Thursday, February 18, 2016

Health Benefits of Moringa

 
The health benefits of moringa include relief from stomach disorders, allergies and edema. The antioxidant power of moringa aids in liver protection, diabetes, eye protection, cardiovascular health, bone health, uroliathiasis, wound healing, healthy hair and skin. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of moringa help to fight various infections, including herpes.

Moringa is rich in phytonutrients, which are effective for preventing various medical conditions such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, bronchial asthma, sickle cell disease, nephrotoxicity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, anemia, and obesity, as well as helping to build a strong immune system.




 






Moringa – The “Miracle Tree”

Moringa oleifera, also known as drumstick tree, is a highly valued and versatile plant which belongs to the Moringaceae family. Moringa is a fast growing, deciduous tree that is native to India and is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas all over Asia, Africa and South America. It is widely known with many other names, including Horseradish tree and Ben oil tree.

Although modern science has only recently discovered its value, moringa has been imparting a multitude of benefits across various cultures since ancient times. Moringa was valued by the Romans, Egyptians and Greeks for its medicinal impact on a range of ailments. Today, usage of moringa has been encouraged by various humanitarian organizations to combat malnutrition and its effects in poverty-stricken regions, mainly due to its economic viability and rapid growth.

The moringa tree has thick, whitish bark with droopy, fragile branches and long, green, oval-shaped leaflets. In Ayurvedic therapy, moringa is valued for its impressive range of therapeutic uses, commonly attributed to its antifungal, antiviral, antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties. In some areas, it is simply known as ‘shigru’.

Nutritional Value of Moringa
Moringa leaves and moringa pods are a nutritional powerhouse and provide a great range and amount of essential proteins, vitamins and minerals. Moringa is a rich source of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. It also contains a significant amount of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B-6, folate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The mineral wealth of moringa includes calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc. It contains very low amount of fats and offers no harmful cholesterol.

Health Benefits of Moringa

Moringa contains an immense wealth of healthy components and phytonutrients. Due to its extraordinary and unmatched range of medicinal benefits, moringa was named the “miracle tree” during the food crisis in Africa. In the Philippines, moringa is revered as mother’s best friend because of its galactogogic properties. The benefits of moringa for medical conditions include the following:

MoringaAntioxidants: Moringa plant offers a rich blend of powerful antioxidants such as kaempferol, caffeoylquinic acid, zeatin, quercetin, rutin, chlorogenic acid, and beta-sitosterol. These powerful antioxidants found in moringa possess high free radical scavenging capacity and have shown its therapeutic value in curing the damage caused by oxidative stress.

Edema: Moringa extracts are beneficial in the treatment of edema. Research studies have confirmed that treatment with moringa oleifera root extract, which possesess anti-inflammatory qualities, has been significantly effective in inhibiting the development of edema. Moreover, the studies suggest that the efficacy of moringa herb stands equal with the potent anti-inflammatory medicine indomethacin in the treatment of such painful conditions.

Liver Protection: Moringa extracts exert a hepatoprotective effect on the liver. Research studies have validated the effectiveness of moringa leaves against the liver damage caused by anti-tubercular drugs as well as its stimulating effects in speeding up the recovery process. Moringa helps to restore the levels of glutathione content in the body and prevents radiation-induced hepatic lipid peroxidation. This protective effect is attributed to the presence of phytochemicals such as catechin, epicatechin, ferulic acid and vitamin C found in moringa.

Stomach Disorders: The isothiocyanates present in moringa are effective in the treatment of abdominal disorders such as constipation, gastritis and ulcerative colitis. Studies have shown that moringa extracts can be considered as an effective herbal alternative to a range of commercially available antacids and antihistamines. Research studies have shown that treatment with moringa oleifera leads to reduced ulceration and its efficacy in curing ulcerative colitis is comparable with the commercially available drug prednisolone.

Moringa contains antibiotic and antibacterial properties, and it exerts inhibitory effects on the growth of various pathogens. This includes helicobacter pylori bacteria and coliform bacteria, which can trigger conditions like diarrhea.

