Tuesday, July 31, 2012

List of High Alkaline Vegetables

List of High Alkaline Vegetables
Photo Credit spinach image by Ramon Grosso from Fotolia.com
High alkaline vegetables are included in each of the US Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid's vegetable subgroups. Eating alkaline-rich foods, such as vegetables and fruits, helps neutralize the excess acid that builds up in the body as a result of eating an abundance of meat, poultry and dairy products. Consuming more vegetable proteins and less animal proteins may decrease the risk of bone loss and fracture, especially in postmenopausal women, according to the online synopsis of "Building Bone Vitality," a 2009 book that discusses risk factors and preventive measures for osteoporosis.

Grasses and Sprouts

The vegetables with the overall highest alkalinity are grasses and sprouts. Raw foods are more alkalizing than cooked foods, which tend be acidifying. You can use sprouts raw in salads or blend grasses into your smoothies for an alkaline boost. Some of these vegetables are wheat grass, alfalfa grass, barley grass, soy sprouts and sprouted radish seeds.

Dark Green Vegetables

A healthy diet should consist of a higher percentage of alkaline-forming foods than acid-forming foods, according to a 2007 Tufts University study titled "Bone Health In The Elderly" that suggests protein's positive effects on lean muscle may be increased when you eat a vegetable-rich diet. Spinach and fresh endive are the most alkaline-rich leafy green vegetables. Other good choices to raise alkalinity are broccoli, romaine lettuce, escarole, kale and Brussels sprouts. Greens, such as dandelion, chard, collard, and mustard are highly alkaline as well.

Orange Vegetables

For an alkaline boost, choose orange vegetables, such as sweet potato, carrot, acorn or butternut squash and pumpkin. Orange vegetables are not only alkaline-forming, they are rich in beta-carotene, which helps the body create vitamin A, contributing to good vision and a healthy immune system.

Root Vegetables

One of the most alkalizing foods is the summer black radish, which is most beneficial when eaten raw and unpeeled. Red radishes, turnips, beets and parsnips are also high alkaline root vegetables.


Some legume products raise the alkaline level in your system and help neutralize the acid. These include tofu, fresh soybeans, lima beans, white navy beans, green beans and green peas. Other foods in the legume or bean and pea family are more acidic than alkaline. If you eat too many acidic or acid-forming foods, your body begins to leach calcium from your bones to balance the pH levels in your system.

Other Vegetables

Asparagus, onions and garlic are high alkaline vegetables. Also alkaline-rich are
okra, artichokes and zucchini. Tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers and avocado are
alkalizing fruits that are sometimes classified as vegetables

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Southwest Quinoa Salad

Southwest Quinoa Salad

So I hear you’re getting tired of rice, looking for a way to use quinoa, or maybe you want a new way to prepare salad. Or you just want a quick and easy meal that won’t hurt you at some point. Well you couldn’t possibly get better than this salad...great tasting, and gluten free!
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups black beans, cooked and drained OR 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn OR 1 15 oz. can corn, drained
1 cup tomatoes, deseeded and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
Wash quinoa and drain in a strainer. Place water and quinoa into a saucepan, bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer covered until fluffy and tender (about 15 minutes). Allow to cool. Add remaining ingredients. Prepare dressing in a small bowl and mix into quinoa salad.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Benefits of Eating Raisins

What Are the Benefits of Eating Raisins Every Day?
Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
A raisin is a dried grape. According to the website of the National Raisin Company, grapes lose most of their water content when they become raisins, ending with a moisture content of about 15 percent. This means raisins are denser in nutritional value. Daily consumption of raisins will help you meet your recommended daily amount of many vitamins and minerals, with accompanying benefits to your health.

Daily Nutrition

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, consuming 2 1/2 cups of fruits or vegetables per day helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Raisins qualify as fruits under this dietary recommendation. According to the website FitDay, consuming 100 grams of raisins will allow you to meet 5 percent of your daily calcium needs, 15 percent of your daily iron needs and 16 percent of your recommended daily amount of potassium.

Illness Prevention

According to the website Organic Facts, raisins can help ward off several illnesses. The iron in raisins strengthens the body against anemia, and the phenolic phytonutrients help it to resist both viral and bacterial infections. The potassium and magnesium in raisins help to neutralize excess stomach acid, which can build up and enter the bloodstream in a condition known as acidosis. Finally, the fiber content of raisins helps to bind the bile acids in your digestive tract and reduce colon cancer.

