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  • 21 Jun 2016 2:34 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)



    Adding that little bit of spice into your dishes may be the best decision you make for your family; and what better hot spice to use than cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper supposedly originated from the Cayenne region of French Guiana in South America (hence the name). However, it is now largely grown in India, East Africa, Mexico and the United States. It is generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then ground and sifted to make the powdered spice. However, the pepper is also used in their whole form in Korean, Sichuan and other Asian cuisines. 

    Cayenne pepper, scientifically known as Capsicum Frutescens, is from the Capsicum genus in the nightshade family of Solanaceae. It is also known as guinea pepper, bird’s beak, chilliepin and mad pepper and is generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville scales. The Scoville scale is a measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chilli peppers. This measurement means it is as hot as Tabasco pepper and the yellow lantern chilli. 


    Cayenne pepper has been used as medicine for over 9000 years and many herbalists believe that Cayenne is the most useful and valuable herb in the herb kingdom, not only for the entire digestive system, but also for the heart and circulatory system. It acts as a catalyst and increases the effectiveness of other herbs and nutrients when used with them. For example, if you were to add cayenne pepper in a glass of orange juice it would increase the potency of the vitamin C in that drink giving you a great remedy for colds and flu. 

    Capsaicin is the active ingredient in cayenne pepper and it gives the powder its spiciness. It is also thermogenic, elevating the body's temperature, which boosts metabolism. According to a study in South Korea, cayenne can also aid weight loss by stimulating carbohydrate oxidation during rest and exercise. This means that the body is able to burn more carbohydrates. The more carbohydrates that are burned the less is stored as fat. 

    Cayenne has traditionally been used for overcoming fatigue and restoring stamina and vigour. It is a natural stimulant without the threatening side effects of palpitations, hyperactivity or rise in blood pressure like many other stimulating agents. This stimulating effect also "orders" the brain to burn fat cells, especially fat cells around the midriff or stomach area, according to Stephen Whiting, a food scientist. He also mentions the potential benefit of cayenne pepper in weight management by increasing energy expenditure (burning more energy), increasing lipid oxidation (burning more fats) and reducing appetite. 

    Cayenne is a medicinal and nutritional herb. It is a very high source of Vitamins A, C, E, has the complete B complexes, and is very rich in organic calcium, potassium and manganese, which is one of the reasons it is good for the heart. It is said to have no equal for its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action, even stopping a heart attack within 30 seconds! Doctors would achieve this by giving the patient a tea made by simply mixing one teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a cup of hot water. This exerts a variety of desirable actions on the entire cardiovascular system. It has the extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance while actually lowering blood pressure. 

    Capsaicin's powerful decongestant properties stimulate the release of mucus from respiratory passages, which in turn opens the airway. It also dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow to major organs, which means it allows for more nutrients and oxygen to enter vital areas of the body encouraging healing. 

    Externally, it can be applied on the skin as a remedy for conditions involving joint pains (such as in the case of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis). It achieves this by causing the body to be ‘distracted’ by the original pain, known as the ‘counter-irritant’ effect. It also causes the brain to secrete more endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormone, thus lowering the sensation of pain.

    Research has particularly shown the effectiveness of capsaicin in treating cluster headaches.  A study published in Cephalalgia found that it can desensitize sensory neurons by depleting the nerve terminals of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes and pain. It is also a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. Thus, with less substance P, fewer pain messages reach the brain and less pain is felt. The authors of the study concluded that taking capsaicin through the nasal passage may provide an effective treatment option for these headaches.  This makes it an ideal pain killer for other pains such as migraines, stomach-aches, cramps, etc. Applying cayenne pepper as a poultice (see Recipes for Health) on the area of pain should also provide the same effect. 

    A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that cayenne pepper, when applied topically (on the affected area of the skin, i.e. as a poultice), can significantly improve itching and other symptoms associated with psoriasis. 

    The interesting thing about cayenne pepper is that internally it dilates blood vessels but when applied to open wounds it seals the wound and halts blood flow. By simply sprinkling some cayenne pepper on the open wound it will almost instantly stop the bleeding. Be aware, it will sting!

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study, which suggested cayenne pepper could aid those with diabetes. They found that diabetic people who ate a meal containing liberal amounts of chilli pepper required less insulin (to reduce their blood sugar) after the meal.

    Cayenne can rebuild the stomach tissue and boost the peristaltic action in the intestines. It aids elimination and assimilation (especially of proteins), and helps the body to create hydrochloric acid (stomach acid), which is essential for good digestion. Cayenne pepper can also help produce saliva by stimulating the salivary glands and the flow of enzyme production. This, in turn, can also aid in combating bad breath. 

    Studies conducted around the world, suggests that cayenne pepper can cause remarkable results in cancer patients. One study, conducted by the American Association for Cancer Research, reports that capsaicin is able to kill prostate cancer cells by forcing them to undergo "apoptosis"' a form of cellular self-termination, without harming any health cells around them. Another study conducted at the University of Nottingham in England strongly suggests that capsaicin is able to trigger apoptosis in lung and pancreatic cancer cells. There have also been several clinical studies conducted in Japan and China that showed natural capsaicin directly inhibits the growth of leukemic cells as well.