Healthy Skin: Moringa seed oil is beneficial for the skin. The hydrating and detoxifying effects of moringa extracts help in neutralizing the effects of harmful pollutants, prevents wrinkles, and slows premature aging. The high protein content of moringa aids in protecting the dermal cells from damage caused by heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium. For the same reason, it is used in the production of cosmetics and skin care products.

Diabetes: Moringa extracts exert antidiabetic effects in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Research studies have demonstrated that treatment with moringa works positively towards the reduction of blood glucose, urine sugar and urine proteins in diabetic test subjects. According to the studies, moringa has also shown marked improvement in hemoglobin levels and total protein content of the diabetic subjects.

Antibacterial Properties: Moringa possesses antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and is effective against the growth of disease-causing microbes. Scientific research has proven that moringa extracts exert a wide spectrum of protective activity against food-borne microorganisms such as Salmonella, Rhizopus species, E. Coli, Enterobacter aerogenus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. This defensive activity makes moringa extracts perfect for sanitation and preservation purposes.

Cancer: Moringa is an anticancer agent and is highly valued in tumor therapy. Scientific research has demonstrated that moringa extracts possess chemopreventive properties attributed to the presence of the phenolic components quercetin and kaempferol. Another study has demonstrated the role of the bioactive compound niazimicin in restraining the development of cancer cells. Moringa extracts impart chemomodulatory effects towards curing various types of cancers such as ovarian cancer, hepatic carcinogenesis and skin papillomagenesis by inhibiting the proliferation of malignant cancer cells and inducing apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death.

Neurodegenerative Diseases: The effectiveness of moringa has been very valuable in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Research studies have shown that treatment with moringa extracts have the potential to alter brain monoamines like norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine, and it even extends its protection against monoaminergic deficiencies related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Bone Health: Moringa extracts are beneficial for maintaining healthy bones, which is attributed to the presence of essential minerals like calcium and phosphorous. Moringa extracts possess anti-inflammatory properties and are effective in the treatment of painful conditions such as arthritis, while also helping to heal various bone ailments such as mandibular or jaw bone fracture.

Immunosuppressive Effects: The seeds of moringa oleifera possess immunosuppressive properties. Deliberate immunosuppression is required to inhibit the activation of body’s immune system in order to prevent the rejection of certain treatments, particularly organ transplants and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Research studies have demonstrated that the immunosuppressive action of moringa seeds helps in ameliorating the production of antibodies to allow for the new organs and transplanted material to settle safely in the body.

Herpes: TheMoringa herb is effective against the infection caused by herpes simplex virus. The healing effects of moringa herb prevent the development of skin lesions and inhibit the formation of plaque caused by the infecting virus.

Cardiovascular Protection: Moringa extracts are helpful in the prevention of myocardial or cardiac damage, due to the presence of powerful antioxidants. Research studies conducted on this subject have provided supporting evidence that proves the antiperoxidative and cardio-protective effects of moringa therapy. Treatment with Moringa helps in inhibiting the increase in lipid perioxidation in the myocardial tissue and aids in maintaining a healthy heart.

Anti-allergenic Behavior: Extracts of moringa seeds possess anti-allergenic qualities. Scientific research has validated the inhibitory action of moringa on the hypersensitive reactions involved in various allergic diseases, including allergic rhinitis and anaphylaxis.

Asthma: The benefits of moringa plant extracts also include relief from bronchial asthma and inflammation caused in the airways. According to research, treatment with moringa helps to reduce the severity of asthmatic attacks and various symptoms such as wheezing, cough, dyspnea and tightness of the chest. Moringa extends its protective effects against bronchial constrictions and encourages better lung function and respiration.

Anti-fungal Properties: Leaves of moringa oleifera possess anti-fungal qualities. The inhibitory effects of moringa help in preventing the growth of diseases causing contaminant fungi such as Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp.

Hair Care: The favorable effects of moringa seed oil for healthy hair have been appreciated since ancient times. It is highly effectual in cleansing and purifying the hair and protects it from environmental damage, including ultra violet radiation. It serves as a valuable conditioner for the scalp, strengthens the roots, and stimulates hair growth.

