All Posts tagged health benefits

Is Wheatgrass a Wonder Plant?

When I was an intern in chiropractic school, a patient of mine would always come in promoting the benefits of wheatgrass.  I must admit, at the time, I couldn’t develop a taste for it.  However, I am now starting to see the benefits of how it can impact your health.   For those of you who don’t know, wheatgrass is actually what its name implies, the grass of the young wheat plant.  However, at this early stage of the plant’s life, it is considered a vegetable rather than a grain and is safe for gluten-sensitive individuals.  Wheatgrass  can be eaten as fresh produce, juiced, or taken as a powder or tablet supplement, and consuming it is an exceptional way to increase dark green leafy vegetables in the diet.

Before we look at the health benefits of wheatgrass, let’s look at some of its nutritional benefits.  It is a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and enzymes.  It contains more than 90 minerals, including high concentrations of the most alkaline minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium, and it has more vitamin C than oranges and twice the vitamin A as carrots.  Wheatgrass also contains 19 amino acids, the building blocks of protein, including arginine, serine, absenisic, lysine, aspartic acid, glycine, alanine, methionine, leucine, tryptophane, phenylalanine, and valine.  In addition, it contains many essential enzymes including:  protease (which assists in protein digestion), cytochrome oxidase (which is a powerful anti oxidant), amylase (which facilitates digestion), lipase (which is a fat splitting enzyme), and superoxide dismutase or SOD (which is found in all body cells and is known for its ability to lessen the effect of radiation and slow cellular aging).  To compare wheatgrass to the nutritional value of other vegetables, 30 ml of freshly squeezed juice is equivalent to 1 kg of leafy green vegetables.  Just one teaspoon of wheatgrass powder, weighing 3.5 grams, is nutritionally equal to an entire spinach salad weighing 50 grams.

With all of those nutrients, the health benefits of wheatgrass are too numerous for this post, but here are some of the main ones:

  1. It helps your body to build red blood cells which increases the blood’s oxygen-carrying ability.
  2. It lowers blood pressure by dilating the blood pathways throughout the body.
  3.  Wheatgrass stimulates the thyroid gland, helping with obesity, indigestion, and a host of other complaints.
  4. It restores alkalinity to the blood.  Its abundance of alkaline minerals helps reduce over-acidity.
  5. It is a great source of vitamins B, C, E and carotene which are hugely effective in destroying and eliminating free radicals and cleansing the body.
  6. Because it is also high in saponin, wheatgrass offers excellent support to the lymphatic system, helping to carry away hundreds and thousands of toxins from the cells of the body.
  7. It has been used to treat digestive complaints such as peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, constipation, and diarrhea.
  8. It is a powerful detoxifier of our liver and blood.  The enzymes and amino acids in wheatgrass can protect us from carcinogens.  It strengthens our cells, detoxifies the liver and bloodstream, and chemically neutralizes environmental pollutants.
  9. Similarly, wheatgrass fights tumors and neutralizes toxins.  Recent studies show that the juice has a powerful ability to fight tumors without the usual toxicity of drugs that also inhibit cell-destroying agents. The many active compounds found in grass juice cleanse the blood and neutralize and digest toxins in our cells.
  10. Externally applied to the skin can help eliminate itching almost immediately.
  11. When rubbed into the scalp before a shampoo, wheatgrass will help mend damaged hair and alleviate itchy scalp conditions.
  12. It is soothing and healing for cuts, burns, scrapes, rashes, poison ivy, athlete’s foot, insect bites, boils, sores, open ulcers, and sunburns.  Use it as a poultice and replace every 2-4 hours.
  13. Wheatgrass powders and juices are an extremely effective way of boosting the body’s immune system to fight against and recover from illnesses and ailments.
  14.  One enzyme found in wheatgrass, SOD, lessens the effects of radiation and acts as an anti-inflammatory compound that may prevent cellular damage following heart attacks or exposure to irritants.

With all of these benefits, you may want to add wheatgrass to your diet.


