Archived Articles - April 2016

Major Health Benefits of Consuming Kiwano

Kiwano (scientific name Cucumis metuliferus) is known by many other names such as horned melon, melano, hedged gourd and African horned cucumber. Native to Southern Africa, kiwano has a strange appearance. Aside from Australia and New Zealand, not many people outside Africa knew about this fruit until the 20th century. As the fruit is called kiwano, many think that this fruit is biologically related to kiwis. Actually, the fruit gets its name owing to the similarity of its appearance as well as texture with kiwis.

On its outside, kiwano has an orange or gold skin with little spikes, while internally the appearance of the fruit resembles that of a kiwi. The pulp of the fruit encloses the key culinary element.

Experts are of the view that kiwano or the horned melon is loaded with an assortment of organic compounds and nutrients. Moreover, the experts guess water makes up about 80 percent of kiwano's weight. The nutrient profile of kiwano makes this fruit ideal for consumption for the overall promotion of one's health.

Kiwano is loaded with a potent antioxidant called alpha-tocopherol, which is effective in augmenting the performance of the nerves and blood vessels. This aside, antioxidants are also essential for the body to slow down the progress of and also eliminate the harmful free radicals so that they are unable to harm the body and cause diseases.

This fruit also contains vitamin E, which is believed to possess the ability to improve the functioning of the brain and, at the same time, lessen the risks of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia. In addition, kiwano is rich in several varieties of tocopherol. This makes kiwano a perfect fruit for rejuvenate the minds of the young and old alike.

The effect of kiwano on the heart is perhaps the best health benefit offered by this fruit. Consumption of kiwano is said to boost the functioning of the heart and also prevent various heart diseases. This effect of the fruit is attributed to its linoleic acid content. It has been established that linoleic acid helps to make the heart muscles stronger. At the same time, kiwano contains negligible levels of cholesterol.

Moreover, kiwano contains very low amounts of fats and fewer calories. About 80 percent of the fruit is made up of water. As a result, consuming kiwano keeps you well hydrated and also make you feel full, thereby reducing craving for food and preventing you from overeating. However, this should not be a reason for concern because it does not reduce the nutrient intake since the fruit contains several vital nutriments, which help to keep you healthy.

The metabolic process helps to convert the complex nutrients into simpler products so that the body is able to utilize them effectively. As metabolism is very important for our body, it is essential to provide the body with the nutrients necessary for carrying out the various bodily functions effectively. Zinc is one such essential nutrient. Often people neglect this mineral, but it has several vital functions inside our body, for instance improving the metabolism, speed up the healing process, produce proteins and also improve the health of our cells, organs and even the blood vessels. It is strongly recommended that you consume kiwano regularly with a view to ensure that you intake enough zinc through your diet. Kiwano is loaded with this essential mineral.

Consumption of kiwano also helps to diminish the signs related to aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and others. This aspect of the fruit is attributed to the fruits antioxidant, vitamin and various organic compounds that help to keep the skin youthful and healthy. Moreover, eating sufficient amounts of kiwano can be helpful in treating as well as preventing blemishes and also lessening the chances of getting scars caused by blemishes.

The continuing changes in hormonal balance in our body is said to be the basic cause for stress and tension. These hormones include adrenaline as well as stress hormone. However, we are fortunate that the organic compounds found in kiwano may prove to be effective in tackling this issue, as these compounds help to govern the levels of different hormones in our body. Therefore, it is advisable that people struggling with anxiety, depression and stress should consume kiwano in reasonable amounts with a view to unwind their body as well as the mind and eliminate stress fast.

Most of us are aware that vitamin A is essential for the health of the eyes, as this nutrient functions like an antioxidant, thereby protecting the eyes from damages caused by free radicals. Therefore, consuming kiwano may prove to be effective in reducing the chances of developing cataract and macular degeneration significantly, mainly owing to adequate intake of vitamin A. In fact, vitamin A is found in several vegetables and fruits, including kiwano.

