Eat for Immunity




If you think of your immune system as an army that battles infections, then two vitamins are its main generals. Vitamin A helps strengthen your body’s defenses, while vitamin C helps immune system go on the attack. These two vitamins provide powerful protection against incoming germs.

The body uses vitamin A, which you get in a form of beta-carotene from foods such as carrots, spinach, mustard greens, kale, yellow and orange squash, to keep mucous membranes soft and moist. This is important, because these membranes, which line the nose, mouth, throat and other parts of the body, are your first line of defense against infections. As long as they moist, they are able to trap viruses and other germs before they get into your system.

As a form of double protection, the body also uses vitamin A to manufacture special enzymes that seek and destroy bacteria that manage to get inside the body and vitamin A is critical for preventing infections.

While vitamin A’s role is mainly defensive, vitamin C helps body take the offensive. Eating oranges, broccoli, and other foods high in vitamin C strengthens the power of body’s germ-killing cells.

Of all the minerals, zinc is probably the most important for keeping immunity strong. Too little zinc can lead to a drop in infection-fighting white blood cells, which can increase of risk of getting sick.

Despite the proven powers of zinc, many people don’t get enough of it. This is unfortunate because zinc is very easy to get in your diet. One king crab leg, for example, has 10 milligrams of zinc, 3 oz serving of lean top sirloin has 6 milligrams, and 1 cup of lentils has 3 milligrams.


There is no way to avoid germs entirely, what you can do however, is eat your way to better health. Eating the right foods not only helps prevent infections, but can also help fight them.

A number of plant foods, such as apples, tea, onions contain substances called flavonoids, which can prevent germs from taking hold. One of the most powerful flavonoids is a compound called quercetin. Found in large amounts in onions and kale, quercetin has been shown to damage genetic material inside viruses, preventing them from multiplying. Having several servings a day of flavonoid-rich foods will help keep germs in check, giving your immune system a fighting chance.

Corn


Corn
Lower cholesterol, Boost energy levels

Corn contains a type of dietary fiber called soluble fiber. When you eat corn, this fiber binds with bile, a cholesterol-laden digestive fluid produced by the liver. Since soluble fiber isn’t readily absorbed by the body, it passes out of the body, taking cholesterol with it.

We all heard a lot about how oat and wheat bran can lower cholesterol. Corn bran is in the same league. In a study at Illinois State University in Normal, researchers put 290 men with high cholesterol on low-fat diets. After two weeks on the diet, some of the men were each given 20 grams ( almost ½ tablespoon) of corn bran a day, while others received similar amount of wheat bran. During the six-week study, those on the corn bran plan had a drop in cholesterol of more than 5 % and about a 13% drop in triglycerides, blood fats that in large amounts can contribute to heart disease. Those who were given wheat bran showed no change beyond the initial drop caused by being on a low-fat diet.

The beauty of corn is that it provides a lot of energy while delivering a small amount of calories. Corn is an excellent source of thiamin, a B vitamin that’s essential for converting food to energy. An ear of corn provides 0.2 milligram of thiamin, 13 % of Daily Value.

And since fresh sweet corn consists primarily of simple and complex carbohydrates, it’s a superb energy source. It fulfills our energy needs without providing us with substantial amount of fat. What little fats there are in corn are the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated kinds, which are far healthier than the saturated fats.

Not all corn is created equal. Whereas yellow corn has more than 2 grams of fiber per serving, white corn more than doubles that, with a bit more than 4 grams per ear. When you buy corn, look for ears that have full, plump kernels and purchase it at the optimum stage of maturity. Under those conditions, the level of nutrients is higher.

Lemons and Limes


Lemons and Limes

Heal cuts and bruises, Prevent cancer and heart disease

You may not like tartness of lemons and limes, but back in the nineteen century people literally craved them, not for the tart taste but for remarkable health benefits these colorful fruits contain.

British sailors, for example, who typically spent months at sea without fresh fruits or vegetables, would drink lime juice to prevent scurvy, a terrible disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. And in California during the Gold Rush, when fruits were equally scarce, miners paid top dollar for lemons.


Of all nutrients we’re most familiar with, vitamin C is perhaps the most impressive. During cold season it’s always in demand, since it lowers levels if histamine, a naturally occurring chemical that can cause red eyes and runny noses. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, meaning that it helps disarm powerful oxygen molecules in the body that contribute to cancer and heart disease. The body also uses vitamin C to manufacture collagen, the staff that glues cells together and is needed to help heal cuts and wounds.


The pulp and juice from lemons and limes are rich sources of vitamin C. A large lemon, for example contains about 45 milligrams of vitamin C, limes are also good, with s small lime containing about 20 milligrams of vitamin C.


There is more to lemons and limes than just vitamin C. These citrus fruits also contain additional compounds such as limonin and limonene, which help to block some of the cellular changes that can lead to cancer.


Limonene, which is found mainly in the colorful skin, or zest, of the fruit, has been shown to increase the activity of proteins that help eliminate estradiol, a naturally occurring hormone that has been linked with breast cancer. Limonene has also been shown to increase the level of enzymes in the liver that can remove cancer-causing chemicals.


Some innovative organic food companies add citrus zest to baking flower to provide added health benefits.


Whether you’re making a lemon meringue pie or simply adding flavor to store-bought lemon yogurt, be sure to add plenty of zest. The healing compound limonene makes up about 65% of oils in the peel. While fresh citrus peel contains the most healing compounds, dried lemon peel isn’t bad and you can find dried lemon peel in the spice rack at the supermarket.


Insomnia


Insomnia

Restful Foods

Sometimes when life gets hectic, we all found ourselves wishing that there were more hours in the day. Unfortunately, at times, we get our wish – at the expense of our sleep.


Few things are more miserable than lying awake, frustrated and tired, when everyone else is sleeping soundly. Insomnia is usually temporary, caused by too much coffee, perhaps, or anxiety about tomorrow’s work. But sometimes insomnia really sticks around – not just for days, but for weeks, months, or even years. After a few nights staring at the ceiling, you may feel as if you’ll never be rested again.


Get out of bed, put your slippers, and head for the kitchen. There’s good evidence that what you eat before going to bed can help turn out the lights on insomnia.


When you put food in your stomach at night, you should be able to sleep better. Eating draws blood into the gastrointestinal tract and away from the brain. And if you draw blood away from the brain, you’re going to get sleepy.

This doesn’t mean that stuffing yourself at bedtime will send you off to dreamland. But having a light snack just before bedtime will help give your body the message that its time to nod off.


