5 Health Benefits of Coconut

Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera).

It’s used for its water, milk, oil, and tasty meat.

Coconuts have been grown in tropical regions for more than 4,500 years but recently increased in popularity for their flavor, culinary uses, and potential health benefits.

Here are 5 health and nutrition benefits of coconut.

Types of coconut products

The raw white meat inside a coconut is referred to as the kernel. It has a firm texture and delicious, slightly sweet flavor.

If you have a whole coconut, you can scrape the raw meat out of the shell and eat it. In its processed form, you’ll usually find it sliced, shaved, or grated.

Coconut milk and cream are made by pressing the raw, grated meat.

Dried coconut meat is usually grated or shaved and used in cooking or baking. It can be further processed and ground into flour.

Coconut oil is also extracted from the meat.

1. Highly nutritious

Unlike many other fruits that are high in carbs, coconuts provide mostly fat.

They also contain protein, several important minerals, and small amounts of B vitamins. However, they’re not a significant source of most other vitamins.

The minerals in coconut are involved in many functions in your body. Coconuts are especially high in manganese, which is essential for bone health and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol.

They’re also rich in copper and iron, which help form red blood cells, as well as selenium, an important antioxidant that protects your cells.

Much of the fat in coconut is in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

Your body metabolizes MCTs differently than other types of fats, absorbing them directly from your small intestine and rapidly using them for energy.

One review on the benefits of MCTs in people with obesity found these fats may promote body fat loss when eaten in place of long-chain saturated fats from animal foods.

2. May benefit heart health

Studies have found that people who live on Polynesian islands and frequently eat coconut meat have lower rates of heart disease than those who follow a Western diet.

However, native Polynesians also eat more fish and less processed foods, so it’s unclear if these lower rates are due to eating coconut or other aspects of their diet.

Another study in 1,837 Filipino women found that those who ate more coconut oil not only had higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol but also higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides.

Overall, it concluded that coconut oil has a neutral effect on cholesterol levels.

Consuming virgin coconut oil, which is extracted from dried coconut meat, may reduce belly fat. This is especially beneficial because excess belly fat increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

A study in 20 people with obesity found the waist size of male participants decreased by an average of about 1 inch (about 3 cm) after they consumed 1 ounce (30 ml) of virgin coconut oil daily for 4 weeks. The female participants did not experience a significant reduction.

However, in one longer study, women who consumed 1 ounce (30 ml) of refined coconut oil daily for 12 weeks experienced a reduction of 0.5 inches (1.4 cm) from their waist measurement, on average.

3. May promote blood sugar control

Coconut is low in carbs and high in fiber and fat, so it may help stabilize your blood sugar.

One rat study found that coconut had antidiabetic effects, possibly due to its arginine content. Arginine is an amino acid that’s important for the functioning of pancreatic cells, which release the hormone insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels.

When rats with diabetes were fed protein made from coconut meat, their blood sugar, insulin levels, and other glucose metabolism markers were much better than those that didn’t eat coconut protein.

In addition, beta cells in their pancreas started making more insulin — a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. Researchers suspected the improved beta-cell function was also due to the high amounts of arginine found in coconut.

The high fiber content of coconut meat can also help slow digestion and improve insulin resistance, which can help regulate blood sugar levels as well.

4. Contains powerful antioxidants

Coconut meat contains phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants that may help protect cells from oxidative damage.

Lab tests on coconut meat have shown that it has antioxidant and free-radical-scavenging activity.

The polyphenols found in it can prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, making it less likely to form plaques in arteries that can increase the risk of heart disease.

Some test-tube and animal studies have also shown that antioxidants found in coconut oil may help protect cells from damage and death caused by oxidative stress and chemotherapy.

5. Easy to add to your diet

Flaked or shaved, coconut adds a nice flavor to savory dishes. Its meaty texture and flavor work well in curries, fish stews, rice dishes, or even on breaded shrimp.

Be aware that some brands contain added sugar, which you may not want for savory dishes. Be sure to check the ingredient label.

Shredded coconut is great for baking and adds a touch of natural sweetness and moisture to cookies, muffins, and quick breads.

A sprinkle of raw coconut adds some texture and tropical flavor to oatmeal. Stirred into pudding or yogurt, it’s also a delicious calorie booster for someone who wants to gain weight.

Coconut flour is used in baking as a substitute for wheat flour. It’s gluten-free, nut-free, and a popular option for anyone who’s counting carbs.

Because it’s grain-free, the flour is also good for those on the paleo diet, which does not allow grain products like regular wheat flour.

However, coconut flour is best used in recipes that have been tested, as it won’t rise like wheat flour and absorbs more liquid than other types of flour.

Additionally, coconut oil is a delicious heat-stable fat that can be used in baking, sautéing, or roasting. Read More

Health Benefits Of Mushroom

Mushrooms come in lots of different shapes, sizes, and colors. The ones that aren’t toxic happen to be quite healthy, and tasty too.

For many years they’ve been used for their unique ability to add flavor in lots of different cultures’ cuisines. Although they’re actually fungi, mushrooms are lumped in the vegetable category for cooking purposes. Mushrooms allow you to add extra taste without sodium or fat.

