Most of us label sugar as the biggest evil today. We try our best to eliminate it from our diets and feel guilty whenever we ocassionally give in. But did it ever occur to you if these white crystals that were once an inseparable part of our daily diets, may not be that big an evil as they are touted to be? Well, the question did occur to us and we started digging further...
It is surprised to know that World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends having 6-12 teaspoons of sugar every day, much contrary to what most nutritionists and health experts believe.
Let us first distinguish between different kinds of sugars, artificial sweeteners, sugarcane extracted crystallized sugar and natural sugars (sugar we get from our foods and fruits).
Crystallized sugar:This is the sugar we consume on a daily basis. We add a spoonful in our milk, tea, coffee, desserts and often foods like dals and subzis.
We most commonly consume sugar which comes from Sugarcane or Beetroot is actually beneficial for us.
However, the processed and packaged foods which contain sugar extracted from high fructose corn syrup, is the dangerous kind and should be avoided as much as possible.
According to maney nutritionist we don’t require sugar. “Our body processes glucose from sugar but the same glucose can be extracted from starch, protein and fats that we consume, when required by the body. One should focus on including high fiber diet, which has complex carbohydrates.”
The theory of not consuming sugar has been given in many diets such as GM diet to reduce weight. But this negatively affects our body since our body needs glucose to generate energy.
*Tinospora szechuanensis SY Hu
*Tinospora imbricata SY Hu
*Tinospora capillipes Gagnep.
*Limacia sagittata Olive.
Tinospora sagittata is an evergreen Perennial Climber growing to 20 m (65ft 7in). It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Oct to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
It is a herbaceous vines. Roots with small and yellow tuberous swelling. Stems slender, striate, often puberulent. Petiole 2.5-6 cm, puberulent or subglabrous, striate; leaf blade lanceolate-sagittate or sometimes lanceolate-hastate, rarely ovate or elliptic-sagittate, 7-15(-22) × 2-7.5 cm, papery to thinly leathery, usually abaxially puberulent on veins, sometimes adaxially or both surfaces glabrous, base often with deep sinus, basal lobes rounded, obtuse or mucronate, often extending backward, sometimes incurved into 2 folded lobes, rarely extending outside, apex acuminate, sometimes caudate, palmately 5-veined, reticulation prominent or not abaxially. Inflorescences axillary, often a few or many flowers fascicled, cymes, sometimes pseudopanicles, 2-10(-15) cm or sometimes longer; peduncles and pedicels filamentous; bracteoles 2, closely annexed with sepals. Male flowers: sepals 6, sometimes more, often unequal, outermost whorl minute, often ovate or lanceolate, 1-2 mm, inner whorl conspicuously larger, elliptic to broadly elliptic, obovate to broadly obovate, or narrowly lanceolate to narrowly oblong-lanceolate, to 5 mm; petals 6, lobe subrounded or broadly obovate, rarely rhomboidal, often with claw, basal margin often reflexed, 1.4-2 mm. Female flowers: sepals similar to male; petals cuneate, ca. 0.4 mm; staminodes 6, ?oblong, ca. 0.4 mm; carpels 3, subglabrous. Drupes semiglobose, 6-8 mm wide; endocarp 5-8 × 5-8 mm, abaxially rounded or obscurely ridged, smooth or sparsely weakly papillose, adaxial aperture large, broadly elliptic; condyle deeply intrusive.
Cultivation & propagation: The plant grows well in light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. It is propagated through seeds.
The roots are anodyne, antiphlogistic, depurative and febrifuge. A decoction is used internally, or the mashed root is used as a poultice, in the treatment of laryngitis, dysentery, boils and abscesses, poisonous snakebites
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Habitat : Urtica dioica is native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America, and is the best-known member of the nettle genus Urtica.
