Your eyes aren't just a window to the soul; they can also be a telltale sign of aging! Reverse the signs of aging and look 10 years younger with these simple solutions. Learn 10 easy ways to fight aging by upgrading your diet and beauty routine.
1- Eat an Iron-Rich Diet An iron deficiency could be the reason for your under-eye bags and dark circles. Make them go away by incorporating iron-rich foods like spinach, kidney beans and dark chocolate into your diet
2- Use Eye Primer When you put makeup directly on to your eyelids it will settle into wrinkles and crevices making them look more prominent. An eye primer will fill in these creases, allowing for smooth, long-lasting application.
3- Don't Overpluck Your Brows When you're over 40, over-tweezing will make you look like you're losing eyebrow hair – a classic sign of aging.
4- Moisturize Moisturizing is essential for youthful-looking eyes. Dry skin can lead to cracks, wrinkles and bags. If you're struggling with puffiness, opt for a gel eye serum or a calendula eye balm. If you want to reduce the appearance of crow's feet, reach for a nighttime retinol cream. Whatever product you use, make sure it includes healing vitamin E and protective SPF if you intend to wear it during the day.
5- Eliminate Salt Eating too many salty foods can lead to water retention in the eyes. To prevent puffiness, consume no more than 2300 mg or about one teaspoon of salt a day.
6- Sweat Potato Eye Pads If you're looking for a spa-grade eye pad, reach for sweet potatoes not cucumbers! Sweet potatoes are dense and have anti-inflammatory properties that can decrease puffiness. Cut into one-inch slices and place on eyes for 10 minutes in the morning to reduce darkness and puffiness.
7- Change Your Eyeliner Women tend to wear dark eyeliner on the top and bottom lash line, drawing attention to crow’s feet and making dark circles look darker. For a more youthful look, only use a dark color above the top lash line. Line the bottom lash line with a different, lighter color. A highlighting shadow on the crease will also help brighten your look.
8-Eat Brussels Sprouts Protect your vision and prevent the development of unsightly cataracts by eating Brussels sprouts and olive oil. This dynamic duo is an anti-aging powerhouse. Lutein, a nutrient found in Brussels sprouts, can lower the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. The healthy fats in olive oil help your body absorb this essential nutrient.
9- Relax With Green Tea Fight eye bags with tea bags! Resting cold green tea pouches will help reduce the appearance of puffiness. The combination of a cool compress with the tannins in the tea may help constrict the blood vessels and reduce swelling. Caffeine in the tea also helps reduce swelling
10- Lighten Dark Circles Don't waste your money on self-proclaimed miracle products for under-eye circles. No solution has ever been scientifically proven to diminish the appearance of dark circles. If you want to lighten your under-eyes, concealer is the way to go. Choose a creamy concealer with yellow undertones. The yellow will help neutralize the purple hues.
Don't have time for intensive skin care? Pamper yourself with the basics. Good skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can help delay the natural aging process and prevent various skin problems. Get started with these five no-nonsense tips.
1. Protect yourself from the sun
One of the most important ways to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun. A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems — as well as increase the risk of skin cancer.
For the most complete sun protection:
Use sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. When you're outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours — or more often if you're swimming or perspiring.
Seek shade. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are strongest.
Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. Also consider laundry additives, which give clothing an additional layer of ultraviolet protection for a certain number of washings, or special sun-protective clothing — which is specifically designed to block ultraviolet rays.
2. Don't smoke
Smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin — the fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity. In addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking — such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke — can contribute to wrinkles.
If you smoke, the best way to protect your skin is to quit. Ask your doctor for tips or treatments to help you stop smoking.
3. Treat your skin gently
Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin. To keep it gentle:
Limit bath time. Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Limit your bath or shower time, and use warm — rather than hot — water.
Avoid strong soaps. Strong soaps and detergents can strip oil from your skin. Instead, choose mild cleansers.
Shave carefully. To protect and lubricate your skin, apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving. For the closest shave, use a clean, sharp razor. Shave in the direction the hair grows, not against it.
Pat dry. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin.
Moisturize dry skin. If your skin is dry, use a moisturizer that fits your skin type. For daily use, consider a moisturizer that contains SPF.
4. Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. The association between diet and acne isn't clear — but some research suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates might promote younger looking skin.
5. Manage stress
Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin — and a healthy state of mind — take steps to manage your stress. Set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy. The results might be more dramatic than you expect.
Forget what your dentist tells you, coffee may actually make your teeth cleaner
After what feels like a millennium of haranguing from dentists, parents and teachers to take care of our gnashers, it now turns out that coffee may actually be good for our teeth.
Researchers, using the milk teeth of children, found that an extract from a particular type of coffee bean can break down plaque.
The scientists, from Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University, examined the coffea canephora, a variety of coffee found in Vietnam and Brazil.
The team put biofilms on the tooth fragments using saliva samples, but when they were exposed to extracts of the beans, the bacteria were found to have burst apart.
Biofilms, such as “cavity-causing dental plaque,” seemed to have been destroyed by the coffee, or, at least, the researches say, more likely the polyphenol chemicals within the beans.
Lead researcher, Andréa Antonio, said “Dental plaque is a classic complex biofilm and it’s the main culprit in tooth decay and gum disease.
“We are always looking for natural compounds – food and drink, even – that can have a positive impact on dental health.”
The research has been published today in the Society for Applied Microbiology’s journal Letters in Applied Microbiology.
Professor Antonio added: “Whilst this is an exciting result, we have to be careful to add that there are problems associated with excessive coffee consumption, including staining and the effects of acidity on tooth enamel.
“And if you take a lot of sugar and cream in your coffee, any positive effects on dental health are probably going to be cancelled out.”
The society added that there's a possibility of using the chemical in the manufacture of toothpaste or mouthwash.
While the health benefits of oats are documented in hundreds of studies, we've listed just a sample here to indicate the power of oats to improve human health.
