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Archive for the ‘Fruits’ Category

According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, grapefruit is a powerhouse of nutrition and an excellent source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin A, potassium, folate, vitamin B5, and phytochemicals such as liminoids and lycopene:

  • Vitamin C helps to support the immune system and fight free radical damage.
  • Lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient, appears to have anti-tumor activity.
  • Limonoids inhibit tumor formation by promoting the formation of a detoxifying enzyme.
  • Pectin is a form of soluble fiber that has been shown in animal studies to slow the progression of atherosclerosis.

In addition, studies have revealed that eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice, reduces the risk of kidney stones, protects against lung and colon cancer, significantly increases the production and activity of liver enzymes responsible for eliminating toxins from the body, and helps repair damaged DNA in human prostate cancer cells.

Cacao is the seed of a fruit of an Amazonian tree that was brought to Central America during or before the time of the Olmecs. Cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as money. Montezuma, the famous Aztec emperor, had his vaults filled not with gold but with about 960,000,000 raw cacao beans.

In 1753 Carl von Linnaeus, the 18th-century Swedish scientist, thought that cacao was so important that he named the genus and species of this tree Theobroma cacao, which literally means “cacao, the food of the gods.”

Cacao beans contain no sugar and between 12% and 50% fat depending on variety and growth conditions. There is no evidence to implicate cacao bean consumption with obesity.

Sulfur and Magnesium

Cacao is remarkably rich in sulfur and magnesium.

It seems to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. This is likely the primary reason women crave chocolate during the menstrual period.

Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and is associated with more happiness. Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD); over 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in Magnesium.

Cacao is high in the beauty mineral sulfur. Sulfur builds strong nails, hair, beautiful, shiny skin, detoxifies the liver, and supports healthy pancreas functioning. Anecdotal reports indicate that cacao detoxifies mercury because it is so high sulfur.

Stimulant or Superfood?

Cacao contains subtle amounts of caffeine and theobromine. However, experiments have shown that these stimulants are far different when consumed raw than cooked.

Consider the following: Experimental provings of chocolate by Homeopaths indicate its stimulating effect when cooked. One experiment conducted with a decoction of roasted ground cacao beans in boiling water produced an excitement of the nervous system similar to that caused by black coffee, an excited state of circulation, and an accelerated pulse. Interestingly, when the same decoction was made with raw, unroasted beans neither effect was noticeable, leading the provers to conclude that the physiological changes were caused by aromatic substances released during roasting.

MAO Inhibitors

Cacao seems to diminish appetite, probably due to its monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAO inhibitors) – these are different from digestiveenzyme inhibitors found in most nuts and seeds. These rare MAO inhibitors actually produce favorable results when consumed by allowing more serotonin and other neurotransmitters to circulate in the brain. MAO inhibitors facilitate youthening and rejuvenation.

Phenylethylamine (PEA)

Phenylethylamine (PEA) is found in chocolate. PEA is an adrenal-relatedchemical that is also created within the brain and released when we are in love. This is one of the reasons why love and chocolate have a deep correlation. PEA also plays a role in increasing focus and alertness.

Anandamide (The Bliss Chemical)

A neurotransmitter called anandamide, has been isolated in cacao. Anandamide is also produced naturally in the brain. Anandamide is known as “The Bliss Chemical” because it is released while we are feeling great. Cacao contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease our bodies’ ability to breakdown anandamide. This means that natural anandamide and/or cacaoanandamide may stick around longer, making us feel good longer, when we eat cacao.

