The date fruit is a “drupe”, in which its outer fleshy part (exocarp and mesocarp) surrounds a shell (the pit or stone) of hardened endocarp with a seed inside. The fruit is oval to cylindrical in shape, 3–7 cms long, and 2–3 cms diameter, and ripe dates range from golden-yellow, amber, bright-red to deep-brown depending on the cultivar type.
There are many varieties of date palm cultivated. ‘Amir Hajj’, ‘Saidy’, ‘Khadrawy’ and ‘Medjool’ are some of the important varieties popular for their rich taste, flavor, and superior quality.
Health benefits of dates
- Wonderfully delicious, dates are one of the most popular fruits packed with an impressive list of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are required for normal growth, development and overall well-being.
- Fresh dates compose of soft, easily digestible flesh and simple sugars like fructose and dextrose. 100 g of mejdool dates hold 277 calories. When eaten, they replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly. For these qualities, they are being served to break the fast during Ramadan month since ancient times.
- The fruit is rich in dietary fiber, which prevents LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut. Additionally, the fiber works as a bulk laxative. It, thus, helps to protect the colon mucous membrane from cancer-causing chemicals binding to it in the colon.
- They contain health benefiting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins. Tannins are known to possess anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic (prevent easy bleeding tendencies) properties.
- They are moderate sources of vitamin-A (contains 149 IU per 100 g), which is known to have antioxidant properties and essential for vision. Additionally, it is also required maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A is known to help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- They compose antioxidant flavonoids such as ß-carotene, lutein, and zea-xanthin. These antioxidants found to have the ability to protect cells and other structures in the body from harmful effects of oxygen-free radicals. Thus, eating dates found to offer some protection from colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
- Zea-xanthin is an important dietary carotenoid that selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea, where it thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions. It thus offers protection against age-related macular degeneration, especially in elderly populations.
- Dates are an excellent source of iron, carry 0.90 mg/100 g of fruits (about 11% of RDI). Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
- Further, they are an excellent sources of potassium. 100 g contains 696 mg or 16% of daily-recommended levels of this electrolyte. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. They, thus, offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.
- Date fruits are also rich in minerals like calcium, manganese,copper, and magnesium. Calcium is an important mineral that is an essential constituent of bone and teeth, and required by the body for muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve impulse conduction. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells. Magnesium is essential for bone growth.
- Further, the fruit has moderate levels of B-complex group of vitamins as well as vitamin K. It contains very good amounts ofpyridoxine (vitamin B-6), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. These vitamins are acting as cofactors help body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Vitamin K is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood as well as in bone metabolism.
Health Benefits of Lemongrass
Lemongrass contains antioxidants, flavonoids and phenolic compounds such as luteolin, glycosides, quercetin, kaempferol, elimicin, catecol, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid, all of which help in providing an impressive range of medicinal aids. The main component of lemongrass is lemonal or citral, which has anti-fungal and antimicrobial qualities, while also providing a distinct lemony smell. Some of the most well known health benefits of lemongrass include:
Cholesterol: Lemongrass possesses anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties that support healthy cholesterol levels. Studieshave shown that the regular consumption of lemongrass has shown significant results in sustaining healthy levels of triglycerides and reducing the LDL cholesterol in the body. This helps in preventing the accumulation of lipids in the blood vessels and promotes the unobstructed flow of blood in the arteries and prevents various cardiac disorders such as atherosclerosis.
Detoxification: Lemongras helps in cleansing and flushing harmful toxic wastes out of the body, as a result of its diuretic properties. Detoxification helps in better regulation of various organs of the body, including the liver and kidney, while also helping to lower the levels of uric acid. The diuretic effect of lemongrass helps in increasing the quantity and frequency of urination, which helps in maintaining digestive health, eliminating accrued fats, and assisting in maintaining a clean system.
Garlic, also known as the Stinking Rose, is one of the world’s most popular ingredients and for good reason – it adds flavor and aroma to food like nothing else can. The good news is that it’s good for us. The bad news is that once we start eating it more often we may not smell so great. The solution? Get everyone you know to eat garlic, too! Problem solved. Here are 20 health benefits of garlic.
Antioxidant – Allicin naturally increases antioxidant enzymes atalase and glutathione peroxidase in your blood. It can help against the damaging effects of nicotine and slows the aging process of your liver by inhibiting lipid peroxidation.
Anti-Bacterial – Garlic has 1% of the potency of penicillin and can ward off a number of bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, Cryptococcal meningitis, Candida albican and Staphylococcus. The problem with most antibiotics is that bacteria develops resistance to them, however this is not the case with garlic.
These benefits were first realized back in the early 19th century when English priests caught infectious fever. The French priests, who ate garlic everyday, didn’t.
Blood Clots – Clinical trials, which were published in the Journal of Hypertension, showed that the blood pressure of volunteers was reduced 1 – 5% after taking garlic supplements. This may not sound a lot but this small reduction can reduce the chance of a stroke by 30-40% and heart disease by 20-25%.
Ginger has been used as a natural remedy for many ailments for centuries. Now, science is catching up and researchers around the world are finding that ginger works wonders in the treatment of everything from cancer to migraines. Here are ten health benefits of ginger.
The following are the health benefits of using ginger;
Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Ginger may be powerful weapon in the treatment of ovarian cancer. A study conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ginger powder induces cell death in all ovarian cancer cells to which it was applied.
Colon Cancer Prevention
A study at the University of Minnesota found that ginger may slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells.