OATS MAY REDUCE ASTHMA RISK IN CHILDREN While there is widespread belief that introducing solid foods to children too early may cause later health problems, a Finnish prospective study of 1293 children found that those introduced earlier to oats were in fact less likely to develop persistent asthma. British Journal of Nutrition, January 2010; 103(2):266-73
OATS MAY BOOST NUTRITION PROFILE OF GLUTEN-FREE DIETS Two recent studies out of Scandinavia show that adding oats to a gluten-free diet may enhance the nutritional values of the diets, particularly for vitamins and minerals, as well as increasing antioxidant levels. Researchers asked 13 men and 18 women with Celiac disease to follow a gluten-free diet with the addition of kilned (stabilized) or unkilned oats. After six months, the addition of stabilized oats resulted in an increased intake of vitamin B1 and magnesium, while the unkilned oats increased intakes of magnesium and zinc. In the second study from Scandinavia, the addition of gluten-free oats allowed people on gluten-free diets to achieve their recommended daily intakes of fiber, as well as increasing levels of a particular antioxidant called bilirubin, which helps the body eliminate free radicals as well as protect the brain from oxidative damage. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2010; 64:62-67, doi:10.1038/ejcn.2009.113 and The European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, December 2009; e315-e320
OATS INCREASE APPETITE-CONTROL HORMONES Australian researchers studied fourteen people who ate a control meal and three different cereals with different levels of oat beta glucan. They then collected blood samples for four hours after each meal, and found a significant dose response between higher levels of oat beta glucan and higher levels of Peptide Y-Y, a hormone associated with appetite control. Nutrition Research, October 2009; 29(10):705-9
OAT BETA GLUCANS IMPROVE IMMUNE SYSTEM DEFENSES Italian researchers reviewed existing research about the positive effects of beta glucans on human health. They found that, in addition to reducing cholesterol and blunting glycemic and insulin response, beta glucans boost defenses of the immune system agains bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Minerva Medica, June 2009; 100(3):237-45
OATS HELP CUT THE USE OF LAXATIVES Laxative use, especially among the elderly in nursing homes, can lead to malnutrition and unwanted weight loss. Viennese researchers studied 30 frail nursing-home residents in a controlled, blind, intervention trial where 15 patients received 7-8g of oat bran per day. At the end of 6 weeks, 59% of the oat group had discontinued laxative use while maintaining body weight; the control group showed an 8% increase in laxative use and a decrease in body weight. Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging, February 2009; 13(2):136-9
OATS MAY HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF TYPE 2 DIABETES Researchers in Mannheim, Germany carried out a dietary intervention with 14 patients who had uncontrolled type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. The patients were introduced to a diabetes-appropriate diet containing oatmeal during a short hospital stay, then examined again four weeks later. On average, patients achieved a 40% reduction in insulin dosage – and maintained the reduction even after 4 weeks on their own at home. Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes, February 2008; 116(2):132-4
OATS MAY IMPROVE INSULIN SENSITIVITY Researchers in Chicago carried out a randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial of ninety-seven men and women, in which half of the group consumed foods containing oat beta-glucan, while the other half ate control foods. At the end of the trial period, the oat group showed improvements in insulin sensitivity, while the control group was unchanged. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2007; 61(6):786-95
OATS LOWER BAD CHOLESTEROL Researchers at Colorado State University randomly assigned thirty-six overweight middle-aged men to eat either an oat or wheat cereal daily for twelve weeks. At the end of the three-month period, the men eating the oat cereal had lower concentrations of small, dense LDL cholesterol (thought to be particularly dangerous) and lower LDL overall, compared to those in the wheat group, while their HDL (“good”) cholesterol was unchanged. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2002; 76(2):351-8
OATS HELP CONTROL BLOOD PRESSURE Using a randomized, controlled parallel-group pilot study, researchers followed 18 hypertensive and hyperinsulemic men and women for six weeks, while half of them ate oat cereal (5.52g/day of beta-glucan) and the others ate a lower-fiber cereal (less than 1g total fiber). The oat group enjoyed a 7.5mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 5.5 mm Hg reduction in diastolic blood pressure, while the wheat group was unchanged. Journal of Family Practice, April 2002; 51(4):369
OATS #3 OVERALL, #1 FOR BREAKFAST, IN SATIETY INDEX Also in Australia, researchers at the University of Sydney fed 38 different foods, one by one, to 11-13 different people, then asked them to report their “satiety” or fullness every 15 minutes for the next two hours. From this, they ranked all 38 foods in a “Satiety Index.” Oatmeal rated #3 overall for making people feel satisfied and full, and it rated #1 in the breakfast food group. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 1995; 49(9): 675-90
HISTORIC HEALTH OBSERVATIONS While the studies above are fairly recent, the health properties of oats have been recognized for centuries, as witnessed in the two excerpts below:
From the writings of German botanist Adam Lonitzer (1528-1586) Oats are a useful grain for both cattle and man. Cooked and eaten it is an excellent medication encouraging one’s daily stool; it fills the belly and is a fortifying source of nutrition. Its particular virtue lies in penetrating the damp and consuming hardened ulcers; the flour of oats may be used as a poultice. It is exceedingly good for fistula. It may be consumed warm as a meal but used as a medication externally it should be cool and dry. Oats are good when used for all manner of swellings and pustules on the body that occur from heat. Wild oats, the stem, seeds and leaves steeped in red wine and drunk soothes both red and white effluvia from the belly and increases the function of the urethra, taking with it all refuse which hath collected in the bladder and womb.
From the writings of Italian herbalist Pietro Andrea Mathioli (1519-1603) The effect of oats: the broth from the steeping of oats is good against coughs. Boiled and eaten, the gruel plugs stool. Against gall stones the common man is wont to heat oats or juniper berries and to place them in a poultice. Oats may be used on swollen or dislocated limbs, just as barley flour. Mixed with white lead and used to wash the countenance it makes a clear, attractive complexion. Against the mange and scabs of small children there is nothing better than to bathe them in steeped oats.
Cut the sweetness You may not be eating Oreos by the roll or guzzling cans of Coke, but that doesn't mean sugar's absent from your diet. You're likely eating sugar throughout the day without even realizing it, says Amari Thomsen, RD, owner of Chicago-based nutrition consulting practice Eat Chic Chicago. Sugar is added to foods that don't even taste all that sweet, like breads, condiments, and sauces. And it adds up: although the American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day (or about 100 calories), most of us take in double that. (One note: we're talking about added sugar, not the naturally occurring sugars found in dairy and fruit.) A high-sugar diet boosts your odds of tooth decay, heart disease, and diabetes, not to mention weight gain. Slash your sugar intake now with these 10 expert tips.
Read food labels You'll quickly realize just how often sugar is added to foods when you look for it on ingredients lists. "Even things that you don't think are sweet, like tomato sauce, crackers, condiments, and salad dressings can be packed with sugar," says Diane Sanfilippo, certified nutrition consultant and author of The 21 Day Sugar Detox. Ingredients are listed in order of how much exists in the product, so if sugar's near the top, that's a red flag.
Learn sugar's aliases When you read food labels, you'll need to look for more than just the word "sugar." Sugar hides under several sneaky names, including high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose (or any word ending in "-ose"), brown rice syrup, honey, and maple syrup. These can be listed separately on ingredients lists, so many foods, even seemingly healthy ones like yogurt and cereal, may contain three or four different types of sweetener. If several sugars appear on the label, it's an indication that the food is less healthy than you may think.
Buy unsweetened Once you know where sugar hides, you can start making changes. One strategy: buy foods labeled "no added sugar" or "unsweetened." You'll find unsweetened versions of these common foods in most grocery stories: non-dairy milk like almond and soy, nut butters (look for those made with only nuts and salt), applesauce, oatmeal, and canned fruit (they should be packed in juice—not syrup).
