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Benefits of Fruits, Nuts, Vegetables

Benefits of Fruits
Benefits of Nuts
Benefits of Vegetables
Description and benefits of the more popular fruits, nuts and vegetables that can be found all over the world.

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Fruits Benefits Vitamins Minerals
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Our food can be a source of remedy too. Fruits and vegetables are our natural source of medication. They are safe, taste nicer than any drugs manufactured by man and give us better health in the long run.

It is also very difficult to find fruits that give unwanted side effect like most modern medicine. So, why have we abandoned our fruits and vegetables for something more expensive and harmful ?

Let's make our food our medicine and start learning what these normal everyday fruits can do for you.

Juniper Berry

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There are many benefits from eating apples. "A apple a day keeps the doctor away" has an increasing number of supportive scientific evidences for its claim. It has been found that eating apples helps to reduce blood cholesterol, improve bowel function, reduce risk of stroke, prostate cancer, Type II diabetes and asthma. This is due to the fibre and phytonutrients present in the apples.

Recent researches have shown that eating apples are linked to reducing cancer risk in several studies. Some examples are :

  • Quercetin, a flavonoid abundant in apples has been found to help prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells
  • Phytonutrients in the skin of apples inhibited the growth of colon cancer cells by 43%
  • Food containing flavonoids like those in apples may reduce risk of lung cancer as much as 50%
  • Dietary phenolics such as flavonoids (found in apples) have inhibitory effects on the developments of carcinogenic substances in the bladder, thereby reducing risk of bladder cancer, especially in smokers

Moreover, eating apples could improve lung function and reduce the risk of respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) due to antioxidants present in apples that would counter the oxygen's damaging effects on the body as well as the flavonoids such as catechins (present in apples and tea).

In addition, studies have shown that a diet rich in apples could help to lower the blood cholesterol level. Pectin, a soluble fibre found in apples has been thought to play a significant role in this. In fact, apple juice has been found to inhibit the oxidation of a harm form of cholesterol (LDL, or low-density lipoprotein).

Besides therapeutic benefits, apples are also found to play a role in inhibiting ageing-related problems, preventing wrinkles and promoting hair growth (due to compound named procyanidin B-2).

For those weight-watchers, this is good new as pples are delicious source of dietary fibre and helps to aid digestion and promote weight loss.

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Bananas are one of nature's best sources of potassium. Potassium is known to significantly lower the risk of high blood pressure and related diseases like heart attack and strokes. Bananas are believed to prevent dangerous low-density lipoprotein from oxidizing, which causes it to stick to the walls of the arteries. This accumulation can contribute to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries , a major contributor to heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. Even one serving of a potassium rich food, such as bananas, can lower your risk of stroke by up to 40%.

New research is indicating that bananas are helpful in ulcer treatment. They seem to act as a natural antacid. First, they stimulate the stomach's production of protective mucus which helps to prevent harsh acids from touching the tender stomach lining, causing an ulcer. Second, the protease inhibitor found in bananas appears to kill the harmful bacteria that help to cause ulcers.

Bananas also contain electrolytes, which are essential for maintaining fluid levels and preventing dehydration. 30% of your DV of vitamin B6 is provided by one banana. B6 keeps your nervous system in top working condition and boosting immunity. Folate is also in bananas, which is needed for proper tissue growth, and can protect against birth defects, heart disease, and cancer.

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Both the fruit and leaves of bilberries, which are closely related to blueberries, are rich in compounds known as anthocyanidins. Anthocyanidins are a type of flavonoid, an extremely powerful antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables.

As antioxidants, the flavonoids in bilberry extract can prevent damage caused by free radicals that result from oxygen reactions in the body. These unstable oxygen molecules (free radicals) are created by metabolic reactions that occur in the body every day as a result of exercise, smoking, pollution and other factors.

Bilberry extract helps to protect the eye from free radical damage by strengthening the tiny capillaries that affect vision. The capillaries can become damaged by diabetes and hypertension. By increasing microcirculation in the eye, the anthocyanidins in bilberry extract can help to improve vision. Research has shown that bilberry extract also increases enzyme activity in the eye that is linked to energy production, and it can help to reduce the amount of time the eyes need to adapt to darkness as well.

In fact, the idea that bilberry extract could help promote visual acuity was first recognized by pilots who noticed that they could see better at night after eating bilberry jam. This is because the flavonoids in bilberry extract help to replenish rhodopsin, a pigment in the retina of the eye that is used by nerve cells for night vision.

