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Health Benefits of Cherries
(From the National Cherry Growers & Industries Foundation)
(Written by: Cynthia Thomson, PhD, RD, Dept of Nutritional Sciences
and Chieri Kubota, PhD, Department of Plant Sciences, Univ. of Arizona)
Sweet cherries have several cancer-preventive components including fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and anthocyanins. The potential role of sweet cherries in cancer prevention lies mostly in the anthocyanin content, especially in cyanidin. Sweet cherries are a good source of cyanidins, which appear to act as an antioxidant and in this role may reduce cancer risk. In a study by Acquaviva et al, a significant increase in free radical scavenging was demonstrated with exposure to cyanidin (Acquaviva, 2003) and a separate study using human cancer cell lines demonstrated cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of mutated cells exposed to cherry anthocyanins (Lazze, 2004; Shih, 2005). Further research suggests that the growth arrest characteristics of cyanidin are likely, at least in part, to be a result of significant inhibitory effects of these cherry components on epidermal growth factor receptors (Meirers, 2001). Finally, there is compelling evidence from basic science that cyanidin may also promote cellular differentiation and thus reduce the risk for healthy cells to transform to cancer (Serafino, 2004).
The role of red wine in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease has been studied widely for more than 20 years, and studies suggest anthocyanin found in red wine has important biological effects that reduce cardiovascular disease risk (Corder, 2006). This includes protecting lipids from oxidant damage and cardiovascular vessel plaque formation, anti-inflammation, nitric oxide formation and vascular dilation. Similarly, sweet cherries have been shown to have significant levels of anthocyanins as well as other pigments in perhaps smaller concentrations that together provide synergistic effects thought to be protective to heart and related vascular tissue (Reddy, 2005).
Evidence suggesting a protective role for cherries for diabetes is relatively rare, but researchers are interested in the role of anthocyanins in reducing insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. In one study, cells exposed to various glucose loads and then exposed to anthocyanins and anthocyanidins showed increased insulin production, suggesting the role of these compounds in blood glucose control should be explored further (Jayaprakasam, 2005). The study suggested that the bioactive compounds found in cherries are responsive, in terms of enhanced insulin production, to a glucose-rich environment and work to control glucose levels.
Recently the role of the glycemic index in diabetes control has gained renewed interest. Sweet cherries have an estimated glycemic index of 22, generally lower than other fruits including apricots (57), grapes (46), peaches (42), blueberries (40) or plums (39). The lower glycemic index makes sweet cherries a potentially better fruit-based snack food (as compared with many other fruits) for people with diabetes. The lower glycemic response shown in relation to cherry consumption may be the result of glucose-lowering effects of cherry phytochemicals in combination with the relatively modest fiber content of cherries.
An important new area for nutrition research is the role of naturally occurring compounds, primarily in plant foods, to modify the inflammatory process in humans. Low-grade inflammation is a potential risk factor for a wide range of chronic illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis. In addition, obesity has been shown to be associated with elevated inflammatory response. While Americans are often advised to take low-dose aspirin to offset this problem, researchers are looking for new ways – such as diet modification – to enhance anti-inflammatory response.
Select phytochemicals in cherries have been shown to inhibit the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes responsible for inflammatory response. In a cell culture study assessing COX-1 and -2 enzyme activity, the anthocyanin cyanindin, common to sweet cherries, along with malvidin, were shown to have the greatest inhibitory effects (Seernam, 2003). In relation to anti-inflammatory properties, cherries have been investigated in relation to pain control. Evidence suggesting a role of dietary constituents in reducing pain is limited, but remains an active area of research. (Tall, 2004).
Flavonoids and procyanidin compounds have been shown to reduce oxidant stress and -amyloid production and may indirectly reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease (Yoshimura, 2003; Heo, 2004). Recent studies have shown the potential role of sweet cherry phenolic compounds in protecting neuronal cells involved in neurological function. The phenolics in sweet cherries include both quercetin and hydroxycinnamic acid as well as anthocyanins. One study exposed neuronal cells to a variety of phenolic compounds found in sweet and tart cherries and showed that total phenolics, and predominantly anthocyanins, demonstrated a dose-dependent reduction in oxidant stress (Kim, 2005). Further study into possible protective effects of sweet cherry bioactive compounds in reducing risk for, or morbidity related to, Alzheimer’s disease is warranted.
Cherry Juice Gout Treatment
You may be hearing a lot about cherry juice gout relief therapy if you're one of the millions of people who suffer from the chronic pain of arthritis or gout. New research has uncovered evidence that compounds in cherries may help to relieve pain caused by this affliction and other forms of arthritis in several important ways.
Although it has been long believed that adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle will help to combat the symptoms of gout, we are now beginning to realize the many health benefits of cherry juice in addition to these dietary changes. But what is it exactly that makes cherry juice gout's worst enemy?