Don't go cold turkey Going cold turkey on sugar isn't realistic for most people. Thomsen suggests cutting back slowly. If you normally put two packets of sugar in your coffee, for instance, try one for a week, then half, and finally add only a splash of milk. For your yogurt, mix half a serving of sweetened yogurt with half a serving of plain, and eventually move on to adding natural sweetness with fresh fruit.
Think protein and fat Unhealthy carbs loaded with sugar can cause blood sugar to rise rapidly (and dive just as quickly, leaving you hungry again). To minimize this rapid rise and fall, pair protein, healthy fats, and fiber with your meal, all of which can slow down the release of blood sugar in your body and keep you full for longer. (At breakfast, that means adding almonds to your usual oatmeal or pairing eggs with your morning toast, and for your midday snack, a slice of turkey breast or cheese along with your apple,) Fats are a key player because they help keep you fuller for longer, thus helping to decrease your desire for sugar, adds Sanfilippo. Focus on fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy oils like olive oil, walnut oil, and coconut oil.
Never go fake When you're reducing your sugar intake, you may be tempted to switch to artificial sugars for your sweet fix. But resist reaching for the diet soda, sugar-free candy, and packets of fake sugar in your latte. "These can mess up your taste for sweet," says Sanfilippo. "When you eat something sweet, your body expects calories and nutrition, but artificial sugars don't give your body those things." That may be why fake sugars are associated with weight gain—not loss, according to a 2010 review in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.
Add more flavor Sanfilippo loves using vanilla bean and vanilla extract, spices, and citrus zests to add sweetness to foods without having to use sugar—and for zero calories. Order an unsweetened latte and add flavor with cocoa or vanilla powder. Skip the flavored oatmeal and add a sweet kick with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. One bonus for sprinkling on the cinnamon: according to a meta-analysis in the Journal of Medicinal Food, the spice has been shown to naturally regulate blood sugar, which helps control your appetite.
Don't drink it Avoiding soda is a good idea, but that's not the only sugar-packed drink out there. Even drinks that are considered healthy can contain more of the sweet stuff than you're supposed to have in an entire day. Case in point: "enhanced" waters (eight teaspoons per bottle), bottled iced teas (more than nine teaspoons per bottle), energy drinks (almost seven teaspoons per can), bottled coffee drinks (eight teaspoons per bottle), and store-bought smoothies (more than a dozen teaspoons—for a small).
Enjoy dessert You can still indulge in an occasional sweet treat after you resolve to slash sugar. The idea is to avoid wasting your daily sugar quota on non-dessert foods like cereals, ketchup, and bread. To avoid overdoing it, set specific rules about when you may enjoy dessert: only after dinner on the weekends or at restaurants as a special treat.
Stick with it! At first, cutting down on sugar can feel like an impossible task. Eventually, though, your taste buds will adjust. Super-sweet foods like ice cream and candy will start to taste too sweet. When you could have a whole slice of cake before, now a couple bites will be enough. You'll notice the natural sweetness in fruits and vegetables—and yep, they'll taste better, too.
Top 13 Exercises to Strengthen Your Back and Reduce Back Pain (Including Detailed Illustrations)
Most people in the United States will experience back pain at least once during their lives. I’m not talking just about lower back pain, but about upper back pain as well. I’ve written in the past about how to relieve back pain. My previous article was about what to do when you have a back pain but it’s far better to prevent the back pain from occurring! In this post I will teach you how to prevent back pain by doing 13 simple exercises.
it’s important to emphasize that the back exercises listed below should be performed when you are pain free. If you experience pain, or have any injury or medical condition it is best not to do these exercises until you see your doctor, chiropractor or a physical therapist. They can guide you on the appropriate exercises for your condition.
The aim of these exercises is to improve spine mobility, stretch the muscles groups attached to the spine and improve their balance and strength.
To strengthen your back, try to perform some of the exercises listed below 2-3 times per day.
1. Cat stretch
This exercise is beneficial for the lower back. Arch your back up towards the ceiling and relax your neck while you deeply inhale. Hold for few seconds and then exhale, drop your chest towards the floor while maintaining firm abdominals and slightly raise your head. Repeat 10 times.
2. Bend knee to chest
This exercise is for the low back and stretches your hip muscles. Lie down on the floor and pull your knee towards your chest while keeping your tailbone on the floor. Hold each stretch for few seconds and repeat 3 times for each side.
3. Ankle over knee
This exercise is for the lower back and your hips. Lie down on the floor with both knees bent while keeping the tailbone on the floor. Place your left ankle the right leg’s knee and push your left knee down with you left hand. Hold for few seconds and repeat 3 times. Do the same exercise with the other leg.
4. Press up
Lay on the floor leaning on your bent forearms. Then press your hands to stretch your back. Try to tighten your abdominals while doing this exercise. Keep your head and neck in line with the rest of the spine. Hold for a few seconds, rest briefly and repeat 5-10 times.
5. Knee rolls
Lie on your back. Keep your knees bent and together. Your upper body should be relaxed and your chin slightly tucked in. Roll your knees to one side, as well as your pelvis, but make sure to keep both shoulders on the floor. Hold the stretch for one deep breath and return to the starting position. Repeat 5-10 times, alternating sides.
6. Pelvic tilts
This exercise stretches and strengthens the lower back. Lie on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet hip-width apart. Your upper body should be relaxed and your chin slightly tucked in. Now flatten your lower back on the floor and contract your stomach muscles. You do it by tilting your pelvis towards your heels. Hold for a few seconds then return to the starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.
7. Raise your hips
Lie down on your back and place your hands alongside your body. Bend your legs and keep your feet flat on the floor. Your knees should be aligned with your toes. Lift your hips and back until only the base of your shoulder blades remains on the floor. Try to hold this position for 3 deep breaths. Lower your hips and repeat 5-10 times.
8. Kneeling lunge stretch
This exercise stretches the muscles between the front of your thigh and the lumber vertebrae which are called hip flexor muscles. These muscles can pull the spine out of alignment if they are too tight. Position yourself as per the illustration while keeping yourself upright and not leaning forward. Stretch the front of your upper thigh but keep your hips even. Hold for few seconds and repeat on the other side.
9. Quad opposite arm-leg raise
Balance your body on your hands and knees, with hands located shoulder-width apart and slightly forward, and knees below your hips and slightly apart. Lengthen your right leg and left hand simultaneously. Return to the base position and do the same with the other side (Lengthen your left leg and right hand simultaneously).
10. Side plank
Lie on your right side, with straight legs, resting on your right forearm. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder. Gently contract your abdominals and lift your hips off the floor, maintaining straight line. Keep your neck in line with your spine. Hold 20 to 40 seconds and lower. Repeat two to three times, alternating sides. If you find it too difficult, start with bent knees.
11. Front Bridge exercise
This exercise is great for strengthening you core muscles. Suck your belly button and keep your body as straight as possible without locking your knees. Continue to breath and don’t hold your breath. Hold yourself in this position as long as you can, then rest. Repeat 2-3 times. Gradually extend the time of holding yourself in the position.
