Category Archives for "Healthy Food"

Health Benefits Of Grapefruit

Grapefruit.A grapefruit looks nothing like a grape, does it? So why do we call it a grapefruit? It grows in clusters on the tree, resembling a bunch of grapes – hence “grapefruit.” And before we start exploring grapefruit benefits, let’s take a look at its history.
The grapefruit tree was found in Barbados by a Welsh seafaring reverend named Griffith Hughes, way back in 1750. He was searching the West Indies for the original Tree of Good and Evil from the Garden of Eden and he stated that the grapefruit was the “forbidden fruit.”
For many years the fruit was not popular because of its bitter taste. In 1823, it was brought to Florida and the growers got busy with it. They produced several different varieties but it was not until a single red grapefruit was found on a pink grapefruit tree that its popularity soared. The wonderful Ruby Reds were developed commercially and its grapefruit benefits are now enjoyed all over the world. Florida’s top sellers are Thompson, Duncans and of course, Ruby Reds as well as the sweet pink grapefruit. They are harvested and shipped in crates directly to your home in time for Christmas, so that you can have a taste of sunshine with breakfast together with all the other grapefruit benefits.

Grapefruit Health Benefits

They are many. Rich in vitamin C and most of the B vitamins, it’s also super-low in calories. It has less sugar than an orange and while the juice of your breakfast grapefruit has all the vitamins, minerals and trace elements you need, eating the whole fruit makes it a very effective aid to digestion. If you need to sweeten it, use a little honey. But keep in mind that the slightly bitter taste increases the flow of digestive juices which is why it’s such a great drink before a meal.
Wonderful for those on a weight loss diet, grapefruit benefits your metabolism by ramping it up to burn more calories. And its high content of fat-burning enzymes can help roll off those extra pounds – but be cautious. Eating grapefruit should be a part of a well-balanced diet plan for you to lose weight – you’ll recall the “grapefruit diet” where you ate half a grapefruit with every meal? This works, but because this diet is not well balanced, seven days is long enough.
The red grapefruit contains lycopene – an anti-oxidant which destroys free radicals, supports the immune system and it’s also a known cancer fighter. And another of the grapefruit benefits is that its salicylic acid can prevent kidney stone and gravel formations as well as slow any hardening or sclerosis of vital organ tissue and arteries. It can help loosen arthritic joints, improve liver function, break up gallstones and, as we discussed earlier, promotes good digestion. Try taking a grapefruit to work for your mid-morning snack – the pectin it contains will reduce bad cholesterol levels because it slows down absorption and works against plaque build-up in blood vessels.
It is known that grapefruit and its juice may interact with some medications and can affect your liver. If you are planning to include more of these miraculous grapefruit benefits in your diet and are taking certain medications, do please check with your doctor first to ensure that it’s safe for you to do so.

Bacteria Friend Or Foe?

Under adverse conditions, such as high temperatures, dryness or the presence of a disinfectant or antibiotic, most bacteria would die. Bacteria are killed by either bursting their cell membranes or preventing replication. Bacteria multiply by binary fission, logarithmically. In order to double in size and divide, the cell membrane must enlarge. Antibiotics prevent the mechanism that provides cell enlargement in bacteria from functioning, and the cell dies.
Some cationic surfactants, present in disinfectants, cause the cell walls of bacteria to burst and subsequently die. However, two bacteria, Bacillus and Clostridium, will not die. They enter a “Resistant Resting Phase”. They produce an endospore. The spore forms inside the bacterial cell when the going gets tough, and the remainder of the cell disintegrates. Think of a spore as an ungerminated dry seed. Without moisture the spore will remain dormant. Provide moisture and the spore will germinate into a bacterial cell. Provide nutrients and a warm temperature and the cell will multiply. As they multiply they release exotoxins, which are heat stable.
We ingest spores on a daily basis, without any harm or consequence, as our digestive process is a very hostile environment for spores and they will not germinate, but pass straight through our system and are expelled with our faeces. They can germinate, and contaminate, after defecation. This is a major problem in hospitals where C difficile, a normal gut constituent, is causing major diarrhoeal cases, mainly with elderly patients. It has been estimated that tens of thousands of patients die from this every year. The blame is being apportioned to the over use of antibiotics, which kill all the body’s micro flora, and releases C difficile into the environment.
Infant botulism is a problem with children under 6 months, although warnings on some foods, such as honey, recommend children less than 12 months refrain from honey ingestion.
Spores will germinate in a very young child’s gastrointestinal tract. C botulinum, for example, are often present in untreated food products, such as honey. Bees inadvertently pick up spores from the environment, for example soil and vegetation. The spores are deposited into the honey during the production process. The spores germinate in the child, as their GI tract is not as acidic as somebody older. The germinated cells will now grow, excreting botox in the process, causing death of the child.
Some spores can resist temperatures in excess of 3500 degrees Celsius and below minus 150 degrees Celsius. Scientists have found spores in Egyptian tombs and revived them. Spores have been found in the intestines of bees which had been preserved in amber. The bees were aged at 42 million years. The spores were revived. Spores can survive in dry conditions indefinitely. Some further examples of spores include Bacillus anthracis (anthrax). There is no known antidote for the fatal disease caused by inhaled anthrax spores.
Clostridium tetani (tetanus) is a spore quite easily picked up from the environment (barbed wire, thorns) and infects the blood stream through a cut.
Botulism is a worrying problem in the canning industry. Why?
C botulinum produces spores. The bacteria are also anaerobes. They will only grow in vacuous conditions; air would kill them, or rather, turn them into spores until the conditions improve. If spores are present in a sealed can, along with cooked salmon, for example, then “we have a problem Houston”.
The spores will germinate into bacterial cells and start to grow. They are in a vacuum, they have a supply of protein and moisture and the temperature is conducive to active growth (we do not keep cans under refrigeration). As the bacteria grow they produce botox. When the can is opened, the contents looks, tastes and smells normal. However, ingestion will quickly cause death due to the concentration of the toxin.
Help is at hand. The canning industry has adopted a cooking system called the Botulinum Cook. It is another word for commercial sterilisation. If the can is heated to 121 degrees Celsius for 3 or more minutes, the spores are destroyed, together with any micro-organisms present.

