Health benefits of Jicama

There are so many nutrition, minerals, vitamins, proteins and also necessary carbohydrates found in natural fruits and vegetables that we might not have to look anywhere else for them if we know about all. Take Jicama for instance. There are so many health and nutritional benefits attached to this vegetable which makes it ideal for all those healthy food seekers.

Jicama is a tuber or taproot vegetable which is known to belong to the bean or legume family. This fleshy, starchier vegetable root is grown popularly in South Asian, Andean South and Central American regions and also in the Caribbean. In different places around the world it is referred to as yam bean, Mexican turnip, Mexican potato, Ahipa, Saa Got, Chinese potato, Chinese turnip, and also the Lo Bok. Jicama looks like a large turnip or a radish. The taste is a cross between fresh apples and water chestnut. Only the tuberous root of the Jicama vegetable is suitable for human consumption as other parts of it might have serious poisonous effects on the body.

In many places all over the world Jicama is used as a popular dietary staple. Jicama is that one type of vegetable that is available the year round and can be used in many tasty recipes. Usually it is taken in raw form. The best way to incorporate raw Jicama in your diets is taking its juices or using fresh in salads. In cooked forms Jicama can be baked, fried or even mashed sometimes like potatoes. It can also be cooked along different other vegetables. Jicama tastes good with other vegetables as it has the ability to absorb the flavors of other ingredients it is cooked with. The taste of Jicama when added to recipes which include other ingredients as well, highly compliments the entire recipe.

Jicama is highly packed with nutrition. It is mineral and vitamins enriched. Also it is an excellent source of fiber, potassium, calcium, molybdenum, iron, beta-carotene, vitamin E, A and also vitamin C. This vegetable root is low in sodium and calories. Moreover Jicama has absolutely no fats and cholesterol too. These nutritional facts related to Jicama make it an ideal food for all those weight watchers and it can be termed as a calorie counter’s dream. Although Jicama is enriched with minerals and nutrients it is important to store the vegetable in a proper manner to avoid destroying its taste. The best way to ensure the freshness of the Jicama roots is to store them in a cool and dry place.

Because the vegetable is enriched with minerals, vitamins and nutrients, there are numerous health benefits attached to its consumption. No matter whether it is taken raw or cooked, Jicama is just great for health.

As Jicama is found to be low in calories, fats and cholesterol it is said to be great for preventing heart problems like hypertension, blood pressures and also heart attack. Jicama is known to contain only 35 calories per every 100 g and this makes it ideal for all those looking forward to eating healthy.

Jicama is enriched with vitamins and is a powerful antioxidant. It also acts as a great anti inflammatory vegetable and that is why is said to be very useful for preventing breathlessness in all asthma patients especially young children. Eating Jicama is also an idea way of treating common cold and flu naturally.

Vitamin C deficiency can cause bruising and swelling problems for some people. The vitamin C enriched Jicama tuberous roots are ideal for treating people with such conditions. People looking forward to increase their vitamin C content in their bodies should incorporate Jicama in their diets hugely.

High levels of homocysteine, an amino acid highly affects the production of proteins and also cellular metabolisms. It also causes heart problems by decreasing the linings of the blood vessels. Regular intake of Jicama which is enriched with beta-carotene and folic acid is known and proven by studies to lower the production of homocysteine by 11% in the human body.

Jicama prevents the immune system of the body and enhances the regular functioning of the body if taken on regular basis. It also strengthens the capillaries and therefore reduces the damage and chances of capillary fragility in human body.

Jicama is a great source of dietary fibers. It is excellent for all those looking forward to lose weight and get rid of those extra calories and carbohydrates in their body.

Jicama is ideal sweet vegetable to be eaten by diabetic patients and also weight watchers as its contains inulin which is a zero calorie non metabolizing carbohydrate.

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Health Benefits of Eating Greens

There are several different kinds of fruits and vegetables that your body needs to get the essential vitamins and minerals you’ll need. Greens are one of the simplest ways to consume the vitamins you’ll need. There are also many supplements that you could take to get the quantity of greens you’re body needs, but nothing can beat eating actual greens. Vegetables and fruit are nature’s powerhouses and there is no other food that may provide you with good health like greens can. It is very hard to think of other things that isn’t a veggie or fruit which has just as many benefits including protection against heart disease, cancers, weight reduction and even improved cholesterol. If you’re trying to get more greens in what you eat there are several ways to make this happen.

