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Posts Tagged ‘vitamins’

Aloe Vera – The Secret of the Ancients

Did you know that Aloe Vera is Superfood?

Aloe Vera Plant in ThailandHonestly I didn’t even know that Aloe Vera is eadable! But then there is this: Dating all the way back to ancient Egypt, Aloe Vera has long been regarded as a plant with deeply healing properties. Now, thousands of years later, this cactus-like member of the lily family is receiving the medicinal validation from the scientific community that natural healers and laypersons have known and relied upon for centuries. Although over 300 species of Aloe exist, it is Aloe Barbadensis that is touted as being the most nutritionally and medicinally potent variety.

Superfood

While most people are aware of Aloe’s cosmetic benefits, it’s highly nutritive qualities might come as a surprise to many. Aloe Vera contains 20 of the 22 essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein), 8 of the 13 known vitamins (including C and E), is high in antioxidants, enzymes and minerals. It is especially high in calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium.

Digestive Aid

Aloe Vera has a mild laxative effect on the bowels. It is known to relieve heartburn, indigestion, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, peptic ulcers and stomach inflammations. It has a cooling and soothing effect on the digestive system.

Blood Regulator

Aloe has been shown to decrease cholesterol, triglyceride, phospholipids and nonesterifed fatty acid levels in the blood. This is significant for prevention of and recovery from heart disease. It also has a positive effect on blood coagulation, which ties into its history in wound healing.

Wound Repair and Immunity Booster

Aloe is a cell regenerator that reduces the healing time of both external and internal wounds, inhibits scarring, and has analgesic and antiseptic effects. It is well known for its ability to heal burns, but it has also been shown recently to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, not only when applied externally, but also when ingested on a regular basis. Its antimicrobial and antiviral properties also make it an effective immune system enhancer of both the skin and the internal system.

Skin and Hair

The cosmetic benefits of Aloe Vera are familiar to most consumers. The reason that Aloe is such a superior moisturizer is because of its ability to penetrate the skin. This also makes it a superb agent for assisting other bioactive ingredients in any cosmetic with which it is mixed to reach deeper tissues. It also reduces the effects of aging on the skin by promoting collagen and elastin synthesis, thus diminishing and preventing fine lines and wrinkles. These beautifying effects are experienced even when taken internally.

How to Use Aloe in Your Daily Life

The best source of Aloe is the fresh raw leaf. The plant is easy to grow and readily available at most nurseries and in the home gardening section of numerous local health food stores. Just slice open a mature leaf, remove the translucent pulp inside it, and blend it with water (1 part leaf to 3 parts water for gel, and use 5-6 parts water for juice).

Refrigerate the remainder and be sure to consume it within 3 days of having blended the mixture. It is usually a good idea to just slice off a few inches of the harvested leaf at a time and to refrigerate the rest for use as needed. This will prevent waste and spoiling of your Aloe juice or gel.

Add the Aloe juice to your favorite summer cool drinks, like lemonade or fresh squeezed citrus juices to counterbalance the somewhat bitter taste of the fresh leaf, if you are unable to drink it straight.

For those of us without access to a garden, you can buy the aloe juice or gel from your health food store. Look for a minimum of 98% Aloe, and natural preservatives like citric acid. Although it is not as nutritionally potent as the homemade potion concocted from the fresh leaf, this bottled variety tends to be more palatable and still has many of the nutritional and cosmetic benefits of the plant.

Try adding aloe to your favorite shampoo or shower gel. You might even let go of your conditioner once you’ve tried this a few times. Aloe is also a great leave in conditioner for both straight and curly styles that gives both hold and body to hair without stiffening it the way synthetic gels and mousses do. Make sure to mix just enough, in a separate bottle, for one or two uses, if using the fresh leaf gel, because it does require a preservative once mixed with oil and left to stand for a few days.

Aloe is also great to use on your face and body under your daily moisturizer, or to mix with both face and body masks.