12. Shoulder blade stretch
Sit on a chair or a stool while maintaining good posture, then pull your shoulder blades backwards . Hold for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat 5 times.
13. Chin Tuck Exercise
As many of us age, and due to medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and osteoporosis, there is a tendency to let the posture go. Our upper back begins to round forward, which then pushes our neck and head forward and out of proper alignment. This can lead to chronic neck and back pain. Do this exercise while sitting straight on a chair without tipping your head in any direction, pull your chin and head straight back. You will feel a stretch at the back of your neck. Relax the chin back forward to a neutral position. Repeat for 8-10 repetitions. You can use this exercise throughout the day to maintain good posture.
When’s the last time you stopped to appreciate all the good stuff your blood does for you? Without it, oxygen would never reach your cells and carbon dioxide would be filling your blood vessels as we speak.
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood and more than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day, according to the American Red Cross. So while you may never worry about having enough blood to function, plenty of others aren’t as fortunate. With World Blood Donor Day approaching on Saturday, June 14, that gives you more reason than ever to get out and donate.
While giving blood should be all about helping those in need, there are a few things in it for you. Here are four health perks to becoming a blood donor:
Your blood may flow better “If blood has a high viscosity, or resistance to flow, it will flow like molasses,” says Phillip DeChristopher, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Loyola University Health System blood bank. Repeated blood donations may help the blood flow in a way that’s less damaging to the lining of the blood vessels and could result in fewer arterial blockages. That may explain why the American Journal of Epidemiology found that blood donors are 88% less likely to suffer a heart attack.
It’s not clear if there are lasting health benefits associated with better blood flow. (These kinds of studies can’t prove cause and effect—for example, blood donors might lead healthier lifestyles than the general population.) “What is clear is that blood donors seem to not be hospitalized so often and if they are, they have shorter lengths of stay,” Dr. DeChristopher says. “And they’re less likely to get heart attacks, strokes, and cancers.”
You’ll get a mini check-up Before you give blood, you’ll first have to complete a quick physical that measures your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels. After your blood is collected, it’s sent off to a lab where it will undergo 13 different tests for infectious diseases, like HIV and West Nile virus. If anything comes back positive, you’ll be notified immediately.
“If year after year your tests come back negative, then you’ll know for sure there’s nothing you’ve been exposed to,” Dr. DeChristopher says. The physical and blood tests are no reason to skip your annual doctor visit, but they’re good for peace of mind. But you should never donate blood if you suspect you might actually be sick or have been exposed to HIV or another virus.
Your iron levels will stay balanced Healthy adults usually have about 5 grams of iron in their bodies, mostly in red blood cells but also in bone marrow. When you donate a unit of blood, you lose about a quarter of a gram of iron, which gets replenished from the food you eat in the weeks after donation, Dr. DeChristopher says. This regulation of iron levels is a good thing, because having too much iron could be bad news for your blood vessels.
“The statistics appear to show that decreasing the amount of iron in otherwise healthy people over the long run is beneficial to their blood vessels, and diseases related to abnormalities in blood vessels, such as heart attack and stroke,” he says.
Still, data from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that nearly 10% of women in the U.S. suffer from anemia, a condition where your body lacks red blood cells or hemoglobin (most commonly due to an iron deficiency). In that case, it’s best not to give blood until the anemia is resolved, he says.
Women who haven’t hit menopause yet may find it hard to donate blood, too. “Pre-menopausal females can be somewhat iron depleted with blood counts just under the lower limit,” Dr. DeChristopher says. If you have low iron and you still want to be a donor, taking an oral iron supplement may help you re-qualify, he says.
You could live longer Doing good for others is one way to live a longer life. A study in Health Psychology found that people who volunteered for altruistic reasons had a significantly reduced risk of mortality four years later than those who volunteered for themselves alone. While the health benefits of donating blood are nice, don’t forget who you’re really helping: A single donation can save the lives of up to three people, according to the Red Cross. “The need for blood is always there,” Dr. DeChristopher says. “It’s important to recognize how important willing donors are.”
Cucumbers are very easy to grow and make for a delicious treat. But did you know they can prevent hangovers, or clean the kitchen sink? Below is a list of tips and tricks you can do with cucumbers that you do not want to miss!
Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day. Just one cucumber contains vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Feeling tired in the afternoon? Put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins and carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours, not to mention the extra water -- some research shows that as many as 40% of Americans do not drink enough.
Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
This video is a quick (and a little goofy) demonstration. It really is that simple: rub the sliced inside of the cucumber on the mirror. If you are careful about how you clean your mirror in general, feel free to eat the cucumber after.
Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Some say that all you need to do is place a few slices of your new friend (the cucumber) in a small pie tin, and your garden will be free of grubs and some other pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
This article explains how cucumbers work to take the edge off your appetite, without adding pounds to your "bottom line."
Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks, or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean; not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won’t leave streaks, and won’t harm your fingers or fingernails while you clean.
Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache-free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins, and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache. On top of that, they're 90% water, something your body will need after a little too much celebrating.
Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath.
Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
This obviously works better on high-gloss shoes akin to the ones pictured -- more porous surfaces won't shine -- and you'll need to be sure to wipe away the seeds!
Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial, or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water; the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing. The outside of the cucumber also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls -- and when you're done, you can peel and eat the cucumber for a healthy and guilt-free snack.
Nutritionists tell us that potatoes are not only tasty additions to any diet but carry enormous health benefits as well. What does this mean to your dinner time? Check out these benefits of eating potatoes and you will find out why you should bring potato to your everyday meal. Potato is high in vitamin B6 This Vitamin helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in your body which has been linked with degenerative diseases, as well as the prevention of heart attacks.
Potato is a good source of vitamin C While most of you know that vitamin C is important to help get rid of cold and flu viruses, few of you are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in tooth and bone formation, digestion and blood cell formation. Vitamin C helps accelerate healing of wound, produces collagen which helps maintain youthful elasticity of your skin and is essential to helping you cope with stress. It even appears to help protect your body against toxins that might be linked to cancer.
Potato contains Vitamin D This vitamin is critical for your immune system and overall health especially during cold seasons. Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in your body as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You might have heard about seasonal affective disorder, or sad as it is also known, which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in your mood, energy level and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin and teeth and as well supports your thyroid gland.
Potato contains iron Most people are aware that a human needs the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in your body, including white and red blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning and the metabolizing of protein, among the others.
Potato is a good source of magnesium Magnesium is the relaxation and anti stress mineral. It is essential for healthy artery, blood, bone; heart, muscle and nerve system, yet scientists estimate that approximately 75 percent of the population of North countries may be deficient in this important mineral.
Potato is a source of potassium One of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals is potassium. Like the other electrolytes, it performs several essential functions, some of that include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling, protecting and controlling the activity of your kidneys.
Potato is naturally sweet Their natural sugar is slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the glucose spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.