Perhaps, you realize it is a good idea to consume more greens in what you eat, but at this point, you aren’t really motivated to create changes to your diet plans. Here are some good reasons to attempt to add more green plant foods for your diet.

Some dark greens include omega-3 efa’s, which are important to most of the body’s functions, specifically for brain function.

They are full of nutrients and enzymes essential for your body to function, for example iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and several of the B vitamins. (Dead foods like white bread, refined sugar, cookies and so on rob you of health insurance and vitality.)

Green plant foods balance your pH. Many modern foods are acidic anyway and can lead to health problems, so balancing the body with neutralizing foods like greens keeps your own body’s pH at a healthier level.

In greens, you will find a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which protect your cells from damage as well as your eyes from age-related problems.

Greens are powerful antioxidants, plus they support the immune system. Which are just some of the benefits of eating greens. Living an extended more productive every day life is the best one.

Dietary Habits Greens
One way is thru eating a variety of salads obviously. However, the latest “buzz” to get more greens into one’s weight loss program is through juicing, especially wheatgrass juicing.

Have you ever heard of taking wheatgrass shots? Why a go? Well, concentrated grass juice is fairly potent, and a “shot” is generally about as much as running out of energy handle to get down.

So, that you can do shots of just green juice like wheatgrass or dandelion greens, or use juice recipes and mix greens with fruits like apples. Adding apples is a superb way to make the juice more palatable.

A different way to get greens to your diet is through adding these to smoothies. This way is really touted as being healthier, since you are getting the fiber too, which has important nutrients by itself. Plus, fiber may be the broom that cleans your digestive system.

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How To Eat Healthy Snacks At Night

We all get hungry at night at some point. We may be watching tv, writing a hub at the computer or just playing Bejewel Blitz. It doesn’t matter what, sometimes we want a night snack. Oh yes we had our dinner but that stomach just keeps growling especially when you know that there are some brownies or a slice of cheesecake somewhere there in the refrigerator. How do you eat healthy at night and what snacks do you reach for?

In order to stay healthy you must eat the healthiest snack you can find. It makes no sense trying to stay healthy and cheating with your snack because everyone has gone to bed and they can’t see you. They will know that those rich chocolate cookies are missing in the morning.

Okay don’t let me frighten you. The truth is the snack you eat are determined by various factors such as the health benefit of the snack. Suppose you have a low glucose level and you need to bring that up fast then maybe a cookie is for you. The way I see it, your snack all depends you your nutritional needs.

How to eat healthy at night
What you eat at night can determine the difference between indigestion, weight gain and other health problems. A cookie and a glass of milk might not be so bad but when it comes to eating before bedtime there are some considerations or things you should know such as what types of foods are easier on the body during rest and how these foods will affect us while they digest.

Did you know that while we sleep this is the time our bodies recoup from the days activities. Our digestive system also need time to recover after it has worked to break down the food and allow the body to absorb the nutrients. Because the body is at rest the energy that would be needed from the foods we eat is not needed then so if we eat immediately before bedtime the energy from the foods we eat then will be stored in the body. The energy used during sleep has already been obtained throughout the day.

It is then important to eat foods that have little food energy also known as calories. There are rare cases where someone might be diabetic and need the glucose to sustain them throughout the night.

Why do we eat at night?
There are several reasons why someone may want to eat at night.

The may have missed dinner
They are on a 6 tiny meal diet and the last meal is in the night
They might be working late and get very hungry
Eating late has become a habit
Can’t sleep
Cravings due to various reasons such as pregnancy
Do you have a reason to eat at night? Please say so in the comments
What to eat at night
You have to determine what is best for your healthy lifestyle. When I worked in the health and fitness industry I never told clients what to do per say, I gave them the pros and cons of eating healhty and exercising and they decided on their own.

The thing about changing one’s lifestyle or eating habits is that they must want to change. They have to determine what is best for them and what is it they want.

I am not going to say don’t eat cheese cake at night. I wont tell you that eating ice cream is bad for you but if you want to change your eating habits and want to not develop ulcers brought on by indigestion or acid reflux due to undigested food in the stomach then read the suggested foods that might be better for you to eat at night.

Foods that are low on the glycemic Index
Some people are still in confusion as to what the gycemic index is and what low or high glycemic foods are.

The glycemic index – is a rank of food, especially carbohydrates and how they affect blood sugar levels.

