The medicinal power of honey
Have you ever had a honey and lemon to soothe a soar throat? Honey has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. In fact, descriptions of this have been found on Sumerian clay tablets dating back to nearly 4,000 years ago. However, it wasn't until recently that scientists have taken a closer look at the antimicrobial properties of honey to understand how it actually works.
The abundant use of antibiotics has led to the emergence and growth of resistant strains, causing scientists to turn to native antimicrobial strategies for a solution. A team of researchers have identified how honey works to fight bacteria, realising its potential in the fight against antibiotic resistance. They found that honey interferes with the growth of three major types of bacteria that commonly infect wounds by preventing them from attaching to the tissue. Honey also hampers the bacteria's ability to form biofilms, which the bacteria use as a shield to protect themselves against antibiotics. If the initial findings hold, honey could be used alongside drug treatment to provide a sweet solution to combat infection.
Planning a night out? Eat some strawberries!
A team of European scientists have demonstrated that strawberries can help protect the stomach against damage caused by heavy drinking and could even help improve the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, such as stomach ulcers. Rats were given absolute ethanol for a period of one hour and afterwards, their stomachs were examined for damage in the form of ulceration. The rats who had been fed strawberry extract in the ten days prior to exposure to alcohol suffered significantly less damage than those who didn't.
So next time you're preparing for a night out, show a little love to your stomach lining and load up on some strawberries beforehand.
The health benefits of fish
Fish is a good source of the essential amino acids isoleucine, leucine, lysine, tryptophan and methionine. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are required for every function in the living cell. There are twenty types of amino acids used to make proteins, ten of which the body can produce. The remaining ten must be obtained through diet, nine of these are classified as essential amino acids (one is considered conditional, as it is only essential depending on a person's development stage and health).
Failure to provide your body with the essential amino acids results in the degradation of the body's proteins. Incorporating fish into your diet is an excellent way to maintain your health.
Your favourite canned fish...no, not tuna
Sardines may not be the creme de la creme of the fish world, but you'd be pleasantly surprised by them. Tinned sardines are packed with nutrients and minerals. A 100 gram water-packed can contains about 19 grams of protein, helping to build and maintain lean muscle mass. They are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and other medical conditions.
Sardines only eat plants and therefore, do not accumulate high levels of mercury or PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) the way that larger, carnivorous fish, such as tuna and salmon, do. Tinned sardines are cheap and have a long shelf-life. They are extremely versatile and can be incorporated into many different cuisines. In addition to being nutritious, cheap and versatile, they are also sustainable in the environment. So next time you're considering tinned fish, why not switch that tuna for some sardines?
Chocolate and your heart
We all know that chocolate is good for boosting your mood but researchers have unveiled that chocolate could also be good for your heart. Chocolate, namely dark chocolate, is rich in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that is naturally produced by plants. Antioxidants have a number of health benefits for humans, including reducing the risk of cancer. The particular group of flavonoids found in chocolate, known as flavonols, are shown to promote better blood flow, which is crucial in the prevention of a cardiac event. What's even more impressive, out of all the flavonol-rich foods which include red wine and cherries, dark chocolate contains the highest levels.
Don't just load up on a bunch of chocolate - dark chocolate has the highest flavonol levels and much less fat and sugar than its milk and white cousins. Next time you're about to pick up a chocolate bar, try dark. Your heart will thank you.
Cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon, has been used as both a food and a medicine for centuries. It is native to North America and was used by Native Americans to treat bladder and kidney diseases. Early settlers from England learned to use the berry, raw and cooked, for many ailments including appetite loss, stomach problems, blood disorders and scurvy (caused by vitamin C deficiency).
Cranberry is best known for preventing Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), which are commonly caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli). At first, scientists thought cranberry worked by making urine acidic enough to kill bacteria. Now, studies show that cranberry actually prevents bacteria from attaching to the walls of the urinary tract. Strong scientific evidence supports using cranberry, either in capsules or as juice, for preventing - though not treating - UTIs.
Apple juice - cloudy or clear?
Do you prefer cloudy or clear apple juice? Cloudy apple juice has a higher content of polyphenols than its clear counterpart. Polyphenols are antioxidants which aid in the prevention of canver. Cloudy apple juice undergoes less processing than clear, thus retaining more of its original nutrients.
Rice pudding can be found in nearly all corners of the world. There are many variations, united by one common ingredient - rice. Rice is a staple food for almost half of the world's population. It is a good source of thiamine, riboflavin and niacin, essential B-vitamins that play important roles in providing energy for the body.