Bilberry extract is widely used to treat macular degeneration, a particular condition in which the macula, located in the retina of the eye, begins to deteriorate, causing vision to decline. There are two types of macular degeneration, dry (atropic) and wet (exudative). Up to 90% of cases are dry. Since this form of macular degeneration is largely caused by the breakdown of capillaries in the eye, bilberry extract can prevent further damage by strengthening blood vessels related to vision.

Bilberry’s effectiveness helps to keep the circulatory system free of damage and functioning smoothly is also supported by studies that suggest that bilberry helps increase capillary flexibility and restore normal blood flow in the legs. Bilberry extract can also be used to treat varicose veins in the legs and to treat the symptoms of varicose “syndrome,” which include pain and swelling in the calves and ankles. In general, the flavonoids in bilberry extract prevent bruising, bleeding and breakage of capillaries.

They can also prevent blockage of blood vessels by calcium or fat deposits. This action helps to protect the heart by preventing artherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries caused by deposits of plaque. In addition, bilberry extract is a blood thinner that can further protect the heart and circulatory system by preventing blood clots from forming.

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Blueberry is a natural and rich source of antioxidants. Blue berry antioxidants include flavonoids (catechin, epicatechin), anthocyanin (which gives the blue pigment to the fruit), beta-carotene, phenolic compounds and ellagic acid (ellagitannin). Blue berry is high in antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin E, A and C. It is also a good source of dietary fiber.

Because of the high antioxidant content, dietary fiber and other nutrients, blueberry is known to have great health benefits. Several researches indicate blueberry's potential anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects. It may also delay or prevent onset of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. Health benefits of blueberry may be explained by the capacity of its antioxidants to scavenge free-radicals which are causes for age-related human diseases.

Blueberry also helps lower LDL cholesterol (a cause for stroke and cardiovascular heart disease), reduce the risk of urinary tract infection, and improve eye vision.

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Carrots (Daucus Carota)

Carrots are orange vegetables with green leafy stems that can be grown in gardens or purchased in supermarkets. The potential benefits of carrots stem far beyond their well-known ability for improving one's vision. They are full of compounds that have the ability to prevent certain cancers from growing in the body. Those compounds also fight against heart attacks and help lower cholesterol.

The orange color of the carrot comes from the powerful antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the larger benefits of carrots. Beta-carotene fights free radicals, malicious molecules inside the body that cause heart disease and cancer. Free radicals also cause macular degeneration, the leading cause of older adults losing their vision.
Beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A once inside the body. This conversion is what helps improve vision. It is a well-known fact that carrots were cultivated during World War II to help the pilots see better at night.

Vitamin A forms a purple pigment that our eyes need for seeing in dim light. This purple pigment is known as rhodopsin and is located in the light-sensitive area of the retina. The more Vitamin A inside the body means we produce more rhodopsin. People with low levels of rhodopsin may develop night blindness, making it nearly impossible to drive at night or see in a movie theater after the lights are dimmed.
Another antioxidant that makes the benefits of carrots so important is alpha-carotene. Alpha-carotene, although not as well-known as beta-carotene, has been proven to fight cancer. Studies have further shown that we are less likely to die of cancers if we consume a diet high in antioxidants.

While most vegetables lose their nutrients through cooking, cooking is actually one of the unusual benefits of carrots. Cooking them for a small amount of time causes the high levels of dietary fiber inside carrots to release the beta-carotene from its cells so the body can absorb it. Making carrot juice also breaks up the fibers, allowing the beta-carotene to escape and be absorbed.

Beta-carotene needs fat to travel through the intestinal wall and into the body. Eating vegetable dip with carrots will help this process occur throughout the digestion process. It is wise to trim the greenery from carrots before storing. The leafy top will draw out the nutritional benefits and moisture from the carrots before they can be eaten.

Eating too many carrots can cause an unpleasant side effect where the skin turns orange. This condition is called carotenosis. Carotenosis is harmless and can be resolved by not eating carrots for a day or two until the skin returns to normal. This is frequently seen in babies who are given pureed carrots, sweet potatoes and squash in their daily diet.

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Cherries have recently been termed a "super fruit" due to their overwhelming nutritional benefits. Research has shown that cherries provide many health benefits due in large part to their high levels of antioxidants. Cherries are convenient to store and enjoy all year long.

