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What Are The Health Benefits of Apricots?


Apricot

Apricots are a small fruit with a velvety smooth skin. It has many health benefits due to its dense nutrition content.

Cancer Prevention
The powerful antioxidants found in apricots help protect the body from free radical activity and damage to cells and DNA.

Though controversial, recent studies say that apricot seeds fight cancer due to their laetrile content. Laetrile, also known as Vitamin B17, is a controversial substance found in the seeds (also known as “pits” or “kernels”) of apricots. B17 has been noted for both its cancer-fighting potential as well as its supposed toxic effect on humans. The FDA banned laetrile in 1971 because it contains cyanide, a well known poison. However, recent studies have questioned its level of toxicity and many researchers claim that laetrile kills cancer cells without serious side effects. More research is still needed and individuals should consult a doctor before consuming apricot seeds.

High In Antioxidants
Apricots are a good source of vitamin C and a great source of vitamin A, providing 20% of one’s DV per serving.

Heart Health
The beta carotene found in apricots is now considered by many studies to play a positive role in cardiovascular health and heart disease prevention. They help prevent oxidation to LDL cholesterol and detoxify the blood.

High In Fibre
The high fibre content in apricots offers a variety of health benefits. It may be essential in colon health, is it great for digestion and helps balance the metabolism and maintain a healthy body weight.

Eye Health
Fruit like apricots, which are high in vitamin A and carotenoids, are now considered by many to help strengthen the eyes. One report stated that eating 3 or more servings of these fruits per day may help to prevent age related eye disease like macular degeneration.

AnemiaApricots contain a good amount of iron and copper, both of which may help in the formation of hemoglobin.

Skin Health
Rubbing apricot oil on the skin may help relieve the symptoms of conditions like eczema and scabies.

Weight Loss
Apricots are a low calorie, nutrient rich food source that may be a great addition to any weight loss program. In addition, the fibre in apricots may help to maintain a healthy weight level.

Asthma
Apricot is proved beneficial in treating asthma.

Bone Health
Apricot is rich in calcium which is important in formation and development of bone. So it is beneficial from any bone related problems.

Maintain Electrolyte Levels
Apricot contains potassium and sodium which are required to maintain electrolyte level in balance. Electrolyte is important for transportation of ions to every cells of body. Also it maintains fluid levels which are important for muscle contraction. So potassium and sodium plays an important role in maintaining electrolyte level.


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The New Hype Surrounded By Beetroot Juice


The cultivation of beetroot can be traced back to somewhere around 4,000 years ago. The ancient Babylonians were the first to use it for various applications. Early Greeks and Romans used the root for its medicinal properties and the leaves as vegetables. Moving ahead with time beetroot held an important place in Renaissance (14th-16th century) medicine and was often used for treating various ailments. In medieval England, beetroot juice or broth was recommended as an early digested food for the aged, weak or infirm.

The juice of raw beetroot contains a multitude of benefits. Which will be explained further on.

So what are the nutritional ingredients in beetroot juice?

–          Minerals

Beetroot juice contains magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and calcium, as well as small amounts of copper, selenium, zinc, iron and manganese.

–          Amino Acids

It contains trace amounts of amino acids (including D-amino acids [Alpha Amino Acids]) which help to build proteins to be used by the body.

–          Antioxidants

Various antioxidants (including flavonoids and carotenoids) are found in the juice. They fight and destroy free radicals in the body and help to fight premature ageing and to maintain a healthy body and mind.

–          Vitamins

Beetroots are a good source of folic acid and vitamin C. It does also contain small amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene.

The deep red colour comes from betacyanin, which helps prevent colon cancer. A rich supply of silica is also present which helps to utilise the calcium in the body which is also required for healthy skin, hair, nails and bones.

The Benefits

Research has shown beetroot juice to improve the respiratory system which would benefit swimmers, singers and mountaineers. Beetroot is known to boost levels of nitric oxide in the body, causing muscles to work more effectively and demand less oxygen.

A study by 12 Swedish scientists in The Journal of Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology, was conducted on 12 healthy volunteers who were trained in breath-hold diving. In this test the 9 men and 3 women were either given a 70 millilitre shot of beetroot juice or an inactive placebo drink. They were then asked to hold their breath after having a clip placed on their nose. After drinking the beetroot, the participants were able to hold their breath for an average 4minutes and 38 seconds. After drinking the placebo they managed 4 minutes and 10 seconds. That is a difference of 11%.

Exeter University in the UK, carried out a study and concluded beetroot juice could improve your workouts. The study involved professional cyclists drinking a pint of store bought beetroot juice before riding in a simulated competition. They shaved vital seconds off their finishing times, which could be crucial in a sport where seconds often make a difference between winning and losing.  This study can be found in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. An abstract of the study can be found here, http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Abstract/2011/06000/Acute_Dietary_Nitrate_Supplementation_Improves.27.aspx

Another study also conducted by researchers in Exeter University, concluded that beetroot juice boosts stamina and an individual could exercise 16% longer. This is due to the nitrate the beetroot contains which reduces oxygen uptake, therefore making exercise less tiring. This study was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. An abstract of the study can be found here, http://jap.physiology.org/content/107/4/1144.abstract

A study published in the American Heart Association Journal, Hypertension, stated that individuals who drank a glass of beetroot juice a day were found to have significantly lower blood pressure just 24 hours later.

Beetroot juice has a very strong and over powering taste. Therefore, it should always be consumed in small quantities and usually mixed with other juices, such as apple, carrot, cucumber and celery, which altogether have nutritional benefits.