Apricot Kernels

Nutrient Fact Sheet Apricot Kernels Loula Natural

Nutrient Fact File

Apricot Kernels

Apricot Kernels are from the inside of the seed of an apricot. The Scientific Name(s) are Prunus armeniaca L. (Rosaceae) ; P. armeniaca L. var. vulgaris Zabel. They are very common here in Hong Kong as they are used in congee and powdered to make a tea. They have  been used medicinally in India and China (in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine) for over 2,000 years. They are widely known for their anti-cancer properties although this claim is often disputed. Often by those who seem to profit from them not being used.

In chinese medicine they are used to stimulate digestion (reduce constipation, to soothe the digestive tract and relieve indigestion), improve respiration (used for asthma and to relieve coughs), lower blood pressure, and relieve arthritic pain (by reducing inflammation). Their bitter/sweet taste is warming and slightly toxic. This is supposed to stimulate healing. 

It is their potential for toxicity which is most widely spoken about even though they have been used safely for thousands of years. In fact only two deaths have ever been reported and it is not stated what dose of the kernels were consumed and whether there were any other conditions involved. They contain tiny amounts of cyanide. 

However they (along with wild cherry pips, crab apple pips, grape seeds, cassava root, millet, broad beans, most berries, and many other seeds, beans, pulses and grains that have not been hybridised) also contain vitamin B17 and Laetrile (amygdalin). These nutrients are very powerful immune stimulants, anti-oxidants and digestive supportive. The bitter taste stimulates gastric juices and the rich oils are very beneficial to the body. Apricot Kernal oil is used in many cosmetics and has a great effect on skin.

I have used it both as an oil and as a food for many years and I love it’s flavour. We use it in our muesli, bircher chia, smoothies and I have also made a seed butter from them. Readily available raw in supermarkets they are also relatively inexpensive.

If you want to use them in cancer treatment I suggest you approach your naturopath and oncologist for dosage advice. For prevention of cancer they can also be used safely. Eating 10-12 kernels over a day is generally recommended for prevention. Chewing them to release the oils is advised (hence why making them into a seed butter is a good idea). For cancer treatment almost 5 times that amount is recommended.

Sources and further reading;

My 3 articles on Cancer- What is it, prevention and Anti-oxidants.

My 3 articles on Inflammation; What do we need to know, healing and anti-inflammatory nutrients 

http://www.naturalnews.com/027088_cancer_laetrile_cure.html

http://www.rawapricotseeds.com/faq.html#a1

http://www.anticancerinfo.co.uk/apricot_kernels.html

Nutrient Fact Sheet Apricot Kernels Loula Natural pin

Milk Thistle

Nutrient Fact File

Milk Thistle

 Milk Thistle Loula Natural

I am a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist. I make recommendations to my clients based on their individual needs. If this information is useful to you please discuss your options with your trained health practitioner able to help you to make natural choices that are suitable for your individual needs. Take responsibility for your health and choices.

Milk Thistle has been used for 2,000 years as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly liver, kidney, and gall bladder problems. It is native to the Mediterranean region although it is now found throughout the world, usually in dry, sunny areas. The spiny stems branch at the top and reach a height of 5 – 10 feet. The leaves are wide, with white blotches or veins, the flowers are red purple and the small, hard skinned fruit is brown, spotted, and shiny. Milk Thistle gets its name from the milky white sap that comes from the leaves when they are crushed.

Milk Thistle Seeds

The above ground parts and seeds are used to make medicine (the seeds are more commonly used). The plant contains a biologically active compound called silymarin, a phytochemical which is classified as a flavonoid (which is an antioxidant). Studies indicate this compound helps protect the liver from toxins.

Here is a diagram showing you the role milk thistle plays in liver detoxification;

Liver-detox-chart

  • This shows it is a Phase 1 detoxification inhibitor- this is protective for the liver as it slows down the amount of toxins entering the liver pathways. It also slows down and therefore limits the amount of reactive toxins circulating potentially causing cell damage.
  • It is an antioxidant to help protect cells against the reactive toxins. 
  • It then induces phase 2 detoxification which pairs the reactive toxin to another compound to render it inactive (conjugated). 
  • Its last action, which is also really important, is that it then encourages elimination of the toxin by inhibiting its re-absorption by the body.

All through the livers pathways milk thistle is central to the movement and protection of the body against damage and build up of toxins.

