VeeFitness

Bringing you the latest in health and fitness


Leave a comment

Health Benefits of Guava Fruit


Guava

Guavas are low in calories and fats but contain several vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant poly-phenolic and flavonoid compounds that play a pivotal role in prevention of cancers, anti-aging and boosting the immune system. The fruit is very rich source of soluble dietary fibre, which makes it a good bulk laxative. The fibre content helps protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time to toxins as well as binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.

Guava fruit is an excellent source of antioxidant Vitamin C. 100 g fresh fruit provides 228 mg of this vitamin, more than three times the DRI (daily-recommended intake). Outer thick rind contains exceptionally higher levels of Vitamin C than central pulp. Scientific studies shown that regular consumption of fruits rich in Vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge cancer causing harmful free radicals from the body. Further, the vitamin is required for collagen synthesis within the body. Collagen is the main structural protein in the human body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones.

The fruit is a very good source of Vitamin A, and flavonoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and cryptoxanthin. The compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for optimum health. Further, Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in carotene is known to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. 100 g of pink guava fruit provides 5204 µg of lycopene, nearly twice the amount that in tomatoes. (100 g tomato contains 2573 µg of lycopene). Studies suggest that lycopene in pink guavas prevents skin damage from UV rays and offers protection from prostate cancer.

Fresh fruit is a very rich source of potassium. It contains more potassium than other fruits like banana weight per weight. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

Further, the fruit is also a moderate source of B complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, niacin, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin E and K, as well as minerals like magnesium, copper, and manganese. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells.


Leave a comment

Benefits of Fasting


Many people observe fasting as a religious obligation but only few know the health benefits it has. Fasting is a good practice, if properly implemented. It promotes elimination of toxins from the body, reduces blood sugar and fat stores. It promotes healthy eating habits and boost immunity.

Fasting Promotes Weight Loss
Fasting promotes rapid weight loss. It reduces the store of fats in the body. However, fasting is not a good weight loss strategy. Reducing fat and sugar intake, and increasing fruits and rest are better measures to achieve weight reduction.

Fasting Reduces Blood Sugar
Fasting increases breakdown of glucose so that the body can get energy. It reduces production of insulin. This rests the pancreas. Glucagon is produced to facilitate the breakdown of glucose. The outcome of fasting is a reduction in blood sugar.

Fasting Promotes A Healthy Diet
It has been observed that fasting reduces cravings for processed foods. It promotes desire for natural foods, especially water and fruits. This is one way in which fasting promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Fasting Boosts Immunity
When an individual is on a balanced diet in between fasts, this can boost immunity. Elimination of toxins and reduction in fat store also helps the body. When individuals take fruits to break a fast, they increase the body’s store of essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A and E are good antioxidants readily available in fruits. They help to boost immunity.

Fasting Increases Fat Breakdown
The first response of the body to fasting is break down of glucose. When the store of glucose is exhausted, ketosis begins. This is breakdown of fat to release energy. The fats stored in the kidney and muscles are broken down to release energy.

When Not To Fast?
If you are severely underweight, diabetic, pregnant, have a serious medical condition, or recovering from surgery, then you really shouldn’t fast without first consulting your physician.


Leave a comment

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.


4 Comments

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.


4 Comments

Antioxidants


Without antioxidants, many of us would be prey to numerous infections and possibly even cancer within a few months. Although our bodies produce their own antioxidants, we also need to boost our defences by eating foods that contain them. Just how important these dietary antioxidants are is a matter of great debate. All too often claims for dietary antioxidants, particularly for supplements, have been exaggerated, but recent research suggests that they may offer protection against certain cancers and heart disease, and may also help to prevent premature ageing.

Antioxidants protect against free radicals, chemicals which are formed in the body as part of its metabolism and defence against bacteria. Certain factors, such as excessive exposure to environmental pollution or ultraviolet light, illness and cigarette smoke, can cause the body to increase its production of free radicals. Left unchecked, these unstable and potentially harmful chemicals create conditions that may precipitate heart disease and cancer. To cope with these free radicals, the body needs more antioxidants than it can produce, particulary during times of illness or when exposed to pollutants. Fortunately, many foods provide antioxidants that help to protect the body against their threat.

Vitamins E and C and beta carotene, the plant form of vitamin A, help to neutralise free radicals, as do minerals such as selenium, (found in shellfish and avocados), copper (in nuts, seeds and shellfish) and zinc (in shellfish). Bioflavonoids, found in some fruit and vegetables, including citrus fruits, and grapes, also have antioxidant properties. Artificial antioxidants are added to margarine and oils to stop them becoming rancid, and to retain the natural colourings of processed foods.

Preventing Disease

More research is needed into the role of antioxidants in disease prevention. However, it is thought that free radicals may start the damage that causes fatty cholesterol deposits in the arteries, which can eventually lead to heart disease or stroke. High levels of antioxidant vitamins and minerals may help to prevent this harmful process, as well as damage to DNA that could lead to certain cancers.

Supplements of particular antioxidant vitamins or minerals need to be taken in the correct balance and, even then, too many can be harmful. To obtain an adequate intake of antioxidants, it is safer to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Citrus fruit provides vitamin C, and brightly coloured fruit and vegetables supply beta carotene. The vitamin E found in nuts, avocados and vegetable oils may also help to protect against disease.