Benefits Of Vegetables

The health benefits of vegetables usually show in long run by improving your overall health and keeping the internal systems in perfect condition. The consumption of vegetables takes care of your digestive, excretory, and skeletal system, as well as blood pressure levels. With a diet rich in vegetables, you are being benefited with abundant antioxidants that keep away diseases like cancer, cardiovascular problems and strokes. Moreover, vegetables deliver ample amounts of vitamins, including folate, vitamin A, vitamin K and vitamin B6, as well as carotenoids like beta carotene from carrots, lycopene from tomatoes, zeaxanthin from greens, and lutein from spinach and collard greens. Vegetables also help in keeping your weight under control and promoting healthy skin and hair. There have been innumerable research studies done all over the world that strongly suggest having fresh, green vegetables on a regular basis is far better than going for supplementary tablets to get the wholesome nutrition that you need.
Nutritional Value Of Vegetables
Antioxidants: Did you know that including vegetables in your diet is probably the easiest way to stay healthy, trim and nourished? Since vegetables are low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, they help you to stay in optimum health over the long term by keeping your weight in check. According to a recent study, plant-based foods contain antioxidants (polyphenols) that may improve blood sugar in people at risk for diabetes and heart disease.

As mentioned earlier, vegetables have abundant levels of antioxidants that prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Dark green vegetables have lots of phenolic flavonoid antioxidants and minerals. These vitamins and minerals are essential for the proper functioning of your body. Deficiencies of these vitamins and minerals can lead to serious deficiencies of your bones, teeth and vital organs. Moreover, antioxidants boost the body’s immunity and keeps from developing infections and diseases. Leafy green vegetables have a bioflavonoid known as ‘Quercetin’. This is responsible for the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of vegetables along with its unique, anticancer properties. Quercetin also effectively cuts down the flow of substances that lead to allergies. This compound plays the role of an inhibitor of mass cell secretion, thereby decreasing the release of interleukin-6. Most of the green, yellow and orange vegetables also have high percentage of calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B-complex, vitamin A, vitamin-C, vitamin K, zea-xanthins, α and β carotenes and crypto-xanthins.

Dietary Fiber: Vegetables are great options for consuming dietary fiber. Owing to the high percentage of fiber level in vegetables, your digestive track stays well toned. Vegetables are abundant in soluble as well as insoluble dietary fiber, known as non-starch polysaccharides (NSP). This dietary fiber absorbs the extra water in your colon and thereby retains the moisture content in the fecal matter. This aids in digestion, preventing chronic constipation, hemorrhoids, rectal fissures, and diarrhea. Your digestive system becomes sleeker and its ability to process foods becomes smoother, keeping many ailments away. Eating more fiber-rich foods keep your digestive system clear and healthy, helping you to avoid problems like constipation, bowel irregularity, colon cancer and even polyps. Since they have high fiber, vegetables also tend to make you feel full for longer, and stops unnecessary snacking, so they can help reduce your weight.

Cancer Prevention: Cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli have a high content of indoles and isothiocyanates. These components have protective properties against colon cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer and other types of cancers. Broccoli sprouts have immensely higher sulforaphane than the matured broccolis, which is a cancer-protective substance. Furthermore, as said before, since vegetables are great antioxidants, they also alleviate the chances of fatal diseases like cancer.

Proteins and Amino Acids: If you eat less animal products in your diet, you must ensure that your diet is high in protein-rich vegetables to compensate for the proteins that you are missing. Once you have the correct combination of vegetables in your meals, you will gain ample amount of amino acids that are required to live healthy. Eat plenty of beans and spinach, along with whole grain rice for a balanced meal.

Water Content: Vegetables naturally have high levels of water; this is the reason why they are generally fat free and low in calories. You can rest assured of both your weight and health once you start on a vegetable-rich diet. The more you consume vegetables, the more the water intake that flushes out waste products and toxins from your body.


Minerals: Green leafy vegetables are high in magnesium and a have low glycemic index, thus proving to be helpful for patients with type 2 diabetes. If you eat at least 1 serving of green leafy vegetables each day, it will considerably lower the risks of diabetes. Green vegetables are also rich in iron and calcium, except for Swiss chard and spinach, since they are high in oxalic acid.

Vitamins: In general, vegetables have a high vitamin content. However, vitamin K is usually prevalent in almost all vegetables. The high level of vitamin K in green vegetables makes them an ideal and natural way to prevent bone problems. Vitamin K is necessary for the production of osteocalcin, a protein mandatory for proper bone health. In a survey, the addition of green, leafy vegetables considerably decreased the chances of hip fractures in middle-aged women.

Prevention of Hypertension: Recent research study suggests that Mediterranean diet comprising of food rich in unsaturated fats (found in olive oil and nuts) and nitrite and nitrate (found in leafy green vegetables) may help protect you from hypertension.

Lycopene and Beta Carotene: Green vegetables have high levels of beta-carotene, which improve immune function considerably once it is converted into vitamin A. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which protects your eyes from vision problems. A diet deficient in green vegetables often leads to the possibilities of blindness, and other illnesses in children and adults.

Allyl sulfides: Garlic, onions, chives, leeks and scallions are rich in allyl sulfides that help in lowering high blood pressure and protecting the stomach and digestive tract from fatal diseases like cancer.

Multimorbidity: Recent research suggests that greater consumption of vegetable, whole grain products and fruits may lower the risk of multimorbidity.

Good Health: Eating fruit and vegetables may promote emotional well-being among healthy young adults. Research suggests that good mood may lead to greater preference for healthy foods over indulgent foods.

