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Health-Enhancing Cinnamon

 

Cinnamon_Sticks_Copyright_M-J_de_Mesterton

Cinnamon aids in the regulation of weight and lowers blood sugar. It is delicious on toast, apples, oatmeal, rice pudding, and in coffee or tea. I add cinnamon (and sometimes turmeric) to health-promoting smoothies.

Ingesting cinnamon helps to reduce the food-supply to tumors, and is a natural anti-inflammatory agent.

Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants, and is sometimes added to a foot-soak or a facial treatment to soften skin.

Tea made with cinnamon can soothe a sore throat.

Cinnamon may help to preserve one’s power of memory.

©M-J de Mesterton

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Health-Enhancing Blueberries

M-J de Mesterton Still Life with Fruit Smoothie, Copyright 2009
M-J de Mesterton: Still Life with Fruit Smoothie, Copyright 2008

Blueberries contain vitamins A and C, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium, are high in fiber and low in calories. The USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) has ranked blueberries at the very top of antioxidant activity within a range of forty-one fruits and vegetables.

Blueberries contain natural health-enhancers, including vitamin C,  vitamin A, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium. They also have many antioxidant properties, and help in the prevention of:

  • Urinary-tract infections
  • Cancer
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Age-related brain disorders
  • Brain-damage from ischemia and strokes

Blueberries have recently acquired a reputation for enhancing one’s cardiovascular health, and their antioxidants naturally help in the prevention of cancer. Recent research has added to the blueberry’s list of powerful properties.

Metabolic syndrome, or pre-diabetes, is exhibited in those with a particular combination of health anomalies,  including larger-than-normal  amounts of abdominal fat, elevated blood-sugar, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides. Together, those conditions are likely to cause diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

Laboratory-rats that for 90 days consumed blueberry-enriched powder as two percent of their diet had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol, and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity than the control-group, who had no blueberry component in their diets.

Blueberry ingestion was determined to have a positive affect on specific genes related to fat-burning and fat-storage.  Where muscle tissue is concerned,  alterations in genes related to glucose-uptake were discovered to have been caused by the intake of blueberries.

Research also indicated that “metabolic syndrome” is  caused not only by abdominal fat, as previously believed by the medical industry, but by insulin resistance in one’s skeletal muscle system, an anomaly which alters energy-storage and causes metabolic syndrome.

Eating blueberries can help to prevent insulin-resistance, lower the related belly-fat, reduce cholesterol levels, and its numerous antioxidants can help to stave-off age-related brain disorders.

Blueberries  contain an antioxidant compound called pterostilbene, a compound similar to resveratrol, which has been found to reduce cholesterol as well as dangerous prescription drugs.

Just as dried cherries do, blueberries, when added to ground beef before cooking, help reduce the formation of  cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCA).

In Europe, the bilberry has most of the same properties as the blueberry. One of the many things they have in common is anthocyanin, the substance that makes them blue, which is beneficial to the cardiovascular system and is believed to lower blood-pressure. Bilberries have been used to enhance eyesight since World War 11, when pilots who ate bilberry jam attributed their improved night-vision to the tiny fruit. Bilberries are also said to aid in relief of varicose veins and gum-disease as they promote healthy circulation. Caution must be taken with bilberries by those who are taking blood-thinnning drugs, as they are a natural blood-thinner.

Blueberries can be added to a morning smoothie that you make with yogurt in a blender, together with whatever other fruits you have in stock. Frozen blueberries can be much less expensive than fresh ones, easier to store, and retain most of their antioxidant properties. When used in a smoothie, frozen blueberries make it ice-cold. This preparation makes a health-promoting breakfast, and is delicious as well. Staying well is the best thing you can do in this ailing world.

~~M-J

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An Apple a Day Just Might Keep the Doctor Away!

Apples, because of their pectin, polyphenols and bioflavonoids, have properties that really can, like the old adage says, keep the doctor away.

In 1996, a study was conducted in Finland to determine whether or not eating apples can lower cholesterol. The Finnish team determined that eating three apples a day for three months can help lower a person’s LDL, or low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) level by twenty points. Apples contain quercetin, an antioxidant which also helps to reduce the amount of LDL in the bloodstream.

Another Finnish study’s results promote the theory that the polyphenols in apples can inhibit lung cancer.

Apples, having natural ACE-inhibitor  properties, can help to  relax arteries, lower blood pressure and improve the pumping ability of the heart. The apple is also a hemetic, an agent that builds up the blood.

Eating apples can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease. The well-known Women’s Health Study found that  females who regularly ate foods  high in flavonoids, such as apples and onions, had a 35% reduction in cardiovascular events. The Finnish study found a lower risk of thrombic stroke among those who eat apples often. The study concluded that “flavonoid intake was strongly correlated with a decreased mortality from heart disease in elderly men and also negatively correlated with myocardial infarction.”

The Finnish research team proved that the apple’s bioflavonoids have an effect on cerebrovascular health.  Apples provide antioxidants for the body. Oxidative damage on cells by free radicals contributes to age-related brain deterioration. Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia are examples. The apple is an anti-Alzheimer’s agent. A study conducted by the University of Massachusetts suggests that whether the brain-oxidation is caused by genetics,  metabolism, or dietary insufficiencies, apples can improve the condition.

The apple can help to prevent sugar alcohol, or sorbitol, from being trapped in nerve and eye cells. Apples contain a natural aldose-reductase inhibitor, which can help to prevent this devastating effect of diabetes.

Apples are a digestive aid, and help to prevent the absorption of fats.

The health-benefits of apples are numerous, and autumn is harvest time.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2008

More Information on the Apple’s Health-Benefits, by George Mateljan, My Favorite Food and Health Writer