There are two types of cherries -- sweet cherries, which are most commonly seen at the grocery store, and tart cherries, also known as sour cherries. Cherries contain beta carotene, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, fiber, and potassium, along with a very high concentration of antioxidants. Tart cherries have more vitamin C and beta carotene with fewer calories, so they are recommended most often for the health benefits of cherries, though both provide nutritional benefit.
One of the main health benefits of cherries is emerging research that shows cherries can help to prevent some cancers. This is because of the antioxidants found in cherries; these are made up of anthocyanins and quercetin, which are flavonoids, and the phenolic acid amygdalin. Cherries have also been shown to reduce pain and inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

Some researchers cite other health benefits of cherries. These include the ability to help promote weight loss, prevent diabetes and heart disease, lower cholesterol, and even help regulate sleep and prevent memory loss. Many people greatly enjoy the taste of cherries, and find they make a great snack in the afternoon rather than greasy chips or a sugary candy bar because they provide a natural boost of energy.
The health benefits of cherries can be gleaned from consuming the fruit in many different forms. Cherries can be eaten fresh, or they can be made into a juice. Cherries can also be frozen, dried or canned, and still retain much of their inherent nutritional value. Cherries will stay fresh for about a week in the refrigerator and a up to a year in the freezer

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Grapefruit has many micronutrients that are beneficial to one's health. Grapefruit contains vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, folate and many B-vitamins.

One of the many health benefits of grapefruit is that it aids in weight loss. Grapefruit is low in sodium, high in fat burning enzymes and has a high water content. All these things combined speed up the metabolism. Therefore, grapefruit is a powerful fruit to eat for people trying to get rid of that fatty bulge. In fact, people trying to lose weight after holiday seasons should consider eating more grapefruit. Detoxing the body by eating more vegetables, proteins, smaller portions and fruits like grapefruit that speed up the metabolism is a good way to eat to lose weight after the holidays.

Another health benefit of grapefruit is that it is a powerful antioxidant. Grapefruit contains vitamin C, vitamin A and lycopene. These antioxidants are potent scavenger hunters that get rid of free radicals and excessive oxidation that can cause cancers. Lycopene, especially, helps to prevent the occurrence of tumors and cancers in the body. Lycopene is a carotenoid found in the red/pink hues of the grapefruit.

Grapefruit also has the health benefit of helping to prevent and lessen the symptoms of arthritis. Salicylic acid found in grapefruit helps to dissolve inorganic calcium found in the body. Inorganic calcium will build up in the joints in the body and lead to severe joint discomfort associated with arthritis. Drinking grapefruit juice in excess as well as drinking apple cider vinegar, which also has acids capable of dissolving inorganic calcium, is a great way to treat arthritis.

Also, the salicylic acid found in grapefruit gives the fruit another health benefit. The salicylic acid in grapefruit is a powerful antiseptic. So much so, that salicylic acid is actually used as an antiseptic in toothpaste. Grapefruit seed extract is also used as an antiseptic in many antiseptic sprays. You can add a few drops (about 10) of grapefruit seed extract to some water and apply it to the affected area three times a day to get rid of fungus and wounds.

Grapefruit has many health benefits that improve overall health. There are two types of grapefruit; pink and yellow. The yellow grapefruit which resembles a very large lemon is the more common of the two and it is also the sweeter of the two. Pink grapefruit is slightly more acidic than the yellow one, but most point to the high acidity of pink grapefruit to be why it is more healthful.

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Like most fruits, guavas are excellent sources of vitamin C. This antioxidant vitamin has many health benefits to the body. Vitamin C prevents damage to organs and tissue such as the eyes, heart and arteries. Vitamin C also protects against heart disease and lessens the effects of colds and coughs as well as prevent scurvy.

Guava has the health benefit of improving the texture and health of the skin. Guava is an excellent source of astringents, especially immature guava and guava leaves. Astringents are responsible for responsible for shrinking tissues and in the case of the skin, astringents shrink and dissolve the oil in the skin. Guava also has the health benefit of tightening loosened skin. Guava also benefits the skin because it is a good source of vitamins A, B, C and the mineral potassium that keep the skin glowing, fresh and wrinkle-free.

Guava is an excellent source of a carotenoid called lycopene that has the health benefit of preventing cancer. In a study conducted by Harvard University researchers, of a group of 48,000 men in the study, those who had the most lycopene added to their diets had a 45% lower risk of developing prostate cancer than those who didn't.

Guava contains an estimated 9 grams of fiber per cup. Guava is an excellent source of fiber and as a result it has the health benefit of cleaning out the intestine, aiding in digestion and lessening the risk of developing colon cancer.

Guava is high in fiber. Fiber has the health benefit of lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Guava helps to lower cholesterol in the blood, while increasing good cholesterol, lipoprotein. Lowering cholesterol in the blood in turn lowers blood pressure.

The astringents found in guava give them the health benefit of getting rid of bacterial infections. Astringents are alkaline in nature an this makes them potent fighters against bacteria. Not only that, but astringents in guava have disinfectant properties, which help guavas fight against diarrhea and dysentery.