How Many Vegetables Should We Eat?
It is said that the more vegetables we consume, the more benefits to our health we will enjoy. You should consume at least 2.5 to 6.5 cups of fresh vegetables every day. Also, make sure you eat 4-5 different types of vegetables. The more variety and colors of vegetables you include in your diet, the more extensive the benefits to your health will be. Also, include seasonal vegetables in your diet. Some vegetables are only available in certain areas of the world at certain times of the year. If you are in a country or a city with a large amount of imports, then you can probably get most seasonal vegetables throughout the year, but there are still some that are grown in such limited amounts that they are only on the market for a few months each year. As luck would have it, some of them are the most important and beneficial for human health. Seasonal vegetables also have higher nutrient value if eaten during proper time of the year. They keep you protected from many seasonal health disorders.

Given below is a list of some vegetables. Click on them to find their health benefits in greater detail:

Asparagus Beans Beetroot Broccoli
Cabbage Carrot Cauliflower Celery
Cucumber Eggplant Lettuce Mushroom
Onion Peas Potato Radish
Spinach Squash Sweet Potato Tomato
Do Vegetables Help To Lose Weight?
It is a well-established fact that eating veggies is a healthy way to lose or maintain weight. Moreover, vegetables are storehouses of vitamins, fiber, minerals, and other nutrients that keep you fit and healthy. In fact, vegetables are called ‘negative calorie foods’ because it actually helps to lose weight by spending more amount of energy to digest the food than it actually adds to your overall caloric intake.

You will find two types of vegetables, starchy and non-starchy. You can include both of these in your diet; however, the non-starch varieties can be consumed in unlimited quantities. Starchy vegetables have more sugar, so you need to keep the quantity in check. Starchy vegetables include peas, plantains, squash, potatoes, and yams; the rest are the non- starch vegetables, which include cauliflower, asparagus, artichokes, beets, carrots, broccoli, onions, cucumber, leeks, eggplant, tomato, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, salad greens, and zucchini.

However, if you are on strict diet, then consider the so called ‘free foods’; these vegetables contain minimal calories with high nutritional value. These are carrots, radishes, celery, cucumbers, fresh green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.

To lose weight, it is not necessary to turn into a vegetarian, but if you simply start eating an abundance of fruits, legumes, vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds, your health will improve. That type of diet, when combined with other exercise plans, drastically reduces your we

Skin Care And Vegetables
For ages, our mothers and grandmothers have carried on the natural methods to keep their beauty intact. On the other hand, our skins today are usually pampered with loads of expensive creams, toners, cleanses and ointments, but they definitely lack the natural glow and suppleness that earlier generations had. As is often said, nature knows the best ways to keep us in perfect health, whether it is our organs, limbs, skin or hair. The fruits and vegetables that we often tend to forget in our diet are the best treatments for bright, glowing and healthy skin. The vibrant pigments in fruits and vegetables also have immense disease-fighting capabilities. Rich in a host of useful nutrients and powerful antioxidants, vegetables should be included in a daily diet if you want to improve the health of your skin. Both fruits and vegetables can be divided into four color groups; each of them having specific benefits.

‘Orange and yellows’ include sweet potatoes, carrots, oranges, and apricots. They have lots of vitamin C, which is highly beneficial to the skin and aids in the growth and protection of collagen. Collagen retains the elasticity of your skin, thus delaying the appearance of wrinkles.

The group of ‘reds’ includes tomatoes, red peppers, red onions, and papayas, all of which are lycopene-rich. They effectively protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. However, it should be noted that cooked tomatoes offer you more lycopene than raw ones, meaning you get more benefits from tomato sauce than raw tomatoes!

The next group is ‘greens’, which include broccoli, kiwis, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, green bell peppers, collards, romaine and spinach. These vegetables are mainly rich in vitamin C.

The ‘blues’ include plums, beets, eggplant, red grapes, and purple cabbage. They are rich in antioxidants, which are needed for healthy, radiant skin. Any combination of vegetables works wonders for the skin, because it not only delays the signs of aging, but also keeps the skin bright, fresh and prevents drying and other skin disorders.

Nowadays, many natural treatment salons opt for vegetable facials and have started using vegetable toner by mixing chopped cucumber flesh, lettuce leaves, lemon juice and chopped tomato into the facial material. You can make this toner at home quite easily to gain a brighter complexion. Vegetable peelings are also performed in many salons, which ensure blemish-free and bright skin.

Vegetables Promote Hair Growth
You might be surprised to know that a healthy diet with many vegetables gives your hair a greater health boost than the most expensive shampoos in the market. Only a proper diet can assure you of hair growth as it’s something that is affected from within. Proper nutrient supply ensures strong, healthy and lustrous hair. Vegetables are undoubtedly the powerhouses of nutrition, since they are packed with the vitamins and minerals that your hair needs most. As discussed before, if you categorize vegetables in terms of color and include at least one serving of each in your diet, you will get ample benefits for your hair.

The dark green vegetables are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron, which are essential for the production of sebum, an oily substance that is secreted from your scalp and acts as natural hair conditioner. Iron or calcium deficiencies can lead to excessive hair loss.

Red vegetables have plenty of lycopene. You will find this nutrient in many hair products as well. Red peppers have plentiful amounts of lycopene and the shiny outer skins have a high percentage of silica, a mineral required to maintain your hair’s thickness.

The orange vegetables (especially carrots) have beta-carotene, which is the antioxidant necessary for healthy hair growth. They’re rich in vitamin C as well, which protects your hair from free radicals. The orange veggies shield your hair from the harmful effects of the sun and keep the moisture inside.