Maintaining Your Body

Raisins can keep many parts of your body in good health. They contain oleanolic acid, a phytochemical that helps protect your teeth from cavities and decay. Not only do they contain calcium, which helps maintain strong bones and teeth, but they also contain a micronutrient called boron, which assists with the body's absorption of calcium. Finally, the phytonutrients in raisins have antioxidant properties, which guard your eyes against macular degeneration and the weakening of vision that comes with age.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Health benefits of Parsley

  • The herb contains no cholesterol; but is rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber which helps control blood cholesterol levels, prevents constipation, protects body from free radicals mediated injury and from cancers.
  • Parsley contains many health benefiting essential volatile oils that include myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene.
  • The essential oil, Eugenol, present in this herb has been in therapeutic use in dentistry as a local anesthetic and anti-septic agent for teeth and gum diseases. Eugenol has also been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics, however, further detailed studies required to establish its role.
  • Parsley is rich in poly-phenolic flavonoid anti-oxidants including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin; and has been rated as one of the plant source with highest anti-oxidant activities.
  • The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure by countering the effects of sodium. Iron is essential for heme production inside red blood cells. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • It is also rich in many antioxidant vitamins including vitamin-A, beta-carotene, vitamin-C, vitamin-E, zea-xanthin, lutein, and cryptoxanthins. The herb is also an excellent source of vitamin-K and folates. Zea-xanthin helps prevent age related macular degeneration (ARMD) in the retina of the eye in the old age population through its anti-oxidant and ultra-violet light filtering functions.
  • Fresh herb leaves are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential during carbohydrates, fat and protein metabolism by acting as co-enzymes.
  • It is probably the richest of the entire herb source for vitamin K; provides 1640 mcg or 1366% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin K has been found to have potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It has also established role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Double Grape Slushies to keep cool in the Summer

Serves 4

Older kids can learn to make these themselves, and younger ones can be helpers. Remember to be careful with knives and sharp blender blades.


1/2 cup concord grape juice
1 cup seedless red or green grapes
1 cup honeydew melon chunks
2 cups ice cubes


Pour juice into a blender. Drop in fruit and ice. Keep your hands out! Put the lid on and blend until smooth.


Heath Starts Here Program
Per serving: 60 calories (0 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 10mg sodium, 15g total carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 14g sugar), 1g protein

Friday, July 20, 2012

Get The Most From Your Breakfast

Blueberries work with the fiber in oatmeal to reduce cholesterol levels in your blood.
Photo Credit iStockPhoto.com
If you want a high-performance, energy-producing, cholesterol-lowering breakfast, oatmeal is tough to beat.

What you consume at breakfast directly impacts how your brain functions, and unlike its counterparts in cartoon-covered boxes, oatmeal is a slow-digesting, high-fiber option that leads to better focus and mental performance throughout the day. While refined breakfast cereals with added sugar provide a short-term boost of energy, the payback is a crash that produces hunger pangs and leaves you feeling sluggish.

Oatmeal, whether steel cut or the old-fashioned Quaker version (though not the one-minute “instant” stuff), sets the metabolic stage for you to have a healthy and productive day. After breakfast, the body is metabolically primed so that when you consume your next meal that day, your blood sugar levels are better controlled. Maintaining control of blood sugar levels is key for those looking to lose weight.

The so-called “second meal effect” causes your body to take more of the carbohydrates you eat at lunch and store them as energy in the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. Increasing glycogen stores is another big benefit for hard-training athletes looking to improve performance.

While plain old oatmeal is a great option for both serious athletes and regular Joes and Janes, it can be made even better with a couple of simple tweaks. Here’s how you can leverage oatmeal’s strengths into an even more ideal breakfast.

Add In Antioxidants

The last tweak to our oatmeal makeover is the addition of high-octane antioxidants –namely blueberries. The antioxidants in these delicious little blue gems complement the blood sugar-controlling effects of a protein-rich breakfast by improving your body’s ability to store and process carbohydrates.

Blueberries also form a powerful pair with oatmeal’s fiber, which reduces your blood cholesterol levels and in turn lowers your risk for cardiovascular disease. Research shows that daily consumption of the antioxidants found in blueberries can help lower blood pressure, another major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Even if your breakfast consisted of a cup of oatmeal on its lonesome, your day would be off to a great nutritional start. But by pairing that high-fiber carb and combining it with muscle-boosting protein and antioxidant-rich blueberries, you’ve given yourself perhaps the best start possible.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hot Pepper Benefits

Hot peppers are a good source of beta-carotene, the dietary precursor to vitamin A, according to World's Healthiest Foods. Vitamin A and beta-carotene are powerful antioxidants, which may help prevent cellular free-radical damage as well as protect against heart disease. Chili peppers are a good source of vitamin C, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with as much as 300 percent of the daily value of vitamin C in a one-half cup serving. Current medical research is finding that capsaicin in hot pepper may be an effective treatment against several forms of cancer. In January 2010, researchers from Cedars-Sinai hospital published results of a research study that found that capsaicin was effective against two different breast cancer cell lines. Reporting their results in the journal "Oncogene," researchers stated that capsaicin held the potential not only to treat breast cancer, but to prevent it as well.
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/110237-hot-pepper-benefits/#ixzz2184TJMrf