Have you ever wondered why you always nod off in front of the television after Christmas or Thanksgiving feast? Hopefully, it’s not because of the company.

Traditional holiday foods such as turkey and chicken are very high in amino acid called tryptophan, which has been shown to affect the part of the brain that governs sleep. Dairy foods are also high in tryptophan.


The body converts tryptophan into serotonin, which is then converted into melatonin. Both melatonin and serotonin make you feel relaxed and sleepy. For tryptophan to be most effective, however, it’s important to get it in combination with starches. When you eat starches – a bagel, for example – the body releases insulin, which pushes all amino acids except tryptophan into muscle cells. This leaves tryptophan alone in the bloodstream, so it’s first in line to get into the brain.


Obviously, you don’t want to stuff yourself with turkey before climbing into bed at night. But having a glass of milk or a piece of cheese at bedtime will boost your levels of tryptophan, which will make getting to sleep a little bit easier.


Until recently, scientists though that melatonin was only produced in the body. As it turns out, however, this sleepy-time hormone is also found in a variety of foods, such as oats, sweet corn, rice, ginger, bananas, and barley.


Even though scientists have identified a few key substances that help improve sleep, there’s simply no substitute for having an overall healthful diet. So the better your diet, the better your sleep is likely to be.

Studies have shown, for example, that when people don’t get enough iron or copper in their diets, it can take longer to fall asleep, and the sleep they do get may be less then refreshing.

The easiest way to get more of these minerals in your diet is to put shellfish on the menu. Lentils, nuts, and whole-grain foods are also good sources of iron and copper.


Magnesium is another mineral that’s essential for good sleep. It’s been shown that having low magnesium levels will stimulate brain-activation neurotransmitters, which leads to overstimulation of the brain. Not getting enough magnesium is especially common in the elderly, since they may be taking medications that block its absorption.

Good sources of magnesium include dried beans such as pinto and navy beans and green leafy vegetables such as spinach and Swiss chard. You can also get magnesium from soybeans, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, and almonds.



Finally, getting plenty of B vitamins in your diet may help take the edge of insomnia. The body uses B vitamins to regulate many amino acids, including tryptophan. Niacin is particularly important because it appears to make tryptophan work even more efficiently. Lean meat is an excellent source of all the B vitamins, including niacin. Canned tuna is another good source, with 3 oz. providing 11 milligrams of niacin, 55 % of the Daily Value.


Avocado


Avocado

Control cholesterol, Lower blood pressure, Prevent birth defects

Avocado has more calories than almost any fruit on the planet – 731! Its also has the dubious distinction of being one of the few fruits with a measurable fat content, with up to 30 grams each. That’s the daily recommended amount for an average adult.

You wouldn’t think that a food that’s so fattening could be good for you. But the word from dietitians, who say that adding a little avocado to your diet every day could actually improve your health.

Avocados are great source of folate and potassium. They also contain high amount of fiber and monounsaturated fat, both of which are good news for people who are concerned with diabetes or heart health.

People with diabetes have traditionally been told to eat more carbohydrates and cut back on fat. Overall that’s good advice, but it’s not necessarily the best advice for everyone.

Doctors have discovered that when some people who have diabetes eat a lot of carbohydrates, they tend to develop high levels of triglycerides, a type of blood fat that may contribute to heart disease. Surprisingly, when people replace some of those carbohydrates with fat, particularly the kind of fat found in avocados, the dangerous fats in the bloodstream tend to decline.

Avocados are rich source of monounsaturated fats, particularly a kind called oleic acid, and these monounsaturated fats improve fat levels in the body and help control diabetes.

In one study, scientists put 160 women with diabetes on a relatively high-fat diet, with about 40% of calories coming from fat. Most of the fat came from avocados. The result was a 20% drop in triglycerides. Women on a higher-carbohydrate plan, by contrast, had only 7% drop in triglycerides.

What’s nice about avocados is that they provide a lot of these monounsaturated fats. Someone on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, for example, might be advised to eat 33 grams of monounsaturated fat. You can get about 20 grams from just one avocado.

People with diabetes aren’t the only ones who benefit from eating a little more avocados. The oleic acid in avocados can also help people lower their cholesterol.

In a small study from Mexico, where guacamole is considered almost a food group, researchers compared the effects of two low-fat diets. The diets were the same except that one included avocados. While both lowered levels of dangerous, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the avocado diet raised levels of healthful high-density lipoprotein cholesterol while lowering triglycerides.

Avocados have large levels of potassium, half of avocado provides 548 milligrams of potassium, 16% of the Daily Value. That’s 15% more than you’d get in a medium banana. You can never get too much potassium – even small additions can make bid difference to your hearth’s health.

Avocados one of the perfect foods when you’re eating for two, particularly when it comes to getting enough folate, a nutrient that helps prevent life-threatening birth defects of the brain and spine. Many women don’t get enough folate in their diets, but avocados can go a long way towards fixing that. Half an avocado contains 57 milligrams of folate, 14% of the Daily Value.

Moms-to-be aren’t the only ones who should be dipping their chips in guacamole, though. Everyone needs folate. Its’ an essential nutrient for keeping nerves functioning properly. It also help fight hearth disease.

Parsnips


Parsnips

Prevent colon cancer, Lower the risk of heart disease, Stabilize blood sugar levels, Decrease the risk of stoke


Parsnips are strong-testing, oddly sweet vegetables that don’t usually win any awards for Best-Looking Vegetable in Show. They look like carrots that have seen a ghost.

But despite parsnips’ strong flavor and pale appearance, their nutritional profile is quite attractive. A member of the parsley family, parsnips are good sources of folate, fiber, and phenolic acids, which have been shown in studies to help block cancer.

Dietary fiber is on the top of all healing substances and parsnips are an excellent source. A little more than half of the fiber in parsnips is the soluble kind, which means that it becomes gel-like in the digestive system. This helps block the intestine from absorbing fats and cholesterol from foods. At the same time, it dilutes bile acids in the intestine, which can prevent them from causing cancer.

Soluble fiber has shown impressive ability to relieve or prevent many other conditions as well. Researchers have found that getting enough of soluble fiber in the diet can prevent many intestinal conditions and also can curb the blood sugar swings that occur with diabetes.

Some nutrition experts say that too little folate is our number one nutritional deficiency, particularly among younger folks, who often eat large amounts of fast food that largely devoid of vitamins. Parsnips are a good source of folate, with 1 cup containing 91 milligrams, 23% of DV.

Getting enough folate has been shown to prevent certain birth defects. It’s also strongly suspected of reducing the risk of stroke. Folate decreases blood levels of homocysteine, a chemical that may jam the arteries and stop blood flow.

