not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flus. A good sweat may do a lot more than simply assist detoxification. German researchers have recently found that sweat contains a potent germ-fighting agent that may help fight off infections. Investigators have isolated the gene responsible for the compound and the protein it produces, which they have named dermicidin. Dermicidin is manufactured in the body’s sweat glands, secreted into the sweat, and transported to the skin’s surface where it provides protection against invading microorganisms, including bacteria such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (a common cause of skin infections), and fungi, including Candida albicans.

Ginger is so concentrated with active substances, you don’t have to use very much to receive its beneficial effects. For nausea, ginger tea made by steeping one or two 1/2-inch slices (one 1/2-inch slice equals 2/3 of an ounce) of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water will likely be all you need to settle your stomach. For arthritis, some people have found relief consuming as little as a 1/4-inch slice of fresh ginger cooked in food, although in the studies noted above, patients who consumed more ginger reported quicker and better relief.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72

See also:

http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/ginger.shtml
http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-ginger.html
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72

chilipepper

Chili peppers are extremely healthy for you, and should be included in your regular diet. Here’s why.

Chili Peppers Fight Migraine Headaches and Sinus Headaches

Studies show that chili peppers can provide pain relief for migraine and sinus headaches. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes chili peppers hot, is known to inhibit a key neuropeptide, Substance P, that is the key brain pain transmitter. Go capsaicin!

Chili Peppers Prevent Sinusitis and Relieve Congestion

Capsaicin once again! The pepper heat helps to stimulate secretions that aid in clearing mucus from your nose, combatting nasal congestion. It also contains antibacterial properties that help fight chronic sinus infections.

Chili Peppers Fight Cancer

Capsaicin not only causes the tongue to burn, it also drives prostate cancer cells to kill themselves, according to studies published in the March 15 issue of Cancer Research.

According to the research, capsaicin induced approximately 80 percent of prostate cancer cells growing in mice to follow the molecular pathways leading to apoptosis. Prostate cancer tumors treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of tumors in non-treated mice.

“Capsaicin had a profound anti-proliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells in culture,” said Dr. Lehmann, M.D., Ph.D. “It also dramatically slowed the development of prostate tumors formed by those human cell lines grown in mouse models.”

Chili Peppers Help Lower High Blood Pressure

Eating chili peppers are naturally high in vitamins A and C, and also bioflavinoids. They help strengthen our blood vessels, which makes them more elastic and better able to adjust to blood pressure fluctuations. Chili peppers also can make us sweat, which causes fluid loss, temporarily reducing overall blood volume.

Chili Peppers Fight Inflammation

Capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It inhibits Substance P, which is associated with inflammatory processes, much like it relieves headaches and migraines, listed earlier. Capsaicin may also one day be a treatment for arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy.

Chili Peppers Help Soothe Intestinal Diseases

A Duke University study found that capsaicin may lead to a cure for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The substance can also help to kill bacteria such as H. pylori, which can help prevent stomach ulcers.

Chili Pepper Can Help You Burn Fat and Lose Weight

Did you know that capsaicin is a thermogenic? Thermogenics stimulate the body’s burning of fat byincrease the metabolism of the body’s adipose tissue, generating heat.

Chili Peppers Help Protect Your Heart

Capsaicin may help to protect the heart by reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet aggregation. It may also help the body dissolve fibrin, which is necessary for blood clots to form. Further, cultures around the world that use hot peppers liberally in their meals have significantly lower rates of heart attack and stroke than cultures that do not.

Chili Peppers Have Loads of Vitamin C

A typical chili pepper packs more vitamin C than an orange, so if you need your extra C, grab a chili pepper!

Chili Peppers Can Warm Your Feet!

Do your feet get cold in the winter? Try this — sprinkle powdered cayenne in your shoes. It will keep you feet nice and warm during those cold winter nights!

http://www.chilipeppermadness.com/chili-pepper-health-benefits.html

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/04/14/chili.record/index.html

Below we look at effects eating chilies has on the body.

Skin

Other than for its flavor-enhancing qualities, chili is, oddly enough, used to fight the summer heat.

As the chili causes extreme sweating and blood rushing to the face, it cools the body down when the sweat evaporates, making it useful for combating heat.

These same heat inducing properties are said to have a cumulative effect and over time are believed to alleviate pain when used in treatments for anything from arthritis and psoriasis to shingles and severe burns.

Brain

The substances that give chili peppers their intensity when eaten or applied on the skin are called capsaicinoids.

When consumed, capsaicinoids connect with pain receptors in the mouth and throat that are normally responsible for sensing heat.

Once activated by the capsaicinoids, these receptors send a message to the brain that the person has consumed something hot.

The brain responds to the burning sensation by raising the heart rate, increasing perspiration and releasing endorphins, called the body’s “natural painkillers” and “happy hormones.”

Stomach

Chilies have long been associated with soothing the digestive system, by acting as stomach cleansers. According to the UK Food Guide, chili helps to settle stomach upset and encourages the production of good digestive acid.

Chili aficionados believe the fruits can also induce weight loss because the substance that makes them “hot” speed up the body’s metabolism.

However, one study by the American Institute of Cancer Research performed in Mexico showed in 2003 that a high consumption of chilies (approximately nine to 25 jalapeno peppers per day) is in fact associated with stomach cancer.