Aside from vitamins and antioxidants, kiwano also contains elevated levels of various essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese and others. These minerals are essential for our body for several purposes, including bone formation and health, encouraging the growth and development of bones and also reduce the chances of developing diseases related to bones, for instance osteoporosis.

Fruits that contain rich amounts of dietary fiber are beneficial for the health of our digestive system as well as for promoting digestion. Dietary fiber not only cleanses the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and promotes peristaltic motion, but it also helps to prevent several diseases related to the gastric tract such as constipation, bloating, gastric ulcers as well as cancer. In addition to these, intake of adequate dietary fiber also assists in maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. At the same time, dietary fiber also helps to deal with the insulin receptors, thereby preventing diabetes and various heart diseases. Kiwano is one fruit that is rich in dietary fiber content.

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Five healthy therapeutic roots that protect your health

Have you ever wondered what functions the roots of plants have apart from anchoring the plants to the soil? In fact, roots are akin to foragers; they venture out into unknown territories in search of water and nutrients for the plants. As they trail out, the roots develop minute hairs that aid in drawing the water and nutrients required for the healthy growth of the plants. Subsequently, they transport the water and minerals to the rhizome, the trunk of the plant, branches, the leaves and flowers. As a result, they are effective in providing life as well as vigour to different parts of the plants.

While these are the basic functions of any root, there are some roots which do a lot more than just supplying the plants with water and nutrients. In fact, these roots as well as rhizomes are meant for providing humans, and of course other animals, with their basic medicines. Some roots actually interact intelligently with the human body, cleanse it, rectify the imbalances and even treat the ailments suffered by them. Precisely speaking, some roots act like living helpmates and connect humans to the Earth by preventing diseases.

As plants depend on their roots to grow and develop, man needs to take lessons from this and also look for roots to provide him with nourishment, balance and strength to overcome all physical and mental problems. However, it is unfortunate that majority of the salads offered in restaurants don't contain any healing roots that nature has made available to man.

The most important root that you should study, consume and enjoy is perhaps the ginger rhizome. Aside from being spicy as well as flavourful, this root offers several health benefits. It is an instant remedy for conditions like stomach ache, nausea, non-essential vomiting and even menstrual cramps. Oral use of ginger root also helps to improve the blood's cholesterol profile quickly. At the same time, it improves digestion or utilization of the ingested nutrients. Moreover, the ginger root is also a very potent anti-inflammatory agent.

Parsnip is another important root that offers several health benefits. These roots bear plenty of resemblance to carrots and are considered to be a therapeutic crop. Parsnips contain elevated levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. There was a time when parsnips were found growing in the wild in locations at altitudes of 1.500 meters higher than the sea level in several places in Italy. Currently, they are cultivated and also used for culinary purposes. Traditionally, parsnips have been used in stews. However, you can also consume them after steaming, baking or add them to stir-fry recipes. These roots are also loaded with vitamin C.

These days plenty of people are becoming interested in turmeric, particularly for its remedial worth. The rhizome of turmeric encloses a potent phytochemical called curcumin, which is effective in healing several conditions in our body. For instance, turmeric is effective in preventing the development of colon cancer. A scientific study undertaken to explore the health benefits of this underground rhizome found that curcumin worked to put the cells of colon cancer through a process known as phosphorylation, which changes the function as well as activity of specific protein enzymes. Several studies showed that curcumin resulted in cancer cells belonging to the wild-type p53 HTC-116 to destroy themselves on their own. In addition, curcumin was found to destroy cancer cells of mutant p53 HT-29.

Although scientists have documented the properties and powers of curcumin well, it seems that the greatest challenge is utilizing the properties of this rhizome because its bio-availability is very poor. The best way to augment the overall curative effect of curcumin is to consume the rhizome with cayenne, black pepper and any healthy oil, such as coconut oil. Consuming a little amount of turmeric daily will go a long way in significantly improving the quality of an individual life, improving digestion, lessening inflammation, and also protecting the blood as well as the brain from toxic substances.

