Pomegranate Fruit and Hypertension

Pomegranate, widely known as Kuku manga in Kenya, is one of the widely known fruits though rarely eaten. It is a red fruit with a tough outer bark-like layer that originated from Persia. It’s found in many people’s fences probably eaten by the birds.

Pomegranate benefits include lowering blood pressure and improving heart health. Recent clinical trials have shown that pomegranate juice improve cholesterol and even decrease plaques in your arteries, reducing your risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.

It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as other attributes that make it an effective juice or fruit to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol profiles, and to prevent and treat the atherosclerotic plaques that are responsible for heart attacks and strokes. Its healing properties come mainly from certain flavonoids such as catechins, tannins, and a potent flavonoid known as ellagic acid. These compounds make pomegranate a stronger antioxidant than red wine and equal to or better than green tea.

The ability to lower blood pressure is because it is a natural occurring ACE inhibitor (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor) for relaxing arteries. ACE inhibitors include high blood pressure drugs like Lisinopril and work by decreasing angiotensin activity, an enzyme that is made when the kidneys receive a signal to help blood pressure. Inhibiting ACE helps blood vessels to relax and open up, thus lowering blood pressure and allowing more blood and oxygen to get to the heart.

In addition to antioxidants, pomegranates are a source of fibre, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. One pomegranate supplies one-quarter of a day’s worth of folate (a B vitamin needed to synthesize and repair DNA) and one-third of your daily vitamin C.

THIS IS HOW YOU CAN HAVE A POMEGRANATE
1. Start by cutting the fruit in half. Then, spoon out the tiny red seeds into a bowl. You can add the seeds to salads, yogurt, oatmeal, desserts, or whatever you want!
2. If you bought too many pomegranate. You can save the seeds by spreading them on a baking sheet and freezing them for two hours. Then transfer them to freezer bags and put them back in the freezer. This will make them last for up to one year
3. You can also juice pomegranates and save yourself the expense of buying it in a bottle. Plus, pre-bottled pomegranate juice can contain all sorts of other ingredients, including added sugar and sodium. Use a juicer or simply squeeze the fruit, separating the fibers with a strainer
You can easily get pomegranate from leading supermarkets in Kenya. They can also be purchased online and all major fruit markets in town (Nairobi).

In a nutshell, pomegranate is one of the super fruits that goes straight to your heart.

Onions & Arthritis

If you are suffering from painful and stiff joints, then you might be having arthritis!

Arthritis is a disease characterized by pain and inflammation in joints, morning stiffness, dryness in mouth and disturbed sleep patterns among the patients. There are numerous different types of arthritis, most commonly being:-

  1. osteoarthritis,
  2. rheumatoid arthritis,
  3. gout

So, lets look at one common ingredient in our kitchen with powers to help with this ailment, which is THE ONION.

Onions aren’t just flavoring to your favorite dishes. They are low in calories, have virtually no fat and are loaded with healthful components that fight inflammation in arthritis and related conditions.

Onions are also one of the richest sources of flavonoids – antioxidants that mop up free radicals in your body’s cells before they have a chance to cause harm. One flavonoid found in onions, called quercetin, has been shown to inhibit inflammation-causing leukotrienes, prostaglandins and histamines in osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), other benefits of quercetin include reducing heart disease risk by lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol and help prevent the progression of cancer.

Those subjected to routine cortisone injections may also experience a reversal in bone loss, taking more onions helps in increasing bone density this is due to a compound in the onion known as GPCS for short, gamma-L-glutamyl-trans-S-1-propenyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide was shown to inhibit the breakdown of bone in a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. Researchers at the University of Berne, Switzerland, speculate that GPCS might work the same way as alendronate (Fosamax), which is used to treat osteoporosis and reverse corticosteroid-induced bone loss.

We have different types of onions which include Sweet Onions, White Onions, Red Onions, Shallots, Green Onions, Yellow onions and Leeks. All onions are healthful but disease-fighting chemicals are highest in shallots, yellow and red onions, and lowest in white and sweet onion varieties. Shallots, yellow and red onions also have a stronger flavor than white varieties, suggesting the more pungent the onion the more powerful the health-promoting properties, says Rui Hai Liu, MD, PhD, associate professor of food science at Cornell.

5 Ways to Add Onions to Your Meals

Raw or cooked, onions make a healthful addition to any dish. Here are a few suggestions:

Salads. Raw, red onions, sliced or diced, add a healthful and colourful splash to any salad.

Stir-fries. Add strips of yellow onions to a vegetable medley. They cook quickly – in four to five minutes in a stovetop skillet on high heat – and increase your vegetable-rich dish’s antioxidant boost.

Sandwiches. Sweet, white, yellow, red – sautéed or raw – onions on sandwiches are a great idea. Load your sandwiches with lots of onions and other vegetables to help increase your phytochemical intake while decreasing portions of other sandwich ingredients, like meats and cheeses that should be eaten in moderation.

Side Dish. Grill, bake or broil thick slices of onion brushed with a little bit of olive oil to bring out the sweetness.