Immune system

Red chilies contain high amounts of carotene and vitamin C. It is said that chilies contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits. Chili peppers are also a good source of vitamin B6 and are very high in potassium, magnesium and iron, giving them a reputation for naturally boosting the body’s immune system.

Heart and other cardiovascular effects

A 2006 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that after adding chili to the diet, bad cholesterol, that can often lead to heart problems, took a longer time to develop into heart diseases.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=29

ganoderma

The secret to true success is good health. As the saying goes “Health is Wealth”, Yes! indeed it is true. One cannot be successful if health is compromise. Daily exercise, a good diet, healthy lifestyle, natural supplement and peace of mind can keep you up in good condition and maintain the balance of your body.

Today modern medicine has succeeded on treating many disorders in our body but yet none of today’s medical science found a system that prevents deadly diseases.

A prevention system that is purely natural and adaptable for all conditions and all body systems. There are now extensive research in Herbs as the primary preventive source and healthy herbal and organic food products now take the lead in preventive systems. The king of Herbs known as Lingzhi in China and Reishi in Japan is now widely researched by many universities and research institutions.

Today, Lingzhi is still widely revered as a valuable health supplement and herbal medicine worldwide. Studies of Lingzhi are mostly conducted in China, Japan, Korea and United States into the medicinal and nutritional values of the said herb.

About Lingzhi

LINGZHI is the name form of the mushroom Ganoderma Lucidum, have worldwide distribution in both tropical and temperate geographical regions which includes North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It has been use in traditional herbal medicine as a herbal medicine for more than 4,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used in medicine.

In Chinese the word Lingzhi means “herb of spiritual potency” or some described it as “mushroom of immortality“. Because Lingzhi has no known treatening side-effects, it has a good reputation in the East as the ultimate herbal substance. Some mild side effects, including dryness of the nasal passages, mouth and throat, as well as stomach upset and nosebleed. However, these effects were avoided by discontinuing use of the mushroom for one month after taking it for four months, and taking it again for four months, and so on.

In history, the 2000 year old medicinal Chinese book, Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic categorized Lingzhi as Superior, herb effective for multiple diseases and responsible for maintaining and restoring the body balance.

Medicinal Qualities

Scientist discovered 252 active components benefecial and essential to the human body. It is an adaptogen which brings immense benefits to human body without any side effect. The two main components is Germanium which can promote blood circulation, can increase oxygen absorbing capability of the body and keep sufficient oxygen in the body. Polysaccharides, increases the number of antibody which improves immune system.

Because of the presence of many medicinal properties such as polysaccharides, germanium, ergosterol, coumarin, mannitol, lactones, alkaloids, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and triterpenes, Lingzhi may be use to treat or prevent diseases.

Benefits of Lingzhi

  1. Lowers cholesterol in the blood
  2. Improve body metabolism
  3. Strengthens the immune system
  4. Suppressed cancerous cells
  5. Prevent Bronchitis
  6. Used for Caridovascular treatment
  7. Strengthens Respiratory System
  8. Treatment for Hepatitis
  9. Allergies
  10. Chemotherapy support
  11. HIV support
  12. Fatigue
  13. Altitude sickness
  14. Kidney and Never tonic
  15. Protects the Liver
  16. Anti-Tumor
  17. Anti-inflammatory
  18. Antiviral
  19. Lowers blood sugar
  20. Anti-fungal
  21. Antidiabetic
  22. Anti-parasitic
  23. Anti-Hypotensive
  24. Nausea
  25. Vomiting
  26. Stomatitis
  27. Sore Throat
  28. Loss of appetite
  29. Insomnia
  30. Liver conditions
  31. Hepatitis
  32. AIDS
  33. HIV
  34. Stress

Japanese Research – Lingzhi and Cancer

The prestigious Japanese doctor, Dr. Fukumi Morishige, M.D., Ph.D., was involved in the research of Lingzhi’s role in cancer control at the Linus Pauling Institute in Japan.

The doctor has been a surgeon for 37 years and performed numerous operations including countless encounter on cancer cases. He stated that the key to cancer treatment is in its early detection. He also stated that there is no established method on preventing cancer, however he had attested Lingzhi to be the best method as of now. According to him Lingzhi is an effective in the treatment of cancer. The polysaccharides in Lingzhi are effective in suppressing cancerous cells.

Dr. Fukumi assigned random cancer patients to administer Lingzhi essense with a control group of patients with other illness, e.g. arthritic rheumatism, chronic bronchitis, hepatitis etc., that is, people with lowered body resistance to diseases.

Immunogloburin test determined the level of immunity. They have found that after using Lingzhi, the level of IgA, IgG, IgM increased. This indicates that Lingzhi can elevate the body’s resistance to other diseases.

“A 39 year old female came to me with lung cancer and complications of the chest wall membrane. She had been told that she could not be operated on by the number of hospitals. She left in a hopeless state. Upon returning home, her husband started to feed her Lingzhi. After examination, I was suprised by the findings after six months, she had edema in her chest cavity, secondary to the cancer, and the symptom had completely disappeared. For a person who had already made her funeral arrangements and was waiting for death to rediscover there is hope for life, was incredible. X-rays had presented an even better picture when going through her medical history. She insisted that her improvement was the result of her husband giving her Lingzhi.

