Tag Archives: Vitamin C

Watercress

Botanical Name :Nasturtium officinale
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Nasturtium
Species: N. officinale
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms:  Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum – (L.)Hayek., Sisymbrium nasturtium-aquaticum – L.

Common Name :Watercress

Habitat : Watercress is native to Europe and Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans. It is a member of the family Brassicaceae, botanically related to garden cress, mustard and radish — all noteworthy for a peppery, tangy flavour.

Description:
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to October, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies. The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires wet soil and can grow in water.

In some regions, watercress is regarded as a weed, in other regions as an aquatic vegetable or herb. Watercress has been grown in many locations around the world.

Cultivation :
Watercress is easily grown when given the correct conditions of slowly flowing clean water, preferably coming from chalky or limestone soils. It prefers to grow in water about 5cm deep with an optimum pH 7.2. Plants can be grown in wet soil if the position is somewhat shaded and protection is given in winter, though the flavour may be hotter. Hardy to about -15°c. Watercress is often cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties. The plant is very sensitive to pollution so a clean source of water is required. Plants will often continue to grow all through mild winters. A fast-growing plant, the stems trail along the ground or float in water and produce new roots at the leaf nodes, thus making the plant very easy to propagate vegetatively. Unfortunately, virus diseases have become more common in cultivated plants and so most propagation is carried out by seed. This is a diploid species. It has hybridised naturally in the wild with the triploid species N. microphyllum to produce the sterile hybrid N. x sterilis which is also commonly cultivated as a salad crop. The flowers are a rich source of pollen and so are very attractive to bees.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a pot emmersed to half its depth in water. Germination should take place within a couple of weeks. Prick out seedlings into individual pots whilst they are still small and increase the depth of water gradually until they are submerged. Plant out into a pond in the summer. Cuttings can be taken at any time in the growing season. Virtually any part of the plant, including a single leaf, will form roots if detached from the parent plant[56]. Just put it in a container of water until the roots are well formed and then plant out in shallow water.

Edible Uses.
Leaves – raw or cooked. Water cress is mainly used as a garnish or as an addition to salads, the flavour is strong with a characteristic hotness[183]. It has a reputation as a spring tonic, and this is its main season of use, though it can be harvested for most of the year and can give 10 pickings annually. Some caution is advised if gathering the plant from the wild, see the notes above on toxicity. The leaves are exceptionally rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron. A nutritional analysis is available. The seed can be sprouted and eaten in salads. A hot mustardy flavour. The seed is ground into a powder and used as a mustard. The pungency of mustard develops when cold water is added to the ground-up seed – an enzyme (myrosin) acts on a glycoside (sinigrin) to produce a sulphur compound. The reaction takes 10 – 15 minutes. Mixing with hot water or vinegar, or adding salt, inhibits the enzyme and produces a mild but bitter mustard.

Chemical Constituents:
Stems and leaves:
vitamins a, c and e, nicotinamide, a glycoside, gluconastur-tin, volatile oil, manganese, iron, phosphorus, iodine, copper, calcium

Leaves (Fresh weight)•19 Calories per 100g
•Water: 93.3%
•Protein: 2.2g; Fat: 0.3g; Carbohydrate: 3g; Fibre: 0.7g; Ash: 1.2g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 151mg; Phosphorus: 54mg; Iron: 1.7mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 52mg; Potassium: 282mg; Zinc: 0mg;
•Vitamins – A: 2940mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.08mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.16mg; Niacin: 0.9mg; B6: 0mg; C: 79mg;

Medicinal Uses:
Antiscorbutic; Depurative; Diuretic; Expectorant; Hypoglycaemic; Odontalgic; Purgative; Stimulant; Stomachic; TB.

Watercress is very rich in vitamins and minerals, and has long been valued as a food and medicinal plant. Considered a cleansing herb, its high content of vitamin C makes it a remedy that is particularly valuable for chronic illnesses. The leaves are antiscorbutic, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, purgative, hypoglycaemic, odontalgic, stimulant and stomachic. The plant has been used as a specific in the treatment of TB. The freshly pressed juice has been used internally and externally in the treatment of chest and kidney complaints, chronic irritations and inflammations of the skin etc. Applied externally, it has a long-standing reputation as an effective hair tonic, helping to promote the growth of thick hair. A poultice of the leaves is said to be an effective treatment for healing glandular tumours or lymphatic swellings. Some caution is advised, excessive use of the plant can lead to stomach upsets. The leaves can be harvested almost throughout the year and are used fresh.

Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, iodine, and folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C. Because it is relatively rich in Vitamin C, watercress was suggested (among other plants) by English military surgeon John Woodall (1570–1643) as a remedy for scurvy.

Many benefits from eating watercress are claimed, such as that it acts as a stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid. It also appears to have antiangiogenic cancer-suppressing properties; it is widely believed to help defend against lung cancer. A 2010 study conducted by the University of Southampton found that consumption of watercress may also inhibit the growth of breast cancer. The content of phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) in watercress inhibits HIF, which can inhibit angiogenesis.