Saved for Later. Have extra cut, raw onions? Stick them in bags in your freezer and spare yourself more chopping and tears.

An onion can make people cry, but there has never been a vegetable invented to take away the pain.

Understanding Fibre and Diabetes

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate (just like sugars and starches) but since it is not broken down by the human body, it does not contribute any calories. Yet, on a food label, fibre is listed under total carbohydrate. So this gets kind of confusing for people who have diabetes. Carbohydrate is the one nutrient that has the biggest impact on blood glucose. So, does fibre have any effect on your blood glucose?

The answer is that fibre does not raise blood glucose levels. This is because it is not broken down/digested by the body. This makes fibre one of the most important nutrient for diabetics in controlling blood sugar levels since this is a carbohydrate which does not trigger insulin for blood glucose.

There are two types of dietary fibre – soluble and insoluble. Most foods contain both types but are usually richer in one type than the other.

Soluble fibre: Found in oat, oat bran, linseeds, barley, fruit & vegetable, nuts, beans,  pulses, soya and lentils.

Insoluble fibre: Good sources include wholemeal bread, bran, wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds and the skin of some fruit and vegetables.

So, what are the daily recommended intake for fibre?
Adults 16 years and over: 30g per day

11-16 years: 25g per day

5-11 years: 20g per day

2-5 years: 15g per day

Shopping Tips
You can compare the back of pack nutritional labels on prepacked foods and choose the food with a higher amount of fibre. At times this information may not be available, but there are other ways of choosing foods high in dietary fibre:

Look for words such as ‘wholemeal’, ‘whole-wheat’ and ‘whole grain’ on labels. Whole-grain carbohydrates tend to be higher in fibre and lower in GI (glycemic index), which means they have less of an effect on your blood glucose levels.

Choose wholemeal, seeded or multi-grain bread – these are higher in fibre than white varieties. Brown bread is not as high in fibre as a whole meal.

Instead of white pasta or rice, choose the brown/whole-wheat type.

Go for beans, pulses and lentils – add to casseroles, soups, salads and curries. Choose oat-based, bran or wholegrain breakfast cereals.

Buy a selection of interesting and seasonal fruit and vegetables to help you aim for your five-a-day target.

Couscous and quinoa, which are whole grains, are a great source of fibre.

QUOTE: Fibre is one of the power house of nutrition.

The Amazing Custard Apple Fruit

Known for its creamy, sweet taste and commonly known as Matomoko in Kiswahili. It is native to the rain forest of Central America and widely spread along the tropical stretches, from South America to Africa and Asia

Custard Apple is rich in;

  • Anti-oxidants like Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Dietary fiber
  • Vitamin A
  • Copper

Health benefits include:

Prevents heart attacks – the magnesium prevents the heart from heart attack and aids in relaxation of muscles.

Aids in digestion – copper and dietary fiber helps in digestion and ease of bowel movement.

Prevents diabetes – Abundance of fiber slows down absorption of sugars reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes; limit to one in a day 2-3 hours before or after meals.

Prevents asthma – the vitamin B12 present helps prevent bronchial inflammation which helps in prevention of asthma attacks.

Control of blood pressure – Magnesium and potassium present in the fruit help maintain a healthy blood pressure. For fluctuating blood pressure a Custard Apple a day will help regulate it.

Reduces cholesterol – Dietary fiber and Niacin help reduce cholesterol.

Good for the skin, hair and eyes – The vitamin A present helps in maintaining healthy skin, hair and gives a sharp sight to the eye.

For more information email wellness@jubileekenya.com

Juvenile Arthritis

Juvenile Arthritis, is a term used to describe arthritis in children under the age of 16 years. The cause is not exactly known but thought to be caused by combination of genetic and environmental factors, and a poorly functioning immune system.

There is no specific diet for Juvenile Arthritis but a balanced diet is highly recommended. A diet rich in:

  • Vitamin D-fatty fish( Tuna, Mackerel, salmon)
  • Proteins-(fish, dry beans, poultry, soya etc.)
  • Healthy oils-olive oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, grape seed oil
  • Fiber with limited sugars-Fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, whole breads/grains

Note: Fried foods, processed foods and foods high in sugars should be avoided, they tend to increase inflammation.

Children with Juvenile arthritis tend to be poor feeders and may not eat much at ago. The food portion can be reduced but the nutrition value added.

Others especially those who are on steroid treatment tend to be overweight, steroid treatment causes poor absorption of calcium into the body.

By taking foods rich in Vitamin D will greatly increase the absorption of calcium which is good for the bones and bone density.

For more information email wellness@jubileekenya.com.

Snacks For Diabetics

Eating a healthy diet is key to protecting the body against inflammations and advanced illness effects. This deal goes all the way even when choices of snacks have to be made. This article addresses the snacks which are healthy and hardly pose risk to people with diabetes also highlighting their benefits.