Garlic, an Important Part of Your Healthcare

Garlic is thought to work because of its antibiotic and blood cleansing properties.  As you can see from my previous post, it can help everything from cardiovascular health to cold and flu prevention.  In this post we’re going to go over some pointers on how to take garlic and some of its possible side effects.

Garlic is most potent, in terms of health benefits, when it is in its raw form.  Crushing or chopping it up helps to release its active compounds.  I have a colleague who will chew a raw clove whenever she feels like she is coming down with a sore throat.  Although this works well, not everyone may be able to tolerate chewing a raw clove.  If you are cooking with it, in order to preserve its health benefits, wait until the last 10 minutes of cooking to add it.  Make sure you don’t microwave garlic as this kills the active ingredients.  One good tip is to place a few cloves in a bottle of olive oil and then drizzle it over a salad.

For most individuals, garlic does not cause any serious side effects.  However people who consume it in large quantities may suffer from stomach irritation, heartburn, or flatulence.  One clove a day is sufficient to improve your health, and 2-3 cloves will help prevent a cold.  Garlic also appears to be safe during pregnancy and breast-feeding. In fact, two studies have shown that babies prefer breast milk better from mothers who eat it regularly.   Warning, due to garlic’s anti-clotting and blood thinning properties, people taking anti-coagulant drugs or who are scheduled for surgery should check with their doctor before taking supplements.

If you are taking garlic in supplement form instead of consuming the cloves directly, 600-900 mg/day is a good dosage.  Supplements can also help if you are concerned about “garlic breath” because you can purchase “odorless” supplements from most health food stores.  However, there is some question out there whether the odorless garlic supplements work as well.  When looking for a good garlic supplement at your local health food store or online, don’t go for the cheapest brand as it will have a lot of fillers.  Paying a little more is always a good idea. The best type of supplements is a gelatin capsules filled with garlic liquid.  They tend to be more potent, which means it delivers more pure garlic to your system.


Things You Don’t Know About Avocados

Facts About Avocados

Avocados are a fruit, not a vegetable.  There are more than 500 varieties of avocados.  They are native to Central and South America where it is also called the “alligator pear” because of its alligator skin texture and pear shape.   The Aztec word for avocado was ahuacatl, but Spanish explorers couldn’t pronounce that word so they called it aguacate. This is the origin of the word guacamole.

Avocados were first introduced to the United States in 1871, when Judge R.B. Ord planted three trees in Santa Barbara, California.   Rudolph Hass, a postman, patented an avocado tree in 1935 that’s called the Hass.  This is the most common avocado grown in the U.S. and is the only avocado grown year round.

Mexico is the world’s top producer of avocados, with California coming in second.  California boasts 7,000 avocado groves with 60% of them being in San Diego County. Florida is the second main producer in the United States.  Aside from the United States and Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Colombia are the world’s top producing countries.

The average avocado contains 300 calories and 30 grams of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat.  Avocados have the highest protein content of any fruit, and they contain more potassium than bananas.  One avocado contains 81 mcg of lutein, an important nutrient for healthy eyes.  Lutein is a carotenoid antioxidant that is found in many fruits and vegetables.  Lutein is naturally present in the macula area of the retina, and it is believed to be important for eye health, providing possible protection against cataracts and macular degeneration.

Avocados are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, fiber, folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and copper.  They are known to have an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial flesh that has been used for centuries.  Avocados contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that may help to lower cholesterol.  Avocados are also an excellent source of glutathione, an important antioxidant that researchers say is important in preventing aging, cancer, and heart disease.

Health Benefits of Avocados

Prostate Cancer Prevention
Avocados have been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer.

Oral Cancer Defense
Research has shown that certain compounds in avocados are able to seek out pre-cancerous and cancerous oral cancer cells and destroy them without harming healthy cells.

Breast Cancer Protection
Avocado, like olive oil, is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies.

Eye Health
Avocados have more of the carotenoid lutein than any other commonly consumed fruit. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts, two disabling age-related eye diseases.

Lower Cholesterol
Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a compound that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. In one study, 45 volunteers experienced an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocados for only one week.

Heart Health
One cup of avocado has 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. Studies show that people who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower incidence of heart disease than those who don’t. The vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione in avocado are also great for your