Urtica dioca is abundant in northern Europe and much of Asia, usually found in the countryside. It is less widespread in southern Europe and north Africa, where it is restricted by its need for moist soil but still common to find. In North America it is widely distributed in Canada and the United States, where it is found in every province and state except for Hawaii and also can be found in northernmost Mexico. It grows in abundance in the Pacific Northwest, especially in places where annual rainfall is high. The European subspecies has been introduced into North America as well as South America.
In Europe nettles have a strong association with human habitation and buildings. The presence of nettles may indicate the site of a long-abandoned building. Human and animal waste may be responsible for elevated levels of phosphate and nitrogen in the soil, providing an ideal environment for nettles.
Urtica dioica is a dioecious herbaceous perennial, 1 to 2 m (3 to 7 ft) tall in the summer and dying down to the ground in winter. It has widely spreading rhizomes and stolons, which are bright yellow, as are the roots. The soft green leaves are 3 to 15 cm (1 to 6 in) long and are borne oppositely on an erect wiry green stem. The leaves have a strongly serrated margin, a cordate base and an acuminate tip with a terminal leaf tooth longer than adjacent laterals. It bears small greenish or brownish numerous flowers in dense axillary inflorescences. The leaves and stems are very hairy with non-stinging hairs and in most subspecies also bear many stinging hairs (trichomes), whose tips come off when touched, transforming the hair into a needle that will inject several chemicals: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes, and possibly formic acid. This mixture of chemical compounds causes a painful sting or paresthesia from which the species derives one of its common names, stinging nettle, as well as the colloquial names burn nettle, burn weed, and burn hazel.
Prefers a soil rich in phosphates and nitrogen. Plants must be grown in a deep rich soil if good quality fibre is required[4, 115]. Nettles are one of the most undervalued of economic plants. They have a wide range of uses, for food, medicines, fibres etc and are also a very important plant for wildlife. There are at least 30 species of insects that feed on it and the caterpillars of several lepidoptera species are dependant upon it for food. Especially when growing in rich soils, the plant can spread vigorously and is very difficult to eradicate. It is said that cutting the plant down three times a year for three years will kill it. It is a good companion plant to grow in the orchard and amongst soft fruit[53, 54]. So long as it is not allowed to totally over-run the plants, it seems to improve the health of soft fruit that grows nearby and also to protect the fruit from birds, but it makes harvesting very difficult. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame, only just covering the seed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and plant them out in the summer. Division succeeds at almost any time in the growing season. Very easy, plant them straight out into their permanent positions.
Edible Uses: Colouring; Curdling agent; Drink; Oil.
Young leaves – cooked as a potherb and added to soups etc. They can also be dried for winter use. Nettles are a very valuable addition to the diet, they are a very nutritious food that is easily digested and is high in minerals (especially iron) and vitamins (especially A and C). Only use young leaves (see the notes above on toxicity) and wear stout gloves when harvesting them to prevent being stung. Cooking the leaves, or thoroughly drying them, neutralizes the sting, rendering the leaf safe to eat. The young shoots, harvested in the spring when 15 – 20cm long complete with the underground stem are very nice. Old leaves can be laxative. The plants are harvested commercially for extraction of the chlorophyll, which is used as a green colouring agent (E140) in foods and medicines. A tea is made from the dried leaves, it is warming on a winters day. A bland flavour, it can be added as a tonic to China tea. The juice of the leaves, or a decoction of the herb, can be used as a rennet substitute in curdling plant milks. Nettle beer is brewed from the young shoot
Nettles have a long history of use in the home as a herbal remedy and nutritious addition to the diet. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used as a cleansing tonic and blood purifier so the plant is often used in the treatment of hay fever, arthritis, anaemia etc. The whole plant is antiasthmatic, antidandruff, astringent, depurative, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic, hypoglycaemic and a stimulating tonic. An infusion of the plant is very valuable in stemming internal bleeding, it is also used to treat anaemia, excessive menstruation, haemorrhoids, arthritis, rheumatism and skin complaints, especially eczema. Externally, the plant is used to treat skin complaints, arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, haemorrhoids, hair problems etc. The fresh leaves of nettles have been rubbed or beaten onto the skin in the treatment of rheumatism etc. This practice, called urtification, causes intense irritation to the skin as it is stung by the nettles. It is believed that this treatment works in two ways. Firstly, it acts as a counter-irritant, bringing more blood to the area to help remove the toxins that cause rheumatism. Secondly, the formic acid from the nettles is believed to have a beneficial effect upon the rheumatic joints. For medicinal purposes, the plant is best harvested in May or June as it is coming into flower and dried for later use. This species merits further study for possible uses against kidney and urinary system ailments. The juice of the nettle can be used as an antidote to stings from the leaves and an infusion of the fresh leaves is healing and soothing as a lotion for burns. The root has been shown to have a beneficial effect upon enlarged prostate glands. A homeopathic remedy is made from the leaves. It is used in the treatment of rheumatic gout, nettle rash and chickenpox, externally is applied to bruises. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Urtica dioica Stinging Nettle for rheumatic ailments (internal use of leaf), irrigation therapy, for inflammatory disease of the lower urinary tract and prevention of kidney ‘gravel’ formation, urination difficulty from benign prostatic hyperplasia (root) for critics of commission
Urtica dioica herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally (as tea or fresh leaves) for treatment of disorders of the kidneys and urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, locomotor system, skin, cardio-vascular system, hemorrhage, flu, rheumatism and gout.
Nettle is used in shampoo to control dandruff and is said to make hair more glossy, which is why some farmers include a handful of nettles with cattle feed.
Nettle root extracts have been extensively studied in human clinical trials as a treatment for symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). These extracts have been shown to help relieve symptoms compared to placebo both by themselves and when combined with other herbal medicines.
Because it contains 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran, certain extracts of the nettle are used by bodybuilders in an effort to increase free testosterone by occupying sex-hormone binding globulin.
As Old English stiðe, nettle is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century. Nettle is believed to be a galactagogue, a substance that promotes lactation.
Urtication, or flogging with nettles, is the process of deliberately applying stinging nettles to the skin in order to provoke inflammation. An agent thus used is known as a rubefacient (something that causes redness). This is done as a folk remedy for rheumatism, providing temporary relief from pain. The counter-irritant action to which this is often attributed can be preserved by the preparation of an alcoholic tincture which can be applied as part of a topical preparation (but not as an infusion) which drastically reduces the irritant action.
Extracts of Urtica dioica leaves may help with glycemic control in type 2 diabetes patients needing to use insulin.
Nettle stings are irritating and poisonous but are very rarely serious.The leaves of the plants have stinging hairs, causing irritation to the skin. This action is neutralized by heat or by thorough drying, so the cooked leaves are perfectly safe and nutritious. However, only young leaves should be used because older leaves develop gritty particles called cystoliths which act as an irritant to the kidneys. Possible interference with allopathic drugs for diabetes mellitus, hypertension. Central nervous system depression drugs (e.g. morphine, alcohol) may also interact with nettle. Avoid during pregnancy,
A strong flax-like fibre is obtained from the stems. Used for making string and cloth, it also makes a good quality paper. It is harvested as the plant begins to die down in early autumn and is retted before the fibres are extracted. The fibre is produced in less abundance than from flax (Linun usitatissimum) and is also more difficult to extract. The plant matter left over after the fibres have been extracted are a good source of biomass and have been used in the manufacture of sugar, starch, protein and ethyl alcohol. An oil obtained from the seeds is used as an illuminant. An essential ingredient of ‘QR’ herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. The leaves are also an excellent addition to the compost heap and they can be soaked for 7 – 21 days in water to make a very nutritious liquid feed for plants. This liquid feed is both insect repellent and a good foliar feed. The growing plant increases the essential oil content of other nearby plants, thus making them more resistant to insect pests. Although many different species of insects feed on nettles, flies are repelled by the plant so a bunch of freshly cut stems has been used as a repellent in food cupboards. The juice of the plant, or a decoction formed by boiling the herb in a strong solution of salt, will curdle milks and thus acts as a rennet substitute. This same juice, if rubbed into small seams of leaky wooden tubs, will coagulate and make the tub watertight again. A hair wash is made from the infused leaves and this is used as a tonic and antidandruff treatment. A beautiful and permanent green dye is obtained from a decoction of the leaves and stems. A yellow dye is obtained from the root when boiled with alum
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Research has consistently found that people who don’t drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. A new paper suggests that abstainers’ mortality rates are actually higher than those of heavy drinkers.