High glycemic foods – are those foods that rank higher on the index. These are foods that break down really quickly and are absorbed into the blood stream and stored as sugar instead of being utilized as sustained energy.

Low glycemic foods are the opposite. They take a while to break down all the while being used as energy as the body does its daily bodily functions. Too much however, is not good because the body will only use so much and store the added energy. That’s where weight gain comes in. So even though these foods are essentially healthier they can have a negative effect if eaten in excess.

So basically what I am saying is that foods that are low on the index are better for eating at night. But are all foods on the lower end of the scale recommended for nigth time comsumption?

The answer is no. What we now do is devide the foods based on the time of consumption and the carb and sugar levels in the food. For instance a food higher in carbs must be eaten earlier to give enough time to break down.

Suppose you are already in bed and feel a bit hungry what do you aim for? An apple, carrot, oats? All these foods are low on the glycemic index.

If you are eating three or more hours before bed you may have the oats because it has more carbs and so more sustained energy which you may not use before bed. You will need the extra time for the carbs in the oats to break down.
If you have about an hour left before bed you may have the apple because even with the high water content and fiber it has sugar content to consider and may not be a good idea just before bed.
But if you intend to go straight back to baed with the next fifteen minutes than I suggest the carrots with less carbs and more fiber. This vegetable will curb the hunger with it’s slightly sweet flavour, the fullness and fiber and its high water content. It will not have much energy to offer but you are going to bed so it will suffice.

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Health Benefits of Strawberries

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

Antioxidants

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

Anti-Inflammatory

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

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

Healthy Eyes

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

The Vigorous Vitamin C

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

Magnificent Manganese

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

Bone Health

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

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Health Benefits Of Asparagus

Asparagus is a member of the lily family which includes leeks, garlic and onions. It has a spear top with bud-like, compact and pointed head.

Perhaps it may surprise you that there are a few hundred varieties of asparagus but only a small number is edible.

Although it’s available all year round, asparagus usually is most found and best in spring and is harvested when it is about 6 to 8 inches tall.

The variety we eat is usually green or greenish purple in color. There is also a white variety which is grown underground to preserve its delicate flavor. But these sunlight-deprived stalks also lack the goodness of chlorophyll.

Asparagus is expensive compared to other more common vegetables simply because it is harvested by hand.

Nutritional Benefits

Asparagus is an alkaline food which is rich in protein but low in calories and carbohydrates. It is an excellent source of potassium, folic acid, vitamins A, C and K, and traces of vitamin B complex.

A good source of dietary fiber, asparagus is also rich in niacin, phosphorus and very low sodium. And certainly most impressive is that it is one of those few vegetables that actually has the calcium and magnesium in the ideal ratio of 2:1.

Health Benefits

Asparagus has an abundance of an amino acid called asparagine, that helps to cleanse the body of waste material. As a result, some people pass out smelly urine after eating asparagus. Don’t worry if this happens to you. Just be glad that your kidney is functioning as it should.

Asparagus is one of the few vegetables that is highly dense in healthful nutrients that help many ailments.

Acidity, Blood: The high alkalinity of this wonder juice is effective in reducing the acidity of the blood and helps cleanses the tissues and muscles of waste.

Arthritis and Rheumatism: A unique phytochemical in asparagus that produces anti-inflammatory effect helps relieve arthritis and rheumatism.

Bowel movement: Consume asparagus regularly for its mild laxative effect and dietary fiber that provides for regular bowel movement.

Cancer: Asparagus is a prime source of anti-oxidant and glutathione that can help prevent the dreaded cancer.

Cataracts: The anti-oxidant and glutathione in asparagus prevents the progression of cataracts and other eye problems.

Diabetes/Hypoglycemia: The healthful minerals in asparagus juice make it an important diet for people who are controlling their blood sugar levels. However, it is not to be taken by people with advanced kidney diseases.

Diuretic: Asparagus is a wonderfully diuretic vegetable and its efficacy is more pronounced when it is taken in juice form.

Heart disease: Drink a small amount of asparagus juice mixed with raw honey three times a day daily to strengthen a weak or enlarged heart.

Kidney: The diuretic and alkaline properties of asparagus help prevent or dissolve kidney stones. It helps break up oxalic acid crystals formed in the kidney.

PMS symptoms: The diuretic effect of asparagus juice helps relieve premenstrual swelling and bloating. The magnesium in this wonder juice also help relieve irritability, fatigue, depression, etc.