Obviously, unless you truly have a passion for parsnips, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever eat three or more servings a day. But eating jus a half-cup will provide not only fiber and folate but also 280 milligrams of potassium, this will go a long way toward keeping your arteries clear.

Along with carrots and celery, parsnips are members of the umbelliferae family. Foods in this family contain a number of natural compounds called phytonutrients, which have been shown in many studies to block the spread of cancer cells. Chief among these compounds called phenolic acids. What phenolic acids do is attach themselves to potential cancer-causing agents in the body, creating bigger molecule – so big that the body can’t absorb it.

Research has shown that members of umbelliferae family can also fight cancer by inhibiting tumor growth.

Before storing parsnips in the refrigerator, snip the greens from the top, otherwise, the greens will draw moisture and nutrients from the root itself.

Some of the nutrients in parsnips are water-soluble and are quickly lost during cooking. Its better to cook them unpeeled. Once they tender, let them cook, then scrape or peel the skin away.

Herbs


Herbs
Natural Healing


Imagine marinara sauce without garlic. Gingerbread without ginger. Baked potatoes without chives. No one who enjoys food would want to live in a world without herbs.

But herbs do more then add flavor to foods – for millions of people worldwide, herbs are the medicines they depend on to stay healthy.

Before the discovery of modern pharmaceuticals, both Europeans and Americans relied on herbs. Today many people in European nations use herbal medicines nearly every day.

Doctors are discovering that many herbs work as well as drugs for relieving common conditions, and for a very simple reasons – the active ingredients in herbs virtually identical to the chemicals found in drugs. When you take an aspirin, for example, you get benefit of a compound called acetylsalicylic acid, which eases pain, lowers fever, and reduces inflammation. But before there was aspirin, people made tea from willow bark. Willow contains a compound called salicin, which has many of the same effects as aspirin.

Its not only “simple” drugs that have herbal counterparts. Many prescription drugs also resemble (or are actually made from) herbs. The cancer drug etoposide, for example, is extracted from the root of the Mayapple plant, and the heart drug digitalis contains compounds similar to those found in purple foxglove.

Researchers today use sophisticated equipment and expensive tests to discover which herbs are most effective. For the original herbalists, however, “research” often meant watching animals in the wild to see which leaves, bark, or berries they turned to whenever they were ill. Over the years, herbalists (and some doctors) became pretty knowledgeable about which herbs were best – for easing a migraine, for example, or stopping an infection.

Today, of course, it’s much easier to find over-the-counter drugs than herbal remedies that do the same thing. But more and more people are putting drugs back on the shelves in favor of more natural way of healing.

One advantage of using herbs is that they tend to cause fewer side effects than modern drugs. Drugs are highly concentrated, which is why taking one tiny pill or capsule can have such dramatic effect. Since herbs are much less concentrated, you don’t get as much of the active ingredient in your body at one time, so you’re less likely to have uncomfortable reactions.

But the main reason that people using herbs such as garlic, Echinacea, feverfew, etc is that they work – which is why, in just one year German physicians wrote 5.4 million prescriptions for ginkgo, an herb that has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain. They also wrote 2 million prescriptions for Echinacea, an immune-boosting herb that’s often used for treating colds and flu.

Feverfew is an herb that received scientific attention because it help prevent migraines, Licorice root is a perfect example of an herb that work as well or even better than chemical counterparts for treating variety of woman’s hormonal problems. Ginkgo is very strong herb that helps prevent blood cloths, Milk thistle helps regulate liver function and control cholesterol.

When you used to opening a bottle and popping a pill into your mouth, getting used to herbs can take a little time. Apothecaries and natural food stores often stock hundreds of healing herbs – packed into capsules, dissolved in oils, or lying loose in covered glass jars. It’s not always easy to know which form to chose or how to prepare herbs once you get them home. Here a few tips for getting started:

Many herbal remedies come in three forms - as pills or capsules, as liquids (called extracts or tinctures), and in their natural form as leaves, bark, roots, and flowers. Each form provides healing benefits, but they act in slightly different ways.

When you sick and want fast relief, herbal extracts are usually best because they’re absorbed very quickly by the body. While they are not as convenient as taking a pill – you have to measure them, using a dropper or a teaspoon, into glass of water or juice – they go to work almost instantly.

When you’re using herbs for long-term protection – to strengthen the immune system, for example – it doesn’t matter how quickly they work. What does count is convenience, since you’re going to use them almost every day. Then it’s easier to take them in pill or capsule form.

You can also buy herbs in their natural form or grounded into a powder. These used for making teas. While herbal teas work somewhat more slowly than extracts, they absorbed by the body faster than pills or capsules and many people enjoy the taste of freshly brewed herbal teas.

Even though its convenient to buy in bulk, dried herbs won’t keep indefinitely. To get the most healing power, its better to buy herbs in small amounts to replenish the supply a bit more frequently.

Grape Juice

Grape Juice
Lower cholesterol, Lower high blood pressure, Decrease the risk of heart disease

Researchers might never have found health benefits of grape juice and wine, had it not been for the hearth-healthy people from the country that also brought us berets, Brigitte Bardot, and croissants.

A few years back, scientists discovered a phenomenon that they called “French Paradox”. Specifically, they found that while the French ate almost four times as much butter and three times as much lard, had high cholesterol and blood pressure, and smocked just as much as Japanese, they fell victim to heart attach 3 ½ times less often.

At least part of the French secret to heart health, researchers believe, is red wine and purple grape juice, which contains compounds called flavonoids. These compounds have been linked to lower rates of hearth disease.

As it turns out, grape juice contains same flavonoids that are found in wine. Studies suggests that these compounds help lower cholesterol, prevent cholesterol from sticking to artery walls, and keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming dangerous cloths in the bloodstream.

Scientists are still unraveling the mysteries of how grape juice helps protect against hearth disease, but they do know that it appears to help in more than one way.

The flavonoids in grape juice are among the most powerful antioxidants around – may be even better than vitamins C or E. In your body, they help prevent low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from oxidizing – the process that enables cholesterol to stick to artery walls and create blockage.

Keeping LDL cholesterol in check is a good start against hearth disease. But you also need to keep platelets, compounds in blood that cause it to clot, from sticking together unnecessarily. The flavonoids in grape juice do that too. A study at the University of Wisconsin (coronary thrombosis laboratory) found that when grape juice was given to a number of test subjects, abnormal clotting was scientifically reduced. So drinking grape juice gives two benefits for the price of one.

