Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tomato, Cooked or Raw, & Lycopene

According to the National Cancer Institute, one out of every six American men develops prostate cancer in his lifetime. In 1995, a study by Dr. Edward Giovannucci and colleagues at Harvard University found that men who consumed tomatoes or tomato products developed fewer cases of prostate cancer. Since then, researchers have sought to identify the component in tomatoes that provides this and other benefits.

Tomato Nutrients

Tomatoes contain significant amounts of vitamin E, fiber, antioxidant polyphenols, potassium and folate. Most tomato and prostate cancer research focuses on lycopene, the red pigment of tomatoes. The lycopene content of tomato products varies widely depending upon variety, ripeness of the fruit and processing methods, making it difficult to make dietary recommendations.
Lycopene in Foods

According to Harvard Medical School, one slice of raw tomato contains approximately 515 micrograms lycopene, while 2 tablespoons of tomato paste contains 13,800 micrograms of lycopene. That means tomato paste contains many times more lycopene than raw tomatoes. Because most research attributes the anticancer properties of tomatoes to lycopene, tomato paste appears to be the better source.
Lycopene Concentration

The higher water content of raw tomatoes reduces total lycopene concentration. Raw tomatoes contain approximately 94.5 percent water by weight, according to the USDA Nutrient Database. The processing of tomatoes to form tomato paste causes water loss, so lycopene becomes more concentrated.
Lycopene Structure

The structure of lycopene determines how much the body absorbs. Two primary forms of lycopene exist: a straight line -- the all-trans form -- and a chain with kinks -- the cis-isomer form. Processing of tomatoes to form tomato paste increases the amount of cis-lycopene. The smaller structure of the cis-lycopene isomer allows for easier absorption in the small intestine compared to all-trans lycopene. This means that when you eat tomato paste, more of the kinked form of lycopene accumulates in the body compared to its straight counterpart.

How Much Green Tea Should You Drink to Lose Weight?

Green tea alone does not cause weight loss -- only creating a calorie deficit can do that. According to an article published in the “Journal for Nurse Practitioners" in 2010, however, green tea can aid in weight-loss efforts by reducing appetite and boosting metabolism. Studies have not established an exact daily dose of green tea that will best support weight loss. You should drink at least 2 to 3 cups a day while staying under the upper limits of recommended caffeine intake.

Caffeine Intake
The caffeine found in green tea is partly responsible for its weight-loss effects. Caffeine is not without side effects, and too much can cause toxicity. A “Journal for Nurse Practitioners" article warned of the potential for people to abuse supplements that contain caffeine. Green tea contains about 25 milligrams of caffeine per 8 ounces. The upper limit of caffeine intake for healthy adults to avoid harmful effects is 300 to 400 milligrams daily. This limit may be different if you have a health condition, so it's important to speak with your doctor. Pregnant women should have no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine daily.

Avoiding Caffeine Toxicity
To stay within the upper limit of caffeine intake, do not exceed 12 to 16 8-ounce cups of green tea daily. Keep in mind that the strength at which tea is brewed affects its caffeine content. Using one tea bag counts as one cup of tea. If you desire stronger tea, count each tea bag used as an additional cup toward the upper limit.

Sufficient Doses of Polyphenols
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends drinking 2 to 3 cups of green tea daily to get a sufficient dose of its health-promoting active ingredients. This includes 240 to 320 milligrams of polyphenols. These plant compounds are antioxidants, which means they protect cells from damage. They also may also increase your metabolism. A review and meta-analysis of studies on green tea's effects on weight loss, published in "NutriciĆ³n Hospitalaria" in 2014, concluded green tea does reduce fat mass slightly. You can't rely on green tea alone to lose weight, but it can aid in your overall efforts.

Side Effects and Precautions
Side effects of caffeine include increased heart rate, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, frequent urination, tremors, anxiety and depression. Consult with your doctor before drinking green tea if you have a medical condition. If you suffer from heart, kidney or liver problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia, glaucoma, osteoporosis or anxiety, avoid drinking green tea. Green tea also interacts with certain medications, so talk with your doctor before drinking it if you're taking any medications. Birth control pills, blood thinners and others are known to interact with green tea.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014


Propolis is a resin-like material from the buds of poplar and cone-bearing trees. Propolis is rarely available in its pure form. It is usually obtained from beehives and contains bee products.