Potato is high in carotenoids Potato’s rich orange color indicates that they are full of carotenoids such as ك carotene and other ones, which is the precursor to vitamin A in the body. Carotenoids help strengthen your eyesight and boost your immune system. They are useful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging. Studies at one university of more than 125,000 people showed a 30 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another research of women who had done treatment for early stage breast cancer conducted by researchers found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.
Potato is versatile Try roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled potatoes. You can add potatoes to stews and soups, or grill and put on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad. Enjoy grilling them with onions and red peppers for amazing sandwich or wrap ingredients. Puree potatoes and add to smoothies and baked goods.
According to the old rule of thumb, you're supposed to drink eight glasses of water per day (and some experts recommend even more). That can seem like a daunting task on some days, but here's the catch: You don't have to drink all that water. Roughly 20% of our daily H2O intake comes from solid foods, especially fruits and vegetables.
It's still important to drink plenty of water—especially in the summertime—but you can also quench your thirst with these 15 hugely hydrating foods, all of which are at least 90% water by weight.
Cucumber Water content: 96.7%
This summer veggie—which has the highest water content of any solid food—is perfect in salads, or sliced up and served with some hummus, says Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner and Healthier You and a consultant to Mindbloom, a technology company that makes life-improvement apps.
Want to pump up cucumber's hydrating power even more? Try blending it with nonfat yogurt, mint, and ice cubes to make cucumber soup. "Soup is always hydrating, but you may not want to eat something hot in the summertime," Gans says. "Chilled cucumber soup, on the other hand, is so refreshing and delicious any time of year."
Iceberg lettuce Water content: 95.6%
Iceberg lettuce tends to get a bad rap, nutrition-wise. Health experts often recommend shunning it in favor of darker greens like spinach or romaine lettuce, which contain higher amounts of fiber and nutrients such as folate and vitamin K. It's a different story when it comes to water content, though: Crispy iceberg has the highest of any lettuce, followed by butterhead, green leaf, and romaine varieties.
So when the temperature rises, pile iceberg onto sandwiches or use it as a bed for a healthy chicken salad. Even better: Ditch the tortillas and hamburger buns and use iceberg leaves as a wrap for tacos and burgers.
Celery Water content: 95.4%
That urban legend about celery having negative calories isn't quite true, but it's pretty close. Like all foods that are high in water, celery has very few calories—just 6 calories per stalk. And its one-two punch of fiber and water helps to fill you up and curb your appetite.
This lightweight veggie isn't short on nutrition, however. Celery contains folate and vitamins A, C, and K. And thanks in part to its high water content, celery neutralizes stomach acid and is often recommended as a natural remedy for heartburn and acid reflux.
Radishes Water content: 95.3%
These refreshing root vegetables should be a fixture in your spring and summer salads. They provide a burst of spicy-sweet flavor—and color!—in a small package, and more importantly they're filled with antioxidants such as catechin (also found in green tea).
A crunchy texture also makes radishes a perfect addition to healthy summer coleslaw—no mayo required. Slice them up with shredded cabbage and carrots, sliced snow peas, and chopped hazelnuts and parsley, and toss with poppy seeds, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Tomatoes Water content: 94.5%
Sliced and diced tomatoes will always be a mainstay of salads, sauces, and sandwiches, but don't forget about sweet cherry and grape varieties, which make an excellent hydrating snack, Gans says. "They're great to just pop in your mouth, maybe with some nuts or some low-sodium cheese," she says. "You get this great explosion of flavor when you bite into them."
Having friends over? Skewer grape tomatoes, basil leaves, and small chunks of mozzarella on toothpicks for a quick and easy appetizer.
Green peppers Water content: 93.9%
Bell peppers of all shades have a high water content, but green peppers lead the pack, just edging out the red and yellow varieties (which are about 92% water). And contrary to popular belief, green peppers contain just as many antioxidants as their slightly sweeter siblings.
Peppers are a great pre-dinner or late-night snack, Gans says. "We tell people to munch on veggies when they have a craving, but a lot of people get bored of carrots and celery pretty quickly," she says. "Peppers are great to slice up when you get home from work, while you're making or waiting for dinner."
Cauliflower Water content: 92.1%
Don't let cauliflower's pale complexion fool you: In addition to having lots of water, these unassuming florets are packed with vitamins and phytonutrients that have been shown to help lower cholesterol and fight cancer, including breast cancer. (A 2012 study of breast cancer patients by Vanderbilt University researchers found that eating cruciferous veggies like cauliflower was associated with a lower risk of dying from the disease or seeing a recurrence.)
"Break them up and add them to a salad for a satisfying crunch," Gans suggests. "You can even skip the croutons!"
Watermelon Water content: 91.5% water
It's fairly obvious that watermelon is full of, well, water, but this juicy melon is also among the richest sources of lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant found in red fruits and vegetables. In fact, watermelon contains more lycopene than raw tomatoes—about 12 milligrams per wedge, versus 3 milligrams per medium-sized tomato.
Although this melon is plenty hydrating on its own, Gans loves to mix it with water in the summertime. "Keep a water pitcher in the fridge with watermelon cubes in the bottom," she says. "It's really refreshing, and great incentive to drink more water overall."
When life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. But what to do with finishes? Besides adding lemons to drinks there are a lot of ways to use lemons in your home. So don’t toss all those lemon peels and put them to work. Here’s every single way you can use lemons:
Clean greasy messes
Have you got anything Greasy or splattered stove tops? If your kitchen has been the victim of some sloppy sautéing, try to use lemon halves before taking out possibly toxic chemical cleaners. Add some salt for abrasion on a juiced lemon half and rub on the greasy areas, wipe up with a towel. Be careful while using lemon on marble counter tops, or any kind of surface that may be sensitive to acid.
Clean coffee pot or tea kettle
For cleaning mineral deposit that is build up in the tea kettle, fill it with water, add a handful of thin slices of lemon peel and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and leave it for one hour, drain and rinse well. For coffee pots, add salt, ice and lemon rinds to the empty pot; swish and swirl for one or two minutes, dump and rinse.
Clean the microwave
All it needs is one exploding bowl of food to render the gunk interior of the microwave, sometimes with cement like properties. Instead of using strong chemical cleaners, try to add lemon rinds to a microwave safe bowl filled halfway with cold water. Cook on high for five minutes, in order to boil the water and the steam to condense on the walls and tops of the oven. Remove the hot bowl carefully and clean away the dirt with a towel.
Deodorize the garbage disposal Use lemon peels to deodorize the garbage disposal and make your kitchen smell freshly at the same time. It is a quick way to finally dispose of spent lemon peels after you have used them for any of these reasons.
Polish chrome and copper A halved lemon dipped in salt or baking powder can be used to brighten copper ware, as well as brass, stainless or chrome steel. Put a juiced lemon half in salt, you can also use cream of tartar or baking soda instead of the salt and rub on the affected area. Let it stay on for ten minutes. Then rinse in warm water and polish dry.