Pregnant women: The high content of folic acid, calcium and other minerals in asparagus are important in reducing the risk of birth defects and low birth weight. The diuretic effect of the juice is also a big help in reducing water retention in pregnant women.

Consumption Tips

When buying asparagus, choose straight, firm stalks with tight tips. Always eat fresh but if have to store, keep them dry and tightly-wrapped in a plastic bag for up to three days in the refrigerator.
Eat asparagus for its dietary fiber.
But also make juice out of it, especially using the tough stem ends.

Suggestion to make a nice glass of asparagus juice: To a small bunch of asparagus (about 10-12 stalks), add a carrot, two green apples, and a slice of lemon with peel.

When eating asparagus, always lightly steam, rather than boil, to preserve the sodium and other minerals from boiling away. Avoid cooking asparagus in iron pots as the tannins in the asparagus can react with the iron and cause the stalks to become discolored

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Health Benefits of Papayas

Papayas are not only colorful and tasty, but they also provide several vitamins (especially of the B group), several antioxidant molecules such as flavonoids, carotene and vitamin C, as well as folates, trace minerals, pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber.

This wide range of micronutrients makes papayas very nutritious, and their health benefits are numerous, ranging from reduced risks of developing cardiovascular diseases to protection against colon cancer.

A proteolitic enzyme contained in papayas, papain, is very similar to bromelain (pineapples’ equivalent), which is often used to treat allergies and is commonly given to treat sports injuries.

Papayas protect against heart disease

Papayas contain high amounts of antioxidants, both of hydrosoluble and lipid-soluble varieties, including vitamin C, vitamin E and A (through their concentration of retinol-equivalents in carotenoids).

This wide range of antioxidants helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, which has been proven to be one of the main causes and necessary steps to develop atherosclerosis.

In fact, when cholesterol is oxidized, it tends to stick and form atheromas (atherosclerotic plaques) in the sheaths of blood vessel walls. These atheromas tend to grow with time, eventually restricting blood flow and causing ischemia, strokes and heart attacks.

Vitamin C and E prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, probably because of their association with an enzyme called paraoxonase, which has been shown in several studies to inhibit LDL and HDL cholesterol oxidation.

The protective effect of papayas is further enhanced by their content in dietary fiber, which again has been linked to a reduction in total blood cholesterol levels.

Papayas are also rich in folates: protein-like compounds that are necessary for converting homocysteine into benign aminoacids such as methionine and cysteine. Homocystein has been shown to directly damage blood vessels, and high blood levels of homocysteine are classically reported in medical textbooks as a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

Protection against digestive diseases

The high content in dietary fiber is helpful for reducing the risk of developing digestive diseases: fiber binds to cancer-promoting toxins in the colon, preventing their absorption.

The presence of vitamin C, A and E, as well as folates and carotenoids is itself sufficient to consider papaya anti-carcinogenic: high levels of antioxidants have classically been shown to substantially reduce cancers and even the aging process in our cells.

Papayas have anti-inflammatory properties

Several digesting enzymes called protease are present in papayas: the most important are papain and chymopapain.

These enzymes have been shown to lower inflammatory responses and hasten the healing of burn wounds. Again, these compounds act synergystically with antioxidants such as vitamin C, A and E and carotenoids to reduce general inflammation.

This means that eating papayas may reduce common symptoms of acute inflammation, such as arthritis and asthma.

Papayas and Green Tea against Prostate Cancer

A case-control study, published by the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involved 130 prostate cancer patients and 274 hospital controls.

Subjects were given different quantities of green tea and lycopene-rich foods, such as papayas and tomatoes.

The study concluded that men drinking the most green tea had an 86% reduction in the risk of prostate cancer, compared to those drinking the least.

Similarly, men who ate the most lycopene-rich foods had an 82% reduction in the relative risk of developing prostate cancer.

Further research suggests that combining these two food choices has an even greater synergystic effect on risk reduction.

Protection from Macular Degeneration

A study published in the Archives of Ophtalmology involving 110,000 subjects of both sexes evaluated the effects of consuming fruits, vegetables, antioxidant vitamins such as A,C and E and carotenoids on the risk of developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

Macular Degeneration is the primary cause of sight loss in adults, and the study found that by eating at least 1.5 servings of fruits daily, one can reduce the risk of developing the disease by 36%.