Actually, it’s more than two. Grape juice is also a fair source of potassium, with 8 ounces providing 334 milligrams, 10% of the Daily Value. This is important because potassium helps control high blood pressure and protects against stroke.

All of a grape’s protective flavonoids are in the “must”, a chunky mixture of grape skins, pulp, seeds, and stems that is used to make wine and grape juice. When must is fermented to make wine, a lot of flavonoids are drawn into liquid. Since grape juice isn’t fermented, you get only flavonoids that are drawn into the juice during processing stages. The compounds that end up in the drink are still pretty strong...

Since flavonoids are what give juice its reach purple hue, if you’re looking for the grape juice with most flavonoids, pick the darkest variety.

Grape drink is nothing but a watered-down imitation of the original article. Nutritionally, it doesn’t compare. So when you want the benefits of grape juice, be sure to buy the real thing. Visit your local health-food store and discover many health benefitting varieties of grape juice. Try juice made from Muscat, Tinta, Roriz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Concord, Grenache, Merlot, Shiraz or any of your locally grown dark grapes.

Parsley


Parsley

Relieve urinary tract infections, Boost kidney function, Prevent birth defects, Ease premenstrual discomfort

There is probably no other green as universally recognized as parsley. Each year, tons of this aromatic herb placed on dinner plates worldwide, only to be scraped away with leftovers. To most people, parsley’s purpose is to garnish. But parsley’s original intent is much more important and noble and modern world discovering what natural healers known for centuries.

Parsley’s healing magic can be found in two compounds it contains, myristicin and apiol, that can help increase the flow of urine and passing more urine helps remove infection-causing bacteria from the urinary tract.

This same diuretic action can also help prevent premenstrual bloating. Nibbling parsley in the days before menstruation can help increase urine flow, thus removing excess fluids from the body before they cause discomfort.

Even though parsley is generally used in small amounts, it has as much healing power, tablespoon for tablespoon, as many of the more healing foods. For example, a half-cup of fresh parsley contains 40 milligrams of vitamin C, 70% of the Daily Value. That’s more than half the amount found in a whole orange.

Parsley is also a good source of folate, with half-cup containing 46 milligrams, more than 11 % of the DV. You need folate, a B vitamin, for producing red blood cells and helping to prevent birth defects.

Parsley is nature’s original breath freshener, and it’s also a delicious way to cleanse the palate.

While dried parsley available everywhere, fresh is much better, because it retains more of the healing volatile oils. Even though parsley is best known as a culinary herb, you’ll get more of its healing benefits by using it as a main ingredient. The Lebanese salad called tabbouleh, for example, typically calls for up to 1 cup of fresh chopped parsley. Or you can add half a bunch to a garden salad. Using whole springs will provide a pleasant texture, along with a celery-like flavor. Italian flat-leaf parsley has a stronger flavor than curly parsley.

Wash the parsley when you get it home from the store, discarding any bad leaves or stems. Then dry it, wrap it in a moist paper towel, and store it in a loosely closed plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

You can also make delicious kidney-cleansing parsley tea – steep 1 handful of fresh parsley in 2 cups of boiling water in teapot or covered glass jar until cold. Drain and store in the refrigerator, drink ½ hour before meals and ½ hour before going to bed to detoxify kidneys.

Tangerines


Tangerines

Prevent heart disease, Reduce the risk of cancer


At some time in the past, you’ve probably used canned mandarin oranges – tiny sections of orange fruit that look precious and perfect. Mandarin oranges are really small tangerines, or to be more precise, tangerines are really mandarin oranges, since tangerine isn’t a formal botanical term. So mandarin oranges – I’ll still call them tangerines – are actually not that exotic.

But their benefits are anything but commonplace. Tangerines contain quite a large amount of healing compounds. Like oranges, they are rich in vitamin C. One tangerine has 26 milligrams, 43% of Daily Value (DV). Tangerines also contain compound called beta-cryptoxanthin, which turns into vitamin A in the body. Eight ounces of tangerine juice can provide up to 1,037 international units of vitamin A, more than 20% of the DV.

This combination is important, since both vitamins are antioxidants – they can help stop harmful oxygen molecules called free radicals from causing cell damage in the body that can lead to everything from wrinkles and heart disease to cancer.

What makes tangerines really exciting to researchers are two compounds, tangeretin and nobiletin, which appear to be extremely potent against certain types of breast cancer. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, found that each of these compounds was 250 times more potent against one type of human breast cancer cell than genistein, a powerful anti-cancer compound found in soy. When these compounds were combined, they were even more powerful, the researchers found.

Recently, in Japan, researchers at the Tokyo College of Pharmacy found that tangeretin could inhibit the growth of leukemia cells, essentially by causing them to program their own deaths. They also found the compound wasn’t toxic to healthy cells, which is an important goal for any cancer treatment. We need more research into healing power and benefits of Tangerines and no doubt, we will see more research done in the near future.

While the flesh of tangerines contains great share of healing compounds, most of the tangeretin and nobiletin are concentrated in the rind. To add more of these to your diet, use zester to remove strips of the outer rind, then stir them into glass of juice, mix them into rice and pasta dishes, or sprinkle them on salads. You will get extra-zingy flavor along with extra benefits.

Raisins


Raisins
Improve digestion, Lower blood pressure, Keep blood healthy

Raisins may not be much to look at, but they do have quite a history. Prehistoric cave dwellers attributed religious powers to them. They made raisin necklaces and decorations and drew pictures of raisins on cave walls. As early as 1000 B.C., the Israelites used them to pay taxes!

These days raisins occupy a much humbler place in society, but they just as useful as ever. Backpackers and hikers appreciate raisins for being high-energy, low-fat, very convenient snack. They fit easily in a lunch box, they almost never go bad, even if they’re in a pantry for a long time.

Raisins offer more than just convenience. Recent studies suggest that they can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and even play a role in keeping digestion and blood healthy.

If you have high blood pressure – or even if you don’t, but you want to make sure your pressure stays in a healthy range- raisins are one of the best snacks you can buy. They are good source of potassium, a mineral that has been shown to lower high blood pressure.

In one study, researchers at John Hopkins Medical Institution in Baltimore gave men either potassium supplements or blank pills. Those who were given potassium saw their systolic pressure (the higher number) drop 7 points, while their diastolic pressure went down 3 points. Just ¼ cup of raisins contains 272 milligrams of potassium, 10% of the Daily Value. The researchers concluded that people, especially over the age of 40, ought to be consuming a fair amount of foods, such as raisins that contain high levels of potassium.