No wonder the Lingzhi mushrooms are called the “Celestial Herb” by the Japanese for its health giving properties. Modern science and cultivation methods have made this difficult to grow herb available for the past decade or two for everyone to derive the benefits.

It remains debatable as to whether lingzhi is a food supplement for health maintenance or actually a therapeutic “drug” for medical proposes. Thus far there has been no report of human trials using lingzhi as a direct anticancer agent, despite some evidence showing the usage of lingzhi as a potential supplement to cancer patients.

AT PRESENT, lingzhi is a health food supplement to support cancer patients, yet the evidence supporting the potential of direct in vivo anticancer effects should not be underestimated. Lingzhi or its products can be classified as an anticancer agent when current and more direct scientific evidence becomes available.

http://hubpages.com/hub/lingzhi

See also:

http://www.naturalypure.com/GanodermaLucidum.htm

http://www.healthyganoderma.com/ganoderma-lucidum-health.htm

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/71433/the_health_benefits_of_ganoderma_lucidum.html?cat=5

http://www.magicmushrooms.org/shop/vital-medical-mushrooms-ganoderma-lucidum-reishi-c-63_111.html

grapefruit

According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, grapefruit is a powerhouse of nutrition and an excellent source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin A, potassium, folate, vitamin B5, and phytochemicals such as liminoids and lycopene:

  • Vitamin C helps to support the immune system and fight free radical damage.
  • Lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient, appears to have anti-tumor activity.
  • Limonoids inhibit tumor formation by promoting the formation of a detoxifying enzyme.
  • Pectin is a form of soluble fiber that has been shown in animal studies to slow the progression of atherosclerosis.

In addition, studies have revealed that eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice, reduces the risk of kidney stones, protects against lung and colon cancer, significantly increases the production and activity of liver enzymes responsible for eliminating toxins from the body, and helps repair damaged DNA in human prostate cancer cells.

N.B. If you know the source, just inform the owner of the site for purpose of reference.

sweetpotato

Parts utilized
Tops, leaves and edible roots.

Constituents and properties
• Source of polyphenolic antioxidants.
• Leaves have a high content of polyphenolics – anthocyanins and phenolic acids, with at least 15 biologically active anthocyanins with medicinal value.
• Polyphenols have physiologic funtions, radical scavenging activity, antimutagenic, anticancer, antidiabetes and antibacterial activity in vitro and vivo.
• Considered hemostatic, spleen invigorating.

Uses
Nutritional
Edible: Leaves and roots.
Has a higher nutritional value than the common potato.
Good source of vitamins A, B and C, iron, calcium and phosphorus.
High in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber; deficient in protein.
Leafy tops eaten as vegetables.
A component of many traditional cuisines.
A staple food crop in some countries.
Industrial
Starch and industrial alcohol production.
Folkloric
Tops, especially purplish ones, used for diabetes.
Crushed leaves applied to boils and acne.
For diarrhea: Boiled or boiled roots.

Studies
Dengue – Like gatas-gatas (Euphorbia hirta), there have been anecdotal reports of the use of Ipomoea batatas in dengue, with improvement in platelet counts being attributed to decoctions of kamote tops.
Preparation: kamote tops are boiled in wate for 5 minutesr to extract the juice
Diabetes – Despite its “sweet” name, it may be beneficial for diabetes as some studies suggest it may stabilize blood sugars and lower insulin resistance.
• Purple Sweet Potato anthocyanins have antioxidative activity in vivo as well as in vitro.
• Hemostatic mistura of ipomoea balatas leaves, methods of preparation and use thereof — a Jinshuye styptic plant preparation, an invention made from the extracts of leaf and stems of Ipomoea batatas has qi and spleen invigorating effects, cooling the blood and stopping bleeding. Such a composition has the potential of use for ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), radiotherapy- and chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia.
• Local Root Crops as Antioxidant: A 2006 study of commonly consumed roots crops in the Philippines (Kamote, Ipomoea batata; ubi, purple yam, Dioscorea alata; cassava, Manihot esculenta; taro or gabi, Colocasia esculenta; carrot, Daucus carota; yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) showed them to be rich sources of phenolic compounds with antioxidant acitivity, highest in sweet potato, followed by taro, potato, purple yam and lowest in the carrot.
• BIOACTIVE COMPOUNDS IN IPOMOEA BATATAS LEAVES: Results suggest the total phenolic content was positively correlated with radical scavenging activities of the sweet potato leaves.
Antidiabetic activity of white skinned sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) in obese Zucker fatty rats: Results suggest the white skinned sweet potato has antidiabetic activity and and improves glucose and lipid metabolism by reducing insulin resistance.

• Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam ‘Tainong 57’) storage root mucilage with antioxidant activities in vitro: Mucilage might contribute its antioxidant activities against both hydoxyl and peroxyl radicals.

