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Soda Consumption at an Early Age Indicator of Unhealthy Childhood Diet

Young girls who drink soda have less healthy diets through adolescence than their peers who do not drink soda, according to a Penn State study.
The ten-year study showed that girls who drank soda at age five had diets that were less likely to meet nutritional standards for the duration of the study, which ended at age 15.Girls who did not drink soda at age five did not meet certain nutritional requirements, but their diets were healthier.

The difference between the two groups in nutrient intake is “not just because of what they are consuming, but because of what they are not consuming,” said Laura Fiorito, postdoctoral fellow in Penn State’s Center for Child Obesity Research.

Milk intake differed greatly between the two groups — soda drinkers drank far less milk than non-soda drinkers — and milk has all of the nutrients that differed between the groups except fiber. At age five, non-soda drinkers consumed 10 to 11 ounces of milk daily, while soda drinkers had less than seven ounces.

“Adequate nutrient intake is important for optimal health and growth,” the researchers reported in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

For example, low calcium intake is associated with increased risk of bone fractures and higher added sugar is associated with dental problems and the development of several chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.

The Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, recommends that girls between age 14 and 18 receive at least 65 milligrams of vitamin C daily. In this study, soda drinkers fell short at just 55 milligrams daily, while non-soda drinkers exceeded the recommendation at 70.5 milligrams daily.

Although soda drinkers had less healthy diets, both groups failed to meet recommendations for certain nutrients. The Institute recommends that girls age 14 to 18 receive at least 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily. At age 15, soda drinkers in the study averaged 767 milligrams a day, while non-soda drinkers had slightly higher intakes at 851 milligrams a day, but were still deficient.

The researchers also found that both groups increased their soda consumption by age 15. However, soda drinkers were consuming nearly twice as much soda at age 15 than their counterparts — 6.6 ounces a day versus 3.4 ounces a day.

Although the study has considerable implications on how beverages impact diet, Fiorito believes children may already have developed drinking preferences and patterns by age five.

“We think that the patterns develop when they are younger. Some studies show that children already drinking soda or carbonated beverages at age two,” said Fiorito.

The study followed 170 girls for 10 years, documenting meals three times every two years. Girls classified as “soda drinkers” — those who drank roughly four ounces of soda daily at age five — showed much lower intakes of fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium throughout the study than “non-soda drinkers” — those who had no soda intake at age five. Also, the soda drinkers had much higher intake of added sugars. The study did not distinguish between diet and regular soda because the “soda drinkers” drank both types, but diet soda intake was very low at age five.

Parents of soda drinkers in the study had higher body mass indexes than non-soda drinkers’ parents. Fiorito believes this suggests that “parents model consumption patterns for their children,” and that the parents’ unhealthy eating habits not only contributed to an increased BMI, but influenced children.

There have been other studies on the effects of soda on dieting, but this is the first study to track the consumption of multiple beverages over a ten-year period. Included in the study were coffee/tea, soda, milk, 100 percent fruit juice, and fruit drinks – any fruit-flavored drinks with less than 100 percent fruit juice.

Other beverages have come under scrutiny in recent years for their possible negative health consequences. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a formal statement in 2001 that recommended limits on children’s fruit juice intake. The Academy has not issued any formal statement on soda, but this study provides a clear link showing that soda can prevent people from maintaining a healthy diet.

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Source:
Elements4Health :June8.2010

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Dhundhul (Luffa cylindrical)

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Botanical Name : Luffa cylindrical
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Luffa
Species: L. aegyptiaca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales
Indian Name :Dhundhul
Common Name :Lufa,
Egyptian cucumber,  Vietnamese luffa, Dishrag gourd, Rag gourd, Sponge gourd, and Vegetable-sponge. It is also called smooth luffa to distinguish it from the ridged luffa (Luffa acutangula)….In Bengali it is called Jhingha … CLICK & SEE
Habitat:Luffa plants are tropical in origin, believed to have originated in southern Asia.  They need a long hot growing season. Places like the US Gulf Coast are plenty hot.  Starting the plants indoors may be needed for cooler climates.

Description:
Ridged luffa is a tropical running annual vine with rounded leaves and yellow flowers. The plant is diecious, having both male and female flowers. The rather large male flowers are bright yellow and occur in clusters. The female flowers are solitary and have the tiny slender ovary attached. The leaves are covered with short hairs and the fruits are ribbed and cylindrical shaped. It has ten longitudinal angular ridges and a tapered neck. Ridged luffa is very similar to L. Cylindrica which lacks the ridge. The young fruit is used as a cooked vegetable; although some gardeners grow Chinese okra for the fibrows interior. The fibrows netting is an excellent sponge but there are also industrial applications such as waterfilters. In Suriname‘s traditional medicine, a tea of the leaves is used as a diuretic, while juice of the fruit is used against internal hemorrhage. The seeds have laxative properties. Propagation: By seeds.

