Monthly Archives: December 2016

Carrots : from heart disease to cancer

Like many vegetables, the early history of carrots centered on various medicinal attributes thought suitable for curing a wide range of conditions and maladies

Beta-Carotene and More: What Nutrients Are Found in Carrots?

A serving of carrots (one medium carrot or ½ cup chopped) will provide about:

  • 210% of the average daily recommended amount of vitamin A
  • 10% vitamin K
  • 6% vitamin C
  • 2% calcium

The high vitamin A content, for which carrots are best known, comes from beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in your liver. Interestingly, there’s a reason why ‘carrot’ and ‘carotene’ sound so alike. The word carotene was devised in the early 19th century by a German scientist after he crystallized the compound from carrot roots.

Carrot seed oil also contain potassium, vitamin B6, copper, folic acid, thiamine and magnesium. I generally recommend eating carrots in moderation because they contain more sugar than any other vegetable aside from beets,

However, when eaten as part of an overall healthy diet, the nutrients in carrots may provide you with protection against heart disease and stroke while helping you to build strong bones and a healthy nervous system.

What Does the Research Say About Carrots?

There’s good reason to include carrots in your regular diet, as the science is very strong that they may help reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Cancer

Antioxidants in carrots, including beta-carotene, may play a role in cancer prevention. Research has shown that smokers who eat carrots more than once a week have a lower risk of lung cancer,4 while a beta-carotene-rich diet may also protect against prostate cancer.5

The consumption of beta-carotene is also associated with a lower risk of colon cancer6 while carrot juice extract may kill leukemia cells and inhibit their progression.7

Carrots also contain falcarinol, a natural toxin that protects carrots against fungal disease. It’s thought that this compound may stimulate cancer-fighting mechanisms in the body, as it’s been shown to cut the risk of tumor development in rats.8

Vision

A deficiency in vitamin A can cause your eye’s photoreceptors to deteriorate, which leads to vision problems. Eating foods rich in beta-carotene may restore vision,9 lending truth to the old adage that carrots are good for your eyes.

Brain Health

Carrot extract has been found to be useful for the management of cognitive dysfunctions and may offer memory improvement and cholesterol-lowering benefits.

Liver Protection

Carrot extract may help to protect your liver from the toxic effects of environmental chemicals.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Carrot extract also has anti-inflammatory properties and provided anti-inflammatory benefits that were significant even when compared to anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Celebrex.

 

Drink apple cider vinegar in every meal

With regards to consumable cures, apple juice vinegar (ACV) has a religion like after. Message sheets and flawed “master” articles flourish with cases that this kitchen staple produced using matured squeezed apple is stuffed with fiber and supplements and can cure pretty much anything, from sugar yearnings to indigestion to diabetes to tumor to obstruction.

Sounds great, right? The bad news: Many of these apple cider vinegar claims are totally unfounded. Turns out, good old ACV contains little to no fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and it’s not been proven as a cure-all for most conditions.

But there are several claims for apple cider vinegar that studies do back up. First, it can help you absorb more nutrients from food, but that’s true whether you slug apple cider vinegar straight or add it to raw concoctions like salad dressings. Second, it can reduce blood sugar spikes after you eat, which, in turn, can help limit cravings and the likelihood you’ll develop type 2 diabetes. In fact, one study found that consuming apple cider vinegar before meals reduced the blood glucose levels of patients with prediabetes by nearly half.

Pretty cool, no doubt. But being a skeptic, I wanted to see for myself whether swigging a tablespoon of vinegar before meals would really banish my cravings and help me eat less. So I grabbed a bottle of Bragg’s and here’s what happened:

1. Downing apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach can make you queasy. Maybe I drank it too fast, but after each glass of ACV-infused water, I felt like I’d just eaten something bad. Nothing crazy happened, but I had this uneasy sensation in my stomach, I burped a lot, and I felt like anything else I put down the hatch might end up coming right back up. So, yes, vinegar curbed my desire to eat, but not in a pleasant way.

2. Taking ACV after a meal works much better. The whole pre-meal thing didn’t work for me. After all, what was the point of feeling semi-nauseous and not wanting to eat before a healthy meal that you’d planned on eating? A better option, I found, was drinking it when I’d already eaten a meal but was still feeling hungry for more. Because I already had a base of food in my stomach, I avoided that queasy feeling, but the apple cider vinegar definitely helped reduce my desire to polish off leftover Christmas cookies.