Poisonous mushrooms can be hard to identify in the wild, so you should always buy from a reliable grocery store or market. The most common types found in grocery stores are:

  • shiitake
  • portobello
  • criminibutton or white mushroom
  • oyster
  • enoki
  • beech
  • maitake

They each have a unique look and taste.

When choosing your mushrooms, make sure they feel firm, aren’t moist to the touch, and are mold-free. They can be stored in a paper bag inside the fridge for about five days. Brush the dirt off and rinse them lightly when you’re ready to use them.



Nutritional benefits of eating mushrooms 


You can’t go wrong with mushrooms. They’re fat-free, low-sodium, low-calorie, and cholesterol-free. They’re also packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Nutritional benefits vary depending on the type of mushroom. But overall, they are a good source of the following nutrients.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants help protect the body from damaging free radicals that can cause conditions like heart disease and cancer. They also protect you against damage from aging and boost your immune system. Mushrooms are rich in the antioxidant called selenium. In fact, they are the best source of the mineral in the produce aisle.

Beta glucan

Beta glucan is a form of soluble dietary fiber that’s been strongly linked to improving cholesterol and boosting heart health. It can also help your body regulate blood sugar, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are believed to have the most effective beta glucans.

B vitamins

Mushrooms are rich in the B vitamins: riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. The combination helps protect heart health. Riboflavin is good for red blood cells. Niacin is good for the digestive system and for maintaining healthy skin. Pantothenic acid is good for the nervous system and helps the body make the hormones it needs.

Copper

Copper helps your body make red blood cells, which are used to deliver oxygen all over the body. The mineral is also important to other processes in the body, like maintaining healthy bones and nerves. Even after being cooked, a 1-cup serving of mushrooms can provide about one-third of the daily recommended amount of copper.

Potassium

Potassium is extremely important when it comes to heart, muscle, and nerve function. There’s about as much potassium in 2/3 cup of cooked Portobello mushroom as there is in a medium-sized banana. Read More

8 Health Benefits Found In Onion

Though all vegetables are important for health, certain kinds offer unique benefits.

Onions are members of the Allium genus of flowering plants that also includes garlic, shallots, leeks and chives.

These vegetables contain various vitamins, minerals and potent plant compounds that have been shown to promote health in many ways.

In fact, the medicinal properties of onions have been recognized since ancient times, when they were used to treat ailments like headaches, heart disease and mouth sores.

Here are 8 impressive health benefits of onions.

  • Packed With Nutrients

Onions are nutrient-dense, meaning they’re low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals.

One medium onion has just 44 calories but delivers a considerable dose of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

This vegetable is particularly high in vitamin C, a nutrient involved in regulating immune health, collagen production, tissue repair and iron absorption.

Vitamin C also acts as a powerful antioxidant in your body, protecting your cells against damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals.

Onions are also rich in B vitamins, including folate (B9) and pyridoxine (B6) — which play key roles in metabolism, red blood cell production and nerve function.

Lastly, they’re a good source of potassium, a mineral in which many people are lacking.

In fact, the average potassium intake of Americans is just over half the recommended daily value (DV) of 4,700 mg.

Normal cellular function, fluid balance, nerve transmission, kidney function and muscle contraction all require potassium.

  • May Benefit Heart Health

Onions contain antioxidants and compounds that fight inflammation, decrease triglycerides and reduce cholesterol levels — all of which may lower heart disease risk.

Their potent anti-inflammatory properties may also help reduce high blood pressure and protect against blood clots.

Quercetin is a flavonoid antioxidant that’s highly concentrated in onions. Since it’s a potent anti-inflammatory, it may help decrease heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure.

A study in 70 overweight people with high blood pressure found that a dose of 162 mg per day of quercetin-rich onion extract significantly reduced systolic blood pressure by 3–6 mmHg compared to a placebo.

Onions have also been shown to decrease cholesterol levels.

A study in 54 women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) found that consuming large amounts of raw red onions (40–50 grams/day if overweight and 50–60 grams/day if obese) for eight weeks reduced total and “bad” LDL cholesterol compared to a control group.

Additionally, evidence from animal studies supports that onion consumption may reduce risk factors for heart disease, including inflammation, high triglyceride levels and blood clot formation.

  • Loaded With Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation, a process that leads to cellular damage and contributes to diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Onions are an excellent source of antioxidants. In fact, they contain over 25 different varieties of flavonoid antioxidants.

Red onions, in particular, contain anthocyanins — special plant pigments in the flavonoid family that give red onions their deep color.

Multiple population studies have found that people who consume more foods rich in anthocyanins have a reduced risk of heart disease.

For example, a study in 43,880 men showed that habitual intakes as high as 613 mg per day of anthocyanins were correlated to a 14% lower risk of nonfatal heart attacks.

Similarly, a study in 93,600 women observed that those with the highest intake of anthocyanin-rich foods were 32% less likely to experience a heart attack than women with the lowest intake.

Additionally, anthocyanins have been found to protect against certain types of cancer and diabetes.

  • Contain Cancer-Fighting Compounds

Eating vegetables of the Allium genus like garlic and onions has been linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, including stomach and colorectal.

A review of 26 studies showed that people who consumed the highest amount of allium vegetables were 22% less likely to be diagnosed with stomach cancer than those who consumed the least amount.