For one thing, cherries have been shown to lower levels of uric acid in the blood, which is one of the most common causes of gout pain. A study at the University of California Davis showed that consuming a serving of cherries daily significantly lowered the blood uric acid levels of women by as much as 15 percent, and while the participants in the study were given fresh cherries to eat, a serving of dried cherries or cherry juice can have just as significant an impact.
The secret to the benefits of cherry juice is a compound called anthocyanins, which are the pigments that give cherries their bright red color and are also believed to be the key to helping the body relieve inflammation. As an added bonus, these same anthocyanins may significantly reduce your risk for colon cancer, the third leading cancer in America.
Doctors and scientists believe that the anthocyanins in the cherries is what caused the decrease in blood urates and what causes cherry juice gout relief. They also feel that consuming anthocyanins on a regular basis may help lower heart attack and stroke risk, and are even studying the benefits of cherry juice and how it may have direct applications to the treatment and prevention of cancer.
Since the clinical research on the cherry juice gout relief therapy is still in the early stages, there is no set "prescription" for their use or consumption. However, it seems that the majority of people benefit from consuming about two tablespoons to a small glass of cherry juice a day, or one to two servings of fresh or dried cherries. Just like with any other type of treatment, however, different people will naturally respond differently to cherries and the end results gained will most likely be varied.
While some people report that they feel results within a few days, others do not see the full benefit until they have used cherry juice daily for several weeks or even months as part of a low purine diet.
Cherry juice gout relief has been used around the world in the treatment of this painful disease for hundreds of years, but it is only recently that the mainstream media has brought this information to light. While some people may feel a little skeptical about the benefits of cherry juice in the treatment of gout and arthritis, many more are finding that it is a wonderful way to take control of their pain and get moving again with the help of a very easy and delicious cure
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Health Benefits of Cinnamon
The health benefits of cinnamon can be attributed to its antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, astringent and anti clotting properties. Cinnamon is rich in essential minerals such as manganese, iron and calcium. It is also rich in fiber.
Brain Tonic: Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and hence acts as a good brain tonic. It helps in removing nervous tension and memory loss. Research at the Wheeling Jesuit University in the US has proved that the scent of cinnamon has the ability to boost brain activity. The team of researchers led by Dr. P. Zoladz found that people who were administered with cinnamon improved their scored on cognitive activities such as attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed.
Blood Purification: Cinnamon helps in removing blood impurities. Therefore it is often recommended for pimples.
Blood Circulation: Cinnamon aids in the circulation of blood due to the presence of a blood thinning compound in it. This blood circulation helps significantly in removing pain. Good blood circulation also ensures oxygen supply to the body cells leading to higher metabolic activity. You significantly reduce the chance of getting a heart attack by regularly consuming cinnamon.
Infections: Due to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties, it is effective on external as well as internal infections. It helps in destroying germs in the gall bladder and bacteria in staph infections.
Healing: Cinnamon helps in stopping bleeding. Therefore it facilitates the healing process.
Pain: Cinnamon is also anti inflammatory. It helps in removing the stiffness of muscles. It relieves pain and stiffness of muscle and joints. Cinnamon is also recommended for arthritis. It also helps in removing headache that is caused by cold.
Diabetes: Cinnamon has the ability to control blood sugar. Diabetics find it very useful as cinnamon aids them in using less insulin. Research has shown that it is particularly very helpful for patients suffering from type2 diabetes. Type2 diabetes patients are not able to use their insulin levels properly. Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland, studied the effect of various food substances including cinnamon on blood sugar. They found that a water-soluble polyphenol compound called MHCP which is abundant in cinnamon synergistically acted with insulin and helped in the better utilization of insulin.
Heart Diseases: It is believed that the calcium and fiber present in cinnamon provides protection against heart diseases. Including a little cinnamon in the food helps those suffering from coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.
Colon Cancer: It also improves the health of the colon and thereby reducing the risk to colon cancer.
Mouth freshener: Cinnamon is used in chewing gums as it is a good mouth freshener and removes bad breath.
Indigestion: Cinnamon is added in many ethnic recipes. Apart from adding flavor to the food, it also aids in digestion. Cinnamon is very effective for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and flatulence. Due to its carminative properties, it is very helpful in removing gas from the stomach and intestines. It also removes acidity, diarrhea and morning sickness. It is therefore often referred to as a digestive tonic.
Respiratory problems: Cinnamon helps in cold, flu, influenza, sore throat and congestion.
Menstruation: Cinnamon is effective in providing relief from menstrual discomfort and cramping.
Breastfeeding: It is also believed that cinnamon aids in the secretion of breast milk.
Cinnamon is diuretic in nature and helps in secretion and discharge of urine.