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Loofah or Luffa, common name for a climbing plant of the cucumber family and for the vegetable sponge derived from the plant. There are six species of loofah plant, all of which are native to the Tropics and subtropics of Asia and Africa. The common name loofah and the scientific name Luffa are derived from the Arabic common name for this plant, lûfa. The most commonly used species, Luffa aegyptiaca, is an annual, monoecious vine (where male and female flowers appear on different parts of the plant), with deep yellow flowers. The female flowers are borne singly and the male flowers are in clusters.

The leaves are hairless, lobed, and triangular in outline. Tendrils arise from the stems near the leaves and the numerous branches are long and slender. The cylindrical or club-shaped fruit can be up to 30-40 cm (12-16 in) long and hangs down from the stems owing to its weight. The skin of the fruit is ridged and green, becoming straw-coloured at maturity. The small, brown or black seeds are wrinkled on the surface and look like watermelon seeds. They are released when the lid-like apex of the fruit breaks off. It is the dried and bleached vascular system of the mature fruit that is used as a sponge or dishcloth in many parts of the world. The young fruits of Luffa aegyptiaca and Luffa acutangula are also eaten as vegetables in some countries.

General Uses:
When mature,the fruits become a tough mass of cellulose fiber that makes a great scrubbing sponge.  These natural cellulose fiber sponge wonders of the vegetable world have many uses. They’ll make your skin squeaky clean or shine up your dirty dishes. Luffa are most excellent in the bath or shower.  The exfoliating action leaves your skin feeling the cleanest and tightest it could possibly be.  Scrubbing your back with a luffa sponge in the bath or shower is an incredibly pleasurable experience.  Home artisan craft soap makers include slices of luffa in their creations to add an extra cleaning boost to their soaps. Shredded or powdered luffa can be also be mixed into soap.

Luffa sponges are great for washing items like large pots and other containers like Tupperware®.  We use them for cleaning almost everything, including cars, boats, plastic buckets, and anything that needs scrubbed but can’t withstand steel wool.  Non stick cookware is one example.

A large loofa or a smaller piece on a handle or rope makes a great back scratcher.  They can be cut into many shapes for scrubbing pads, padding, and other craft uses.  Cut the sponges lengthwise and remove the core to make sheets of sponge material. These sheets of luffa material can be sewn into items like table hot pads, sandals, bath mats, hats, or anything else you can imagine.

Edible Uses:   The luffa flowers and fruits are soft and edible when young and are sometimes cooked and eaten like squash or okra. Loofah has been an important food source in many Asian cultures. The leaves and vines should not be eaten.  When crushed, they produce a bitter compound and smell that seems to repel insects and animals. It is similar to the bitterness sometimes found in cucumbers, a close plant relative also in the Cucurbitaceae family.  According to some sources a fellow named Wehmer identified a substance known as luffeine for the bitterness of Luffa acutangula, a related species grown commonly for food.

Small luffa fruits often are eaten but disclaim any legal responsibility for any bad reactions anyone might have from consuming luffa. Unknown allergy potential. Eat at your own risk. Some luffa varieties may produce fruits that are too bitter to eat. Peeling the skin off removes some of the bitterness. If it tastes bad, don’t eat it . Th  Edible luffa can be found sometimes in markets with Asian style vegetables. People  like them sliced in a stir fry or just sauteed in a little olive oil. Seasoning with a dash of soy sauce and cayenne pepper makes a tasty appetizer. The flowers have a crunchy green flavor similar to celery or cucumber. They make a colorful salad. The edible size fruits taste something like a cross between a zucchini and a cucumber.

Medicinal Uses:
Powdered luffa fibers have also been used as an ingredient in Chinese herbal medicine. Some compounds in the plant and seeds have been studied and used for medicinal properties.

Parts used :   Leaves, fruit.

In Chinese medicine, the inner skeleton of the dried fruit is used to treat pain in the muscles and joints, chest, and abdomen. It is prescribed for chest infections accompanied by fever and pain, and is used to clear congested mucus. Loofah is also given to treat painful or swollen breasts. Research indicates the fresh vine has a stronger expectorant effect than the dried fruit. Dried fruit fibers are used as abrasive sponges in skin care to remove dead skin and stimulate the peripheral circulation.