Keep insects out Many pests hate the acid of lemon. You can chop of the peels and place them along thresholds, windowsills, and near any holes or cracks where ants or pests can be entering.
Make a scented humidifier If your house suffers from dry heat in the winter, you should put lemon peels in a pot of water and simmer on the lowest stove top setting to humidify and scent the air.
Refresh cutting boards Because of lemon’s low pH, it has antibacterial properties that makes lemon a good choice for refreshing cutting boards. After proper disinfecting rub the surface with a halved lemon, let it sit for a few seconds and then rinse.
Lighten age spots
A lot of folk remedies suggest using lemon peel to help lighten age spots. You should apply a small piece to the affected area and leave on for one hour.
Soften dry elbows Take a half lemon sprinkled with baking soda on elbows, just place the elbow in the lemon and twist the lemon as if you are juicing it for more than ten minutes. Rinse and dry.
Use on the skin Lemon peels can be very lightly rubbed on your face for a nice skin tonic, then rinse. Always be careful around your eyes.
Make a sugar scrub Mix a half cup of sugar with finely chopped lemon peel and enough olive oil to get a paste. Wet your body in the shower, turn off the water and massage sugar mix all over your skin, rinse, but be soft.
Half of Americans start their day with coffee, and according to recent study, working out after downing a cup of java may offer a weight loss advantage. The Spanish study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that trained athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned about 15% more calories for three hours post-exercise, compared to those who ingested a placebo. The dose that triggered the effect was 4.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. For 150-pound woman (68 kg), that’s roughly 300 mg of caffeine, the amount in about 12 ounces of brewed coffee, a quantity you may already be sipping each morning.
If you’ve always thought of coffee as a vice—one you’re simply not willing to give up—you’ll be happy to know that it’s actually a secret superfood (check out my previous post 6 Healthy Reasons to Keep Loving Coffee). And if you exercise, caffeine can offer even more functional benefits for your workouts. Here are five more reasons to enjoy it as part of an active lifestyle, along with five “rules” for getting your fix healthfully.
Improved circulation Recent Japanese research studied the effects of coffee on circulation in people who were not regular coffee drinkers. Each participant drank a 5-ounce cup of either regular or decaffeinated coffee. Afterward, scientists gauged finger blood flow, a measure of how well the body’s smaller blood vessels work. Those who downed “regular” (caffeinated) coffee experienced a 30% increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period, compared to those who drank the “unleaded” (decaf) version. Better circulation, better workout—your muscles need oxygen!
Less pain Scientists at the University of Illinois found that consuming the caffeine equivalent of two to three cups of coffee one hour before a 30-minute bout of high-intensity exercise reduced perceived muscle pain. The conclusion: caffeine may help you push just a little bit harder during strength-training workouts, resulting in better improvements in muscle strength and/or endurance.
Better memory A study published this year from Johns Hopkins University found that caffeine enhances memory up to 24 hours after it’s consumed. Researchers gave people who did not regularly consume caffeine either a placebo, or 200 mg of caffeine five minutes after studying a series of images. The next day, both groups were asked to remember the images, and the caffeinated group scored significantly better. This brain boost may be a real boon during workouts, especially when they entail needing to recall specific exercises or routines.
Muscle preservation In an animal study, sports scientists at Coventry University found that caffeine helped offset the loss of muscle strength that occurs with aging. The protective effects were seen in both the diaphragm, the primary muscle used for breathing, as well as skeletal muscle. The results indicate that in moderation, caffeine may help preserve overall fitness and reduce the risk of age-related injuries.
More muscle fuel A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that a little caffeine post-exercise may also be beneficial, particularly for endurance athletes who perform day after day. The research found that compared to consuming carbohydrates alone, a caffeine/carb combo resulted in a 66% increase in muscle glycogen four hours after intense, glycogen-depleting exercise. Glycogen, the form of carbohydrate that gets stockpiled in muscle, serves as a vital energy “piggy bank” during exercise, to power strength moves, and fuel endurance. Packing a greater reserve means that the very next time you work out, you’ve upped your ability to exercise harder and/or longer.
But this news doesn’t mean you should down as much coffee as possible—your good intentions may backfire. In my work with athletes, I recommend five basic rules to best reap caffeine’s rewards:
Don’t overdo it. The maximum amount of caffeine recommended for enhancing performance with minimal side effects is up to 6 mg per kg body weight, which is about 400 mg per day (or about 16 ounces of coffee) for a 150-pound woman.
Incorporate it in healthy ways: doctor up coffee with almond milk and cinnamon instead of cream and sugar, or whip coffee or tea into a fruit smoothie, along with other nutrient-rich ingredients like almond butter and oats or quinoa.
Be consistent with your intake. Research shows that when your caffeine intake is steady, your body adjusts, which counters dehydration, even though caffeine is a natural diuretic. In other words, don’t reach for two cups one day and four the next.
Keep drinking good old H2O your main beverage of choice.
Nix caffeine at least six hours before bed to prevent sleep interference, and listen to your body. If you’re relying on caffeine as an energy booster because you’re tired, get to the root of what’s causing fatigue. Perhaps it’s too little sleep, overexercising, or an inadequate diet. If something’s off kilter, you won’t see progress, and you’ll likely get weaker rather than stronger. Striving for balance is always key!
Common Food-Drug Interactions Grapefruit and some drugs do not mix
You’ve probably heard the warnings not to drink grapefruit juice with cholesterol medication. However, that isn't the only combination of food and drugs to avoid. Grapefruit juice can interact with numerous other medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. And many other foods commonly interact with drugs, too.
Steve Plogsted, BS, PharmD, BCNSP, CNSC, clinical pharmacist with Nutrition Support Service of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, fills us in on five foods that most commonly interact with medications.
Grapefruit Juice “Grapefruit juice has the ability to interact with medications in various ways,” says Plogsted. One way is by increasing the absorption of certain drugs – as is the case with some, but not all, cholesterol-lowering statins. If you’re taking statins, you don’t have to completely avoid grapefruit juice; just take your medication two hours or more before or after drinking.
Grapefruit juice can also cause the body to metabolize drugs abnormally, resulting in lower or higher than normal blood levels of the drug. Many medications are affected in this way, including antihistamines, blood pressure drugs, thyroid replacement drugs, birth control, stomach acid-blocking drugs, and the cough suppressant dextromethorphan. It’s best to avoid or significantly reduce intake of grapefruit juice when taking these medications.
But why is grapefruit juice of concern and not other citrus juices? According to Plogsted, grapefruit juice contains a class of compounds called furanocoumarins, which act in the body to alter the characteristics of these medications.
Orange juice and other citrus juices do not contain these compounds. There is some concern for Seville oranges and the pummelo, which are relatives of the grapefruit.