Risk reduction was not directly linked to consumption of vegetables, antioxidants and vitamins, but to the consumption of whole fruits: the optimal level, according to the study, is three servings a day, which can be easily reached by eating papaya cubes with your morning cereal or dressing up salads with other fruits.

Papayas promote Lung Health

Research conducted at Kansas State University suggests that an adequate intake of Vitamin A (such as the retinol-equivalents found in papayas) may greatly reduce the damage cause by smoke.

Richard Baybutt, associate professor of nutrition at Kansas State, made an astonishing discovery while studying connection between lung inflammation, emphysema and vitamin A: benzopyrene, one of the most toxic and dangerous carcinogens in cigarettes, is linked (and actually appears to cause) vitamin A deficiencies.

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Health Benefits of Walnut Oil

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B-1, B-2, and B-3, Vitamin-E and niacin, the health benefits of walnuts and/or were first identified in 1931 when researchers discovered that they were a significant source of vitamin C. Since then numerous studies been done to evaluate the effects of walnut and walnut oil consumption on disease prevalence, mortality, and disease risk factors. It is now well established that eating walnuts regularly has definite health benefits, the most important on being a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. Walnuts are also rich in phytonutrients and are an excellent source of selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium

In order to get these benefits it is important for the walnuts to be uncooked and fresh. Awakening and curing the walnuts is the best way to achieve this. The serving size of walnut oil is less than the amount of walnuts needed to get the same nutritional benefit.

For example: A 35 gram serving of walnut oil provides the same nutritional benefits as 50 grams of walnuts.

Consumption of walnuts or walnut oil has been shown to lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol) and the ratio of LDL to HDL (good cholesterol). Furthermore, regular walnut oil consumption reduced triglyceride levels 19 to 33% in a 45-day study. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration stated:

“Supportive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of walnuts, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”

The high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is an omega-3 fatty acid that is converted to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and omega-3 fatty acids (which are easily utilized by the body) are the reason walnut oil has cardio-protective benefits. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that one tablespoon of walnut oil provides 1.4 grams of ALA. Men require 1.6 grams and women 1.1 grams of ALA per day. Walnuts differ from other nuts because they primarily consist of omega-3 fatty acids whereas monounsaturated fats are found in higher levels in most other types of nuts.

Walnuts and walnut oil have been cited as one of the best antioxidant sources among the tree nuts. Antioxidants are substances that counter the effects of free radicals, which are substances that cause cell damage and accelerate the aging process. Walnuts are especially dense in the antioxidant ellagic acid, which aids in controlling the replication of malignant tumors and has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antiseptic properties. Gallic acid and malic acid, both antioxidants, are present in smaller quantities and have similar protective effects. This demonstrates yet again that nutrition is best derived from whole foods verses liquid vitamins and other vitamin supplements.

Studies show regular use of walnut oil provides a dietary source of essential fatty acids and antioxidants, both of which are often difficult to attain in adequate quantities within a typical Western diet. The practical benefits of this regular use are significant reductions in coronary heart disease risk and possible decreases in cancer risk and slowing of the aging process.

To use walnut oil in your cooking remember it is best used uncooked in cold sauces, salads, tossed in pasta, or brushed on grilled fish or meat just before serving. It is also great in desert recipes for a nutty flavor!

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF FENNEL TEA

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) has got its place among the healthiest foods on earth. It’ s a hardy perennial herb with small yellow flowers, which originates from Europe (the Mediterranean region) and has a very long history of being used as a natural digestion aid by many early civilizations. In Ancient Rome and Greece, this herb was involved in many traditional rituals and celebrations as a symbol of nature. Also, fennel tea benefits were known and utilized in Ancient Egypt, and Indian or Chinese herbalists used fennel to cure snake and insect bites. Nowadays, the US is a world’s leader in fennel cultivation and production. The fennel herb is widely used in culinary for spicing various meals, especially fish.

Fennel herb has a variety of medicinal properties and therapeutic actions, which are most commonly used by consuming fennel tea made from fennel seeds. Fennel tea is highly valued as a great natural diuretic, stimulant, detoxifying and anti-inflammatory agent, natural aphrodisiac and so on. Health benefits of fennel tea are derived from rich content of fennel plant: it can be a great source of antioxidants, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins (including B group), as well as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, molybdenum and many other useful elements and nutrients.

