Juicing and Raw Foods

March 15, 2013
What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a perennial plant of the ginger family which has a mustard yellow powder that is commonly used as a culinary spice in South Asia and has an active medicinal ingredient called Curcumin which has many anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-bacterial properties.

Turmeric is native to tropical South Asia and requires temperate climate with a considerable amount of rainfall to survive. In medieval Europe, turmeric became known as Indian saffron since it was widely used as an alternative to the far more expensive saffron spice. Turmeric has been used in India for hundreds of years and is a major part of Ayurvedic medicine after having been first introduced as a dye.

By the way I don't recommend Turmeric for juicing. There's a lot of juicing material on this site so I don't want you to get confused. I do recommend Turmeric as a spice on appropriate foods. It's actually quite good and beneficial to your health.

My personal Experience with Turmeric

I have recently tried Turmeric Juice from Whole Foods, though I'd recommend making your own, and not only did it taste great, but it made me feel better. I had some serious throat pain at the time and aspirin was only took the pain away about 20% where as the Turmeric numbed the pain about 80% so I can say that Turmeric does help with relieving pain. It tasted really good, granted what I had was mixed with other types of juice as well. Keep in mind you can also add Turmeric to your diet a number of different ways.

turmericWhat are the Benefits of Turmeric?

The health benefits of Turmeric have been recognized by Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years and has been used to treat everyday problems such as indigestion, flatulence, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV, high cholesterol, heartburn, jaundice, liver disorders, and menstrual disorders. Turmeric can also be applied topically in poultices to reduce inflammation and to relieve wounds, cuts, and bruises.

Alzheimer's Disease

Inflammation inside of the brain has been suspected to be one of the contributing factors in the development of Alzheimer's disease. Studies have shown that Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity. Therefore, regular daily consumption of Turmeric capsules may be an effective way to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's.

Arthritis

Due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, it is not surprising that Turmeric is now being used as an effective natural remedy for Arthritis pain. Therefore, taking 500mg to 1000mg Turmeric capsules three times per day may provide significant relief from osteoarthritis pain.

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Asthma

Since turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, it can help reduce the inflammation associated with asthma. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk, and drink this mixture as an effective asthma home remedy.

 

Cancer

Several recent studies have found that Turmeric can induce apoptosis, a process that triggers the self-destruction and elimination of damaged (cancerous) cells. Further research is still required before the full effects of Turmeric on cancer cells can be determined. However, existing studies suggest that daily Turmeric powder or supplements combined with a balanced, nutritious diet may help prevent or even destroy cancer cells.

Colds and Flu

Turmeric's anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal agents can help our body fight against colds, cough and flu. Therefore, when symptoms of these infections are present, simply mix one teaspoon of Turmeric powder into a glass of warm milk once per day. Also drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Diabetes

Recent studies have shown that the antioxidant agents in Turmeric help reduce insulin resistance, which may prevent the onset of Type-2 Diabetes. Therefore, a simple preventive remedy is to take one teaspoon of turmeric powder twice a day with meals. Curcumin extracts or capsules can also be used as an alternative to the powder.

Inflammation

Turmeric's key ingredient Curcumin is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, Turmeric powder can help in healing cuts, wounds, and other skin infections including boils.

  • Heat one cup of Flax Seed Oil in a small saucepan on the stove.
  • Thinly slice a small onion and add it to the hot oil.
  • Fry the onions until they are dark brown and crunchy.
  • Remove the brown onions and mix 2 tablespoons of Turmeric powder into the oil.
  • Turn off the stove and let the oil cool down to a temperature that is comfortable to touch.
  • Using a cotton swab, apply a small amount of the oil onto the injured or infected skin area.
  • Apply this three times per day until the wound or infection is cured.
  • Save the remaining oil into an airtight container for future use.

For internal injuries, fractures, sprains, and herniated disks, dip a piece of unbleached cotton fabric into the warm Turmeric oil. The fabric or cotton pad should be large enough to cover the outer skin of the affected area. Secure it in place and leave this cotton pad on overnight.

You can also add one teaspoon of turmeric powder into a warm glass of milk and drink it before going to bed to prevent internal inflammation and infections.

Pain Killer

Turmeric spice is a natural painkiller.

Weight Loss

Curcumin in Turmeric powder has been found to help increase the flow of bile, an important component in the breakdown of dietary fat. Therefore, taking one teaspoon of Turmeric powder with every meal may be an effective weight loss aid when combined with a healthy diet and exercise program.

What are the Side Effects of Turmeric?

Moderate use of Turmeric powder as part of regular diet is fairly safe, and recent studies have found that a dosage of 500mg capsules of Turmeric three times per day is safe. However, prolonged consumption of high doses of Turmeric extract may cause stomach or liver distress, as well as dehydration and constipation. Therefore, it should be avoided by people with gallstones or bile obstructions. If you are currently taking blood thinners (including Aspirin), you should consult your doctor before taking Turmeric since it is an anti-platelet (prevents blood clots).

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October 24, 2011
Grapes: Health Benefits

Grapes grow wild on vines or are cultivated. They are believed to be native to northwest Asia although they have been grown throughout Europe and the United States for centuries. The seeds, skin, leaves, stems, and grape itself are used in herbal remedies. At times in the past, diets consisting solely of grapes have been touted as an alternative means of treating cancer. Some chemicals found in grape extract (called proanthocyanidins) and in grape skins (called resveratrol) are currently being studied for possible uses in the prevention and treatment of cancer and other illnesses.

