Archived Articles - June 2015

Health benefits of horseradish and how to use it

For several thousand years, people of different cultures have been using the root of horseradish (scientific name Armoracia rusticana) in several herbal remedies for various types of physical ailments. However, it is unfortunate that today most people consider it to be just another flavoring agent for their sandwiches or roast beef dinner. In addition to its ability to enhance flavour of foods, horseradish should also be consumed for several other reasons. Precisely speaking, root possesses very potent digestive properties and aids the body in breaking down the most obstinate proteins.

You can buy horseradish from any grocery store or health food store in your neighbourhood. You may also grow this plant in your home for a ready supply of the herb. It is quite easy to grow horseradish. The only thing you require to propagate it is a small portion of the plant's root. You can plant it in soil, water it a little every day and see it grows. The root of the plant will be fully developed and ready for excavation prior to the first frost date in the fall.

Health benefits of horseradish

Horseradish is a versatile herb that offers several health benefits. Some of them are discussed below briefly.

Antibiotic: It has been established that horseradish is a wonderful antibiotic and highly effectual against various infections. This herb is very effective in eliminating harmful bacteria responsible for colds, coughs, bronchitis, flu, pneumonia, ear infections, strep throat as well as infections in the urinary tract.

Protection against cancer: Findings of a study undertaken by researchers at the University of Illinois showed that horseradish root contains elevated levels of compounds known as glucosinolates, which is said to be responsible for the herb's ability to detoxify the liver of carcinogenic substances as well as restraining the growth of tumours and putting off new tumour formation. In addition, it has been found that horseradish also helps in preventing the development of several forms of cancers, especially cancers of the lungs, colon and rectum.

Digestive aid: Since long, horseradish has been used for its ability to aid digestion. This is the reason why people still use it as a condiment, especially for meat preparations. Horseradish works by facilitating the intestines to discharge digestive enzymes, thereby fuelling appetite.

Pain relief or analgesic: It has been established that horseradish is useful for promoting blood circulation to the surface of the skin and also to inflamed areas. In addition, it helps to alleviate headaches. This herb can also be applied topically to provide relief from aching muscles, inflamed joints and associated discomfort. Chewing the raw horseradish root helps to provide relief from toothaches.

Relief from sinus: Horseradish is an effectual herbal remedy for sinusitis. Accumulation of mucus in the sinuses is responsible for sinus infections. Drinking the juice extracted from raw horseradish root is said to provide relief from discomforts associated with sinusitis. At the same time, it thins out the mucus and also prevents further accumulation of mucus in the sinuses, thereby clearing up the sinus passages.

Boosts immune system: Horseradish contains elevated levels of vitamin C, making this herb a potent immune booster. At the same time, this nutrient also makes horseradish an effective antioxidant. Consumption of horseradish helps to invigorate the immune system, as it heats up the body internally.

Prevention of hair loss, dandruff: It has been proved that horseradish aids rejuvenation of hair roots by promoting blood circulation to the scalp. When blended with vinegar and applied to the scalp, horseradish also helps to get rid of dandruff.

How to use horseradish

There are several ways by which you can use horseradish. In fact, this herb is used differently for treating different conditions.

Stomach problems: In order to treat problems related to the stomach, you need to shred the horseradish root and subsequently extract its juice. Gulp down about 15 drops of horseradish juice between your meals for respite.

Pain relief: The raw leaves of horseradish are used in the form of an analgesic. You should place the leaves of this herb on the excruciating areas to get relief from headaches or joint pains and others.

Chest congestion: Applying horseradish flour paste on the chest helps to clear all congestions.

Sinusitis: In order to treat problems related to the sinus, consume half a teaspoon of shredded horseradish root every morning prior to your meals.

Horseradish tea: Seep some horseradish in a cupful of hot water for some time and drink it in the form of a tea. Drinking this tea will help in preventing most of the problems discussed above, while improving your blood circulation.