    Cayenne pepper is possibly the king of herbs with the amazing effects it can have on our health and its ability to treat a whole host of conditions. Many are avid drinkers of the cayenne pepper tonic to detoxify, repair and revitalise the body. Others use it to treat long standing conditions that no other remedy has been able to do. It is important to note that as a beginner it is best to start with a pinch of cayenne pepper in hot water and then work your way up to 1 teaspoon. The warmer the water the better, as it increases its potency. Taking this tea at a time that you are relaxed is better and will avoid any feelings of nausea. The slight tingling on the tongue is nothing compared to the vast amounts of benefits you can achieve from taking it.

    Recipes for Health

    Immune boosting tonic

    1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper;

    1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger;

    1 tablespoon of honey;

    1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar;

    2 tablespoons of water (hot or cold).

    Making it into a hot tea will clear the sinuses. The cayenne pepper in this tonic will increase the effectiveness of all the other ingredients boosting its antibiotic abilities. Other ingredients such as garlic and lemon juice can also be added.  

    Cayenne pepper poultice

    1)     Lay a piece of cling film out on the table.

    2)     Fold a kitchen roll paper in half and place on top of the cling film.

    3)     Sprinkle a small amount of olive oil on the kitchen paper and spread out.

    §  Olive oil is used so that cayenne pepper will stick to it.

    4)     Sprinkle cayenne pepper on the oil generously.

    5)     Put the poultice on the area of pain.

    6)     Wrap cling film around the area and keep it warm.

    7)     Leave it on for a few hours or overnight.

    8)     May not experience heat or warmth immediately.

    Sources

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cayenne_pepper

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoville_scale

    http://theepicentre.com/spice/cayenne-pepper/

    http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/benefits-of-cayenne-pepper/

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267248.php

    http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/health-benefits-cayenne-pepper/

    http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/NaturalFood/Cayenne

    http://www.cayennepepper.info/

    Http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/cgi/content/full/66/6/3222 

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6244715.stm 

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-03/aafc-pch031306.php 

    Lim, K., et al. (1997). Dietary red pepper ingestion increases carbohydrate oxidation at rest and during exercise in runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1997; 29(3): 355-61. 

    Yoshioka M., et al. (1995). Effects of red-pepper diet on the energy metabolism in men. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol  1995; 41(6): 647-56. 

    Whiting S, Derbyshire E, Tiwari BK. Capsaicinoids and capsinoids. A potential role for weight management? A systematic review of the evidence. Appetite 2012; 59(2): 341-8.

    doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.05.015. Epub 2012 May 22.  

    Todd C. Meeting the therapeutic challenge of the patient with osteoarthritis. J Am Pharm Assoc  2002; 42: 74-82.

    Marks DR, Rapoport A, Padla D, et al. A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of intranasal capsaicin for cluster headache. Cephalalgia 1993; 13: 114-116.

    Keitel W, Frerick H, Kuhn U, Schmidt U, Kuhlmann M, Bredehorst A. Capsicum pain plaster in chronic non-specific low back pain. Arzneimittelforschung 2001; 51: 896-903.

    Ellis CN, Berberian B, Sulica VI, et al. A double-blind evaluation of topical capsaicin in pruritic psoriasis. J Am Acad Dermatol 1993; 29: 438-442.

    Bernstein JE, Parish LC, Rapaport M, et al. Effects of topically applied capsaicin on moderate and severe psoriasis vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol 1986; 15: 504-507.

    Reimann S, Luger T, Metze D. Topical administration of capsaicin in dermatology for treatment of itching and pain. Hautarzt 2000; 51: 164-172.

    Akio Mori et al. Capsaicin, a Component of Red Peppers, Inhibits the Growth of Androgen-Independent, p53 Mutant Prostate Cancer Cells. Cancer Research 2006; 66: 3222-3229. 

  • 19 May 2016 1:31 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    Salt, one of the fundamental components for life, is a natural mineral made up of two elements – sodium and chloride. All living creatures need a supply of salt to survive.  Salt has the ability to preserve foods and this preservative property was exploited thousands of years ago before the invention of the fridge freezer. Families from past civilisations could store out-of-season produce and they had the option of carrying salted foods during long distance travel without spoiling.

    Although easily obtainable now, it was once a highly prized product to the point of being used as currency amongst the Greeks and Hebrews and other such civilisations. Now, some types of salts are relatively cheap to buy. 

    Salt can be found naturally in the sea, but can also be mined from salt mines on land. The quality of the salt you buy varies depending on where and how it was extracted.  Thus, it is important that we choose the correct salt in our diets that will benefit us and not harm us considering the amount we use on a daily basis. 

    Sea salts and table salts are generally produced by the evaporation of salt water (brine). Evaporation can be through solar evaporation, where brine is added to a series of ponds that evaporate the water by the suns heat. The brine becomes concentrated as it progresses through these ponds where eventually a salt bed is produced and raked off. Evaporation can also occur using the open or closed vacuum pan system, where water is heated in big pans in order to crystallise the salt which is then scraped off. 

    Table Salt

    This salt is manufactured from natural salt, but nowadays it’s made mainly from crude oil flake leftovers!  It is heated to 650 degrees Celsius, where its chemical composition is altered during this process and almost all of the nutritional benefits are destroyed. Today, most table salt manufacturers fortify the salt with iodine, as well as other unnatural chemicals to their products. These chemicals include everything from manufactured forms of sodium, iodide, sodium bicarbonate, fluoride, anti-caking agents, toxic amounts of potassium iodide and aluminium derivatives. On top of that, they further refine the salt by bleaching it white for aesthetic purposes, to create that clean pure appearance. Natural salt is never white but shades of grey, black, and reddish hues. 