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The health benefits of beet juice

The health benefits of beet juice aren`t well known, but they are profound. Beet juice is best known as a blood purifier and blood builder that helps in the creation of red blood cells. Russian longevity researcher, Mikhail Tombak, Ph.D., tells us that beet juice improves blood structure and cures diseases of the circulatory system, large intestine, and digestive system. Tombak also shares that beet juice dissolves stones in the liver, kidneys and bladder. Not bad for a common item found in most grocery stores.

Researchers have found that a glass of beet juice each day beats high blood pressure - and according to the American Heart Association, one in three adults has high blood pressure. In the 1950`s, Dr. Ferenczi of Hungary had his cancer patients drink a quart of beet juice each day, which was effectively breaking down and eliminating tumors. Beets have been found to increase the body`s production of glutathione, which helps the body detoxify cancer-causing poisons.

Sherry Rogers, M.D. tells us that glutathione can grab onto hundreds of different kinds of environmental chemicals and pull them into the colon where they can be flushed down the toilet. However, if you`re depleted in glutathione this process won`t work for you. And that means many environmental chemicals will remain inside your body, causing what they so often cause: cancer and other health problems.

In studies, animals with chemically-induced high cholesterol were fed beet fiber. Compared to the control group, the beet fed animals experienced a total cholesterol drop of 30%, while their triglycerides dropped 40%. Essentially, the beets significantly dropped the animals` risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The animals` HDL (beneficial cholesterol) also increased significantly, offering protective benefits.

Beets have also been found to increase the number of CD8 cells in the colon, which are cancer-destroying cells. Colon cancer is the third most diagnosed type of cancer in the U.S. and the third leading type of cancer related death. Sounds like quite a few people could benefit from drinking some more beet juice.

Getting the Benefits of Beet Juice

Drinking the fresh juice of a beet or two each day is a wonderful preventative health measure, and it may help reverse many problems. For taste, beet juice can be mixed with carrot juice or apple juice.

If you`re into cleansing, you can also get the benefits of beet juice by adding a cup to a two quart cooled coffee enema. Coffee enemas are traditionally done to cleanse the liver, and by adding fresh beet juice, you`ll compound their effectiveness. The effects of doing coffee and beet juice enemas repeatedly are profound and for more for your buck, add in the juice of a couple of cloves of fresh garlic as well.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chew, Chew, Chew for better digestion

Any basic physiology textbook will tell you that saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that begins the breakdown and digestion of starches in your mouth. This saliva salvo helps your body get the jump on carbohydrate digestion and can actually help you stay leaner, longer!
Chewing your food as part of the cephalic phase also leads to a preemptive release of insulin by your body. On the surface, this may sound negative. We generally want to control insulin, especially for fat loss.

Slow down, savor, and reap the rewards.
However, research shows that this small amount of early insulin basically prepares your body for the carbs you're about to eat, resulting in less total insulin release while also keeping blood sugar levels lower and more stable than they would be otherwise. So this insulin pre-release actually helps prevent hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia after your meal.
"Ow! Chewy!"
The number of times you need to chew your food to reap maximum benefits from this effect is not yet known. However, it is known that insulin released at the start of your meal peaks at 4 minutes into the meal, then returns to baseline levels after 8-10 minutes.
What does this mean to you? Eat slower and savor your food! Taking at least 10 minutes to finish your meal maximizes pre-release insulin levels so they can elicit a "calming effect" on your blood sugar.
By harnessing and maximizing the cephalic phase of digestion, you'll be stacking the nutritional deck in your favor. So your food will be used for lean-tissue building and not fat-cell padding.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) health benefits

Garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) have a delicious nutlike taste and buttery texture. They provide a concentrated source of protein that can be enjoyed year-round.n some parts of the world (for example, parts of India), garbanzo beans are eaten daily in large amounts and on a year-round basis. But a recent study has shown that we can obtain health benefits from garbanzo beans even when we eat much smaller amounts over a much shorter period of time. In this study, it took only one week of garbanzo bean consumption to improve participants' control of blood sugar and insulin secretion. Equally important, only one-third cup of the beans per day was needed to provide these blood-sugar related health benefits. Garbanzos are a food you definitely want to keep on your "digestive support" list - especially if you are focusing on the colon. Between 65-75% of the fiber found in garbanzo beans is insoluble fiber, and this type of fiber remains undigested all the way down to the final segment of your large intestine (colon). Recent studies have shown that garbanzo bean fiber can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce relatively large amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetic, propionic, and butyric acid. These SCFAs provide fuel to the cells that line your intestinal wall. By supporting the energy needs of our intestinal cells, the SCFAs made from garbanzo fibers can help lower your risk of colon problems, including your risk of colon cancer.Researchers have recently determined that many of the antioxidants present in garbanzo beans are especially concentrated in the outer seed coat that gives the beans their distinctive color. Darker-colored "desi-type" garbanzo beans appear to have thicker seed coats and greater concentrations of antioxidants than the larger and more regularly shaped cream-colored garbanzos that are regularly found at salad bars and in canned products. Of course, it is important to remember that antioxidants can be found in both types of garbanzo beans and you'll get great health benefits from both types. But if you have previously shied away from darker-colored or irregularly-shaped garbanzo beans, we want to encourage you to reconsider and to enjoy all types of garbanzo beans, including the darker-colored and irregularly-shaped ones. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Red Quinoa: A Delicious Complete Protein in a Grain

Quinoa — it comes in colors?
Yes it does and red quinoa has just as much wonderful healthy goodness as regular ol' white quinoa. It's a complete protein like its pale sister, offering you all the essential amino acids that you need to build strong bones, muscles, skin, and blood.
You can substitute rice in any dish with quinoa, which is great since it has more than twice the amount of protein than rice. Plus it's easy to digest and doesn't have a very strong flavor. All of these reasons combine to make it a very likable grain.
Compared with white quinoa, the red variety has a slightly earthier flavor. Once cooked, it has a light brownish color. Try both varieties to see which one you prefer.
What's more, quinoa is easy to cook. Want to know how? Then read more.

  • Boil 2 cups of water.
  • Add 1 cup of quinoa, cover, and turn down the heat to low.
  • After about 15 minutes, lift up the cover and stir.
  • You'll know it's done when the grain turns slightly transparent, and the curly string-like germ has separated from the circular part.
Quinoa is great on its own when eaten with a stir-fry, but you can also make it its own dish, similar to a rice pilaf. Simply sauté your favorite veggies and add them to the cooked quinoa. For even more flavor, cook quinoa in veggie broth instead of water.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Arugula Health Benefits

Arugula is an excellent, natural source of vitamin A, which plays a role in the maintenance of healthy eyes and skin, and vitamin K which helps the body produce blood-clotting proteins and is important for bone health. As a nutrient powerhouse, arugula is also an excellent source of vitamin C and folate, and a good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese.
Despite its leafy appearance, arugula belongs to the same plant family as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, called cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables are unique in that they’re rich in compounds that, in conjunction with a healthy diet, have been linked to a number of potential health benefits. Additionally, arugula is a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants shown to promote eye health and possibly protect against age-related macular degeneration (eye disease).
Arugula is a great choice for people who avoid dairy products, as it’s low in a molecule called oxalate. This molecule is present in a variety of fruits and vegetables (in varying amounts) and can compromise the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lychee fruit nutrition facts

Delicious and juicy Lychee or "Litchi" reminds you the arrival of summer. Botanically, this exotic fruit belongs to the family of Sapindaceae and named scientifically as Litchi chinensis.
The L. chinensis is a tropical type fruit tree native to low elevations of the provinces of Kwangtung and Fukien in Southern China. It is a slow-growing medium sized evergreen tree with dense, round-topped foliage, and smooth, gray, brittle trunk and branches. It may reach 40-50 feet height. Litchis, not only eye-catching in spring when the huge sprays of flowers adorn the tree but also is a stunning sight for nature lovers when the tree is full of berries.

Litchi-peeled Lychee-peeled Lychee-inside
Lychee with outer peel. Delicious litchi-pulp (flesh). Lychee fruit-interior.
Note for dark brown color seed with smooth surface.

In structure, the fruit is a drupe; oval, heart-shaped or nearly round, measures about 3–5 cm long and 3 cm in diameter and weigh about 10 g. In appearance, the fruit has close resemblances with longan and rambutan fruits.
Its outer surface is covered with rough leathery rind or peel featuring pink color. The peel can be easily removable in the ripe fruits. Inside; consists of edible portion or aril that is white, translucent, sweet and juicy.
The fruit has sweet, fragrant flavor and delicious to savor. The pulp has single, glossy brown nut-like seed, 2 cm long, and 1–1.5 cm in diameter. The seeds, like in sapodilla, are not poisonous but should not be eaten. Fresh lychees are readily available in the markets from July to October, about 120-140 days after flowering.