So Silymarin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it may also help the liver repair itself by growing new cells. Extensive research conducted over the past 30 years shows Milk Thistle extract improves liver dysfunction in patients with acute and chronic hepatitis A, B and C, chronic alcoholic liver disease and fatty liver caused by chemical toxin damage. Silymarin has been shown to lower the death rate of alcoholic patients over a two to four year period.

Milk thistle extract can be used to treat:

* Liver and gallbladder disease, cirrhosis and gallstones

* Liver damage due to indulgence in alcohol, drugs, fatty food and exposure to toxic chemicals

* Skin disease, including eczema and psoriasis (as it helps to eliminate toxins so they do not have to be excreted through the skin)

* Heartburn (dyspepsia) as it helps to reduce inflammation

Some people use milk thistle for diabetes, hangover, diseases of the spleen, prostate cancer, malaria, depression, uterine complaints, increasing breast milk flow (also protecting breast milk from containing circulating toxins), allergy symptoms

1 tbs added to hot water to make a tea or added to smoothies (which is how I like it) a day may be a good place to start. (this is the one I like)

 

However it is best to consult your natural practitioner to consult with you on your individual case.

Milk Thistle Loula Natural

 

 

Elderberries

Nutrient Fact Sheet

Nutrient Fact Sheet Elderberries Loula Natural

Elderberries

Elderberry (also known as Sambucus) is a common, shrubby tree that grows to approximately ten feet tall and reveals yellow and white flowers in early summer, followed by strong blue or black berries which generally ripen around September. Reputated for their medicinal benefits Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa (Elderberry’s use as a flu remedy dates back to ancient Roman times)and the medicinal benefits of elderberries are again being investigated and rediscovered.

They are primarily recognised as providing natural support for the immune system and is growing in popularity as an effective remedy against flu and other similar viruses. There is an off the shelf cough syrup derived from Elderberries or check out here for an even better home made one. You can also make these Elderberry and Kefir Gummies for a great immune boosting kid friendly snack

Elderberry Collage Loula Natural

The list of attributes that the Elderberry boasts makes interesting reading. The berries are similar to black berries, blueberries and other dark purple fruit and vegetables in their anti-oxidant properties. They contain concentrated amounts of vitamin C, flavinoids, fruit acids, and anthocyanic (which help protect against cell damage) pigments. They are also an excellent source for vitamins A and B which may help them to have antiviral properties. This berry works as a simple cleanser of the body as well as an antioxidant. Supporting the liver, immune and circulatory system.

Their high antioxidant activity may help to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, the circulatory system and also boost the immune system. Through boosting the immune and circulatory system it may promote profuse sweating which helps to manage fevers. Therefore with Elderberry consumption, flu symptoms have been seen to resolve and improve within days

 Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice may destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice have reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not.

They are also seen to be a diuretic, an anti-inflammatory, an anti-catarrh, and may act as a mild laxative.

With all these properties they have been used through the ages to help treat and support the body through;

Most inflammatory conditions including UTI’s (they also may have a mild diuretic effect)

bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sore throats, fevers, influenza,

high cholesterol,

constipation,

neuralgia, rheumatism, sciatica,

skin disorders

and even hay fever (since they also contain quercetin). 

Nutrient Fact File Elderberries Loula Natural PinElderberry causes few side effects when used in recommended dosages for five days or less, However, for people using it for lengthy intervals and those who are pregnant may want to ask the advice of their health practitioner, preferably someone knowledgeable about herbs and their potential side effects.

Gelatin

Gelatin

Gelatin is the same structural protein, collagen in humans,  found in many animals including cows. Collagen is a fibrous protein that strengthens the body’s connective tissues and makes up almost one-third of the human body.

Gelatin is rich in foods like bone broths. It is obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water. It is usually obtained from cows or pigs but fish can also be used and a vegan source is found through using a seaweed called agar agar.

The highest concentration is founds in pig’s and chicken feet and ox tails. All these used to be a large part of a traditional diet. Our ancestors relished every part of the animal including all the gelatin-rich bony and cartilaginous bits of the animal. But the increasing appetite for muscle meat meant these unfashionable cuts were forgotten and as a result much of this gelatin has vanished from the diet.

