Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Top Twelve Fruits to Have In Your Diet

You can buy a bag of organic or regular apples at a pretty reasonable price. This is one fruit that you should have every day because of its accessibility and nutritional value. It cleanses the body, lowers cholesterol, keeps blood glucose levels up, and aids digestion. The pectin and skin of apples serves as a good source of fiber too. They are also a good source of Vitamin A and also contain Vitamin C and B. It is high in two powerful phytochemicals: pectin which helps to lower both cholesterol and colon cancer, and boron which helps to prevent osteoporosis and stimulates the electrical activity of the brain, increasing the ability to perform tasks effectively and efficiently. An apple a day does keep the doctor away. This is one fruit that you can and must incorporate into your health regimen. Get organic if you can.  

Oranges and other Citrus
This and other citrus like grapefruit and lemon contain high levels of vitamin C. It also contains a compound called limonene that prevents breast cancer. Oranges also contain choline, which improves mental functioning. The combined package of carotenoids, flavonoids, terpenes, limonoids and coumarins make citrus fruit a cancer fighting juggernaut.

This fruit is high in vitamin A, C, and potassium. The antioxidant papain in papaya is a superb anti-inflammatory.  Please read my write up on this fruit in a past article.

This fruit is very high in beta carotene, with the dried version (1/2 cup) containing very high levels. This vitamin A precursor prevents the formation of plaque deposits in arteries, thus preventing heart disease. Apricots help to normalize blood pressure, heart function and maintain normal body fluid levels. They contain no fat or sodium, but is high in potassium, boron, iron, magnesium and fiber.    

They are very very high in Vitamin A, C, Potassium, niacin, and fiber. It's a power packed fruit when it comes to these vitamins. It's hard to get, but if you find them in the market, add a few to a fruit salad. They help protect against cancer and atherosclerosis, and assists the body in fighting infection. 

Red Grapes
They contain ellagic and caffeic acid, which deactivate csarcinogens. Flavonoids in grape juice have heart-protective effects. They are a good source of potassium. Resveratrol, found in red wine and red grape juice has a protective effect on the cardiovascular system.

This fruit is high in vitamin C and E (one of the few fruit to contain vitamin E), which acts as antioxidants, protecting cells from damage.

The incredible edible banana is here to save your potassium deficient day. Just eat one of these babies each day to keep your heart pumping regularly. It also keeps  the cholesterol down and lowers blood pressure. It beats off little bacterial buggies from proliferating in your tummy, and at the same time, prevents stomach ulcers. The great thing about this fruit is this: it comes in an easy to remove wrapper. It's very kid friendly.   

Read about this fruit in my previous article.

This is a super duper antioxidant. I wish I lived in the Pacific Northwest where this berry grows like a weed. I know. I know. It's a nuisance, but not when it comes to good health. This berry packs a punch when it comes to vitamin C, potassium, iron, calcium, and manganese; not to mention the truckload of phytonutrients and bioflavonoids.  

Did you know the leaves can be used for dysentery and dairrhea? I know when you think strawberry, you don't think about such grotesque things, but I still think it is pretty interesting. Well, this fruit carries a compound called ellegic acid and Vitamin C, both well know as cancer fighting weapons for your immune system. Strawberries also battle gout, rheumatism, arthritis, and kidney stones.

Do you have dementia? Well, it wouldn't matter if you did because you would forget everything you read before you bought this wonderful fruit. Ha! Just kidding with you. This berry is known to enhance cognitive function and prevent the onset of alzheimers and dementia in older adults. It is rich in vitamin C, Potassium and a natural form of aspirin. The strong tannin content helps prevents bacterial growth in the body. It also adds extra fiber to smoothies. 

The common theme is this: Eat four to five servings of fruit per day as a strong preventive measure against cancer and heart disease, the top two killers today. Try to go organic if you can. Eat well and prosper. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Black Mustard Seed

Mustard seed is a common staple in the Indian diet. It's used in curries, stews, marinades, and many other things. The black variety is wonderful with chicken. What are some of it's health benefits?