Watercress is mentioned in the Talmud as being able to stop bleeding, when mixed with vinegar

Other Uses:
Hair; Miscellany.
The juice of the plant is a nicotine solvent and is used as such on strong tobaccos.

Known Hazards:
Whilst the plant is very wholesome and nutritious, some care should be taken if harvesting it from the wild. Any plants growing in water that drains from fields where animals, particularly sheep, graze should not be used raw. This is due to the risk of it being infested with the liver fluke parasite. Cooking the leaves, however, will destroy any parasites and render the plant perfectly safe to eat.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Nasturtium+officinale
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watercress
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail372.php

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This Supplement Almost All Should Take When They Are Sick

In the recent years we have placed Vitamine C in the back seat  with the advent of many newer antioxidants, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Vitamin C is clearly the “GRANDFATHER” of the traditional antioxidants we know of, and its potent health benefits have been clearly established.

Vitamin C good for patients’ mood swings

Dr. Ronald Hunninghake is an internationally recognized expert on this vitamin. He got his start in this field about 22 years ago when he joined Dr. Hugh Riordan, who conducted research on intravenous (I.V.) vitamin C for cancer patients. His clinic is the successor to Linus Pauling and his work on vitamin C, and there is likely no clinic in the world with as much experience as his.

Dr. Ronald Hunninghake is an internationally recognized expert on vitamin C who has personally supervised more than 60,000 intravenous (IV) vitamin C administrations.
In this interview, Dr. Hunninghake shares his experience with this important modality.

You may click to see the interview between Dr. Mercola & Dr. Ronald Hunninghake

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Vitamin C

Alternative  Names: Ascorbic acid

Definition:-Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development.

Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. That means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet.

Function:-
Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is necessary to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is essential for the healing of wounds, and for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.

Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants. Vitamin E and beta-carotene are two other well-known antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals, which are by-products that result when our bodies transform food into energy.

The build up of these by-products over time is largely responsible for the aging process and can contribute to the development of various health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and a host of inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Antioxidants also help reduce the damage to the body caused by toxic chemicals and pollutants such as cigarette smoke.

The body does not manufacture vitamin C on its own, nor does it store it. It is therefore important to include plenty of vitamin C-containing foods in your daily diet.

Even many of those who generally do not take nutritional supplements on a regular basis will still take the odd Vitamin C tablet when feeling a cold coming on, compliments of Linus Pauling‘s best-seller “Vitamin C and  the Common Cold,” which rocketed the immune-enhancing effects of ascorbic acid to fame, and thanks to the many articles and books which since followed.  While the recommended daily or dietary allowance (RDA) stands now at 75 – 90 mg per day for adults (see bottom of page), a higher dietary reference intake (DRI) is  again in review.  However, many of those who regularly supplement Vitamin C, take in the vicinity of 250 mg to 1,000+mg per day, and there are those who take up to, and beyond 10,000 mg daily.

Headlines about oxidative damage (DNA mutations) attributed to taking Vitamin C in excess of 500 mg per day had many people step back and reconsider their supplemental routines.  In addition, similar studies had come to light just prior to the Vitamin C revelation about the potential problems of regularly supplementing
Beta Carotene.  This however, as it turned out later, only applied to smokers who had used higher doses of synthetic, but not natural sources of beta carotene, which made the use of natural-source, mixed carotenoids  the preferred choice and more popular.

Once the headlines on the possible DNA-damaging potential from taking higher doses of Vitamin C faded, most people continued where they left off and resumed their previous regimen again, especially following  publications to the contrary which indicated that the original studies on Vitamin C were flawed, and that epi-demiological data showed no evidence at all that higher amounts of ascorbic acid caused cancer. (see also Acu-Cell Disorders “Cancer”).

Food Sources;-
All fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C. Foods that tend to be the highest sources of vitamin C include green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, turnip greens and other leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, and cantaloupe.

Other excellent sources include papaya, mango, watermelon, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash, red peppers, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and pineapples.

Side Effects:-
Vitamin C toxicity is very rare, because the body cannot store the vitamin. However, amounts greater than 2,000 mg/day are not recommended because such high doses can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea.Sometimes   increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.

For adults, the recommended upper limit for vitamin C is 2,000 milligrams (mg) a day. Although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, megadoses of vitamin C supplements can cause:

*Diarrhea
*Nausea
*Vomiting
*Heartburn
*Abdominal cramps
*Headache
*Insomnia
*Kidney stones

But always remember, for most people, a healthy diet provides an adequate amount of vitamin C.

Headlines about oxidative damage (DNA mutations) attributed to taking Vitamin C in excess of 500 mg per day had many people step back and reconsider their supplemental routines.  In addition, similar studies had come to light just prior to the Vitamin C revelation about the potential problems of regularly supplementing
Beta Carotene.  This however, as it turned out later, only applied to smokers who had used higher doses of synthetic, but not natural sources of beta carotene, which made the use of natural-source, mixed carotenoids  the preferred choice and more popular.