Guavas are pink or yellow pear-shaped fruits which can be found in Asian, west Indian and Hispanic markets. So pick up some guavas today and get all their health benefits and savor their delicious taste.

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Juniper Berry

The juniper is an evergreen tree native to Europe, northern, Asia, and the northern parts of North America but especially abundant in central Texas. The purple, blue, violet, or blackish-brown fruits are harvested in early autumn for culinary and medicinal use. Juniper berry is probably best known as the unique flavoring agent of gin, an important component of the dry martini, a popular intoxicant and a putative calmative revered by western culture for over 300 years. As a medicinal remedy, juniper has a long history of use employed as a treatment for numerous diseases by ancient Greek and Arab healers, as well as Native American Indians.

Juniper Berry is considered one of the great kidney herbs (use with caution in cases of extreme kidney damage).

Juniper Berry has antiseptic properties, which are useful in killing fungi, bacteria and yeasts.

Juniper Berry is a natural diuretic, and relieves excess water.

Juniper Berry claims in restoring the pancreas, and beneficial in cases of diabetes, as it has natural insulin properties.

Since juniper berries can stimulate uterine contractions, avoid use during pregnancy.

If you have been using juniper berry teas for several weeks and you urine smells like violets, you have been using the herb too long. Continued overdose can cause renal irritation and blood in the urine.

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The citrus fruits have more benefits than others. The lemon has great benefits as well as the juice of the lemon as well. Either fresh squeezed lemons or store bought lemon juice have the same type of benefits. Lemon juice is good for a source of Vitamin C. One health benefit is that lemons and lemon juice can protect your body against germs and bacteria.

Lemon juice is very high in citric acid, which helps the body fight off colds. Lemons and the juice also acts as an antioxidants. Lemon juice is also a liver stimulant and can control irritable bowel syndrome. It can control conditions like constipation and diarrhea. It can also help in helping heart burn, some bloating and even helping in subsiding gas pains.

Lemon juice diluted with water can be very beneficial for pregnant women; it actually helps build the bones in the unborn child. Lemon juice also has potassium, which the health benefits are that they help the brain and nerve cells. Believe it or not lemons and in turn lemon juice also contain calcium, which is great for your bones and teeth. With the amount of magnesium it can help you treat other ailments such as asthma, colds, scurvy, fever and heartburn.

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Pineapple is Loaded with Vitamins and Minerals
The obvious benefits of pineapple are all the vitamins and minerals the fruit is loaded with. Its nutrients include calcium, potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. In addition it is low in fat and cholesterol.

The benefits of pineapple can be achieved through eating fresh, canned, or frozen pineapple or by drinking its juice.

Pineapple Strengthens Bones
One of the benefits of pineapple is that it helps to build healthy bones. Pineapples are rich in manganese, a trace mineral that is needed for your body to build bone and connective tissues. Just one cup of pineapple provides 73% of the daily recommended amount of manganese. The benefits of pineapple can effect the growth of bones in young people and the strengthening of bones in older people.

Pineapple is Good for Colds and Coughs
While many people often take extra vitamin C or drink extra orange juice when they have a cold, few consider eating pineapple. The benefits of pineapple when you have a cold or cough are the same as the benefits of orange juice, but there is an additional benefit of pineapple. Bromelain, which is found in pineapples, has been found to help suppress coughs and loosen mucus

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Papaya is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C and contains Vitamins B and G as well, and has been credited with saving the lives of sailors stricken with scurvy. Almost every part of the papaya tree contains medicinal properties. The unripe fruit and various other parts of the plant contain the powerful enzyme called papain. This enzyme is made into tablets and sold as an aid for protein digestion. It has long been used as a meat tenderizer. Papain is also an active blood clotting agent and has been used to stop bleeding.

· A paste from ground seeds can be used as a salve for skin diseases. It can also be used topically to help speed healing of burns, open wounds and to soften callouses.

· Papaya seeds contain glucoside caricin. They are used in Pakistan and India to treat for intestinal worms.

· The fruit and juice are given in cases of bleeding hemorrhoids, enlarged liver and spleen, and can be eaten regularly for habitual constipation or chronic diarrhea.

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Strawberries contain a range of nutrients, with vitamin C heading the group. They also contain significant levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants, which fight free radicals. These antioxidant properties are believed to be linked to what makes the strawberry bright red.

Free radicals are elements that can damage cells, and they are thought to contribute to the formation of many kinds of cancer.

In addition to vitamin C, strawberries also provide an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, as well as folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

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