Wild carrots are another type of roots vital for our health and wellbeing. In almost all regions of North America you will find wild carrots growing along roadsides, in the fields and ditches. Wild carrot is like a firm, woody root with a bodacious scent that bears resemblance to the popular orange-hued domesticated carrots we find today. You can harvest wild carrots, boil them to prepare a soup, especially when you are in a survival situation. Actually, people mostly enjoy the orange variety of wild carrots. It is worth mentioning here that one cupful of chopped orange carrots provides us with a wonderful amount of vitamins A, C and K, vitamin B6, niacin, folate, thiamine, dietary fiber, and essential minerals like potassium and manganese.

Burdock is also an exceptional herb that is highly effective for cleansing the blood. This herb is found growing in the wild in vacant lands and fields. Unfortunately, of late, several towns and municipal authorities have passed laws stating that burdock and some similar herbs are a nuisance. When a municipal law describes a herb as a weed, it needs to be destroyed immediately using toxic herbicides. Such restrictive laws notwithstanding, burdock is held in esteem therapeutically owing to its cleansing and antiseptic properties. In fact, the root of burdock is not only beneficial for the health of our skin, but it is also effective in treating diabetes, gout, kidney stones, infections of the urinary tract, and cysts.

People in Japan use the burdock root for preparing miso soups. When you use this cleansing herb, it is advisable that you drink plenty of water as it will help to augment the detoxifying process and, at the same time, put off the body being dehydrated. Burdock root is available in the form of a powdered herbal supplement. Since this herb is highly potent, it should always be used in very small doses (1 teaspoon). When used in combination with turmeric, it becomes more effective and helps the natural detoxification processes of the body significantly.

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Avocado Offers Six Potent Anticancer Benefits

Usually, avocados are thought to be good for our health. People are recommended to consume this fruit in limited amounts owing to its elevated levels of fat content. According to a rough estimate about 60 percent of Americans prefer avocados. This is a good trend because avocados are among the best fruits you can have. What is still better is that findings of latest studies hint that consuming avocados may be vital for treating various forms of cancer.

It has been found that consumption of avocados helps to protect women from breast cancer, as it contains high intensity of carotenoids. In addition, this fruit also facilitates the body to take up carotenoid from vegetables rich in this nutrient. This is mainly because of the high fat content of avocados.

Aside from fat, avocados contain vitamin C and vitamin E, which work to improve the presence of antioxidants in our body. In fact, vitamin C also recycles vitamin E, thereby helping in reducing the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol oxidation. Avocados enclose various antioxidants such as epicatechin, neochrome, violaxanthin and another dozen or so. Antioxidants work to combat the harmful actions of free radicals, which are basically precarious by-products of cellular metabolism.

Glutathione is considered to be the master antioxidant in our body. When the levels of glutathione increase, it helps the liver to detoxify the body more effectively and, at the same time, it shields the cells in our body from oxidative stress. In addition, whey protein also augments the levels of glutathione in the healthy cells, while reducing the levels of glutathione in the carcinogenic cells.

Chemical analysis of avocados has shown that this fruit encloses lutein, an anti-carcinogenic carotenoid. Lutein is useful in lowering the hazards of developing prostate cancer in men, and also protects the eyes from incurable conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. Glutathione is yet another anti-cancer constituent of avocado and this can reduce the occurrences of oral as well as pharyngeal cancer significantly. In addition, this fruit contains high amounts of vitamins, the essential mineral potassium and fats that are good for the health of our heart.

Phytonutrients and phytochemicals are naturally occurring substances that help to eliminate tumour cells. These substances have been found in several fruits. Avocados help the body to take up carotenoids easily and quickly. Carotenoids are basically organic substances that are beneficial for the health of our skin, eyes and teeth. Consumption of 50 grams of flesh or pulp of this fruit helps to augment the absorption of carotenoids two-fold.