Other common name(s): grape diet, grape cure, grape seed extract (GSE), grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE), grape seed oil, grape skins, proanthocyanidins, oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), resveratrol

Scientific/medical name(s): Vitis vinifera, Vitis coignetiae

Antioxidant Benefits

Grapes are extremely high in antioxidants. In fact the number of different antioxidant nutrients are well into the hundreds ranging from common carotenoids like beta-carotene to unusual stilbenes like resveratrol. It is the resveratrol content in red wine that makes a glass a day so beneficial to one’s longevity. The seed and the skin contain the richest concentration of these antioxidants.

Research on antioxidant benefits provided by grapes includes the following findings:

  • help prevent certain oxygen-related enzymes from becoming overactive. These enzymes include xanthine oxidase and catalase.
  • increase our blood levels of glutathione (a critical antioxidant nutrient) and also increase the ratio of reduced-to-oxidized glutathione (one important measure of antioxidant capacity).
  • help protect cell membranes from free radical damage.
  • lower levels of oxygen reactive molecules in our blood.
  • reduce oxidation of fat (lipid peroxidation).
  • lower biomarkers of oxidative stress.

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Grapes provide us with strong anti-inflammatory benefits.

Cardiovascular Benefits

The cells in our blood need protection from potential oxygen damage. This is especially true for our arteries where oxygen concentration in our blood is especially high. Our blood vessel linings also need strong antioxidant support. Chronic inflammation in our cardiovascular system is also a primary concern for many types of cardiovascular disease, and optimal regulation of inflammatory system activity is especially important in lowering our risk of atherosclerosis and other conditions.

It’s also one of the reasons that consumption of grapes in the form of red wine has been regarded by some researchers as a key for understanding “the French Paradox.” The French Paradox refers to research observations about heart health in the French population in relationship to their saturated fat intake. Despite eating fairly large amounts of saturated fat in their overall diet, the French population as a whole has been observed to have much lower levels of heart disease than would be expected with high saturated fat intake.

All of the following cardio benefits have been demonstrated in research studies on grapes and grape components:

  • better blood pressure regulation, including blood pressure reduction if high
  • better total cholesterol regulation, including total cholesterol reduction if high
  • reduced LDL cholesterol levels
  • reduced LDL oxidation
  • reduced levels of reactive oxygen molecules in the blood
  • reduced likelihood of cell adhesion to the blood vessel walls
  • less clumping together of platelet cells, when inappropriate
  • enhanced release of nitric oxide from endothelial cells lining the blood vessel walls in situations where vasodilation is needed
  • better inflammatory regulation in the blood
  • increase levels of glutathione in the blood

Blood Sugar Benefits

Studies now show that grapes improve blood sugar balance, create better insulin regulation, and increased insulin sensitivity. Strong phytonutrient content of grapes plays a key role in providing these blood sugar-related benefits.

Anti-Aging and Longevity Benefits

Several grape phytonutrients may play a role in longevity and may provide us with anti-aging benefits. Resveratrol has recently been shown to increase expression of three genes all related to longevity. (These three genes are SirT1s, Fox0s, and PBEFs.) Some researchers have shown a connection between activation of these longevity genes by resveratrol and activation by calorie-restricted diets.

Cognitive Benefits

Daily consumption of Concord grape juice in a 1-2 cup amount over a period of several months has been shown to improve the scores of study participants on the California Verbal Learning Test.

Anti-Microbial Benefits

Recent studies have determined that grapes may also contain unique sets of oligopeptides which are short protein-like molecules that have anti-microbial properties. Research in this area is in early stages. It will be interesting to see whether diets that are rich in grapes (or grape products like red wine) turn out to be associated with reduced risk of microbe-related problems like food-borne illness.

Anti-Cancer Benefits

Resveratrol found in grape skins, has been reported to convert into a cancer fighting agent that can target and attack cancer cells. When juicing grapes you should include the skins and the seeds but thoroughly rinse them if they are not organic to remove any possible traces of herbicides or pesticides that are often sprayed on the crops.

Grapes contain high levels of natural sugars and so people with sugar sensitive conditions such as Diabetes or Candida should take care not to consume too much grape juice.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of grapes make them a natural for protection against cancer because chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can be key factors in the development of cancer. If our cells get overwhelmed by oxidative stress (damage to cell structure and cell function by overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules) and chronic excessive inflammation, our risk of cell cancer is increased. By providing us with rich supplies of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, grapes can help us avoid this dangerous combination of chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.

One interesting development in the research on grapes and colon cancer prevention has involved studies on GADF, or grape antioxidant dietary fiber. Fiber is greatly needed for a healthy colon, and grapes provide us with approximately 1 gram of fiber in every 60 calories. Antioxidants are also needed, and grapes come through strong in the antioxidant category. This antioxidant-plus-fiber combination may be one of the reasons that colon cancer prevention has jumped out in health research on grapes. In the area of prostate cancer, it is the stilbenes (including resveratrol) have been the major focus in research on the anti-cancer properties of grapes.

Several epidemiological studies have shown that populations that consume diets rich in fruits and vegetables have an overall lower cancer incidence. Based on these encouraging observations, research efforts from across the globe have focused on identifying, characterizing, and providing scientific basis to the efficacy of various phytonutrients in an effort to develop effective strategy to control various human malignancies.

Nutritional benefits of Grapes

Vitamins and Minerals

Rich in C, E small amounts of B1, B2, B3

Rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulfur, small amounts of copper, iron and zinc.

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Stilbenes

  • resveratrol
  • piceatannol
  • pterostilbene

Flavanols

  • catechins
  • epicatechins
  • procyanidins
  • proanthocyanidins
  • viniferones

Flavonols

  • quercetin
  • kaempferol
  • myricetin
  • isorhamnetin

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Phenolic Acid

  • caffeic acid
  • coumaric acid
  • ferulic acid
  • gallic acid

Carotenoids

  • beta-carotene
  • lutein
  • zeaxanthin

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