Friday, 31 August 2012

Fruit And Vegetables 'Give A Healthy Glow'

Even a few weeks of eating fruit and vegetables could improve your skin color, it is claimed.

University of St Andrews researchers monitored diet in 35 people, finding more coloration in those eating more greens.

Other research suggests these changes may make you more attractive.

Other scientists said the study, in the PLoS One journal, might not fully reflect the link between consumption and appearance.

It has been known for some time that certain yellow and red pigments called carotenoids found in many types of fruit and vegetables, can have an effect on skin tone.

However it is not clear exactly how much influence a normal healthy diet can have on this effect.

The St Andrews scientists recruited 35 students, mostly white, who were quizzed on their fruit and vegetable intake over a six week period.

The volunteers were told not to use sun beds, fake tan or make-up.

An instrument was used to analyze their skin tone before, during and after the test period.

The results suggested that changes in fruit and vegetable consumption might be related to changes in skin tone, with more fruit and vegetables contributing to a deepening of natural red and yellow skin coloration.

Earlier research by the team had found links between the perceived attractiveness of faces and even subtle changes in these skin tones.

"It is possible that even smaller dietary changes are able to produce perceptible benefits to skin coloration," they wrote.

However, they did concede that the effects on older people might be different, and that more research into non-white volunteers would be needed.

Food preparation

Dr Glenys Jones, from the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research laboratory at Cambridge University, said that another issue was that food preparation techniques made a big difference to how much of the carotenoids were available from food, and the study did not take this into account.

She added: "With the vast majority of the population not consuming the recommended five-a-day of fruits and vegetables, this could be another way of encouraging people through our own innate vanity to increase fruit and vegetable intake.

"After all fruits and vegetables contain a wide range of nutrients that are good for not just for our complexion, but for our overall health."

Dr Catherine Collins, a dietician at St George's Hospital in London, said that although people heavily exposed to sunlight were excluded from the study, all the areas of skin studied were those exposed to daylight, and the effects of this could not be ruled out.

However, she echoed the point that anything which encouraged people to eat more fruit and vegetables was a good thing.

"For the rest of us post-university people, it's another potential reason to carry on eating your greens - and red/orange/yellow veggies as well.

"The grown-up way of serving them cooked, or as part of an overall meal along with other foods, boosts bio-availability of these useful phytochemicals, which may contribute to overall health - as well as beauty!"

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Health Benefits Of Kumquats

A small round to oval citrus fruit, the kumquat resembles a tiny orange. The kumquat grows on trees that originated in China. It can be found in California, Florida, the Mediterranean countries, China, Japan, Indochina, Indonesia, Israel, Peru, and Brazil.


Kumquat hybrids, when crossed with other citrus fruits, include the limequat, lemonquat, orangequat, and the calamondin (a cross with the mandarin orange).

Buying and storing tips

Kumquats are occasionally sold with a decorative stem and leaves attached. Avoid fruits with damaged skin and those that feel soft.


The peak season for kumquats is November through February.

Preparation, Uses, and Tips

In this fruit, the rind is edible, tender, and sweet, while the flesh can be dry and very tart, compared with oranges. Kumquats are usually eaten raw, as whole fruit, excluding the seeds. They make a striking garnish, especially when used with the leaves still attached. As with other citrus fruit, kumquats can be candied, marinated, prepared as marmalade, added to fruit salad, poached, or preserved whole.

Nutritional Highlights
  • Kumquat (raw), 1 fruit (19g)
  • Calories: 12
  • Protein: 0.17g
  • Carbohydrate: 3.1g
  • Total Fat: 0.02g
  • Fiber: 1.25g
  • *Good source of: Vitamin C (7.1mg)

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.

Health benefits and concerns

Allergies and sensitivities (food and chemical)

A low-allergen diet, also known as an elimination diet, is often recommended to people with suspected food allergies in order to find out if avoiding common allergen foods gives relief from symptoms. This diet eliminates foods and food additives considered to be common allergens, including citrus fruits. Some popular books offer guidance to people who want to attempt this type of diet. Most elimination diets are quite restrictive and increase the likelihood of nutritional deficiencies. A successful elimination diet is usually followed by reintroduction of eliminated foods one at a time, to see which ones are truly allergens for the individual person and therefore need to be eliminated indefinitely. Strict avoidance of allergenic foods for a period of time (usually months or years) sometimes results in the foods no longer causing allergic reactions. Restrictive elimination diets and food reintroduction should be supervised by a qualified healthcare professional.


Allergy to foods and food additives is a common cause of hives, especially in chronic cases. Citrus fruits are among those foods most commonly reported to trigger hives. Numerous clinical studies demonstrate that diets that are free of foods that commonly trigger allergic reactions typically produce significant reductions in symptoms in 50–75% of people with chronic hives. People with hives should investigate the possibility that food allergies are causing their problem by consulting with a doctor.