• Flavonoids: Leaf extract study isolated five news compounds: tiliroside, astragalin, rhamnocitrin, rhamnetin and kaempferol.
• Chitinases: Study identified new chitinolytic enzymes in sweet potato leaves. Chitinases catalyze the hydrolysis of chitin, the main structural component of fungal walls and arthropod integuments. Studies suggest it has other functions and has been proposed to play a role in the defense against pathogens. Chitinases are also useful in the production of biomedical and biotech products; used in the production of chitooligosaccharides, glucosamines and GlcNAc. Other applications are found in mosquito control and pathogenic plant fungi control.
• Antioxidant / Antiproliferative: Study demonstrated that the phytochemicals in sweet potato may have significant antioxidant and anticancer activities. The antioxidant activity was directly related to the total amount of phenolics and flavonoids in the extracts. The additive roles of phytochemicals may contribute to its ability in inhibiting tumor cell proliferation in vitro.

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

Health Benefits

Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of plant proteins with very low calories.  Unlike other starchy root vegetables, it is very low in sugar, and in fact is a good blood sugar regulator.

As an anti-oxidant: Sweet potatoes have been found to contain a high amount of anti-oxidant, making it suitable in combating inflammatory problems like asthma, arthritis, gout, etc.

Diabetes: This fibrous root is suitable for diabetics’ consumption as it is a very good blood sugar regulator, helps to stabilize and lower insulin resistance.

Digestive tract, healthy: The significant amount of dietary fiber, especially when eaten with the skin, helps to promote a healthy digestive tract, relieving constipation and also helps prevent colon cancer.

Emphysema: Smokers and people who inhale second-hand smoke should regularly consume foods high in vitamin A as smoke has been found to induce vitamin A deficiency, causing a host of other health problems to the lungs.

Fetal Development: The high folate content is important and necessary for healthy fetal cell and tissue development.

Immune System: Regular consumption of sweet potatoes strengthens the body’s immune system and develop resistance to infection.

Heart diseases: Consumption of this high potassium root helps to prevent heart attack and stroke. It helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body cells, as well as normal heart function and blood pressure.

Muscle Cramps: A deficiency in potassium can cause muscular cramps and greater susceptibility to injury. Make sweet potatoes a regular part of your diet if you exercise a lot, both for an energy boost and to prevent cramps and injuries.

Stress: When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, causing the body potassium levels to be reduced. By snacking on the potassium-packed sweet potato, it helps to rebalance the vital mineral, and helps normalize the heartbeat. This in turn sends oxygen to the brain and regulates the body’s water balance.

http://www.juicing-for-health.com/sweet-potato-health-benefits.html

Sweet Potato Ranks Number One In Nutrition

According to nutritionists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the single most important dietary change for most people, including children, would be to replace fatty foods with foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes.

CSPI ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. With a score of 184, the sweet potato outscored the next highest vegetable by more than 100 points. Points were given for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content (especially saturated fat), sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The higher the score, the more nutritious the food.

http://www.foodreference.com/html/sweet-pot-nutrition.html

See also:

http://www.elements4health.com/sweet-potatoes.html
http://hubpages.com/hub/Health_Benefits_of_Sweet_Potato
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64
http://food-facts.suite101.com/article.cfm/nutritional_benefits_of_sweet_potatoes
http://www.ehow.com/facts_4797224_health-benefits-sweet-potatoes.html

parsley

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), the world’s most popular culinary herb is also known as “rock celery” and belongs to the Umbelliferae family of plants. Parsley is one of the world’s seven most potent disease-fighting spices which also include Ginger, Oregano, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Sage, and Red chili peppers. Parsley grows in most climates and is readily available throughout the year. It is a biennial plant which means that it produces seeds during its second year of production and will reseed itself if you let it.

While parsley is a wonderfully nutritious and healing food, it is often under-appreciated. Most people do not realize that this vegetable has more uses than just being a decorative garnish that accompanies restaurant meals.

Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe and has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. It was originally used as a medicinal plant (see below) prior to being consumed as a food. Ancient Greeks held parsley to be sacred, using it to not only adorn victors of athletic contests, but also for decorating the tombs of the deceased. While it is uncertain when and where parsley began to be consumed as a seasoning, historians think it may be sometime during the Middle Ages in Europe. Some historians credit Charlemagne with its popularization as he had it grown on his estates.

Parsley’s Many Therapeutic Health Benefits Include Its Use For:

· Anemia: Builds up the blood because it is high in iron.  The high vitamin C content assists the absorption of iron.