Urolithiasis: Moringa extracts are effective against the formation of stones in the kidney, bladder and uterus. According to research studies, the administration of moringa root exerted anti-urolithiatic activity and resulted in a noteworthy reduction in the urinary oxalate levels. The curative effect of moringa has also shown a reduction in the formation of stone deposits and aids in regulating endogenous oxalate synthesis.

Wound Healing: Aqueous leaves extract of moringa oleifera possess significant wound healing properties. Research studies have provided supporting evidence regarding the healing effects of moringa in the treatment of wounds with respect to skin-breaking strength, wound closure rate and reduction in the scar area.

Hypertension: Moringa is effective in maintaining optimal levels of blood pressure in the body. Bioactive components such as isothiocyanate and niaziminin that are present in moringa prevent the thickening of arteries and reduce the development of pulmonary hypertension.

Sickle Cell Disease: Moringa oleifera is effective in the treatment of sickle cell disease. Recent studies have validated the anti-sickling potential of moringa plant extracts, which is attributed to the presence of zinc and flavonols such as kaempferol, quercitin, and acacetin as well as phenolic acids such as melilotic acid and vanillic acid.

Eye Health: Antioxidant-rich moringa oleifera is beneficial for providing protection against retinal damage. Scientific studies have provided supporting evidence regarding the retinoprotective effects of moringa in test subjects. Treatment with moringa helps in preventing the dilatation of retinal vessels and keeps the retinal vasculature intact. It also inhibits the thickening of capillary membranes and prevents any retinal dysfunction.

Immune Stimulator: The ethanolic extracts of moringa leaf helps in stimulating the immune system of the body. It also helps in enhancing the cellular immune response and exerts positive effects on various other immune system values such as total leucocyte count, antibodies and hypersensitivity reaction.

Nephrotoxicity: Moringa extracts exert a protective effect against nephrotoxicity, which refers to the kidney problems caused as a consequence of exposure to certain drugs or toxins. Studies have revealed that the nephroprotective effect of moringa helps in attenuating renal injuries due to its high antioxidant content. It serves as an effective bio-absorbent and helps in the removal of heavy metals and harmful toxins.

Cholesterol: Moringa extracts serve as an effective remedy for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels in the body. Studies have confirmed the hypocholesterolemic effects of moringa, which helps in reducing high-fat diet-induced rise the liver, kidney and serum cholesterol levels.

Anemia: Moringa extracts are beneficial in the treatment of anemia. Studies have provided supporting evidence regarding the fact that treatment with moringa oleifera aids in facilitating the absorption of iron, increasing the red blood cell count and helping to maintaining normal blood parameters.

Abortifacient: Moringa oleifera possesses anti-fertility qualities. Aqueous extracts of moringa exert estrogenic activity and are beneficial in the prevention of sexual implantation in the body.

Obesity: Moringa helps in combating obesity thanks to its highly nutritional and low-fat qualities. The impressive content of vitamin B in moringa leaves aids in digestion and converts the food into energy rather than storing it as fat.

Culinary Use: Moringa is a “miracle tree” and most of its parts, including the leaves, bark, fruits and roots are used as food items. Leaves of the moringa tree can be added to salads and are also used in the preparation of sauces and soups. Cold pressed moringa oil is used for cooking and is appreciated for its long shelf life. The immature seed pods of the moringa tree, popularly known as drumsticks in India, are used in various dishes.

Moringa leaves are a great alternative to meat, because of the high protein content, especially for vegetarians. Moringa contains the amino acids aregenine and histidine which are essential for infants and it is also a boon to combat malnutrition in the under-privileged regions of the world.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

3 Serious Dangers of the Zika Virus

The Zika virus, which is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, has infected thousands in the Americas and the Caribbean, and has now been confirmed in a handful of Americans.