Health benefits of Lychee

  • Lychee fruits are low in calories, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, but rich in dietary fiber, which, can be very important for individuals who are concerned about their excess body weight.
  • Research studies suggest that oligonol, a low molecular weight polyphenol found abundantly in lychee fruit. Oligonol has been found to have several anti-oxidant, anti-influenza virus actions. In addition, it helps improve blood flow in organs, reduce weight, and protect skin from harmful UV rays (Takuya Sakurai (Kyorin University, Japan), Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem., 72(2), 463-476, 2008).
  • Litchi, like citrus fruits, is an excellent source of vitamin C; 100 g fresh fruits provide 71.5 mg or 119% of daily-recommended value. Studies suggest that consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
  • It is a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, and folates. These vitamins are essential since they function by acting as co-factors to help body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
  • Litchi also contains a very good amount of minerals like potassium and copper. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids help control heart rate and blood pressure; thus offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.

    Selection and storage

    Lychee bunch.
    Fresh lychee fruits are available in the markets from June to October. The Fruit must be allowed to ripen fully on the tree itself since the ripening process stops soon after harvested. Overly maturity makes them turn dark-brown in appearance and lose their luster and flavor. While harvesting, snip off entire fruit brunch, keeping a short piece of the stem attached.
    In the store, choose fruits that feature fresh, without cuts or molds. Litchis have very good shelf life. Fresh fruits can be kept at room temperature for up to five days and can be stored for up five weeks in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen or dried and canned for export purposes.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Benefits of Papaya Seeds

Papaya Seeds

In the Philippines and in many places around the world, papaya is a healthy fruit available all year round. But, papaya seeds are commonly overlooked and tossed in the trash along with the papaya peel, when preparing papaya salad, or simply eating papaya.

Some people may be aware that papaya seeds, like other seeds, are edible and healthy. They make a great black pepper substitute, as black pepper is a known carcinogen, or cancer causing food.  In some countries, papaya seeds are also used as a breath freshener.

The peppery-tasting papaya seeds may offer a great contrast in flavor to the sweet papaya flesh, but papaya seeds are very healthy for people of all ages.

Health Benefits of Papaya Seeds:

  • Papaya seeds have antibacterial properties. They were found to be effective againstSalmonellaE. coli, and Staphylococcus infections. These infections are the most common forms of bacterial infections in our body.
  • Papaya seeds help eradicate intestinal parasites. Evidence has shown the effectiveness of papaya seeds against human intestinal parasites.
In a study on Nigerian children with intestinal parasites, 76.7% of the children, given a concoction of 20ml of air-dried Carica papaya seeds and honey were cleared of parasites after a 7-day treatment. The treatment showed no significant side effect.
  • Papaya seeds may help prevent kidney failure caused by toxins.
  • Papaya seeds help detoxify the liver. It is believed in Chinese Medicine that a teaspoon of papaya seeds helps detoxify the liver. Naturopathic doctors recommend papaya seeds in the treatment of liver cirrhosis.
*Papaya seeds, however, may contain carpaine, an alkaloid, which when taken in large doses, may not be good for you. Even the best medicines taken in large doses are toxic.

Add Some Papaya Seeds to Your Daily Preventative Care

  • So the next time you slice open a papaya to eat, dare yourself to eat some papaya seeds. The taste is peppery and similar to a weak wasabi (Japanese radish).
  • When you making a papaya shake, you might want to consider adding some papaya seeds into it. Healthy papaya shake can be made by blending ripe papaya, a few papaya seeds, soy milk, coconut sugar or honey, and ice.
  • Or when you’re making salad, sprinkle some ground papaya seeds on top, like you would add some pepper.

Grab any opportunity to add a little bit of papaya seeds to your food!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tea Tree Oil

What is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil (also known as Melaleuca) is a natural antibacterial disinfectant that was commonly used as a general antiseptic by the aborigine tribes for thousands of years. More recently, the scientific community has confirmed that Tea Tree Oil has tremendous medicinal benefits. It is a light yellow oil that has a scent similar to nutmeg, and it is produced by steaming tea tree leaves and then squeezing the oil out.

What are the Benefits of Tea Tree Oil?

Tea Tree Oil has wonderful properties that makes it a popular natural agent for curing all three types of infectious organisms: fungus, bacteria, and virus. More importantly, it is known to effectively fight a number of infections that are resistant to some antibiotics. Therefore, Tea Tree Oil is an excellent natural remedy for hundreds of bacterial and fungal skin ailments such as acne, abscess, oily skin, blisters, sun burns, athlete's foot, warts, herpes, insect bites, rashes, dandruff and other minor wounds and irritations.