Antioxidants

According to research cited in The New York Times, fresh cacao beans are super-rich in antioxidant flavonols. Cacao beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) per 100 grams of flavonol antioxidants. This is a whopping 10% antioxidant concentration level! This makes cacao one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food. Compare the cacao bean to processed cocoa powder (defatted, roasted cacao treated with potassium carbonate) and chocolates which range in flavonol content from the more common concentration of 500 milligrams per 100 grams in normal chocolate bars to 5,000 milligrams in Mars Corporation’s special Cocoapro cocoa powder. Research has demonstrated that the antioxidants in cacao are highly stable and easily available to human metabolism. Cornell University food scientists found that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times what is found in green tea. Their findings were published in an article entitled “Cocoa has more Phenolic Phytochemicals and a higher Antioxidant Capacity than Teas and Red Wine,” found in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication. Scientists have known that cocoa contains significant antioxidants, but no one knew just how rich they were compared with those in red wine and green tea. The Cornell researchers, led by Chang Y. Lee, chairman of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., say the reason that cocoa leads the other drinks is its high content of antioxidant compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids. They discovered 611 milligrams of the phenolic compound gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of the flavonoid epicatechin equivalents (ECE) in a single serving of cocoa. Examining a glass of red wine, the researchers found 340 milligrams of GAE and 163 milligrams of ECE. In a cup of green tea, they found 165 milligrams of GAE and 47 milligrams of ECE. Antioxidant ORAC levels per 100 grams:

broccoli – 890
alfalfa sprouts – 930
plums – 949
brussel sprouts – 980
raspberries – 1220
spinach – 1260
strawberries – 1540
kale – 1,770
blackberries – 2036
blueberries – 2,400
raisins – 2,830
prunes – 5,770
dark chocolate – 13,120

The ORAC test examines the antioxidant levels of various foods. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the level of antioxidants present in the food. Source: US Department of Agriculture / Journal of the American Chemical Society

Cacao and dark chocolate boost antioxidants; however, the addition of dairy products/milk cancels out the effects of antioxidants. Studies indicate that dairy products specifically block the absorption of all the great antioxidants in chocolate.

Other facts on Raw Cacao beans

  • Raw Cacao is the latest Raw Super Food available on the market today.
  • It is a true super food unlike anything that has come before.
  • As already previously discussed, it is the highest known source of anti-oxidants by a factor of almost 5.
  • It has nearly 20 times the antioxidant levels of red wine and up to 30 times what is found in green tea.
  • In nature, the primary source of Magnesium is cacao (raw chocolate beans).

Raw chocolate is known to have the following properties:

  • Diminishes appetite and aids in weight loss.
  • · Increases sensuality and beauty.
  • · Helps to heal and open the heart.
  • · Nourishes the intellect and attracts prosperity.

The flavor of Raw Cacao is similar to dark, bitter chocolate one would normally buy at a store. It is great just eaten plain, with honey, or in your favorite smoothi. (or blend Cacao Beans with Coconut Oil, Almond Butter and Honey – totally divine).

One of the main differences between raw cacao and the chocolate typically available on the open market (cocoa—a processed substance) is that raw cacao has all the original healthy cacao butter, containing all the original essential fatty acids and amazing taste originally found in the bean. Raw cacao or chocolate should not be confused with other substances such as coco (coconut), kola (a nut whose flavor is used in soft drinks), or coca (the leaf of the plant from which cocaine is derived). Cocoa and cocoa butter are cooked, processed substances derived from raw cacao nibs (orbeans/nuts). All chocolate starts out as raw cacao beans (or nuts —they are actually the seed of the cacao fruit which grows on a tropical tree). Processing, cooking and roasting corrupt the delicate, complex flavor of the cacao nib (bean without the skin). Raw cacao is one of the most, if not the most, nutrient rich and complex foods known to man.

http://www.uncleharrys.com/infobase/product/cacao_beans.php

Picture: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e0/Cocoa_Pods.JPG/240px-Cocoa_Pods.JPG

Health benefits of dates are uncountable, as this fruit is affluent in natural fibres. These natural products also contain oil, calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium which are advantageous for health. Dates are even rich in several vitamins and minerals. It is said that one date is minimum requirement of a balanced and healthy diet. It helps in fighting constipation, intestinal disorders, weight gain, heart problems, sexual weakness, diarrhoea and abdominal cancer.