Moreover, a review of 16 studies in 13,333 people demonstrated that participants with the highest onion intake had a 15% reduced risk of colorectal cancer compared to those with the lowest intake.

These cancer-fighting properties have been linked to the sulfur compounds and flavonoid antioxidants found in allium vegetables.

For example, onions provide onionin A, a sulfur-containing compound that has been shown to decrease tumor development and slow the spread of ovarian and lung cancer in test-tube studies.

Onions also contain fisetin and quercetin, flavonoid antioxidants that may inhibit tumor growth.

  • Help Control Blood Sugar

Eating onions may help control blood sugar, which is especially significant for people with diabetes or prediabetes.

A study in 42 people with type 2 diabetes demonstrated that eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of fresh red onion reduced fasting blood sugar levels by about 40 mg/dl after four hours (23Trusted Source).

Additionally, multiple animal studies have shown that onion consumption may benefit blood sugar control.

A study showed that diabetic rats fed food containing 5% onion extract for 28 days experienced decreased fasting blood sugar and had substantially lower body fat than the control group.

Specific compounds found in onions, such as quercetin and sulfur compounds, possess antidiabetic effects.

For example, quercetin has been shown to interact with cells in the small intestine, pancreas, skeletal muscle, fat tissue and liver to control whole-body blood sugar regulation.

  • May Boost Bone Density

Though dairy gets much of the credit for boosting bone health, many other foods, including onions, may help support strong bones.

A study in 24 middle-aged and postmenopausal women showed that those who consumed 3.4 ounces (100 ml) of onion juice daily for eight weeks had improved bone mineral density and antioxidant activity compared to a control group.

Another study in 507 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women found that those who ate onions at least once a day had a 5% greater overall bone density than individuals who ate them once a month or less.

Plus, the study demonstrated that older women who most frequently ate onions decreased their risk of hip fracture by more than 20% compared to those who never ate them.

It’s believed that onions help reduce oxidative stress, boost antioxidant levels and decrease bone loss, which may prevent osteoporosis and boost bone density.

  • Have Antibacterial Properties

Onions can fight potentially dangerous bacteria, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Bacillus cereus.

Furthermore, onion extract has been shown to inhibit the growth of Vibrio cholerae, a bacteria that is a major public health concern in the developing world.

Quercetin extracted from onions seems to be a particularly powerful way to fight bacteria.

A test-tube study demonstrated that quercetin extracted from yellow onion skin successfully inhibited the growth of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

H. pylori is a bacteria associated with stomach ulcers and certain digestive cancers, while MRSA is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that causes infections in different parts of .

Another test-tube study found that quercetin damaged the cell walls and membranes of E. coli and S. aureus.

  • May Boost Digestive Health

Onions are a rich source of fiber and prebiotics, which are necessary for optimal gut health.

Prebiotics are nondigestible types of fiber that are broken down by beneficial gut bacteria.

Gut bacteria feed on prebiotics and create short-chain fatty acids — including acetate, propionate and butyrate.

Research has shown that these short-chain fatty acids strengthen gut health, boost immunity, reduce inflammation and enhance digestion.

Additionally, consuming foods rich in prebiotics helps increase probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria strains, which benefit digestive health.

A diet rich in prebiotics may help improve the absorption of important minerals like calcium, which may improve bone health.

Onions are particularly rich in the prebiotics inulin and fructooligosaccharides. These help increase the number of friendly bacteria in your gut and improve immune function. Read More

Health Benefits Of Eating Egg

Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.

A whole egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken.

A single large boiled egg contains (1):

Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA, Folate: 5% of the RDA, Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA, Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA, Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA, Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA, Selenium: 22% of the RDA

Eggs are one of the few foods that should be classified as “superfoods.”

They are loaded with nutrients, some of which are rare in the modern diet.

Here are few health benefits of eggs that have been confirmed in human studies.Eggs also contain decent amounts of vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium and zinc

This comes with 77 calories, 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fats.

Eggs also contain various trace nutrients that are important for health.

In fact, eggs are pretty much the perfect food. They contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need.

If you can get your hands on pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs, these are even better. They contain higher amounts of omega-3 fat and are much higher in vitamin A and E (2, 3).

In 70% of people, eggs don’t raise cholesterol at allIn the other 30% (termed “hyper responders”), eggs can mildly raise total and LDL cholesterol

However, people with genetic disorders like familial hypercholesterolemia or a gene variant called ApoE4 may want to limit or avoid eggs.

High in Cholesterol, but Don’t Adversely Affect Blood Cholesterol

It is true that eggs are high in cholesterol.

In fact, a single egg contains 212 mg, which is over half of the recommended daily intake of 300 mg.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that cholesterol in the diet doesn’t necessarily raise cholesterol in the blood (4, 5Trusted Source).

The liver actually produces large amounts of cholesterol every single day. When you increase your intake of dietary cholesterol, your liver simply produces less cholesterol to even it out (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).

Nevertheless, the response to eating eggs varies between individuals (8Trusted Source):

Contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin — Antioxidants That Have Major Benefits for Eye Health

One of the consequences of aging is that eyesight tends to get worse.

There are several nutrients that help counteract some of the degenerative processes that can affect our eyes.

Two of these are called lutein and zeaxanthin. They are powerful antioxidants that accumulate in the retina of the eye (25Trusted Source, 26).