Five reasons why you should eat one avocado daily

Till some years back, many people avoided eating avocados and never included it in their diets. In fact, consuming avocados was believed to be absolutely sinful, especially in the days when low-fat diets were a craze. Nevertheless, those days are gone and now we can enjoy this tasty and appetizing fruit, which has been dubbed as a super healthy food.

Avocados come in two main varieties - the Hass (which is from California) and the second called the Florida variety. The Hass or California variety of avocado has a darker hue with a relatively coarse, pebbly skin. On the other hand, the Florida variety is relatively larger and its skin is smooth and pale green. Since both varieties are healthy foods, it depends on your personal preference as to which one you would like to consume.

In fact, there are five main and proven reasons why one ought to include avocados in his/ her diet. If you wish, you can have one daily.

Consume avocados for weight loss

Contrary to earlier beliefs that avocado was an enemy of a healthy diet, it has now been established that avocado is a beneficial food, especially if you are trying to lose those extra pounds.

Findings of a study carried in the Nutritional Journal in 2013 showed that people consuming avocados along with their meals were 23 percent more content following their meals and they had 23 percent lower craving for food during the subsequent five hours.

In other words, eating avocado in just one meal daily will not only make you feel fuller, but also make you eat lesser during the remaining day. The added bonus is a happy feeling, because avocados are really delectable.

Consuming avocados for good health

Apart from helping you to reduce weight, eating avocados will also make you healthier compared to others who do not eat this fruit. This is great news indeed!

Findings of a study undertaken by the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey analyzing data collected from 17,567 U.S. citizens showed that eating avocado is related to superior quality diet and nutrition intake, in addition to reduced risks of metabolic syndrome among the adults in the country.

Avocados are loaded with healthy dietary fiber

Although people are aware of the fact that dietary fiber is good for their health, many are not sure about the reason. In effect, fiber is that part of a plant food which is indigestible. When one consumes dietary fiber, it aids in balancing their levels of blood sugar and, at the same time, facilitates weight loss.

Eating only 3.5 ounces of avocado provides us with a huge amount of dietary fiber - about 7 grams, which is 27 percent of the recommended daily amount (RDA) for women aged between 19 and 50 years.

Avocados help to boost nutrient levels

Consuming one cup of fresh avocado may help in enhancing carotenoid absorption by our body by an incredible 400 percent in meals taken later. For the uninitiated, carotenoids are potent antioxidants that are transformed into vitamin A inside the body.

Avocados are excellent source of beneficial fats

Many people believe that avocados are rich in fat content and they are right. Nevertheless, the fats contained by avocados are good or beneficial fats that help in losing extra body weight. Hence, consuming this delectable fruit is good for your health.

Tomatoes offer numerous health benefits; include them in your diet

If you happen to be a tomato aficionado and consume this vegetable regularly in various forms, you can rest assure that it is helping to boost your overall health. Irrespective of whether you are enjoying tomatoes whole in the form of a succulent snack or cook tomatoes to prepare a sauce recipe, it all goes to make you healthy and robust. Findings of several studies have shown that tomatoes are effective in combating the detrimental free radical formation. Free radicals are responsible for cancer and, hence, consuming tomatoes helps to decrease the risks of developing prostate and colorectal cancers, besides reducing high blood pressure.

Most of us are already aware that tomatoes contain several therapeutic properties, so let us explore the different ways in which consuming tomatoes can make us healthier.

People who are conscious about their health would be delighted to know that tomatoes are loaded with antioxidants, which are effective in inhibiting oxidation. As a result consumption of tomatoes are helpful in delaying or even preventing damage of specific types of cells.

Findings of a scientific study carried in the journal named Molecular Nutrition & Food Research showed that consuming tomatoes on a regular basis is associated with reduced chances of developing chronic degenerative diseases. Studies undertaken by epidemiologists have confirmed the significant health effects of consuming tomatoes, as this vegetable contains remarkable amounts of dissimilar antioxidant molecules like carotenoids, especially ascorbic acid, lycopene, vitamin E and a number of phenol compounds, flavonoids in particular.