    These naturally occurring unrefined salts are actually alkaline minerals that help keep us hydrated, balance our sodium-potassium ratios, as well as fill the body with powerful electrolytes. They also contain all of the trace elements needed for proper immune, thyroid and adrenal function (that are completely stripped out of table salt). Natural salt forms, such as sea salts like Celtic and fleur de sel or mined salts like Himalayan and black salt, also boost the creation of digestive enzymes and juices that allow us to extract and assimilate other vitamins and nutrients from the food we eat.

    Sea salts: This salt is made using evaporated seawater. It generally has larger and coarser crystals than table salt. It is harvested in a number of places in the world, but there are a few that stand out from the rest due to their beneficial properties and uniqueness in extraction:- 

    Celtic Sea Salt

    This type of sea salt is harvested using a 2,000-year-old method from the waters of the Celtic Sea in Brittany, France. The salt fields of Brittany are lined with a natural layer of clay and sand. It is naturally aired and sun-dried in clay ponds and gathered with wooden tools to preserve its living enzymes. The method of hand raking of the moist crystals is followed by a dedicated group of professional natural salt farmers in Brittany, who carry out the traditional skills that have been passed down through generations. This has allowed the preservation of the salt in its natural state which is highly beneficial to one’s health as they possess many therapeutic qualities. Celtic sea salt claims to be enriched with all the 84 essentials minerals and components needed by the human body for optimum health. It may aid in alkalising the body, balancing blood sugars, eliminating mucus build up, building immunity, improving brain function, increasing energy, providing electrolyte balance, promoting restful sleep, preventing muscle cramp, regulating heartbeat and blood pressure. 

    Fleur de Sel







    The name of this salt means "flower of salt" and it is a delicately flavoured salt originally from the Coastal salt ponds in France and Portugal. It is hand harvested by manually scraping the top layer off the salt before it sinks to the bottom of a large salt pan. The conditions have to be just right with lots of sun and wind for it to "bloom" like a flower on the surface of the water. It is very high in minerals, due to the well controlled evaporation process of the paludiers (salt rakers). Some of the minerals it contains are calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, manganese, and many trace elements. These combine with the sodium chloride to make up a complete network of nutrients similar to Celtic salt, which becomes readily available to the body. It is considered the caviar of sea salts due to its relative scarcity and its labour intensive production. For this reason it is one of the most expensive salts to purchase. 

    Mined salt: In the 19th century, salt mines were found and salt was extracted by deep shaft or solution mining. Deep Shaft mining is where shafts are sunk down to the floor of the mine, and rooms are carefully constructed by drilling, cutting and blasting between the shafts, creating a checkerboard pattern. After the salt is removed and crushed, a conveyor belt hauls it to the surface. Most salt produced this way is used as rock salt. In solution mining, wells are erected over salt beds or domes (deposits of salt forced up out of the earth by tectonic pressure) and water is injected to dissolve the salt. Then the salt solution, or brine, is pumped out and taken to a plant for evaporation. 

    Himalayan Pink Salt

    This salt is harvested in the foothills of the Himalayan mountain range of the Khewra Salt Mine, located in the Punjab region of Pakistan. With a history dating back to Earth’s creation, it is believed to be composed of dried remnants of the original primal sea, thus being a form of fossilised sea salt. It gets its characteristic pink colour from the amount of minerals in contains, particularly iron and boasts all 84 elements needed by the human body just like Celtic sea salt. Because of its high nutrient load, doctors of functional medicine report that regularly eating Himalayan salt may help: Regulate the water content throughout your body, promote healthy pH balance in your cells (particularly your brain cells), promote blood sugar health, can help reduce the signs of ageing, assist in the generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in your body, absorb food particles through your intestinal tract, support respiratory health, promote sinus health, prevent muscle cramps, promote bone strength, regulate sleep, support libido, promote vascular health, regulate your blood pressure with sufficient water and potassium intake.

    General health benefits of natural salt

    The idea that salt leads to hypertension has never been scientifically supported. On the contrary, studies show that a reduced-sodium diet leads to health issues. In one study (1), subjects consuming less sodium per day had significantly higher risk of death than the subjects who consumed the recommended dose of sodium per day. Salt also aids blood sugar control by improving insulin sensitivity. A low-salt diet increases insulin resistance and even moderate dietary salt restriction is shown to cause systemic insulin resistance (2,3). 

    Salt is a great antihistamine. A pinch of salt sprinkled on the tongue may help improve an allergic reaction or an asthma attack (4). Your body also needs salt to maintain the proper stomach pH (5). Proper stomach acid levels are essential for good digestion.  Unrefined natural salt also provides the rich minerals directly to our cells to enhance resistance to infections and bacterial diseases. It also helps our body to heal quickly post surgery, sickness, burns, etc. Bathing wounds in pure salt water helps wounds to heal faster. It also eases sore throats by gargling or sipping salty water.