The yellow vegetables have similar nutritional value as those of orange vegetables. The white vegetables like onions are powerful antioxidants that shield your hair from root to tip. Moreover, they are rich in vitamin C, often considered the “anti-aging vitamin”.

Onion juice was recommended in ancient times to be applied topically, since it helps in stimulating hair growth. Further studies are being done at different universities round the world regarding onion juice to see if this ancient claim is really true.

Be Careful When Selecting And Storing Vegetables
Needless to say, consuming vegetables when raw gives you maximum benefits, except a few instances when you need to cook them in order to make the vegetable palatable (e.g. – cauliflower and eggplant). However, vegetables can also be consumed after processing and cooking, although it does take away a small percentage of nutrients. Realistically, consuming it in either way is good for your health. Vegetables are enjoyable, convenient, and adaptable foods that are almost essential in your diet to maintain good, overall health.

Flavors of Vegetables: The green, leafy vegetables come in a variety of colors, starting from the bluish-green of kale to the vibrant kelly green of spinach. The leafy greens have random flavors, ranging from sweet to bitter, and again from earthy to peppery. Collards, bok choy, Swiss chard, and spinach have a mild flavor while mizuna, arugula and mustard greens have a peppery flavor. Bok choy is used mainly in stir-fry dishes, as it remains crisp, even after cooking at a tender stage.

Check The Color While Buying: Always check the fresh lively green color of vegetables (or its respective color) while purchasing. The yellowish tinge indicates aging of the vegetable and they might have an “off” flavor. Salad greens are packed with important nutrients and phytochemicals that support the maximum benefit to our day to day vegetable requirement. Frozen and canned vegetables can be healthy, but canned vegetables have the possibility of carrying excessive sodium. If you buy these, rinse them vigorously under cold water before use.

Look for spots, blemishes, fungal mold and marks of insecticide spray. If you see them, do not buy those vegetables. Always purchase whole vegetables and not cut sections of the vegetable. Also, beware of food contamination and foodborne illnesses while buying vegetables.

Use Them ASAP: You should buy vegetables in small quantities so that you can use them up faster. Certain vegetables have a considerably short shelf life, particularly if you go the health route and buy organic, non-processed vegetables. Also, the healthy nutrients of vegetable starts declining over time. After a certain time in storage, harmful bacteria can start growing on vegetables. Moreover, with increased storage time, the vitamin C content in vegetables degrades rapidly, thus hampering its beneficial impact. If you cut and leave vegetables, oxidation will occur as they are exposed to the air. Thus, the enzymes are released and this results in discoloration of the vegetable. However, the vegetables are still perfectly edible and you can stop this oxidation by adding ascorbic acid to the surface areas or by refrigerating the vegetables.

Storing Tips: Do not keep vegetables in hot and humid places. Always keep them refrigerated and pre-cut pieces should be frozen or enclosed by ice. Keep the vegetables in plastic wrappings or in zip pouches to retain the nutrition for short periods, until you use them.

Make sure to rinse all vegetables before eating. In fact, after you have purchased the vegetable, immediately wash it, especially the green leafy ones, as they may have insects or harmful pesticides on them. This extends their shelf life. If you rinse them in salt water for a few minutes, it ensures their ultimate cleanliness. They will then be free from sand, dust and any residual chemical sprays or toxins that they may have been exposed to.

Keep your vegetables completely separate from raw foods like poultry, meat, and seafood. Vegetables should also not be kept in contact with cooking utensils or surfaces like cutting boards etc. You can wrap the green leafy vegetables in perforated plastic or porous paper such as newspaper and then refrigerate them, which increases their shelf life. If you use newspaper, take care that the vegetables are not wet, so the ink from the newspaper does not stick on the vegetables!

Whew! There is a lot to say about vegetables, but mainly, go out and have an adventure in a produce aisle; your body will thank you!


Benefits Of Ginger

Ginger is one of the most ancient spices in worldwide cuisine. It has become well-known for its various health benefits, which include its ability to boost bone health, strengthen the immune system, increase your appetite, prevent various types of cancer, improve respiratory conditions, aid digestion, eliminate arthritis symptoms, reduce excess gas, enhance sexual activity, and relieve pains related to menstrual disorders, nausea, and flu.

Ginger, also known as Zingiber Officinale, is inaccurately referred to as “ginger root”, although the edible section sold in the markets and used in dishes, is actually the stem or the rhizome. In Western cultures, it is mostly used in sweets and alcoholic beverages such as ginger beer and ginger wine.

However, in Asian cultures, ginger is directly used by chopping it up or using its powder in traditional dishes and in soft drinks such as coffee and tea. Ginger’s irresistible fragrance is due to an essential oil in its composition that has been coveted and extracted by perfume makers since ancient times.

Not only is ginger known as an essence and a spice, it is known to be one of the oldest remedies known in herbal and aromatic traditional treatments, especially in China, India, and the Middle East. In China, it has been used for over 2,000 years for curing inflammation and diarrhea. Native to the Indo-Malaysian rain forests, ginger favors lush, moist, tropical soils for cultivation.

Its cultivation may have begun in southern Asia, but it has since spread to East Africa and the Caribbean. Ginger’s perennial plant grows bright red flowers that come in different shapes such as torch and honeycomb, and are often used in seasonal festivals in the South Pacific for decoration of stalls, houses, and even dresses.

Queen Elizabeth I of England, a fan of ginger herself, was the one to invent the gingerbread man in the 16th century, and it is now loved by millions of children (and adults) around the world. The gingerbread man was presented at a Royal ball, and several were made to resemble respected guests.