Green Leafy Vegetables Blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin® (warfarin) interfere with vitamin K-dependent clotting factors. Eating too much green leafy vegetables, which are high in vitamin K, can decrease the ability of blood-thinners to prevent clotting. But you don’t have to give up greens altogether. Problems arise from significantly and suddenly increasing or decreasing intake, as it can alter the effectiveness of the medicine. So eat your greens in consistent amounts.
Natural Black Licorice (Glycyrrhiza) According to Plogsted, glycyrrhiza — a natural ingredient used to make black licorice — can deplete the body of potassium while causing an increased retention of sodium. When the body is depleted of potassium, the activity of digoxin, a medication used to treat heart failure, can be greatly enhanced, resulting in the heart not beating properly.
Glycyrrhiza can also decrease the effectiveness of high blood pressure medicines. And people taking Coumadin® (warfarin) should beware that glycyrrhiza can break down the drug, resulting in an increase in the body’s clotting mechanism.
Excessive amounts of natural licorice should be avoided when taking all of these medications. However, Plogsted notes that artificially-flavored black licorice doesn’t contain glycyrrhiza and is not of concern.
Salt Substitutes Consumers taking digoxin for heart failure or ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure should be careful with salt substitutes, which most often replace sodium with potassium. With an increased consumption of potassium, the effectiveness of digoxin can be decreased, resulting in heart failure. And those taking ACE inhibitors might see a significant increase in blood potassium levels, as these drugs are known to increase potassium.
“There is no real need to avoid salt substitutes, although care should be taken when using the product,” say Plogsted. “If the consumer has decreased kidney function they should discuss the use of salt substitutes with their doctor.”
Tyramine-containing Foods High blood levels of the amino acid tyramine can cause an increase in blood pressure. Several medications interfere with the breakdown of tyramine, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) which treat depression, and drugs used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Plogsted advises those taking these drugs to steer clear of tyramine-rich foods. The list is lengthy and includes, but is not limited to: chocolate; aged and mature cheeses; smoked and aged/fermented meats; hot dogs; some processed lunch meats; fermented soy products; and draft beers (canned and bottled beers are OK).
When receiving a prescription for a new medication or taking a new over-the-counter drug, Plogsted advises consumers to always read drug warning labels and ask their physician and/or pharmacist about which foods or other drugs they should avoid or be concerned about taking.
Detoxing has become bit of a trend with all the different fasting formulas and super foods that are out there. Unfortunately, most of the popular “detoxes” really aren’t safe for you and aren’t healthy either. If you want to detox your body, did you know it can be as simple as eating the right foods? Here’s a list of 10 foods you can enjoy if you really want to cleanse your body.
1. Avocados - Do you love avocados so much you would put slices of them on just about any food you eat? There’s no reason to feel guilty about doing this, especially because this is such a great food for you to eat. Avocados are packed full of antioxidants, including glutathione. This detoxes the body by transporting harmful toxins right out of it. By reducing the chemicals and toxins in your body you will be healthier and feel better.
2. Cranberries - These might be great for preventing urinary tract infections, but they can also get rid of toxins inside of your body. These get rid of waste from the body and are antibacterial so they remove toxins.
3. Cabbage – This food has sulfur inside of it, which is essential when it comes to breaking down chemicals in the body. Sulfur can help get rid of everything from pesticides to prescription drugs, which could be harmful if they stuck around.
4. Lemons – These are great in drinks and recipes, but they are also packed full of vitamins and antioxidants. These protect the liver and they get rid of chemicals inside of the body. Consuming lemons on a regular basis can improve health.
5. Broccoli – If you’re the type of person who doesn't like broccoli, you should try it out once again! It’s full of antioxidants that can cleanse your body. It’s also high in enzymes that help to get your digestive system running efficiently. Raw broccoli is best because it has a high level of nutrients inside of it.
6. Garlic – Packed full of sulfur, this is another great food to use for body cleanses. It also has antibiotic properties so it can help internally heal your body. There are a lot of advantages to eating garlic on a regular basis; it’s even available in supplement form!
7. Beets – These can be incorporated into a lot of different recipes or they can be eaten raw. They are full of betaine and pectin, which help protect the liver and the digestive system. These can cleanse the body so you have fewer toxins.
8. Grapefruit – This fruit helps cleanse the digestive system and it can prevent kidney stones from developing. It’s also low in natural sugars and calories, so it’s great for dieting.
9. Sunflower Seeds – These are great to snack on and can detox the liver so it’s healthier. It can also get rid of harmful toxins floating around in the body. In addition to this, it prevents cholesterol from building up and causing body damage.
10. Lentils – These aid the digestive system to cleanse and detox your body. Lentils also lower the cholesterol and help balance the blood sugar inside of your body.
The papaya fruit is very low in calories (just 39 calories/100 g) and contains no cholesterol; however, is a rich source of phyto-nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
Papayas contain soft, easily digestible flesh with a good amount of soluble dietary fiber that helps to have normal bowel movements; thereby reducing constipation.
Fresh, ripe fruit is one of the fruits with the highest vitamin-C content (provides 61.8 mg or about 103% of DRI, more than that of in oranges, or lemons). Research studies have shown that vitamin C has many important functions like free radicals scavenging, immune booster, and anti-inflammatory actions.
It is also an excellent source of Vitamin-A (provides 1094 IU/100 g) and flavonoids like β-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin and cryptoxanthin. Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for visual sight. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties; help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Consumption of natural fruits rich in carotenes has known to protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Papaya fruit is also rich in many essential B-complex vitamins such as Folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and play a vital role in metabolism.
Fresh papaya also contains a good amount of potassium (257 mg per 100 g) and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure countering effects of sodium.
Papaya seeds have been the proven natural remedy for many ailments in the traditional medicines. The seeds are found application as anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and analgesic, and used to treat stomachache and ringworm infections.
Hazelnuts are sweet in taste and incredibly nutritious. Botanically, the nuts are fruits from the "birch" or Betulaceae family of trees. The “Filbert” (C. maxima) is similar kind and related to common hazel but only differing in having the nut more fully enclosed by the tubular involucre. In Britain, the nuts are usually enjoyed as "cobnuts."
Scientific name: Corylus avellana.
The hazel is a small deciduous tree, originated in southern Europe and Turkey. It is now being cultivated in many regions of the world, including USA as an important commercial crop.
Hazel tree begin producing fruits about three years after plantation. During each spring season, the tree bears attractive inflorescence (catkins), consisting of the cluster of monoecious flowers arranged closely along a central stem that ultimately becomes fruits by autumn.
The hazel fruit is a nut produced in clusters; with each nut held in a short leafy involucre or capsule enclosing about three-quarters of the nut. Each yellow-brown color nut, roughly spherical to oval in shape, is about 1.5-2 cm long and 1.2 -2 cm broad, featuring a light scar at the base. They fall out of the leafy involucre or capsule when ripe, about 7-8 months after pollination.
Hazelnut oil, extracted from the nuts, has been used in as base or carrier oil in medicine, and in aromatherapy.