1. It's high in selenium so it makes it a wonderful anti-inflammatory. Athletes definitely should be eating a little mustard seed each week.
2. It's also high in magnesium and thus will benefit people with high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease.
3. It gives relief from migraine headaches.
4. It increase metabolism and helps with digestion.
5. It also improves appetite and helps menopausal women who struggle with insomnia.

All in all, a few Indian dishes in your diet will enhance your overall well being. The curries, vegetables, and other herbs found in Indian cooking will add to your health reservoir. Eat well and prosper!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Potent Pineapple

I remember as a kid, riding through vast tracks of pineapple fields. The Leeward side of our island (Oahu) was covered with the crowned fruit called the pineapple. Miles upon miles of pineapple filled the slopes of Mililani. We were the king of pineapple production throughout the world. We also produced the most sugar cane. Today, the Dole Pineapple cannery in downtown Honolulu is just a museum of its former agricultural prowess; shops now fill building space once occupied by its offices; a theater is the only draw to this once bustling business.

Can you sense a note of sadness in my voice? Yes, I am sad about the passing of time, but I am glad we still grow a little pineapple for our stores and farmer's markets on the island. We can still fortify our bodies with this potent fruit from South America. Why is it so potent?

The one enzyme responsible for giving pineapple its healthy claim to fame is this: bromaine. It's an amazing enzyme and health booster. Eating three servings of pineapple a week can be a healthy step toward preventing asthma, arthritis, cancer, and other inflammatory types of diseases. It helps the body to heal bruises, sprains, and strains by reducing swelling, tenderness, and pain.

Bromelain also helps in digestion by breaking down proteins more efficiently and helping the body get the needed nutrition to its cells.

The pineapple is also high in vitamin C, a commonly known powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals in our system.  Vitamin C, as you know, helps build and repair body tissue and promotes bodily healing. Vitamin C also metabolizes fat and cholesterol, absorbs iron, and synthesizes amino acids and collagen. You want to have nicer skin, eat more pineapple and other citrus.

It also tastes great. Making a fruit smoothie of pineapple, papaya, and banana at least three times a week will boost your immune system through the roof. I know I'm using superlative language, but these three fruits swimming around in your body will enhance your health, mood, looks, and even breath, yes, even your breath.

It's been found to reduce your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

The benefits abound. Look for pineapple that have a sweet tropical smell, not sour or discolored. I prefer the smaller, golden yellow ones, the first harvest. They are sweeter and more intense in flavor. Canned pineapple has very little bromaine because of the extra processing, so buy it fresh from the market. 

Lastly, do you know why people get sick all the time? It's because they fill their bodies with processed foods and keep it alive through harsh medications that offer no long lasting cures. Forgive me for this side note, but as I study the benefits of natural foods like fruit, vegetables, and herbs, I am realizing that the best medicine is preventive medicine. A daily dose of pineapple along with other healthy portions of vegetables and fruits will accomplish this. Eat well and prosper!  

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Powerful Papaya

Here is another one of those fruits that contain a megaton of antioxidant punching power. It's the mighty papaya, or as the title states, the powerful papaya. Why is it so potent? Papaya is packed with high amounts of vitamin C, E, and beta carotene, all strong antioxidants that lessen the risk of developing cancer.

Many also use papaya to treat digestive disorders. It contains an enzyme called papain that breaks down protein in food, which in turn promotes better digestion and overall well being. Cystic fibrosis and pancreatic disease patients eat papaya to supply their body with digestive enzymes because their diseased bodies do not produce them anymore.

It also promotes male virility. It contains the amino acid arginine that increases blood flow around the penis. Arginine is already used in drug form to promote virility or healthy erections. Papaya could be a safer, more natural option.

Papaya prevents aging. Since it helps in digestion, all the nutrients which were once leached or  out of the body, are now being utilized by the body more efficiently. More nutrients getting to the cells  increases overall health and stops premature aging.

Papaya juice mixed together with cucumber and green bean juice make a powerful colon cleanser. Drinking this for three days every morning, binds the toxins in the colon and flushes them out.

It also prevents heart attacks and strokes because its dense levels of antioxidants prevents cholesterol from oxidizing and then attaching itself to arterial walls (the chief culprit in clogged arteries); therefore, clearing these vital passage ways.  

