31 March 2015

Pomegranate - The Mystic Fruit

By With 1 comment:
Pomegranate - The Mystic Fruit
Figure Source: Biomed Research International, 2014.

Pomegranate (Punica granatum), a fruit indigenous to the Middle East, has gained widespread popularity as a functional food and nutraceutical source. Pomegranate's botanical name, Punica Granatum, translates as "apple with many seeds". The health effects of the whole fruit, as well as its juices and extracts is gaining thrust due to its superior antioxidant property [1]. Its usage has been cited in ancient Ayurveda, Ebers papyrus, Greek, Unani and Egyptian literatures. It has been used as a vermifuge, astringent, bacteriocide, refrigerant, stimulant, stomachic, styptic and to alleviate the adverse effect of bronchitis, cardiac problems, dysentery, diarrhea, fever, infalammation, bleeding disorders, ulcers, urinary tract infections and as a febrifuge [2].

Pomegranate fruit contains Gallic acid, Ellagic acid, Punicalin, Punnicalagin, Caffeic acid, Ellagi tannins, luteolin, Kaemferol and querccetin [3]. They are also rich sources of vitamin C, potassium and fibre. The red gleaming fruits with seeds are called arils. They are full of delicious and nutricious juice. The white skin in between the arils, although bitter, are also rich sources of polyphenols.

  • Pomegranate can be incorporated in a heart healthy diet as it diminishes atherosclerotic lesion and intima media thickness in cardiac patients. It also decreases lipid peroxidation in patients with type 2 diabetes, and systolic blood pressure and serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity in hypertensive patients [4].
  • Type 2 diabetes, the debilitating disease has reached an epidemic state, globally and research has proved that the super food Pomegranate has low glycemic index which reduces the sharp increase in blood sugar. Inhibitors of intestinal a-glucosidase enzymes retard the rate of carbohydrate digestion, contributing to reduce postprandial hyperglycemia [5].
  • Ellagic acid component have been reported to suppress various cancers, including prostate cancer,breast, colon and lung cancer. Ellagic acid seems to slow down the growth of cancer cells, reduces cell mobility. Investigations show a significant decrease in tumor size and tumor vessel density [6].
  • Phytoestrogens in Punica are found to be much effective in treatment of premenopausal and menopausal symptoms [3]. Daily intragastric administration of pomegranate juice was effective in decreasing serum contents of carbonyls and ox- LDL and protecting against blood mononuclear cell DNA damage.
  • Chinese herbology mentions pomegranate juice as a longevity treatment because of its free radical scavenging activity.
  • Pomegranate has phytochemicals and essential nutrients which boost memory, particularly short term memory. It is concluded that flavonoids in these juices may be responsible for memory enhancing effects [7].
  • Alzheimers disease brains revealed elevated levels of oxidative stress markers which have been implicated in Aβ-induced toxicity. Multiple components present in pomegranate and various pomegranate preparations are known to exert pleiotropic protective effects as demonstrated in various in vitro and in vivo model systems [8].
Thus, with literature reviews, there is no doubt that Pomegranate is a super food which has been used for medicinal purposes for millennia. Packed with powerful antioxidants and vitamins, this ruby-red fruit has been shown to be a cure-all for any ailment. Pomegranate juice is a mixture of diverse antioxidants, it is also possible that the antioxidant action of pomegranate juice is generated from a concerted action of a combination of these antioxidants.


References

  1. Annual Review of Food Science and Technology, 2011, Vol. 2: 181-201
  2. Ferreira et al, 2007, Antioxidant, anti-malarial, and antimicrobial activities, of tannin rich fractions, Ellagitannins, and phenolic Acids from Punica granatumJuberiya AM, Pomegranate Fruit as a Rich Source of Biologically Active Compounds , Bio Med research international 01/2014
  3. Arpita Basu , Kavitha Penugonda,, Pomegranate juice: a heart-healthy fruit juice, Nutrition reviews, 2009, 49 – 56
  4. Krentz AJ, Bailey CJ. 2005. Oral antidiabetic agents. Current role in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Drugs 65:385–411.
  5. Aya Naiki et al, The prostrate, 10/14.
  6. Parashar, A., et al. (2008) Pomegranate (Punca granatum L.) Leaf analysis correlation with harvest. PAS 14, PP 127 – 135.
  7. Riaz A, Memory boosting effect of Citrus limon, Pomegranate and their combinations, Pak. J. Pharm. Sci., Vol.27, No.6, November 2014, pp.1837-1840
  8. Subash S, Pomegranate ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease-type neurodegeneration in tg 2576 mouse model, Conference paper, FASEB journal

28 March 2015

Does mental stress take a toll on your energy needs?

By With No comments:
As we manage the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, we sometimes skip meals and to compensate it we overeat the next time. Do we need extra energy to deal with these stress?

More to Ponder……

Stress is a condition that threatens the body’s emotional wellbeing of a physically healthy person. The signs and symptoms of mental stress cannot be easily distinguished from that of a physical stress since both are one and the same.

Human beings need some amount of stress for their welfare. A fair amount of stress is necessary for good health.

For example, boredom is stressful for many people and feel depressed over the course of time. Mental stresses related to ambition, desire and drive are said to be positive forms of stress while anxiety, tension, strain are said to be negative forms of stress.