In addition to the above mentioned antioxidants, tomatoes also enclose a compound called lycopene, which is an excellent health booster. It has been found that tomatoes are highly laden with lycopene, which is a carotenoid pigment that is responsible for the attractive, bright red color of the vegetable. Lycopene is excellent for sustaining as well as promoting bone health. At the same time, this carotenoid pigment plays a vital role in preventing specific forms of cancer, such as lung, prostate and stomach cancer.

You can also consume some delectable tomatoes to lower your high blood pressure (hypertension).

Findings of a double-blind study controlled by placebo that was carried in the American Heart Journal showed that undertaking a short-term treatment using an extract obtained from antioxidant-laden tomatoes can bring down the blood pressure in people enduring grade-1 hypertension.

People who took part in the above study were in a placebo period for the first four weeks and this was followed by treatment with tomato extract (e. 250 mg of Lyc-O-Mato) for another eight weeks. Subsequently, they were made to undergo another placebo-controlled period of four weeks. The results of such treatment with tomato extract were remarkable. At the end of the 16-week study, researchers observed that while the systolic as well as diastolic blood pressure levels had reduced during the treatment, no changes in blood pressure were evident during the two placebo-controlled phases of the study.

Hence, it is advisable that you get some appetizing, succulent, delectable tomatoes and enjoy them raw in a snack or consume them after cooking if you wish to avoid various ailments and remain healthy.

Olive oil enriched Mediterranean diet enhances bone health

Most people seldom think about the health of their bones till it turns out to be a major issue, which typically occurs in the later part of one's life. Deteriorating bone conditions can affect both men and women; the latter usually suffer from it more often. In most cases, women usually suffer from bone related problems after entering their menopause stage. This mainly happens owing to a sudden decline in the levels of estrogen - a symptom associated with menopause. The levels of estrogen begin to drop as the bones begin to lose calcium, which, in turn, causes the bones to become brittle.

Women with brittle bones are usually at serious risks of bone fractures, including hip bone fracture - a condition that can rob a woman of her mobility and independence permanently.

On the other hand, it has been found that women in the Mediterranean region, where people consume elevated amounts of olive oil in their diet, are faced with lesser chances of developing weak and fragile bones. In fact, findings of some scientific studies have established a relation between olive oil consumption and bone strength.

Mediterranean diet and olive oil

Women living in the Mediterranean region generally consume a diet that is loaded with vegetables and fruits. Their diet is also rich in olive oil - they usually consume anything between two and four tablespoons of olive oil every day. The type of olive oil that people in the Mediterranean region incorporate in their diet is extremely rich in nutrient content. This olive oil is extra virgin as well as first-pressed. Experts consider consuming this type of olive oil is not only excellent for one's overall health, but also for the health and strength of their bones.

The antioxidant phenolic compounds present in olive oil are responsible for the health benefits offered by it. These compounds possess the aptitude to lessen inflammation all over the body, put off oxidative stress to the body's cells, bring down the levels of blood cholesterol and also lessen the risks of developing strokes and heart attacks. It is understood that consuming olive oil regularly can also help in diminishing the chances of developing specific forms of cancers, for instance colon cancer.

Consumption of olive oil and bone health

Scientific studies into the relation between olive oil consumption and bone health is something that is rather new. The bone health benefits of consuming olive oil are attributed to its high content of vitamins, fatty acids, minerals and components soluble in water. Olive oil contains rich amounts of a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid, in addition to linoleic acid. Some studies undertaken in the 1980s revealed a relation between ingestion of elevated levels of monounsaturated fats and fewer intakes of polyunsaturated fats - the type of equilibrium present in olive oil, and bone health.

