Dr Akilah – Celestial Healing Wellness Center

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The Health Benefits of Pumpkin

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Popular during fall holidays, the pumpkin is one of the most nutritious fruits available. Packed with disease-fighting nutrients, it offers numerous health benefits.

More than just a decorative Halloween candle holder or a pie filling to be eaten only once a year, pumpkin is one of the most nutritional foods available year round. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, both the flesh and seeds of the pumpkin provide many health-boosting nutrients.

Nutrients in Pumpkin

Pumpkin is low in fat and calories and rich in disease-fighting nutrients such as:

  • Alpha-carotene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins C and E
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Pantothenic acid

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

The alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are potent antioxidants found in pumpkin and are pro-vitamin A carotenoids, meaning the body converts them to vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes healthy vision and ensures proper immune function. The beta-carotene in pumpkin may also reverse skin damage caused by the sun and act as an anti-inflammatory. Alpha-carotene is thought to slow the aging process and also reduce the risk of developing cataracts and prevent tumor growth. Carotenoids also boost immunity and lessen the risk of heart disease.

What’s so good about pumpkins, anyway?

Pumpkin meat is very high in carotenoids. They’re what give pumpkins their orange color-but that’s the least of their benefits. Carotenoids are really good at neutralizing free radicals, nasty molecules that can attack cell membranes and leave the cells vulnerable to damage.

Pumpkins are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which scavenge free radicals in the lens of the eye. Therefore, they may help prevent the formation of cataracts and reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious eye problem than usually results in blindness.

Besides carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are all antioxidants, pumpkins have a lot of common nutrients, like iron, zinc, and fiber. Iron, of course, is needed by red blood cells. Zinc deficiency may be related to osteoporosis of the hip and spine in older men. And fiber is important for bowel health.

What’s so good about pumpkin seeds, then?

Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are very high in protein; one ounce of seeds provides about seven grams of protein. They also contain copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. And their oil is high in phytosterols, plant-based fatty acids that are chemically so like cholesterol that they can replace it in the human body-contributing to the reduction of blood cholesterol levels.


More about pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin seed oil is high in essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs have many benefits, among them the maintenance of healthy blood vessels and nerves and the lubrication of all tissues, including the skin. And as mentioned above, they can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.EFAs are not the only constituents of pumpkin seed oil. This oil also contains vitamin A, which (among other things) helps keep our eyes healthy and stimulates the T cells of the immune system to help fight off infection. And it has vitamin E, which acts like lutein and zeaxanthin to get rid of free radicals.
Tips for using pumpkins in the kitchen

– Bigger pumpkins have tougher meat than smaller ones; that’s why pie pumpkins, also called baking pumpkins, are so much smaller than the ones used for carving. But you can still cook and eat the meat of a carving pumpkin; it just won’t be quite as soft.

– If you don’t like the taste of pumpkin, try adding a small amount of orange juice.

– If you’re planning on cooking rather than carving the pumpkin, you don’t have to go to the trouble of scooping out the inside after you remove the top. You will have to remove the seeds, but after that you can just cut the entire pumpkin into pieces, remove the skin with a peeler, and boil the pieces in water for about 20 minutes. After the pieces have been boiled, drain the water and either mash the pieces by hand or puree them in a blender.

– A whole pumpkin can be stored at room temperature for up to a month, or in the refrigerator (if it’ll fit!) for up to three months.

– Besides pies-a traditional Thanksgiving favorite-pumpkin can be used to make pudding, custard, cookies, and of course pumpkin bread. But it’s also great as soup, or as a side dish for the main course of a meal.

– Pumpkin seeds can be sprinkled with oil and other flavorings and roasted at 300° for about 30 minutes. However, most nutritional experts believe that roasting weakens a lot of the nutrients, so they recommend that the seeds be eaten raw. Whole seeds can be added to steamed vegetables, salads, cereals, and cookies, and ground seeds can be added to burgers.

– Pumpkin seed oil can be used in recipes (it’s popular in Austrian dishes) or just taken by the teaspoon or tablespoon, like other EFA oils (for example, flax seed, evening primrose, borage seed, or black currant seed oils).

So the next time you’re carving a pumpkin and are tempted to just throw out the inside-don’t! Save it, cook (or bake) it, and eat it instead. And if you’re not into pumpkin carving, don’t pass by those small specimens in the Produce section.

Finally, if all that cutting and boiling is too much work or too time-consuming, get yourself a can of already-cooked pumpkin. There are lots of ways to enjoy the nutritional benefits of this uniquely American food.