Studies have shown that Tea Tree Oil also treats respiratory problems ranging from common sore throats, coughs and runny nose to severe conditions such as asthma, tuberculosis, and bronchitis. The anti-viral properties of the oil fight many common infectious diseases such as chicken pox, shingles and measles, flu, cold sores and verrucae. It also strengthens the body's immune system, which is often weakened by stress, illness, or by the use of antibiotics and other drugs. It can also be used as a mouth wash, since it is highly effective in healing oral candidiasis (a fungal infection of mouth and throat).

Uses of Tea Tree Oil

Skin Infections

Acne Treatment

A common use of Tea Tree Oil is as a natural Acne treatment.

Boils and Carbuncles

Tea Tree Oil has also been used for the treatment of Boils or Carbuncles.

Toenail Fungus

Tea Tree Oil help treat toenail fungus infections. Simply apply 1 to 2 drops of the oil directly onto the infected toenails and rub it above and under the tip of the nail. Repeat this once per day.


Many people have also found that Tea Tree Oil can be used as a very effective treatment for Genital Warts.

Bad Breath, Inflamed Gums, and Plaque

Tea Tree Oil, when used as a mouth wash, acts as a natural cure for bad breath, oral candidiasis, gingivitis, plaque, and inflamed gums. It also kills mouth bacteria prior to dental surgery and also reduces mouth irritation that is often caused by dental procedures.
  • Add 3 drops of Tea Tree Oil to a cup of warm water.
  • Use the solution as a mouthwash two to three times daily.
  • Always spit out the Tea Tree Oil mouthwash. Do not swallow it.
  • You may also add 1 drop of Tea Tree Oil to toothpaste when brushing teeth.

Sore Throat and Congestion

Tea Tree Oil can be combined with a simple steam inhalation technique to naturally cure congestion, sore throat, chest infections, and clearing up mucus:
  • Fill a large cooking pot or bowl with water.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Remove the pot from the stove and add 2 to 3 drops of Tea Tree Oil into it.
  • Cover your head with a towel and lean over the top of the bowl so that the long ends of the towel are hanging down at the two sides of the bowl.
  • Inhale the vapors for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Repeat the process each night before going to bed until symptoms are cured completely. If symptoms persist for more than 5 days it is best to consult your doctor.

Canker Sores and Laryngitis

Diluted in water, Tea Tree Oil is an effective treatment for canker sores and laryngitis:
  • Add 3-4 drops of Tea Tree Oil to one cup of warm water.
  • Gargle this solution twice daily. Do not swallow.

Dandruff and Lice

Studies have shown that shampoos with 5% of Tea Tree Oil can cure dandruff and help get rid of head lice.

Yeast Infections

Tea Tree Oil can also be used as an effective Home Remedy for Yeast Infection Treatment.

What are the Side Effects of Tea Tree Oil?

Pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid the use of Tea Tree Oil.

Undiluted Tea Tree Oil can cause itchiness, irritation, and redness on sensitive skin. Therefore, if you have sensitive skin, it is always safer to dilute the oil in another base oil such as olive oil.

Pure Tea Tree Oil should never be taken internally in its undiluted form. Extra care should be taken when using it near the eyes, genitals, or even as a mouthwash. If taken internally, Tea Tree Oil can result in diarrhea, vomiting, impaired immune function, excessive drowsiness, sleepiness, confusion, poor coordination, and even coma. If you notice any of these symptoms of overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

Where and How to Buy Tea Tree Oil

Pure Tea Tree Oil and shampoos that contain Tea Tree Oil can be found in almost any natural health or nutrition store

Friday, July 6, 2012

What Are Phytochemicals?

Phytochemicals … polyphenols … antioxidants … what do all of these terms mean?
 The term phytochemicals is a broad name for a wide variety of compounds produced by plants. They’re found in fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, and other plants. Each phytochemical comes from a variety of different plant sources and has different proposed effects on, and benefits for, the body. Some researchers estimate there are up to 4,000 phytochemicals! Scientists have identified thousands of them, although only a small fraction of phytochemicals have been studied closely.
 Common Names for Phytochemicals: antioxidants, flavonoids, phytonutrients, flavones, isoflavones, catechins, anthocyanidins, isothiocyanates, carotenoids, allyl sulfides, polyphenols
How Do You Get Phytochemicals?
Phytochemicals are found in plant foods (fruits, vegetables, beans, grains). By maintaining a balanced eating pattern that includes different forms and colors of fruits and vegetables, you’ll provide your body with a wide variety of all beneficial compounds, including phytochemicals! So, enjoy your fruits and veggies during every eating occasion … just fill half your plate with them and leave the rest for grains and protein.
The Health Benefits of Phytochemicals
New experimental studies are emerging that demonstrate multiple effects of fruits and vegetables (and their phytochemicals), suggesting that they may have an even greater role to play in human health than the already positive results seen to date.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Beans and other legumes Nutrition

Beans and other legumes: Types and cooking tips

This guide describes common types of beans and legumes, tips for preparing them, and ways to add more legumes to your meals and snacks.