Today, ginger is on the FDA’s list of generally safe foods and is often used to mask the taste of bitter medicines such as cough syrups. Additionally, ginger’s health benefits have expanded beyond traditional knowledge to include a number of healthy boosts to your body.

Health Benefits Of Ginger
The various health benefits of ginger are given below:

Bone Health: Ginger is known to boost bone health and relieve joint pain. Two years ago, a study was conducted by the University of Miami that recruiting several hundred patients from different backgrounds and ages, that suffered from symptoms of osteoarthritis. The patients were then weaned away from anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications for cleansing purposes. A week later, they were split into two groups; one was put on a placebo, and the other on ginger supplements. After six weeks of intensive dosage, a survey was conducted among the two groups. Both groups felt improvement, but 63% of the ginger group felt a notable pain reduction, while only half of the placebo group recorded notable improvement. The last test was for the patients to walk the distance of 50 feet, which proved to be the far easier for the ginger group, and their results showed twice as much improvement than those test subjects on placebos.

Ginger has a number of unique organic compounds which have actually been named gingerols, and these are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, some of the most powerful that can be found in food. These gingerols have been directly associated with improvements in knee inflammation and associated pain, as well as suppressing the inflammatory compounds like cytokines and chemokines at the source, before they can even begin to affect the body. Ginger represents both a preventative measure and a treatment for inflammation and its associated pain.

Diarrhea: Ginger has been used since ancient times to cure diarrhea, and it was more recently proven by researchers that ginger indeed helps, since it prevents stomach spasms and gases that contribute to and stimulate diarrhea. In China, ginger powder has been given to those with diarrhea with great success for thousands of years; scientists have concluded that the ancient ways are indeed beneficial for this condition.

Excess Gas: Ginger is a very strong carminative, meaning that it induces excess gas to leave the body. Excess gas does more than leave you in an uncomfortable situation if you can’t hold your gas to yourself, it can also be a dangerous situation for your health. Too much gas built up in your system can force upwards and put pressure on delicate organs in the torso. A carminative like ginger forces the gas down and out in a healthy way, and also prevents additional gas from building up again.

Digestion: Ginger has been discovered to be a facilitator of the digestive process. The elevated sugar levels after a meal may cause the stomach to reduce its natural rate of emptying its contents. Ginger helps in regulating high sugar levels that may disrupt digestion and soothe the stomach, thus, maintaining its regular rhythm. Along with that, ginger has a number of compounds that improve the absorption of nutrients and minerals from the food we eat. This is why ginger is also frequently used as an appetizer or a aperitif, since it can stimulate the appetite while also preparing the digestive system for an influx of food. Ginger is popular in Asian countries as an appetizer or raw menu item for precisely that reason.

Prevents Cancer: One of the most exciting developments in the discussion of ginger and its impact on human health has been the positive correlation between the organic compounds in ginger and the prevention of cancer. Gingerols, those same compounds which give ginger its anti-inflammatory qualities, have also been shown to prevent carcinogenic activity in the colon that can lead to colorectal cancer. This is yet another way that ginger benefits the gastrointestinal system, making it such a perfect addition on the side of every meal. However, more recent studies have also connected these gingerols to apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells, thereby reducing tumors and the growth of cancerous cells, without harming the healthy cells around them.

Detoxifies and Disinfects: Ginger is good at promoting sweating in those who eat, which is always a good thing, in moderation. Sweat not only cleans out the pores and allows your body to eliminate toxins through the liquid, but research has also shown that sweat includes a germ-fighting compound, named dermicidin. It has been positively connected to reduced bacterial and viral infections in a person who sweats regularly, since it can create a sheen on the skin, a protective layer of previously unknown proteins!

Sexual Activity: A known aphrodisiac, ginger has been used for years to arouse desire and enhance sexual activity. Ginger’s scent has a unique allure that helps in establishing the sexual connection. Not to mention, ginger also helps increase blood circulation, hence blood flows more easily to the mid-section of the body, an important area for sexual performance!


Benefits Of Vodka

Health benefits of vodka include better cardiovascular health, reduction in stress quotient, relief from tooth aches and bad breath. Its astringent nature helps in keeping the skin healthy and promotes hair growth. It also possesses valuable antiseptic, anti-bacterial qualities, helps in disinfecting the wounds and works as an effective cleaning agent.

It is a popular beverage which is generally composed of ethanol and water. It is a trendy drink which often scores quite well in the bar menu presented in restaurants, parties or small gatherings. Attributing to the versatility of colorless, flavorless vodka which merges seamlessly well with other drinks without disturbing or neutralizing the flavor of the additional ingredients, makes it one of the preferred choices amongst alcoholic beverages.

It is used in the preparation of a variety of popular cocktails such as vodka martini, vodka tonic and Bloody Mary. The name ‘vodka’ evolved from ‘voda’, a Slavic word which literally means ‘water’. It is generally produced by the distillation of any plant matter rich in starch or sugar including various grains such as corn, rye, wheat and other materials like potatoes, grapes and soybeans.

Traditional preparation of vodka usually aimed at maintaining an alcoholic value of 40% by volume. At present, the alcoholic content in it produced in different countries varies depending upon the standards set by them. The European vodka maintains a minimum alcoholic content of 37.5%; while all the vodka sold in the United States maintain a standard of minimum 30% alcohol by volume.

Vodka from other countries such as Russian, Ukraine and Poland still has 40% alcohol content by volume. Other than alcoholic content, it can also be segregated into two main groups .i.e. flavored and clear. Flavorings which are added to it include ginger, cinnamon, lemon, red pepper, vanilla, some special herbs, fruits and spices and the preference widely varies in different parts of the world.

