Sunday, 27 October 2013

Dragon Fruit / Pitaya: Heals


A pitaya or pitahaya is the fruit of several cactus species. "Pitaya" usually refers to fruit of the genus Stenocereus, while "Pitahaya" or "Dragonfruit" always refers to fruit of the genus Hylocereus.

Dragon Fruit

The Pitaya is more commonly referred to as the dragon fruit. It is an extremely beautiful fruit that has dazzling flowers and an intense shape and color. The dragon fruit is usually a dark red color, although some types of this fruit are pink or yellow. The skin of the dragon fruit is a thin rind. The skin is usually covered in scales, and the center of the fruit is made up of a red or white, sweet tasting pulp.

Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit Cholesterol
Keeping a heart healthy low cholesterol diet? Don't worry about your cholesterol Dragon fruit cholesterol is not an issue. Dragon fruit is both low in cholesterol and has little to no unhealthy cholesterol producing fats (certain fats which are metabolized to cholesterol contribute to increased cholesterol levels more than even cholesterol itself in food sources of cholesterol).

Dragon Fruit Vitamin C
The amount of vitamin C in dragon fruit is high, and because the dragon fruit is a natural fruit providing you with a rich balance of nutrients coming along with the vitamin C, you absorb the Vitamin C in dragon fruit efficiently when you eat dragon fruit as part of your fruit healthy diet.

Dragon Fruit Antioxidants
Eat dragon fruit as a good natural source of anti-oxidants which help to prevent the dangers of free radicals which can cause cancer and other undesirable health detriments.The number, quantity, and variety of antioxidants in real foods like dragon fruit is completely unmatched by any food supplement or pills - even those claiming to have 'antioxidant' health benefits. Nothing compares to the rich array of nutrients and antioxidants in a real natural food like the dragon fruit. Forget about junk foods and processed foods, as they are poison not foods! Even though a supplement claiming to offer a high amount of antioxidant benefits may sound good, the fact is that foods like dragon fruit have literally thousands of varieties of antioxidant substances and the supplement likely will contain only one (e.g. vitamin E supplements). Taking a single megadose of a single antioxidant compound may in fact cause harm or be toxic! Stick with dragon fruit antioxidant sources and other fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid trying to take a shortcut through a pill.

Dragon Fruit Fats
Dragon fruit does have a small amount of fats because there are so many seeds in the edible part of the fruit. There can be literally thousands of the small black seeds in any given dragon fruit, and like most seeds and nuts they have both fats and protein in them while the flesh of the fruit itself has virtually none. Many fruits we eat have the seeds removed, like apricots, peaches, apples and the like, so we tend to think of fruits as being completely fat and protein free. It would be literally impossible to remove the seeds from dragon fruit unless you pressed it through a strainer, as the seeds are very small and mixed evenly in the flesh. Fortunately these are mostly the healthy mono-unsaturated fats as, of course, they are not processed in any way and therefore are none of the dangerously unhealthy trans-fats seen in most junk food and processed foods.

Dragon Fruit Fiber
Dietary fiber is an important nutrition factor for everyone from young to old, and the best way to get dietary fiber is to eat fruits and vegetables including fruits like the dragon fruit. As you might expect, like many fruits, dragon fruit has lots of dietary fiber with almost 1g of fiber per 100g of the fresh dragon fruit. Of course, the amount of dietary fiber in dragon fruit which is dried on a gram for gram basis is much higher than the amount of dietary fiber in dragon fruit as the fresh fruit. Depending upon the degree of moisture retention in the dried dragon fruit fruit, expect to see 10g or more grams of dietary dragon fruit fiber per 100g of the dried pitahaya fruit. The amount of dietary dragon fruit fiber in the fresh dragon fruit will be more on the order of 1g of fiber per 100g of the fresh dragon fruit because the fresh fruit has so much water in it. If you want to increase how much fiber is in dragon fruit, you can eat more of the dragon fruit skin if it is in good condition (free of any spoilage or molds). Many sources of dried dragon fruit fiber may include some or all of the dragon fruit skin already, so depending upon this fact, you may find that the dried dragon fruit has even more fiber than the fresh fruit even after taking into account the drying process and the resulting concentration of fiber on a gram for gram basis. The health benefits of dragon fruit fiber are just one other example of the reason that eating natural sources of nutrients is superior to getting them from pills and supplements Dragon fruit nutritional benefits also include the levels of dragon fruit antioxidants - the antioxidants in dragon fruit are numerous and varied.

