Indian herbs may replace chemical food preservatives

Indian herbs, including Amaranthus paniculatus (cultiv.), Coccinia indica, and Coriandrum sativum (coriander) may soon be replacing chemical preservatives in many foods. The herbs have high quantities of antioxidants which are known to retard spoilage and “aging” in both foods and human beings as well. Most plants produce some antioxidants, but these herbs appear to have much higher levels and chemicals such as ascorbic acid, flavonoids, phenolics and tannin.

Tests have shown that the high levels of antioxidants in these herbs have a positive effect in people’s bodies and though not completely proven, can be utilized by people who are interested in a “natural” manner to preserve foods as well as to prevent aging.

CorianderOne of these herbs, known to Westerners as Coriander and to Asians and Middle Easterners as “Cusbara” is very commonly used in households as a food enhancer and a cooking herb. Although the plant’s pungent, almost bitter, taste is not agreeable with many westerners, people living in the Mediterranean regions love it and use the plant in their foods almost every day.

Synthetic antioxidants used in many foods include butylhydroxytoluene (BHY) and Butylhydroxyanisole (BHA), both of which are very common. By using the Indian ideas of utilizing less synthetic and more natural vitamins, the end result may enable foods to be preserved in a healthier manner by using these herbs. Oxidation is a big factor in what causes food products to spoil so quickly. The Amaranthus plant contains high levels of beta carotene, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and folates, all of which are excellent anti-oxidants.

The demand for natural antioxidants has resulted in a global market for natural antioxidants that now reaches nearly $ 70 million. Indian herbs have been known to have many curative properties, and high antioxidant levels are just some of the many attributes of Indian herbs. These herbs are found in both fresh and dried versions, and those wishing to preserve food items simply have to add certain amounts of these herbs to the foods. In addition to preserving food, many of these herbs, including Coriander and Amaranthus are used extensively in salads to add a unique, zesty flavor.

Source: Natural News; Picture by Gernot Katzer

Broccoli – a natural immunity plant

Broccoli PowerBroccoli is a plant that is more than just a good source of vitamins, minerals and as a defense against various forms of cancer. This green, fibrous vegetable is now being regarded as a way to acquire immunity against a number of debilitating factors that effect people in old age.

Already an excellent provider of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, and K, research studies are discovering that frequent eating of broccoli, especially raw, protects people from the effects of oxidants known as free radicals. Broccoli contains a chemical known as sulforaphane which assists the body to activate certain genes and enzymes in the body’s system to create antioxidants which can fight free radicals and reduce the dame they cause to the body which helps to hasten the effects of old age. For those who are not familiar with the term “free radicals” they are found in a large number of environmental surroundings including pollution, sunlight, unhealthy diets (especially ‘fast foods’) and many other elements that surround people every day of their lives. Too many free radicals in the body can result in injury to body cells and cause cells to die prematurely, hastening the ageing process; as well as bringing on a number of diseases, including cancers.

Studies made by researchers at UCLA involved treatment of old mice with sulforaphane that came from broccoli resulted in the mice regaining their immune system to the level it had been when they were much younger. The conclusion was that the same result could also be had in humans, with older people regaining the immune system they once had against disease when young adults. The researchers have gone one step further by concluding that if older people can regain at least some of their former immunity against disease, children can make their immune system even stronger by eating broccoli and other green vegetable on a regular basis. The only problem now is how to get them to do it, since children usually prefer sweets and ice cream to vegetables.

Like all vegetables, broccoli should be eaten when it is fresh; either raw or cooked in a manner that keeps from it losing it’s vitamins and other beneficial components. We can all suppose that a broccoli based ice cream-like desert bar is now being worked on somewhere.

Sources: Natural News; Healing Daily
Picture by: Pennsylvania Department of Health

Astaxanthin – a new miracle nutrient, or “miracle hype”?

Recent communicated articles and press releases concerning a newly discovered phytonutrient, derived from a species of micro-algae has been showing up on various media and internet networks that deal in health and nutrition products. The nutrient, known as astaxanthin is being touted as being high in antioxidants (as much as10 times higher than other carotenoids) and is said to be excellent for a number of physical health problems, including prostate glands in men and pre-cancerous conditions in female breasts.

Astaxanthin is said to be derived from a micro-algae called Haematocuccus, and is red in color. The red color in this algae and phytonutrient is said to be what causes certain species of Salmon to have that appealing pink color. Astaxanthin is a concentrated anti-oxidant that is claimed to prevent damage to body cells caused by free radicals – the byproduct of energy created by oxygen reaching cells each time we breathe.