Kidney stones

Citric acid is found in citrus fruits and may protect against kidney stone formation. Lemons are the best food source commonly available. One preliminary trial found that drinking 2 liters (approximately 2 quarts) of lemonade per day improved the quality of the urine in ways that are associated with stone prevention. Lemonade was far more effective than orange juice. The lemonade was made by mixing 4 oz lemon juice with enough water to make 2 liters. The smallest amount of sweetener possible should be added to make the taste acceptable. Further study is necessary, however, to determine if lemonade can prevent recurrence of kidney stones.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

10 Foods That Fight Pain

While many foods taste great, they are also powerful healers in a vibrant multicolor disguise. The best healing remedies also taste fabulous (I can’t say that about any prescription medications). Plus, foods won’t cause the nasty common side effects that most drugs cause.

1. Cherries
Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, professor of natural products and chemistry at Michigan State University, found that tart cherry extract is ten times more effective than aspirin at relieving inflammation. Only two tablespoons of the concentrated juice need to be taken daily for effective results. Sweet cherries have also been found to be effective.

2. Blackberries 3. Raspberries 4. Blueberries and 5. Strawberries
Dr. Nair later found the same anti-pain compound in berries like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries

6. Celery and Celery Seeds
James Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy, found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and celery seeds, including a substance called apigenin, which is powerful in its anti-inflammatory action. Add celery seeds to soups, stews or as a salt substitute in many recipes.

7. Ginger
Ginger reduces pain-causing prostaglandin levels in the body and has been widely used in India to treat pain and inflammation. A study by Indian researchers found that when people who were suffering from muscular pain were given ginger, they all experienced improvement. The recommended dosage of ginger is between 500 and 1,000 milligrams per day. If you’re taking medications, check with your health practitioner for possible herb-drug interactions.

8. Turmeric
Turmeric (curcuma longa) is the yellow spice commonly used in Indian curries. In research it has been shown to be a more effective anti-inflammatory than steroid medications when dealing with acute inflammation. Its main therapeutic ingredient is curcumin. Research shows that curcumin suppresses pain through a similar mechanism as drugs like COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors (without the harmful side effects). Choose a standardized extract with 1500 mg of curcumin content per day.

9. Flax Seeds and Flax Oil
Freshly-ground flax seeds and cold-pressed flax oil contain plentiful amounts of fatty acids known as Omega-3s. Do not cook with flax oil otherwise it will have the opposite effect-irritating the body’s tissues and causing pain.

10. Raw Walnuts and Walnut Oil
Raw walnuts and walnut oil also contain the same powerful Omega-3 fatty acids that fight pain and inflammation in the body.

When it comes to pain, food really is the best medicine.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Food Combination Of Fruits For Better Digestion

The greatest benefits from foods and the most efficient digestion come from simple meals with minimal food combinations. Thus, the first principle of Food Combining is simplicity and compatibility in meal planning.

Fruits digest best when eaten by themselves as an entire meal. In general, fruits should not be eaten with other foods. If they are, they will be detained in the stomach causing them to begin formation.

Alcohol, coffee, tea, vinegar, condiments retard digestion considerably.

Acid Fruits & nuts - Cheeses are ok because the high fat content of nuts & cheeses acts like a separate meal from the Acid frutis by digesting more slowly.

Acid fruits delay the digestion of sweet fruits.

Tomatoes - May be combined with Low Starch vegetables and either avocados or nuts, and not with starches or proteins.

Sugar & Protein - Fruit & other sugars inhibit gastric juice delaying protein digestion

Melons - Because they decompose even faster than the other fruits. It is advised to eat melons separately from other fuits.

Avocados combine BEST with non starchy vegetables. FAIR with acid fruits & starches. Avocados do not combine well with sweet fruits or proteins.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

What Is Sustainable Agriculture?

Sustainable agriculture takes many forms, but at its core is a rejection of the industrial approach to food production developed during the 20th century.

This system, with its reliance on monoculture, mechanization, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, biotechnology, and government subsidies, has made food abundant and affordable. However, the ecological and social price has been steep: erosion; depleted and contaminated soil and water resources; loss of biodiversity; deforestation; labor abuses; and the decline of the family farm.

The concept of sustainable agriculture embraces a wide range of techniques, including organic, free-range, low-input, holistic, and biodynamic.

The common thread among these methods is an embrace of farming practices that mimic natural ecological processes. Farmers minimize tilling and water use; encourage healthy soil by planting fields with different crops year after year and integrating croplands with livestock grazing; and avoid pesticide use by nurturing the presence of organisms that control crop-destroying pests.

Beyond growing food, the philosophy of sustainability also espouses broader principles that support the just treatment of farm workers and food pricing that provides the farmer with a livable income.

Critics of sustainable agriculture claim, among other things, that its methods result in lower crop yields and higher land use. They add that a wholesale commitment to its practices will mean inevitable food shortages for a world population expected to exceed 8 billion by the year 2030. There's recent evidence, though, suggesting that over time, sustainably farmed lands can be as productive as conventional industrial farms.