Even after controlling for many possible variables, such as socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, and number of close friends, the researchers found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers.
One reason for this may be that low levels of ethanol in your bloodstream will prevent the formation of formaldehyde from dietary methanol. In fact, ethanol is used as the preferred antidote for accidental methanol poisoning in an emergency for this reason.
Time Magazine reports:
“The authors of the new paper are careful to note that even if drinking is associated with longer life, it can be dangerous: it can impair your memory severely and it can lead to nonlethal falls and other mishaps”.
If you want to prevent cavities, how often you eat can be just as important as what you eat. That’s because food affects your teeth and mouth long after you swallow. Eating cookies with dinner will do less harm to your teeth than eating them as a separate snack. Of course, overall poor nutrition can contribute to periodontal (gum) disease. It also can have other long-term effects on your mouth. Learning how food affects your oral health is the first step toward mouth-healthy eating.
Immediate Effects of Food
Changes begin in your mouth the minute you start to eat certain foods. Bacteria in your mouth make acids. The acids start the process that can lead to cavities.
How does this happen?
All carbohydrate foods eventually break down into simple sugars: glucose, fructose, maltose and lactose. Fermentable carbohydrates break down in the mouth. Other foods don’t break down until they move further down the digestive tract.
It’s the fermentable carbohydrates that work with bacteria to form acids that begin the decay process and eventually destroy teeth. They include the obvious sugary foods, such as cookies, cakes, soft drinks and candy. But they also include less obvious foods, such as bread, crackers, bananas and breakfast cereals.
Certain bacteria on your teeth use the sugars from these foods and produce acids. The acids dissolve minerals inside the tooth enamel. The process is called demineralization. Teeth also can regain minerals. This natural process is called remineralization. Saliva helps minerals to build back up in teeth. So do fluoride and some foods.
Dental decay begins inside the tooth enamel when minerals are being lost faster than they are being regained.
The longer food stays near the bacteria on the tooth, the more acids will be produced. So sticky carbohydrates, such as raisins, can do more acid damage. But other foods that pack into crevices in the tooth also can cause decay. Potato chips are a terrific example. Eat a handful of chips and see how long you have to work to get all the stuck bits out from between your teeth. Teeth with a lot of nooks and crannies, such as molars, are more likely to trap food. That’s why they tend to have more decay.
To make matters worse, many of the foods that are unhealthy for teeth don’t just create acids while they are being eaten. The acids stick around for the next half-hour.
Depending on your eating and drinking patterns, it’s possible for the bacteria to produce acid almost constantly. This can happen if you sip soft drinks or sweetened coffee throughout the day. Eating many small sweet or starchy snacks can produce the same effect. The resulting acid damage adds up, so decay is more likely. Studies have shown that people who eat sweets as snacks between meals have higher rates of decay than people who eat the same amount of sweets with their meals.
On the brighter side, some foods actually help to protect teeth from decay. That’s because they increase saliva flow and neutralize the acids produced by bacteria. This makes it less likely that the enamel will lose minerals. For example, aged cheese eaten immediately after other food helps to buffer the acid.
Chewing sugarless gums also can help protect your teeth against cavities. Xylitol is an ingredient in some sugarless gums. This sweetener has been shown to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth. It also helps to buffer the teeth against the effect of acid. Most sugarless gums and sugarless candies increase the flow of saliva, which helps to protect your teeth against bacteria.