Studies show that consuming adequate amounts of these nutrients can significantly reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, two very common eye disorders (27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source, 29).

Egg yolks contain large amounts of both lutein and zeaxanthin.

In one controlled study, eating just 1.3 egg yolks per day for 4.5 weeks increased blood levels of lutein by 28–50% and zeaxanthin by 114–142% (30Trusted Source).

Eggs are also high in vitamin A, which deserves another mention here. Vitamin A deficiency is the most common cause of blindness in the world

Omega-3 or Pastured Eggs Lower Triglycerides

Not all eggs are created equal. Their nutrient composition varies depending on how the hens were fed and raised.

Eggs from hens that were raised on pasture and/or fed omega-3 enriched feeds tend to be much higher in omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce blood levels of triglycerides, a well known risk factor for heart disease (32, 33Trusted Source).

Studies show that consuming omega-3 enriched eggs is a very effective way to lower blood triglycerides. In one study, eating just five omega-3 enriched eggs per week for three weeks reduced triglycerides by 16–18%.

Strong muscles: The protein in eggs helps maintain and repair body tissues, including muscle.

Brain health: Eggs contain vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the brain and the nervous system to function effectively.

Energy production: Eggs contain all the nutrients that the body needs to produce energy.

A healthy immune system: The vitamin A, vitamin B-12, and selenium in eggs are key to keeping the immune system healthy.

Lower risk of heart disease: The choline in eggs plays an important part in breaking down the amino acid homocysteine, which may contribute to heart disease.

A healthy pregnancy: Eggs contain folic acid, which may help prevent congenital disabilities, such as spina bifida.

Eye health: The lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs help prevent macular degeneration, the leading cause of age-related blindness. Other vitamins in eggs also promote good vision.

Weight loss and maintenance: The protein in eggs can help people feel full for longer. This can reduce the urge to snack and lower a person’s overall calorie intake.

Skin health: Some vitamins and minerals in eggs help promote healthy skin and prevent the breakdown of body tissues. A strong immune system also helps a person look and feel well.

Health benefits of celery

The fiber in celery can benefit the digestive and cardiovascular systems. Celery also contains antioxidants that may play a role in preventing disease.

This article looks at the possible health benefits of celery, as well as the vegetable’s nutritional contents and some ways to prepare it.

The nutrients in the celery plant and its seeds may provide a range of health benefits.

It is worth remembering, however, that these nutrients occur in relatively small amounts in celery. Eating celery alone is not likely to prevent or cure any disease.



Preventing inflammation and cancer



Celery contains a plant compound called apigenin, which plays a role in traditional Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant agent.

It may also have properties that help combat cancer.

According to the authors of a 2016 reviewTrusted Source, lab tests have shown that apigenin may contribute to apoptosis, a kind of programmed cell death, which could make it useful as a cancer treatment.

In 2015, researchers behind a studyTrusted Source in mice concluded that apigenin and apigenin-rich diets reduced the expression of certain inflammatory proteins. In this way, these substances may reduce inflammation and restore the balance of the immune system.

Celery contains a flavonoid called luteolin. The authors of an articleTrusted Source published in 2009 suggested that luteolin may have anticancer properties — it may help prevent the spread of cancer cells and induce cell death. They proposed that luteolin may make cancer cells more susceptible to attack by chemicals in treatments.

Blood pressure

Some practitioners of Chinese medicine use celery and celery extracts to reduce blood pressure.

One study looked at the effect of celery seed extracts on blood pressure in rats that either had normal blood pressure and or artificially induced hypertension.

The authors Trusted Source concluded that the extracts reduced blood pressure and raised heart rate in the rats with high blood pressure but not in those with normal blood pressure. There is no strong evidence, however, that celery seeds help lower blood pressure in humans.

Celery is also a good source of fiber, and results of a 2016 Cochrane review suggested that people with a high fiber intake may have lower blood pressure than those on a low fiber diet.

The authors called for further research to confirm their findings and to identify the precise impacts of different types of fiber.

Hyperlipidemia

Hyperlipidemia refers to an increase in fatty molecules in the blood. There are often no symptoms, but it raises the long-term risk of heart disease and stroke.

A 2014 study in rodents found that celery extract reduced levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, in rats that consumed a high-fat diet.

Meanwhile, the 2016 Cochrane review noted that people who follow a high-fiber diet appear to have lower total and LDL cholesterol levels than those who consume less fiber.

Celery is part of the Apiaceae family, which includes carrots, parsnips, parsley, and celeriac. Its crunchy stalks make the vegetable a popular low-calorie snack, and it may provide a range of health benefits.

The fiber in celery can benefit the digestive and cardiovascular systems. Celery also contains antioxidants that may play a role in preventing disease.

This article looks at the possible health benefits of celery, as well as the vegetable’s nutritional contents and some ways to prepare it.



Health benefits

The apigenin in celery may help lower inflammation.

The nutrients in the celery plant and its seeds may provide a range of health benefits.

It is worth remembering, however, that these nutrients occur in relatively small amounts in celery. Eating celery alone is not likely to prevent or cure any disease.

Neurogenesis

Apigenin may also stimulate neurogenesis, the growth and development of nerve cells.

In a 2009 study, researchers gave rats apigenin and found that it stimulated nerve cell generation and improved the ability to learn and remember.