  1. Hard boiled eggs

Enjoy a hard-boiled egg for a snack on its own, or garnish with a healthy topping like guacamole. Eggs contain high amount of protein, 1 large hard-boiled egg provides 6 grams of protein. Protein helps in repair of damaged cells. Other benefits of having an egg include; reduced risk of heart disease, decrease inflammation, improved insulin sensitivity and improved cholesterol levels.

  1. Yogurt with Berries

This is a great snack for diabetics because berries have an anti-inflammatory factor which is contributed by the antioxidants present in them. They reduce inflammation and prevent damage to cells of the pancreas, the organ responsible for releasing hormones that lower blood sugar levels.

Yogurt contains probiotics which helps the body with the ability to break down food containing sugar and utilize it. Yogurt is rich in protein, which is well-known for helping keep blood sugar levels under control. Greek yogurt is known to be very high in proteins.

  1. Handful of Almonds

The ability of almonds to help stabilize blood sugar is due to the combination of fiber, protein and healthy fats they contain, all of which are known to have an important role in diabetes management (health line).

Almonds are quite high in calories, it is best to limit your portion size to about a handful when eating them as a snack.

  1. Avocado

Avocado is rich in mono saturated fats and fiber, these two can help prevent blood sugar from spiking after having food. You can eat avocado on its own, or make it into a dip such as guacamole. Avocados are quite high in calories, it is best to stick with a serving size of one-fourth to one-half an avocado.

  1. Beef Sticks

They are high in proteins and low in carbohydrates content making them excellent for people with diabetes. If possible, you should choose beef sticks that are made with grass-fed beef. Compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their potential role in keeping blood sugar levels stable (healthline). Beef sticks are high in sodium which can lead to high blood pressure and should therefore be consumed in moderation.

  1. Roasted Chickpeas

As seen with the Hummus that chickpeas plays a great role in managing diabetes. Regular consumption of chickpeas plays a role in preventing the progression of diabetes. Make a good snack of chickpeas by roasting them to a crunchy texture. Make them fun and tasty by roasting with olive oil and seasoning

For more information email wellness@jubileekenya.com.

The Peach in my Basket and Hypertension

The peach, one magical fruit that shouldn’t miss out in your basket next you visit the market.

One fresh peach contains 330 milligrams which is about 10% of daily recommended intake. Peaches are also rich in:

  • VITAMIN C, has the ability of working as a diuretic, meaning that it can help remove excess fluids from the blood vessels which may greatly help controlling of blood pressure within the blood vessels
  • POTASSIUM, a mineral known to be so good at bringing down the high blood pressure
  • FIBER which is known for controlling weight.
  • CHOLINE helps in breakdown of low density lipoprotein cholesterol which is known as “bad fat”. This kind of cholesterol is deposited on the walls of the blood vessels making a plaque which causes thinning of the arterial walls. This makes the blood pressure to increase.

It is okay to have one to two peach(es) in a day where else the rest of 80% potassium can be obtained from other food sources.

For more information email wellness@jubileekenya.com

Bananas and Hypertension

Let’s go bananas!

Did you know that banana is termed as a “HAPPY FRUIT”? This is because it keeps you upbeat and helps overcome depression and stress, which are some of the triggers of high blood pressure. Bananas possess tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin, which is the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter.

The effectiveness of banana on lowering blood pressure is due to its rich POTASSIUM presence. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Potassium is an essential mineral that plays a key role in maintaining blood pressure and normal heart function. Moreover it helps to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the cells which helps control blood pressure.

HOW MANY BANANAS CAN I TAKE IN A DAY?

The World Health organization (WHO) suggests a potassium intake of at least 90 mmol/day (3510 mg/day) for adults. One banana of 100 grams contains 358mg of Potassium. It is recommended to have one serving a day which is equivalent to one banana.

SERVING BANANAS

  • Add sliced bananas to your favorite hot or cold cereal
  • Perk up a smoothie or shake by adding a sliced banana to the blender
  • Mashed bananas are a flavorful addition to all sorts of quick breads, muffins and even pancakes
  • Make a Fruit Kebab
  • Banana slices covered in Dark Chocolate
  • Add some banana slices to oatmeal as a sweetener

Have a banana, be happy and let’s go bananas!

For more information email wellness@jubileekenya.com

Types of Cholesterol

Cholesterol travels throughout the body in little packages called lipoproteins which are made up of blood fats called lipids and proteins. There are two main types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol:

  1. High-density Lipoprotein (HDL) – The healthy kind of cholesterol it mops up excess cholesterol found in the blood and takes it back to the liver for processing.
  2. Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) – The unhealthy type of cholesterol responsible for buildup in the body.

Places where cholesterol builds up in the body:

  • In the blood vessels
  • Around major organs e.g. liver and heart
  • Underneath the skin in cells called adipose tissue (mainly in the waistline)

 

Use of cholesterol in the body

Cholesterol is used in hormone production and in production on vitamin D.

 

Effects of excess cholesterol on the body

Cholesterol has been linked to the following diseases

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Atherosclerosis

 

For additional information email wellness@jubileekenya.com