Health benefits of dates have made them the best nourishment for muscles development. People consume dates in several ways, like mixing the paste of the dates with milk, yoghurt or with bread or butter to make the food tasty and healthy. This paste is beneficial for both adults and children, especially during the time of recovery. According to the modern medicine survey, it is known that dates are useful in preventing abdominal cancer. It is also seen that many Muslims break their fast by eating dates and water according to their traditions. Breaking fast with eating dates helps us to avoid overeating of the food after the fast. When the body absorbs the nutritional value of the dates, the feeling of hunger gets pacified.

Dates are termed as a crown of sweets and ideal food which easily balances and digests food. It gives extra energy to a tired human body within half an hour after taking it. Dates are considered to be the best diet for confinement of the women. American Cancer Society recommends intake of 20-35 grams of dietary fibre in a day, supplied through dates. It is said that taking one date in a day will help you to maintain your healthy eyes for your lifetime. They are quiet effective in guarding the night blindness problems.

Benefits of Dates

  • Constipation: Date is termed to be a laxative food. This is the reason that dates are beneficial for people suffering from constipation. For getting the laxative effect from dates, you need to soak dates for one full night in water. You should consume these soaked dates in the morning like syrup to get their actual advantages.
  • Intestinal Disorders: The nicotinic content that is present in the dates is said to be beneficial for curing any kinds of intestinal disorders. Continuous intake of dates helps to maintain a check on the growth of the pathological organisms and thus, helps in the rise of friendly bacteria in the intestines.
  • Weight Gain: Dates are said to be a part of healthy diet. They consist of sugar, fats, proteins as well as many essential vitamins. If the dates are consumed with the paste of cucumber, one can easily come out from the problem of over-slimming. One kilogram of dates contains almost 3,000 calories. These calories alone are sufficient to meet the daily requirements of a human body.
  • Heart Wealth: Dates are quite helpful in maintaining your heart in healthy condition. When soaked for whole night and crushed in the morning and consumed, they prove to be quite advantageous for weak hearts. They help to fortify heart, if taken twice in the week.
  • Sexual Weakness: Dates are even beneficial for increasing sexual stamina in the human body. A handful of dates, when soaked in fresh goat’s milk for the night and then grinded in the same milk with the mixture of cardamom powder and honey, becomes a very useful tonic for increasing sex endurance and sterility due to functional disorders.
  • Diarrhea: Ripe dates contain potassium. Potassium is beneficial for controlling diarrhea. They are easily digestible, which helps to cope up with the problems of diarrhea.
  • Intoxication: Dates are known as an excellent remedy for alcoholic intoxication. Dates provide quick relief in the case of alcoholic intoxication. They should be rubbed and soaked overnight for getting more nutritious values from them.
  • Abdominal Cancer: Dates are beneficial for curing abdominal cancer. They work as useful tonic for all age groups. They work as better as the medicines, and are natural and do not bear any side effects in the body. They can be easily digested and used for supplying extra and needed energy.

Although dates carry tremendous nutritional values, great care should be taken in their selection because they consists of sticky surface which attracts various impurities in them. Hence, you should consume only those dates that are packed nicely. Make sure to wash them thoroughly before consuming. This will help to remove the impurities present in them.

This article is contributed by Seema Adnani.

References: American Cancer Society

Article: http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-dates.html

Picture: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/senior/fruits/images/large/date.jpg

A single eight-ounce glass of prune juice offers 12% of the daily-recommended allowance for fiber. It’s no secret fiber is one of the most important factors for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Surprisingly, few people understand how prune juice affects the digestive system.

Structure of the Digestive System

The digestive system is composed of five major organs — the gallbladder, intestines, liver, pancreas, and stomach. These organs work together to ensure the nutrients from food are broken down and transported into the bloodstream where they transfer into various cells.

Digestion begins with chewing. The saliva in your mouth mixes with the food you eat and begins to break it down into smaller particles. In your stomach, those particles mix with digestive enzymes coming from the liver (bile), gallbladder (bild), and the pancreas (insulin). These enzymes turn the particles into a liquid that can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Any left over matter travels through the intestines and eventually is passed as a bowel movement.