Legumes — a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils — are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fiber. A good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.
If you want to add more beans and other legumes to your diet, but you aren't clear about what's available and how to prepare them, this guide can help.

Type of legumes

Many supermarkets and food stores stock a wide variety of legumes — both dried and canned. Below are several of the more common types and their typical uses.
Type of legumeCommon uses
Adzuki beans Adzuki beans
Also known as field peas or red oriental beans
Soups, sweet bean paste, and Japanese and Chinese dishes
Anasazi beans Anasazi beans
Also known as Jacob's cattle beans
Soups and Southwestern dishes; can be used in recipes that call for pinto beans
Black beans Black beans
Also known as turtle beans
Soups, stews, rice dishes and Latin American cuisines
Black-eyed peas Black-eyed peas
Also known as cowpeas
Salads, casseroles, fritters and Southern dishes
Chickpeas Chickpeas
Also known as garbanzo or ceci beans
Casseroles, hummus, minestrone soup, and Spanish and Indian dishes
Edamame Edamame
Also known as green soybeans
Snacks, salads, casseroles and rice dishes
Fava beans Fava beans
Also known as broad or horse beans
Stews and side dishes
Lentils Lentils Soups, stews, salads, side dishes and Indian dishes
Lima beans Lima beans
Also known as butter or Madagascar beans
Succotash, casseroles, soups and salads
Kidney beans Red kidney beans Stews, salads, chili and rice dishes
Soy nuts Soy nuts
Also known as roasted soybeans or soya beans
Snacks or garnish for salads

Preparing legumes

Dried beans and legumes, with the exceptions of black-eyed peas and lentils, require soaking in room-temperature water, a step that rehydrates them for more even cooking. Before soaking, pick through the beans, discarding any discolored or shriveled ones or any foreign matter. Depending on how much time you have, choose one of the following soaking methods:
  • Slow soak. In a stockpot, cover 1 pound dried beans with 10 cups water. Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
  • Hot soak. In a stockpot, bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 pound dried beans and return to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover tightly and set aside at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Quick soak. In a stockpot, bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 pound dried beans and return to a boil. Boil 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Gas-free soak. In a stockpot, place 1 pound of beans in 10 or more cups of boiling water. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Then cover and set aside overnight. The next day 75 to 90 percent of the indigestible sugars that cause gas will have dissolved into the soaking water.

Cooking tips

After soaking, rinse beans and add to a stockpot. Cover the beans with three times their volume of water. Add herbs or spices as desired. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender. The cooking time depends on the type of bean, but start checking after 45 minutes. Add more water if the beans become uncovered. Other tips:
  • Add salt or acidic ingredients, such as vinegar, tomatoes or juice, near the end of the cooking time, when the beans are just tender. If these ingredients are added too early, they can make the beans tough and slow the cooking process.
  • Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork.
  • To freeze cooked beans for later use, immerse them in cold water until cool, then drain well and freeze.
  • One pound of dried beans yields about 5 or 6 cups cooked beans. A 15-ounce can of beans equals about 1 1/2 cups cooked beans, drained.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fresh Fruit Flag Plate: Berries and Peaches

Here is a wonderful recipe I found:

Sometimes a simple fresh fruit plate is all your need for some delicious summertime snacking. Here is my Fresh Flag Fruit Plate made with white peaches, strawberries and blueberries....
Red, White and Blue Fruit. There are quite a lot of fruits and veggies that are red. Tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, red peppers, radishes, apples, cranberries, red pears and cherries. But the blue fruit gets narrowed down a bit to blueberries and a few purplish blue items like acai, purple onions and grape. Now what is white? White grapefruit. White inside of apples. White pears. White asparagus. But my favorite? Sweet white peaches. Peaches are low in calories-only about 37 per peach. And such a sweet hydrating snack. Pair them with creamy juicy blueberries and sweet succulent strawberries and you are in for a super healthy flag-colored treat. (USA flag that is... ) 


Fresh Fruit Flag Plate

1 cup organic blueberries
1 white peach
1 cup organic (or well-washed) strawberries
1 Tbsp lemon juice (for peaches)
Optional drizzle:
1 Tbsp agave syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt and pepper

Slice the peaches thin and the strawberries into rounds or halves. Arrange the fruit on a white plate in rows.
Alternate red, white and blue.
Then squeeze a bit on lemon juice over the sliced peaches to maintain a nice white color.
Add the optional drizzle to the top of the fruit.
Or you can use it as a dipping sauce.
I place a bowl of toothpicks next to the plate for easy access. Toothpicks are more delicate for the fruit instead of a big fork.