When we think of iron-rich foods, things such as red meat and liver usually come to mind. But raisins may be a better source of iron, particularly for people who eat little or no meat. Iron is essential for the creation of hemoglobin in red blood cells, which the body uses to transport oxygen. A quarter-cup of raisins has 0.8 milligram of iron, which is more than 8% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men and 5% of the RDA for women.

Like other dried fruits, raisins also a good source of dietary fiber, with nearly 2 grams of fiber in ¼ cup. Not only does fiber play role in helping to prevent everyday problems such as constipation but its also lowers cholesterol and risk of heart disease.

Few years ago, researchers at the Health Research and Studies Centre in Los Altos, California, asked people with high cholesterol levels to eat 3 ounces of raisins (a little more than a half-cup) a day as part of a high-fiber, low-fat diet. After a month, the participant’s total cholesterol dropped an average of more than 8 percent, while their harmful low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels dropped 15%.

There is very little nutritional difference between black and golden raisins. The black variety has more thiamin, while the golden seedless type has a bit more vitamin B6. The main difference between them is the way they are dried.

Black, or sun-dried raisins are actually dried in the sun. This is what gives them their dark, shriveled look.

Golden seedless raisins are dried by exposing them to the fumes of burning sulfur in a closed chamber, which gives them their golden hue. In mid-1980’s researchers discovered that some people are sensitive to sulfites compounds and can get an allergic-type reactions when exposed to them If you are sulfite-sensitive, you should stay clear of golden seedless raisins and favor sun-dried varieties.

Raisins contain a type of iron called nonheme iron, which is harder for the body to absorb than the heme iron found in meats. Eating raisins along with foods high in vitamin C, however, will help improve absorption of nonheme iron.

To get the most raisins in your diet, it is often recommended buying snack-size packs. Due to their small size and the fact that raisins almost never go bad, they’re perfect for keeping them in your purse, glove compartment, or desk drawer and eating whenever you are in the mood for a quick snack.

Papaya


Papaya

Aid in digestion, Prevent heart disease and cancer


On the outside they look like yellow or orange avocados. On the inside, you will find beautiful yellow-orange flesh that tells of the healing power within.

Papayas are packed with carotenoids, natural plant pigments that give many fruits and vegetables their beautiful hues. But carotenoids do much more than look pretty on the plate. They can, literally, save your life.

The carotenoids in papaya are extremely powerful antioxidants. Studies after studies shown that people who eat the most carotenoid-rich foods like papayas have significantly lower risk of heart disease and cancer.

Many fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, but papayas are way ahead of the pack. In one study, German researchers rated 39 foods according to their carotenoid content. Papayas came out on top, with half a fruit providing almost 3.8 milligrams of carotenoids. By contrast, grapefruits have 3.6 milligrams, and apricots 2.6 milligrams.

Papaya also contains a number of protease enzymes, such as papain, which are very similar to enzymes produced naturally in the stomach. Eating raw papaya after a meal makes it easier for the body to digest proteins, which helps to ease an upset stomach.

Papaya plays role in preventing ulcers as well. Recent German study confirmed that people were less likely to get ulcers when they were given papaya for several days. This particular study concluded that having a little papaya each day helps counteract the irritating effect of aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs.

When buying papayas remember that it should smell sweet and fragrant, even before they cut. If the smell is weak, the taste will be disappointing also. When it needs a little time to ripen, its best to store them in a cool, dry place. But don’t put them in the refrigerator, since cold literally kills the flavor.

You can add papayas to fruit salads, but not to gelatin based fruit salads. It’s not a good idea to combine papaya with gelatin. The enzymes in the raw fruit will break down the proteins in gelatin – just eat it fresh while preserving vital nutrients of papayas.

Chicken Soup


Chicken Soup

Relieve nasal congestion, Soothe irritated airways

“Put a chicken in a pot with water, onions, carrots, peppercorns, and a little salt. Cook until it falls apart. Strain. Discard fat. Add a whole chili pepper to the broth, half a large garlic clove, and thin slices of lemon. Serve steaming hot. This is the cure for the common cold.”

Grandma’s traditional favorite? Not quite. This recipe was created by researchers at Gunderson Lutheran Medical Centre at La Crosse, Wisconsin.

You don’t need a panel of experts to tell you that chicken soup is soothing when you’re sick. But evidence suggests that it’s more than feel-good food. When you’re sniffling with cold or other upper respiratory infection, virtually no remedy is more effective than chicken soup.

The classical chicken soup study was conducted in 1978 by lung specialists at Mount Sinai Medical Centre in Miami Beach, Florida. Intrigued by the healing mystique surrounding chicken soup, they had 150 people with colds sip hot chicken soup, hot water, or cold water. Then they measured how quickly and easily mucus and air flowed through the patient’s noses. The result was that chicken soup eased nasal congestion better than both hot and cold water.

Chicken soup relieve cold, found researchers, because the heat “increases nasal mucus velocity.” In other words, it makes your nose run, reducing the amount of time that cold germs spend in your body and helping you recover quickly.

More recently researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre found that the soup reduced the action of neutrophils – white blood cells that attracted to areas of inflammation and that cause common cold symptoms like irritated airways and mucus production.

Researchers also suspect that part of the healing power of chicken soup lies in the bird itself. Chicken contains a natural amino acid called cysteine, which is chemically very similar to a drug called acetylcysteine. Doctors use acetylcysteine to treat people with bronchitis and other respiratory infections and it was originally derived from chicken skin.

The therapeutic effects of chicken soup last about 30 minutes, so it’s a good idea to make a large batch and keep it handy for reheating so that you can sip a cup when symptoms flare up. Adding hot spices to a chicken soup – a clove of garlic or a diced chili pepper or some fresh grated ginger will speed up chicken soup’s declogging power.

Nuts

Nuts - Protect against Heart disease, Lower Cholesterol, Prevent Cancer


The ancient Persians believed that eating five almonds before drinking alcoholic beverages would prevent intoxication or at least the hangover that follow. They also believed that almonds stimulate milk production in nursing mothers.

As silly as it seems today, it’s not surprising that ancient civilizations took their nuts seriously. Not only nuts a compact source of energy, they also are easily stored through cold winters and hot summers, making them available throughout the year. What’s more, nuts contain a number of compounds that may help prevent heart disease and cancer.


While nuts are high in nutrients, they also high in fat. Not all types of nuts are loaded with fat, but most are. The coconut, for example, contains a lot of fat, and most of it is the dangerous saturated kind. On the other end of the spectrum is the chestnut, which is extremely low in fat and almost all of it is unsaturated. It’s very unfortunate that many people shun nuts just because they’re high in calories – the trick to eating nuts is not overdoing it, fitting them wisely into a healthy eating plan.