  • Antioxidant: Increases the anti-oxidant capacity of the blood.
  • Bactericidal (kills bacteria)
  • Bad breath
  • Baldness: Believe it or not, men even scrubbed parsley onto their scalps to cure baldness—which doesn’t work.
  • Blood purifier
  • Blood vessel rejuvenation: Maintains elasticity of blood vessels, and helps to repair bruises.
  • Diarrhea is greatly helped by drinking parsley tea.
  • Digestion: Parsley is an excellent digestion restorative remedy. It improves the digestion of proteins and fats therefore promoting intestinal absorption, liver assimilation and storage. Because of its high enzyme content, parsley benefits digestive activity and elimination.
  • Dissolves cholesterol within the veins
  • Diuretic
  • Ear health: Treats deafness and ear infections.
  • Edema: Acts as a diuretic and blood vessel strengthener.
  • Fatigue: Parsley is high in iron so helps repair and provides components for better blood cells.
  • Gallstones: Helps dissolve them.
  • Glandular support of the liver, spleen, kidneys and adrenal glands.
  • Gout
  • Hormonal support: In women, parsley improves estrogen and nourishes and restores the blood of the uterus. Conditions like delayed menstruation, PMS, and the menopause (dry skin, irritability, depression and hair loss) can often improve.
  • Hormone balancing is achieved through the volatile fatty acids contained in parsley.
  • Immune booster: The high vitamin C, beta carotene, B12, chlorophyll and essential fatty acid content render parsley an extraordinary immunity enhancing food. Parsley is an immune-enhancing multi-vitamin and mineral complex in green plant form and one of the most important herbs for providing vitamins to the body.
  • Inhibits tumor formation, particularly in the lungs.
  • Insect bites: Rub on to relieve the swelling and itch.
  • Jaundice
  • Kidneys: Parsley is effective for nearly all kidney and urinary complaints except severe kidney inflammation. It improves kidney activity and can help eliminate wastes from the blood and tissues of the kidneys. It prevents salt from being reabsorbed into the body tissues; thus parsley literally forces debris out of the kidneys, liver and bladder. It helps improve edema and general water retention, fatigue and scanty or painful urination.
  • Liver congestion: It enriches the liver and nourishes the blood. Parsley helps reduce liver congestion, clearing toxins and aiding rejuvenation.
  • Menstrual irregularity: Parsley helps to make the cycles regular by the presence of apiol which is a constituent of the female sex hormone estrogen.
  • Menstrual pain
  • Night blindness: Bad eyesight is a sign of Vitamin A deficiency.
  • Rheumatism
  • Spleen strengthening: The parsley root in particular strengthens the spleen, and can, therefore, treat malabsorption.
  • Stamina loss and low resistance to infection, point to a sluggish liver. This can manifest itself in blood deficiencies, fatigue, a pale complexion and poor nails, dizzy spells, anemia and mineral depletion.
  • Stomach problems
  • Strengthens loose teeth: In the Middle Ages parsley was used for many conditions including ‘fastening teeth’ (Scurvy, which is caused by a Vitamin C deficiency, makes the gums spongy and the teeth loose.)
  • Uterine tonic
  • Weight loss benefits from being a diuretic

Nutritional Benefits of Parsley:

Parsley is a nutrient powerhouse containing high levels of beta carotene, vitamin B12, folate, chlorophyll, calcium, more vitamin C than citrus fruits, and just about all other known nutrients. Parsley is a moistening, nourishing, restoring, ‘warming’ food, pungent with a slightly bitter, salty flavor. It enhances and stimulates the energy of organs, improving their ability to assimilate and utilize nutrients.

Beta carotene is used for protein assimilation. This nutrient benefits the liver and protects the lungs and colon. Beta-carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A, a nutrient so important to a strong immune system that its nickname is the “anti-infective vitamin.”

Chlorophyll Parsley is abundant in chlorophyll, thus purifying and inhibiting the spread of bacteria, fungi and other organisms. Chlorophyll from parsley is slightly anti-bacterial and anti-fungal which acts to enhance immune response and to relieve mucus congestion, sinusitis and other ‘damp’ conditions. Chlorophyll, high in oxygen, also suppresses viruses and helps the lungs to discharge residues from environmental pollution.

Essential Fatty Acids Parsley is a source of alpha-linolenic acid, an important essential fatty acid that is too frequently deficient in today’s diets.

Fluorine is an important nutritional component abundantly found in parsley. Fluorine has an entirely different molecular structure from chemically-produced fluoride. Tooth decay results from a shortage of fluorine, not fluoride. It is the combination of calcium and fluorine which creates a very hard protective surface on teeth and bones. Fluorine also protects the body from infectious invasion, germs and viruses.

Folic Acid, one of the most important B vitamins, but one of its most critical roles in relation to cardiovascular health is to convert homocysteine into benign molecules. Homocysteine is a potentially dangerous molecule that, at high levels, can directly damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Folic acid is also a critical nutrient for proper cell division and is therefore vitally important for cancer-prevention in two areas of the body that contain rapidly dividing cells–the colon, and in women, the cervix.

Iron: The iron content of parsley is exceptional with 5.5mg per100g (4oz). A half-cup of fresh parsley or one tablespoon dried has about 10 percent of your iron daily requirements.  Plus, parsley has the vitamin C your body needs to absorb that iron.

Protein: Parsley is made up of 20% protein. (About the same as mushrooms.)

Vitamin B12 Parsley contains traces of B12 producing compounds. Such compounds are needed for the formation of red blood cells and normal cell growth, important for fertility, pregnancy, immunity and the prevention of degenerative illness. The action of vitamin B12, however, is inhibited by birth control pills, antibiotics, intoxicants, stress, sluggish liver, and excess bacteria or parasites in the colon or digestive tracts. Parsley helps to counteract these inhibitors.

Vitamin K: Getting at least 100 micrograms of Vitamin K a day can drastically cut your risk of hip fracture. Vitamin K is necessary for bones to get the minerals they need to form properly. Parsley is loaded with vitamin K (180 mcg per 1/2 cup). Cooking parsley nearly doubles its Vitamin K.

Vitamin C: Parsley contains more vitamin C than any other standard culinary vegetable, with 166mg per 100g (4oz). This is three times as much as oranges. Flavonoids, which make up the Vitamin C molecule, maintain blood cell membranes, and act as an antioxidant helper.

