Monthly Archives: October 2006

FAMILY, FAITH FOR LONG LIFE

People with strong family ties and religious faith are much more likely to live beyond their 100th. birthday than the rest of us, says a new research.

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Demographers who studied clusters centenarians in Japan, Italy and America found that most shared five habits in common.

The other factors were drinking wine and eating moderation, not smoking and having a clear division of labour between man and wife so that stress is equally shared.

The population with longest life expectancy are the inhabitants of Japanese island of Okinawa, where men live to an average age 78 and woman to 86.

Okinawans have 20% of heart disease,a quarter of the breast and prostate cancer and third of dementia cases found in the US,
according to Dr.Craig Willcox, of okinawa Centenarian Study.

Most belong to MOAI, mutual support networks that meet to take tea and chat several times a week, providing financial and
emotional support throughout their lives.

The researchers believe that having IKIGAI, which translates roughly as “that which makes one’s life worth living “, is central to the longevity of the okinawans.

Many of the elderly on the island grow their own food live and live by the confucian-inspired adage. “hara hachi bu“-“eat
until your stomach is 80 percent full.”

In villages close to the Gennargentu Mountains in central Sardinia, known as Blue Zone by demographers, 91 of 17,865 people born between 1880 and 1900. lived beyond their 100th. birthday, twice the average Italian rate.

Inhabitants in the region were found to stay active , tending animals or attending to others farm duties for their longer than other societies.

Family bond were also found to be much stronger. Very few people put their parents in retirement homes as it would dishonour their family.

Whereas the ratio of female to mail centenarians in most countries is around four to one.In part of Sardinia is close to
one to one.

The researchers put this down to a strict sexual division of labour, with men seen as being in charge of physical work and
being the bread earner , while the woman are managing the home and finance.

This is believed to reduce the stress faced by the male inhabitants, thereby substantially reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Drinking moderate amount of RED WINE containing high levels of compounds that inhibits the production of ENDORTHELIN-1—-
a substance critical to the development of heart disease —- and eating PECORINO CHEESE — contain omega3 fatty acid—
mostly helps Sardinians to live longer.

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Balance your blood sugar – ideal for managing hypoglycemia.
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As a dietary supplement, mix one serving with 6-8 ounces of cold water, milk, or blend with your favorite Myoplex shake. For best results, consume 1-4 servings daily. To support positive nitrogen balance, serious athletes should consume approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight spread over 4-6 small meals per day.” “Athletes who engage in intense, regular exercise should consume at least 120 ounces of water per day. Drink an additional 16 ounces of water for every pound lost during exercise.

Good News for Those Sensitive to Dairy!
Virtually lactose-free Whey Healthier Protein Meal is nearly free of the allergenic milk protein casein, and is often well tolerated by those who are dairy sensitive.

Precautions:

Do not use if under the age of 18. Consult a physician prior to use if you are pregnant, contemplating pregnancy, nursing, or have any medical condition. If you are allergic to milk and milk products, Whey Healthier should be used only under guidance of your physician.

(extracted from:http://www.mercola.com/forms/whey_healthier.htm)

Breast cancer strikes younger women too.

How to spot signs of trouble: In November 1999, Jennifer Johnson seemed to be living her dream. She was 27 years old, happily married to her college sweetheart and expecting her first child. Johnson also tried to give back to her community by volunteering for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Because of that work, she understood the importance of monthly breast self-exams. Though breast cancer is unusual in young women, she was vigilant about the task. And that was how, one day in the shower, she found what she describes as a “rock” in her left breast. It was a devastating discovery  and it also saved her life.

A biopsy revealed that Johnson had invasive ductal carcinoma, which means that malignant cells had formed in a milk duct and then spread. Her tumor measured 3.5 centimeters (about 1.4 inches), she says. Once she had gotten over the initial shock of her diagnosis and begun treatment, Johnson met and joined forces with three other young women fighting breast cancer: Patti Balwanz, Jana Peters and Kim Carlos. They formed their own private support group, meeting regularly for lunch at the Nordstrom’s store near their Kansas City homes. The friendship inspired their moving new book, “Nordie’s at Noon,” published this month by Da Capo Press. “We felt such comfort in being able to talk to each other and share our stories,” says Carlos. “We felt there weren’t enough resources out there for young women.”