Researchers undertook the first clinical study on this subject on lab animals in 2008. The findings of this study showed that rats that consumed a diet rich in olive oil has augmented bone formation. Researchers are of the view that the antioxidant phenolic compounds present in olive oil support and facilitate mineralization of bones as well as bone tissue development. Another study was undertaken on humans in 2013. Findings of this study revealed that consumption of increased amounts of olive oil for a period of two years was related to augmented calcium levels in the bones.

The findings of the second study can be a good reason, if any is required, for consuming Mediterranean diet, which is an excellent option for everyone who is keen to promote their health, especially bone health, on a long-term basis. Consuming Mediterranean diet helps to lessen inflammation all over the body, while lessening the chances of several chronic ailments. As an added bonus, Mediterranean diet is also useful for the health of the bones. It not only helps to make the bones stronger and healthier, but also decreases the risks of bone fractures. Most importantly, eating the Mediterranean diet also helps to improve the quality of life for people as they age.

Radish offers cardiovascular, urinary health, other health benefits

As the warmer months arrive, it is common for every one to crave for foods that are fresh as well as cooling. In fact, this is the time when the roasted and toasty warm dishes of winter make way for lighter foods. If you are among those who desire to add some savour and refreshing twang to your foods during spring and summer, you need not look further than the handsome radish, which is reputed for its potent flavour as well as effective health benefits.

There are a number of reasons why you would prefer to incorporate the zesty and zingy radish into your diet. You ought to know that consumption of this root vegetable is good for the health of our heart, effective in protecting us from urinary infections and other problems associated with the urinary tract, useful for regulating blood pressure and so on.

In fact, radishes offer several health benefits and let us look at them in further detail.

Radishes are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases

This root vegetable is packed with a variety of phyto-nutrients (flavonoid) called anthocyanins. These compounds give radishes their bright red color, and are also responsible for the numerous health benefits offered by the vegetable. Findings of several studies have shown that this flavonoid is associated with lessening occurrences of cardiovascular disease. In addition, this compound also possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.

Radishes are considered to be a great vegetable since it contains elevated concentration of vitamin C, which helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases. In addition, vitamin C also helps to perk up the health of our cardiovascular system, as it keeps the levels of cholesterol in check. Moreover, vitamin C also helps in the production of the protein called collagen, which is responsible for keeping the walls of the blood vessels well-built as well as healthy.

Radish helps to ease, prevent urinary infections and disorders

Radishes possess diuretic property and, hence, this root vegetable is a wonderful option for preventing as well as curing infections in the urinary tract. Drinking the juice of radish possesses the ability to soothe as well as alleviate the pain accompanied with the burning sensation that some people experience when they have infections in the urinary tract or bladder.

Radishes among top foods that lower high blood pressure

Radishes are loaded with potassium, which is reputed to lower high blood pressure. Therefore, this root vegetable is highly beneficial for people suffering from hypertension. When potassium enters the arteries, this essential mineral helps to unwind the blood vessels, thereby enhancing the flow of blood, which, in turn, reduces high blood pressure. This is mainly because relaxed blood vessels help the blood to flow freely, without having to force itself through inflexible and constricted vessels.

How to incorporate radishes into your diet

Radishes are crispy, flavourful as well as zesty. Hence, this root vegetable is a very simple, economical and flavourful means to add some zing to your menu. There are a number of ways you can employ this root vegetable in your diet.

The easiest way is to slice freshly obtained radishes and consume them raw along with some amount of genuine, creamy butter. In fact, the French consume radishes in this way and there is no doubt that the French are familiar with the best way to eat them and, hence, have very low incidences of heart diseases.

Alternatively you may cut radishes in the julienne style - slicing them in pieces like matchsticks, and then toss these pieces in some risotto. This helps to add a flavourful crunch that counterbalances the creaminess of rice.

Another way to enjoy radishes is to slice the vegetable and roast it along with some coconut oil, fresh butter, salt and lemon juice. Simply toss these items together and spread radishes over a baking sheet. Subsequently, put them inside the oven for about 18 minutes to 20 minutes at 450°F.