Astaxanthin Chemical MakeUpWhile astaxanthin is found naturally in smaller quantities, when synthesized into a concentrate, it is said to do wonders for improve egg production in animal species like chickens and fish – especially salmon. It is claimed that salmon which are fed food containing this phytonutrient were able leap far higher and further than those who were given the supplement. And chickens given astaxanthin are said to live longer and produce better quality eggs.

So why might there be problem with this kind of nutrient; especially after all the claims to it’s health qualities? Like many other health supplements, this product is currently being promoted on on-line marking websites and is not yet available in health food and health supplement stores. This usually adds a lot of money onto the price of the product due the way it is marketed, i.e. by direct or multi-level marketing campaigns where the price of the product is made more expensive due to many people being involved in the “pyramid” sales structure.

From a health standpoint, it must be determined that the product has been tested and certified to be acceptable by organizations such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (it has been approved by the FDA as a food coloring), especially in light of a number of health supplements and vitamins coming from countries such as China being found to be unsafe for human consumption.

There are a lot of tested and certified health supplement products currently on the market, and many of them are available at large chain stores such as GNC, and even ones like Costco and Wall Mart. If astaxanthin turns out to live up to all that is being said about it, then it should eventually be available at well known retail and discount establishments; and not just via online marketing.

Source: Natural News ; Picture by: Wikipedia

Plastic nursing bottles may be health hazards

Plastic nursing bottles are now being seen to have similar health hazards to infants and young children as plastic drinking water bottles are to older persons. Studies made by U.S. and other laboratories are linking chemicals found in the plastic material in nursing bottles to be instrumental in causing various forms of cancer later in life, including breast and prostate cancer. In addition, these chemicals, including some known as BPA or Bisphenol-A may also affect a child’s reproduction capabilities later in life.

Baby bottleBPA is defined as an organic compound containing two phenol functioning groups which have a semblance to estrogen hormone. BPA is an important ingredient in the polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins used to make the strong, shatter-proof plastic bottles that people rely on to heat up baby formula. The plastic material in itself is relatively safe when only water or juices at room temperature are poured inside. The problem arises when the formula is heated to a high temperature prior to being given to a baby; as well as when the bottle is washed at a high temperature, as in an automatic dishwasher. The heating process causes the chemicals in the plastic to be released into the fluid inside the bottle which then enter the child’s body and bloodstream. The chemical reactions are similar to what occurs to water inside plastic water bottles which are exposed to high temperatures (when left in a car, etc.)

Warnings of the possible dangers of BPA chemical reactions in infant feeding bottles are now being issued by U.S. government agencies such as the National Toxicology Program. Their findings indicate that these chemical reactions may cause harm to humans, especially children, and result in problems such as early puberty, reproductive problems and even neurological problems.

BPA is found in a number of plastic containers as well as in the coatings often used in a number of soft drink products. Although tests are still being conducted, the main concern is that continuous exposure to BPA could result in a chronic toxicity which will result in the aforementioned health problems.

Plastic infant feeding bottles have been in use for decades, and mothers rely on them to nourish their babies. The dangers of chemical toxicity are now becoming more publicized, and some countries, including Canada, are planning to declare that Bisphenol-A is a toxic substance. Some American states, including California, are also considering the banning of products containing BPA.

As for an alternative to BPA, perhaps the old adage that “breast is best” is in the end the best and safest infant feeding method.

Green Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning often means having to use harsh, toxic cleaning compounds that are not only damaging to our environment but physically hazardous as well. As a result of more attention being given to organic and environmentally friendly household products, more and more people are preferring to use cleaning compound that are made without toxic chemicals. Nowadays, a growing number of these products are available and are not only being offered in whole foods and organic products stores, but in well known supermarket chains as well, including Krogers, Safeway, and even WalMart Super Stores.

For cleaning dishes, companies like Clean Environment Company are offering products such as ones which do not contain any petroleum based or carcinogen type chemicals and are completely bio-degradable. These products are made for both automatic dishwashers as well as for hand dishwashing, and are chlorine and phosphate free. They are designed to not only get the cleaning job done, but will not contaminate our ecological and water systems once they are flushed down the drain.