Fennel tea is known as one of the best and most effective natural aids for digestion. It can assist in avoiding upset stomach, getting rid of colic, bloating, abdominal and stomach cramps, relieving constipation and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and so on. Fennel tea is an excellent herbal remedy which stimulates detoxification and prevents water retention. Aphrodisiac properties of this natural product can help boost sexual desire, as well as treat the symptoms of PMS by regulating estrogen effects. Fennel tea benefits include also soothing sort throat, reducing fever and managing other symptoms of respiratory diseases like flu or common cold.

For centuries, fennel tea has been known and used as an effective weight loss aid since, in addition to its excellent detoxifying effects, this natural product can also assist in lowering bad cholesterol levels in blood and stimulating metabolic processes. Rich in vitamins C, fennel tea is very beneficial to our immune system. Other health benefits of fennel tea embrace banishing bad breath, reducing appetite, relieving the symptoms of asthma, acting as an antimicrobial agent and so on.

Finally, fennel infusion or fennel tea benefits can be used externally: in particular, for treating eye infection (conjunctivitis). To prepare a good fennel tea, take one teaspoon of fresh or dried fennel seeds (crushed), add a cup of boiling water, steep for 5-10 minutes, and then strain. Remember that it is necessary to avoid boiling fennel seeds when preparing fennel tea, because boiling kills most of nutrients and beneficial natural properties of fennel tea. Also, keep in mind that using fennel is linked to increased toxicity, so talk to your doctor before taking any type of fennel tea or other product involving fennel seeds.

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Green Tea: Health benefits, side effects

We’ve heard that tea leaves steeped in boiling water are used by people to keep them healthy and physically fit. As science developed, people began to examine the advantages and disadvantages of drinking tea scientifically.

All the three varieties of tea viz., green, black, and oolong are prepared from the same tree but difference is in the processing. Green tea is prepared from unfermented leaves and contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Antioxidants in green tea can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damages caused by free radicles such as development of aging process besides several health problems such as heart diseases and cancer. A recent report published in online version of obesity suggested that green tea consumption slow downs the weight gain as Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) – a compound found in most green teas, reduced the ability to absorb fat and enhanced ability to use it.

Claims regarding health benefits of green tea:

1. It is claimed that green tea prevents atherosclerosis, particularly coronary artery disease.

-However, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) didn’t allow tea makers to use labels to claim that green tea reduces the risk of heart disease in absence of any credible evidence.

2. It is claimed that green tea lowers total cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol.

Research suggests:

– that that men who drink green tea may have lower total cholesterol than those who do not drink green tea.

– that polyphenols in green tea may block the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and promote its excretion from the body as observed in clinical trials on animals..

– that green tea significantly reduced blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol in smokers.

3. It is claimed that green tea helps protect against cancer

-This claim is based on the facts that cancer rates tend to be low in countries where people regularly consume green tea. However, there are no evidences to suggest that green tea is solely responsible for this less rate.

-Research suggests that the polyphenols in green tea may play some role in the prevention of cancer.

– benefits of polyphenols of green tea are indicated either in terms of less spread of cancer or in terms of prolonged survival period of patients.

– Benefits of green tea are indicated in bladder, ovarian, prostrate , and breast cancer.

– In case of colon, esophageal, lung and pancreatic cancer, results are inconclusive and further research is needed to advocate use of green tea for prevention or other related benefits in such cases.

-Although laboratory studies suggest that green tea helped in reducing the risk of prostrate cancer, it stimulated the genes that cause cells to be less sensitive to chemotherapy drugs. Hence, people receiving chemotherapy drugs should not drink green tea.

-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the main polyphenol in green tea that have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

– Studies on relationship between stomach cancer and use of green tea showed contradictory results. In few studies it had inhibitory effects, in other studies no relationship could be established while in some studies green tea increased the risk of stomach cancer. Hence, further studies are needed.

4. It is claimed that green tea prevents the development of type 1 diabetes

– green tea may help prevent the development of type 1 diabetes and slow the progression of disease if already developed. However, this study was conducted with animals.

– Green tea may help regulate glucose in the body.

– in few studies, it was found that daily supplementation of the diet with green tea-extract powder lowered the hemoglobin A1c level in individuals with borderline diabetes.

5. It is claimed that consumption of green tea provides protection against liver disease

– Clinic survey shows that there are less chances of developing liver disorders in men who drink more than 10 cups of green tea per day.