Origin Of Vodka
Historical origination of vodka still remains a topic of discussion and debates attributing to the lack of enough evidence available regarding its instigation. Some sources advocate the initial production of vodka to have occurred in Russia around 9th century while others convey that it may have happened in Poland around 8th century. For a number of centuries, the this drink has been there quite differently from what it is today. This attributes to the fact that during earlier times, the spirit was originally used as a medication and was quite different with respect to its aroma, appearance and flavor present today. The alcohol content present in the spirit was just 14% which is the maximum amount that can be managed using natural fermentation process.

Apart from being a hangout drink, the medicinal relation of vodka which existed in the early years of its existence has also been appreciated by the modern world and is used as a medicinal remedy attributing to its positive effects in a range of health conditions. In the recent decades, scientific research has supported the affirmative effects of consuming moderate amounts of it on the human metabolism.

Nutritional Value Of Vodka

It is a carbohydrate and sugar-free drink which provides very few calories when consumed neat or without any fat-based mixers. It offers no harmful cholesterol and fats.

Health Benefits Of Vodka

Vodka beverage is appreciated for its exclusive therapeutic value both as a consumable medication as well as an external lotion which can be topically applied on the body. Health benefits of vodka which can contribute fruitfully in a range of health conditions have been discussed as under:

Aids in reducing stress: Among a range of alcoholic drinks present on the bar table, vodka may have better relaxation effect on an individual. As supported by scientific findings, it helps in decreasing the stress factor in the body more efficiently than other boozy drinks such as red wine. It has sleep inducing properties and has a calming effect on the brain.

vodkainfo02Anesthetic qualities: Vodka has been quite famously used in Russian folklore for curing practically all ailments ranging from a just a mild headache to a condition of common cold to a bad hangover. It is also used to make tinctures in the world of herbal medicines to be consumed orally or used topically as an anesthetic. Tinctures is usually prepared by soaking the preferred kind of leaves, flowers and stem in vodka which extracts the essential oils rich in healing qualities without asserting the flavor of the herbs. Freezing a plastic bag filled with vodka and applying it as an icepack on aches aid in numbing the pain.

Relieves tooth ache: Swishing little amount of vodka may be just a shot around an aching tooth may prove useful. Letting some of the vodka get absorbed in the gums may help in reducing the pain in the infected area. When mixed with cinnamon in specific quantities it works as an effective mouthwash and cures bad breath.

Cardio-protective vodka: Another benefit of drinking vodka is its protective effect against heart diseases. It has a dilating effect on the arteries which stimulates free flow of blood. Unobstructed flow of blood in the heart components prevents the development of major illnesses such as stroke and cardiac arrest. It also aids in promoting the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol in the body.

Healthy skin and hair: Vodka may come to your service as a beauty aid. It works wonderfully well on the skin and help cleanse the pores and tighten them attributing to its astringent properties. It has been found quite useful and is included in a variety of botanical beauty stuff such as cleansers, toners and anti-acne products. It promotes healthy hair growth by cleansing the scalp and eliminating toxins from the hair. It also helps in treating the problem of dandruff and is used in the preparation of hair stimulating tonics and conditioners.

Antiseptic properties: Vodka has antiseptic qualities which help in preventing the development of infections from instances like animal bite. Alcohol content present in it helps in sterilizing the wound. Colorless, flavorless vodka is useful as an extractive solvent and is used by the herbalists to make alcohol-based ointments. Such salves vaporize readily leaving behind only the curative properties of the specific herbs used. Avoid using vodka based liniments on dry, burned or sensitive skin unless mentioned in the instructions.

Apart from these, it helps cure the cold sores and helps disinfect the exposed dermis in an open blister. Vodka also helps in bringing down the fever when rubbed on the back and chest area. It helps in treating the problem of odorous feet and helps disinfect them. Vodka has diuretic properties which promotes urination and easy flushing of toxins out of the body. Moderate amounts of vodka can prove as a sensible choice while following a low-carb diet or weight-loss regime. It offers low amount of calories with absolutely no carbohydrate content as against other alcoholic drinks like ‘beer’ which is high in carbohydrates. The idea is to drink it neat, on the rocks or mixing with something without many calories.

Culinary usage: Vodka comes to rescue when your pie crust turns cakey. The spirit in vodka averts the dough from making excess gluten. It helps in making the dough moist and makes it perfect for a flaky crust recipe. After all this good work, the humble vodka silently evaporates during the baking process without leaving any hint.

Benefits Of Okra

The health benefits of okra include its ability to lower total cholesterol levels, improve digestive health, improve vision, boost skin health, protect infant health, prevent certain cancers, strengthen bones, improve cardiovascular health, aid the immune system, lower blood pressure, and protect heart health.

Okra is a flowering plant that is known in many parts of the world as ladies’ fingers or bhindi, and is most highly prized because of its seed pods. The scientific name of this interesting plant is Abelmoschus esculentus and it is unsure where the actual beginning of this vegetable was. Contrasting research says that it could have been South Asian, West African, and Ethiopian in origin, but the jury is still out. America is the main country that calls this vegetable okra, and it has many names around the world.

Okra is frequently used in dishes from the Caribbean to China, and its popularity is increasing all the time, particularly since this vegetable pod can be used as a pickled vegetable, an ingredient in soups, side dishes, and also utilized for its oil, which can be extracted and used as a vegetable oil.

There are plenty of alternative uses for okra, due to its wide range of health benefits, but most of the health benefits are due to the minerals, vitamins, and organic compounds found in this vegetable.