Breast cancer is generally considered an older women’s disease; the median age of diagnosis is 63. But younger women are not immune. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, one in 229 women in their 30s will be diagnosed with a malignancy in their breasts. Young women also have special concerns that don’t affect older breast cancer patients. If they haven’t had children, they worry that chemotherapy or radiation will send them into early menopause. If they  are single and dating, they may have to contend with feeling less attractive after surgery. Breast cancer in younger women tends to be more aggressive, which makes early diagnosis all the more critical. But getting that early diagnosis is often difficult. In general, women with no special risk factors for breast cancer don’t start getting mammograms, the most widely used screening, until they’re in their 40s. (Before then, younger women’s denser breast tissue makes mammograms less reliable.)

Even if women do notice something suspicious during a self-exam, doctors don’t always take their complaints seriously. “The doctor will say, ‘Oh, let’s just watch that lump for three or six months or a year and see what happens’,” says Carlos. That often means that young women are diagnosed at a later stage and face a grimmer prognosis. In fact, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women aged 15 to 54, according to the National Cancer Institute. However, if the tumor is detected early enough, the odds are good: 83 percent of women under 45 whose cancers are found early will survive for at least five years.

Without mammograms, what’s the best tool for spotting signs of trouble? All four of the Nordie’s authors found lumps themselves. But among breast cancer groups, there is disagreement over whether self-exams should be included in screening recommendations; studies have not proven that the exams reduce deaths. However, no one disputes that self-exams help you become aware of the geography of your breast so you can detect any abnormalities early on. “The most important thing is to understand what kind of lumps or bumps are normal for you and if something is different, you need to consult a doctor,” says Randi Rosenberg, a founding member and former president of the Young Survival Coalition, a network of young breast cancer survivors(www.youngsurvival.org) (For tips on how to check your breasts, go to the Komen Foundation site,www.komen.org   and click on the breast-self exam link.)

(As published in the Newsweek)

Sesame seeds

 

Chung Po MookImage by Pabo76 via Flickr


Botanical name: Sesamum Indicum, Sesamum Orientale.
Family: Pedaliaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Sesamum
Species: S. indicum

Other names: Benne, Bene, Oil Plant, Vangloe, Tilseed, Teel, Teel-seed, gingili.

Habitat : Sesamum Indicum is possibly native to Africa

Description:
Magnified image of white sesame seedsIt is an annual plant growing 50 to 100 cm (1.6 to 3.3 ft) tall, with opposite leaves 4 to 14 cm (1.6 to 5.5 in) long with an entire margin; they are broad lanceolate, to 5 cm (2 in) broad, at the base of the plant, narrowing to just 1 cm (0.4 in) broad on the flowering stem……..click  & see the pictures

The flowers are yellow, tubular, 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in) long, with a four-lobed mouth. The flowers may vary in colour with some being white, blue or purple.

Sesame fruit is a capsule, normally pubescent, rectangular in section and typically grooved with a short triangular beak. The length of the fruit capsule varies from 2 to 8 cm, its width varies between 0.5 to 2 cm, and the number of loculi from 4 to 12. The fruit naturally splits opens (dehisces) to release the seeds by splitting along the septa from top to bottom or by means of two apical pores, depending on the varietal cultivar. The degree of dehiscence is of importance in breeding for mechanised harvesting as is the insertion height of the first capsule.

Sesame seeds are small. The size, form and colours vary with the thousands of varieties now known. Typically, the seeds are about 3 to 4 millimeters long by 2 millimeters wide and 1 millimeter thick. The seeds are ovate, slightly flattened and somewhat thinner at the eye of the seed (hilum) than at the opposite end. The weight of the seeds are between 20 and 40 milligrams. The seed coat (testa) may be smooth or ribbed. CLICK & SEE

Sesame seeds come in many colours depending on the cultivar harvested. The most traded variety of sesame is off-white coloured. Other common colours are buff, tan, gold, brown, reddish, gray and black.

Sesame seed is sometimes sold with its seed coat removed (decorticated). This is the variety often present on top of buns in developed economies

African slaves brought sesame seeds, which they called benné seeds, to America, where they became a popular ingredient in Southern dishes.