Lastly, it is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Vitamins C, E, and beta carotenes are good at reducing inflammation. People use it on burns to accelerate the healing process. Asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases also benefit from daily servings of papaya.

So the next time you are in a super market, please get some papaya. Your body will thank you for it. It's one of the best things you could do for your health. Eat well and prosper!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Mighty Passion Fruit (Lilikoi)

My father used to grow this thing on a fence in our back yard. It grew wild. The fruit proliferated. He made juice from it. As a kid, I would pick the fruit and rascally throw it at others. The other kids in the neighborhood had a blast throwing the fruit, especially the overly ripe ones, at each others' heads. I can still picture the yellow, slimy pulp oozing down my neighbor's smiling face.

Little did I know, that I was wasting a great source of polyphenols on someone's cranium. Yes, this exotic fruit from South America is packed with tons of antioxidants, polyphenol being the primary one. Green tea is also chock full of this anti-cancer compound. Passion fruit is known as a remedy for high blood pressure, arterial blockage, asthma, and even a metabolism booster for overweight people.

The fruit, dried leaves, and flowers also have a calming effect on the body. Many drink passion fruit tea before they sleep at night in order to promote better rest. Only fruit can do this: promote metabolism and restfulness at the same time. That's why nature is our best medicine cabinet.

I ate some this morning and I still feel the boost of energy flowing through my body, but I am not jittery. It's better than caffeine! Maybe that's why they call it passion fruit. It gets your blood pumping and body resting for optimum performance. It's better than Viagra! Ha! This has not been medically proven, but it does increase your sense of well-being. I feel great right now. I really do.

Next time you walk through an open market or a specialty fruit store, look for some fresh passion fruit. It will add some bravado and pep to your life, as well as a healthy dose of vitamin C. Don't let the seeds deter you, just slurp them down. It has the perfect blend between sweet and sour. Malama Pono

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Health Benefits of Tea

Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary.  ~Chinese Proverb

The wise Chinese sage that penned this saying might have been on to something. Many laud the benefits of drinking two to five cups of green or black tea per day, but there are also many that do not know the healthful qualities of drinking this elixir from Asia. This blog article will address the latter group along with those who know tea is good for them, but do not know the full extent of why it is good. Ignorance is bliss, but wisdom is better (St. Johnny 2010). 

For starters, research is still ongoing about the scope of it's disease preventive and curative properties, but we know these facts about tea: it contains no additives or artificial sweeteners; it contains no calories; tea drinking increases daily intake of fluids; it maintains a healthy, energized metabolism and circulatory system; acts as an antiviral; has less caffeine than coffee; increases alertness without making you jittery; contributes to oral health by impeding bacterial growth; acts as an anti-inflamatory; provides a rich source of vitamins. 

Green tea is also known to contain one hundred times more antioxidants than vitamin C and twenty-five times more than vitamin E in protecting our immune systems. Some research has claimed that green tea is more healthful than black, and some state they are the same when it comes to antioxidant content. There are so many variables that it is hard to state definitively one way or the other (soil content, how much sun, how much shade, length of roasting process). All these things effect the antioxidant content (anti-disease causing agents).

Yes, I like the jolt of a good cup of coffee, but you cannot beat tea for both its relaxing and stimulating effect on the body. It's less intrusive and abrasive on the human anatomy and psyche. I believe it has something to do with the caffeine content and the intangible, feel good attitude one gets when you drink a cup on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or on any afternoon for the matter. Being happy can add years to your life - tea definitely contributes to this reservoir.

This quote sums it up the best: "So, when it comes to tea, think tonic, not curative, healthful collaborator not redeemer. Mix it up and drink tea from all the fascinating classes of tea. Drink tea to relax and connect with the spiritual nature of life's simple pleasures. Enjoy the flavors and the subtle and not so subtle differences waiting to be discovered in the world of tea offerings, and should the rich doses of flavanoids in each cup of tea be determined to cure what ails you, you will be ahead of the curve. (The Story of Tea, pg 357)."

In other words, tea is good for you. Drink two to five cups each day along with a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, and other unprocessed foods. You will feel better, look better and think better. This is a good thing if you ask me.  

"Tea tempers the spirit and harmonizes the mind; dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue; awakens thought and prevents drowsiness"
Lu Tzu