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Cranberries are the most useful fruit for you, if you suffer from repeated UTIs, stomach ulcers and GI distress, have a problem with your heart or liver, have been diagnosed with cancer, have gum disease or bad skin. The list can go on and on to prove cranberries are indeed nature’s wonder fruits.
Let’s see what these berries contain. A cup of cranberries contains the following:
- Calories - 46
- Manganese - 18 %
- Vitamin C - 18 %
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Glycemic index – Low
Cranberries have thousands of benefits for our health. It’s not just we who are saying this, but it is a scientific fact.
What makes cranberries so awesome?
- Fights UTI: Cranberries are strongly acidic and they contain a chemical compound that gives them their bacteria fighting punch. This compound is called proanthocyanidins (PACs). It helps prevent UTIs as the special structure of PACs acts as a barrier to bacteria, which latch on the walls of your urinary bladder, causing UTIs.
- Prevents stomach cancer: The PAC prevents bacteria, which cause stomach cancer called helicobacter pylori to latch on to the walls of your stomach and large intestine.
- Protects your heart: Cranberries contain Anthocyanin. This phytonutrient gives cranberries their amazing red colour and is linked to their unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which protect your cardio-vascular system and liver. To reap the complete benefits of all five cranberry phytonutrients, it’s best to consume the whole berry rather than have it in the form of an extract or juice.
- Contains anti-cancer properties: Cranberries possess solid cancer-preventive benefits. They can prevent cancers of the breast, colon, lung, and prostate. None of the cancer-related benefits of cranberries should be surprising, since cranberry is loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients like anthocyanins which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Antioxidants are essential for improving health by helping combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA, thereby preventing cancers.
- Oral health: Apart from boosting immunity, making our skin lush and youthful, cranberries can also prevent periodontal disease.
- Good for diabetic: Since, cranberries are a low GI fruit, diabetics can have them too and benefit from their health benefits.
- Good for your heart: The fruit has also been proven to lower LDL and raise HDL or good cholesterol, as well as help in recovery from stroke.
- Promotes weight loss: The fruit is loaded with fibre, which keeps you full for a longer time and aids in weight loss. Because of high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content, cranberries help improve memory.
This food is no less than a superfood, sent straight from heaven for our well-being. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.
Today, olive oil is known as one of the healthiest oils for cooking food because of its low level of saturated fats. Olive oil is also said to be able to aid in weight loss, reduce cholesterol, lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, slow down the ageing process and protect against certain types of cancer. However, not all types of olive oil are the same. Olive oil is extracted by crushing olives and is categorised on the basis of the type of pressing, acidity levels and extent of processing undergone.
Some of the common types of olive oil available are:
- Extra virgin olive oil: This refers to oil produced by the first ‘pressing’ of olives. This oil is extracted using only mechanical or other physical means and does not involve the use of heat or chemicals. The only processing is subjected to is washing, decanting, centrifuging and filtering. The maximum acidity level of this oil is 0.8%. Extra virgin olive oil has no added flavours or aroma and is said to have a superior taste.
- Virgin olive oil: This is the second grade of olive oil. It has slightly higher level of acidity than extra virgin olive oil. It may seem to have a slight flavour imperfection as compared to the earlier oil. This is most commonly used type of olive oil.
- Refined olive oil: Oil that is produced by subsequent pressings of the remaining olive flesh is known as refined olive oil. It has a lighter colour and is less viscous as compared to virgin olive oil. Unlike virgin olive oil, refined olive oil is bleached and deodorised. It may also be mixed with a little virgin olive oil. This type of oil has the same levels of monosaturated fat, but has very little antioxidants.
- Olive pomace oil: The crushed flesh and pits left over from the extraction of olive oil is known as pomace. This may further be used to extract oil known as pomace oil. Pomace oil is an inferior oil that may be mixed with olive oil to improve its taste and texture.
- Unfiltered olive oil: As the name suggests, the unfiltered olive oil contains bits of olive flesh. While this may enhance the flavour of the oil, it also causes a sediment to be formed at the bottom of the bottle. This sediment may become rancid over time and lower the shelf life of the oil. Unfiltered olive oil should ideally be used within 6 months of being bottled.
Apart from the above, there are a number of other types of olive oil such as early or late harvest olive oil, hand picked olive oil, single estate olive oil and flavoured oil. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor.
While every organ in the body needs to be cared for, the heart assumes a very special place. What is good for the heart can be good for the whole body and the reverse is equally true. The effects of a diet that is unhealthy for the heart is definitely unhealthy for the whole body.
With lifestyle changes like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and stroke are on the rise, the importance of eating a heart healthy diet has assumed all new levels of importance. The following are some of the heart healthy foods that should be a part of everybody’s diet.
- Fatty fishes: Salmon, sardines and mackerel are loaded with generous amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and reduce the risk of arterial plaque buildup. They are also rich in antioxidants. Eating fish at least twice a week is recommended; for non-fish eaters, supplements of Omega-3 fatty acids are recommended.
