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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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Cocoa: An Inexpensive And Simple Way To Reduce Muscle Soreness


Many athletes load up their post-work out drinks with various supplements, such as Vitargo and branched amino acids, powder, creatine, and other ingredients to enhance muscle recuperation. I will recommend you a simple and affordable ingredient that may work just as well.

Post-exercise soreness is caused by muscle damage, and several studies have shown that antioxidant dietary supplementation can protect again muscle damage. Many bodybuilders take their fish oils religiously to reduce inflammation and capitalise on the health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids. However, there are countless scientific studies that suggest that there is one ingredient which is constantly reported to prevent free radical damage, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and is also a potent vasodilator, and now it can reduce muscle soreness.

What is it about cocoa that it is good for our hearts? Cocoa contains more antioxidants than just about any other food you can find. Antioxidants are necessary because they reduce a harmful process called free radical production. Free radicals cause damage to cells, and the antioxidants are like the bodyguards of the cell, and prevent damage. Cocoa contains a class of antioxidants called flavonoids, which are also found in teas and red wine. In fact, cocoa contains more antioxidants and flavonoids than all teas and red wines. Flavonoids may not only have a direct antioxidant effect, but they also have a sparing effect on other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E.

It should be no surprise that cocoa has been used since ancient times as a medicinal remedy for preventing chronic diseases. Cocoa does have some pharmacological properties, such as the ability to increase a substance in the blood called nitric oxide, and it also makes blood less sticky. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to expand and allows for more oxygen-rich blood to flow through our veins, while chocolate increases nitric oxide synthesis, which is good for the heart and blood vessels. Having sticky blood cells makes them more likely to adhere to the lining of your arteries, which is implicated in the in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. Cocoa has ‘aspirin-like’ qualities in that it makes you blood less sticky and allows it to flow easily through the arteries.

Interestingly, a previous study reported that chocolate milk is an effective recovery aid after exercise. The study found similar increases in time to exhaustion and total work for individuals who consumed chocolate milk, compared to a traditional electrolyte-replenishing drink, subsequent to exhaustive exercise. Other reported benefits of cocoa are decreases in oxidative stress markers, and muscle soreness increases in performance output.

In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, cocoa or a placebo was added to athletes’ protein/carbohydrate sports drink. The researchers used pure cocoa powder and found that subjects consuming the cocoa powder had a decrease in post-exercise soreness, compared to the placebo group. The researchers thought the antioxidants in cocoa reduced free radical damage and enhanced muscle recuperation. Adding pure cocoa is a great way to boost antioxidants, as well as reduce cardiovascular diseases. So be sure to use pure cocoa powder without the extra sugar and crap that is in most cocoa powders.


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Green Tea Cuts Fat and Prevents Free Radical Damage


Green tea is a popular weight loss supplement. A controlled study published in the Journal of American College Nutrition, reported that green tea or green tea extract supplements reduced body fat and prevented oxidative cell damage in obese people with the metabolic syndrome (eg. high blood pressure, abdominal fat deposition, insulin resistance, abnormal blood fats). People lost an average of 5.5lb of fat and reduced BMI (Body Mass Index, measure of the proportion of weight to height) by 1.9 points. Green tea (4 cups per day) or green tea extract (2 tablets per day) improved metabolic health in obese people.


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Free Radicals


The unstable atoms or molecules known as free radicals are produced by the body as a consequence of its normal metabolism, and as part of its natural defence against disease. Sometimes, however, the body over-produces free radicals which may cause serious damage to delicate cellular structures, resulting in inflammation and also the oxidation of blood cholesterol which is then deposited on arterial walls. This situation can be worsened by smoking, a high intake of pesticides, smog, over-exposure to ultraviolet light and even intensive exercise.

Free radicals contain at least one unpaired electron (or negative charge), making them highly reactive. As soon as they are produced, they search for molecules with which they can react, this reaction is called oxidation. Free radicals can oxidise, and so damage DNA and cell membranes, opening the way for cancers and diseases to develop. They are linked to the appearance of brown patches on the skin of elderly people. But although free radicals have been associated with aging, cancer, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and immune deficiency, their role in the development of these conditions is still being researched.

However, it is generally believed that if free radicals reach and attack the DNA in the nucleus of a cell, the cell mutation which can result may cause cancer. It has also been observed that when cholesterol is oxidised by free radicals it is more damaging to the artery that ‘native’ cholesterol, so implicating free radicals in the development of heart disease.

The body has defence mechanisms against free radicals, antioxidant enzymes and nutrients in it cells serve to ‘mop up’ free radicals and render them harmless. Protective nutrients include, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium (which help to make up protective antioxidant enzymes) as well as vitamin A, C and E. Other plant substances also provide protection against free radical damage; these include beta carotene and bioflavonoids.