Too much of stress is associated with early onset of diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, gastrointestinal diseases, cancer, etc. All of these are related to nutrition.

People of Type A personality who are very ambitious and impatient tend to have high cholesterol, high sugar, and rapid heartbeat. Ulcers and gastro intestinal diseases are intensified by excessive mental stress.

People with mental stress may not tolerate certain foods when they are stressed and same food is accepted when they are free from emotional stress. This may be due to the impairment of gastrointestinal system, decreased gut movement, decreased enzyme secretion, loss of appetite, distention, and episodes of gastric pains, diarrhoea and constipation.

Effect of emotional stress including food intolerance vary from person to person, also in same person vary at different times depending on the extent of activation of autonomic nerves system.

Some people respond to stress by eating more while some respond by starving. Thus mental stress can lead to under nutrition or over nutrition.

Nutritional Requirements

Dietary experts recommend adequate intake of food like a normal healthy person. A diet that contains sufficient amount of whole grains, vegetables, fruits and sufficient amount of liquid is advised. Various supplements may fortify body against emotional stress. They comprise vitamin B to support adrenal glands, magnesium and calcium for tranquilising effect.

Additional energy requirements are advocated only for persons who respond to stress with increased muscular or physical activity to sustain their ideal weight.


Image Credit: Flickr/ thornypup

27 March 2015

Magnesium rich foods: benefits, dietary needs & sources

By With No comments:
Magnesium rich foods: benefits, dietary needs & sources

Fill up your plates with magnesium rich foods - The benefits, Daily dietary needs & Sources


Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for our optimal well-being. It aids in many enzyme reactions, helps take energy from food and make new proteins.

Found in chlorophyll pigment is an important part of your bones, and helps keep your muscles, heart function and nerves healthy.

Diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases have been linked with low levels of magnesium in blood.

Headaches, insomnia, moodiness, fatigue, general sadness or a lack of motivation, and even cramps or joint pain are said to be due to magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium content of common foods

The best sources of magnesium are greens, legumes, milk and milk products. Recommended Dietary Allowance for magnesium is 420 milligrams a day for men aged 31 and older, and 320 milligrams daily for women in the same age range. The following table shows you foods that are rich sources of magnesium.

Source
Amount in mg
Spinach 1 cup
157
Black eyed pea ½ cup
46
Yoghurt 1 cup
43
Kidney bean ½ cup
43
Broccoli 1 cup
37
Banana1 medium size
34
Milk 1 cup
34
Water melon 1 slice
32
Oat meal ½ cup
28

Include these magnesium rich foods and you’ll feel better in no time.
You are what you eat.
You are what you do not eat.



Image Credit: Flickr/ Steven Lilley


21 March 2015

8 simple ideas that enrich your diet with phytochemicals

By With No comments:
8 simple ideas that enrich your diet with phytochemicals
  1. Attempt to include as much vegetable as viable in your main and side dish.
  2. While selecting Frankie’s, cookies, stuffed pastries, pick vegetable and fruit filled ones instead of choosing sugar rich ones.
  3. Incorporate raisins, grapes, apple, pineapple chunks, carrot, cucumber and peas in whatever dishes you can.
  4. At all times keep a bowl of fresh vegetables and fruits on table for snacks.
  5. Choose fresh fruit juices instead of soft drinks.
  6. Replace tea in place of coffee.
  7. Add flavour to your plate with ginger, basil, cinnamon, rosemary, garlic and onions.
  8. Introduce soya products like tofu, soymilk, tempeh, and soy chunks in your diet.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Sean MacEntee


Why should you include Bell pepper (Capsicum) in your diet?

By With No comments:
Why should you include Bell pepper (Capsicum) in your diet?

How often do you include Bell pepper (Capsicum) in your diet? Read this and use it as much as you can.

Consumption of Pepper fruit, otherwise known as bell pepper (Capsicum annum L) is gaining significance these days due to better cognizance about its antioxidant properties. They belong to the family of solanaceae which includes eggplant, potato and tomato. There are many varieties of pepper including yellow, orange, red, purple, brown and black with variations in the pigment they contain. Pepper fruit is much noted for its pungent taste. Pepper fruit can be eaten raw as salads, added in curries and pickles. The major products prepared from pepper are paprika, dried chillies and oleoresin.

Nutritional importance

  • 100 grams of raw pepper supplies roughly 30 calories with low glycemic index.
Fibre = 1.85 gm
Vitamin C = 120 mg
Potassium = 195 mg

  • Bell pepper are excellent sources of phytonutrients like carotenoid, flavonoids and cinnamic acid which possess astounding antioxidant properties.
  • Pepper fruit is a rich source of Vitamin C.
  • Matured red pepper fruit contains more carotenoid pigment than raw pepper.
  • Pepper contains Capsaicin, an alkaloid compound which is responsible for its distinct pungent taste.

Pharmacological importance

  • Pepper is much noted for its cardio protective effect by preventing clot formation that causes heart attacks.
  • Capsaicin present in the fruit has thermogenic properties, (burning fat tissues) and thereby helps in weight reduction.
  • Most of the pain relieving gels vended in markets today have capsaicin as its most prominent component. They function by triggering the brain to release endorphins, the natural pain killer.
  • Capsaicin prevents the growth of several cancer cells through stimulation of apoptosis.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Binu Nair