Confirming these effects in humans, however, will require further research.

Other benefits

Some researchers have suggested that extracts from celery may also help prevent:

liver disease and jaundice,urinary tract obstruction, gout, rheumatic disorders In addition, people use celery seeds to treat: bronchitis, asthma, psoriasis and other skin disorders,vomiting, fever.

However, confirming these potential benefits of celery and celery seeds will require further research.



Nutritional contents

Celery is mainly made up of water, but it also provides dietary fiber. One 4-inch stalk of celery, weighing around 4 grams Trusted Source (g), provides about 0.1 g of fiber.

Beyond apigenin and luteolin, celery contains other plant compounds that have powerful antioxidant properties.

These include Trusted Source:

selinene, limonene, kaempferol and p-coumaric acid

Antioxidants of various kinds help prevent cellular damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. The body produces these substances as a byproduct of natural processes, but if too many build up, they can be harmful.

Antioxidants help neutralize Trusted Source free radicals and prevent them from causing damage that may otherwise lead to disease development.

A stick of celery also provides small amounts of vitamin K, folate, vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C.

Diet

People can eat celery raw or cooked.

Raw vegetables usually contain more nutrients than cooked ones. Steaming celery for 10 minutes may not affect the antioxidant contents significantly, but boiling celery may do so, according to one study.

Celery pairs well with:

cheese, dips, such as humus and peanut butter

Combining celery with cucumber, apple, spinach, and lemon can produce a tasty and healthful smoothie.

Or, try adding celery or celery seeds to:

salads, soups and risottos

Below are some recipes that dietitians recommend:

Tomato chicken soup with carrots and celery,Braised celery

Celery’s cousin, celeriac, features in: Read More

Health Benefits And What You Need To Know About Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is a product made from the leaves, buds, and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant. This is the same plant that is also used to make black tea and green tea. The difference is in the processing. Oolong tea is partially fermented, black tea is fully fermented, and green tea is unfermented.

Oolong tea is used to sharpen thinking skills and improve mental alertness. It is also used to prevent cancer, tooth decay, osteoporosis, and heart disease.

Some people use oolong tea to treat obesity, diabetes, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), high cholesterol and skin allergies such as eczema; and to boost the immune system.

How does it work?

Oolong tea contains caffeine. Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS), heart, and muscles. Oolong tea also contains theophylline and theobromine, which are chemicals similar to caffeine.

Uses & Effectiveness

Likely Effective for…

Mental alertness. Drinking oolong tea or other caffeinated beverages throughout the day seems to maintain alertness and mental performance. Combining caffeine with sugar as an “energy drink” seems to improve mental performance better than either caffeine or sugar alone.

Possibly Effective for…

Preventing ovarian cancer. Women who regularly drink tea, including black tea, green tea, or oolong tea, appear to have a significantly lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. One study found that drinking 2 or more cups of tea daily seems to cut ovarian cancer risk by almost half.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for…

Treating skin allergies (eczema). Developing research suggests that drinking about 4 cups (34 oz or 1000 mL) of oolong tea per day in 3 divided doses improves eczema that hasn’t responded to other treatments. It may take 1 or 2 weeks of treatment to see improvement.Treating diabetes. Some research suggests that drinking about 6 cups (50 oz or 1500 mL) of oolong tea for 30 days might lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. However, tea drinking doesn’t seem to prevent diabetes.

Preventing high blood pressure. Some research in Chinese people shows that drinking 1 or 2 cups (4-20 oz or 120-599 mL) of oolong tea or green tea daily seems to prevent high blood pressure. Drinking more tea seems to lower the risk even more.Weak bones (osteoporosis). There is some evidence that drinking oolong tea for 10 years is associated with stronger bones (increased bone mineral density).Promoting weight loss.Preventing tooth decay.Reducing the risk of cancer.Other conditions.More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of oolong tea for these uses.

Side Effects

Too much oolong tea, more than five cups per day, can cause side effects because of the caffeine. These side effects can range from mild to serious and include headache, nervousness, sleep problems, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, irregular heartbeat, tremor, heartburn, dizziness, ringing in the ears, convulsions, and confusion.

Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, oolong tea in small amounts is probably not harmful. However, do not drink more than 2 cups a day of oolong tea. That amount of tea contains about 200 mg of caffeine. Too much caffeine during pregnancy might cause premature delivery, low birth weight, and harm to the baby. Too much caffeine during breast-feeding might cause irritability and increase bowel movements in nursing infants.

Children: Caffeine is probably safe in children in amounts commonly found in foods.

Anxiety disorders: The caffeine in oolong tea might make anxiety disorders worse.

Bleeding disorders: Some research suggests that caffeine might slow blood clotting. Though this research was not done in humans, there is still some concern that caffeine might make bleeding disorders worse.

Heart conditions: Caffeine in oolong tea can cause irregular heartbeat in some people.

Diabetes: Some research suggests that the caffeine in oolong tea may affect the way people with diabetes process sugar and may complicate blood sugar control. Caffeine has been reported to both increase and decrease blood sugar. There is also some interesting research that suggests caffeine may make the warning signs of low blood sugar in people with type 1 diabetes more noticeable. This might increase the ability of people with diabetes to detect and treat low blood sugar. However, the downside is that caffeine might actually increase the number of low-sugar episodes. If you have diabetes, talk with your healthcare provider before using oolong tea.