Once the headlines on the possible DNA-damaging potential from taking higher doses of Vitamin C faded, most people continued where they left off and resumed their previous regimen again, especially following  publications to the contrary which indicated that the original studies on Vitamin C were flawed, and that epi-demiological data showed no evidence at all that higher amounts of ascorbic acid caused cancer. (see also Acu-Cell Disorders “Cancer”).

However, questions on what daily amounts of Vitamin C could be considered to be an “overdose” still come up on a regular basis, to which unfortunately, there is no universal answer applicable to everyone, because overdosing on Vitamin C – just like overdosing on any other nutrient  –  is RELATIVE to the level of those elements that interact with Vitamin C.  In other words, it all depends on the combined intake of all  synergistic and antagonistic nutrients, and their ratio to Vitamin C.

Too little vitamin C can lead to signs and symptoms of deficiency, including:

*Dry and splitting hair
*Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
*Bleeding gums
*Rough, dry, scaly skin
*Decreased wound-healing rate
*Easy bruising
*Nosebleeds
*Weakened tooth enamel
*Swollen and painful joints
*Anemia
*Decreased ability to fight infection
*Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism

A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy, which mainly affects older, malnourished adults.

Recommendations:-

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins, including vitamin C, is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.

Vitamin C should be consumed every day because it is not fat-soluble and, therefore, cannot be stored for later use.

The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following amounts of vitamin C:

Infants and Children
*0 – 6 months: 40 milligrams/day (mg/day)
*7 – 12 months: 50 mg/day
*1 – 3 years: 15 mg/day
*4 – 8 years: 25 mg/day
*9 – 13 years: 45 mg/day

Adolescents
*Girls 14 – 18 years: 65 mg/day
*Boys 14 – 18 years: 75 mg/day

Adults
*Men age 19 and older: 90 mg/day
*Women age 19 year and older: 75 mg/day
*Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those who smoke need higher amounts. Ask your doctor what is best for you.

Resources:
http://www.righthealth.com/topic/Vitamin_C/overview/adam20?fdid=Adamv2_002404
http://www.acu-cell.com/vitc.html
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-c/AN01801

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Nutrition for Healthy Skin

Along with hair and nails, skin is the fastest growing and most superficial tissue in the body. As such, it has a high demand for nutrients in order to continuously replenish itself with rapidly developing immature skin cells from the layers below. Even a marginal deficiency of nutrients such as vitamin A, the carotenoids, vitamin D, vitamins B1 and B2, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin E, vitamin C or essential fatty acids can result in impaired development of skin cells, resulting in skin that is less smooth, prone to lesions, less elastic and more likely to suffer accelerated aging.

…….CLICK & SEE 

Here are some of the more common skin problems and the nutritional supplements that can help you get rid of them:

For sun- and chemical-induced free-radical damage that causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkling, cancerous conditions, other forms of skin damage, the appropriate supplement contains optimal levels of antioxidants to help protect your skin from the aging and damaging effects caused by the sun: Antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium and zinc intercept and neutralize free radicals and defend skin cells from these damaging effects. Antioxidants also protect skin from ultraviolet light damage.

For skin disorders such as dermatitis (skin inflammation problems), lack of smoothness, seborrhoea-like scaly lesions, irregular pigmentation, the appropriate supplement contains B vitamins at sufficient doses to ensure the healthy development of skin cells: B-vitamin supplementation corrects these skin problems and successfully treats a wide range of dermatitis problems. B vitamins also help to improve the smoothness and texture of the skin.

For unhealthy skin, acne and other conditions, the appropriate supplement provides adequate daily doses of zinc and selenium to enhance your skin’s vitality and appearance: Zinc improves oil gland function, local skin hormone activation, wound healing, inflammation control within the skin and tissue regeneration of skin cells. Selenium plays a key role in antioxidant protection and in the prevention and management of various skin conditions.

Healthy skin is an important step toward a healthy, happy you, so what are you waiting for? Ask your doctor about how to give yourself an “inner facial” with the right nutrition.

You may click to  learn more

Source:to your Health : April 13. 2010

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Newly Discovered Role of Vitamin C in Skin Protection

Scientists have uncovered a new role played by vitamin C in protecting the skin, which could lead to better skin regeneration.

A form of vitamin C helped to promote wound healing and also helped protect the skin cells from DNA damage.

Even though vitamin C was discovered over 70 years ago, its properties are still under much debate in the scientific community. However, antioxidants such as vitamin C are known to counter the damaging effects of free radicals.

This new evidence suggest that, in addition to ‘mopping up’ free radicals, vitamin C can help remove the DNA damage they form if they get past a cell’s defenses.These findings are believed to be of great relevance to the cosmetics industry.

Resources:
Eurekalert September 9, 2009
Free Radical Biology & Medicine January 1, 2009; 46(1):78-87

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