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www.healingpowerhour.com

The Health Benefits of Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe commonly referred to as muskmelon belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. They are basically the orange-yellow colored non-netted melons of Europe. It is a round or oval shaped fruit with a rib-less rind that grows on the ground and has a fleshy hollow core with a mesh having lots of seeds. It has a lovely fragrance and taste and is quite refreshing to have due to its high water-content. The peak season for cantaloupe is from June to August. It gets it name from the Italian village “papal” where it was originally cultivated in the year 1700 AD. Cantaloupe is known to be packed with high nutritional value. Let’s have a look at the nutritional content of cantaloupe and how it is beneficial.

Nutritional content of cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, folate, magnesium, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid and superoxide dismutase.

For Healthy Eyesight

Cantaloupe is rich in beta carotenes that are essential for maintaining healthy eyesight. When absorbed by the body these beta carotenes get converted to vitamin A that is the most vital nutrient for healthy eyes. In fact research shows that daily consumption of cantaloupe can go a long way to prevent cataract in later years too.

Boosts Immunity

Cantaloupe is high in vitamin C that helps boost the immunity of the body by active stimulation of the white blood cells of the body. WBC’s are the body’s natural defense mechanism that does not allow foreign bodies from attacking and also eradicates the infections that attack the body. Being antioxidant vitamin C is also very effective in combating the free radicals in the body effectively. These free radicals cause immense damage to the skin and can cause premature aging too. By introducing cantaloupe into diet plan it is possible to keep aging at bay naturally and maintain a healthy and glowing skin.

For Healthy Lungs

This is especially for smokers who have already done immense damage to their lungs. A regular intake of cantaloupe would replenish the body from the loss of vitamin A that happens over a period of time due to smoking or second-hand smoke. As a result the lungs are rejuvenated when cantaloupe is consumed regularly.

Regeneration of dead cells

Cantaloupe has lots of folic acid that is very important for regeneration of dead cells. This aspect is especially useful for pregnant women. This property of quicker regeneration also helps in giving a healthy skin. It keeps wrinkles at bay, maintains the skin elasticity and helps in collagen synthesis and thus has anti-aging properties.

Prevents cancer

The high vitamin C and beta carotenes present in cantaloupes are known to effectively fight-off free radicals from the body. It is these very free radicals that attack the cells in the body and cause cancerous growth.

Good for the heart

Cantaloupes are high in potassium and can thus keep a check on the blood pressure thereby keeping the heart healthy. Also the potassium present in cantaloupe helps in preventing hypertension and does not let the sodium cause any further harm to the body. It also works as an anti-coagulant by keeping the blood viscosity down and thereby preventing clot formation. The vitamin C present in cantaloupe also helps prevent arteriosclerosis i.e. the hardening of the arteries.

Cures Insomnia

Cantaloupe is very helpful in soothing the nervous system and helps insomniacs get rid of their sleeping disorder.

Relieves Menstrual Problems

Cantaloupe has vitamin C that is very effective in regulating menstrual flow and easing menstrual cramps in women. Regular consumption of cantaloupe during menstruation can help to get rid of these problems and reduce the flow and clotting considerably. It also reduces the cramps that may occur during these times.

Good for Pregnant Women

Doctors recommend folic acid for women trying to conceive as well as for pregnant women. The high foliate content in cantaloupe is effective in preventing neural tube disorders in fetuses. Cantaloupe is also quite helpful in keeping water retention away by regularly flushing out the extra sodium from the body.

Effective for Smokers trying to Quit Smoking

Cantaloupe has minerals and nutrients that help a smoker deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms effectively when trying to quit smoking. Also it helps replenish the lost vitamin A of the body due to constant smoking and helps the body recover faster.

Effective for Combating Stress

Cantaloupe has superoxide dismutase which is very effective for combating stress by keeping the blood pressure low and the nerves relaxed. It also prevents any cellular death that may be induced due to oxidative stress. The potassium in the fruit maintains the water balance of the body and keeps the heartbeat regularized.

Effective for Diabetic Nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy is actually a progressive kidney disorder in which the kidney cells may get dangerously damaged. Cantaloupe extract known by the name of “oxykine” is very effective in preventing the kidney cells damage.

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www.healingpowerhour.com 

Easy Ways to Eat More Veggies

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to include a variety of vegetables in meal planning. There are many health benefits of eating vegetables, including reducing the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and certain cancers, such as mouth, stomach, and colon cancer.

Here are some tips to help you eat more vegetables each day…

1. Make veggie noodles
I think this is a super idea. You’ll need a mandolin slicer or a spiral slicer to create your vegetable noodles; zucchini and eggplant are good vegetable choices.

Or, if you want to try spaghetti squash, boil or bake until tender, then pull a fork through the squash to tear out spaghetti-like shreds.