Diarrhea. Oolong tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in oolong tea, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Oolong tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in oolong tea, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea and might worsen symptoms of IBS.

Glaucoma: The caffeine in oolong tea increases the pressure inside the eye. The increase occurs within 30 minutes and lasts for at least 90 minutes.

High blood pressure: The caffeine in oolong tea might increase blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, this doesn’t seem to happen in people who regularly drink oolong tea or other caffeinated products.

Weak bones (osteoporosis): Drinking oolong tea can flush out calcium in the urine. That can affect bone health. If you have osteoporosis, don’t drink more than 3 cups of oolong tea per day. Consider taking calcium supplements to make up for the calcium that is flushed out. If you have a genetic condition that harms the way your body processes vitamin D, get medical advice before consuming a lot of caffeine.

Interactions

AmphetaminesInteraction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

Stimulant drugs such as amphetamines speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and increase your heart rate. The caffeine in oolong tea might also speed up the nervous system. Taking oolong tea along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with oolong tea.

CocaineInteraction Rating: Major Do not take this combination. Read More

All You Need To Know About Shrimp

Shrimp is a seafood you can prepare in lots of ways to get a boost of nourishment. Whether they’re farmed, wild, frozen, or fresh, shrimp bring flavor and nutrients to your diet.

Protein, Vitamins, and Minerals

Shrimp are low in calories and high in protein. In 3 ounces of raw shrimp you’ll find 12 grams of protein and only 60 calories. Shrimp also offer you a ton of important vitamins and minerals. In 4 ounces of shrimp, you’ll get 100% of the selenium and 50% of the phosphorus that you need each day. You’ll also get 30% of vitamin B12, choline, copper, and iodine you need daily.

Low in Saturated Fat

Shrimp is a great option to lower unhealthy fats in your diet. You’ll cut over 90% of saturated fats if you choose shrimp over the same amounts of steak or cheese. Shrimp has less than a tenth of a gram of saturated fat in 3 ounces. Plus, there’s almost no trans fat in shrimp. The healthy fats in shrimp, like omega-3 fatty acids, can lower your blood pressure and odds of getting heart disease and stroke.

How to Cook With Shrimp

You can eat shrimp steamed, boiled, barbecued, fried, sautéed, poached, or baked. Many sushi dishes have shrimp in them, raw or cooked. You can add shrimp to many dishes and pair them with all sorts of ingredients. Shrimp go great with citrus, herbs, tomatoes, chiles, corn, beans, bacon, and garlic.

The Color of Shrimp

Shrimp vary in color due to the species, size, diet, harvest season, and location. Raw shrimp can be anything from white to shades of gray with light blue covered in red, dark gray, or pink. After they’re cooked, shrimp will turn pink or red. It’s normal for the ends of shrimp to be black when harvested. It’s a natural reaction that happens when shrimp are out water, but it doesn’t mean that they’re bad.

Frozen vs. Fresh

It’s uncommon to find actual fresh shrimp. Most “fresh” shrimp at seafood counters were frozen at some point and then defrosted before they were put in stores. You might get true fresh shrimp if you go to a community-supported fishery. Or if you live on the coast, you can buy unfrozen shrimp directly from fishermen. But for most people, frozen shrimp are the best choice since they’re usually put in a freezer right after they’re caught.

Farmed vs. Wild

Farmed shrimp come from tanks while wild shrimp are from lakes, oceans, or rivers. They may look the same when cooked, but the health benefits aren’t necessarily equal. The nutritional value in shrimp comes mainly from what they eat. Wild shrimp eat a natural diet and usually have less saturated fat compared to farm raised shrimp. Farmed shrimp have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids because of the food they’re given.

Shellfish Allergies

If you have a shellfish allergy, you probably can’t eat shrimp. Your body may respond badly to the proteins in shrimp and cause an allergic reaction. Some people have only mild symptoms, like a runny nose or hives. But a shrimp allergy can be life-threatening for some.

Can You Eat a Shrimp’s Vein?

There’s a dark line that goes through the back of a shrimp. It’s called a “vein” or “sand vein,” but it’s actually the digestive system of a shrimp. It won’t hurt you if you eat it, but the vein may have an unpleasant texture and might not appeal to your appetite. The easiest way to devein a shrimp is with sharp kitchen shears. Cut the back of the shrimp open and take out the vein with the shears. Read More

Health Benefits Of Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a cactus-like plant that grows in hot and dry climates. It is farmed in the subtropical areas, including the southern border areas of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. In 2002, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a ruling that required manufacturers to remove aloe from over-the-counter laxative products because of a lack of safety data.

However, the limited evidence that we have gathered from studies conducted all over the world point to the uses of aloe vera in various skin conditions and wound healing.