For the laundry, phosphate free liquid and powdered detergents are available that not only thoroughly clean your laundry but will not “suds up” in streams and lakes afterwards. Some of the ingredients in these detergents are linear alkyl sulfonate and alcohol ethoxylate (completely bio-degradable) and natural, citric acid based compounds. Since ordinary laundry detergents have been claimed to be leading contributor to environmental pollution, natural “bio-compounds” are much more friendly to our environment

For floor, furniture and appliance cleaning, environmental friendly cleaning products are available to take care of virtually any kind of cleaning job, including removal of lime scale and grease. Even oven cleaners are available which do not contain petroleum distillates, ammonia, or formaldehyde. All of these products, including ones like oven cleaners for “heavy” cleaning jobs are bio-degradable and do not contain previously mentioned toxic compounds

When throwing away trash, special “bio bags” are available which are biodegradable and won’t contaminate landfills and garbage dumps (that’s done enough already with ordinary polyethylene plastic bags). Pet owners should consider using environmentally friendly pet shampoos and litter bags.

Although these products cost more than ordinary cleaning products (between 20 – 50%) the fact that using them helps our environment is reason enough to “go green” when doing household cleaning chores.

Good news for beer drinkers

For those of you who only thought that drinking red wine is good for one’s health, and not beer, think again. Beer is now being found to be not only as good as red wine for maintaining good health, but in many cases even better. Beer contains many healthful nutrients, including B vitamins, and is found to decrease the risks of heart attacks in a similar manner as red wine does.

beerIn a study conducted by Dr. Norman Kaplan, a professor of internal medicine at the Southwest Regional Medical Center of the University Texas at Dallas, it was found that people consuming moderate amounts of beer had less hypertension and reduced risks of coronary artery disease. The study included a survey conducted with more than 128,000 adults who belong to a major health care organization. As compared to people who did not drink beer, or drank red wine instead, it was found that moderate beer consumption not only decreased risks of heart disease but also increased bone density.

Certain types of beer, especially the more dense varieties such as porter and stout, contain high amounts of B vitamins, iron, and folates. Folates help reduce levels of homocysteine, a chemical that increases risks of heart attacks.

In addition to lowering the risks of both heart attacks and strokes, moderate daily beer consumption helps reduce the chance of contracting Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis (due to beer’s high silicon content), and old age dementia, otherwise known as senility.

Moderate beer consumption, is around two 12 oz glasses of beer per day for men, and one glass per day for women. Those who drink large quantities of beer or other alcoholic beverages per day (known as “binge” drinking), run the chance of doing adverse damage to their bodies, as well as becoming what is known as “alcoholics”.

Beer has always had a place in what is known as folk medicine; especially brands containing large quantities of malt. But like many other things done excessively drinking too much can be harmful. So, the key to maintaining good health is to drink no more than two beers per day to “keep the doctor away”.

The Popular Ginger

Ginger is the edible part of the plant Zingiber officinale. Many people mistakenly think that ginger is a root, but we’re actually talking about a rhizome. Ginger is commonly known as a popular spice, which has many culinary uses in various cuisines across the world. Ginger is indispensable product in Asian and oriental cuisine. Ginger has been used by Chinese medicine for centuries. Ginger assists in digestion by enhancing production of digestive fluids. Ginger thus helps to treat dyspepsia, general stomach aches and diarrhea. Ginger can also relieve nausea in pregnant women or sea sickness.

Other therapeutic properties attributed to Ginger are: detoxification of body chemicals, stimulating blood circle, and relieving respiratory diseases such as asthma. The good news is the ginger is not only healthy but also easy to get and relatively cheap. Ginger serves as a very useful product in the any kitchen: it can be cooked as an ingredient in numerous dishes, such as fish, meat or even cookies. Fresh ginger can be added to salads. You can also use ginger in beverages : to make a ginger tea, jusr put a slice of fresh ginger root in hot water, and add honey and sliced lemon.

The Beauty of Body Art

Picture Credit Eva: Artists Online

The Beauty of Body ArtBody art, as compared to normal tattooing, involves using the human body as the basis for various forms of art. Many body art creations are so intricate and creative that they are exhibited in special art exhibitions. Often the person on which the designs have been painted is none other than the artist him/herself. As contrasted to permanent tattooing, body paint is removable, although care must be given not to have the model wear paints that clog the skin pores and keep it from “breathing”.

Body art in one form or another has been in existence for as long as the human race.
Modern examples of body art include people being painted in various art designs prior to their participation in festive activities such as the Carnival celebrations which take place in countries like Brazil prior to the pre-Easter period of Lent.