Happy 4th of July! Enjoy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Healthy Birthday Cake decorating Ideas

I saw this amazing cake idea on the Engine 2 Diet, a wonderful way to still have a cake at your party without the guilt of serving your guests refined sugars. A great substitute for kids birthday cakes as well, you just have to get creative and involve them in helping decorate their healthy and fun cake.

 via -Engine 2 Diet

Flax Seed: The Low Carb Whole Grain -Health benefits

It may be tiny, but it’s mighty: The flax seed carries one of the biggest nutrient payloads on the planet. And while it’s not technically a grain, it has a similar vitamin and mineral profile to grains, while the amount of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids in flax leaves grains in the dust.
Additionally, flax seed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars. And its combination of healthy fat and high fiber content make it a great food for weight loss and maintenance -- many dieters have found that flax seed has been a key to keeping them feeling satisfied.

Flax Seed Nutrition

Yes, flax seed is high in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese, but this little seed is just getting started. There are three additional nutrient groups which flax seed has in abundance, and each has many benefits.

Flax Seed is Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are a key force against inflammation in our bodies. Mounting evidence shows that inflammation plays a part in many chronic diseases including heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and even some cancers. This inflammation is enhanced by having too little Omega-3 intake (such as in fish, flax, and walnuts), especially in relation to Omega-6 fatty acid intake (in oils such as soy and corn oil). In the quest to equalize the ratio of these two kinds of oils, flax seed can be a real help.

Most of the oil in flax seeds is alpha linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is an Omega-3 that is a precursor to the fatty acids found in salmon and other fatty cold-water fish (called EPA and DHA). Because not everyone is able to easily convert ALA into EPA and (especially) DHA, it is best not to rely solely on flax for your Omega-3 intake. However, ALA also has good effects of its own, and definitely helps in the Omega 3/6 balance.

Flax Seed is High in Fiber: You’d be hard-pressed to find a food higher in fiber -- both soluble and insoluble -- than flax. This fiber is probably mainly responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects of flax. Fiber in the diet also helps stabilize blood sugar, and, of course, promotes proper functioning of the intestines.

Flax Seed is High in Phytochemicals: Flax seed is high in phytochemicals, including many antioxidants. It is perhaps our best source of lignans, which convert in our intestines to substances that tend to balance female hormones. There is evidence that lignans may promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer. In addition, lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

Note that a) flax seeds need to be ground to make the nutrients available (otherwise they just “pass through”) and b) flax seed oil alone contains neither the fiber nor the phytochemicals of whole flax seed meal.

Flax Seed Safety and Side Effects

Concerns about flax seed revolve around four potential issues. However, remember that a lot of research about the wonders of flax show little or no problems from eating it –- to the contrary, it has shown many benefits. Big Fiber Load: Since flax has such a high fiber content, it's best to start with a small amount and increase slowly; otherwise, cramping and a "laxative effect" can result. People with irritable bowel syndrome may have an especially strong reaction to it, and should be extra-careful.
Oxidation/Rancidity: The oil in flax is highly unsaturated. This means that it is very prone to oxidation (rancidity) unless it is stored correctly. The very best way is nature’s own storage system –- within the seed. Flax seeds not exposed to large amounts of heat stay safe to eat for at least a year. However, flax meal, and especially flax oil, are a different story. The meal, stored away from heat and light, will keep fresh for a few months, and the oil must be protected by refrigeration in dark containers, preferably being consumed within a few weeks of opening.

Actually, the surprising thing about flax is not that the oils go rancid, but that they don’t go rancid as quickly as we would think, considering how unsaturated they are. The oils are quite stable when the seeds are used in baked foods, for example. Researchers theorize that this is due to the high levels of antioxidants in the seeds.

Hormonal Effects: Lignans contain phytoestrogens. Although research has shown them to be beneficial so far, it is unknown what effect high doses of phytoestrogens might have.

Cyanide: Like many other foods (cashews, some beans, and others), flax contains very small amounts of cyanide compounds, especially when consumed raw. Heat, especially on dry flax seeds, breaks these compounds down. However, our bodies have a capacity to neutralize a certain amount of these compounds, and the U.S. government agencies say that 2 tablespoons of flaxseed (~3 T of flax meal) is certainly safe and is probably an “effective dose” for health purposes. Various researchers who have used up to 6 daily tablespoons of the seed in different studies indicate that the amount they were using was safe.