Apparently, carotenoids protect us from specific forms of cancers, age-related macular degeneration and heart disease. It has been found that the concentration of carotenoids is most in the deep green part of the fruit, which is nearest its peel.

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Using natural remedies to effectively repair receding gums

Gum disease or receding gums is basically the deterioration of periodontal ligament that attaches the tooth with the socket. Gum disease also involves the degeneration of the tissues in the region of the mouth, which causes the gums to become inflamed and swollen, consequently over-exposing the roots. When this happens, it results in a space between the teeth and the gum line, thereby making the teeth look relatively longer. Unfortunately, majority of the people do not become conscious of the problem until they suffer tooth sensitivity.

There are a number of drugs to treat this problem, but they certainly come with side effects. On the contrary, natural remedies are better as they do not cause any adverse effects. Some effective home remedies are discussed in brief below to help you to mend as well as reverse your damaged gums.

Aloe vera: This herb possesses healing as well as anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which are effective in protecting the teeth and gums from decay and degeneration. Aloe vera can be used to effectively treat infections as well as damaged gums. Squeeze out the gel from a fresh aloe vera and use it to brush your teeth. You can do this after a regular tooth brush, flossing and using mouthwash.

Coconut oil: This is another super natural remedy for various different health problems. You can use coconut oil daily as a preventive measure for receding gums as well as overall oral hygiene. This oil possesses anti-microbial properties and, hence, is excellent for healing receding gums. After your regular brushing, take a little virgin coconut oil and use it in the form of a mouthwash. Using coconut oil in this way will help to protect your teeth against bacteria and other germs responsible for various oral diseases and, at the same time, avoid food particles as well as germs to remain between the teeth and cause tooth decay.

Turmeric: Aside from its other health benefits, turmeric is considered to be one of the best home remedies for healing receding and degenerating gums. Turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Therefore, it not only eliminates infections effectively, but paves the way for quick healing as well as removal of detrimental toxins from the mouth. To cure receding gums, you need to blend one teaspoon of turmeric powder with one teaspoon of dried neem leaf powder and use the mixture to brush your teeth and massage your gums thrice every day.

Eucalyptus: This is a potent and aromatic essential oil that eliminates all germs in the mouth effectively, in addition to preventing gum diseases and tooth decay, which result in receding gums. This essential oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which aid in lessening the swelling of the gums. As eucalyptus essential oil is very potent, it needs to be diluted with water before use. Massage the diluted eucalyptus oil onto the gums for few minutes once daily and subsequently wash your mouth.

Green tea: It contains a natural antioxidant called catechin, which is effective in combating bacteria responsible for periodontal disease. Drinking one cup of green tea as the first thing in the morning will help to diminish gum infections and, at the same time, augment oral health and hygiene.

Cloves: For centuries people have been traditionally using cloves for curing tooth decay. In fact, clove oil is considered to possess antiseptic, antifungal and germicidal properties. All these attributes of this oil make it an amazing remedy for triggering development as well as mending damaged tissues. It has been found that regular use of cloves is beneficial for eliminating bacteria from the mouth, as it is a very potent germicide.

Sesame oil: Like clove oil and turmeric, sesame oil is also a wonderful natural home remedy for curing receding gums. In order to obtain the best results, you should ideally take one-fourth cup of sesame oil and thoroughly swish your mouth with it. This natural oil also provides a defensive coat to the gums and teeth and puts off dental decay and receding gums.

Sage leaves: Sage leaves are also useful for maintaining the health of your gums and teeth. You can rub these leaves on the gums and teeth as well as in the region around them as a preventive measure against tooth decay and degenerating gums. In addition, they are effective in treating receding gums. You can boil sage leaves in water to prepare a tea and use it in the form of a mouth wash for protecting your gums from decay.