Propolis has a long history of medicinal use, dating back to 350 B.C., the time of Aristotle. Greeks have used propolis for abscesses; Assyrians have used it for healing wounds and tumors; and Egyptians have used it for mummification. It still has many medicinal uses today, although its effectiveness has only been shown for a couple of them.

Propolis is used for cancer sores and infections caused by bacteria (includingtuberculosis), by viruses (including flu, H1N1 “swine” flu, and the common cold), by fungus, and by single-celled organisms called protozoans. Propolis is also used forcancer of the nose and throat; for boosting the immune system; and for treating gastrointestinal (GI) problems including Helicobacter pylori infection in peptic ulcerdisease. Propolis is also used as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.

People sometimes apply propolis directly to the skin for wound cleansing, genital herpes and cold sores; as a mouth rinse for speeding healing following oral surgery; and for the treatment of minor burns.

In manufacturing, propolis is used as an ingredient in cosmetics.

How does it work?

Propolis seems to have activity against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It might also have anti-inflammatory effects and help skin heal.
Cold sores. Applying a specific 3% propolis ointment (Herstat or ColdSore-FX) might help improve healing time and reduce pain from cold sores.
Genital herpes. Applying a 3% propolis ointment (Herstat or ColdSore-FX) might improve healing of recurrent genital lesions caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Some research suggests that it might heal lesions faster and more completely than the conventional treatment 5% acyclovir ointment.
Improving healing and reducing pain and inflammation after mouth surgery.

Insufficient Evidence for:

Cancer sores.
Nose and throat cancer.
Improving immune response.
Stomach and intestinal disorders.
Common cold.
Minor burns.
Other conditions.

There isn't enough information to know if propolis is safe. It can cause allergic reactions, particularly in people who are allergic to bees or bee products. Lozenges containing propolis can cause irritation and mouth ulcers.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of propolis during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Asthma: Some experts believe some chemicals in propolis may make asthma worse. Avoid using propolis if you have asthma.

Allergies: Don’t use propolis if you are allergic to bee by-products including honey, conifers, poplars, Peru balsam, and salicylates.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

For cold sores: A 3% propolis ointment (Herstat or ColdSore-FX) applied 5 times daily.
For herpes outbreak: A 3% propolis ointment (Herstat or ColdSore-FX) applied to the blisters 4 times daily.
As a mouth rinse after mouth surgery: A solution containing propolis, water, and alcohol.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Homemade Facial Scrub

Exfoliation is an integral part of skincare regime. It helps to get rid of dead cells from the surface of the skin, improves blood circulation, leaving your skin clean and bright. Natural face scrubs are cheaper and more important they are free of chemicals. You have to keep certain things in mind before using any exfoliating mask. The scrub you choose should be gently and should not damage your skin. Never use scrub on infected or inflamed skin. After exfoliation, it is important to moisturize your skin as exfoliation tends to dry your skin. People with oily skin can exfoliate once in a week, while people with dry skin can exfoliate once or twice a month. Choose scrub according to your skin type, what suits one person may not suit another person. Over exfoliating your skin can cause skin irritation or damage your skin. So do take care of these small things before using face scrub.

How to apply facial scrub
Wash your face well and apply scrub on clean damp skin. Avoid area around the eyes.
Let the scrub dry a little. Wet your hands and exfoliate using gentle circular upward movements.
Scrub lightly as vigorous movements will damage the skin.

Make your own Facial Scrub
Do you know that you can make your own facial scrub at home with ingredients available in your kitchen. Here are a few Natural Facial Scrub Recipes which are easy to prepare at home.

1. Orange peel yogurt facial scrub
Orange peel powder is readily available in the market which you can buy and use. If you cannot get orange peel powder, you can dry orange peels in the sun, powder it finely and store it in an air tight container. Take a tbsp of orange peel powder, mix it with a tsp of plain fat free yogurt and make a paste. Add water if needed to adjust the consistency. Use it as a face scrub.