Here are 3 crucial facts you should know about the virus, which health officials worldwide are scrambling to control:

1. Zika may cause congenital malformations in children

Despite the fact that this mosquito-borne illness is very similar to yellow fever, West Nile virus and chikungunya, this is the first time that we have seen what appears to be a direct link to a major congenital malformation like microcephaly from this family of viruses.

While we know that viruses can affect pregnancy, most of our experiences with infections are with viruses like West Nile, which theoretically could lead to early miscarriages. Never before have we seen a variant of this type from this viral family create a major anatomical deformity with a predisposition to affect a baby’s brain. Now, in addition to requiring additional fetal development in the womb, once the child is born with microcephaly they will require lifelong monitoring and care. There is no cure, there is no treatment, and these children will suffer severe developmental and cognitive delays.

In Brazil alone, officials are reporting nearly 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly since October. Comparatively, in the United States it’s estimated that microcephaly ranges from two to 12 babies per 10,000 live births.
 
2. The virus doesn’t pose a threat to just pregnant women

In addition to presenting a danger to pregnant women, we now have a cluster of cases in which the virus may be attacking the adult neurological system and causing inflammation of nerve roots in the spine. The result is a condition called Guillain-Barre, a nerve disorder that causes muscle weakness beginning in the legs that then spreads to the arms and face. It can cause patients to feel numb, have trouble walking, and experience limb paralysis. In severe cases, patients may require life support. While it can take a few weeks to recover, patients typically suffer from nerve damage.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said authorities in El Salvador reported 46 cases of Guillain-Barre in just five weeks, from Dec. 1 to Jan. 6. The exact cause of this autoimmune system is unknown, but several patients who presented these symptoms also had those similar to patients of Zika. That alone should be enough to serve as a warning to others that we all need to be vigilant in protecting ourselves from mosquitos, not just expectant mothers. We should consider the travel warnings seriously, and take proper steps with insect repellent and covering exposed areas of skin.
 
3. Zika is spreading fast— and it will likely reach the South soon 

It seems like every hour there is an update from a Zika-afflicted country reporting an uptick in the number of confirmed cases. In Colombia, officials are predicting that they will experience 600,000 cases. The virus is spreading too fast, too soon. With 22 countries and a handful of territories on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) travel warning list, and our propensity as Americans to travel, it is only a matter of time before it hits our southern states.

If a patient becomes infected by the Zika virus while visiting an afflicted region, the patient can become a focal point for another Aedes aegypti mosquito to contract the virus. If you catch the virus outside of the U.S., and you come back home and are bitten by an another Aedes aegypti, that mosquito can then infect others, but you cannot.

It is imperative that we remain proactive and remember during this crucial time that we do not have any treatment or vaccines for Zika. The best things individuals can do to prevent Zika infection is wear protective clothing and mosquito repellent if traveling to a region afflicted by Zika, and to contact your physician immediately if you experience symptoms. If you are a pregnant woman planning a trip outside of the U.S., check the CDC’s travel-warning list so you can keep yourself— and your child— safe.


By Dr. Manny Alvarez
Published January 27, 2016 FoxNews.com
 

5 reasons you should avoid Canned food

 
1. Bisphenol or BPA
The most worrisome of all, among canned foods that can harm you, is plastic contaminants in our canned goods. Most canned food these days have a plastic coating inside the can to supposedly keep the food, vegetables, and fruits – fresh. Well, it may keep them more fresh that otherwise without it being stored up inside a metal object, but this comes at the expense of harming you. The inner plastic lining is poisonous at small measures, although FDA tells us that the small amounts should not worry us too much. Well this plastic coating is Bisphenol or BPA for short and it is harmful, first because humans are not suppose to eat plastic material made from crude oil and second because FDA should be honest and tell people the truth rather than serve the interests of big corporations that give it large sums of money through back channel donations and hidden funds through partner organizations.