The gel obtained from fresh aloe vera has many therapeutic effects and can be used for the following

  1. Skin treatment: Skin conditions such as dermatitissunburn, heat rashes and radiation burns respond very well to aloe vera gel. Research backs up the ancient use of aloe vera in conditions such as
  1. Surgical wound healing: Many studies have reported aloe vera’s surgical wound healing properties, especially in surgeries such as periodontal flap surgery and gynecological surgeries.
  2. Laxative: Aloe vera latex is commonly used to treat constipation. It has a laxative effect due to anthraquinone glycosides. A small, controlled trial has demonstrated that it has stronger laxative effectiveness than the stimulant laxative phenolphthalein. It is even helpful in conditions such as fissures (small tears in the lining of the anus) and piles. Combinations of aloe vera, celandine and psyllium may improve bowel movement frequency, consistency of stools and laxative dependency in people. It is always prudent to talk to your doctor before starting aloe supplements.
  3. Diabetes control: Aloe vera gel intake seems to be helpful to lower blood sugar levels in those with diabetes. It may also lower cholesterol levels, as reported in limited studies.
  4. Treat peptic ulcers: Aloe vera in many preparations is widely promoted for the treatment of ulcers and inflammation in the digestive system. There is evidence of successful use of aloe vera gel along with heavy liquid petrolatum emulsion for peptic ulcers (open sores on gullet, stomach and small bowel). 3 percent aloe vera gel exerts some action on radiation-induced proctitis.
  1. Prevent metastasis (cancer spread): A small group study in patients with advanced cancer reported that 1 mL consumption of aloe vera tincture (10 percent aloe vera and 90 percent alcohol) twice a day along with 20 mg/day of melatonin may stabilize metastasis. This is more effective than taking melatonin alone. Additionally, a significantly higher percentage of one-year survival was observed in cancer patients who received aloe vera and melatonin combination. This, however, warrants more evidence.
  2. Other applications: There are therapeutic claims that promote aloe vera for the treatment of a wide range of conditions such as alopecia (baldness) and Alzheimer’s disease (memory loss and damage mental functions). Aloe vera gel is often used as a skin moisturizer in the winter.
  3. Ulcerative colitis: In a small European study, 44 adults with ulcerative colitis were randomly assigned to receive aloe vera gel or a placebo twice daily for a month. Almost half of the people treated with aloe vera responded to the treatment. This too requires further research.

How much should I use?

It is the key ingredient in many creams, sunscreen lotions, ointments, gels, soaps, shampoos, moisturizers, etc. It is available even in tablet or capsule form for oral consumption. The dosage of aloe vera depends on your illnesses such as

  • Burns: Mostly creams or gels for minor burns contain 0.5 percent of aloe vera and they vary in dosage.
  • Psoriasis (scaly itchy skin): Creams for psoriasis may contain as much as 70 percent aloe vera.
  • Constipation100 to 200 mL aloe juice or 50 mL of aloe extract daily can be used as a laxative, depending on your age.
  • Diabetes: One tablespoon of the gel can be enough to consume orally. Avoid a high dosage of aloe vera and consult a doctor before use.

Are there any side effects?

Although aloe vera is beneficial to health, there are some side effects too

Benefits Of Xanthan Gum

What is Xanthan Gum?

Xanthan gum is a sugar-like compound made by mixing aged (fermented) sugars with a certain kind of bacteria. It is used to make medicine.

Xanthan gum is used for lowering blood sugar and total cholesterol in people with diabetes. It is also used as a laxative.

Xanthan gum is sometimes used as a saliva substitute in people with dry mouth (Sjogren‘s syndrome).

In manufacturing, xanthan gum is used as a thickening and stabilizing agent in foods, toothpastes, and medicines. Xanthan gum is also an ingredient in some sustained-release pills.

Possibly Effective for…

  • Use as a bulk-forming laxative to treat constipation.
  • Lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes.
  • Lowering cholesterol levels in people with diabetes.
  • Use as a saliva substitute for dry mouth.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for…

How does Xanthan Gum work?

Xanthan gum swells in the intestine, which stimulates the digestive tract to push stool through. It also might slow the absorption of sugar from the digestive tract and work like saliva to lubricate and wet the mouth in people who don’t produce enough saliva.

Are there safety concerns?

Xanthan gum is safe when up to 15 grams per day are taken. It can cause some side effects such as intestinal gas (flatulence) and bloating.

People who are exposed to xanthan gum powder might experience flu-like symptoms, nose and throat irritation, and lung problems.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of xanthan gum during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using amounts larger than those normally found in foods.

Nausea, vomiting, appendicitis, hard stools that are difficult to expel (fecal impaction), narrowing or blockage of the intestine, or undiagnosed stomach pain: Do not use xanthan gum if you have any of these conditions. It is a bulk-forming laxative that could be harmful in these situations.

Surgery: Xanthan gum might lower blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using xanthan gum at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?


Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Xanthan gum might decrease blood sugar by decreasing the absorption of sugars from food. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking xanthan gum with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulinpioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others. Read More

BENEFITS OF ACTIVATED CHARCOAL

Activated charcoal is a fine, odorless, black powder often used in emergency rooms to treat overdoses. Its toxin-absorbing properties have a wide range of medicinal and cosmetic uses, though none are scientifically proven.

Superheating natural sources of carbon, such as wood, produces activated charcoal. The black powder stops toxins from being absorbed in the stomach by binding to them. The body is unable to absorb charcoal, and so the toxins that bind to the charcoal leave the body in the feces.

This article will discuss some of the ways people use activated charcoal, its potential benefits, and if there are any risks.

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is not the same substance as that found in charcoal bricks or burnt pieces of food.