Folkloric:
· Decoction of leaves for amenorrhea.
· Poultice of leaves for hemorrhoids.
· Juice of fresh leaves for conjunctivitis.
· Juice of leaves also used externally for sores and various animal bites.
· Seed oil used for dermatitis.
· Infusion of seeds as purgative and emetic.
• In Russia, roots is used as a purge.
• In India, roots is used for dropsy and as laxative; leaf and fruit juice used to treat jaundice.
• In Java, leaf decoction used for uremia and amenorrhea.
• In Bangladesh, pounded leaves used for hemorrhoids, splenitis, leprosy. Juice of leaces used for conjunctivitis in children.
• In West Africa, leaf extract of ridged gourd applied to sores caused by guinea worms; leaf sap used as eyewash in conjunctivitis; fruits and seeds used in herbal preparations for treatment of venereal diseases.
In Mauritius, seeds eaten to expel intestinal worms; leaf juice applied to eczema.
• Seed used as insecticidal.
Others
· Fibrous nature of the mature fruit, devoid of pulp, is used as a bath brush or sponge.
• In China, has been used as a pesticide.
• Fibers sometimes used for making hats.

Studies
• Trypsin Inhibitors: Study isolated two trypsin inhibitors, LA-1 and LA-2, both consisting of 28-29 amino acid residues, respectively. Both strongly inhibit trypsin by forming enzyme-inhibitor complexes.
• Constituents: Study isolated seven oleanane-type triterpene saponins, acutosides A-G.
• Antioxidants : An antioxidant-guided assay yielded eight compounds. Results showed consumption of sponge gourds can supply some antioxidant constituents to the human body.

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://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/luffa_acutangula.htm

Patola – Scientific name: Luffa acutangula Linn.


http://www.luffa.info/

http://www.stuartxchange.com/Patola.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luffa_aegyptiaca

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Categories
Suppliments our body needs

Kombucha

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Kombucha tea is a popular health beverage .Kombucha is the Western name for sweetened tea or tisane that has been fermented using a macroscopic solid mass of microorganisms called a “kombucha colony,” usually consisting principally of Acetobacter-species and yeast cultures. It has gained much popular support within many communities, mentioned by talk show hosts and celebrities. The increase in popularity can be seen by the many commercial brands coming onto the retail market

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Biology of kombucha
The culture contains a symbiosis of Acetobacter (acetic acid bacteria) and yeast, mostly Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Candida stellata, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Torulaspora delbrueckii and Zygosaccharomyces bailii. The culture itself looks somewhat like a large pancake, and though often called a mushroom, or by the acronym SCOBY (for “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast“), it is clinically known as a fungus.

The Kombucha Culture, sometimes mistakenly referred to as a mushroom, is a symbiotic, probiotic colony of yeast and bacteria (the friendly type). Kombucha Tea is made by combining the culture, with a mixture of black tea, and sugar. The ingredients are allowed to “ferment“, usually from 7-10 days. The resulting beverage contains dozens of elements, many of which are known to promote healing for a variety of conditions.

History
The recorded history of this drink dates back to the Qin Dynasty in China (around 250 BC). The Chinese called it the “Immortal Health Elixir,” because they believed Kombucha balanced the Middle Qi (Spleen and Stomach) and aided in digestion, allowing the body to focus on healing. Knowledge of kombucha eventually reached Russia and then Eastern Europe around the Early Modern Age, when tea first became affordable by the populace

Traditionally, Kombucha use has spread (for over 2000 years) by the passing of Kombucha Cultures from family to family, and friend to friend.

Russian “tea mushroom”
The process of brewing kombucha was introduced in Russia and Ukraine at the end of the 1800s, and became popular in the early 1900s. The kombucha culture is known locally as chayniy grib, (?????? ???? – ‘tea mushroom’), and the drink itself is referred to as grib (???? – ‘mushroom’), “tea kvass” or simply “kvass”, although it differs from regular “kvass” which is not made from tea and is generally fermented only with yeast and not the other bacteria which ferment tea to form kombucha.

Components:
Kombucha contains many different cultures along with several organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols.For the home brewer, there is no way to know the amounts of the components unless a sample is sent to a laboratory. The US Food and Drug Administration has no findings on the effects of kombucha. Final kombucha may contain some of the following components depending on the source of the culture: Acetic acid, which provides much anti-microbial activity; butyric acid, gluconic acid, glucuronic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, oxalic acid, usnic acid, as well as some B-vitamins.

