Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spinach Health Benefits

You probably don’t like eating spinach because of its bitter taste but you know spinach can give you a lot health benefits. A great strengthening and energizing vegetable is one of spinach health benefits, spinach makes an excellent food for anyone feeling tired and run down, and for the anemic and elderly. A storehouse of nutrients, it contains vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, iron, folic acid, potassium, calcium, magnesium and chlorophyll. Spinach has the bonus of being easy to digest and, in fact, has digestive properties itself, enhancing appetite and stimulating digestion and absorption by increasing the secretion of digestive enzymes and bile.

Spinach is thought to have originated in South-West Asia or the Western Himalayas, and was first cultivated in Persia. The early Arabs apparently prized it as a dish of great distinction and took it to Spain in the 10th century, from where its popularity spread to the rest of Europe. It was grown by monks in many medieval monasteries in Europe and formed part of a peasant’s diet and brought a lot spinach health benefits for people at that time. In 16th century England, it became popular as a light, nutritious and easily digested vegetable. It was given to convalescents and the weak and infirm to impart vigor and strength and to help restore them to health. In the early 20th century, spinach was considered an excellent food not only for anemia and lassitude, but also for kidney and heart problems, indigestion, piles and constipation.

Spinach is delicious in soups and vegetable dishes, impacting a rich, tangy flavor and vibrant dark-green color that almost makes you feel better just looking at it. The abundant chlorophyll and bioflavonoids that give spinach its wonderful hue are also greatly therapeutic. Another spinach health benefits is when taken regularly, they are believed to help deactivate carcinogens in the body and so may inhabit tumor formation. Among the bioflavonoids are the carotenoids beta-carotene and lutein, which have both been shown to help prevent cancer of the colon, stomach, lungs and the prostate. It is said that of all vegetable juices spinach may be the best for cancer prevention.

Here are some spinach health benefits:

• Spinach’s mild laxative action helps to clear wastes from the bowel and prevent against heart and circulatory problems.
• Aids the elimination of toxins via the kidneys, so it can be valuable in treating health problems associated with toxicity including skin disease.
• Enhances immunity and so helps the body fight off infection.
• Antioxidants help to ward off degenerative disease including arthritis and heart disease.
• The folic acid in spinach helps to prevent anemia. It is also vital for pregnant women to ensure normal development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord.
• One great spinach health benefits is the carotenoids in spinach have been found to help protect eyesight by protect against macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in people of the age of 65.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Onions Health Benefits

You may know that eating onion is good for health to prevent some illnesses but what are actually onions health benefits? Onions has many health benefits. The onion is usually referred to as “the king of vegetables” due to its taste of pungency, culinary versatility and powerful antiseptic properties. Full of vitamins A, B and C, it’s really strong source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. When raw, onion is great digestive stimulant and liver tonic. One of the best onion health benefits is, when you cooked, it can help relieve chronic constipation and flatulence. A tea of boiled onion skins can lessen the unpleasant signs and symptoms of diarrhea.

A close relation of garlic, onion was venerated by the ancient Egyptians as a symbol of vitality and as a cure-all for many illnesses. Ancient records reveal its use in religious rites and healing as early as 4000BC. Its antiseptic qualities have proved effective against infectious diseases such as typhoid, cholera and the plague. As recently as World War II, vapors from onion paste reduced the pain and accelerated the healing of soldiers’ wounds.

Healing drinks containing onions take a wide variety of forms such as infusion, soup, vine, decoction, syrup and juice. You can use any variety of globe onion but not pickling onions. If you like your onions strong and pungent, try the smaller varieties - they are the ones that make your eyes water when you cut them open. Spanish and Italian red onions are milder than most and often sweet but they bring good onion health benefits. The white and yellow varieties lose some of their strength when heated and infuse other foods with a sweet flavor.

Following are some health benefits of onions:

  • Raw onion is incredibly germ killing. It battles contagious bacteria, such as E, salmonella and coli, and is particularly effective against tuberculosis and transmissions from the urinary tract, including cystitis.

  • Onion’s pungency increases blood circulation and causes sweating, beneficial in cold damp weather to defend against infection, reduce fevers, and sweat out colds and flu.

  • Onion juice is excellent for sore throats, pharyngitis, rhinitis, colds, catarrh and sinusitis, breaking up mucous congestion.

  • Onion’s diuretic and blood- cleansing properties can counter fluid retention, urinary gravel, arthritis and gout.

  • Onion’s detoxifying effects relieve tiredness and exhaustion.