Volatile oil components – including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. Parsley’s volatile oils, particularly myristicin, have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. It acts as an antioxidant that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke, charcoal grill smoke, and the smoke produced by trash incinerators).

Parsley also contains calcium (245mg per 100g), phosphorus, potassium (1000mg per 4 oz), manganese (2.7mg per 100g), inositol, and sulphur.

Many of my client’s test they would benefit greatly from eating parsley for all kinds of health problems.

How to Use Parsley:

Top off your sandwiches with it, include it in your salad greens, put it in Tabbouli or better yet, toss it into simmering soups, stews and sauces. We eat it raw in salads and those days when I can’t eat it raw, I often add a couple of parsley capsules to my nutritional supplements.

Parsley juice, as an herbal drink, is quite powerful and is usually taken in quantities of about 2 fl oz (50ml) three times a day and is best mixed with other juices. I noticed that it’s most effective to juice parsley in between other vegetables as the juice is heavy and thick and doesn’t move through some juicers very readily.

Types of Parsley:

The two most popular types of parsley are curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley.  They are both related to celery. The Italian variety has a more fragrant and less bitter taste than the curly variety. There is also another type of parsley known as turnip-rooted (or Hamburg) that is cultivated for its roots, which resemble salsify and burdock. Chinese parsley, is actually cilantro.

How to Pick and Care for Parsley:

Whenever possible, choose fresh, dark green, organically grown parsley that looks fresh and crisp over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor. Avoid bunches that have wilted or yellowed leaves indicating over-mature or damaged produce.

Parsley can be stored loosely wrapped in a damp cloth or plastic bag and refrigerated for up to a week. Wash just before using. If the parsley wilts, either sprinkle it lightly with some water or wash it without completely drying it before putting it back in the refrigerator.

The best way to clean it is just like you would spinach. Place it in a bowl of cold water and plunge it up and down like you would a toilet plunger. This will allow any sand or dirt to dislodge. Remove the leaves from the water, empty the bowl, refill it with clean water and repeat this process until no dirt remains in the water.

If you have excess flat-leaved parsley, you can easily dry it by laying it out in a single layer on a clean kitchen cloth. I pre-chop mine (both varieties) and place it on a cookie sheet on top of the refrigerator where it is warm. Stir it occasionally to allow consistent drying. Once dried, it should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place.

Some feel the curly leaved variety is best preserved by freezing, as opposed to drying. Although it will retain most of its flavor, it has a tendency to lose its crispness, so it is best used in recipes without first thawing.

Bon Appétit!

http://www.naturalhealthtechniques.com/diet_nutrition/ParsleyBenefits.htm

Some believe that parsley leaves can help control bedwetting (enuresis).

Oxalic acid is found in parsley. Oxalic acid prevents calcium absorption and may also contribute to gallstones and kidney stones. For the average person that eats a balanced diet, the small amounts of oxalic acid will not be a health factor. However, those with low calcium health concerns will not want to eat excessive amounts of parsley.

http://www.indepthinfo.com/parsley/health.shtml

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Useful Sites

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100

http://ezinearticles.com/?Health-Benefits-Of-Parsley&id=111028

http://www.ehow.com/how_5395753_benefit-parsley-herb-home-remedies.html

http://hubpages.com/hub/Health-Benefits-Of-Parsley

http://www.crazyfortea.com/parsleytea.html

aloevera

With all the talk out there in the aloe industry, what aloe vera is and what makes this healing plant so popular, is still far from the reach of so many that are trying to understand what exactly is in the plant …that gives it it’s healing power.

From the ancient Egyptians, Greek, and the Roman physicians, up to and through the discoveries made in the early twentieth century …the question remains, what and how does this healing plant work its magic!

As can be seen, the “remarkable aloe vera plant” ingredients are in everything. It’s in our soaps, its in our shampoo, its in our hair conditioner, its in our shaving lathers, its in our bath products, our face creams, our body lotions, our toothpastes, our liniments, our body powders, our cologne …not only is it used in everything we put on our body …but its also found its way to internal uses with dramatic medical breakthrough from A to Z.

Listed below are just a few:

  • A. Arthritis, allergies, abrasions, asthma, acne, acid indigestion, anemia.
  • B. Bad breath, burns, boils, bursitis, blisters, burses, bronchitis, bowel regularity, body cleanser, bladder infections, blood pressure.
  • C. Candida, cancer, cankers sores, cold sores, cuts, colic, cradle cap, chapped/chaffed skin and lips.
  • D. Dermatitis, dandruff, dry skin, denture sores, diaper rash, dishpan hands, dysentery, diabetes, depression, decubitous ulcers.
  • E. Edema, epidermises, Epstein-Barr virus, exanthema, eczema.
  • F. Fever blisters, fungus, feline leukemia, fungus infection.
  • G. Genital herpes, gingivitis, glaucoma gangrene, gout.
  • H. Heat rash, hemorrhoids, heartburn, herpes zoster.
  • I. Impetigo, inflamed joints, insomnia, ingrown toenails, indigestion, insect bites.
  • J. Jaundice, joints.
  • K. Kidney infection, keratosis follicularis.
  • L. Leprosy, laryngitis, lupus, liver ailments, leukemia, lupus.
  • Sounds like good news, doesn’t it? That could be a yes and a no.
  • M. Multiple sclerosis, moles, mouth ulcers, muscle cramps/strains.
  • N. Nausea of all kinds.
  • O. Onycolysis, odor control of chronic ulcers, oral disorders.
  • P. Pin worms, psoriasis, prostrates, poison ivy/oak, pancreas.
  • Q. Quality of life (enhance the immune system).
  • R. Razor burns, radiation burns, rashes.
  • S. Strains to joints and ligaments, stings, styes, seborrhea, stretch marks, sore throat, shingles, staph infections, sunburn, sciatic nerve, sickle cell disease.
  • T. Torn and bruised muscles, turf burns, tonsillitis, tendonitis, tuberculosis, tumors.
  • U. Ulcerations of all kinds, urticaria, ulcers (peptic and duodenal).
  • V. Vaginitis, venereal sores, venous stasis, varicose veins.
  • W. Wind burns, wounds of all kinds, warts.
  • X. X-ray burns.
  • Y. Yeast infections in humans and animals.
  • Z. Zoster (shingles)