– green tea is believed to protect the liver from the damaging effects of toxic substances such as alcohol.

– In mice, green tea helps protect against the development of liver tumors.

– Results suggest that catechin, a polyphenol present in green tea, may help treat viral hepatitis as observed with catechin isolated from green tea and used in very high concentrations. However the same polyphenol is never present in such high quantities in green tea as used in the study.

6. It is advocated that gren tea helps in weight loss in moderately obese individuals

– Research suggests that the combination of green tea and caffeine helped in losing weight

– catechins, are considered responsible for the fat-burning effect of green tea.

7. It is claimed that green tea extract is effective in treating genital warts, arthritis and dental decay

– few clinical studies supports these beliefs that green tea may help in treating genital warts, reducing the inflammation in arthritis and effective in treating tooth decay.

Side effects/ credible evidences:

– Dry green tea contains substantial amounts of caffeine which can cause nausea, insomnia, or frequent urination.

– FDA found very limited credible evidence for qualified health claims specifically for green tea and breast cancer and for green tea and prostate cancer.

– Similarly, FDA found no credible evidence to support qualified health claims for green tea or green tea extract and a reduction of a number of risk factors associated with Cardiovascular diseases.

– However, FDA approved Kunecatechins ointment (based on green tea) which is is indicated for the topical treatment of external genital and perianal warts.

Precautions/Interactions with other drugs:

Although green tea may be useful in prevention of some diseases, trials have shown that chemicals present in green tea may interact with few other drugs. Hence, people using these drugs should avoid the use of green tea especially when they are using these drugs.

1. Consumption of green tea, concentrated green tea extract, and other green tea products (such as EGCG capsules) be avoided for patients undergoing bortezomib treatment.

2. If green tea is consumed empty stomach, there may be chances of liver damage as observed in some research studies.

3. People detected with heart problems, kidney disorders, stomach ulcers, and psychological disorders should avoid green tea.

4. It’s safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women to avoid the consumption of green tea .

5. It may inhibit the actions of adenosine, increase the effectiveness of beta-lactam antibiotics, reduce the sedative effects of diazepam and lorazepam, and use with aspirin may increase the risk of bleeding.

6. People should avoid green tea intake if they are receiving chemotherapy for prostrate cancer.

7. Consumption of green tea may prolong the effect of oral contraceptives

8. There are several other drugs which may interact with chemicals present in green tea.

On the basis of the above facts it may be concluded that detailed studies are required to validate the claims made for positive effects of green tea and people should be aware of its interactions with other drugs.

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4 Tips to Maximize Dark Chocolate Health Benefits

All kinds of medical studies in the last few years have shown that you can obtain health benefits from dark chocolate. In a nutshell, dark chocolate has a high concentration of antioxidants, which protect the body and can actually repair certain kinds of regular cell damage. These studies attribute the antioxidants in dark chocolate to lowered blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, and protection from heart disease, as well as possible protections from stroke and cancer, decreased complications in pregnant women, and delayed brain function decline with aging.

So dark chocolate is a wonder food, and we should all eat as much as possible, right? Not so fast. As with many foods that can be good for you, moderation is the key. There is a right way to maximizing the health benefits of dark chocolate. Here it is:

1. The Darker the Chocolate, the Better

Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa solids, which contain the beneficial antioxidants, than milk or white chocolate. Most dark chocolate products have the cocoa percentage labeled. So choose dark chocolate — the higher the cocoa percentage, the better.

2. Eat Moderate Portions

Chocolate is a high-calorie food. Over indulge, and the health benefits of dark chocolate can be quickly outweighed by the health problems of weight gain. However, stick with small portions and you can still enjoy the health benefits of dark chocolate daily.

3. Avoid the High Calorie Extras

The health benefits of dark chocolate come from the antioxidants in the cocoa solids. All of the other ingredients, like sugar, and any extras, like nougat, caramel, marshmallow, etc., just add calories. To maximize the health benefits, stick with plain dark chocolate. Second best would be dark chocolate with nuts or fruit.

4. Do Not Consume With Milk

For some reason, not yet scientifically understood, the health benefits of dark chocolate are basically negated if the dark chocolate is consumed with milk. Avoid drinking milk with your moderate daily portion of dark chocolate.

We eat dark chocolate because we really enjoy it! But we can also maximize the health benefits of dark chocolate by following these four easy steps for including dark chocolate as a regular part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

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