  • Another onion health benefits is to reduce cholesterol level, decrease low-density lipoprotein and help to prevent heart attacks. What you can do is to eat half of medium raw onion every day. Both raw and cooked, onions lower blood pressure level, thin the blood, dissolve thrombus and clear the blood of unhealthy fats.
  • Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Too Much Fiber Can Cause Health Problems

    A diet high in fiber is important to human health, when consumed with adequate fluid, reduces the risk of constipation and disease of the colon because stools are softer and less pressure is needed for defecation. A high-fiber diet may also reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer.

    However, a high-fiber diet or too much fiber consumption can cause problems if fluid intake is not sufficient, or if fiber intake is increased too rapidly. Too much fiber diets also have the potential to affect vitamin and mineral levels and calorie intake.

    Consuming fiber without consuming enough fluid can cause constipation. Fiber increases the need for water because it holds fluid in the gastrointestinal tract. The more fiber there is in the diet, the more water is needed to keep the stool soft. When too little fluid is consumed, the stool becomes hard and difficult to eliminate. Intestinal blockage can occur in severe cases when fiber intake is excessive and fluid intake is low. To avoid these problems, the fluid content of the diet should be increased when fiber consumption increases. Even when there is plenty of fluid, a sudden increase in fiber intake can cause abdominal discomfort, gas, and diarrhea due to the bacterial breakdown of fiber. To avoid these problems, fiber intake should be increased gradually.

    In some people, a diet high in fiber can increase the risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. This occurs for two reasons. First, the increase in the volume of intestinal contents that occurs with too much fiber intake may prevent enzymes from coming in contact with food. If a food cannot be broken down, the vitamins and minerals from that food cannot be absorbed. Second, fiber may bind some minerals, preventing their absorption. For instance, wheat bran fiber binds zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron, reducing their absorption. Too much fiber diet can contribute to deficiencies when the overall diet is low in micronutrients. High-fiber diets are of concern in children because they have small stomachs and high nutrient needs. Children consuming a diet that is very high in fiber may feel full before they have met all their energy and nutrient needs.

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Benefits of Drinking Water

    Most of you might know that the human body is about 60% water but what are the benefits of drinking water? Water is an important constituent of all body tissues and is essential for survival. You could survive for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. This is in part because of water’s role in allowing chemical reactions, including those that provide you with energy, to take place within your cells. A lack of water will cause health symptoms faster than a lack of any other nutrient. Even minor changes in the amount and distribution of body water can be life-threatening. For example, days, and even weeks, without taking in some vitamins and minerals will not cause deficiency symptoms, but an hour of exercise in hot, humid weather can lead to nausea, dizziness, weakness, and other symptoms that are due to lack of water. If the water that’s lost during exercise is not replaced, it can be a life-threatening situation.

    Adequate water consumption each day is one of the benefits of drinking water that can help decrease risk of bladder, breast, and colon cancer as well as of kidney stone formation. People feel and perform better when they are adequately hydrated.

    Water is also essential for maintaining the fluid balance inside your body. Think about it: Your body cells are plump with fluid, and they float in the fluid that surrounds them. As part of your body fluid, water is essential for maintaining fluid balance. Fluid balance refers to the equal distribution of fluid among several compartments in your body. Maintaining the equal distribution of all this body fluid is crucial to health and water and dissolved minerals play key roles.

    Water is a wonderful solvent, a liquid in which substances dissolve. As a solvent, water is part of the medium in which molecules come in contact with each other. This contact between molecules allows chemical reactions to take place. For example, the combining of specific amino acids to synthesize a protein occurs in the watery medium inside your cells.

    The water in blood and lymph helps transport substances throughout your body. Only about 45% of your blood is red blood cells and most of the rest is water. As part of blood, water helps transport oxygen, nutrients, and other important substances to your cells. It also helps transport waste products away from cells to be excreted in urine and stool. Like the fluid in blood, lymph fluid is almost entirely water. Lymph transports proteins back to the bloodstream, and it is important in the absorption of fats.

    Other benefits of drinking water are water in blood helps maintain body temperature by increasing or decreasing the amount of heat lost at the body surface. When body temperature starts to rise, the blood vessels in the skin become wide, which increases blood flow to the skin and allows more heat to be released into the environment. This is why your skin turns red in hot weather or during strenuous activity. In a cold environment, the opposite occurs. The blood vessels in the skin constrict which restricts the flow of blood near the surface and conserves body heat.