    Salt lowers adrenaline spikes. Adrenaline is a necessary and important stress hormone. When adrenaline patterns are out of rhythm, it takes a toll on the body. Natural salt boasts anti-stress and anti-excitatory qualities due to its suppression of stress hormones (6). It also improves sleep quality. One immediate fix to help you go back to sleep is to take a pinch of natural salt and sugar (or salt and honey, if you prefer) sprinkled on the tongue to calm the adrenaline peak. Salt also supports thyroid function by reducing circulating stress hormones.

    Salt also balances hormones that prevent the loss of other essential minerals. Hormone and nutrition researcher Ray Peat (7) explains the correlation between the salt-regulating hormone aldosterone and mineral loss:  One of the things that happen when there isn’t enough sodium in the diet is that more aldosterone is synthesized. Aldosterone causes less sodium to be lost in the urine and sweat, but it achieves that at the expense of the increased loss of potassium, magnesium, and probably calcium. Magnesium deficiency is extremely common, but a little extra salt in the diet makes it easier to retain the magnesium in our foods.

    Salt encourages a healthy weight and fast metabolism (8). One study showed that increased salt intake leads to an increase in the elimination of cortisol and lower blood cortisol levels. Imbalanced or excess cortisol means weight gain and a stagnant metabolism. Having more salt in the diet also correlates with increased thermogenesis–heat production by the body (9). It can also provide essential minerals to the muscles and prevents muscle cramps.

    Salt supports hyperosmolarity of the extracellular fluid (the fluid outside the cell). Slight hyperosmolarity means more solutes in the extracellular fluid than in the cell–actually increases the cell’s metabolic rate (7). That basically means salt can speed up your metabolism! On the other hand, when the extracellular fluid is hypo-osmotic in relation to the cell, it impairs the breakdown of proteins and glucose and thereby lowers the cell’s metabolism. 

    Lastly, salt makes food taste good. So you get to enjoy a tasty meal without the added calories. It's all about quality not quantity and there are still other varieties of unrefined salts to discover such as Real Salt from the ancient sea beds of Utah or mined black salt from India. Having more salt in your diet means drinking more fluids such as water rather than juices or teas. Drinking more will enable you to rebalance your electrolytes in your body keeping your blood pH in check.  So from now on, don't shy away from the saltshaker. Pick the salt that's right for you and add "to taste"!

    Recipes for Health

    Salt Sole - a powerful detoxing rejuvenating elixir

    Sole is water fully saturated with unrefined salt. When the natural salt dissolves in water, it results in a concentrated, electrically charged matrix of the 84 trace minerals in the salt. The ionic salt and trace minerals nourish each cell in your body.

    To make the salt sole, you need:

    §  Himalayan, Celtic or any other unrefined salt

    §  Filtered water

    §  Plastic utensils

    §  Glass jar with plastic lid

    Method:

    1.     Fill a glass jar about 1/4 of the way with himalayan salt (or celtic sea salt), either ground or in chunks. Fill the rest of the way with filtered water. Add a plastic lid (not metal!), shake and let sit overnight. You should always have some un-dissolved salt in the jar, this means the water is fully saturated. Add more salt if needed.

    2.     In the morning, take 1 tsp of sole, mixed into some room temperature water, upon waking. Never use metal utensils with your sole!

    3.     Keep refilling your jar with salt and water when it runs low. It lasts indefinitely.

    Himalayan detox salt bath

    Adding himalayan salt to a bath creates a rejuvenating, detoxing, and relaxing at-home spa. The salt water carries the electrical charge of the salt, along with the dissolved minerals. A salt bath helps draw out toxins, deep cleanses the skin, and helps cleanse the body energetically. 

    Add 2-3 cups of himalayan salt to a warm bath, soak in this solution for 30 minutes and feel your muscles relax. 

    Sources

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_salt

    http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/what-are-the-different-types-of-salt-and-what-are-they-used-for

    http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/cooking-tips-techniques/cooking/six-types-salt

    http://draxe.com/10-benefits-celtic-sea-salt-himalayan-salt/

    http://juicing-for-health.com/sea-salt-health-benefits.html

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/salt4.htm

    http://empoweredsustenance.com/unrefined-salt-brands-compare/

    http://empoweredsustenance.com/salt-is-good-for-you/

    http://empoweredsustenance.com/himalayan-salt-benefits/

    http://www.realsalt.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/American-Journal-of-Med-Full-Article-Sodium-Intake-and-Mortality.pdf

    http://www.metabolismjournal.com/article/S0026-0495(10)00329-X/abstract

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10371376

    4 Your Body's Many Cries for Water, by Dr Batmanghelidj, 2008. 

    http://empoweredsustenance.com/heal-low-stomach-acid-naturally/

    6 Eat for Heat: The Metabolic Approach to Food and Drink, by Matt Stone. 

    http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/salt.shtml

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12970284

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6086543

  • 19 Apr 2016 10:00 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    Baking Soda - Take the baking out of the soda and see what happens!

    The smell of freshly baked cupcakes is just the best smell you could imagine emitting from the kitchen on a Sunday morning, and then to bite into that soft springy sponge is absolutely delightful, all thanks to the amazing rising properties of baking soda. Of course, these cupcakes are organic and gluten free, boasting succulent medjoul date chunks and wholesome nuts and seeds. 

    Baking soda is one of those ingredients that has been known for years for its medicinal benefits yet it's many uses has only recently been forgotten. Only as early as the 1950s when doctors still prescribing baking soda mixed in water for colds and upset stomachs, but then

     the new age pharmaceutical era took over nobody reached for the mere baking soda anymore.