Sesame seeds can be sprinkled on breads or on main dishes and vegetables to add a mild nutty flavor.
Tahini is a paste made of ground sesame seeds which is used in many Near and Far East recipes. You can purchase it prepared in most markets, or make your own.

Sesame seed oil is still the main source of fat used in cooking in the Near and Far East.
.Sesame plant

Plants in the field

Sesame Seeds is neither a herb or a spice but one of the oldest annual plants grown for its seeds and oil. It is native to Africa and Asia but today is grown in China, India, Mexico and southwest United States as a commercial crop.

Sesame seeds come in a variety of colors depending on the plant variety, including shades of brown, red, black, yellow, and most commonly, a pale grayish ivory. The darker seeds are said to be more flavorful.

Cultivation:
Sesame is grown in many parts of the world on over 5 million acres (20,000 km²). The largest producer of the crop in 2007 was China, followed by India, Myanmar, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda and Nigeria. Seventy percent of the world’s sesame crop is grown in Asia, with Africa growing 26%.

Beginning in the 1950s, U.S. production of the crop has been largely centered in Texas, with acerage fluctuating between 10,000 to 20,000 acres (40 to 80 km²) in recent years. The country’s crop does not make up a significant global source; indeed imports have now outstripped domestic production

Aroma and Flavour: In spite of their high oil content, sesame seeds have little aroma, but when they are dry-fried their nutty aroma is very pronounced and their flavor heightened.

Culinary Use: Sesame oil is used in margarines and as a cooking medium and a flavouring ingredient. The seeds are ground to an oily, beige-coloured paste known as tahini, which is used in hummus, a Middle Eastern dip. Sometimes the tahini is mixed with lemon juice and gralic and used as a dip with hot pitta bread as starter or picnic food.

The Chinese are fond of sesame; sesame oil is widely used in Chinese cooking as a flavouring. The seeds are also used, for example sesame prawn toasts are scattered with seeds before they are deep-fried. They are also sprinkled over Chinese toffee apples, pieces of apple fried in a light batter and coated in caramel. Both oil and seeds are sued in the cooking of other Far Eastern countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Gomasio is a Japanese specialty using sesame seeds: s mixture of the ground seeds and salt sued as a seasoning.

The seeds are popular scattered on bread, sweet and savoury biscuits, particularly in Greece and Turkey.

white sesame seeds

Medicinal and Other Use: Sesame is used in laxatives, as an emollient and in poultices. Sesame oil, also called gingelly oil, is highly stable and it does not become rancid quickly in hot humid conditions; it is used in lubricants, soap, cosmetics and ointments. The mixture or ‘cake’ that remains after the pressing of the oil is full of protein and eaten as a subsistence food.
Sesame is a member of the Pedaliaceae family. It is native to tropical Asian countries. The sesame plant can grow to a height of three feet and is an annual herb. It is an erect plant covered in fine hair and has a square stem. The leaves are flat, lanceolate in shape and grow in clusters of twos and threes. The flowers are pinkish purple in color or white and are bell shaped. Sesame is planted in the month of May and is harvested by fall or autumn. The name sesame is derived from Middle English sisame and from the Latin sesamum.

Interestingly, nutrients from one seed to another vary, but they all contain protein, oils (oleic acid, liuoleic acid, palmitoleic acid, araehidic acid and tetracosanoic acid) lecithin, minerals (Ca, P, K, Fe) saccharide, cellulose, VB2, VE, niacin, folic acid, sterol, sesamd, sesamin and cytochrome C. Unhulled seeds contain more calcium then hulled seeds.

Sesame seeds may be the oldest condiment known to man dating back to as early as 1600 BC. They are highly valued for their oil which is exceptionally resistant to rancidity. “Open sesame,” the famous phrase from the Arabian Nights, reflects the distinguishing feature of the sesame seed pod, which bursts open when it reaches maturity. The scientific name for sesame seeds is Sesamun indicum.