First, if all these statements are true (and they are) there is the small matter of the efficacy and quality of the aloe vera that is used. Then we have to look at the matter of how much is really real aloe, how much is water and whether or not the Aloe used has been properly stabilized.

There’s that word again, stabilization!! And rightly so, it’s the key word when dealing with the healing power of the plant. We will cover stabilization in an article of its own in the near future …but in the meantime, when using an aloe product, just make sure that its been properly stabilized. Know your supplier.

Back to the plant now and clarify just what makes the aloe vera plant so effective, and why some feel there are some “secrets” about it that is still known to only a select few.

Essentially, the aloe vera plant contains two juices …in the tubular found next to the yellow viscous sap in the cells just beneath the think green rind of the leaf and the gel fillet, which serves as the water storage organ.

The tubules hold the yellow sap that contains what is known as the anthraquinones, mostly aloin, which is best known as a potent laxative, (seldom used in modern times).

The gel fillet of the aloe leaf actually contains about 99.5% water, and makes the liquid usable as a beverage and the primary substance of so many kinds of treatment compounds.

So, understandably, the most effective Aloe Vera compounds available today are formulated to emphasize the positive aspects of the leaf gel fillet, while minimizing the presence of aloin and other “purging” anthraquinines.

Properties

The most oftenly used substance from this herb is the aloe gel, a thick viscid liquid found in the interior of the leaves. The leaves are used in the treatment of burns and the aloine – a bitter milky yellowish liquid is used as a laxative. The herb contains: 20 minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Chromium , Selenium), 12 vitamins (A, B, C, E, folic acid), 20 aminoacids from the 22 which are necessary to the human body, over 200 active components including enzymes and polysaccharides. All the active substances enumerated before contribute to the therapeutical value of the herb. We shall move on to presenting the main effects that the herb has over the human body: it toughens up the immune system owing to the 23 peptides contained by the aloe vera, it accelerates and regulates the methabolism, purifies the human body from toxins, bringing about a feeling of calm. Moreover, aloe vera has an antiseptic effect (by distroying the bacterias, viruses and fungi), disinfectant capabilities and can also stimulate the cell-renewing process. Aloe vera nourishes and supports the digesting of aliments. Cutting across the human organism, aloe vera manages to bring the human body to a general balanced state.

Additional data from other source.

Aloe Vera contains over 75 known active ingredients (and probably many more). Also included are 19 of the 20 amino acids required by the human body and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids (that the body cannot make), as well as vitamins and minerals. There are 20 “critical” Amino Acids in human metabolism, but the body can only make 12, the other 8 have to be obtained from food. These are Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Valine, and Tryptophan.

Aloe Vera contains also contain useful enzymes like Amylase, Bradykinase, Catalase, Cellulase, Lipase, Oxidase, Alkaline Phosphatase, Proteolytiase, Creatine Phosphokinase, Carboxypeptidase. Most of these are beneficial to human metabolism.

Lignin gives Aloe Vera its penetrating powers, but is not considered to have any other benefit.

Aloe Vera contains important minerals like Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Phosphorous, Sodium, and Zinc.

As most of us know that the mono-saccharides are the familiar glucose and fructose. It is believed that the more complex long-chain sugars are the poly-saccharides give Aloe Vera its unique healing and immuno-stimulating properties.

Aloe Vera contains useful vitamins. These include A (beta-carotene and retinol), B1 (thiamine), B2 ( riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cyanocobalamin), C (ascorbic acid), E (tocopherol) and Folic Acid.

Salicylic Acid, a substance similar to aspirin that can help reduce fever and inflammation is also found in Aloe vera. It also contains Saponins and Sterols. Saponins are natural soapy substances that have both cleansing and antiseptic properties while Sterols are naturally occurring plant steroids with analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties.

Treatments

Aloe vera has proved its efficiency from the simplest allergies to the treatment of wounds and skin infections and even to its usage in alleviating more serious afflictions. With the help of this herb a wide variety of internal and external afflictions are controlled, like: asthma, virosis, arthritis, arthrosis, gingivitis, bronchitis, pharyngitis, intestinal inflamations, constipations, obesity, sprains, muscle strains, cutaneous inflamations. The efficiency of the herb was also proven in the cases of anemia, deficiency illnesses, insomnia and depressions and the B-sisterole from the Aloe vera brings about the lowering of the cholesterol level. Also, this herb is used for controlling the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, diabetes, hepatitis and pancreatitis and multiple sclerosis.