    Baking soda is also popularly known as bicarbonate of soda and sodium bicarbonate. It's natural mineral form is called nahcolite, which is a component of the mineral natron found in many mineral springs. Ancient Egyptians were known to use the mineral natron to paint hieroglyphics and for making soap. However, it wasn't until the 1800s when two New York bakers started to manufacture and market this compound as baking soda. It went on to be introduced into cookbooks and later in the 1920s Arm & Hammer started advertising it as a medicinal agent. 

    Baking soda is amphoteric i.e. it reacts with both acid and alkali bases.  As a rising agent it works by reacting with the acid components in the batter releasing carbon dioxide, causing the batter to expand, giving that soft leavened texture on baking. However, baking soda, when mixed with water gives an alkaline solution so it’s great as an antacid, combating indigestion, heartburn and even ulcers. All you need to do is mix ½ teaspoon of it in half a glass of water until fully dissolved and simply drink. 

    Researchers have also found that adding a one half cup of baking soda to bathwater soothes itchiness and irritation in patients with psoriasis. When mixed with water and applied as a paste, it also helps reduce itchiness from insect bites, sunburn, allergic rashes, and reduces discomfort on skin exposed to poison oak or ivy. That same paste also makes a nice, gentle face exfoliant as well as being an effective cleaning and scrubbing agent for kitchen and bathroom surfaces. 

    When mixed with coconut oil it becomes a known absorbent of musty smells and so makes a great underarm deodorant. You could make it more effective and long lasting by adding some arrowroot powder or corn starch plus an essential oil of your choice. Adding coconut oil to baking soda also has a positive effect on oral health. As a toothpaste, its mild abrasive action helps to remove plaque, plus polish, clean, whiten, and deodorize your teeth, while it's anti bacterial action kills bacteria which causes tooth decay. 

    Sodium bicarbonate has also been shown to slow down the rate of decline in kidney disease. Those that have chronic kidney disease, which is often caused by diabetes or hypertension, have a hard time removing acid from the body. This often results in a condition known as metabolic acidosis. Baking soda buffers these acids and helps keep the body pH in check. This pH balancing effect has also shown to help those with cancer, although it's still unproven, oral sodium bicarbonate could make tumours more alkaline and inhibit metastasis (the spreading of the tumour). 

    There has also been mention in the sports arena that baking soda can have a positive effect on athletic performance. When taken orally in liquid form before intense exercise, it appears to buffer the lactic acid that builds up in muscles, delays fatigue, and thus enhancing athletic performance.

    These are some of the amazing benefits that baking soda can offer. It has a variety of uses for a number of conditions as well as being a handy household detergent. Its topical use remains safe and nontoxic. Oral use is also safe, provided you don't exceed the recommended doses, as this could upset the body’s acid-base balance. Larger amounts can even cause temporary nausea and diarrhoea. 

    Don't let the word 'sodium' deter you into thinking it will raise your blood pressure, it won't.  Even though it contains quite a bit of sodium, the hypertensive effect comes from the combination of sodium and chloride in table salt, which is salt that has been chemically produced. 

    Now that you know this nifty little ingredient is more than just a raising agent be sure to take it out of your kitchen cupboard and discover its full potential!

    Recipes for Health

    Razor burn soother

    Razor burned skin can be painful, not to mention unsightly. Soothe your sensitive skin with a solution of 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Allow the solution to dry on your skin (it will take about 5 minutes), and then rinse with cool water. Men can also use this same formula for a pre-shave or after-shave treatment on their face as long as they avoid the eye area.

    Removing product build up

    Get rid of extra product build up in your hair by sprinkling about a penny-size of baking soda into your palm along with your favourite shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly. The baking soda helps remove the residue that styling products leave behind so your hair is cleaner and more manageable. 

    Sources

    http://www.alternativehealthzone.com/nutrition-tips/health-benefits-of-baking-soda

    http://www.myhealthylifeteam.com/the-magic-baking-soda-things-you-didnt-know-baking-soda-could-do/

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_bicarbonate

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/08/27/baking-soda-natural-remedy.aspx

    http://www.drwhitaker.com/7-baking-soda-health-benefits/

  • 19 Mar 2016 5:41 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    Home is where the vinegar is!

    Vinegar is one of those condiments whereby for many it's an acquired taste. Whether you love it on your chips or loathe it. Nevertheless, it has become a must-have item in many kitchen cabinets today. A home without vinegar is not a home at all, some say.  Vinegar is said to have been discovered around 5000 BC, when unattended grape juice turned into wine and then vinegar. Hippocrates used it to disinfect open wounds while other practitioners in the 1700s used it to treat poison ivy and a whole host of other conditions. 

    Vinegar means “sour wine” in French and can be made from almost any carbohydrate that can be fermented, including grapes, dates, coconut, potatoes, beetroot, and, of course, apples. Traditionally, vinegar is made through a long, slow fermentation process which can take weeks or even months. It is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. Bacteria and yeast are added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, thus turning the sugars into alcohol. In a second fermentation process, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria (acetobactor). Acetic acid and malic acid give vinegar its sour taste.

    The longer fermentation period allows for the accumulation of a non-toxic slime made up of yeast and acetobacter, known as the mother of vinegar. The 'Mother' of vinegar which resembles a cobweb is an amino acid-based substance found in unprocessed, unfiltered vinegar and is responsible for most of its health benefits. It also indicates that your amber coloured vinegar is of the best quality. Most manufacturers pasteurize and filter their vinegar to prevent the mother from forming. 