What Place Does Milk Have In Nutition?

Ask nutritional experts and medical professionals whether milk is good for you and you’ll get a wide spectrum of replies. Ultimately it depends on your own tolerance to milk, and on the quality of the milk, you drink.

Cow’s Milk: Convenient, Affordable, and Rich in Nutrients

There is no question that cow’s milk is nutrient-rich. Protein, good fats, and a host of micronutrients such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins A, B, D, E, and K, are all present. The controversy arises when the saturated fat in full-fat milk is considered, and the negative effects on those who are lactose-intolerant (ie – people with low levels of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to metabolize the milk-sugar lactose).
If you’re lactose-intolerant, don’t drink cow’s milk. There are plenty of alternative sources of the nutrients that milk provides. Lactose intolerance can lead to bloating, wind, cramps, diarrhoea, eczema.
If you can digest milk, then it’s a rich source of all the nutrients listed above, and it’s particularly appropriate for young children and the elderly, who both need a convenient and easily consumed source of nutrients.
Another controversy surrounding cow’s milk is the degree to which animal-feed, antibiotics and growth hormones fed to cows seep into the milk they produce. In addition, there’s some evidence that intensive machine-milking can cause inflammation of the udders (mastisis) which can produce pus which then goes into the milk.
Full fat, low fat, or zero fat?
Full fat cow’s milk has around 22 g of fat per pint. There is evidence that over 90 g of fat per day from dairy can lead to breast cancer, and the saturated fat can cause eczema and heart disease if consumed in excess. However, a pint a day is within healthy range for most people. If you suffer from eczema, try cutting dairy out of your diet.
Semi-skimmed milk has around 10 g fat per pint, and skimmed milk has under 1 g of fat per pint. The downside is that the lower the fat content, the lower the level of fat soluble vitamins. The upside is that lower fat milk has more calcium and more B vitamins, which reside in the watery part of the milk and not the fatty part.
Strong bones and the calcium in cow’s milk
It’s certainly true that cow’s milk is high in calcium, and also true that calcium is vital for healthy strong bones. But there’s a lot more to bone health than just calcium intake. The prevalence of osteoporosis in modern society has as much to do with our reduced ability to absorb calcium, regardless of how much we consume.
One cause of poor absorption is lack of exposure to sunlight, which produces the vitamin D needed for calcium absorption. Another cause is excess protein in some diets, which overloads the kidneys, and the processing and expulsion of excess protein requires the body to leech calcium from the bones. The Chinese consume half the calcium as the US, yet there are high levels of osteoporosis in the US and very low incidence in China.
Raw unpasteurized milk vs pasteurized/homogenized milk
Mass-produced homogenized milk is far more widely available, and has a longer refrigeration life. But raw milk retains the digestive enzyme lactase which modern processing methods kill off
Organic vs non-organic
Although it’s more expensive, organic milk comes from cows that have eaten grass in clean pastures, exercised outdoors, and enjoyed a better quality of life. The result is around 24% more fatty acids (good fats), a milk richer in vitamins, and without the undesirable elements like traces of growth hormone, antibiotics, pus.

Alternatives to Cow’s Milk

Soya milk is a good alternative if you’re lactose intolerant, and it’s rich in isoflavones (anti oxidants) and the phytochemical geinstein (which can inhibit growth of small tumours). But beware manufacturers who add sugar to soya milk.
If you’re a vegan, try rice milk, but check it has been fortified with calcium and vitamin A.
Another healthy alternative is almond milk, which has a nutty taste and silky texture, and is free from cholesterol or lactose. Again, check that it’s sugar-free, as manufacturers sometimes add sugar to these alternative milk products. It’s not advisable for people with low thyroid function to drink almond milk.
So you can see that there are many issues surrounding milk, and hopefully this article leaves you better informed, and able to make healthy choices that are right for you. People are different in their tolerance to different kinds of milk, so what is good for one person, may not be so good for another.