Nutritional Value Of Okra
Okra might not be the most conventional vegetable in the garden, but its rich content of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Furthermore, okra contains high levels of mucilaginous fiber.

Digestive Health: Perhaps the best part of adding okra to your diet is the significant increase it can have on your total fiber intake. Mucilaginous fiber like you find in okra can help move food through your digestive tract by adding bulk. This means that bowel movements are more regular and there is a reduction in gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, cramping, constipation, and excess gas. Oddly, it also helps prevent diarrhea, because it adds bulk to watery stools. Finally, fiber can help to clear out excess cholesterol in the body.

Vision Booster: Okra contains a very high content of vitamin A, as well as antioxidant components like beta carotenes, xanthein, and lutein. Antioxidants are powerful compounds that destroy or neutralize free radicals, which are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism. Free radicals are responsible for the degreadation of the cells in the body, including those responsible for vision. With high levels of okra in your diet, you will have more protection for your sight, including macular degeneration and cataracts.

Skin Health: Vitamin A antioxidants are also able to protect skin health, by promoting quicker healing, reducing the appearance of scars and acne, and eliminating wrinkles. This is because the antioxidants are able to neutralize the free radicals which may have damaged those skin cells.

Immune System: The various antioxidant components of okra make it very beneficial to fight off free radicals, but the high vitamin C content also means that the general immune system is boosted. Vitamin C can stimulate the immune system to create more white blood cells, which can combat the other foreign pathogens and materials in the body that can compromise the immune system.

Blood Pressure and Heart Health: Okra is a good source of both vitamins and minerals, including potassium, which is an essential aspect of human health. Potassium is necessary to maintain proper fluid balance in the body, because it balances sodium. Furthermore, potassium helps to relax the blood vessels and arteries, which therefore reduces blood pressure and lessens the strain on the cardiovascular system. This means that clotting and atherosclerosis will be greatly reduced.


A Final Word of Caution

One thing you do need to worry about with okra is its high levels of oxalates. Oxalates can cause kidney and gall stone conditions to worsen, as the oxalates bond to existing stones and cause them to grow. Frying okra can also contain a dangerously high level of your cholesterol intake for the day, so cooking it in other ways is wise if you want to maintain a good cholesterol balance in your body. Other than these considerations, enjoy okra in many of your favorite dishes or find some new delectable dietary choices from around the world!

Benefits Of Ginseng Tea

The health benefits of ginseng tea include a reduced risk of developing cancer, relief from menstrual problems, reduction in obesity, improvement of digestive disorders, and a boosted immune system, as well as improving signs of mental distress, asthma, arthritis, and sexual problems. It is quite popular as a digestive aid and it boosts the immunity levels as well.

Also, ginseng tea reduces physical and mental distress, and has a relaxing and soothing effect on the body. Its benefits include a number of curative and healing properties. The tea is derived from a perennial plant root. The major health benefits of tea are due to the naturally occurring chemicals called  ‘ginsenosides’ that are present in this root.

Ginseng tea has become a popular beverage all over the world as an herbal drink. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, ginseng tea possesses a number of anti-carcinogenic properties.

India, China, Japan and even some western countries are known to cultivate ginseng tea for its rich health benefits. In the US and Canada, weather conditions favor the cultivation of ginseng, and it is known to be exported from the US to many Asian countries. American ginseng tea is rich in herbal lysimachiae, panax quinquefolium and radix glycyrrhizae. And according to research, ginseng is also beneficial in managing diabetes.

Ginseng tea

Health Benefits Of Ginseng Tea

Ginseng tea is considered as one of the most nutritious herbal supplements available in the world. There are 3 main types – American, Asian and Siberian Ginseng. All are beneficial for human health and vitality. Some of the curative properties are as follows:

Menstrual Problems: American Ginseng tea is well known for its cooling effect. It is recommended for young women who suffer from menstrual cramps and distress. It also minimizes the stomach pain associated with menstruation.

Low Blood Pressure: Asian ginseng tea is a strong beverage. It is very effective for people who have low blood pressure. This energetic drink keeps you active and on your toes all day long by increasing your blood pressure and boosting your energy.

6 ways to manage PMS

PMS is no fun. Here, we share six ways to help and manage your PMS.

1. Food

Stabilising blood sugar will favour consistent energy levels and moods according to dietitian Melanie McGrice ( “Grains that have a low glycaemic index, which means that they provide longer-lasting energy, can also help to increase the hormone serotonin in the brain, so try some chickpeas, brown rice or quinoa,” says McGrice.

2. Diet

According to accredited practising dietitian Lisa Yates, some studies show that PMS may be exacerbated by too much caffeine, sugar and alcohol. To minimise symptoms, she suggests that you reduce your alcohol, caffeine and salt intake, and follow a low-GI diet.

3. Supplements

Professor Kulkarni says supplements such as evening primrose oil can be effective for relieving PMS symptoms and favours these as a primary intervention before resorting to the contraceptive pill. “The two supplements I suggest are vitamin B6 and evening primrose oil, which has healthy essential fatty acids. Both supplements have been shown in studies to help alleviate some symptoms in women with PMS and many women benefit from them,” Prof Kulkarni says. A study published in 2010 found that the combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 was particularly helpful for decreasing PMS symptoms. “Nuts are rich in both magnesium and B6, so I’d recommend taking 30 g unsalted nuts daily in the week prior to your period,” says McGrice.

Correcting iron deficiency may also ease syptoms as women who consume insufficient iron are at higher risk of suffering PMS according to University of Massachusetts research. Women with higher non-heme iron, which comes from plant sources, are 30 to 40 per cent less likely to experience PMS. This is possibly because low iron affects levels of serotonin, the hormone that elevates mood. Good sources of non-heme iron include silverbeet and spinach, broccoli, bok choy, soybeans and lentils.