2. Lentil facial scrub
Dry moong dal (pasi paruppu) well in the sun, grind it to a fine powder and store it in a container. Take 2 tsp of the dal powder, mix it with required milk to get a smooth consistency. Apply it on face and when it is half dry, gently rub in circular upward movement and then rinse off with warm water. Pat dry and apply your favorite moisturizer.

3. Apple Face scrub
Peel the skin of apple, remove the seeds and blend it to a fine paste, add a tsp of honey, 2 tbsp of powdered oats and little water if needed. It is perfect to exfoliate the face.

4. Rice Flour Yogurt Scrub
Mix rice flour with plain fat free yoghurt and scrub your face gently in upward circular movements.

5.Sandalwood gram flour scrub
Mix equal quantities of gram flour (kadalai mavu/besan) and pure sandalwood powder with little raw milk to a paste. Do not buy scented sandalwood powder. Effective for persons with normal and oily skin.

6.Chickpea Exfoliating Scrub
Take equal quantity of sandalwood powder and chickpea powder, mix it with needed water to make a paste. Apply to the face, leave it for 5 minutes and then gently scrub in circular movements using your finger tips. This scrub works great for oily skin.

7.Plain Oatmeal scrub
Take a tbsp of oats and cook with half cup of water. Allow it to cool. Add a tsp of fresh lemon juice to it. You can use just the cooked oats alone as a scrub. It also works great.

8.Yogurt oatmeal scrub
Cook 2 tbsp of oats till soft. Let it cool. Mix it with a tsp of yogurt and honey and use it as a scrub. This is great for persons with dry skin.

9.Cornmeal scrub
Mix a tbsp of Cornmeal flour with water and gently scrub your skin in circular movements.

10.Almond scrub
Almond flour with a tbsp of milk makes a good scrub. Alternatively you can soak 5-6 almonds for 4-5 hours, remove the skin and grind it to a fine paste with milk. After scrubbing for 5-6 minutes, leave it on the face to dry, then rinse off with warm water. Persons with oily skin can replace milk with rose water.

11.Honey Almonds Scrub with milk
Mix almond flour with ½ tsp of honey, needed milk and mix it to a paste.

Home made body scrub

1.Wheat husk Body Scrub
Wheat husk + milk makes an excellent body scrub.

2.Sugar scrub
Sugar especially brown sugar is a great scrub. Mix 1-2 tsp of sugar with 1/3 cup of olive oil and use it to exfoliate your hands and legs. Apply the mixture to wet skin, scrub gently and then wash off using your regular body wash or mild bath soap or bengal gram flour.

These homemade scrubs or natural exfoliating mask will help exfoliate and leaves your skin soft, smooth and refreshing. Get started and pamper yourself at home.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

8 Fat Burning Foods You Should Start Eating

Yes, fat keeps you protected, warm and alive. But too much of anything can be, well, bad. If you are trying to pare down your pot belly, look at these tips of fat- burning foods.

Breakfast cereal
Start your day skinny by boosting fiber and providing fewer calories from fat than other popular breakfasts such as bacon and eggs, ready to eat cereal can help you fill up and slim down. Study from one journal of the dietetic association found that women who eat cereal are 35 percent less likely to be overweight than those who eat other breakfast foods. To get the most bangs for your breakfast buck, choose rich in fiber, low-fat cereals and aim for five grams per serving.

Low fat yogurt
Plain, low fat yogurts are one of the best sources of calcium, a mineral that might fight fat. Not getting enough calcium triggers the release of calcitriol- a hormone that causes you to store fat, whereas in taking of your daily calcium needs help you burn fat more efficiently. Yogurts and other dairy foods are leading sources of leucine, which helps fight fat as well.

Ironically, elephant favorite peanuts fight weight gain, slow rises in blood sugar and what is more curb hunger. One study found that those who add 505 calories of peanuts to their diets for 2 weeks experience almost no change in body weight and a 25 percent drop in triglycerides- fats that are associated with heart disease. Researchers say that satiating power of peanuts helps people eat less overall.