Like the rest of your body, your mouth depends on overall good nutrition to stay healthy. In fact, your mouth is highly sensitive to poor nutrition. It can lead to tooth loss, serious periodontal (gum) disease and bad breath.
What To Eat:-
The current and best advice for overall good nutrition is found in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This document was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The guidelines are simple in concept:
*Eat whole grains daily instead of refined grains. Whole grains include brown rice, oatmeal and whole wheat bread. Refined grains include white bread and white rice.
*Eat healthier vegetables, including dark green and orange vegetables.
*Eat a variety of fruits.
*Choose a diet with plenty of grain products, fruits and vegetables.
*Choose fish, beans, nuts and seeds for some of your protein needs.
*Choose beverages and foods to moderate your intake of sugars.
*Choose and prepare foods with less salt.
*If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.
*Aim for a healthy weight and be physically active each day.
To help people understand these guidelines, the USDA has replaced the old Food Guide Pyramid. The new guide is an interactive tool called MyPyramid. It is actually many different pyramids, depending on a person’s age, gender and physical activity. The tool can be found at www.mypyramid.gov.
Your diet, like the pyramid, should have:
*A strong base of grains
*At least 2½ cups of vegetables a day
*At least 2 cups of fruits a day
*At least 3 cups of calcium-containing milk, yogurt and cheese
*Proteins such as meats, beans, eggs and nuts
Eat fats and sweets sparingly.
To prevent tooth decay, you should follow a few additional guidelines. This can help to keep the amount of acid created by the bacteria on your teeth to a minimum. Here are some tips:
1.Limit between-meal snacking. Fewer snacks mean less acid exposure for your teeth. If you snack, choose foods that are not fermentable carbohydrates.
*Best choices — Cheese, chicken or other meats, or nuts. These foods actually may help protect tooth enamel. They do this by neutralizing acids or by providing the calcium and phosphorus needed to put minerals back in the teeth.
*Moderate choices — Firm fruits such as apples and pears and vegetables. Firm fruits contain natural sugars. However, their high water content dilutes the effects of the sugars. These fruits also stimulate the flow of saliva, which fights bacteria and helps protect against decay. Vegetables do not contain enough carbohydrates to be dangerous.
*Worst choices — Candy, cookies, cakes, crackers, breads, muffins, potato chips, french fries, pretzels, bananas, raisins and other dried fruits. These foods provide a source of sugar that certain bacteria can use to produce acid. The problem can be worse if the foods stick to teeth or get caught between them.
2.Limit the amount of soft drinks or any other drinks that contain sugar. These include coffee or tea with added sugar, cocoa and lemonade. Fruit juices contain natural sugars that also can cause decay. Limit the amount of time you take to drink any of these drinks. Avoid sipping them throughout the day. A can of soda that you finish with a meal exposes your teeth to acids for a shorter time than a soda that takes you two hours to drink.
*Better choices — Unsweetened tea and water, especially little fluoridated water( as permissible by WHO). Tea also has fluoride, which can strengthen tooth enamel. Water helps flush away bits of food. It also can dilute the sugar acids.
3.Avoid sucking on hard candies or mints, even the tiny ones. They have enough sugar to increase the acid produced by bacteria to decay levels. If you need a mint, use the sugarless varieties.
4.Very acidic foods (such as citrus fruits) can make the mouth more acidic. This may contribute to a loss of minerals in the teeth. The effects of acid exposure add up over time. Every little bit counts.
5.Brush your teeth after eating and after drinking sugary drinks, to remove the plaque bacteria that create the destructive acids. If you cannot brush after every meal, brush at least twice a day.
6.Chew sugarless gum that contains xylitol. This can help reduce the risk of cavities. The gum helps dislodge some of the food stuck to your teeth. It also increases saliva flow to help neutralize the acids.