4. The Pill

Contraceptive pills can help ameliorate symptoms of severe PMS and PMDD, but not all pills are equally effective. “Women should not take older-style progesterone pills as these can actually contribute to emotions like anger and depression,” warns Prof Kulkarni. “Some of the newer varieties of pill such as Zoely, Diane and Juliet can be very beneficial.”

To establish a more stable hormonal pattern, women may take the pill with the active hormones for three cycles then go on to a sugar pill for one week only, so that within a three-month cycle they only have one week of bleeding.

5. Hormone therapy

The next line of defence is hormone therapy according to Prof Kulkarni. Oestrogen patches or oestradiol patches and progesterone can cause a kind of hormone detour. “For some women who are very sensitive to hormones, another alternative is to deliver the progesterone via the Mirena IUD, which is placed in the uterus. This allows the hormones to go directly into the surrounding organs rather than passing through the bloodstream first, where it may cause more side effects,” Prof Kulkarni says.

6. Antidepressants

For women who feel their lives are hijacked by hormones every month, antidepressants can provide enormous relief. “The antidepressants stabilise the level of hormones like serotonin, so some women with PMS or PMDD no longer experience those huge mood swings from hormonal fluctuations,” says Davison. 

A new approach to this treatment is to take the antidepressant intermittently. “It may be taken for one week or 10 days of each month when symptoms occur,” says Prof Kulkarni. “To ensure the dose and type of antidepressant suits your system, speak to your GP about having a blood test or swab to get background on your metabolic system and guide the choice of antidepressant.” 

If antidepressants are not effective, women who suffer severe symptoms of PMS may then choose to undergo a ‘chemical menopause’, where strong hormones are used to stop ovulation and give women a break from the terrible hormonal and mood swings. “This approach sometimes needs to be permanent but can also have a kind of resetting effect on the brain,” Prof Kulkarni explains. “If women choose to come off the hormones, their impact is usually reversible and even when no longer on the therapy, the hormonal-related moods swings may be greatly reduced.” 


How to restore bacterial balance for better gut health

Use Probiotics: “Some strains of probiotics such as Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacteria infantis, may help reduce abdominal pain, flatulence and belly distension,” says CK Yao, a research dietitian at Monash University. Probiotics can also promote anti-inflammatory effects by interacting with the gut immune system. “This may help to reduce hyper-sensitivity reactions of the gut that can manifest as abdominal pain or bloating,” Yao says. Taking probiotics may worsen digestive symptoms such as bloating in some people, so always start with a small dose of probiotics.

Beware Sensitivities: Eating foods to which you’re sensitive to, can cause inflammatory reactions in your digestive system and body. Eliminating suspect foods for weeks and reintroducing them is a sound way to test for reactions. Aside from common culprits such as gluten and dairy, lesser known problematic foods include vet salicylates and amines. Higher levels of natural chemicals that may be problematic generally correlate with flavour intensity – more is more.

Censor carbohydrates. “Certain molecules called FODMAPS, found in food such as excess fructose from some fruits and lactose, in some dairy foods, can be poorly absorbed by some people in the small intestine and digestive tract and feed the bacteria there,” says Dr Sue Shepherd, an Australian dietitian and Senior Lecturer at La Trobe University Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition. “The bacteria can then digest or ferment these molecules, triggering symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, including abdominal bloating and pain, nausea and excess wind,” points out Shepherd, who was involved in the development of the low FODMAP diet in 1999. “To avoid FODMAPS, which include foods like baked beans, onion, garlic, leeks, asparagus, cauliflower and fruits such as apples, peaches and pears, it is best to consult with an accredited practising dietitian,” Shepherd says

Fantastic Four – Portmore couple welcomes quadruplets after losing twins last year

“Blow wow! A true? Check again,” were the first words that a shocked George Clarke uttered when doctors at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston told him that his partner, Codenia Miller, gave birth to quadruplets last Thursday.

The parents explained that all throughout the pregnancy, they were expecting triplets.

“I really think it’s a miracle because we were expecting three babies, and then when in the delivery room, an extra one came that nobody knew about. I used to monitor weekly, and it never showed in the ultrasound or anything,” Miller said, as she spoke about the birth of her three daughters and one son.

However, this is not the Portmore, St Catherine, couple’s first multiple birth. They welcomed their twin boys into the world on July 23 last year at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI). Unfortunately, they passed away at two months.

“They were born prematurely, and the virus that was going around up there, they couldn’t fight it as much because their lungs weren’t fully developed,” Miller explained.

“It was really rough. I got up everyday and cried. I don’t get over it yet, but these babies came along and cheer me up a little bit more.”

Both 28-years-old, the parents said they cannot get enough of their four little bundles of joy named, Keeran (boy), Kerah, Keyah, and Kayla. They were named based on their mother’s middle name, Kerah.

Extremely happy

Clarke, who works on the production line at Jamaica Broilers, said he visits twice everyday at the hospital.

“Even before them born, every doctor visit I’m there. When them born now, I ask my supervisors for time in the mornings to come look for them and spend a 10 minutes with them, then go to work, and then after work, me come back again,” Clarke said between huge grins.

He added that his coworkers are extremely happy for him, and constantly tease him about his ‘prowess’.

“Them ask a wah inna me back,” Clarke chuckled, as he noted that his aunt also has a pair of twins.