Health effects:
A review of the published literature on the safety of kombucha suggests no specific oral toxicity in rats, although other reports suggest that care should be taken when taking medical drugs or hormone replacement therapy while regularly drinking kombucha. It may also cause allergic reactions. It is common for urinary samples to obtain a chemical like scent due to the fermenting process of kombucha which releases into the liver. If this is the case, take another urine sample. If it continues to smell, consult a local physician to be checked for liver complications.

Kombucha is also low in calories, and thus a good alternative to other (fermented and non fermented) beverages such as beer, lemonade, and fruit juice . Because of this, home production of kombucha is increasing in popularity.

Claims:
Advocates believe that kombucha helps by competing with endogenous microbes without toxic constituents, when it is cultivated carefully. Increased glucuronic acid conjugates in the urine after kombucha consumption may support this hypothesis.

Early chemical analysis of kombucha brew suggested that glucuronic acid was a key component of it, perhaps assisting the liver by supplying more of the substance during detoxification. But more recent analysis of kombucha offer a different explanation, as outlined in the book in Analysis of Kombucha Ferments by Michael Roussin. Roussin reports on an extensive chemical analysis of a variety of commercial and homebrew versions of kombucha, and finds no evidence of glucuronic acid at any concentration.

But Roussin suggests that another component may have health benefits:
D – glucaro -1,4 lactone, also known as glucaric acid. It serves as an inhibitor of the beta-glucuronidase enzyme, a bacterial product from the gut microbiota that can cleave the glucuronic acid conjugates and send bodily wastes back into circulation, thus increasing the exposure time before the waste is ultimately excreted. Therefore, the active component of kombucha likely exerts its effect by preventing bacterial disruption of glucuronic acid conjugates and increasing the detoxification efficiency of the liver. Glucaric acid is being explored independently as a cancer preventive agent.

Reports of adverse reactions may be related to unsanitary fermentation conditions, leaching of compounds from the fermentation vessels, or “sickly” kombucha cultures that cannot acidify the brew. Cleanliness is important during preparation, and in most cases, the acidity of the fermented drink prevents growth of unwanted contaminants. If a culture becomes contaminated, it will most likely be seen as common mold, green or brown in color.

Safety and contamination
As with all foods, care must be taken during preparation and storage to prevent contamination. Keeping the kombucha brew safe and contamination-free is a concern to many home brewers. Key components of food safety when brewing kombucha include clean environment, proper temperature, and low pH.

In every step of the preparation process, it is important that hands and utensils (anything that is going to come into contact with the culture) are dish soap clean so as not to contaminate the kombucha. For safety reasons, Kombucha should be brewed in food-grade glass containers only. Kombucha should not be brewed in lead crystal, ceramic, plastic, painted, or metallic containers including stainless steel, as the acidic solution can leach by-products into the finished product.  Keeping cultures covered and in a clean environment also reduces the risk of introducing contaminants and bacteria.

Mold contamination on the culture surface.Maintaining a correct pH is an important factor in a home-brew. Acidic conditions are favorable for the growth of the kombucha culture, and inhibit the growth of molds and bacteria. The pH of the kombucha batch should be between 2.5 and 4.5. A pH of less than 2.5 makes the drink too acidic for human consumption, while a pH greater than 4.5 increases the risk of contamination. Use of fresh “starter tea” and/or vinegar can be used to control pH. Some brewers test the pH at the beginning and the end of the brewing cycle to ensure that the correct pH is achieved.

If mold does grow on the surface of the kombucha pellicle, or “mushroom,” it is best to throw out the batch and start over.

Click to see->Unexplained Severe Illness Possibly Associated with Consumption of Kombucha Tea

Probable gastrointestinal toxicity of Kombucha tea

Kombucha–toxicity alert.:

Additional observed effects
Aside from any possible health benefits, it can be intoxicating. It is generally characterized by mild euphoria, relaxation, and an overall sense of physical and mental well-being. Kombucha contains variable amounts of alcohol and caffeine, though the effects felt in drinking the beverage are disproportionately profound in comparison with the amount ingested, suggesting something more at work. Alcohol amounts vary from 0.5% to 1.5%, depending on anaerobic brewing time and proportions of microbe. Pasteur said that alkaline fermentation increases alcohol content. Commercial preparations are typically 0.5% for distribution and safety reasons.

Another possible cause of these effects is the psychoactive amino acid L-theanine, which is naturally present in tea. Stimulation of the circulatory and immune systems, and associated glandular releases, may also account for some of these effects. Some reports of more intense effects could be explained by toxins resulting from contamination of the culture

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha
http://www.kombucha.org/
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/kombuchakombuchatea/Kombucha_Kombucha_Tea.htm

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