One great thing about nuts is that they contain a number of compounds that help keep the arteries open and blood flowing smoothly.

It was quite by accident that researchers at Lo Linda University discovered that eating nuts protect against heart disease. They asked 26,000 members of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, an extremely health-conscious bunch, to indicate the frequency with which they ate 65 food items.

As it turned out, Adventist members are very fond of nuts. 24% ate nuts at least five times a week. In the population at large, by contrast, only 5% of people eat them that often. As the researchers discovered, this difference in nut consumption made a colossal difference in heart disease risk. They found that eating nuts just one to four times a week reduced the risk of dying from artery-clogging heart disease by 35%.

Researchers aren’t sure which nuts made the most difference. Among the most popular choices in that particular study were peanuts, almonds, and walnuts.

What is it about nuts, which are practically dripping with oil, that amazingly defats arteries? With a few exceptions, most nuts are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. When these types of fats replace saturated fats in the diet, they help lower total cholesterol as well as unhealthy low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. At the same time, nuts don’t effect levels of the heart-healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Another thing that makes nuts healthy for the heart is an amino acid called arginine. Some arginine converts in the body to nitric oxide, a compound that helps expand the blood vessels. If fact, it acts much like the drug nitroglycerin, which is used to rapidly dilate arteries to permit more blood to reach the heart. Nitric oxide also helps keep the platelets in blood from clumping, which further reduce heart disease risk.

Nits are also high in vitamin E, contain generous amount of heart-healthy copper and magnesium. Magnesium regulates cholesterol and blood pressure as well as heart rhythms, while copper play role in lowering cholesterol.

Just as nuts contain compounds that may help prevent heart disease, they also contain compounds that may help stop cancer.

Walnuts, for example, contain compound called ellagic acid that appears to battle cancer on several fronts. It helps detoxify potential cancer-causing substances, while at same time helping to prevent cancer cells from dividing.

All nuts are loaded with protein, and most contain a generous supply of vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber. Better yet, the protein in nuts is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids we can’t do without.

Garlic


Garlic
Prevent heart disease and stroke, Reduce the risk of stomach and colon cancers, Lower cholesterol


An enormous amount of research has been done on this pungent bulb, and the results have been, quite literally, amazing. Dozen of medical benefits have been linked to garlic.

Studies show that garlic lowers cholesterol and thins the blood, which help prevent high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Research has shown that garlic help boost immunity and reduce high levels of blood sugar. It relieves asthma and keep individual cells healthy and string - delaying or preventing some of the conditions associated with aging.

Garlic’s healing potential has been recognised for thousands of years. Historically, it’s been used to treat everything from wounds and infections to digestive problems. In World War II, for example, when Russian soldiers ran out of penicillin for their wounds, they requisitioned garlic cloves. And today, in Germany, Japan, and other modern countries, garlic formulas are sold as over-the-counter drugs.

There’s increasing evidence that including garlic in the diet may play a role in preventing and treating cancer. Studies suggest that garlic can block cancer in several ways: by preventing cell changes that lead to cancer, by stopping tumors from growing, or by killing the harmful cells outright.

A compound in garlic called s-allyclysteine stops the metabolic action that causes healthy cell to become cancerous. The substance called DADS (sulfur compounds) slows down the growth of cancer cells by interfering with their ability to divide and multiply. DADS chokes cancer cells until their numbers are reduced and they start dying.

Another substance in garlic is diallyl trisulfide (DATS), which is 10 times more powerful that DADS at killing human lung cancer cells. Its effectiveness is comparable to that of 5-fluorouracil, a widely used chemotherapy agent. And since garlic is vastly less toxic to healthy cells than the chemotherapy drug, there’s hope that some day garlic could form the basis for a gentler chemotherapy.

Garlic also contains compounds that help prevent nitrites - common substances found in some foods as well as a variety of everyday pollutants - from transforming themselves into nitrosamines, harmful compounds that can trigger cancerous changes in the body.

A frightening trend in recent years has been antibiotic resistance - the ability of bacteria to shrug off the effects of once-effective drugs. Recent research suggests garlic more effective where traditional drugs have failed or are too toxic.

Recently Boston City Hospital completed study where they swabbed 14 different strains of bacteria from the noses and throats of children with ear infections. Many of these infections were resisting treatments with antibiotics. Garlic extract effectively killed the resistant germs.

In another study, researchers at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, tested whether garlic could be used to treat otomycosis, or swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear is caused by a fungus called aspergillus. And normal treatments for it less than ideal. Topical drugs can be uncomfortable and cannot be used if the ear drum has already been broken.
In the laboratory study, researchers treated swimmer’s ear fungi with mixture of garlic extract and water. Even at very low concentrations, the garlic blocked the growth of fungi just as well as available drugs, and in some cases, it proved even better.

You can enjoy eating garlic fresh - crushed raw garlic contains allicin, a compound that breaks down quickly into cascade of healthful compounds like DADS and DATS but each form of garlic - raw, cooked, or powdered - has its own important compounds. By taking advantage of each of these forms, you can slip more garlic and its important healing benefits into your menu.

Oats


Oats

Improve insulin sensitivity, Lower cholesterol and blood sugar, Reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer

For many centuries oats were reserved for the horses and humans were a bit reluctant to take the taste. Samuel Johnson’s 1755 Dictionary of English Language described oats as “a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but which in Scotland supports the people.” It looks like the Scots were ahead of their times.


Oats are a very healthy grain. Unlike wheat, barley and other grains, processed oats retain the bran and germ layers, which is where most nutrients reside. In addition, oats contain a variety of compounds that have been shown reduce heart disease, fight cancer, lower blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, and help with dieting.


For awhile now we’ve been hearing that oatmeal and oat bran can help lower cholesterol and subsequently reduce the risk of heart disease. Studies after studies show that getting more oats in the diet not only lowers total cholesterol, but more importantly, lowers the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) while leaving the beneficial high-density lipoprotein cholesterol alone.


Oats contain a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which traps dietary cholesterol within a sticky gel in the intestine, taking unwanted cholesterol with it. Oats also contain compounds called saponins, which bind to cholesterol and takes it out of the body.


Like many plant foods, oats contain a variety of compounds that provide different kind of protection. Three of these compounds – tocotrienols (related to vitamin E), ferulic acid, and caffeic acid – are antioxidants. That is, they help control cell-damaging particles called free radicals, which, when left unchecked, can contribute to heart disease, cancer, and certain eye diseases. Its just being discovered that tocotrienols are 50% more powerful than vitamin E and they act on the liver, which turns down the body’s own production of cholesterol.