The quadruplets, who were born at 32 weeks, some eight weeks before full terms, are currently in incubators. Two are being treated for jaundice, but paediatrician Dr Samantha Walker said they are healthy and are developing well.

Both parents said despite losing their premature twins last year, they are trusting God’s plan for their quadruplets.

“I just try to think positive, and try my best not to think about the past honestly,” Miller said,

When asked if they plan on having more children, the couple said no, before Clarke added, “Look how Jamaica hard! But as long as me have life, me will stand by them.”

Conceding that it is going to be difficult providing for the children on a single income, the family is asking for assistance.

“We’d like play pens, strollers, diapers, wipes, bath products, food, those types of things,” Miller said.

The Clarke quadruplets are the first to be born at the Jubilee Hospital in recorded history. The last quadruplets born on the island were, the Hirds, born in 2008 at UHWI.

Those wishing to assist may contact Codenia Miller at 333-8065.



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Benefits of Tomatoes

The health benefits of tomatoes include improved eye sight, good stomach health, and reduced blood pressure, as well as relief from diabetes, skin problems and urinary tract infections. Furthermore, tomatoes can increase digestion, stimulate blood circulation, reduce cholesterol levels, improve fluid balance, protect the kidneys, detoxify the body, prevent premature aging, and reduce inflammation and related conditions. Tomatoes consist of a large number of antioxidants that have been proven to fight different forms of cancer. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals and exerts a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases.

Tomato is considered both, a fruit and vegetable and forms an integral part of cuisines all across the globe, especially in the Mediterranean region. Daily consumption of tomatoes provides a great boost to health, along with improving the flavor of food. You find tomatoes in countless different foods, including pastas, pizzas, ketchup, various beverages, and as an included flavor element in dishes from breakfast to dinner. Tomatoes are relatively easy to cultivate and grow very quickly, making them a quickly replaceable food source, which is a big reason why it is a staple food for many nations.

The scientific name of tomatoes is Solanum lycopersicum, and it is believed to be native to Mexico. However, the Spanish colonization of America and Central America caused tomato cultivation to spread. It is an annual nightshade plant, and grows in clusters of small to moderately sized, round red fruits. Tomatoes have soft, pinkish red flesh and a number of seeds, as well as a slightly sweet taste. They are considered both vegetables and fruits, and they typically weight approximately 4 ounces.

Nowadays, tomatoes are grown in countries all around the world, and there are thousands of different cultivars and varieties of tomatoes that can provide you with unique health benefits. Let’s explore a few of the reasons why they are such a valuable food item for human health.

Nutritional Value Of Tomatoes
The many health benefits of tomatoes can be attributed to their wealth of nutrients and vitamins, including an impressive amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, as well as significant amounts of vitamin B6, folate, and thiamin. Tomatoes are also a good source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and copper. Tomatoes also have dietary fiber and protein, as well as a number of organic compounds like lycopene that also contribute to the overall health benefits that tomatoes can confer to our health!

Health Benefits Of Tomatoes
The health benefits of tomatoes have been known to mankind since ancient times. Tomatoes are rich sources of antioxidants that have been proven to be effective against many forms of cancer. Some of the other health benefits of tomatoes are as follows:


Abundant Source of Antioxidants: Tomato contains a large amount of lycopene, an antioxidant that is highly effective in scavenging cancer causing free radicals. This benefit can even be obtained from heat-processed tomato products like ketchup. The lycopene in tomatoes defends against cancer and has been shown to be particularly effective in fighting prostate cancer, cervical cancer, cancer of the stomach and rectum as well as pharynx and esophageal cancers. It also protects against breast cancer and cancer of the mouth, according to studies published by the Harvard School of Public Health.

Rich Source of Vitamins and Minerals: A single tomato can provide about 40% of the daily vitamin C requirement. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant which prevents against cancer-causing free radicals from damaging the body’s systems. It also contains abundant vitamin A and potassium, as well as iron. Potassium plays a vital role in maintaining nerve health and iron is essential for maintaining normal blood health. Vitamin K, which is essential in blood clotting and controls bleeding, is also abundant in tomatoes.

Reduces Cholesterol and Protects the Heart: The lycopene in tomatoes prevents serum lipid oxidation, thus exerting a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases. The regular consumption of tomatoes has been proven to decrease the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. These lipids are the key culprits in cardiovascular diseases and lead to the deposition of fats in the blood vessels.

Counters the Effect of Cigarette Smoke: The two main components of tomatoes, coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid, fight against nitrosamines which are produced in the body and are the main carcinogens found in cigarettes. The presence of vitamin A in such high quantities has also been shown to reduce the effects of carcinogens and can protect you against lung cancer.

Improves Vision: Vitamin A, present in tomatoes, aids in improving vision, as well as in preventing night-blindness and macular degeneration. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that can be formed from an excess of beta-carotene in the body. A lot of vision problems occur due to the negative effects of free radicals, and vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant.

Digestive Health: Tomatoes keep the digestive system healthy by preventing both constipation and diarrhea. It also prevents jaundice and effectively removes toxins from the body. Furthermore, tomatoes have a large amount of fiber, which can bulk up stool and reduce symptoms of constipation. A healthy amount of fiber helps to stimulate peristaltic motion in the smooth digestive muscles, and also release gastric and digestive juices. This can regulate your bowel movements, thereby improving your overall digestive health and helping you avoid conditions like colorectal cancer.

Lowers Hypertension: Consuming a tomato daily reduces the risk of developing hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. This is partially due to the impressive levels of potassium found in tomatoes. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it reduces the tension in blood vessels and arteries, thereby increasing circulation and lowering the stress on the heart by eliminating hypertension.