Saturday, 26 October 2013


Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, and while it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry, it also gives ballpark mustard its bright yellow color.
Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Turmeric was traditionally called "Indian saffron" because of its deep yellow-orange color and has been used throughout history as a condiment, healing remedy and textile dye.

Health Benefits

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the bright yellow of the spice rainbow, is a powerful medicine that has long been used in the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.

A Potent, Yet Safe Anti-Inflammatory

The volatile oil fraction of turmeric has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models. Even more potent than its volatile oil is the yellow or orange pigment of turmeric, which is called curcumin. Curcumin is thought to be the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric. In numerous studies, curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity.

An Effective Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Curcumin may provide an inexpensive, well-tolerated, and effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, recent research suggests. In this study, mice given an inflammatory agent that normally induces colitis were protected when curcumin was added to their diet five days beforehand. The mice receiving curcumin not only lost much less weight than the control animals, but when researchers checked their intestinal cell function, all the signs typical of colitis (mucosal ulceration, thickening of the intestinal wall, and the infiltration of inflammatory cells)were all much reduced. While the researchers are not yet sure exactly how curcumin achieves its protective effects, they think its benefits are the result of not only antioxidant activity, but also inhibition of a major cellular inflammatory agent called NF kappa-B. Plus, an important part of the good news reported in this study is the fact that although curcumin has been found to be safe at very large doses, this component of turmeric was effective at a concentration as low as 0.25 per cent—an amount easily supplied by simply enjoying turmeric in flavorful curries.

Relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Clinical studies have substantiated that curcumin also exerts very powerful antioxidant effects. As an antioxidant, curcumin is able to neutralize free radicals, chemicals that can travel through the body and cause great amounts of damage to healthy cells and cell membranes. This is important in many diseases, such as arthritis, where free radicals are responsible for the painful joint inflammation and eventual damage to the joints. Turmeric's combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects explains why many people with joint disease find relief when they use the spice regularly. In a recent study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was compared to phenylbutazone and produced comparable improvements in shortened duration of morning stiffness, lengthened walking time, and reduced joint swelling.

Help for Cystic Fibrosis Sufferers

Curcumin, the major constituent of turmeric that gives the spice its yellow color, can correct the most common expression of the genetic defect that is responsible for cystic fibrosis, suggests an animal study published in the Science (April 2004). Cystic fibrosis, a fatal disease that attacks the lungs with a thick mucus, causing life-threatening infections, afflicts about 30,000 American children and young adults, who rarely survive beyond 30 years of age. The mucus also damages the pancreas, thus interfering with the body's ability to digest and absorb nutrients.
Researchers now know that cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in the gene that encodes for a protein (the transmembrane conductance regulator or CFTR). The CTFR protein is responsible for traveling to the cell's surface and creating channels through which chloride ions can leave the cell. When the protein is abnormally shaped because of a faulty gene, this cannot happen, so chloride builds up in the cells, which in turn, leads to mucus production.
The most common mutation, which is called DeltaF508, results in the production of a misfolded protein. When mice with this DeltaF508 defect were given curcumin in doses that, on a weight-per-weight basis, would be well-tolerated by humans, curcumin corrected this defect, resulting in a DeltaF508 protein with normal appearance and function. In addition, the Yale scientists studying curcumin have shown that it can inhibit the release of calcium, thus allowing mutated CTFR to exit cells via the calcium channels, which also helps stop the chloride-driven build up of mucus. Specialists in the treatment of cystic fibrosis caution, however, that patients should not self-medicate with dietary supplements containing curcumin, until the correct doses are known and any adverse interactions identified with the numerous prescription drugs taken by cystic fibrosis sufferers.