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The Canadian Government officially concluded after two years of study that the "controversial", bisphenol A (BPA) found in some plastics constitutes "a danger in Canada to human life or health." With our glass bottles, "We Are BPA Free"
Health Benefits of Honey
Energy Source: Honey is used by many as a source of energy as it provides about 64 calories per tablespoon. One tablespoon of sugar will give you about 50 calories. Further the sugars in honey can be easily converted into glucose by even the most sensitive stomachs. Hence it is very easy to digest honey.
Weight Loss: Though honey has more calories than sugar, honey when consumed with warm water helps in digesting the fat stored in your body. Similarly honey and lemon juice and honey and cinnamon help in reducing weight.
Improving Athletic Performance: Recent research has shown that honey is an excellent ergogenic aid and helps in boosting the performance of athletes. Honey facilitates in maintaining blood sugar levels, muscle recuperation and glycogen restoration after a workout.
Source of Vitamins and Minerals: Honey contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. The vitamin and mineral content of honey depends on the type of flowers used for apiculture.
Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties: Honey has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and hence it can be used as a natural antiseptic.
Antioxidants: Honey contains nutraceuticals, which are effective in removing free radicals from our body. As a result, our body immunity is improved.
Skin Care with Milk and Honey: Milk and honey are often served together as both these ingredients help in getting a smooth soothing skin. Hence consuming milk and honey daily in the morning is a common practice in many countries.
Honey in Wound Management
Significant research is being carried out to study the benefits of honey in treating wounds. Nursing Standard provides some of these benefits in the document - The benefits of honey in wound management. These have been given below:
•Honey possesses antimicrobial properties.
•It helps in promoting autolytic debridement.
•It deodorizes malodorous wounds.
•It speeds up the healing process by stimulating wound tissues.
•It helps in initiating the healing process in dormant wounds.
•Honey also helps in promoting moist wound healing.
The healing powers of honey are not hyped. The Waikato Honey Research Unit provides details about the world-wide research that is being carried out on the benefits of honey in medicine. Further, BBC reported in July, 2006 that doctors at the Christie Hospital in Didsbury, Manchester are planning to use honey for faster recovery of cancer patients after surgery. Such research will provide scientific evidence to the so-called beliefs held by honey lovers all over the world and help in propagating benefits of honey to more people.
Cinnamon & Honey as it Relates to Diabetes:
(From “My Healing Kitchen.com)
How Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar:
Very Easy! Look at This...
Did you know that...
Ordinary cinnamon contains awesome glucose-lowering powers, according to several research studies.
It's a fact!
One study found that just half a teaspoon daily "significantly reduces blood sugar levels" in people with Type 2 diabetes just like drugs do.
Mother Nature's Blood Sugar "Buster!"
Cinnamon lowers blood sugar and improves diabetes in several ways...
It slows the emptying of the stomach to halt sharp spikes in blood glucose following meals.
A compound in cinnamon called methylhydroxy chalcone polymer (MHCP) makes fat cells more responsive to insulin so your body needs to produce less.
It also enhances your body's antioxidant defenses which are of special interest to overweight people with impaired fasting glucose.
That's a Big Reward from Such a Small Effort!
Indeed it is!
Taken from February 2009 edition of the Canadian Honey Council’s publication “Hivelights” – Article - Honey for Diabetes? Yes!
Dr. David Baer, from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center stated at the First International Symposium on Honey and Human Health in January, 2008, “Experimental evidence suggests that consumption of honey compared to other sweeteners may improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity.” Honey is indeed the sweetener of choice for diabetics.
The article identifies a common misunderstanding amongst diabetics in that “they can’t eat honey because they have diabetes – that their doctor has told them to avoid all sweets” Diabetic patients should simply ask their doctor if fruits are permitted in their diets. If so, they can have confidence in knowing that honey is permitted. A tablespoon of honey consists of nearly the same carbohydrate contents as a cupful of quartered raw apple. According to the article, the diabetic patient can also be assured that consuming honey will produce a significantly lower blood sugar response than an equivalent amount of sugar or other glucose rich starches. As well, when honey is consumed regularly over several weeks or months, honey will lower blood sugar and HbAlc levels – a marker used by physicians to identify the average plasma glucose (blood sugar) concentration over prolonged periods of time. It notes that research studies using humans have shown that honey consumption will result in lower blood sugar levels by as much as 60 to 100 mg/dl at 60 and 90 minutes following ingestion of a comparable amount of sucrose. Logic dictates in this article that the addition of honey to the diet, along with the elimination of most sugar and HFCS should be the first recommended treatment of choice for Type 2 Diabetes. The balance of sugars and the presence of multiple co-factors in honey serve to make this natural food quite different than table sugar, HFCS or other artificial sweeteners. Honey is an intelligent food, an informed food, a miraculous natural substance!
Excerpts of this article were taken from “The Honey Revolution – Restoring the Health of Future Generation, Ron Fessenden, MD, MPH and Mike McInnes, MRPS.
"To the Table from the Tree"
"These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."