However our bodies’ need for it has not. Although collagen makes up about 50% of the protein in animals, the quantity in the muscle meats is considerably lower. It has a different amino acid profile than muscle meats — no tryptophan or cysteine, but a great deal of glycine and proline. These are both necessary for growth and renewal of cells. This helps with healing and supports skin and hair growth. Lowering our intake of gelatin and raising our intake of low-collagen muscle meats has changed the amino acid profile of the common diet.

“gelatin is not a complete protein source because it is deficient in tryptophan and low in methionine content, however the digestibility is excellent and it is often used in feeding invalids and the high level of lysine (4 %) is noteworthy. More controversially, studies have shown that the consumption of 7 to 10 g/day can significantly improve nail growth rate and strength (17) and it also promotes hair growth (18). Gelatin has also been shown to benefit arthritis sufferers in a large proportion of cases (19).” (source)

Because Gelatin has the ability to break down and rebuild, it is able to repair and re-form wherever it is needed. This also helps its digestibility. It also absorbs water so can help in digestive transit and can help to form stool.

Adding gelatin to your diet can help your body in many ways:

– Good for joints and can help joint recovery (As you get older, your body makes less collagen, and individual fibers become increasingly cross-linked with each other. You might experience this as stiff joints from less flexible tendons, or wrinkles due to loss of skin elasticity).

-Is one of the main component of bones. May help with bone density and strength.

– Can help tighten loose skin

– Supports skin, hair and nail growth

– Can improve digestion since it naturally binds to water and helps food move more easily though the digestive track. Potentially relieving constipation or diarrhea.

-Bacteria feeds on gelatin so is beneficial for the digestion as a prebiotic.

– A source of protein and its specific amino acids can help build muscle.It has 18 amino acids, 9 of which are essential.

-Glycine is reported to help liver function, especially in detoxification

-Lysine is utilized in muscle building and calcium absorption.

–  Has been associated with improved metabolism and reduced cellulite. Therefore it has been used in weight management.

 -Treatment for non-seasonal allergies. The anti-inflammatory and healing benefits of Gelatin may help heal leaky gut symptoms. 

-Has been said to help promote duration and quality of sleep.

Kefir Gummies Recipe Pic Loula Natural

I especially love slipping gelatin in homemade Kefir Gummies, porridge, smoothies, soups, stews, bolognaise and even in iced coffee to help my 2 kids get the protein they need.

References

http://www.gelatin-gmia.com/images/GMIA_Gelatin_Manual_2012.pdf

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10068-014-0011-x#page-1

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/food_news/gelatin.html

Sweet Potato

Nutrient Fact Sheet

Nutrient Fact File Sweet Potato Loula Natural

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are native to Central America and are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. It is documented that they may have been consumed since prehistoric times as  sweet potato relics have been discovered in some Peruvian caves. Christopher Columbus first brought sweet potatoes to Europe after his first voyage to the New World in 1492.

They have a creamy texture with a sweet, warm and a little spicey flavour that makes them ideal for savoury dishes. However they are also great in cakes, cookies, smoothies and even to make ice-cream. Although peak season for sweet potatoes is October to March, they are a vegetable that is readily available, inexpensive, and delicious.

Depending upon the variety, there are around 400 different ones, the skin and flesh of the sweet potato may be almost white, cream, yellow, orange, pink, or deep purple. The Japanese and Korean white/cream and American yellow-orange flesh are most common.

Although sometimes referred to as ‘yams’ in the USA, sweet potatoes belong to an entirely different food family. They are also very different from the common potato.  Sweet potatoes are far more nutrient dense and healing. Their properties and uses are diverse, and when you choose sweet potatoes as a dietary root vegetable, you are getting a truly unique and superior type of potato. Some of the benefits include

  • They are high in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked to degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks.
  • They are a good source of vitamin C. While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin also plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen, which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity (sweet potatoes make us look young- bonus!), and is essential to helping us cope with stress. The anti-oxidant properties also may help to prevent cancer
  • They contain some Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year. Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and may support the thyroid gland.
  • Sweet potato’s are full of beta-carotene’s good for eyesight, immune system and digestive health.
  • Sweet potatoes contain some iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning, and protein metabolism, among other things.
  • Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function.

Another interesting thing about sweet potatoes is the antioxidant capacity of all their parts. Recent research has shown differences in consuming the flesh versus skin of the sweet potato. Both producing different concentrations of anthocyanin antioxidants. Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes (when you can find them- Asia has them fairly regularly) are a fantastic source of anthocyanins (especially peonidins and cyanidins) as the darker and more vibrant the colour of a vegetable the more antioxidants they contain. In one study, the antioxidant activity in purple sweet potatoes was seen to be up to 3 times higher than that of blueberries.