A review of several studies has concluded that ginger is just as effective as vitamin B6 in the treatment of morning sickness.
Motion Sickness Remedy
Ginger has been shown to be an effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness.
Reduces Pain and Inflammation
One study showed that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful natural painkiller.
Ginger has long been used as a natural heartburn remedy. It is most often taken in the form of tea for this purpose.
Cold and Flu Prevention and Treatment
Ginger has long been used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Many people also find ginger to be helpful in the case of stomach flus or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract.
Research has shown that ginger may provide migraine relief due to its ability to stop prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in blood vessels.
Menstrual Cramp Relief
In Chinese medicine, ginger tea with brown sugar is used in the treatment of menstrual cramps.
Prevention of Diabetic Nephropathy
A study done on diabetic rats found that those rats given ginger had a reduced incidence of diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage).
The peppermint herb is considered by many cultures to be a true “superfood”. Superfoods are foods and herbs that have a unique concentration of nutrients that synergize together to boost potential. These foods and herbs are typically loaded with a combination of critical fatty acids, anti-oxidant phytonutrients and essential amino acids.
the following are some of the vital heath benefits of peppermint herb:
Peppermint is an anti-microbial agent
Other studies have indicated that peppermint essential oil acts as a potent anti-microbial. It stops the growth of helicobacter pylori bacteria which is the pathogen related to stomach ulcers. It also is effective against E Coli infections which are the most common form of urinary tract infection and are also associated with many cases of food poisoning.
Breath easier with the use of peppermint
Peppermint contains rosmarinic acid which has been shown to block the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals called leukotrienes. Rosmarinic acids also encourage cells to produce key molecules that keep the airways open for easy breathing. This is especially useful for individuals prone to asthmatic attacks and high anxiety. It is also great for relieving nasal congestion and clearing the sinuses.
Brain function gets a boost with peppermint
The methanol component of peppermint has also been shown to improve circulation throughout the body. This is especially true in the brain where peppermint oil helps to enhance cognitive processing and stimulate creative thought. Increased circulation in the brain leads to new creative energies and elevated mental stamina and improved memory formation.
The most common health ailments that studies have indicated that peppermint is an especially good remedy for include:
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Morning sickness
• Cramps of the upper gastrointestinal tract and bile ducts
• Bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a common household herb grown in many parts of the world. It is an upright evergreen shrub with long needle like aromatic leaves. The herb is used for flavoring food, in beverages, as well as in cosmetics.
the following are the healthy benefits of rosemary.
Rosemary contains carnosol which has been found in studies to be a potent anti-cancer compound. Researchers have had promising results in studies of its efficacy against breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia, and skin cancer. In one study, researchers gave powdered rosemary to rats for two weeks and found that it reduced the binding of the carcinogen given to the rats by 76% and significantly inhibited the formation of breast tumors.
Rosemary has long been believed to have memory-enhancing properties. In 1529, an herbal book recommended taking rosemary for “weakness of the brain.” Today, research has found that rosemary contains a diterpine called carnosic acid that has neuroprotective properties that researchers believe may protect against Alzheimer’s disease as well as the normal memory loss that happens with aging.
Remarkably, even the smell of rosemary has been found to improve memory. Test subjects in cubicles were given essential oil of rosemary to smell and they had better quality of memory and better overall memory than the control group, though their speed of memory was slower compared to the control group.
Rosemary has been a popular natural migraine remedy for centuries. Boil some rosemary in a large pot of water and pour it into a bowl. Place a towel over your head and lean over the pot to inhale the steam for about 10 minutes. Because smelling rosemary has been found to improve memory and mood, this method may also help with memory function and put you in a better state of mind.
Celery is one of popular Mediterranean herbs recognized for its strong aromatic flavor that it imparts to variety of cuisines. It is a small biennial herbaceous plant originated in Europe. It can be grown easily as a potherb in the home-gardens for its flavorful leaves, shoots, roots, and seeds.
Health benefits of Celery
- Celery is one of the very low calorie herbal plants. Its leaves carry only 16 calories per 100 g weight and contain lots of non-soluble fiber (roughage) which when combined with other weight loss regimens may help reduce body weight, and blood cholesterol levels.
- Its leaves are rich source of flavonoid antioxidants such as zea-xanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene, which have been anti-oxidant, cancer protective and immune-boosting functions. For the same reason, celery has been acknowledged as a functional food.
- Its leaves are a good source of vitamin-A. 100 g fresh celery comprises of 449 IU or 15% of daily-required levels of this vitamin. Vitamin-A and beta-carotene are natural flavonoid antioxidants. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin, and for night vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps the body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- The herb is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic acid(provides 9% of RDA), riboflavin, niacin and vitamin-C, which are essential for optimum metabolism.
- Fresh celery is an excellent source of vitamin-K, provides about 25% of DRI. Vitamin-K helps increase bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has established role in Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
- The herb is a very good source of minerals like potassium, sodium, calcium, manganese, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
- Its leaves and seeds contain many essential volatile oils that include terpenes, mostly limonene (75 to 80%), and the sesquiterpenes like ß-selinene (10%) and humulene; however, its characteristic fragrance is due to chemical compounds known asphthalides (butylphthalid and its dihydro derivate sedanenolid) in them.
- Essential oil obtained from extraction of celery plant has been employed as soothing remedy for nervousness, osteoarthritis, and gouty-arthritis conditions. In addition, its seeds, and root have diuretic (removes excess water from the body through urine), galactogogue (help breast milk secretion), stimulant, and tonic properties