Healthy Tips

Ginger Helps Ease Muscle Pain

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For most people, ginger is just an ordinary kitchen spice. However, new research from the University of Georgia has found that it might also be a great natural pain reliever. A group of researchers compared the pain-relieving properties of raw versus cooked ginger in a group of 74 volunteers with muscle pain.
The subjects consumed capsules containing either raw or cooked ginger, or a placebo for 11 days. On day eight, they were given arm weights to lift to induce muscle inflammation and pain.

The researchers found that ginger reduced pain by 25 percent as compared to placebo. They concluded, “Daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury.”

Source:to your Health :April 23rd.2010

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Bio-Sensor to Make Our Food Safer

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A microscopic bio-sensor that detects Salmonella bacteria in lab tests has been developed by an agricultural scientist.
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This large bacterial colony of Salmonella enteritidis grew rapidly (62 millimeters in diameter in 16 hours) and readily contaminated eggs when given to chickens by injection but not when given by mouth.
People who eat Salmonella-infected food products can get salmonellosis, a disease characterised by nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhoea, and sometimes death.

The sensor could be adapted to detect other food-borne pathogens as well. It is part of an evolving science known as nanotechnology— the study and manipulation of materials on a molecular or even atomic level, measured in billionths of a metre.

There are examples of biosensors in nature. Insects detect tiny amounts of sex pheromones in the air and use them to find mates. And fish use natural bio-sensors to detect barely perceptible vibrations in the surrounding water.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist Bosoon Park at the Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit in Athens, Georgia, and cooperators at the University of Georgia (U-G) used nanotechnology to develop the biosensor.


The detection method may have great potential for food safety and security, according to Park, said an U-G release.

The biosensors include fluorescent organic dye particles attached to Salmonella antibodies. The antibodies hook on to Salmonella bacteria and the dye lights up like a beacon, making the bacteria easier to see.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Kombucha has Ancient Roots. But it’s Untested.

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It’s been spotted in the hands of celebrities, a murky-looking drink with an exotic name: kombucha. The beverage originally hails from China, where it first earned a reputation as a health tonic nearly 2,000 years ago.

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In the U.S., kombucha has gone through several reincarnations. Its benefits haven’t been proved. What has been shown, for the home-brewed versions, is that it isn’t always safe.

Kombucha became popular in the 1980s among the elderly and people with HIV. The drink, at that time largely home-brewed, accrued a reputation for boosting the immune system, increasing energy, improving skin and nails, and reversing the thinning and graying of hair. The beverage was (and still is) made by adding a kombucha “mushroom” — a pancake-shaped mass of bacteria and yeast often obtained by mail order –to black or green tea and sugar.

The mixture ferments for a week, resulting in a slightly fizzy, sweet and sour (some say undrinkable) beverage containing a long list of amino acids, B vitamins and living things: Acetobacter bacteria and Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Candida stellata, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Torulaspora delbrueckii and other yeasts.

The commercially brewed kombucha now on store shelves is similar in looks, taste and B vitamin content, but its microorganism profiles can differ from the home-brewed form. Its current popularity probably stems from its purported probiotic properties and reputation as an immune booster, says Dr. Brent Bauer, director of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Labels typically boast a shorter list of microorganisms, often Lactobacillus species and a few other bacteria known for beneficial effects on digestion.

Home-brewed kombucha has had problems. Kombucha is acidic enough to kill most harmful bacteria that might try to grow during fermentation, says Yao-wen Huang, a professor at the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia in Athens. But harmful molds, such as species of Aspergillus, can grow, and in unsanitary conditions, harmful bacteria can too.

The drink’s reputation suffered a blow when kombucha mushrooms contaminated with anthrax led to an outbreak of skin infections in an Iranian village in the mid-1990s. Around the same time, two women in Iowa developed metabolic acidosis — a dangerous buildup of acid in the body — after drinking kombucha; one died.

Soon after, two Australians came down with lead poisoning after drinking kombucha fermented in a ceramic pot for six months. A similar case was reported from France this year. (Investigators surmised that the acid caused lead to leach out of the glaze.)

Several lab studies have pointed to possible benefits. In test tubes, for example, the drink appeared to kill several types of harmful bacteria. In rodents, it increased immune cell activity. A 2000 study reported that mice drinking kombucha for three years lived 26 days longer on average than mice not drinking it. A 2001 study showed that drinking kombucha for 15 days protected rats’ livers from some of the toxic effects of a common painkiller, acetaminophen. And a 2003 study found that kombucha reduced DNA damage in rats exposed to lead.

But that’s where the evidence ends, Bauer says. “My own philosophy is, we better wait for clinical trials.”

The move toward commercial kombucha is probably good, says Dr. Sherwood Gorbach, professor of public health and medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. “It’s probably safer [than home brew].” But that may also mean it could lack the home brew’s purported, if unproven, benefits.

Los Angles Times

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