The juice of Aloe Vera can be extracted by cutting the leaf, collecting the juice and then evaporating it. The juice has many benefits when drunk. This is partially due to the fact that it contains twelve vitamins (including A, B1, B6, B12, C and E), nineteen amino acids and over 20 minerals, which most of these are essential to the body.

In Ayurveda, the Indian health practice, Aloe Vera is known as Kumari (‘the princess’) because of its positive effect on the menstrual cycle and female reproductive system.

It is also known for its ability to clean the liver and protect the digestive system by reducing intestinal inflammation.
Overall, Aloe Vera can be used for cosmetics and healing the skin, or when consumed, as a potent cleansing and rejuvenating tonic that is very nutrient rich and beneficial to the body.

Additional data from other source.

Salicylic Acid, a substance similar to aspirin that can help reduce fever and inflammation is also found in Aloe vera. It also contains Saponins and Sterols. Saponins are natural soapy substances that have both cleansing and antiseptic properties while Sterols are naturally occurring plant steroids with analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties.

– Studies have shown that aloe vera speeds the healing process, particularly in burns, including those from radiation. It is also used by dermatologists to speed healing after facial dermabrasion, which helps remove scars from the top most layers of the skin. The other health benefits from the use of aloe vera include helping to soothe skin injuries affected by burning, skin irritations, cuts and insect bites, and its bactricidal properties relieve itching and skin swellings.

– Aloe Vera possesses incredible moisturizing properties. Studies show that Aloe Vera improves the skin’s ability to hydrate itself, aids in the removal of dead skin cells and has an effective penetrating ability that helps transport healthy substances through the skin.

– Aloe vera is also known to help slow down the appearance of wrinkles as it can actively repair the damaged skin cells that cause the visible signs of aging. Components of Aloe Vera have been found to reverse degenerative skin changes by stimulating collagen and elastin synthesis.

– Dermatologist James Fulton, M.D., of Newport Beach, California, uses topical aloe in his practice to speed wound healing. “Any wound we treat, whether it’s suturing a cut or removing a skin cancer, heals better with aloe vera on it,” he states.

– Top nutritionalists, around the world, recommend the use of Aloe Health Drinks to aid digestion, and many patients experience relief in the symptoms of problems such as Irritable Bowel Sydrome and Crohn’s disease.

– Aloe Vera is believed to reduce severe joint and muscle pain associated with arthritis, as well as pain related to tendinitis and injuries. When applied directly to the area of pain, Aloe Vera penetrates the skin to soothe the pain.

Aloe Vera is considered as a miraculous plant by some for even hair loss treatment. It is assumed that no other plant more closely matches the human body’s biochemistry, hence, an excellent treatment for hair loss. It has anti-inflammatory properties of and therfore helps in fighting against Androgenetic Alopecia.

chili-pepper

Publication: Manila Bulletin
Date: Monday, October 22 2007

Byline: Marvyn N. Benaning

Siling labuyo (Capsicum frutescens), the small but very hot pepper variety common in the country can be a potential shield against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, cataract and muscular degeneration.

Thus says Dr. Evelyn B. Rodriguez, a professor at

the Institute of Chemistry at the University of the Philippines-Los Banos (UPLB), who stressed the siling labuyo’s huge potential during a seminar on indigenous plants for health and wellness at the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) during the 19th National Research Symposium held in celebration of the 8th National Agriculture and Fisheries R&D Week.

Known as chili pepper, siling labuyo is among the indigenous plants that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is promoting through the Indigenous Plants for Health and Wellness RDE Program of BAR.

The program aims to promote and highlight the importance of indigenous plants and their by-products.

The fruit of the siling labuyo is a popular condiment in sauces and dishes while its leaves are consumed as vegetable and is an ingredient for tinola, a popular chicken soup dish.

For centuries, the labuyo fruit has been used as an herbal treatment for arthritis and rheumatism and cure dyspepsia, flatulence and toothache.

“Phytochemicals are what people need to stay healthy,” Rodriguez stressed in her presentation.

Phytochemicals are chemical compounds found in fruits, vegetables and other edible plant species. These compounds act as anti-oxidants that are capable of metabolizing free-radicals in the body that cause cell death.

Carotenoids and phenolic acids are phytochemicals derived from siling labuyo.

Based on studies conducted by the team of Rodriguez, the anti-oxidant activity of siling labuyo extracts in terms of free radical scavenging activity is 60.1 percent, indicating its effectiveness as a treatment for certain medical conditions.

Rodriguez encouraged eating a variety of fruits and vegetables to acquire the phytochemicals needed to promote health and wellness.

Moreover, Rodriguez pointed out that more studies should be done on other indigenous plants like malunggay.

The potential disease-preventive mechanisms of pyhytochemicals in fruits and vegetables and their constituents are not limited to anti-oxidant activity alone.

Phytochemicals can also act in the modulation of detoxification enzymes, stimulation of the immune system, alteration of cholesterol mechanism and blood pressure reduction.

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