In many body art creations, the model is entirely nude, and the artist paints intricate patterns and designs on the model’s body, including pictures and even facsimiles of clothing. Body art festivals are held in many countries annually and prizes are awarded for the most original or intricate art creations. Many primitive societies, such as those found in Africa, South America, and Australia still practice body art for religious ritualistic purposes.

Some forms of body art can be physically damaging, as per the example of body painting that can clog skin pores. Other types of body art can actually burn the skin, such as with the use of extreme exposure to the sun, use of implements that burn the skin and hair, and the use of abrasive or acidic chemicals.

Body art is often done in conjunction with other forms of art expression, including music, dance, and with various props t accentuate the body art designs. Body art in te form of tattoos can be very intricate and beautiful; but these who agree to them must realize that they are “wed” to the design for life, since removing them is much more involved that a simple tattoo

Body art and tattoo conventions, such as the Body Art Expo held in Pomono California; features more than 300 artists and draws thousands of visitors. Some of the most intricate, and bizarre, designs and body paintings are on display there. Similar exhibitions are held in other locations, including San Francisco and Denver, Colorado.

Biodiesel Car and Algae Fuel – Video

Trying to find alternative fuels and improving the chances of our plant has become a growing concern with signs of stress showing all over the planet. We try to bring to light some news and clips that provide some alternatives and are hopeful. The field of Algae Fuel is one of those and we found this great clip.

First car powered by algal Biodiesel to demonstrate real-world driving at Sundance Solazyme, Inc., a synthetic biology company unleashing the power of aquatic microbes … More»to create clean and scalable solutions for biofuel, industrial chemical, and health and wellness markets, today revealed the first ever algae-derived biodiesel fuel (Soladiesel™) to have undergone road testing by successfully powering a factory-standard automobile for long distances under typical driving conditions. The car and fuel will make their public debuts at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where they are also featured in Fields of Fuel, Josh Tickell’s documentary about renewable fuels. Soladiesel biodiesel is clean, renewable, environmentally sustainable and scalable.

30888 Solazyme Unveils Renewable Biodiesel Derived From Algae ViClick here for the funniest movie of the week

Protect Your Liver and Save Your Life

liverOnly within the past couple of decades has the importance of detoxification of the body been made aware to most people. And this process of detoxification is very important in the liver, the body’s main “filtering” organ and one that is vitally necessary for survival. As we get older, accumulated toxins from the foods we eat (especially fried and “junk foods”) as well as taking abusive substances such as alcohol. What many people are not aware of is that the liver can be “cleaned” of detoxified by consuming a number of common plant products that are easily obtainable and cost very little. Some of these products are noted here as follows:

Curcumin is a common spice with a yellowish appearance that is used to flavor a number of foods, especially Mediterranean and oriental dishes. This spice contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents that act as “cleaning compounds” on both the liver and the gall bladder, that smaller organ the produces the bile so vital to digestion and proper liver function. By using curcumin on a regular basis, both your gall bladder and liver will benefit, and will enable the liver to properly manufacture bile acids which are then stored in the gall bladder for later use. A properly functioning liver and gall bladder will prevent the formation of gall stones, which can occur when the bile stagnates in the gall bladder.

Grapefruit contains an antiseptic-like substance that reduces toxic substances often found in the liver, including a chemical known as acetaminophen (found in analgesics like Tylenol) and proven to be very damaging to the liver if used in large amounts. Grapefruit also has other benefits including preventing the formation of kidney stones and for reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.

is a flavonoid that is found in a number of citrus fruits including grapefruit. Use of quercitin also helps reduce toxins in the liver and is also very effective against various forms of cancers, including skin and prostate cancer. Large quantities of quercitin is also found in apples, onions, berries such as raspberries and cranberries, and in the fruit of the prickly pear cactus.

N-acety-L-cysteine (NAC)
is a powerful antioxidant that is partially found in high-protein foods, as well as in capsule form. NAC is considered great liver detoxifier and helps increase the body’s natural level of glutathione, a powerful anti-toxic agent in the body.

is an a-amino acid that is essential in proper food digestion as well as reducing toxins in the liver and other organs. High levels of methionine can be found in sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, fish, meats, and some other plant seeds, as well as in spinach, potatoes, and boiled corn.

Perhaps the most important aspect of keeping a healthy liver is simply by avoiding substances like excessive alcohol and acetaminophen, both of which are excessively damaging to the liver. Keeping your liver “clean” and healthy will not only make you feel good, but will prolong your life as well.