    Why choose Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?

    All vinegars seem alike. However, according to many studies and researches, ACV encompasses more benefits than other vinegar types especially in the field of health and medicine. It has been perhaps the most versatile type of vinegar and is considered a pioneer in health benefits through oral consumption. ACV also contains higher levels of vitamins and minerals plus multiple types of antioxidants called polyphenols which have proven health benefits.

    Distilled or white vinegar is a clear, colourless vinegar made from ethanol or laboratory-produced acetic acid and then mixed or diluted in water. It is good for pickling and household cleaning but not a very good vinegar for cooking because of its harsh taste. Red wine vinegar, used in cooking, is usually processed and pasteurised. 

    Balsamic vinegar is traditionally produced in the city of Modena, Italy. It is made from a concentrated grape juice that is fermented and aged for at least 10 months to develop its flavour. It's health benefits are somewhat similar to ACV, however, it can be quite expensive to buy compared to ACV which is widely available in its unpasteurised probiotic form. 

    Overall, ACV, the cloudy looking, mild tasting vinegar is the better choice especially if you are planning to consume it. 

    Benefits and Uses

    ACV can not only add another dimension to your cooking, it’s useful for health purposes, cleaning, garden care, hygiene, beauty and much more. 

    It is rich in bioactive components like acetic acid, gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, caffeic acid, and more, giving it potent antioxidant, antimicrobial, and many other beneficial properties. 

    It is useful in treating diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels; heart disease by lowering triglycerides and VLDL (damaging form of cholesterol); weight loss by increasing the feeling of fullness, increasing metabolism, and reducing water retention. It is great for colds, sore throats and other infections, due to its anti bacterial properties and its ability to break down mucous and reduce mucous formation. 

    No digestive problem nor acid reflux is a challenge for this vinegar as it rebalances the ph levels in the stomach. The pectin contained in it also soothes intestinal spasms. Skin irritations and wounds, such as insect bites, cuts, poison ivy and sunburn are easily treated. It can even remove warts thanks to its high acetic acid levels. Simply place an ACV soaked cotton wool directly over the wart and leave it there overnight. Repeat this until the wart turns crusty, then dark and eventually falls off. 

    For a great energy boost try taking diluted ACV (1tbsp ACV in half a glass of water) first thing in the morning. The potassium and the enzymes in the vinegar will banish fatigue and the amino acids may prevent the build up of lactic acid in the body causing tiredness, aches and pains. 

    You can use it to marinate and ferment foods. It is great in sauces and soups, and is a nice dressing on salads. It is a vital ingredient for a home-made bone broth as it has the ability to extract the essential minerals from the bones during cooking. 

    ACV is a great natural cleaning aid for your household appliances. It is also great at killing weeds in your garden and neutralising odours in your home. Due to its anti microbial properties it kills unwanted bacteria and pesticides around your fruit and vegetable. By just adding a small amount of ACV to water (1:10) and washing your fruit and vegetables in that solution, you can be rest assure that there will be no nasties lurking around. Just be careful not to wash fragile fruits like berries since they will get damaged in the process. 

    ACV is a natural alternative to many of your beauty regimes. It can balance the ph level of your scalp thus preventing dandruff. It's a brilliant facial toner and cleanser aiding in the prevention of acne. Its anti inflammatory properties will also aid in fading away acne scars and other bruising. It kills odour causing bacteria so would be great as an underarm deodorant. It is one of the go to products for oral health treating bad breathe, whitening teeth, gum disease, tooth ache and so on. However, it is important to dilute the vinegar as the acidity can damage the teeth as well as the tissues in your mouth and throat. 

    ACV really is an all rounder condiment, and not only should it be in your kitchen cabinet but in your bathroom cabinet and garden shed as well. So, what they say is true: A home without vinegar is not a home at all. Remember to buy the ACV which contains the 'mother' in the bottle and err on the side of caution when consuming it, always diluting the vinegar before ingesting it. 

    Recipes for Health

    Dandruff treatment

    Mix equal part ACV and water and pour into a spray bottle. Spritz on your scalp and wrap a towel around your head. Let it sit for 15 minutes to an hour and then wash your hair as usual. Do this twice a week for best results. 

    Remedy for indigestion

    1 tsp raw honey

    1 tsp ACV

    1 glass of warm water

    Mix these ingredients together and drink 30 minutes before your meal. 

    Why not make your own ACV by following the instructions on this link: www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/make-raw-apple-cider-vinegar/

    Sources

    §  www.rd.com/health/wellness/apple-cider-vinegar-benefits/

    §  articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/03/21/apple-cider-vinegar-uses.aspx

    §  en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_cider_vinegar

    §  www.livestrong.com/article/212202-difference-between-cider-vinegar-distilled-vinegar/

    §  www.youthhealthmag.com/articles/16986/20150602/how-is-apple-cider-vinegar-different-from-other-types.htm

    §  paleoleap.com/what-about-vinegar/

  • 19 Feb 2016 8:43 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    The coconut palm is truly an amazing tree. In many parts of the world it is known as the "tree of life" or "the tree that provides all the necessities of life". It is a source of food and drink to nourish the body, medicine to maintain and restore health, and material to build shelter, clothing and tools. It grows abundantly in the tropics and the coconut is its prized possession. Coconuts, in its natural state, are much larger than how we see in it the supermarket. They are in fact, encapsulated in a thick smooth green husk which, when dehusked, reveals the hard brown 'seed' we recognise. 