The manufacture of activated charcoal makes it extremely adsorbent, allowing it to bind to molecules, ions, or atoms. In this way, it removes these from dissolved substances.

Making activated charcoal involves heating carbon-rich materials, such as wood, peat, coconut shells, or sawdust, to very high temperatures.

This ‘activation’ process strips the charcoal of previously absorbed molecules and frees up bonding sites again. This process also reduces the size of the pores in the charcoal and makes more holes in each molecule, therefore, increasing its overall surface area.

As a result, one teaspoon full of activated charcoal has more surface area than a football field.

Possible uses of activated charcoal

Authorities have only approved activated charcoal for the emergency treatment of overdoses or poisonings.

But due to its powerful toxin-clearing properties, some advocates have proposed activated charcoal as a treatment for an ever-growing list of conditions.

There is not sufficiently conclusive, large-scale research to establish what the benefits are of activated charcoal. Many over-the-counter (OTC) products also rely on the basic chemical principles of activated charcoal to defend their benefit claims.

A few of the uses of activated charcoal with some evidence include the following:

1. Kidney health

Activated charcoal may be able to assist kidney function by filtering out undigested toxins and drugs.

Activated charcoal seems to be especially effective at removing toxins derived from urea, the main byproduct of protein digestion.

More research is needed, but some animal studies show that activated charcoal may help improve kidney function and reduce gastrointestinal damage and inflammation in those with chronic kidney disease.

2014 studyTrusted Source saw rats with induced, chronic kidney disease given 4 grams (g) per kilogram per day of an oral activated charcoal preparation. The researchers found that the animals had significant reductions in intestinal inflammation and damage.

In another 2014 study, rats with induced chronic renal failure were fed mixtures containing 20 percent activated charcoal, and they also experienced improved kidney function, and a reduced rate of kidney inflammation and damage.

2. Intestinal gas

Activated charcoal powder is thought to be able to disrupt intestinal gas, although researchers still do not understand how.

Liquids and gases trapped in the intestine can easily pass through the millions of tiny holes in activated charcoal, and this process may neutralize them.

In a 2012 studyTrusted Source, a small sample of people with a history of excessive gas in their intestines took 448 milligrams (mg) of activated charcoal three times a day for 2 days before having intestinal ultrasound examinations. They also took another 672 mg on the morning of the exam.

The study showed that medical examiners were better able to see certain parts of some of the organs they intended to identify with the ultrasound whereas intestinal gas would have obscured these before the treatment.

Also, some 34 percent of the participants who were given the activated charcoal to reduce their gas had improved symptoms.

In a 2017 studyTrusted Source, people who took 45 mg of simethicone and 140 mg of activated charcoal three times daily for 10 days, all reported a significant reduction in abdominal pain with no side effects.

The research is still limited, but a panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reports that there is enough evidence to support the use of activated charcoal to reduce excessive gas accumulation.

There is no set way to use activated charcoal for intestinal gas, but the EFSA recommend taking at least 1 g at 30 minutes before and after each meal.

3. Water filtration

People have long used activated charcoal as a natural water filter. Just as it does in the intestines and stomach, activated charcoal can interact with and absorb a range of toxins, drugs, viruses, bacteria, fungus, and chemicals found in water.

In commercial settings, such as waste-management centers, operators often use activated carbon granules for one part of the filtration process. Dozens of water filtration products are also designed for at-home use, using carbon cartridges to purify water of toxins and impurities.

2015 studyTrusted Source found that water filtration systems that used carbon removed as much as 100 percent of the fluoride in 32 unfiltered water samples after 6 months of installation.

4. Diarrhea

Given its use as a gastrointestinal absorbent in overdoses and poisonings, it follows that some people might propose activated charcoal as a treatment for diarrhea.

In a 2017 review of recent studies on the use of activated charcoal for diarrhea, researchers concluded that it might be able to prevent bacteria and drugs that can cause diarrhea from being absorbed into the body by trapping them on its porous, textured surface.

While noting it as a suitable treatment for diarrhea, the researchers also pointed out that activated charcoal had few side effects, especially in comparison with common antidiarrheal medications.

5. Teeth whitening and oral health

Dozens of teeth-whitening products contain activated charcoal.

Many oral health products that contain activated charcoal claim to have various benefits, such as being:

  • antiviral
  • antibacterial
  • antifungal
  • detoxifying

Activated charcoal’s toxin-absorbing properties may be important here, but there is no significant research to support its use for teeth whitening or oral health.

In a 2017 review, researchers concluded there was not enough laboratory or clinical data to determine the safety or effectiveness of activated charcoal for teeth whitening or oral health.

6. Skin care

Researchers have reported that activated charcoal can help draw microparticles, such as dirt, dust, chemicals, toxins, and bacteria, to the surface of the skin, to make removing them easier.

7. Deodorant

Various activated charcoal deodorants are widely available. Charcoal may absorb smells and harmful gases, making it ideal as an underarm, shoe, and refrigerator deodorant.

Activated charcoal is also reported to be able to absorb excess moisture and control humidity levels at a micro level.

8. Skin infection

Around the world, many different traditional medicine practitioners use activated charcoal powder made from coconut shells to treat soft tissue conditions, such as skin infections.

Activated charcoal may have an antibacterial effect by absorbing harmful microbes from wounds. Several are available commercially. Read More

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