Copper Provides Relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Magnesium Supports Vascular and Respiratory Health,

Calcium Helps Prevent Colon Cancer, Osteoporosis, Migraine and PMS, Zinc for Bone Health and Sesame Seeds’ Phytosterols Lower Cholesterol

Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers.
The oils extracted from pressed seeds are used as cooking oil, as a salad oil and in making margarine. The seeds are sprinkled on top of breads and other baked goods. Dried sesame powder is mixed with hot water and sugar to from a congee that is eaten as a dessert.Sesame oil is also used as a pharmaceutic solvent, and sesamolin is also used as a synergist for pyrethrum insecticides

Sesame is supposed to tonify kidney, liver and relax the bowel. It is used for the treatment of constipation due to hard stools, tinnitus, anaemia, clizziness and poor vision. Mix powdered toasted sesame seeds with ground tuckahoe. Stir one to two teaspoonful into warm water and take in the mornings.

Infuse the leaves in some hot boiling water and use this to gargle and treat inflamed membranes of the mouth. Use only after tea has cooled down.

In traditional Chinese medicine, black sesame seeds have sweet and neutral properties, and are associated with the Kidney and Liver meridians. They function to tonify yin jing and blood, moisten the intestines, and help build the spirit, or shen.

Women of ancient Babylon would eat halva, a mixture of honey and sesame seeds to prolong youth and beauty, while Roman soldiers ate the mixture for strength and energy .

Sesame seeds produce an allergic reaction in a small percentage of the general population (5-13 per 100).

There have been erroneous claims that sesame seeds also contain THC which may be detectable on random screening. This error stems from a misunderstanding of the commercial drug Dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC. The normal delivery mechanism for synthetic Dronabinol is via infusion into sesame oil and encapsulation into soft gelatin capsules. As a result some people are under the mistaken assumption that sesame oil naturally contains THC. In fact, THC, CBD, CBN and the other cannibinoids are unique to the Cannabis genus.

Sesame oil is used for massage and health treatments of the body in the ancient Indian ayurvedic system with the types of massage called abhyanga and shirodhara. Ayurveda views sesame oil as the most viscous of the plant oils and believes it may pacify the health problems associated with Vata aggravation.

Black sesame seeds are an extremely good source of calcium; studies have shown that one gram of seeds contains approximately 85 milligrams of calcium. Black sesame seeds also have high amounts of protein, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. In some patients, black sesame seeds are used to help patients recover from serious illnesses and fevers, treat constipation and promote regular bowel movements. Some practitioners recommend using black sesame seeds with polygonum to keep a person’s hair looking rich and dark.

You may click & read : The sesame wonder

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
Resources:
http://www.hungrymonster.com/FoodFacts/Food_Facts.cfm?Phrase_vch=Herbs&fid=5905,
http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/herbcentral/blacksesameseeds.html and
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84
http://www.hotel-club-thailand.com/thai-cooking/thai-spices.htm
http://www.lowfatlifestyle.com/flavoring/herbs_spices/sesame.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesame_seed

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Protein find may be kye to cancer,eye disorder

A protein that prevents blood vessels from forming in the cornea could become the basis of new treatments for cancer and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly, scientists said.

The team of international researchers identified a protein called sVEGFR-1 and found that when levels are low, blood vessels begin to form in the eye, impairing vision.

They believe therapies that boost levels of the protein could prevent the formation of blood vessels, which are a component in the spread of cancers and the cause of macular degeneration.

“We have discovered what it is that keeps the cornea clear. It has no blood vessels — which allows us to see,”said Dr Jayakrishna Ambati, of the University of Kentucky in Lexington who headed the research team.

The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye. Scientists have wondered for centuries why it has no blood vessels.

What causes blood vessels to form is a fundamental question for vision and also for diseases like cancer.

“This finding teaches us what keeps the cornea clear and gives us the ability to exploit it in other diseases, both in the eye and systemically because now you have a protein that blocks blood vessel growth that the body itself makes,”added Ambati, who reported the findings in the journal Nature.

The lack of blood vessels has been perplexing researchers because the cornea contains vast amounts of a chemical called VEGF-A, which promotes blood vessel growth.

The new protein discovered by Ambati and researchers from the US, Japan, Italy and Australia provides the answer. It is produced in the cornea and acts like a mop, absorbing VEGF-A which would otherwise make blood vessels grow.

(As published in The Times Of India)