    Coconuts can produce a variety of edible products, such as coconut meat, water, milk, cream and oil as well as sugar, vinegar and wine. Coconut oil is extracted from coconut meat or flesh, which is the inner soft white portion. However, there are several ways in which the oil is extracted which also defines the quality of the oil. The majority of the coconut oils on the market, that are mass produced, are made from the dried white flesh known as copra, which is reconstituted with water and heated to separate the oil from the rest of the coconut. This oil is then refined, bleached, and deodorised, yielding a poor quality oil with less nutritional value. So when choosing to buy coconut oil look for the unrefined, cold pressed, virgin coconut oil. This type is produced from fresh coconuts where the coconut meat is milled and passed through a cold press expeller. Here, the oil is literally squeezed out, passed through a filter to remove any sediments and you are left with a clear, fragrant oil which hardens when cooled. 


    Coconut Cures

    Coconut oil has taken the spotlight in recent times for its numerous health benefits. This may come as a surprise to some of you since coconut oil is 92.1% saturated fat. In the past, it was heavily scrutinised on the assumption that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol, in turn, causing heart disease. What is not known is that there are different types of saturated fat just like there are different types of polyunsaturated fat. The type of saturated fat in coconut oil does not raise blood cholesterol. The reason for this is because it is made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which make it different from other oils giving it its remarkable nutritional and medicinal properties. In fact, the unique combination of the MCFAs in coconut oil allows it to be easily digested and provides quick nutrition for the body without burdening the digestive tract. The ease of its digestion means it also improves the absorption of other nutrients. So when added to your diet it can improve the absorption of minerals such as magnesium and calcium as well some B vitamins (the fat soluble vitamins) such as vit A,D,E,K and beta carotene. 

    The MCFAs is the livers preferred choice for fuel to produce energy so coconut oil can boost your energy levels, make you more alert, and is a great substitute to caffeine. It may not give you that kick you get from your morning coffee, it is more subtle, yet lasts for hours rather than minutes. The best thing about changing to coconut oil is that you don't develop a dependency to it nor do you get the lows and withdrawal symptoms. So why not try adding a dollop of coconut oil to a nourishing smoothie, warm herbal tea, hot chocolate or juice to wake you up before you head to work. 

    Surprisingly to some, coconut oil is now known as the 'low calorie fat'. Instead of being stored away in fat cells, it is utilised as an energy source. When added to a meal it satisfies the hunger faster resulting in less snacking between meals. It also increases metabolism, thus, burning more calories faster! A study has shown that on obese individuals coconut oil had a greater effect on increasing their metabolism which, in turn, leads to weight loss. Yes, weight loss! The best thing about this is that the more body fat you have, the greater the effect coconut oil has on stimulating your metabolism, the more weight you lose. All of this without breaking a sweat!

    Coconut oil stimulates the thyroid function which, in turn, improves a host of symptoms such as migraines, pmt, anxiety, depression, irritability, memory loss, insomnia, constipation, food intolerances and the list goes on. The MCFAs has powerful antimicrobial properties with the ability to destroy fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites without harming the good bacteria living in our bodies. This means it is able to treat infections like pneumonia, meningitis, food poisoning, conjunctivitis, oral and gum disease, candida, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, and even SARS and AIDS.

    With all the benefits I've mentioned so far it shouldn't astonish you to know that it also has gut healing, anti inflammatory powers. By just adding coconut products to your diet you may be able to protect yourself from ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, gallbladder disease and so on. It's antioxidant properties protects us against conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, kidney stones, gout, lupus, PMS, arthritis, ageing, skin diseases, sun burn, diabetes, food allergies, hay fever, asthma and even cancer. 

    This is just the tip of the iceberg of some of the amazing things coconut oil can do. By just adding one or two tablespoons to your diet you will be treating any underlying illnesses plus optimising your health at the same type. Be sure to get the best quality coconut oil you can afford and get the whole family involved in consuming this delicious exotic healing oil. 


    Recipes for Health

    Health tonic

    All purpose health tonic packed full of vitamins and minerals that will give you the energy you need to start off the day. A great way to add coconut oil to your diet and a brilliant substitute to your morning coffee.  It can be taken at any time of the day and can be served hot or cold. 

    §  1 cup fresh vegetable juice (such as carrot, beetroot, celery, chard, spinach, cilantro, bell peppers and courgettes)

    §  ½ cup hot water

    §  2 tbsp coconut oil

    §  ¼ tsp onion powder

    §  220g / 1 cup tomato sauce

    §  1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice

    §  ¼ tsp sea salt (otherwise Himalayan or Celtic salt)

    §  Pepper to taste (optional)

    Heat water, coconut oil, and onion powder until the oil is completely melted. Stir together the hot water mixture, tomato sauce, vegetable juice, lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. The beverage should be warm enough to keep the coconut oil melted. If the flavour of the tonic is too strong, dilute it with a little more water. Stir and enjoy. 

    Clove ointment

    This ointment is good for bacterial infections. Use topically on the skin or gums. Good for fighting gum disease and dental plaque. Apply the ointment with a cotton swab to the affected area. 