2. Drink a smoothie
Smoothies are a brilliant option, especially when you’re lacking in time.

Blend roughly 60% fruit, 40% green leafy vegetables, then add water, and voila! you’ve got yourself a healthy, great tasting snack, which you can enjoy on-the-go.

3. Make some soup
Try making chunky vegetable soup with wholegrain pasta added, or put your favorite vegetables into a blender with some spices, cayenne pepper or curry powder for something a little different.

If you’re trying to cut down your calorie intake, eating soup (or salad) before your main meal is a really effective way to do this.

4. Eat with the seasons
It’s so easy to pick the same vegetables over and over again, and therefore limit your diet and your taste buds.

Instead find out what’s in season and go for that instead.

Don’t be put off if you’re unsure how to cook a particular veg. If you’re like most people, you’ll have a sack of unused cookbooks taking up room on your bookshelf. So, dust them off, and take your taste buds to another level!

5. Get marinating
We normally associate marinating with meats, but vegetables also taste great with this extra bit of care.

Mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and string beans take to marinating particularly well.

A tasty choice for marinating is a mix of olive oil, crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger and some soy sauce.

6. Make a veggie sauce
If you usually buy readymade pasta sauce, instead blend a selection of your favorite fresh vegetables to make a healthier option.

7. Swap pasta and rice for sweet potato
I find potatoes to be an extremely comforting food. And, if you’re after a little extra nutritional boost, sweet potatoes are a good choice (they are slightly more nutritious than white potatoes).

When you’re stuck for time, pop them in the microwave to cook through, and then crisp the skins in a hot oven for a few minutes.

8. Munch on raw vegetables
This is my favorite way to eat vegetables now. When my hubby was young he would only eat vegetables raw, and still prefers them this way. As a result, this is how we eat them most of the time in our house.

I usually dip my raw veggies into hummus; almond or peanut butter is also good choices. Celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, and carrots are some of my favorites.

9. Add veggies to your grains
I like to add broad beans to my rice. All you need are a couple of handfuls of frozen beans, then add them to the water as you cook the rice.

Fresh herbs such as coriander or dill added at the end of cooking finish this dish really well.

You could do this with any grain (quinoa, brown rice, barley), and any vegetable would work, so be creative.

10. Wrap them up
Whether as an entree or main dish, wraps and veggies make a delicious option.

You could choose wholegrain tortilla wraps, or a cabbage or lettuce leaf, then simply heap in the vegetables (raw or cooked), roll up and enjoy!

For extra flavour, top with some natural and salsa.

11. Eat vegetables at each meal
To make sure you are meeting your veggie quote each day, have them at each meal, not just as a side dish.

So, for breakfast perhaps mushrooms and tomatoes with wholegrain bread. At lunch a salad wrap, or vegetable soup. And, for dinner at least two sides of vegetables. Don’t forget snacks, they can also be veggie rich.

With a little thought and effort, vegetables can take center-plate in your diet. Your
body will thank you for it later.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

The Health Benefits of Strawberry

The Health Benefits of Strawberries

The health benefits of strawberry include eye care, proper brain function, and relief from high blood pressure, arthritis, gout and heart diseases.

We know that all fruits, particularly berries and those with exotic colors are rich in anti oxidants. Strawberries are no exceptions. In addition to anti oxidants, they have many other nutrients and can be efficiently used to prevent many diseases.

Let us see what they are. The health benefits of strawberry include the following:

  • Eye Care: The primary reasons for almost all the problems of eyes are free radicals and deficiency of certain nutrients. With the growing age and lack of these protective nutrients, the harmful oxidants or free radicals cast heavy damage on our eyes, such as drying up of eyes, degeneration of optical nerves, Macular degeneration, vision defects and make them prone to infections too. The anti oxidants such as vitamin-C, Flavonoids, Phenolic Phytochemicals and Elagic Acid, present in strawberries can help avoid this situation to a great extent. One more factor is ocular pressure, i.e. the pressure of the eyes. Any disturbance in it is also harmful for the eyes. Here too, strawberries are helpful as they contain potassium, which help maintain right pressure.
  • Arthritis and Gout: The degeneration of muscles and tissues, drying up of the fluid which help mobility of the joints and accumulation of toxic substances and acids (such as uric acid) in the body are some of the ill effects of free radicals present in our body, which are primarily responsible for Arthritis and Gout. Strawberries, with their team of anti oxidants and detoxifiers, can effectively help push away such health hazards forever. It is a famous saying in India that a serving of any fruit a day will remove the rust from the joints. It is very true for strawberries.
  • Cancer: Vitamin-C, Folate and Anthocyanin, Quercetin and Kaempferol (few of the many Flavonoids in strawberries which possess excellent anti oxidant and anti carcinogenic properties) together form an excellent team to fight cancer and tumor. A daily intake of strawberries is seen to have remarkably brought down the growth of cancerous cells.
  • Brain Function: It is a very common observation that old people tend to lose their memory and control over their activities, limbs etc. This is because of aging of their brain and the nervous system. Actually, the free radicals, the agents very much responsible for aging, have a very adverse effect on these systems. Due to them, the brain tissues start degenerating and the nerves get weaker. Strawberries can help you out. The vitamin-C and the phytochemicals in them neutralize the effect of these oxidants and also rejuvenate the system. One more thing, strawberries are rich in iodine too, which is very helpful for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.
  • High Blood Pressure: Strawberries are very good in potassium and magnesium content, both of which are very effective in lowering high blood pressure caused by sodium.
  • Heart Diseases: High fiber, Folate, no fats and high anti oxidants such as vitamin-C and those phytochemicals (Flavonoids) together form an ideal cardiac health pack, as they effectively reduce cholesterol. Some of the members of the vitamin-B family present in strawberries also strengthen the cardiac muscles and help better functioning of the heart.
  • Other Benefits: Folate is known to protect from birth-defects. Vitamin-C effectively prevents from infections and cold. The phytonutrients also have anti inflammatory properties. Wait! I forgot to tell you about the best benefit. The strawberry preserve tastes just awesome.

This article was contributed by Aparup Mukherjee.

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

The Health Benefits of Coconut Water

The Health Benefits of Coconut Water

Coconut water benefits are pretty amazing, it is a very pure liquid second to water, so it is no wonder it will benefit you in your quest for looking younger.

This is definitely one of mother natures best drinks, it is a powerhouse of anti aging properties, and many celebrities are drinking it by the dozen, one in particular I have read about is Madonna.

The coconuts are picked unripe, so there is still liquid in them otherwise if they are allowed to ripen, the liquid inside will become part of the white flesh of the coconut.

The white part is used to make coconut milk; this is not the same as coconut water!

Coconut water’s electrolyte (aid in a number of vital bodily processes) content is very similar to human plasma, and therefore making it a fantastic sports drink, giving you oral re hydration.  This is a far better sports drink then the commercial one’s available.

Over the years, pure coconut water has also been used by doctors as an intravenous fluid, because it is completely compatible with the human body.

Coconut water can do so much for you it is absolutely amazing!  Combine this with the health benefits of water, and you are on a winning streak for looking younger.

It is rich in minerals such as; sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper phosphorus, potassium, proteins, vitamins C and B, glucose (a type of sugar found in the blood),  contains no fat, and despite its sweet taste it has no sugar.

Those who drink coconut water on a regular basis usually have a smooth and lovely complexion, and considering how good this stuff is for you, it is no wonder!

Coconut Water Health Benefits

  • helps promote weight loss
  • boost your immune system
  • fight viruses
  • boost poor circulation
  • aids digestion by removing toxins
  • boost thyroid health
  • keep body at proper temperature
  • carry nutrients and oxygen to cells
  • help break up kidney stones
  • great for liver problems such as hepatitis
  • reduce urinary problems
  • helps eliminate swelling in hands and feet
  • good for burns
  • good for hangovers

Drinking pure coconut water on a regular basis will help to reduce wrinkles and sagging skin, giving strength and elasticity to the skin.  Something we all want as we get older.

History and folklore (circulated by word of mouth, beliefs, and legends) say coconut water has incredible healing powers, which is now being confirmed by medical research and clinical observation.

Coconut water is a common ingredient in beauty products used for hair and skin.

Other Health Benefits of Coconut Water

  • Coconut Water is an Antibacterial. Coconut water contains monolaurin, an antiviral, antibacterial and antiprozoal monoglyceride that is used to kill lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, Herpes, cytomegalovirus, flu and various pathogenic bacteria.
  • Coconut water is great at reducing vomiting. People who have typhoid, malaria, fevers or other ailments that are known to induce vomiting drink coconut water to settle the stomach. As such, coconut water is also a good thing to drink during a hangover.
  • Coconut helps in keeping check over urinary infections. It is very effective in treating kidney and urethral stones.
  • Coconut water is very effective in treating intestinal disturbances in infants. It kills intestinal worms.
  • Making coconut a part of the daily diet is recommended for those who have been troubled by kidney stones. When taken along with mediation, it helps break up the stones, making it easier for the body to push them out.
  • For all those people who are trying to lose weight, drinking coconut water would prove quite useful. This is because the drink increases the rate of metabolism, thus aiding weight loss.

Where to Buy Coconut Water

You can purchase coconut water from your local organic grocery store, health food store or online. Coconut water health benefits are definitely worth it.

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

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