Since they are not actually a potato so therefore not a deadly nightshade, sweet potato can actually have a healing effect on your digestive system rather than an irritating one. The fibres in the sweet potato actually feed the bacteria and are classed as fermentable as a prebiotic (food for bacteria). This therefore helps to create a more balanced bacterial environment in your digestive system. Thus giving a digestive healing effect with an immune boost too.

Finally most kids love sweet potato- it is a great first food, great in the lunch boxes cold and as hot chips at dinner time. A simple way to get some amazing nutrients into kids without too many arguments. Try them in smoothies, juices and soups for a smooth creamy consistency and natural sweetness.

Sweet potatoes are traditionally been baked, roasted or mashed, but they can also be added to risotto, pasta or curry. Here are my recipes;

Here are my mouth watering recipes;

 Here are some other amazing recipes;

Sweet Potato Spaghetti- Healthy Living How To
Sweet Potato Spaghetti- Healthy Living How To 
Dark Chocolate Brownies Renew Whole Health
Dark Chocolate Brownies Renew Whole Health
Fudgey Brownies Jules Fuel
Fudgey Brownies Jules Fuel
Pumpkin Sweet Potato Cupcakes Veggie Converter
Pumpkin Sweet Potato Cupcakes Veggie Converter
Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies- The Paleo Mama
Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies- The Paleo Mama
Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake Homemade Mommy
Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake Homemade Mommy
Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies Homemade Mommy
Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies Homemade Mommy
Chicken with Sweet Potato Curry Sauce- La Healthy Living
Chicken with Sweet Potato Curry Sauce- La Healthy Living
Sweet Potato Quiche-Grok Grub
Sweet Potato Quiche-Grok Grub
Sweet Potato Pancakes-Healy Real Food Vegetarian
Sweet Potato Pancakes-Healy Real Food Vegetarian
Sweet Potato Hash- Stupid easy paleo
Sweet Potato Hash- Stupid easy paleo
Sweet Potato Chips- Healy Real Food Vegetarian
Sweet Potato Chips- Healy Real Food Vegetarian
Sweet Potato Apple Pancetta Hash- Gutsy By Nature
Sweet Potato Apple Pancetta Hash- Gutsy By Nature
Sweet Potato and Banana Pie Smoothie-Green Thickies
Sweet Potato and Banana Pie Smoothie-Green Thickies
Sweet Potato Recovery Shake Stupid Easy Paleo
Sweet Potato Recovery Shake Stupid Easy Paleo
Sweet Potato Gratin- Meatified
Sweet Potato Gratin- Meatified
Sweet Potato Crackers- The Coconut Mama
Sweet Potato Crackers- The Coconut Mama
Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes The Coconut Mama
Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes The Coconut Mama
Squash and Sweet Potato Lasagna Veggie Converter
Squash and Sweet Potato Lasagna Veggie Converter
Spicy Lime Sweet Potato Mash- Popular Paleo
Spicy Lime Sweet Potato Mash- Popular Paleo
Raw Carrot and Sweet Potato soup with Spinach- Green Thickies
Raw Carrot and Sweet Potato soup with Spinach- Green Thickies
Paleo Hash- The Sprouting Seed
Paleo Hash- The Sprouting Seed
Organic Sweet Potato Chips Whole Lifestyle Nutrition
Organic Sweet Potato Chips Whole Lifestyle Nutrition
Make Your Own Sweet Potato Chips- Healthy Living How To
Make Your Own Sweet Potato Chips- Healthy Living How To
Loaded Sweet Potato Fries- The Sprouting Seed
Loaded Sweet Potato Fries- The Sprouting Seed
Creamy Sweet Potato Mash Stupid Easy Paleo
Creamy Sweet Potato Mash Stupid Easy Paleo
Chilli Lime Sweet Potato Fries Popular Paleo
Chilli Lime Sweet Potato Fries Popular Paleo
BBQ Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes-Primally Inspired
BBQ Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes-Primally Inspired
Apple Sweet Potato Bake Stupid Easy Paleo
Apple Sweet Potato Bake Stupid Easy Paleo
Autumn Spiced Sweet Potato Bread-Soundness of Body and Mind
Autumn Spiced Sweet Potato Bread-Soundness of Body and Mind
 

 

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