    §  1 part essential clove oil

    §  10 parts virgin coconut oil



    Sources

    o   Coconut cures, 2005, Bruce Fife ND. 

    o   Scalding, L., et al. Postprandial thermogenesis in lean and obese subjects after meals supplemented with medium chain and long chain triglycerides. Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 53: 1130-1133. 

    o   Blog.lucybee.co

  • 19 Jan 2016 5:48 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    With the cold days hitting us everyone heads for the natural remedies for colds, coughs and sore throats. One common condiment is honey. But not just any honey, RAW honey. Since honey was discovered we've all known its benefits for soothing an itchy throat but only recently have people taken a particular interest in raw, unadulterated honey. What's the difference? You may ask. Well, it's actually honey for starters.

    Raw honey is made from the nectars of flowers. Worker bees gather the nectar and place it in their honey sac where it mixes with acid secretions and deposited in the honeycombs cells. Bees then fan the deposit with their wings to reduce the moisture content from 40-80% to 18-20% before the cell is sealed with beeswax and the honey is complete. The Bee Keepers then remove the honeycomb frames and scrape the sealed beeswax to release the honey. It is then placed into a honey extractor which spins them so that the honey flies out into the big canister. It is then passed through a screen to remove any remaining beeswax before it is stored into jars. Nowadays most honey found in the supermarkets have been heat treated for longer shelf life, and filtered, leaving no traces of bee pollen and lack beneficial vitamins and enzymes which make honey, well, honey. Other natural constituents are also removed in the process.


    Benefits

    Raw honey contains up to 80 different substances important to human nutrition. Besides glucose and fructose, honey contains: All of the B-complex, A, C, D, E, and K, minerals and trace elements: magnesium, sulphur, phosphorus, iron, calcium, chlorine, potassium, iodine, sodium, copper, and manganese. The live enzyme content of honey is one of the highest of all foods. It contains over 5000 enzymes including amylase, a digestive enzyme for carbohydrates. The benefit of ingesting naturally occurring enzymes such as amylase is that it reduces the burden on the body to produce these enzymes itself to digest the food.

    The two key beneficial components are bee pollen and propolis, however, there are other substances in honey not yet identified, which may also be responsible for its positive effects.

    Bee pollen is a super food containing all the nutrients required by the human body. It contains 22 amino acids and 27 minerals and an array of vitamins, essential fatty acids and bioflavonoids. It's great for a healthy heart, weight control, beauty, allergies, anti-aging and much more.

    Propolis contains antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties demonstrating its effectiveness in cancer treatments, allergies, diabetes, high cholesterol, ulcers and many other illnesses and infections. It provides natural defences against cell damage by neutralizing unstable oxygen molecules known as free radicals. Its antioxidant level is equivalent to that of spinach, or even strawberries, and unique to honey is Pinocembrin, an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.

    Raw honey does not ferment in the stomach so it can aid in stomach upsets and diarrhoea. It is also alkaline forming unlike processed honey and processed foods, which are acid forming. For this reason it aids in balancing our body ph levels preventing an environment in the body which is a breeding ground for bacteria and other illnesses. It also heals wounds, burns, cataracts, skin ulcers, sores and scrapes and can provide a protective barrier for wounds.

    With raw honey having all these health benefits and tasting so good you almost want to have it with every meal and snack. However, regardless of it being one of the healthiest sweeteners out there, it is still high in natural sugars and should be consumed in moderation.



    Types of honey

    There are more than 300 types of nectar sources collected by bees worldwide. Thus, they are able to make more than 300 different varieties of honey. Each variety has its own texture, taste, colour and flavour depending upon the region, floral source and even treatment. To learn about the specific health benefits for some of the common types of raw honey, click on the link below:

    http://naturalon.com/huge-list-of-22-types-of-honey-and-their-medicinal-properties/view-all/


    Recipes for Health

    Brightening facemask for scars and dark spots:

    • 2 tsp raw honey
    • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

    Mix together and apply to face for 20-30 minutes and then wash off with warm water.

    Cough Syrup

    • Raw Honey
    • Onion (chopped)

    In a jar, add chopped onions until it covers the bottom of the jar. Then top with 1 tbsp honey or enough to barely cover the onions but not completely. Make more layers of onion and honey until it is one and a half inches away from the top of the jar. Let it sit for 24 hours. An amber fluid develops and the onions float to the top. Strain the onions out. Store the syrup in the fridge. Take a tsp of it when needed.


    Sources

    Purehealingfoods.com

    Organics.org

    Permaculturenews.org

    Swansonvitamins.com

    Livingthenourishedlife.com

  • 14 Jan 2016 10:41 PM | Simply Hijama (Administrator)

    Watch this space for our new monthly blog on various health topics!

    We take promotion of health and prevention of illness very seriously. We don't believe in promoting a single therapy, health should be maintained holistically. We will be looking at various remedies; natural and allopathic, as well as addressing a number of health issues.

    The blog will be written by Aliya (Umm Omar). Aliya is a BSc Honours graduate in Nutrition from Kings College London university. She used to work for the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION) as their Press Officer, Researcher, and headed their Marketing and Promotions department. She was the editor for the ION E-Newsletter, and has published a retrospective study on vitamin B6 in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. She has also co-authored other publications in collaboration with Patrick Holford. 

    Coming soon......

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