Health benefits of Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts are very high in energy and loaded with numerous health-benefiting nutrients that are essential for optimum health. 100 g nuts provide 628 calories. The nuts are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic as well as essential fatty acid, linoleic acid that helps lower LDL or bad cholesterol and increase HDL or good cholesterol. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is plentiful in monounsaturated fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
These nuts are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and packed with numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals. Altogether, they help protect from diseases and cancers.
Hazels are exceptionally rich in folate, which is a unique feature for the nuts. 100 g fresh nuts contain 113 µg; that is about 28% recommended daily intake of this vitamin. Folate is an important vitamin that helps prevent megaloblastic anemia and most importantly, neural tube defects in the newborn. Good news for expectant mothers!
Hazel nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E; contain about 15 g per 100 g (providing 100% of RDA). Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
The nuts, like almonds, are free from gluten and therefore, are safe alternative food sources that can be used in the preparation of gluten-free food formulas for gluten-sensitive, wheat allergy, and celiac disease patients.
The nuts are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), and folates.
They are rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Copper and manganese are essential co-factors for anti-oxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron helps prevent microcytic-anemia. Magnesium and phosphorus are important components of bone metabolism.
Hazelnut oil has nutty aroma and has excellent astringent properties. It helps to keep skin well protected from dryness. The oil has also been used in cooking, and as “carrier or base oil” in traditional medicines in massage therapy, aromatherapy, in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry.
Fragrant cinnamon spice is one of the highly prized spices that has been in use since biblical times for its medicinal and culinary properties. This delightfully exotic, sweet-flavored spice stick is traditionally obtained from the outer brown bark of Cinnamomum trees, which when dried, rolls into a tubular form known commercially as "quill."
The cinnamon plant is a small, evergreen bushy tree belonging to the family of Lauraceae or laurel within the genus; Cinnamomum. This novel spice is native to Sri Lankan island but also found in many other countries such as Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, China, and Indonesia.
Varieties of the cinnamon-tree exist; however, Sri Lankan variety is regarded as "true cinnamon" and scientifically named as Cinnamonum verum. Traditionally, the inner bark is bruised with a brass rod, peeled and long incisions are made in the bark. It is then rolled by hand and allowed to dry in the sunlight.
It is the bark of the tree from where aromatic essential oil (makes up 0.5% to 1% of its composition) is extracted. Usually, the oil is processed by roughly pounding the bark, macerating it in seawater, and then quickly distilling the whole. The oil features golden-yellow color, with the characteristic odor of cinnamon and a very hot aromatic taste. The pungent taste and scent in cinnamon spice are due to compound cinnamic aldehyde and cinnamaldehyde in the oil.
Cassia, also known as chinese cinnamon, is a different member of Lauraceae family and named as Cinnamomum cassia. Cassia is coarser, more spicy, and pungent but less fragrant than cinnamon. It is usually substituted for the cinnamon in savory dishes.
Health benefits of cinnamon
The active principles in the cinnamon spice are known to have anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-septic, local anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, rubefacient (warming and soothing), carminative and anti-flatulent properties.
Cinnamon has the highest anti-oxidant strength of all the food sources in nature. The total measured ORAC (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value for this novel spice is 267536 trolex equivalents (TE), which is many hundred times more than in chokeberry, apples, etc.
The spice contains health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, a phenylpropanoids class of chemical compound, which gives pleasant, sweet aromatic fragrances. Eugenol has got local anesthetic and antiseptic properties, hence; useful in dental and gum treatment procedures.
Other important essential oils in cinnamon include ethyl cinnamate, linalool, cinnamaldehyde, beta-caryophyllene, and methyl chavicol.
Cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon-sticks has been found to have anti-clotting action, prevents platelet clogging inside the blood vessels, and thereby helps prevent stroke, peripheral arterial and coronary artery diseases.
The active principles in this spice may increase the motility of the intestinal tract as well as help aid in the digestion power by increasing gastro-intestinal enzyme secretions.
This spicy bark is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Iron is required for cellular metabolism as a co-factor and in RBC's production. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are chiefly used by the body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
It also contains very good amounts of vitamin A, niacin, pantothenic acid, and pyridoxine.
Further, it is also a very good source of flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants such as carotenes, zea-xanthin, lutein and cryptoxanthin.
Coconut water is the juice in the interior or endosperm of young coconut. Its water is one of the nature’s most refreshing drinks, consumed worldwide for its nutritious and health benefiting properties.
The water is actually obtained by opening a tender, green, healthy, and undamaged coconut. Inside, it's clear liquid is sweet, and sterile and composed of unique chemicals such as sugars, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids, cytokine, and phyto-hormones. In general, young and slightly immature coconuts harvested when they are about 5-7 months of age for the drink.
Botanically, coconut plant belongs within the Arecaceae family of palm trees and has the scientific name: Cocos nucifera.
Each nut may contain about 200 to 1000 ml of water depending on cultivar type and size. Any nuts younger than five months of age tend to be bitter in taste and devoid of nutrients. In contrast, mature nuts contain less water, and their endosperm thickens quickly to white edible meat (kernel). Coconut milk obtained from the meat is therefore should not be confused with coconut water.
Coconut palm flourishes well along the costal tropical environments. A coconut tree may yield several hundred tender nuts each season. Different species of coconut palms are grown all over the tropics. Naturally, their taste and flavor of water show variations according to saline content in the soil, distance from sea shore, mainland, etc.
Health benefits of coconut water
Coconut water is a very refreshing drink to beat tropical summer thirst. The juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish hydration levels within the body.
Research studies suggest that cytokinins (e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water showed significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects.
Coconut water has been generally offered to patients with diarrhea in many tropic regions to replace the fluid loss from the gastrointestinal tract and reduce the need for intravenous therapy. The osmolarity of tender coconut water is slightly greater than that of WHO recommended ORS (Oral Rehydration Therapy) osmolarity. Presence of other biological constituents like amino acids, enzymes, minerals, and fatty acids may account for this higher osmolarity. However, unlike WHO-ORS, its water is very low in sodium and chlorides, but rich in sugars and amino acids. This well-balanced fluid composition with much-needed calories would be an ideal drink than any other brand of soft drink beverages in dehydration conditions.
Coconut water is composed of many naturally occurring bioactive enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, diastase, peroxidase, RNA-polymerases etc. In effect, these enzymes help in the digestion and metabolism.
Despite very light consistency, its water has much better composition of minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc than some of the fruits like oranges. (Compare the mineral composition of oranges).
Its water is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pyridoxine, and folates. These vitamins are essential in the sense that the human body requires them from external sources to replenish.
Coconut water contains a very good amount of electrolyte potassium. 100 ml of water has 250 mg of potassium and 105 mg of sodium. Together, these electrolytes help replenish electrolyte deficiency in the body due to diarrhea (loose stools).
Further, fresh coconut water has a small amount of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid); It provides about 2.4 mg or 4% of RDA. Vitamin C is a water-soluble ant-oxidant.