An Unhealthy Digestive System

If your digestive system is operating poorly, your body can’t receive the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Some signs of poor digestion include constipation, excessive gas, heartburn, and stomachaches. To keep your digestive system performing well, it’s essential to follow a high fiber diet and to stay hydrated.

Improving Digestive Health

These simple tips can increase your digestive system’s overall health:

  • Avoid stress
  • Exercise daily
  • Stop rushing through meals
  • Cut back on excess sugar and fats
  • Abstain from alcohol in any form
  • Drink at least sixty-four ounces of purified water daily
  • For more flavor, stick to decaf tea and 100% organic juice instead of colas

Proper hydration keeps organs running like hand-built Italian sports cars (well, maybe not that perfectly but pretty good). A single glass of organic prune juice provides your organs with additional fluid and also bestows many nutritional benefits.

Benefits of Prune Juice

Benefits of Prune Juice

Pure prune juice is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and potassium—a necessary component in maintaining a healthy heart rhythm. Prune juice contains more antioxidants (nutrients purported to slow the aging process) than blueberries. These antioxidants help cells work their best and are able to absorb nutrients readily.

Nutrients in organic prunes supporting digestive function include:

  • Calcium – Assists the body in processing carbohydrates, fat, and protein
  • Copper – Helps convert carbohydrates into energy
  • Iron – Helps regulate the flow of oxygen to cells and organs
  • Magnesium – Boosts enzymes for breaking down carbohydrates
  • Niacin – Aids the body in processing sugars and fats
  • Pantothenic Acid – Assists the body in metabolizing nutrients
  • Phosphorus – Helps balance the metabolism
  • Potassium – Regulates the balance of fluid and essential minerals
  • Selenium – Keeps cells healthy so they can absorb nutrients
  • Sodium – Regulates the flow of fluids throughout cells
  • Thiamin – Converts carbohydrates into energy
  • Vitamin A – Helps the body manufacture healthy cells
  • Vitamin B6 – Helps convert protein, fats, and carbohydrates into energy
  • Vitamin C – Aids the body in healing damaged tissue and cells
  • Vitamin E – An important antioxidant assisting with cell regeneration
  • Zinc – Helps convert protein, fats, and carbohydrates into energy

Fiber is also an important component of prunes, though not a nutrient. Prunes are replete with insoluble fiber, which serves a few important functions. First, this fiber soaks up huge amounts of water. Water normally gathers in your intestines, causing waste to be passed easily and quickly through the eliminatory system.

Constipation can prevent the digestive system from working effectively, so prune juice acts as an agent in preventing constipation so things keep flowing smoothly. Second, the insoluble fiber found in prunes feeds the helpful bacteria within your intestines. By increasing the helpful bacteria, the disease-causing bacteria are driven out. In fact, a link exists between increased fiber consumption and the prevention of colon cancer. This factor alone should be reason enough for you to drink a little prune juice every day!

Your pancreas helps produce insulin needed to maintain proper blood sugar levels. Evidence proves prune juice can help stabilize blood sugar levels. The soluble fiber within prunes lengthens the time it takes for food to leave the stomach. This slows down the rush of glucose into the circulatory system after a meal, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels. Many nutritionists believe prunes can play a part in decreasing the incidences of Type II Diabetes.

Prunes have gained a rather negative reputation throughout the years as being just for constipated old folks. Sadly, this connotation has overshadowed prunes’ true benefits. A prune is really nothing more than a dried plum; and prune juice is a form of plum juice that has gone through a distillation process. Many people find the syrupy taste of the juice to be off-putting, but some versions provide a tarter flavor that even kids seem to enjoy. Therefore, you can partake of the benefits of prunes without giving up the flavor of fresh plums if that encourages you to consume this healthful snack.

http://www.colon-cleanse-constipation.com/prune-juice.html


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