- Oatmeal: Oats again are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, folate and potassium. It is also rich in soluble fibre and is believed to lower bad cholesterol and keep the arteries free of plaque. It soaks up the cholesterol in the digestive system and helps manage cholesterol.
- Avocado: This creamy fruit has loads of monounsaturated fat which helps lower the levels of bad cholesterol and improve levels of good cholesterol. They also improve absorption of other carotenoids like lycopene and beta-carotene, which are also extremely heart friendly.
- Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and other berries reduce the risk of heart attack by almost one-third. These are rich in compounds like anthocyanins and flavonoids which are proven antioxidants. They relax the blood vessels and reduce blood pressure and reduce the incidence of heart attacks.
- Dark chocolate: Chocolate which contains 60-70% cocoa is rich in polyphenols, which helps blood pressure, clotting, and inflammation.
- Olive Oil: Loaded with monounsaturated fats, this helps reduce levels of bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The extra-virgin variety is preferred for cooking in place of regular vegetable oils.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, and macadamia nuts are packed with mono and polyunsaturated fats, fibre, and vitamin E. Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and can be added to oatmeal or eaten raw.
- Soy: Soy products, including tofu and soy milk, are ideal for adding protein and reducing cholesterol and polyunsaturated fats, fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
- Legumes: These are high in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fibre.
- Spinach: Helps with its rich content of fibre, folate, lutein,and potassium. In fact, most vegetables have a beneficial effect.
- Green tea: Rich in antioxidants, it reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Include some of the heart healthy foods and see your heart smile!!
Vitamin B is not one vitamin, but is a complex of 8 vitamins, which not only are essential for a good health, but also facilitates smooth functioning of our body. Further, each component of vitamin B aids in specific body function from managing our metabolism to hair health to prevention against migraine.
Vitamin B is a complex of following vitamins B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (Biotin), B9 (Folate), B12. It is widely present in food sources and a person who eats a well-balanced diet will have the requisite amount of B complex in body.
- Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is required for the body to make new cells and so has a significant role in the immune system. It is also known as the anti-stress vitamin as it helps in improving immunity and is required for breakdown of carbohydrates.
- Vitamin B2, chemically known as riboflavin, is essential for red blood cell production and transporting oxygen throughout the body. It also has antioxidant properties and is known to reduce free radicals and reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is essential for cholesterol regulation. It promotes the formation of good cholesterol and so is essential for preventing the onset of heart disease. It also known for its anti-acne effects.
- Vitamin B5, pantothenic acid, is essential for fat and carbohydration metabolism. It also is required for the production of hormones including testosterone and cortisol (stress hormones). It is also beneficial for the skin by reducing anti aging effects including reducing brown spots.
- Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine, has a major role to play in sleep and mood regulation. It produces various neurotransmitters like serotonin, melatonin, and norepinephrine which are essential for emotional well-being. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is useful in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
- Vitamin B7 or biotin is known as the beauty vitamin, as it has major hair, skin and nail benefits. It is also essential for glucose level maintenance. It assumes great importance in pregnancy as it is important for normal growth of the baby.
- Vitamin B9 or folate or folic acid is again very essential in pregnancy as deficiency can lead to neurological defects in the developing baby. It also plays a major role in carrying oxygen to the cells through the RBCs.
- Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is essential to ensure that other vitamins are functioning properly. B12 deficiency leads to anaemia, as it enables the red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. It is mostly present in non-vegetarian foods and supplements are commonly administered in anaemic people. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a neurologist and ask a free question.
With increasing awareness about eating healthy, certain seeds are now being considered as super foods. Flax seeds, also known as “Alsi”, have amazing benefits and are recommended by all nutritionists.
Listed below are a few benefits of flax seeds:
Help in losing weight: Flax seeds are loaded with required fats and fibre and consuming a handful of these seeds will make you feel full for longer. This reduces the temptation to binge eat and results in fewer calories consumed during the day. The ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) fats present in the flax seeds have also been found to reduce inflammation.
Maintain heart health: Flax seeds are almost phenomenal as the fats contained in them are unsaturated fats which are wonderful for your health. Because these fats remain in the form of ALA fats, they help you in maintaining and improving heart health by reducing bad cholesterol and retaining the good cholesterol. Thus, the chances of getting a stroke or an attack are relatively low.
Flaxseeds are High in Antioxidants (Lignans): Amongst its other incredible nutrition facts, flax seeds are also packed with antioxidants. Lignans are also known for their anti-viral and antibacterial properties, therefore consuming flax regularly may help reduce the number or severity of colds and flus.
Improve colon health: These seeds are packed with fibre and are very low in unsaturated fats. This makes them useful in improving digestive health. Also, the fibre content makes bowel movements smoother and reduces constipation and diarrhoea.
Healthy, supple and glowing skin: Adding flax seeds to your daily diet is a great idea as they are packed with ALA fats and Vitamin B which help in reducing flakiness and dryness of skin. Consuming flax seeds regularly also helps in getting rid of the symptoms of acne and eczema and are proven to reduce dry eye syndrome and puffiness. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.