Alzheimers-Aluminum-cans BPA kills rats in laboratories even at smaller portions, like 1,000 times less than what an average American consumes per meal. I hope soon FDA would do a U-turn on this and come clean and tell people about the harm to humans caused by BPA like they do periodically about drugs which they have claimed for decades to be safe, only to tell us now that they were not safe. I just hope it does not take decades before they try to protect the public against BPA. BPA is a toxic chemical that causes hormone imbalances and wide variety of health issues ranging from hypertension, aggression, obesity to cancer and heart disease. Based on FDA 17% of the American diet comes from canned foods yet there are no regulation or safety standards regarding the amount of BPA in canned foods. A study by Environmental Working Group shows that more than 50% of cans with brand names have toxic BPA in them.2

2. Imported Canned Food

Imported Canned Food is even worse than American Canned Food. In many countries where canned food is cheaper than Europe, Canada and USA, American food corporations are more and more importing to make higher profits, the canned food is even less nutritious than their counterparts in Europe and North America. First the foods are picked when they are not ripe and have 80% less nutrients than a fully ripe fruits and vegetables. Second, the facilities are not as hygienic and inspected on a regular basis as their counterparts in Europe and North America and hence have the cause of a few incidences of outbreaks in the last 20 years, like the famous incident regarding canned green beans from Brazil or the salmonella outbreak from sprouts from Columbia. Less than 2% of canned foods are inspected by FDA or Home Land security or any other organization (e.g. EPA for environmental monitoring). So I would avoid canned food if at all possible. Instead I would recommend, at the least, try glass jars instead of cans for stored foods.

3. Leaking. Aluminium leaks

Just as Aluminium pots and pans leak, so do aluminium cans. In fact, what most people are unaware of is that most often foods are put into aluminium cans, then seals, and then cooked, supposedly retain the freshness. Well, it will certainly retain the aluminium free radicals hanging around after heating and contaminating the contents.

Over a period of time Aluminium accumulation in body can cause memory problem like Alzheimer’s. More than 5,000 million pounds of aluminium is used every year for making food cans. Aluminium cans have several advantages for the producer including light weight, compact packaging and lower price. Most canned foods like soups, vegetables, chicken or beef broth and tomato sauces are made of aluminium because it’s more economical.

Some believe that the plastic lining of the aluminium cans are supposed to prevent corrosion and contaminating food with aluminium. But the reality is that most of the time these plastic liners can’t completely protect food against aluminium since cans leak aluminium when heated and while they are sealed - they will contaminate food.

4. Preservatives

The lovely, no so friendly, preservatives. They are referred to in a dozen different names, and every few months, a new name is established for the same few ingredients that are mixed up to come up with friendly-sounding names. But, the fact is that if it smells like manure, looks like manure, tastes like manure – it is most certainly manure.

These preservatives are kept in state of non-compounding to other molecules with the, yes you guessed it, SALT. Extensive amount of sodium (salt) is used to keep the preservatives in canned food from rotting so that it can keep the food from rotting. Lovely. FDA responds to all this by simply issued a statement, “… there has been no proof that these preservatives would cause major damage to human cells or that they are harmful to mass public”. My interpretation of this is this, “… these preservatives are not drastically harmful towards healthy people, but they may be harmful to pregnant women, babies, children, elderly, or anyone that is suffering from a chronic disease”. That’s just my interpretation.

5. Low level food quality

Let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that if the fruits and vegetables and other ingredients are of high quality, they will be sold fresh and for the highest price possible for a maximum of profit by the distributors.

Now if the quality of the ingredients are not that great or the fruits and vegetables look old and stale or not so healthy, then they will be hidden from the eyes of supermarket shoppers and be forced into a can along with other such low quality food, cooked up in a mass oven while still inside the can and then shipped all over the world and sold may be one or two years later from when they were picked and were prepared. Don’t expect the ingredients inside your canned foods to be of high quality. If you do, then you could buy the London Bridge and thinking that it is the Tower of London Bridge – and the two cannot be more different than one another.

Solution
Completely eliminate canned foods and if you are looking for your favorite tomato sauce use the ones in glass jars. Don’t consume vegetables or grains in cans, simply buy fresh ones. The risk of developing many chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, nervous system disorder and Alzheimer’s goes down by consuming fresh foods that do not have any packaging.