3. ACV can help get things moving. This was unexpected (and I’ll spare you details), but there was a definite correlation between apple cider vinegar consumption and, well, let’s call it decreased transit time. I could definitely see the appeal of using this as a gentle, natural laxative when things are backed up. Who knew?

4. You’ll burn your esophagus unless you learn to drink apple cider vinegar the right way. Don’t take this stuff straight—it burns like fire (worse than vodka and with no pleasant buzz). Your best bet: Mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 8 oz of water, and then drink it with a straw to minimize contact with your taste buds. I found this method tolerable, although the taste was still slightly reminiscent of feet after a sweaty summer workout session.

Bottom line: While this experiment was enlightening and it did help curb cravings, I’m not making the apple cider vinegar-water blend part of my daily routine. Instead, I’ll be more likely to use it periodically to quell a Krispy Kreme craving or if I’m constipated. And I’m definitely all about using it in healthy homemade dressings to get more nutrients out of all my salad veggies.

The tea that lowers blood pressure

The hibiscus bloom is worshipped for its magnificence, and it merits rise to regard for its mending powers. Numerous species have been utilized as a part of customary solution, notwithstanding giving refreshment teas. The tea is harsh and tart—think cranberries—so individuals regularly include sugar or potentially citrus.

Now there’s exciting research backing up hibiscus tea’s medicinal benefits, especially for heart health. Scientists have confirmed that the deep red flowers gently lower blood pressure, thanks to their diuretic properties (they help the body eliminate excess water) and the fact that their anthocyanins block angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), the compound that causes blood vessels to constrict—exactly what the prescription combo of lisinopril and hydrochlorothiazide does, but to a milder degree and without side effects.

Hibiscus Tea Recipe
This makes a great, refreshing tea.

The ingredients:
4 c water
3 Tbsp dried or 4-5 Tbsp fresh hibiscus flowers
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp raw sugar
Juice of 1 orange

Boil water and pour over hibiscus and cinnamon stick. Steep for 20 minutes. Strain out hibiscus and cinnamon stick. Add sugar and orange. Serve hot or iced.

Impacts of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health

Soft drink utilization has turned into a very unmistakable and dubious general wellbeing and open arrangement issue. Soda pops are seen by numerous as a noteworthy donor to stoutness and related medical issues and have thusly been focused as a way to shorten the rising commonness of heftiness, especially among kids. Soda pops have been restricted from schools in Britain and France, and in the United States, educational systems as vast as those in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Miami have prohibited or seriously constrained soda pop deals. Numerous US states have considered statewide bans or points of confinement on soda deals in schools, with California passing such enactment in 2005. A key question is whether moves made to diminish soda pop utilization are justified given the accessible science and whether diminishing populace utilization of sodas would profit general wellbeing.

The issue is not new. In 1942 the American Medical Association mentioned soft drinks specifically in a strong recommendation to limit intake of added sugar.1 At that time, annual US production of carbonated soft drinks was 90 8-oz (240-mL) servings per person; by 2000 this number had risen to more than 600 servings.2 In the intervening years, controversy arose over several fundamental concerns: whether these beverages lead to energy overconsumption; whether they displace other foods and beverages and, hence, nutrients; whether they contribute to diseases such as obesity and diabetes; and whether soft drink marketing practices represent commercial exploitation of children.3–5

The industry trade association in the United States (the American Beverage Association, formerly the National Soft Drink Association) counters nutrition concerns with several key points: (1) the science linking soft drink consumption to negative health outcomes is flawed or insufficient, (2) soft drinks are a good source of hydration, (3) soft drink sales in schools help education by providing needed funding, (4) physical activity is more important than food intake, and (5) it is unfair to “pick on” soft drinks because there are many causes of obesity and there are no “good” or “bad” foods. Similar positions have been taken by other trade associations such as the British Soft Drinks Association and the Australian Beverages Council.

Legislative and legal discussions focusing on soft drink sales often take place on political and philosophical grounds with scant attention to existing science. Our objectives were to review the available science, examine studies that involved the use of a variety of methods, and address whether soft drink consumption is associated with increased energy intake, increased body weight, displacement of nutrients, and increased risk of chronic diseases.
In addition to effects on energy intake and weight, it is important to know whether soft drinks displace essential nutrients and contribute to overall poorer diets. Our review showed that increased soft drink intake is related to lower consumption of milk and calcium, but average effect sizes were small. Soft drink consumption was also related to higher intake of carbohydrates, lower intakes of fruit and dietary fiber, and lower intakes of a variety of macronutrients in cross-sectional, longitudinal, and longer-term experimental studies.