Aloe is readily available and easy to use. Its medicinal, nutritional and cosmetic power has stood the test of time. Its cornucopia of uses makes it easy to understand why Aloe Vera was the elixir of the Ancients.

By: Fadzo Chanakira

Fadzo Chanakira is a freelance writer that divides her time between Arizona and California, where she both lives and works. In addition to having written holistic articles for print and the Internet on a variety of topics, she has a holistic business specializing in nutritional supplementation and truly natural beauty products called Alchemy of Beauty. Her undergraduate studies were in Kinesiology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Fadzo also authors a free bi-monthly e-newsletter called The Alchemical Beauty News. She is currently working towards her Masters in Spiritual and Live Food Nutrition with the College of Living Arts in Patagonia, AZ.

She can be reached through her website, http://www.alchemyofbeauty.com .

Superfood – The Best Food For Your Health

Only Nature’s Finest for your Health

High on Antioxidants - Avocados are SuperfoodSuperfoods are the type of food that is especially good for your body because it contains many different micro and macro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They contain everything your body needs to stay healthy and fight off disease and aging. There are many different kinds of superfoods. This article will explain the benefits of consuming superfoods and list some of the most important ones, their benefits and how you can easily add superfood to your diet.

The term superfood has been created by dieticians and nutritionists to describe the foods that have great nutritional value or medicinal qualities. More and more people are realizing that their diseases and illnesses are being caused by the processed foods they are eating which contain too much sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and salt and that food is natures very own medicine. Many superfoods have been shown to help the body fight inflammation diseases like arthritis, heart disease, a build up of bad cholesterol, and premature signs of aging. What follows is a list of some amazing examples of superfood and an explanation of why they are so good.

Avocado: The avocado is a superfood from Central and South America but is now grown in many tropical areas around the world. It is a egg or pear shaped green fruit slightly larger than an apple with a large pit. The skin turns darker the more ripe it is. Some amazing facts about this superfood include that 75% of its calories consist of good monosaturated fat, it contains 60% more potassium than the average banana and also contains a lot of vitamin B, E and K. The avocado also contains a lot of fiber.

Eating a lot of avocado has shown to be beneficial for cholesterol levels in the blood. People eating avocados for just seven days experienced a 22% drop in their harmful cholesterol levels in one scientific study.

Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are only distantly related to normal potatoes, it is actually a root, and they are much healthier for people than normal potatoes. Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, Vitamin B, C and beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes are a very important super-food not only because they contain so much nutrition (twice as much as a normal potato) but because as mentioned earlier they are rich in complex corbohydrates. Foods that contain simple carbohydrates cause the human body to have a spike in insulin which causes more fat to be produced and stored. This is one of the biggest reasons people gain weigh so easily. By eating sweet potatoes and other superfoods that contain complex carbohydrates people can enjoy carbohydrates without suffering the associated weight gain.

There are many more natural superfoods including the acai, inca, goji and mulberry, broccoli, eggs, fresh spinach, wheat and barley grass, raw cacao, salmon, olive oil, spirulina, chia seeds, mango, papaya and other tropical fruits. All of these contain many different kinds of vitamins and minerals to help your body stay strong and healthy, they help you fight illness and disease and delay aging. In addition many of these superfoods have specific qualities. Whether its many antioxidants, plenty of fiber, appetite suppression or an energy or libido boost. You are encouraged to search out those specific superfoods that fit in with your specific health goals. In any case you can only do your body good by eating a broad range of superfoods.

An easy way to make sure that you are eating healthy natural superfoods is by sticking to the outside aisles at supermarkets, this is where all the fresh produce is kept. You can also visit farmers markets and health food stores where they are sure to stock all the best superfoods and the staff are usually very helpful and knowledgeable about superfood and natural supplements.

By: Alan Mcmyra

Please read more about superfoods, vitamins and nutrition here.