Cancer Prevention

Curcumin's antioxidant actions enable it to protect the colon cells from free radicals that can damage cellular DNA—a significant benefit particularly in the colon where cell turnover is quite rapid, occuring approximately every three days. Because of their frequent replication, mutations in the DNA of colon cells can result in the formation of cancerous cells much more quickly. Curcumin also helps the body to destroy mutated cancer cells, so they cannot spread through the body and cause more harm. A primary way in which curcumin does so is by enhancing liver function. Additionally, other suggested mechanisms by which it may protect against cancer development include inhibiting the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation and preventing the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

10 Best Detox Foods You Should Start Eating


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.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Making Cayenne Pepper Tea to Boost Immunity

 It is a possibility that Cayenne can make you lose weight.
Cayenne is a spicy tasting herb that is orange or red in color. People sprinkle it onto their food and incorporate it into recipes in order to add some heat and flavor to dishes. Cayenne also has healing properties, and herbalists have been using it for years to build immunity, fight off colds, soothe ulcers and help detoxify the body. Recently, a weight loss diet called "The Master Cleanse" has used a cayenne pepper tea to flush the body of toxins and promote weight loss. Make a cayenne pepper tea with water, lemon, a generous helping of cayenne and any additional ingredients that will help you achieve your health goals.

While previous studies looking into the chili pepper as a possible weight loss supplement had mixed results, a November 2010 study spearheaded by Dr. Richard Mattes, a distinguished professor of nutrition science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, showed eating less than a teaspoon (0.1 to 0.3 grams) of dried cayenne promoted calorie burn and decreased appetites. After a meal sprinkled with cayenne pepper, the participants tended to eat an average of 60 calories less at the next meal and burned 10 more calories on their own. The individuals with positive results did not consume cayenne regularly before the study and reported positive weight loss in as little as three weeks.

Cayenne in medicine
Native Americans have used cayenne for its medicinal and culinary properties as far back as 9,000 years. It's also an herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Indian Ayurvedic medicine, as well as in Japanese and Korean medical practices. Cayenne, from the Capsicum family of vegetables, originated in Central and South America but was named after the town of Cayenne in French Guiana. The pepper is the fruit of the plant -- a hollow, long pod that becomes red, yellow or orange when ripe. Cayenne is commonly used in cooking -- the peppers are either eaten raw or cooked or dried and used as a powdered spice.

What more can cayenne do?
Weight reduction is not the only positive benefit you can get from cayenne. This pepper's most active component is capsaicin, which gives cayenne its heat. Cayenne also has vitamin A, vitamin C, phenolic compound flavonoids and the phytonutrient carotenoids that provides the bright color. These powerful antioxidants help your body defend itself from toxic free radicals that can damage cells and weaken the immune system. The antioxidants in cayenne protect the body against many forms of cancer and premature skin aging and brain degeneration. Flavonoids have been found to have antiviral, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet properties, while carotenoids maximize the health-giving activities of vitamin A and promote cell-to-cell communication. It is believed that poor communication among cells lead to an overgrowth which in turn, leads to cancer.

Find out how else cayenne can help:

1. Pain reliever
Applied to the skin, cayenne inhibits the production of Substance P, a short-chain polypeptide which carries the pain impulses from the nerve endings to the central nervous system. Cayenne prevents the pain messages from reaching the brain and provides pain relief, especially in the following disease conditions:
2. Symptomatic treatment for psoriasis
As capsaicin cream, cayenne reduces the symptoms of psoriasis, a chronic skin disease characterized by itchy, raised red patches on the skin with whitish flakes that can become inflamed in more serious cases.

3. Energy booster
Taken internally in powder form or as a drink, cayenne provides an energy boost and has a rejuvenating effect. As a result, it eliminates lethargy and fatigue as a stimulant.

Eating cayenne three times a day may be a too much for the average person. Thankfully, a range of cayenne products are available.
  • For topical treatment: Apply capsaicin cream (0.025 to  0.075 percent capsaicin) to the affected area up to four times a day. Pain relief is gradual and may be felt in three to four days.
  • For oral intake: Capsaicin capsules (30 to 120 milligrams) can be taken up to three times a day. As a powder, place one half to one teaspoon of cayenne in one cup of boiling water and steep for 10 minutes. Drink one teaspoon of the brewed solution three to four times a day, with more water.
  • Cayenne as a supplement is not recommended for children.
  • Taking capsaicin capsules can produce a slight burning feeling in the stomach, which is tolerable and dissipates quickly. If you have stomach ulcers, consult with your doctor first before starting on oral cayenne.
  • Do not apply cayenne cream to open wounds. Cayenne applied to the skin may cause a burning sensation. Test it on a small area first before regular use.
  • Pregnant women may consume cayenne cooked into food, but should consult their physician before taking the herb in supplement form.