Other compounds in oats protect against cancer in much the same way that they help prevent heart disease – by neutralizing call-damaging free radicals before they cause harm.


Finally, oats contain generous amounts of compound called phythic acid, and although researchers haven’t identified the exact mechanism, there’s some evidence that phythic acid binds up certain reactive minerals, which may be important in preventing colon cancer.


Another benefit of oats is that they help keep body’s blood sugar levels in balance. Many people have impaired glucose tolerance condition – similar to diabetes and can increase the risks of heart disease. In people with this condition, blood sugar levels are higher than they should be, but not so high that the people are actually diabetic. Yet even slightly elevated blood sugar levels may be cause for concern because they cause the body to pump out larger amounts of insulin to bring them down.


The soluble fiber in oats gives protective gummy layer in the intestine. This slows the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed by the body, which in turn helps keep blood sugar levels stable. In addition, oats soluble fiber appears to reduce the output of hormones in the digestive tract, which indirectly lowers the body’s production of insulin.


Although the evidence is still preliminary, compounds found in oats – saponins- may be effective in disabling HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.


Dr. A. Rao, Ph.D, professor of nutrition at the University of Toronto working on the puzzling fact that while some people infected with HIV develop AIDS relatively quickly, others don’t become sick for years – current research is in its very early stages indicates that saponins in oats may play an important role in controlling HIV virus.


Unlike many foods, in which the processed versions are often the least nutritious, oats retain their goodness in different forms. So when time is an issue, you can enjoy quick oats. They provide just as many vitamins and minerals as the traditional, slower-cooking kind.


Mushrooms


Mushrooms

Inhibit tumor growth; Boost the immune system, Lower cholesterol levels


Its same old story – scientists are discovering what natural healers have known for ages – mushrooms not only are important sources of nutrients but also stimulate the immune system. Researchers say that they possibly can help fight cancer and high cholesterol, and perhaps even AIDS.


Long revered in Japan for their tumor-shrinking abilities, shiitake mushrooms have been attracting global attention because of cancer-fighting compound that they contain.


These large, meaty black mushrooms contain a polysaccharide, or complex sugar, called lentinan. Polysaccharides are large molecules that are similar in structure to bacteria. When you eat shiitake mushrooms, your immune system starts amassing an army of infection-fighting cells. Researchers found that when they feed lentinan in the form of dried mushroom powder to people with tumors, they can inhibit tumor growth by massive 70%.


Researchers also looking at maitake mushroom, also known as hen of the woods or the dancing mushroom. Like shiitake, maitake mushrooms have a centuries-old reputation for being helpful in treating people with cancer. Only recently they are started getting the attention that they deserve in the West.


The active polysaccharide in maitake mushrooms, called beta-glucan or D-fraction, has been highly effective in shrinking tumors in laboratory animals, even more effective than lentian, say researchers.


Because the shiitake and maitake mushrooms have proven so effective in supporting immune system, some scientist has tested their mettle, with considerable success, against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In laboratory studies, an extract of the maitake mushrooms beta-glucan was able to prevent HIV from killing T cells, the immune system’s crucial white blood cells.


If your cholesterol levels are hovering near the danger zone – you might want to consider making mushrooms a regular side dish in your diet. During the 1980s and 1990’s, numerous human and animal studies in Japan showed that one of the compounds in shiitake mushrooms, eritadenine, could effectively lower cholesterol levels. More recent studies from Slovakia shown that by feeding people 5% of their diet in dried mushrooms, particularly oyster mushrooms, reduced blood cholesterol by 55%, even when people were given high-cholesterol foods.


Researchers still can’t say how many mushrooms people have to eat to get the desired cholesterol reduction effect, but all of them agree that by adding mushrooms daily to your diet will help play a role in bringing cholesterol levels down.


For both taste and nutrition, mushrooms are better cooked than raw. This is because they are mostly water. When you cook them, you remove the water and concentrate the nutrients as well as the flavor.


To get optimal healing power from mushrooms, try Asian varieties, particularly shiitake and maitake. Other mushrooms that provide therapeutic benefits are enoki, oyster, pine, and straw varieties.

Spices


Spices

Protect against cataracts, Prevent cancer, Lower cholesterol, Prevent blood clotting


Research into the world of spices is very new and scientists are only beginning to understand their healing potential. But what has been discovered so far is impressive.


In biblical times, mustard seeds were thought to cure everything from toothache to epilepsy. Saffron, black pepper, fenugreek, and many other spices were also prized for their healing power.


As it turns out, the ancients had an uncanny sense of which spices were most likely to be effective. Researchers have identified many substances in spices that offer health benefits.


Unlike herbs, which come from the leaves of plants, spices are made from buds, bark, fruits, roots, or seeds. The drying process doesn’t appear to diminish their healing powers. When properly stored, spices can retain their active ingredients for months or even years.


Spices contain an abundance of components called phytochemicals or phytonutrients, many of which help prevent normal, healthy cells from turning into cancer. And the ways in which these compounds work as varied as the spices themselves.


Many spices, for example, contain antioxidants, substances that block the effects of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are harmful oxygen molecules that punch holes in healthy cells, sometimes causing genetic damage that can lead to cancer.


Turmeric, for example, is a very rich source of antioxidants, including a compound called curcumin. In recent studies, curcumin has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 58%. Other research suggests that it may work against skin cancer as well.


What’s more, some spices have the ability to help neutralize harmful substances in the body, taking away their cancer-causing potential. Nutmeg, ginger, cumin, black pepper and coriander, for example, have been shown to help block the effects of aflatoxin, a mold that can cause liver cancer.


Finally, some spices appear to be capable of killing cancer cells outright. In laboratory studies compounds from saffron were placed on human cancer cells, including cells that cause leukemia. Not only dangerous cells stop growing, but the compounds appeared to have no effect on normal, healthy cells.



There is good evidence that getting more spices in your diet can help keep arteries clear. The reason, once again, is antioxidants. Cloves, for example, contain a compound called eugenol, which is a powerful antioxidant. The curcumin in turmeric can protect the arteries. At least five spices – turmeric, fenugreek, cloves, red chili papers and ginger – have been shown to prevent platelets in blood from clumping. In fact, a compound in ginger called gingerol has chemical structure similar to aspirin which is a proven clot-busting drug.


Since spices contain a large number of compounds, researchers have just begun mapping their healing powers. But research from around the globe indicates that the list of benefits will only keep growing.


Researchers at the National Cancer Institute, for example, have found that the curcumin in turmeric can prevent HIV, the virus that causes AIDS from multiplying. Research has shown, that when people with AIDS were given curcumin, the illness progressed at a slower rate.


Curcumin has also been shown to protect the eyes from free radicals, which is one of the leading causes of cataracts. Laboratory study found that curcumin was able to reduce free radical damage to the eyes by 52%.


Researchers at University of Wales College of Medicine discovered that a strain of black pepper called West African Black Pepper that appears to produce changes in the brains that can reduce severity of seizures.


At this point in time, we only have information on a few researched spices so far. But no doubt we will be uncovering similarly exciting information about many others in the future.

Tea

Control cholesterol, Prevent stroke and heart disease, Reduce tooth decay, Prevent intestinal cancer


Imagine, if you will, that a man in a long, black overcoat came up to you and said, “Psss-ss-st. Wanna buy a drink that stops cancer of the skin, lung, stomach, colon, liver, breast, esophagus, and pancreas? And cancer of the small intestine? And heart disease and strokes? And cavities?”


“Snake Oil salesman” – that’s what you’d think.


Well, you’d be wrong and Mr Snake Oil would be right. Laboratory studies time after time have shown that tea has indeed stopped tumors from forming. The risk of stroke and heart disease dives when you drink tea and tea does have properties against cavities.


Tea contains hundreds of compounds called polyphenols. These compounds act like antioxidants – they help neutralize harmful oxygen molecules in the body known as free radicals, which have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and a number of less serious problems, such as wrinkles.


Polyphenols are very good antioxidants, but the best polyphenolas are in tea, which has a lot of them. They make nearly 30 percent of tea’s dry weight. This may explain why tea is the most popular beverage in the world.


Blocked arteries, the heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes don’t happen all at once. They typically proceed by years of steadily increasing damage, in which body’s dangerous low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol oxidizes and gradually clings to artery walls, making them narrow.


This is where tea can help. Researchers found that polyphenols found in tea were extremely effective in preventing cholesterol from oxidizing. In fact, one of polyphenols in tea, epigallocatechin gallate, was able to neutralize five times as much LDL cholesterol as vitamin C, the strongest of antioxidant vitamins.


One reason that tea’s polyphenols are so effective is that they can work in two places at once, blocking the harmful effects of oxidized LDL both in the bloodstream and at the artery walls.


Just as tea helps protect arteries leading from the heart, it has a similar effect on those in or leading to the brain. In a large Dutch study, researchers looked at the diets of 600 man ages 50 to 69. The man who had highest flavonoid levels were those who drank 4 or more cups of black tea a day – were 69 percent less likely to have stroke than the man who drank less than 3 cups of black tea a day.


Tea’s polyphenols play another important function – inside the body these compounds help prevent the formation of potential carcinogens, in other words, they stop cancer before it starts.


In experiments at Case Western University School of medicine in Cleveland, researchers seen has seen tea stop cancer at each stage of its life cycle, arresting both its growth and spread. And where cancerous tumors have already formed, they’ve seen tea shrink them.


Studying the effects of green tea on sunburned skin, Dr Mukhtar, Ph.D (Professor of Dermatology and Environmental Health Services) found when laboratory animals were given green tea instead of plain water, they developed one-tenth as many tumors as control animals, and tumors were often benign, not cancerous. What’s more, tea was equally effective whether given as a drink or applied to the skin. Some cosmetic companies have started adding green tea to skin products for its potential protective benefits.


Having toothache generally isn’t a big deal, unless it’s your toothache. Tea can help prevent the pain, since it contains numerous compounds, polyphenols as well as tannin, that act as antibiotics. Tea is great for cleaning bacteria that promote tooth decay.


Tea also contains fluoride, which provides further dental protection. Researchers at Forsyth Dental Centre in Boston tasted a variety of foods for their antibacterial qualities – they found that tea was far and away most protective.


Japanese researchers at Kyushu University at Fukyoka, Japan, have identified four components in tea – tannin, catechin, caffeine and tocopherol ( a vitamin E-like substance) – that help increase the acid resistance of tooth enamel.


One of the oldest traditional Oriental remedies for tooth decay - mouth rinse made from cooled green tea. And now modern research confirms tea’s contribution to dental hygiene.


When you brew tea, it takes 3 minutes for it to release the health-promoting compounds. That’s also the amount of time researcher’s use in their studies on tea. Although longer steeping causes more compounds to be released, those compounds are bitter, and bigger dose doesn’t necessary put twice as much of them in the body.

Celery


Celery

Reduce high blood pressure, Lower the risk of cancer


Celery has been used for centuries in Asia as a folk remedy for high blood pressure. In the West, it took one man with high blood pressure and a bit of persistence to persuade researchers at University of Chicago Medical Centre to put this remedy to the scientific test.


It all began when a man named Mr Lee was diagnosed with mild high blood pressure. Instead of cutting back on salt as his doctor advised, Mr Lee began eating about four stalks of celery per day. Within a week his blood pressure had dropped from 158/96 to 118/82.


At the time, assistant professor of medicine and pharmacological and physiological science at the University of Chicago (W.J Elliott, M.D., Ph.D.) decided to put celery to the test. Researchers injected test animals with a small amount of 3-n-butyl phthalide, a chemical compound that is found in celery. Within a week, the animal’s blood pressure dropped an average of 12 to 14 percent.


As a result of this research, Phthalide was found to relax the muscles of the arteries that regulate blood pressure, allowing vessels to dilate. In addition this chemical reduced the amount of “stress hormones” called catecholomines, in the blood. This found to be helpful because stress hormones typically raise blood pressure by causing blood vessels to constrict.


If you have high blood pressure and would like to give celery a try, you can try this strategy recommended by Oriental health practitioners for centuries – eat four to five stalks every day for a week, then stop for three weeks. Then start over and eat celery for another week and repeat this cycle until your blood pressure is under control.


Another important research on celery was done by Cooks College, Rutgers University of New Jersey. They found celery help prevent cancer. Celery contains a number of compounds that researchers believe may help prevent cancer cells from spreading. Celery contains compound called acetylenics and this compound has been shown to stop the growth of tumor cells. In addition, celery contains another compound called phonolic acids, which block the action of hormonelike substances called prostaglandins and some prostaglandins are though to encourage the growth of tumor cells.


You can eat celery leaves, along with stalks – the leaves also contain the most potassium, vitamin C, and calcium. Celery seeds, which are found in the spice section of supermarkets, provide another nutritional bonus – one tablespoon of seeds, which can be added to soups, stews, casseroles, contain 3 milligrams of iron, 17% of Daily Value.